The Child Candy Man

He sells candies in the hot sun
Dark pink colored sweetmeat
Young and old buy candy from him
A rupee is what they pay him

He walks all day with bare feet
His tender little feet grow pink with heat
He treads across many a street
Walking and singing to himself..

He carries a tall stand over his head
And beads of sweat pour down his face
Mornings find kids going to school
The child candy man dreams too of school

Evenings come and children play
He is still busy making money, selling candy
He looks forlorn at the playground
See-saws and swings are to him, mere sights

He lets out a little sigh from his mouth
And continues calling out” Candies, sweet candies”
His little bell announces his coming
And children come to him running

He is the candy man, a sweet child
He too has his dreams of making it in this world
Why doesnt fate allow him to dream?
His candies are sweet , but why not life to him??

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A child’s diary of Palakkad

Those were some of the happiest days in my life. Nurani was where my grandparents lived. It was a rented house. It had the typical mud-tiled roof, a big sit-out (thinnai) and a huge backyard (kolla pakkam). We used to go there during every summer vacation.

 

My Granny, whom we fondly called Ajji, used to pamper us with her delicious cuisine. An expert cook she was, an embodiment of immense love and patience. This reflected in each of her dishes. Even plain water tasted sweet when it was served by grandma. Grandpa, on the other hand, was quite the opposite kind of character. He was a very friendly and outgoing person, popular throughout the village. People used to call him Jeesa. Whenever he was at home, there was always someone at the door to meet him.

 

My uncles, all three of them, are three different persona. Each of them is famous in the village for their unique childhood achievements outside school. This said it’s evident that only Dad was scholastically inclined and had a consistent first class record throughout his learning period at school and college. My uncles were just the opposite. Plucking mangoes during class hours, eating sundal at the village temple and fooling around with friends were their favorite activities as children.

 

Then there was Darling Atthai. The youngest child of grandparents and the apple of her brothers’ eyes. She had the privilege of being the only daughter of the family and was fondly called “Ponni” by everyone. She was pampered the most till we kids were born. I used to admire her beautiful long hair which granny carefully oiled and plaited twice everyday. Her eyes were like lovely black marbles and her voice was sweet like the cuckoo. Years after, even now I think of her as one of the most beautiful and charming women I have ever met in my life.

 

Mornings used to be full of fun and activity- learning to swim in the pond, hopping/skipping with friends of my age, and simply running about the house a countless number of times. There is no fatigue for children and they seem to have an endless reserve of energy. So were I and my childhood pals.

 

There used to be a store room in the house, called as macchu. My dear granny used to store laddus, jilebis, mysore pa, murukku, adhirasam and other mouth watering stuff in steel containers into the shelves of this room. These shelves were out of reach of us children. You might understand the disappointment stemming out of the inability to reach to your favorite sweetmeat which is right in front of your eyes. You can see, but not eat. And little children can’t bear such temptations. SO we used to nag our Chittappas or cajole our Atthai to get us a sweet or two, pretending that if we did not get the sweet, we would die of hunger! 🙂

 

Around 4 in the evening, after a sumptuous lunch and a power nap in the aatukkattil (long wooden swing), we kids used to wash our hands, feet and faces. Talcum powder-application ceremony would start thereafter. We kids would stand in a row, one after another, and mom/Atthai or granny would paint our faces white with powder. Sometimes, kajal or eye-pencils were also used to highlight our eyes and brows. At the end of it, we would look like white and black painted foxes!! 😀 Kajal was used to ward away evil influences on children. But with such make-up, I guess even normal people would have preferred to keep their eyes away from us. 🙂

 

Meena mami next door would religiously wait till the talcum powder-application ceremony ended. Staying in the house opposite to us, she could know every little thing happening in here. That is one specialty of villages, people are always aware of what others are doing, unlike big cities where nobody knows what’s happening in their neighbourhood. She would invite us all for a game of pallaankuzhi. Ajji, Atthai, Amma and Meena mami would be obliviously gossiping while I strategized my victory in the game.

 

At 6 p.m. sharp, the oil lamp would be lit and Atthai would sing beautifully in praise of the numerous deities who peered at us from behind glass frames. Thatha would then start his evening round of poojai and take a whole 2 hours to completing it.

 

Meanwhile, Ramu mama next door would start his practice session.

Mama was blind and had a rough baritone voice. But he worked as a professor in Palakkad music academy and was extremely knowledgeable in music. He always encouraged me to sing aloud and taught me music whenever he got a chance. Sometimes he would simply sit in the room whose wall adjoined our houses. One could hear very clearly whatever was spoken at the opposite side of this wall. We used to have some sing-song sessions sitting on either sides of this wall. He never looked at me even when I visited their house. He perhaps thought of me as a little girl with two plaits, who wore pattu- paavadai and sang vasantha now and hindolam then.

 

My Chitthappas would finish their village rounds, including temple visits and visits to their friends, by the time the lamp was lit. They were all part of the village Bhajana mandali. It always used to excite me to hear them sing aloud a bhajan to the tune of the harmonium and jalara. They would occupy the sit-out after doing their poojai and start making fun of passers-by, along with some of their friends. They had funny English names for many of the villagers. Paccha mama for example was called Green Uncle and Neela mami was Blue Aunty and so on. But nobody in the village minded their remarks as they all knew what these harmless and naughty village teenagers were up to-killing time! 😀

 

Often around 7 in the evening, the power supply would go off. The rest of the family would also join my Chitthappas at the thinnai and talk about olden times. By the time current came, it used to be dinner time.

 

Everybody in the house would sit neatly in two rows and eat delicious food made by Amma and Ajji.

 

Post dinner, I and Chittappas used to go for a walk up to the Milma milk booth. Sometimes Ammanna, my youngest Chittappa’s friend, used to accompany us from their shop – Thangam Pickles. They would talk aloud, cracking jokes and sometimes sing naughty songs for some village people. By the time we returned home from our walk, we would be too tired. No bedtime stories were required to put me to sleep after a day’s activities.

 

Our village had many other interesting people, only some of whom I remember. There was Jayaram Anna of stores who used to give us biscuits in our grandpa/Chittappa’s name(on the account that they would pay him 🙂 ). There was Ambi mama, a seven-footer, dad’s classmate ad the tallest man in our village, who used to put us children into the huge temple chariot during ther(festival). There were young women like Gowri who wore half-saris and were waiting to get married. There were students who always spent time with their books, hoping to get into a far-off city college. There was Babloo doctor, Appa’s friend, who used to treat me whenever I fell ill. There were old paatis who shouted at young children cautioning them not to wander too far from home. There were deaf, retired grandpas who were red-mouthed due to chewing beetul-nut and tobacco and always read newspapers. There were kids like Tulsi who played with me, but pinched me once too often. There were faithful maids like Devu, who helped women with their household chores. There was the warrar woman who carried flowers for the temple deities every morning. There were happy green coconut trees, a lovely blue pond and a vast blue sky, amidst brown roofs. The sun shone brightly day after day above a happy bunch of people, and there were bountiful rains. My village Nurani… How I wish I could be a child again!!!!!

 

 

 

 

TIME BANK?!

After about two months now, I am too happy to be getting some time for myself and being able to pen down a few words for the sheer fun of writing! Truly, the freedom of expression is the best gift any human being can have, as I realize strongly in my recent days. Though I won’t be able to share everything in detail in this forum, I would simply say that come what may, one must never refrain from being one’s self. All others come only after thyself and thy happiness is foremost among all other things in this world.

 

By saying thus, I do not mean to single out one’s self from the societal existence. Man is indeed a social being and cannot survive without fellow beings. We behave happily or not so happily, to a great extent because of what we perceive from our surroundings. A happy atmosphere around can put a broad smile on our face, while sad things can make our souls devoid of the happiness belonging to them.

 

Actually I have nothing particular in my mind to write about and hence am penning down the random thoughts that are emerging instantaneously out of my overworked mind, residing in my currently exhausted body. But I have my own ways to rejuvenating myself. Whenever I feel that I am getting nowhere in life or am stuck amidst too much confusion, I take the help of my eternal love- Music. Even now, if I am able to write my heart out, it’s because of Higgins Bhagavathar’s beautiful rendition of Sree Ragam in ThyagaBrahmam’s master piece Endharo Mahanubhavulu. The song in itself deserves a separate article; I am not capable enough to write about the genius of its composer and as for the singer, he deserves at least a thousand salutations on behalf of an ordinary rasika like me.

 

As a child, I had a certain attraction for music which was identified by my music teacher at school. An enthusiastic mom then found me the right Guru (read as Godmother), who directed me in the proper way to learn the basic nuances of this wonderful art. Even in one of my previous articles, I have written something about music. But how much ever I write, I feel I haven’t expressed myself adequately as far as music is concerned. With the right amount of devotion, one can not only learn to sing, but also get to know about stalwarts who mastered the art and attained the ultimate want of the human soul – the feeling of oneness with one’s self and with all beings of this world. No money can buy this kind of a thing in this world. And the more one loves one’s art, whatever it may be, the more one grows richer in terms of non-materialistically definable stuff. (Sorry for getting too abstract!!)

 

My profession demands most of my energy and I have no other go, but to do my duties at office for earning my livelihood. When I get too bogged down while working on some unlucky weekend, my heart flies back to my beautiful days of yore. What I could do as a child and what life has become now, shows me a huge difference in terms of the time I used to have for things I would love to do. For many of us, life changes in an unpredictable way. There are only a very few lucky people who get to do what they love the most and also get paid for doing it. Sigh! I seriously envy them.

 

I would not be asking for more by asking some time from my own life, for things that I would enjoy doing. I feel helpless sitting in a deserted office chair on a weekend when I would have cooked(humming my favorite cine tunes), cleaned(also humming cine/non-cine tunes) and even listened to my favorite artists on my computer/radio after getting myself some much needed sleep.

 

There are social responsibilities on one hand and there is the prime responsibility of listening to one’s heart for the sake of being happy. An artistic mind like mine gets too tired with iterative mundane stuff and I lose my efficiency without avenues to enjoy myself by singing/writing/reading books. If only I had a time bank from where I could borrow at least an hour everyday to do what I love, I would be a happier self and in turn surprise my employers and family with something more than they expect. Why can’t there be extra curricular activities at office also? Will work ever be enjoyable? Should career and money always get a priority over my own happiness? ….

 

Hoping for better times…. I request my beloved readers, my close counsels to keep writing and visiting my blog whenever they find time. Also leave in your suggestions if you happen to read this article of mine. Adieu till my next!!! J

 

Tagged by Rags

Last movie seen in a theatre:

I think it was Chak de with Aalu. Did not watch any after that. Missed two chances of watching Dasavatharam with my friends. L

What book are you reading?

I am yet to start with my next book. The last one I read was Salt and Sawdust by R.K.Narayan.

Favourite board game:

Snakes and Ladders, Scrabble and Ludo. With my childhood pals, I used to play these games for hours together during summer vacations and never used to get bored.

Trump cards also were a favorite other than the normal card games.

Favourite magazine:

Frozen thoughts. Liked the few editions that I could get my hands on at the office library(a favorite place where I used to read in those evenings when I was yet to get into projects, for those who know this library at Cognizant Siruseri Academy, I need not give any more explanation).

Favourite smells:

My deodorant Dove, the smell of fresh jasmine/lily flowers.

Favourite sound:

I would not be too narcissistic to say my own! 😉 I like my own name being called sweetly by Dad and a few others whom I like. It’s by far the best sound I have heard. I also like the frequencies (not sounds, I repeat), of violin, veena, flute and saxophone to name a few. 😉

Worst feeling in the world:

Fear of failure/rejection. (Might sound too abstract, but encloses all I wish to say).

My inability to say NO to people I love.

My inability to express my fears/confusions to others.

 

What is the first thing you think of when you wake up?

I try to recollect which day of the week it is, what breakfast I have to cook and what vegetable I should take for lunch. Also I await for Dad’s good morning before I leave my bed and after switching off the alarm. J Sometimes I wish it could be holiday where I could sleep longer.

Favourite fast food place:

Highway Inn at my place used to be an all time favorite where I used to chill out with my friends. But after I fell ill once cause of eating there, I stopped visiting the place.

Javagreen in my office.

Future child’s name:

Many names I have thought of.. Wont tell here for the fear that my friends might copy them!! LOL.. J

Finish this statement, “If I had a lot of money I’d…”

1. Quit my current job, buy a farmhouse in Kerala and live there with my Dad and Chittappas. Life would truly be a heaven!!! J

Do you drive fast?

I drive only my scooty, which does not go beyond 60 in any case. I have driven at speeds beyond 50 and I like overtaking guys who pass snide remarks at me in their bikes. Scooty being light flies easily across hefty bikes. If I get my own car, I would like to try out higher speeds in it.

Do you sleep with a stuffed animal?

I hug my long pillow in sleep. It’s not an animal though. 😉

Storms – Cool or Scary?
Cool or scary depending on ,my mood.

Do you eat the stems on broccoli?

I haven’t tasted broccoli.

If you could dye your hair any colour, what would be your choice?

I like black hair. I won’t dye my hair when it grays. Every age has a hair color that suits it best.

Name all the different cities/towns you have lived in:

Kalpakkam, Kalpakkam and Kalpakkam. 😉 I have visited a few other places like Palakkad, Cochin, B’lore, and Mumbai. None like Kalpakkam though.

Favorite sports to watch:

I am not a sports buff though I have had an opportunity to watch lots of cricket at home.

One nice thing about the person who sent this to you:

My very dependable, extremely adorable genius friend Ragesh.. I mean Ragesh the Virgo. If I don’t tell his sun sign, he might get crossed with me. 😉 Jokes apart, he is one of the closest counsels I have ever had in my life with whom I can discuss all and sundry. If you are reading this, THANKS A LOT Ragi!!! J

What’s under your bed?
For God’s sake, do u expect me to say Gold biscuits? 😉 I have a few old blankets underneath my bed.

Would you like to be born as yourself again?

Yes of course! But I would love to get those things I missed in this life of mine.

Morning person or night owl?

Neither. During college days, I used to spend lots of time on my comp at night. Nowadays my days are getting too long that I don’t realize when it grows dusky and when my bedtime comes. J

Over easy or sunny side up?
Mostly sunny side up.

Favourite place to relax:
My own house at Kalpakkam. The most peaceful place in the whole of this world.

Favourite pie:

Jolna pi(e). J

Favourite ice cream flavour:
Nothing specific. I don’t eat ice creams much, though I like Vanilla for its subdued taste.

You pass this tag to –

Mili

Aravind

Of all the people you tagged this to, who’s most likely to respond first?

Must be Mili. This lioness makes time for writing however busy she gets, though I am not sure if she has already gone through this tag.

 

My first official lec-dem ?!! ;-P

(Lec-Dem Date : 04-Apr-08, Venue : ASV Suntech Park)

 

It was on a fine Thursday morning, and I had just entered office. As the routine goes, I promptly opened my mailbox to only find that it was swarmed with a score of mails, half of which are always forwards, and one is always the warning that my mailbox has exceeded its storage capacity and that I should clear unnecessary mails in order to get new ones. There was this particular mail from our academy (the training centre), asking me to execute some session. Now, at the first reading, I thought I was being asked to be part of the training and attend it. Out of curiosity (since the topic mentioned wasn’t quite relevant to my domain), I called up the concerned person. He suggested that I was supposed to be “handling” and not “attending” the session. You must have imagined the look on my face. I was completely stupefied! All I managed to blurt out was a meek OK. (But why I said that, I still don’t know ;)).

 

While I was trying to figure out who could help me in accomplishing this mission, my darling friend Kittu came forward and gave me some vital ideas. I then decided to ask my teacher (the one who handled classes for me while I was still a trainee), for help. But as luck would have it, he was completely occupied with work that day and sent me out an apology for being unable to help me out. Moments later, my desperation and dilemma started growing. I felt I should tell the academy people that I wouldn’t be able to help them. But something inside me prevented me from doing so.  The love for meeting new people? The quest for adventure?, call it whatever…

 

I frantically started asking all my friends for help and one of them gave me positive vibes saying she knew a senior who could help me with that. I hurriedly told my Manager that I would be leaving for the day in order to prepare for the session that I was about to handle the next day. Post lunch, I took the shuttle to my friend’s office, which is pretty far from mine and headed straight to the senior she mentioned. The girl told me that what I wanted to know was nothing and she could tell me all about it in just 2 minutes. Yet another shock! Finally it came to be known that miscommunication had had its part and what I wanted to know was different from what she was about to explain to me. Then I and my friend went around her entire floor asking for help. But little hope was to be had as people were totally busy with their deliverables and releases.

 

I finally settled down in front of a computer and decided to help myself. Still unable to digest the fact that my prep for the D day was terribly poor. Why was I doing it after all??

 

In the evening, I went to stay with my friend in her hostel considering the poor health that I was running that day. Initially she was worried if I would be allowed to stay at her place and whether her landlady would object. But here at least I was lucky enough to make my way through. J

 

After a tea at the office pantry, both of us marched out of the premises and boarded a share auto to get home. Time was flying by and I dint feel a pinch of tension. It wasn’t over confidence. But what was it?? I was not able to find out…

 

Exactly half an hour after we got to her place, we experienced a black out. The current in that phase alone had gone off. The first current cut she had experienced there in all the months she has stayed there. Lucky me!!! All plans for my prep (the bundle of print outs that I had taken at office-I wanted to read them once at least), went down the drain. L

 

Hour after another passed, it was almost 10.30 at night when our other friend returned from office. All three of us were hungry and the dinner was ready. Current seemed to have mercy on us and came back for minutes. But by the time all of us got settled down in front of the dining table, again it went off. It was destined to be a candle light dinner finally.

 

At 11 p.m., the current finally came back and kept the rooms alight. I lazily opened my bunch of study material while both my friends were happily reading the newspaper. They both dozed off at 12 while I was still awake, with the bare little prep I had done thus far. I was in no mood to continue reading and went to bed at 12.30 out of the fear of having to wake up early the next morning.

 

5.30 it was and I was rudely shaken awake but the cock-a-doodle-do of the cock downstairs. My alarm was set only at 6.30. So I rolled in my bed for another hour and finally rose to get ready before my friends could wake up. It 8.30 when I left the house and both of them wished me luck.

 

I was into a share auto and the destined hour was nearing. I got a bit frightened. I could already see a few people wearing the trainee tags and entering the huge building. I wondered how many of them would be facing the brunt of my lecture that day.

 

I entered the classroom while most of the inmates were still awaited their entry. I fetched myself a marker pen, a duster and other things and rehearsed a small introduction in my mind. The class was supposed to start at 9.30 but it took a half an hour more to start with people coming in after leisurely finishing their breakfasts. J

 

I introduced myself and asked them for theirs. Surprisingly I found that their batch was a mix of people from the east, the west, the north and the south. There were Bengalis, Punjabis, Tamilians, Malayalis and few from Andhra. Wow…

 

I spoke for at full length for half an hour explaining what I knew about the topic. They already looked sheepish. So there it was, a half an hour long tea break. But at least my initial stigma was warding off.

 

I am not anything of a programmer and what was about to follow was a hands-on for those 30 odd people. I found that not even the IDE was installed in my system. I finished doing that before they came back from the break. Then there was this jar file that I needed to download and include in my build path in order that my programs compiled. Again, as luck would have it, I found that the normal proxy wouldn’t allow me do that.

So once my class was back after the break, I asked them how it could be done. One smarty-pants immediately downloaded the file and shared it with the rest of the lot. With the initial settings done, the hands-on followed in line without much difficulty. By 12.30, I found all the eager faces hungry and yes, it was the second break, for lunch.

 

I had brought some bread-jam for lunch and without anyone to chat along, sat on a table and ate away the bread when I heard someone tell a Hi from behind. I was pretty surprised. It was one of my old classmates. He was there in some other batch attending training. It was nice of him to ask me if I needed company for lunch, which I had almost finished. So we agreed to meet up for a tea late in the noon.

 

On my way back to the classroom, one fellow of the class, who was also returning from his lunch, started asking me how it felt to be in projects and what would be expected out of freshers etc. It was the same kind of questions that I and my batch mates had asked our seniors. I told him that what you would end up doing might as well be different from what you are being trained at.  That was it.

 

Back inside the class, half of them were already dozing off and I got a bit worried of having to bore them for a little more while. We continued with the hands-on exercises and I went about finding how people felt about the class and if there was anything that I could help them out with. It seemed that they all had planned for going to Ooty for the weekend with their whole batch. Some even suggested that I could join them. But I was more than glad to have been able to carry on with the session in a way I hadn’t even expected. I had imagined the whole show becoming a great flop. But my adventurous spirit wouldn’t let me deny the offer either. When I finished, I had little regrets of having accepted the offer. My love for teaching, interacting with people, had done its part, and done it well. J

 

I finally bade them all a big good-bye, wished them luck and went on to board a bus back home. I secretly smiled to myself for being able to put up a good show and awaited the feedback of the attendees. I felt thankful to my friends who reassured me that I would be able to do it successfully. And last but not the least; I thought this experience would be worth sharing with my readers!! J

 

P.S: A week later, I got a very good feedback from the people concerned. It really helped a lot in boosting my confidence and morale. Looking forward to many more such learning opportunities! J

Gone are the golden days!!

Going back to college after several days, was to be promising enough to bring back some of the old memories. The golden/green grass growing around…. The stores in the MCA block, where some of my most nostalgic moments linger. The road to girls hostel, the place which saw most of my peers transforming into beautiful women, who were to be felicitated that day. The canteen which, at anytime of the day would be one of the few places buzzing with activity. Seniors and juniors alike would wait in the long queues to get the tokens for lunch. Many a time, a tiny ice-lolly vendor would stand outside the place and attract a big audience for the orange-pink-yellow sugar sticks. Those pathways sans any trees on either sides, never seemed hot even when the sun would go high up in the sky and show his splendour. Chatting with friends merrily, every road would be conquered and every distance measured by foot. The far fledged labs, demanding half the study hour to get there, would always be filled after college hours to finish incomplete experiments. The buses would line up the leveled plane outside the canteen and be packed even before the end of the last hour most of the times. Students would be playing hide and seek with staff around the bus stop coz of fear of being caught on account of missing classes. The sunset time is definitely the most romantic time inside the campus. Most couples would sneakily come out of their hiding places, shed their shy image and walk hand-in-hand to have a sip of coffee and share a single cup of noodles. When the beautiful sun would still be waiting to give way to the young moonlight, few people would run back into the premises realizing the time to report back at the hostels. The security-thathas, as they are fondly called, used to take care of the inmates like their own children. However bad the mess-khana would be, it would never fail in filling the tummies of those who ate them. Night time would be an exclusive treat for the hostellers, especially after the usual serial-watching at the tv hall and dinner. People would be doing things ranging from washing clothes to watching movies to dancing on corridors to eating biscuits from half-empty packs. Life would be really exciting on the days like symposium and culturals. Like the proud owners of a new mclaren, we would flaunt each and every little thing about our college in front of the ppl from other colleges. The beautiful color-bulbs on the roof of our auditorium are still some of the most precious stuff amongst these, only next to the enchanting bougainvillea creepers growing all around the place.

  

Now, days after I left the place, when I revisited it, for graduation day, I felt cold and unemotional about all this.. The place of my dreams, now seemed to lack an aura.. where did the warmth and belongingness disappear?

 

My love, my college, my cute friends, those naughty pranks in classes, the ice-tea during a hot afternoon hour.. I miss it all… Now, only the void is left…… 😦

Reminiscing 2007

I am not a person who believes in new years and the resolutions that generally mark them. Neither am I interested in the discount sales/vacation plans associated with the coming of a new year. For me, a new year is a time to think back on the past(quickly though). The previous year denotes a time-frame which tells me what I have achieved and reminds of the lessons I learnt. Certain years, in that manner are more memorable because the happy moments they bring along outweigh the sad ones they leave behind.

The first half of 2007 brings me vivid memories of the last few months of my college life.

It was mid February and the Chairman of our college Shiv Nadar was paying a short visit to the campus. It was a big day for both me and Ragesh, since both of us got a chance to present ourselves in front of the man whom we had been admiring ever since we entered college. Ragesh made a presentation of his project on thought controlled car driving, while I sang thulladha manamum thullum with the Samarpanam team. I even managed an autograph from him which I have carefully kept in the remembrance of the big moment. On our way back home, both of us felt exuberant, for Shiv Nadar had a magical aura about him and his greatness was evident in his speech and manners.

The eighth and final semester of my engineering degree. I met one of the worst professors I ever found all through the four years of college. She made our lives thoroughly miserable, treating us like lower primary children. Especially, being our project coordinator too, she left us sleepless with her insensible questions and ignorance about the subject. All we were worried was to get a pass in the project, so none of us dared say a thing against her. Finally the semester came to an end and all of us happily rejoiced the end of the project.

The last few days of the semester were really some of my most cherished ones. I , Mili, Charan and Gow had some of the best moments of our lives together. We visited all places in the college and took photos with each other. The whole of my class suddenly looked a really close-knit circle. We played games together, had lunch together and gossiped together gloriously. Some of us were placed, some were ready for their higher studies and still others were totally unaware of what the future had in store for them. But none of that dampened our spirits. We were one, nobody could do us apart, such were our emotions. Every other day brought the thought of the last day coming closer and we merrily fought the advent of passing time…

The last day at college was commemorated with the cutting of cake and splashing colors at each other. Farewell brought tears in all eyes and we finally bade each other adieu.

During the end of April, I and Divya managed to learn car driving and went through the gruelling process of getting license! Weekend mornings were fun when our teacher used to get scared with our somnolent driving and never took his feet out of the brakes!!! 🙂

It was during the study hols that I got a chance to teach a group song to the tiny tots of my school. The whole week was super fun and their performance left the audience spellbound. (see previous post for details).

Then the semester exams commenced. The last scooty ride to college with Ragesh to college for collecting the hall-ticket. It was perhaps the last exam I could ever study at Sandhya’s (my studymate and cute friend) place. Her pregnant sister helped us through half of TQM syllabus and we were done with the last engineering paper on May 11.

On May 12th I left for Rameshwaram with Appa and Chittappa for performing certain important rituals. Everything went well. I saw Pazhani with my darling cousin Shakthi and enjoyed a sand-flavoured tea at Dhanushkodi, seeing what seemed to be the most scenic thing in all my life. The mighty sea stretched before me and I couldn’t see any traces of land for the farthest of my vision. I once again felt how tiny and powerless I was in front of the Great Mother Nature. I also got a chance to see Dr.Kalam’s house and collected a few sea-shells in memories of my visit.

Immediately after returning from my holiday, I got information from Cognizant about the joining date. It was June 1, and I was seated in the Tidel Auditorium with 300 others for a welcome speech by some of the high officials of the firm. Many of my old friends were present along with me, thanks to the bulk recruitment!! The day went eventfully and I returned home late in the evening to narrate the happenings to Appa.

The following Monday I joined a paying guest accommodation in Indira Nagar along with Sowmya and Aswini. After a three-day orientation program at Tidel, we were sent to the training academy in Siruseri.

The first day travel in OMR gave me a terrible back pain and once back to my room, I and my friends cribbed and cried about having to travel everyday to Siruseri for the training. But slowly, we got used to it.. Waking up early, then waking the ones asleep, the rush for the bathroom, the hurried munching of breakfast and running to the bus stop to board the bus just in time, everything became routine. Hostel life seemed eventful. The evening gossips with tea, the combined preparation for the entry level tests(retests), everything is still afresh in my mind. Slowly the academy seemed like a home. The new found acquaintances at the academy , especially those in my batch, never talked so much with each other. I looked at them as a very serious group, highly focused on their carriers. Another Charanya and Sandhya entered my life and made it beautiful. Those lunch hours were the time we really got to know each other closely. But slowly my batch evolved into an enviably close group, where each one cared a lot about the others. In this regard, it is well said that good things take their time to enter one’s life.

Came August and came my 22nd birthday. What a wonderful day I had!! It was made a real celebration by both my college friends and my batch friends(though I missed my school friends). I got a lot of cute gifts and I cut 2 sumptuous cakes(one black forest and the other chocolate), on the same day!!!! 🙂 It was the second last day of training and again, the emotions of farewell came into us. We knew that we would be into different locations and different projects, so we tried spending more time with our batch and making fun of each other, more popularly known as kalaaichufying !! 🙂

By the end of August, we were in different places for projects. Meanwhile there was the Alumni meet at college. I met my old teachers and was pretty happy on seeing my article published in the Alumni magazine. That day , I had lunch with my old classmates at Blue Lagoon Resort. The to and fro bus travel was something I wouldn’t easily forget because of the extraordinarily high spirits of Naren and Aalu.

One fine day at hostel, when wordly things seemed to proceed at their normal pace, I took terribly ill. It was my first bout of typhoid for the year and I couldn’t even wish my friend Naveen on his birthday. I felt as if I would faint on my way home, but luckily, in a totally exhausted state, I reached home. The doctor gave me cipro and within a week’s time I seemed to be doing better. Generally I never allow any sort of illness to hinder my spirits. So I was soon back at the office.

But this time, I was not to go back to the PG for stay. Moreover darling Ragesh bought a new Hyundai Xing(scarlet red) car. So I decided to commute with him from home. After all those years of scooty ride, this new tiny car seemed terribly exciting for the both of us!!

It was the first Friday of September and we were having birthday celebrations at our CoE. All the new entries(us) were asked to introduce ourselves to the seniors. I had still not completely recuperated from my illness and had little strength to stand. But the celebration was for the August-born associates and here was another huge cake to cut! I and Kittu happily went through the ceremony when someone from behind called my name out to sing a song. My first performance in office. I was shivering in fever and the brigas came effortlessly due to the shiver. Hee hee, a nice evening in all. The day marked my official entry into the testing group.

Days passed by and the inter corporate music hunt was announced. Being too enthusiastic about music-related stuff, I registered immediately for the event, not foreseeing its scope.

There were several rounds of competition inside Cognizant and on being selected in them, I was to represent the company in the Classical round, against a dozen other companies in a television program titled Paadum Office. It was a mixed experience performing in front of the camera after the last group performance with my music troop at college(Samarpanam). At the end of the evening, I was left with the feeling that I could have done better. Though I was in the waiting list of candidates, I never made it to the finals. It took me sometime to let go off the guilty feeling the program left. Nevertheless, inspite of the fact that my portion came only in the promos of the program , and got completely edited in the telecast, I got a lot of publicity inside my CoE for the participation(for good or bad!). My colleagues also gave me a chance to sing for them in a good mind of having missed my show on tv.

It was late October and I was getting all too excited about Golu. I was determined to bring back the toy-story, that left my home four years before. Yes, it was the first time in four years after Amma left, that I was keeping Golu. So I invited all her friends and exchanged fond memories along with vetthala-paaku.

As October came to a closing, I took severely ill once again.We were on a batch outing to MGM after Kittu’s anna’s reception on that Saturday. That Sunday I felt a mysterious fever dawning on me. It was a second bout of typhoid. The first one week of wrong medication only aggravated it and the first Saturday of November, I could hardly get up from my chair. I was immediately taken to the Hospital by my Aunty , and the doctor, at my very sight, put me into the sick bed.

The following five days were what I would call an unforgettable experience in my life. I had to be on drips all the time and four moms continuously kept watch on me. It was the height of self-pity and self-realization. Thanks to the love of my fairy godmothers, I recovered from the typhoid and malarial infections within 5 days. It was the day before Diwali and I begged the nurse to send me home. Lachu had fondly sent me a new dress for Diwali which I had to get stitched and I also had to exchange wishes with dear ones.I simply couldn’t think of spending more time in the bed, waiting for minutes to tick away and looking at the sufferings of fellow patients.

Once home, I got back my high spirits again and made a pretty good recuperation. That was the first time in all my life that I felt scared of eating anything made outside. Yes, I was on a mission of cooking my own food! I had a lot of difficulties in the beginning, but things seem to be straightening out with time. I can say this with certain confidence now, three months since the start of my cooking venture. 🙂

 

I had plans of visiting Hyderabad with Sashi uncle and aunty during Diwali. The tickets were booked and I was looking forward to the trip, that I got hospitalized. The whole Diwali got spoilt because of typhoid. Nevertheless, I learnt a very important lesson that staying healthy is more important in life than anything else. Once health is lost ,you lose everything.

December came and I heard most of my friends getting either committed or married or engaged. I was sincerely happy for the all of them , but never could I imagine myself doing any of those. No, I am not getting hypocritic, I do not disapprove marriages, but I am still uncertain about the whole concept(sorry,no offense intended)! I seemed to be having a desire to learn further, but lacked the motivation to fulfill it. Few of my elders began thinking of my marriage. I had no idea of what to do. I still don’t. So I leave it to my fate or destiny or whatever it is called, to reveal what is in store for me. And as always, I like living in the present rather than worrying too much about the bygone and the forthcoming.

December also brought home a new mobile phone for me, thanks to Naveen!! It was a long pending wish to get a new one, not a sophisticated one though. My new Nokia 6030 helped me communicate faster and better with my friends. 🙂

The golden touch of 2007 was the last two days of the year I spent with my music miss and her son Hari. I could cook for them, eat with them as a family, and learn music after a loooooong time. Hari brought back the love of a sibling and he never felt like leaving my place. His cousin Radhu also joined us on 31st with her mother and all of us had a nice time in the beautiful beach at Sadras.

Last but not not the least, in the whole of 2007, I saw three movies in Chennai in theatres(I would call it an achievement since we don’t have theatres at Kalpakkam, and I am forced to watch most of them in television). The first was Mozhi with Charan, Kittu and Swathi in Sree. The second was Sivaji with Raji, Sathya, Priya, Shwe and Nirmala at Velan in Nanganallore, on day 2 of its release. The enthusiasm of the crowd and the cheering of dear Raji, kept the fears of watching the movie in Velan subdued. The final one was Chak de with Aalu in Satyam, also on day 2 of its release. He got thoroughly bored seeing it, but managed to sit through it just for my sake. Then came my scary illness and put an end to my movie watching spree! 😦

At last, here it comes – 2008. I welcome it with open arms. I wish it brings happiness to all those who have always touched my life with their warmth. I wish it brings solace to broken hearts and lessens the sufferings of the ones in need of peace. I thank all the people who have been with me all through 2007 and I wish we never forget each other in this fast paced mad world!!!! 😉