Category Archives: Random Musings

Thank you!

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When Little Princess’s world expanded from the confines of our home into the exciting world of Kindergarten, she first tasted the sweetness of friendship and the bitterness of fights.

Soon enough, she found her ‘best friend’. The girls were inseparable; however, the days when her bestie did not show up, the void was occupied by another ‘best friend’ who suited her needs for that one day.

As for us grown ups living in a virtually connected world, making friends is a mere click away.

It takes people with a singular passion for the written word to contrive an alluring world of fantasy and imagination that are skillfully woven into delicately beautiful strings of meaningful poetry, prose and stories.

And I am glad to be a proud citizen of this creative world.

It has been two wonderful years since I wrote my first post (after months of contemplation) and hit the ‘publish’ button.

As I fumbled through the expanse of the blogosphere, I found new friends who read, encouraged and paved the path for me to tread on my journey with hope and confidence.

Realizing my dream – one post at a time – has given more meaning to life as it opened doors to sweet friendship and unimaginable opportunities.

Thank you, dear friends, for your time, support and your valuable feedback.

It means the world to me!

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To the Mother with Love

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It has been more than a year since my cousin’s wedding and that dreaded phone call from Father. While I presumed that my parents were enjoying the grandeur of a big fat Indian wedding, Mother had been silently nursing a gnawing discomfort in her stomach.

By the end of the three-day celebration and after concerned relatives had packed and left, Mother’s agony pushed her to visit a doctor.

Hospitalisation in a place far from home quickly followed surgery.

Mother has always been petrified of doctors and hospitals. Whenever the situation to visit a doctor arose, she would cook up a list of excuses and if that failed she escaped into the confines of her sacred space — the kitchen — and cooked up a storm.

Entrapped in the trance of her culinary magic, we succumbed to her excuses. In hindsight, we had come to believe that Mother had a solution to all her problems — just as she always had one for ours.

Her efforts were always taken for granted until it was my turn to wear Mother’s hat.

I now know that patience is a virtue and not a boon that a new Mother is granted after the birth of her first child; that none of the objects that are strewn about after a busy morning grew legs and walked back into place and that it takes love, attention and effort to transform a house into a home.

Post her surgery and recovery, we have understood that Mother is no magic machine and like one of us, she too requires to be cared and sometimes coaxed into ensuring that she is well taken care of.

While she has learnt that her one-size-fits-all remedies might only give her more time at the hospital dreading needles and doctors, away from her favourite space — the kitchen — and to find it topsy-turvy after she makes a comeback.

After her new-found life lesson, Mother made that much-needed dental appointment. She must have been a dentist’s dream for she has quickly elevated to becoming a priority patient.

Dear Mothers, your efforts are often taken for granted as it is your children’s way of reassuring themselves that you are always there for them.

While you continue to love, fret and worry for your children even years after they have left home, it will give your children immense happiness and relief if you were to take care of yourself too.

Here is a reminder that you are a woman like no other and will always hold a special place in your children’s heart!

 

Dear Friends,

This is an extract from the article published in the Gulf News. To view the full article please click here.  Wishing your Mommy and all the lovely Mommies in the blogosphere a very happy Mother’s Day. 

 

The Conspiracy of Time Keepers

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There once was a red timepiece,

That clocked my childhood days,

The dainty golden needles,

Dancing about in circles at a leisurely unhurried pace.

 

That same red clock,

That one reliable of them all,

It’s still dainty needles have alarmingly picked up pace,

Running about in circles, as if in an endless race.

 

From the little timepieces to the Big Ben that stands tall,

From my favorite red clock to the intricate designer time piece on the wall,

These keepers of time are conspiring against human race,

For sane adults are seen hurrying about life at a frantic pace.

 

And when the screen entices the deprived mind and the frustrated soul,

Hypnotizing the eager spirit under its glowing spell,

The conspiring time keepers malevolently intervene,

Dissolving minutes into hours like a magician in a dispelling act.

 

While we spend our waking hours ruled by these time keepers, here are a few tips to outdo these conspirators,

Try easing those eyes off the enticing and exciting mirage of the virtual world and take a good look around,

The joys of real friendship, true love, innocence of a child and the sounds of nature are still to be found.

Lending a helping hand, enjoying a good laugh, a solitary walk under the stars still rejuvenates the deprived soul.

 

And what is more,

I have often noticed that these little acts of ‘real’ joy,

Force the dainty golden needles of my red clock that is locked in an eternal race,

To dance in circles at an unhurried leisurely pace.

 

 

 

A Walk to the Post Office Down Memory Lane

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'They're extinct now but when I was young you'd find these everywhere...let's go to the next gallery they've got a 'bobby on the bear' and a 'postman' there.'

As I go about like clockwork with the very boring but constant sequence of actions in life that calls itself routine, I hear the familiar ‘ping’ on the phone.

This should be Mother sending in her good morning message with one question that when answered will quickly be followed by a series of ten or more questions that usually revolve about the general well being of my family here and me.

This ‘ping’ could also be a message from a friend or one more to add to the endless stream of messages from the seemingly polite but consistent banking or business sectors who have shown keen interest in my welfare and prosperity.

In the days of yore, the midday cycle bell that announced the arrival of the postman was one Mother looked forward to and got us children racing one another to bring home heartfelt stories and messages transcribed in flowery handwriting that had travelled far inside sealed inlands and envelopes.

If our postman was the bearer of the dreaded telegram, he waited until the seal was opened to unveil its brief contents. He offered his condolences if the news was bad, but good news ensured a cup of tea or a sweet and a tip.

This was a time when red post boxes dotted every street. A time when we poured our heart, vented our sorrows and shared our joys and woes on paper and when securing a government job was the final destination in every job seeker’s journey.

In a shrinking world where we are under the spell of technology locking our eyes with screens rather than humans and establishing firm relationships with devices rather than people, are we tunnelling our lives into the confines of our digital caves?

Even as we embrace the ease of the technological revolution and social networking, should not we exercise prudence in its use driving home the same to the generation that will follow us? Will robots be the most valuable companions of our future when we wake up from our digitally-induced dream? Will I, like my mother, wait hours to receive a single line of hope from my busy daughter?

Another ‘ping’ and I pick up the phone and smile at Mother’s messages, quickly typing in a sweet response. I know that my answer to one of her queries will balloon into a full-fledged conversation.

But that is what makes a conversation with Mother so special.

 

Good Morning dear Friends, hope you are all having a wonderful Sunday. This is an extract from my publication in the ‘Off the Cuff’ section of the Gulf News. For the full article please click here.

When I think that I can think no more

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"We interrupt this program because we've completely run out of ideas."

I have been basking in the eerie glow of my laptop screen, my mind as blank as the glowing screen before me.

Like the taps at Cape Town, my creative tap that occasionally drips a trickle of quirky tales has – to my dismay – dried up.

I am oddly reminded of Father’s bike that used to refuse to kick start on a cold winter morning.

I panic at a fleeting thought of ‘Day Zero’ – when my creative tap would dry out for good.

I wonder if I must choose to alternate cooking on odd days and engage the even ones in keeping up the connect between the creative tap and the well that churns mundane imperfections into bizarre tales.

I give up the idea at the thought of the husband and son enjoying greasy takeaways.

I wonder if Little Princess, who, I realize, has been frighteningly occupied, could shake up the dormant creative well.

She is seen creating ‘beauty’ in her room, that, for some strange reason appears as ‘mess’ to my eyes.

I wonder if this is what the ‘generation gap’ is all about.

Could it be old age setting in?

Just before launching into a careful scrutiny of my face for lines or worse – wrinkles, we clean up the creative mess and try something safer – coloring rabbits blue and the skies pink.

Luckily, lines and crow’s feet that are official markers to aging are yet to make an appearance and realization has dawned that creativity has little to do with age.

I am back behind the blank screen, my creative connection still undone.

I am beginning to empathize with the plumber who has failed to show up even after multiple calls to mend a dripping tap. Today, I love dripping taps.

While I am off on a quest for creative inspiration, let me know what you think of this one.

Dear Friends, Wishing you all a happy Sunday.  My heartiest wishes to  all those who are celebrating their New Year.

Wish Wisely

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'We wish you well.'

In a hamlet, the three old men sat, under the canopy of the infinite sky,

Gazing at the hues of the fading light, each lost in thought of the years that had rolled by.

Twilight gave way to a dazzling night, decked in her inky best of mysterious black,

resplendent in all her nightly finery, her velvety robes shimmering with twinkling stars.

A shooting star zoomed across the inky sky – make a wish, make a wish, make a wish!

 

The first man wished – I wish, I wish, I wish,

I wish to be reborn in this village into a place where I would have not to give or share

all that is mine, but to get and get and get some more!

The second man wished – I wish, I wish, I wish,

I wish to be reborn in this village into a place where I can give and give

and have enough to spare!

The third man wished – I wish, I wish, I wish,

I wish to be reborn and lead an indolent life

where I can sit idle watching the world go by,

Yet, have those people who toil hard and go about their business

part with me a fraction of  their day’s reward!

 

The first man’s wish did become, for he was reborn as the village beggar’s son,

All his life his begging bowl stayed his best companion to get and get some more,

For anticipation and expectation in a beggar harbored none.

The second man’s wish did become for he was reborn as the rich villager’s son,

To give you must have and have enough to spare,

For he was blessed with enough and more and a generous heart that never got him to despair.

As for the third man, his wish did also become,

For he grew up and landed a job at the pay counter of the newly built pay toilet,

He sat idle all day long as the many people walked in, finished their business

and never forgot to tip him from their hard day’s earning!

 

Be careful what you wish for!

Good Morning

 

Wish Wisely has been featured on January 5, 2017, on Imperfectly Perfect. WISHING you all a happy Sunday!

Save the Earth! It is the only planet with chocolate….

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"The doctor said I need more calcium, so I'm switching from dark to milk chocolate."

What do you do when you know that global warming could target one of the sweetest solutions you have always counted on — that chocolate (or the cocoa plant) is at a risk of extinction in a few decades?

I decided to drown my melancholy in an entire bar of chocolate that I realised at the other side of my criminally-calorific break must have been saved up by one of my children.

Luckily, the brain had me covered with the build-up of the goodness of endorphins and serotonin that magically transformed my guilt and melancholy into an inexplicable feeling of warmth and goodness — albeit temporarily.

The word ‘chocolate’ itself feels like an invitation to joy, happiness and a reason to smile, unlike words like ‘eggplant’ that causes a certain adult and a child in my household to try hard to keep up a straight face and suffer from a sudden onset of ‘loss of appetite’ while the other child — who is still on the road to learning the tricks of the trade — is seen to scream her disapproval.

Chocolate comes wrapped in the pleasures of delicious moments that trigger sweet childhood memories.

Being the Five-Star and Dairy Milk generation of kids, my cousins and I willingly shared our clothes and sometimes even our homework but fought tooth and nail for a fair share of the rare chocolate treat that was painstakingly divided to the last millimetre.

On the bright side, it was during these rare moments that we put every apparatus in our mathematical instrument box and our math skills to good use.

Summer vacations meant freedom from school work and hovering in stealth mode near my aunt’s refrigerator trying to get our hands inside the colourful tins of chocolate that it treasured — the wrappers of which were saved away between the pages of our notebooks where both its ‘chocolatey’ scent and memory lingered on for days

Along with chocolate are coffee, potatoes, apples among many others in the global food chain that are found to be at a risk of extinction. While the company, Mars, is working on using scientific methodologies like the gene-editing technology to aid in developing plants that will be able to survive in the expected conditions, we have one more ‘sweet’ reason to do our bit in saving our home from the devastating effects of global warming.

As for me, the gnawing grief is making a comeback with the effect of the ‘happy chemicals’ waning. Now if you will excuse me, I need to grab another bar.

 

This is an extract from the publication in the Off the Cuff column of The Gulf News. For the entire article please click here.

Wishing you all a very Happy Easter!

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Off the Grid

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'I lost my homework on the cloud.'

The children had been invited to a birthday party.

A minute after the husband dropped us off after agreeing to meet at the same point after the party, catastrophe struck.

It came in the form of an Earth shattering realization that I had left the better part of my brains, my eyes, timepiece, GPS, camera, my Swiss Army knife, my digital toy all rolled into one – the smart phone, back at home.

I had to solely rely on my brains – or whatever little that I had brought along – to weave my way to the venue as the e-invite and the host’s contact numbers were safely tucked away in the digital confines of my absent phone.

Even as I tried hard to shake the free-floating anxiety that kicked my imagination to life and conjure up a few dozen disasters, I was pleasantly surprised that my memory of the place along with the old fashioned method of asking directions when in doubt was all it took to get my excited children to their destination.

I watched the children do funny dance moves, jump trampolines, shoot zombies unobstructed by the lens of a camera. And I must admit, it felt unhurried and carefree.

Out of habit, my hands habitually dug into the handbag for the phone but stopped midway when I heard my finger tips – enjoying an unanticipated holiday – singing my praise.

By the end of that day, I had real memories and a bunch of new ‘real’ friends.

I am no smart phone addict but it felt intimidating to be left out of the loop, but strangely liberating to make real conversation with children or another device-free Mommy without the interruption of the beep of a message or a phone call.

This leaves me thinking back in wonder about my younger, pre-mobile days when I walked the streets, lost my way, boarded the wrong bus but got home safe and sound.

My children might never have the privilege of getting lost in this well-connected world or feel liberated from the shackles of the grid unless they, like me, are forced to spend a phone-free, live-in-the moment day with only anxiety and real humans for company. 

 

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Dear friends, hope you all are having a wonderful Sunday.

Research has it that an average human swipes his phone 80 times a day. As much as our phones are a smarter extension of ourselves, it is time we ask ourselves if the digital grid is enticing us into a digital fantasy that is robbing us off reality.

What do you think?

 

 

Yellow – The Flower of Friendship

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Malayalam Short Film Review  :      Yellow – The Flower of Friendship                          (https://youtu.be/sInfTORzquA)

Writer & Director                          :      Nimisha Kannath

Producer                                           :      Muraleedharan Kannath

Cast                                                     :      Shajeeer Pakkarath, Vidhya Lakshmanan, Vipin                                                                      V and  Nihal

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What are your most precious moments when you think back about your college days?

For almost all of us Friends will top the list while books and studies will feature just above that strict lecturer whose thought can still give you the jitters.

Our sweetest memories will include the silliness, the shared moments, the teasing, the baseless jokes that had us cracking in the middle of a quiet class, the shared lunch boxes and then for that lucky some, that one person with whom you secretly shared that special bond – a bond that superseded friendship yet cannot be specifically categorized or defined.

Or in the words of Nimisha Kannath, Writer and Director of Yellow, a special bond that diminishes the whole wide beautiful world into that one person; that one person who can upturn even the dreariest day into a single moment of inexplicable joy with nothing more than their presence.

Yellow is a coming of age Malayalam Short Film with English subtitles that revolves around the bond of friendship between ‘him’ and ‘her’ currently running in YouTube on Muzik247 (https://youtu.be/sInfTORzquA). A bond that is skillfully portrayed by the actor, Shajeer – whose charming smile entices the audience into their little world of friendship, arguments, silly banter and shared moments while the actress, – Vidhya’s expressive eyes leaves the audience captivated. Their roles are well supported by Vipin and Nihal.

‘He’ is a passionate writer and she becomes his inspiration to keep his words alive, treasured in a book presented by ‘Her. Their silliness and fights add to the joy of this peculiar bond of friendship that they rarely express but choose to simply experience – both of them scripting their shared moments in a diary that they secretly treasure.

I can assure you that post the 14 minutes, you will refuse to believe that this simple yet beautiful story of friendship has been directed by the young and vibrant, Nimisha Kannath, a college student who passionately professes this to be her maiden venture with no previous experience or expertise whatsoever.

I caught up with Nimisha as she and her crew were celebrating 50K views three days after the release of Yellow.

How does it feel after this exemplary response for your movie Yellow?

Quoting Paulo Coelho – When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you achieve it, I have come to believe that in spite of all the challenges that we had to face, the response has been overwhelming and worth all the effort. I feel grateful, very grateful for all the unexpected support that I have received through the making of this movie which is my first, entirely driven by passion and the support and encouragement of my brother – Nidhin Kannath, uncle and Producer – Muraleedharan Kannath, HOD – Vetrivel and the group of friends who have stood by me through the thick and thin of the shoot.

Now that you mentioned it, what were the challenges you faced?

I have begun to believe that everything happens for a reason – even challenges. Being beginners with no experience whatsoever, the crew and I faced several challenges.

The first one was when the protagonist, Shajeer, met with an accident during the shoot sustaining a fracture to his hand. We had to suspend shooting for an entire month. Though unfortunate, this break gave me time to revise and better the climax.

Being a fresher in this field, re-shoots were often required when the scenes did not seem satisfactory causing the project to lag. From setbacks that included issues with dubbing, power cuts, meeting deadlines, extending the release date – that was originally scheduled for a Valentine Day release, we faced innumerable challenges through the shoot.

Considering that the crew members are all college-going students, exams and other deadlines had to be tackled amidst the duration of the shoot. But I will always be grateful that with every challenge, came opportunities to improvise the script and the scenes. Luck was on our side as this break gave us immense support in the form of unexpected people who came along and contributed to making this project better.

What was the duration of the entire project and what inspired you to write this script?

The shoot began in the month of October and was slated for a February release but as I mentioned there were lags and challenges that pushed the release date. The story has been inspired from the special bond I share with my bestie – Greeshma, along with the bonds that I have been witness to among friends and relationships that were beyond friendship, yet have remained unexpressed.

The story was written more than a year back with no intensions of it becoming a script for my first short film but the support and motivation from friends, my brother, my uncle who readily agreed to produce, my mentor – Richy KS, my inspiration – Shruthy Gopinathan and many others who encouraged and pushed me to start pursuing my passion that sowed the seeds of an idea to turn it into a short film.

You first showcased your pictures on Instagram that always received rave response; did that help you realize your dream?

The camera has always been my best friend. Random clicks that I first showcased on Instagram received rave responses that was the beginning of realizing my passion, however, it took a lot of coaxing from my friends to help me come out of my shell as I was not very confident that I could go this far. But once I made up my mind and started, there has been no looking back. Now that I have realized my passion, I wish to pursue a career in advertising which is slowly taking a more definite shape since the success of this project.

Do you have any new projects in the pipeline?

No, not yet. I am currently basking in the joy of this success, even in the midst of examinations.

Do you have a message to friends and viewers?

Firstly, thank you all for the support and the response that I am currently receiving. Considering that we have not used any promotional techniques other than just sharing the link – https://youtu.be/sInfTORzquA – with friends and family, and now this blog review, we have had an overwhelming response.

I also wish to use this opportunity to tell everyone that it took a lot of effort to be able to get out of my shell to pursue my passion but the joy in doing so is one that cannot be expressed into words, so please do not hesitate to showcase your talents and passion to the world – the world needs more of it!

Yellow – The Flower of Friendship is a Malayalam Short Film with English subtitles that is currently running in YouTube on Muzik247 ( https://youtu.be/sInfTORzquA ) and has received an astounding 50K plus views already. Please be sure to watch the 14-minute short film by a group of passionate college students whose talents are evident in their maiden venture.

Wishing, Nimisha and her amazing crew, loads of luck for many more success ventures.

 

 

Fashion-ing the Ideal Parent

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"I'm looking for a book on how to raise kids easily, but I can't seem to find it anywhere..."

Sid can compete with Maggie Noodles where dressing up is concerned.

The exercise consists of snatching the first pair of clothes that falls in his line of vision; this lesser activity multi tasked with more important activities  that usually involve a bat and a ball. The rest of the grooming routine usually requires gentle or loud reminders from one of his parents.

So we were as shocked as he was when he was shortlisted for a Fashion Show at school – the proceeds of which will be used to fund the education of underprivileged children in India.

That evening I caught him staring at the mirror spiking his spiky hair.

By the next morning, I was concerned. He had brought out the entire cupboard on full display matching t-shirts with pants as I am usually known to do.

Later that evening, we sat in the audience and watched him walk the ramp along with his partner, pausing to pose and give a half-smile before making an exit.

On our way back home, he was full of excited banter about the fun time backstage and his new friends.

As soon as we got home, he rushed into the washroom without a reminder. As I looked out of the window to check if the Sun had miraculously set in the East, he appeared to be relieved having washed off the hair gel and make up.

My son was back to being his disheveled self, ready to curl up with a book.

Every experience – the good, the not-so-good and awesome childhood experiences contribute to making our children the adult that they become; developing values that will anchor them to safety whenever the storms of uncertainty and change threaten while reinforcing a solid foundation to building a fulfilling life.

As a mother, I wish to drag my children back into the protective embrace of my womb, but I remind myself that the my greatest gift to them will be the wings of experience that will help them learn to fly high and drink life to the very lees as we guide them unhindered by the weight of our dreams and expectations reliving the fun, silliness and joys of childhood with them.

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Wishing you all a Happy Sunday!