You & Glamorous Granny

Glamorous Granny is all of 90

Some say she is stiff

Some think she is deaf

but when her man died

she ordered wine

neighbors frowned

sons & daughters squirmed

all she said was

I  got to have his daily dose!

Glamorous Granny all of 90

shops in her mini

walks a little tipsy

and if you ask her

who is the most powerful

she says , YOU

ask her who loves the best

she says, YOU.

says she, love yourself before you love others.

The day her man died

she gave up her prayers

when asked she said,

now that I got what I want

there’s nothing more to pray for!!!

Then she called up ‘his girl friend’

and went for a movie together.

When neighbors frowned

and sons & daughters squirmed

she said, got to keep a promise right?!!!

Glamorous Granny all of 90

stooped a little, but never bent

sobbed a little, but never wept

and if you asked her

who kept her alive?

she said, YOU

who was her lucky charm?

she said, YOU.

a to z challenge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Xenodochial Mouse

Xenodochial to our core

that’s we are

no one need be sore

we are always just

come away  with me

to another gutter nearby

and we never betray each other, ah ha

from one stream to another , ah ha

accommodating others

even when we are rash

even as we go

we are never  xenophobic

not us

not ever

never

in our lives…

a to z challenge

Worldly

To be of the world

as worldly as you can

to be of life

as living  as you could

to be of love

as loving as you are

to be of hate

as spiteful as venom

to be of the moment

as momentary as life

to be of fame

as long as memories last

to be as ever lasting

as the candle in a breeze

to be  the one

among the many

is the destiny of the  man of the world.

a to z challenge

 

 

Valiya Lokam, Cheriya Manassu

Valiya Lokam, Cheriya Manassu literally translates into Big world, Small  heart in Malayalam.

A ramshackle truck grinds to a halt in front of the apartment. A pink teddy bear sits next to the truck driver.Some broken parts of a cycle are tied up behind and are left hanging, clanging as the truck moves. Card board boxes are folded and tied up into a shabby bundle. A bundle of clothes is shuffled in and tucked, prominently visible on the truck body. Four shoddily dressed,soot covered men get down to pick up the garbage pile. One by one the huge black polythene bags are pushed into the truck. The truck is already overflowing with waste picked from apartments. The men use bare hands to push the piles in. The stench of rotting garbage is unbearable and evening walkers refuse to look at the truck or its drivers. To many in the apartment, its like an invisible force that helps them keep their homes clean. While there are tit bits of information of recycling green waste in the apartment complex itself, nothing of that sort is done. As long as there are people to collect waste and throw it away from your locality the residents are quite fine. What lies beyond the apartment is definitely not the residents’ concern. So what if segregated garbage gets mixed up with the unsegregated ones? So what if those who come to collect garbage are shoddily dressed, emaciated people?

For the past few months, I have been thinking of what can be done to help boost the morale of the cleanliness workers. If you have some suggestions please share.

I wish each of them had neat aprons, a good cap, a pair of shoes, a pair of gloves to wear on duty.  Some things are achievable, so I have decided to do my bit.

From Valiya Lokam, Cheriya Manassu to Valiya Lokam, Valiya Manassu (Big World, Big Heart)… surely it looks possible to me.

a to z challenge

Unto you as unto me

a to z challenge

For the world that I breathe poison into

does the same to me

the skies spit on to me

the dirt I blew

the waters that flow

carry to me the waste I dump

the leaves sing the song

I taught them to sing

the earth cries

every time I weep

she bears the most the pain I give

the birds, the beasts

still magnanimous

stop to dance

even in the face of my anger

sometimes the ocean

grumbles and groans

and in a fit of anger

expunges earth

with her fluid emotions.

The man I hugged

helps me with a smile

the men I punched

return it with a vengeance.

Unto me as unto you.

Let’s leave the Jarawas in peace!

 

The Silent Vase

The silent smiling Vase

stood in the corner

her intricate patterns

distracted her admirers

keeping  them engaged in her many forms.

Some praised her delicate ways

Some her fragrant themes

Some her slim waist

and others her blessed bust

Her sunshine smile

was enough to beguile

even the most indifferent.

She often looked up at the wall

and tried in vain

to lean into his arms.

Once the landlady

on her cleaning spree

pushed the vase

close to the wall

the vase sighed

the wall smiled.

A new blossom bloomed

the vase was heavier

her smile brighter

no one was wiser.

 

 

 

Sometimes fried,sometimes ground

What’s a coconut without a Keralite? I mean what’s a Keralite without his  share of coconut?

The coco-nutty  malayalee cooks the entire range of  taste bud tickling dishes ranging from sweet to spicy to the sour with the coconut.

So when the first mango of the season  makes its appearance in the local push carts, I get myself a kilo of mangoes  for about 60  Rs. I am thrilled.Anything to save money usually does that to me! As I prepare myself for  the cooking the manga kootan or the ripe mango curry, my mouth is already watering anticipating the taste.

During summer holidays in those days when I was young back in Varandhirapilly, a small town in Trichur, the challenge was always to chew on maximum number of ripe mangoes. Unlike the prized cashew nuts, grand father never really bothered if any body ate a lot many mangoes or jack fruit for that matter. We had a free will to choose to have as many as we wanted of which ever type that too. So, once a bucket full of ripe mangoes were gathered from grand father’s sprawling property by some elder in the morning, we the kids would get ready to make the best use of it.The mangoes sat in the bucket tainted, muddied, some times bitten by birds  but mostly fresh and ripe ready to have after you gave it a good wash.

We,the kids who visited our grand parents and some of my uncles who were kids themselves, vied with each other to finish the day’s pick.. The ladies of the house would slyly select their share for the after noon mango curry, leaving the rest for others.

Sitting on haunches in a line on the verandah, akin to monkeys, with some 5 to 10 carefully picked ripe mangoes washed and kept close for easy reach, we would compete on chewing  each mango clean and  dry and then throwing the seed  as far away as  one could.

When one was tired of mangoes, there were enough and more ripe cashew fruits to have. The sharp twang of the cashew fruit can sometimes burn your tongue.  Then there was of course jack fruit which my mother or my aunt would  cut and distribute  evenly among the kids who were always a hungry lot.

Grand mother would chip in asking mom to keep aside the best ones for grand father.

Some times the heat and the over dose of ripe mango and other fruits  can quite upset your tummy. My favourites apart from Mango, jack fruit, guava included fruits called lubikka and champakka. These I managed to get from my aunts house due to my friendship with her father.

Well, over come by a bout of nostalgia and homesickness I  head to the kitchen to prepare my pazhutha manga kootan or ripe mango curry. Here it goes

Manga Kootan or Ripe Mango Curry- Recipe

Ingredients

3-4 or more ripe mangoes -the smaller juicy variety

2 cups grated coconut

3 cups curd

3 to 4 green chillies

a sprig of curry leaves

1 tsp of mustard seeds

salt to taste

1 red chillly

So its quite simple.

Boil the peeled ripe mangoes with turmeric, chilly powder and salt in a pot. Add  a piece of two of jaggery into the pot depending on the sweetness of the ripe mangoes that you have.

Take the grated coconut and grind it with green chillies and curd in a mixer. Keep it aside.

Add the mixture into the pot of boiled ripe mangoes and let it simmer for 3-4 minutes.

Heat a spoonful of coconut oil in a pan .Into it put half a spoonful of mustard and curry leaves and the red chilly.Once the mustard seeds crackle add the boiled mango curry into the pan and the ripe mango curry is ready to taste.

So you grind, fry or sweeten your coconut, its forever going to taste good. If you want to have something tangy and spicy,  here’s what you can do to make  Pacha manga chamandhi- or raw mango paste. You can have it with rice,dosa or whatever else you want to have it with.

Here it goes!

Pachamanga chammandhi- Recipe

Take one raw mango and peel the skin off. Take a few pieces of coconut and 2 -3 red chillies and fry it shallow in a spoonful of cooking oil. In a mixer, add raw mango pieces, depending upon how tangy you want it , fried coconut pieces, shallow fried red chilly and salt to taste. Grind it. It will be better not to make the paste too smooth. Add a little coconut oil for better taste and aroma.

Sometimes fried

sometimes ground

coconut

all the year round.

a to z challenge

Rogue thoughts

You would have wrestled with trying to focus on your studies and not being able to when your mind wanders over the desert of Thar,  the stars of the Bollywood and those super stars who play around with a bat and a ball.

In the class room, sits Mr. M, his one eye fixed on the black board and the other at his girlfriend sitting at the back of the class. He likes to play it even. He is not prepared to lose neither his teacher’s affection nor his girl friend’s love. Must have required great craning skills , this one!

Every time the teacher looks at him pointedly , he shrugs his shoulders, winks at his girl friend and smiles back at the teacher. Well, some rogues are adorable besides, why nip  some  budding puppy love? The girl friend looks down abashed and the teacher shouts, class!!! your attention here!!!.

As an English teacher I often wondered if I would be booked for immorality, considering the sanctimony of arranged marriage vs love marriage! Through the carefully chosen lessons I would think that I am actually advocating every crime, every act of felony, disobedience and what not.

I would be adding art and artistry to the failed efforts at eloping by Lord Ullin and his lady love in one lesson and inspiring my kids to whisk away their beloved from under the nose of the bride’s father in Lochinvar!

To add more spice I  would narrate the stories of the ill-fated love of Romeo and Juliet or the dalliance of an elderly Othello with a young Desdemona. And as if to balance it all, there would be a compulsory lesson on Gandhi or the constitution in the text book to even out the romance bit.

In the classroom the teachings and the teachers themselves seemed to have been quite successful in instilling a sense of love and caring for each other .I often get invitations to marriage where I think I know the groom and it  usually turns out to be a class mate or a senior… Good enough!

Crimes, acts of felony,cruelty to self and others make for great literature.Stories of  great struggle, loss of love, of suffering excruciating pain thrills the reader to bits.

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Queue? Phew!!!

The train came to a halt at Bhopal. Anxious for my place, I rushed in baby,luggage and all. As we jostled to get in,an elderly woman trying to climb down, chided us, can’t you people wait?

Well, we are not used to that are we?

At the temple, once the door of the  sanctum sanctorum opens after arathi, devotees jostle trying to get the best view of the deity for that moment of direct connect, till they are herded off by the temple authorities to make space for others. The pushing and pulling continues, me first , me first, till one reaches the next god demanding obeisance.

The guests at a wedding will go to any length to jump the queue to dig into the rice sambhar 2 seconds before the next person.After that they head to the mantap or the stage to have that best picture clicked. Again a mini riot breaks out as the sweating newly married couple try to keep up the smiles for the camera, while being pushed and pulled from both sides by photo-opportunistic friends and relatives.

Have you not used  public transport? Surely then you would have experienced the need to let go and be pushed or led to the entry and exit of  a train or bus if you want to reach your destination!

Queue is not just our thing.

Chaos! Yes!

So we say queue!!! phew!!!

a to z challenge

Panditji

Panditji rings the bell.It is  5 pm. That’s the time when the official pooja at his residence happens. At sharp 3pm , panditji would proceed to have his bath. Once he is out in his wet clothes, he would rush to pour water to the  Tulasi plant, look up at the burning sun and retire for pooja. His understanding and ever supportive mother would walk into the kitchen to serve the lunch.

Emerging after an hour or so panditji would proceed to have his lunch. The beautiful lady would wait for her wonderful son and he would munch at his lunch while discussing the spiritual and the worldly. It was after his lunch that he had his nap. The evening one. This was how it went day after day, year after year. The weightier matters of soul,spirit and the universe were his concerns, while his other half grappled with the more mundane chores of cooking, earning and providing.

Panditji had the distinguished ability to foresee what’s to come. He often talked about his ability to predict what is to happen next. What he over looked was the dissonance at home. He looked away when he saw his materialistic, greedy,over ambitious wife stretch herself too thin while he wandered in the spiritual realms of the gods. He perhaps did not realize that his highly placed spiritual mother was doing her bit to make his wife’s life a living hell. Perhaps it was better not to notice these minute details.

Panditiji is a sad soul these days. He complains of negligence, indifference and lack of attention to his details. While he wields his power in the spiritual realms, he expects his bread to reach his table on time. To this end he often puffs and huffs sacred mantras in sanskrit, travels to remotest villages, visits divinities, sprays sandal wood oil and various other unctions in and around his dwelling. This he hopes in will reign in the evil spirits.

Greed, ambition and materialism nothing can be more dangerous than these. Panditji is in search of a realized soul to show him the path to wield his power over the unrelenting,disobedient,egoistic women in his life.

Let’s wish him good luck.

May the spirits of the universe respond!