Of songs and sleep

While I am blessed with a unique ability to sleep, for as long as I want, irrespective of where I am and what time it is, I realize it is not so for every one. Well, interestingly some songs have been composed especially to gently lull such among us to sleep.

While at school, during those 3 years of my stay at the boarding house, one constant feeling of deprivation even more than that of the absence of my parents was that of food and sleep.

In general every boarder I have known irrespective of the sumptuous food that students some times are privileged to have especially in schools like Daly College, Indore still manage to suffer from a rather imagined sort of malnutrition that makes them swoon at the sight of good food, well, almost!

This was certainly my case and I was a constant receiver of tasty edibles like ripe and unripe tamarind, goose berries both pickled and raw, pickled mango, ari nellika, sauted tamarind seeds, guavas and many other such heavenly goodies which one managed to crunch on even while sitting in the front bench, right under the teacher’s nose. For my survival of those years as a boarder I owe much to my front bench companions Praseetha, Asha & Sreelatha  who in their day boarder sympathy understood and appreciated my love for food, good food!

The need and desire for sleep was however to me more like the gravitational pull itself and seemed to grow upon me so much that it prompted my class teacher, Mary Kutty Teacher to complain to my father in her unique sonorous voice about my tendency to doze off especially in her classes soon after lunch, to which my father,cryptically replied, turning to me” So, do you need medical treatment?” and I looked down embarrassed. These antics earned me sobriquets like Kumabarakan’s sister, aunt and other such interesting titles which dented my carefully crafted ‘good girl’ image.

While we in India perhaps do not still read to our children, we have been for a long time, I guess singing our children to sleep. That should explain the wide variety of beautiful lullabies which can put any insomniac to sleep, so I guess.

While I cannot speak for all Indian languages from what I have heard so far, I am a great fan of Irayyamman Thampi’s “Omana thingal kidavo, “which I ritualistically and most sincerely sang to my child until she grew up to become aware of the torture( of my voice of course!) and literally banned me from doing the same.

I do still sing it for my own joy and suggest that you too should try listening to it.

This beautiful lyric was composed by Iriyamman Thampi on the request of the queen of Travancore to put the prince Swathi Thirunnal to sleep.No wonder,then that Swathi Thirunnal, himself  has  400 compositions to his credit.

I also love listening to Bombay Jayashree’s rendering of the famous Thyagaraja Kriti, Jo Jo Jo Rama which is nothing but magical.

The Malayalam film song ‘Unni vavavo ponnunni vavavo’ is another brilliant lullaby one could blissfully sleep to.

What prompted me to think of lullabies was the impossibly sweet and addictive Tamil song in the movie, “Yennai Arindhal”, “Unakkenna venam sollu”, which I can listen to the entire day and more. The lyrics and the way it is picturized makes it a treasure trove of love.

A friend of mine avers that it’s Kristina Perri’s  ” A Thousand Years” that puts her to sleep each day, every day. Each to his own.My favorite though will always be ” Omana thingal kidavo” followed by ” Unnakenna venam sollu” until I chance upon something better.

So,what puts you to sleep apart from books and a good lecture? What is your “manna” or ” mantra” to sleep?

3 Teachers Caught Talking

3 teachers caught talking

were given a spanking

faces were made

comments spewed

lack of sincerity

epic inefficiency

extraordinary audacity

hiding incapability

then summoned for court martial

they stood in line

heads bowed

shoulders straight

hierarchies maintained

the panel spoke

“you have been found guilty

would you care to explain?”

abashed of such cross behaviour

they mumbled in voices appropriately low

for fear of LOP

“Honourable sirs and madams

we admit of guilt

and are much ashamed

of inexplicable attention

to details not worthy of mention”

“And what are they?”, the panel thundered

appraisals around

the teachers shied but emboldened soon

spluttered the truth

“The boy who should be an astronomer, mam

is not focused on his goal.”

“The girl who is the best dancer is fighting shy of stage”

“Yesterday that short fella was bullied much”

“Today she came crying to school again”

Restless and anxious of the waste of prestigious time

name and reputation, the panel rushed

“Okay madam, but what about the syllabus

who will complete the lessons

correct the copies

talk to parents

praise the authorities

and bring in more moolah

if you waste time

in useless sympathies?”

That was that

reddened rumps

chastened talks

blushing pink

the teachers went back to syllabus

the world is saved

the future is in safe hands!



Of looking outside the window

Sometimes be driven around

sit back

take it slow

simply look outside the window

watch snippets of living

before the madness gets to you.

It is a one-time show, remember

the actors change

you will be touched by time too

the settings, the props

are not always for you to decide

curtains fall any time

so smile your while on stage

and allow yourself to be led

if you are  blessed to have a certain someone

allow yourself to be fed

you are the king if you have someone

to tuck you to sleep and wake you up with a smile

so cherish that being

celebrate that feeling

sometimes a walk, sometimes a talk

at times a looking out of the window

is a luxury your soul might seek

so allow time to heal you

so allow friends to meet you

sometimes just surround yourself with love.



Soulful Conversations

Of talking and the desire to be heard.

So it is said my friend Vanishree, ” I love soulful conversations, it is very stimulating.I always look forward to be able to have a good talk with someone who is well read and has an opinion.” Vani went on to create a forum for those intellectual and stimulating talks to happen and in the process brought many like minded individuals together to discuss books, life and what not. My experience of attending these talks count as some of the best moments of my life. I met interesting people, discussed matters of importance and in general had a great time. I am sure many others who were fortunate to be a part of this movement will share my opinion.

Some of the most meaningful and stimulating talks that I have outside the classrooms are those with the youngster at my home. Sometimes she shocks me with her insight. So it was when she stated after a rather long talk, ” Can you stop reinforcing the negatives with your repetition of the same?” Stunned almost, I became quiet and felt most humbled.

I realized how I was creating a rut, a pattern of things I didn’t want in my life any more. And decided to change.

For some blunt crystal clear perspective on any aspect of living, I can always trust my girl and my mom, they rarely dress the truth in sophistication!

Most people I know enjoy the idea of a soulful heart to heart conversation. Good conversations have to go beyond those meaningless forwards and good mornings and cliched jokes and wishes on many days of yearly importance.

Some of the most beautiful relationships that I recount are those between people who ‘sit down to talk’, the rest follows, or so I believe. On the reverse, relationships which crack are those that don’t allow time for the ‘talk’, or may be.

When I look back into my childhood, I remember the heated after dinner conversations, revolving around latest national happenings to state politics to office rivalries which formed a part of the discussion at  Kopparambil in Varandhirapilly. While women of the house were mostly quiet listeners there were times when they aired their views too. For my ten year old self, watching the silhouettes form against the yellow night lamps, some times dozing on my mother’s lap and half listening to what was being discussed was manna to the soul.

How many times do we get together for a talk, a simple, motive-less, non promotional sort of talk with those we would like to converse with?

Why do we not have forums for simple face to face talk where opinions and views can be debated and discussed?

A good conversation is a treat to the soul. With disappearing public places, the tree sides, temple corners, there is less and less scope for a good talk these days. After all aren’t we caught up in the task of living?

But do one thing, make time to talk to people who matter to you. Listen to them. Share views however opposing they might be over a cup of tea or coffee, sit down, talk over a book, discuss a film, go, get together. Make space for soulful conversations in your lives!

I am definitely trying to create more space for conversation in my life, nudging and even coaxing some to do the same. Are you interested in soulful conversations too?



THIS WAY you will be fine

erase your breasts

they are too prominent

cut out your light

your eyes are too bright

trim your nose

it’s too nosy

see only what is shown

otherwise forget (u never saw)

feel a little – in tiny capsules

easy to ingest

behind ur breasts

within ur rib cage

is your heart

keep it silent

it has to beat

its music is for it alone

don’t meddle

don’t dirty

be decent

stay safe


PS: https://hightimes.com/news/world/pro-pot-doctor-fighting-big-pharma-stabbed-death/