I sorely missed this chant when BART ground to a stand still last night during peak commute hour. The stations were eerily quiet, and empty, while BART employees feverishly worked to get the system back on track.

I envisioned any other station in India when the train pulls into the station. The “sooda tea” and “suda suda bajji” smell wafts into the train accompanied by the shrill voices of the vendors. As long as one does not give too much thought into how these savouries are prepared, they make very tasty snacks!

In fact, my nephew was so enamoured of this profession when he was 3 years old, that his lofty career ideal was to become a “Chai” (tea) vendor in Dindigul station one day.

His metrics for job satisfaction were simple:
1) He could watch trains all day
2) He liked drinking tea, and by becoming a tea stall owner, he could have as many cups as he wanted to!

After a long day at work, I sure would have been happy to gulp in a cup of hot tea at the station yesterday!

She and He

She kept scratching her nose – it felt good to lift her hand, and scratch her nose.

There was no effect. She expanded the scratch area to include larger portions of her face, the lipular area, chin. She was scratching for longer than necessary, but there was still no effect.

She could hold back no longer – she decided to stop the scratching and held out her hand lovingly across the wooden table that separated the fiance and fiancee. He held her hand caressingly, and looked into her eyes and declared an oath of love. He then headed nose-down into his large icecream again.

He felt like having a little more ice-cream, and perhaps another chat with his fiancee. For some reason, she seemed flushed, and kept nervously glancing at the time. Perhaps she had another engagement to go to, and did not want to hurt his feelings by stopping him.

So, he let her go. She was reluctant to leave.

Finally – she thrust her hand at his face, and showed him the new watch she was wearing.

A while before….

It will be a while before my parents…..

1) Look at the moon and not have pangs of separation anxiety from their grand-daughter. The moon is her most important attraction, and all loved ones are part of a nightly ritual of standing in the cold and staring at the “Mooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooonnnnnnnnnnn“, who only beams half as brightly as her face.

2) Can distinguish between parrots, cranes, sparrows, mynahs and crows again. In their current dictionary, anything that flies is classified as a “Kaaka” (Tamil word for Crow). There is a bit of an encoding problem here though. The “Th” in every word is substituted with the phonetic equivalent of “K“. So, she also calls her Thaatha(Grandfather) “Kaaka”, and he is not too pleased about being referred to as a ‘Crow’.

3) Stop referring to animals using vocalizations such as Moo and baa, and use the words ‘Cows’ & ‘Goats’ instead.

4) Open the refridgerator door for as long as necessary. Today, they take things from the refridgerator in multiple steps:
(a) Quickly scan the location of items, and decide where they need to retrieve the items from
(b) Distract the impish busy-bee who has hastened to the fridge to check things out for herself (sometimes accompanied by SOS calls to the spouse)
(c) Open the door only as much as required to extricate the food items from the fridge, while keeping an eye open for the marauding toddler.

5) Turn without checking to ensure that they don’t trip over the tiny little girl.

6) Browse in peace without having the little one “helping” in the task.

7) Have an afternoon nap without reading fifteen 5-page books, multiple times over.

8) Have coffee only thrice a day: down from several times an hour, depending on how often their grand-daughter serves them with her tiny teacups.

9) Walk bravely out the door without sneaking out.

10) Stop browsing the TV channels for Tele-tubbies shows……..

Most importantly it will be a long while before my little one gets used to not having her loving grand-parents around.

Dear Moth

A moth was rudely awakened from its reverie this morning, and was none too pleased about it. He swarmed angrily across the cubicles, dodging the flitting arms. His dark home had been thwarted in one office memo assigning different work locations to employees. The cardboard boxes were opened to enable the move. The abrasive sound of cardboard against cardboard, and the bright rays of light were enough to anger the most resilient moth.

Dear moth,

I sympathize with you to say the least. I know the agony of being drawn out of reveries by rude noises. Envision this: The soothing effects of the mild afternoon breeze blending harmoniously with the sounds of the Professor droning on. The head nodding ever so slightly in tune with the surroundings. Suddenly the squeaking sound of chalk against the black-board – AARGH!

I know the pain of finding your favourite cove at the corner exposed to direct view. Mildly unaware of your surroundings, you jump at the irritating sound of chalk and attract attention to yourself.

My only advice to you: Be patient. Times will change, the cardboard boxes will settle and re-acquire dust. Your dreams shall start anew.

Been There

PS: My attempts at verbalizing the set of irritating sounds drew a naught. Metal scrapping against metal, the sickening sound of squeaking chalk, the tires screeching to a halt. These noises have always affected me in unconventional ways, and I was glad to see a similar effect on Moths.

A story of …

The rays of the moon pored through the clouds. I lay shivering in the cold, too tired & cold to attract help. My body shivered against the relentless cold, my mind sifted through my own thought processes a few weeks earlier.

Then, I was alive, but in my dreams – today my dreams had come true, but I was dying.

The world outside through the bars in the gold-rimmed cage had seemed wonderful, and every slight opportunity I got, I fantasized about a life of freedom – a life when I could use my wings for that wonderful feeling of free flight. When the time seemed right, that flight I did take. I felt the soaring air flap against my face, I peered to the Earth below and scooped in the delightful flowers.

Life seemed fulfilling before the eerieness of unfamiliarity struck with all its brutality – I now yearned for the motherly touch of the little girl who had nurtured me. The world was closing in….it was gloomier and gloomier, till it was finally dark.

The next thing I remember was the wonderful touch I had yearned for. Warm blood cruised through my veins again. I felt a hot drop against my face, and then another one. I stared up to see the little girl crying for me to pardon her. Did I get the drift of her message through the tears? She wasn’t aware that I was unhappy, and she would let me go my way once I healed? It sounded too good to be true.

Time passed and I healed. I flew joyously among the flowers, trees and hills. Every night I dutifully returned to the little girl’s garden: There was no cage but this was my world now. I was free to do what I wanted and this is what I wanted to do.

I was the Queen in my garden!

A story of a bird
A story of just another modern day woman

Shapes of Nature

Everytime I laid hands on a straw I sincerely indulged in the task of blowing bubbles into the glass. Actually, I may need to re-phrase that from the past-tense to the present continuous tense. Age has restrained me in more ways than one, and this is one thing I now hesitate doing in Public – though my companions cringe on the occasional bubble bursting forth in Public.

Today, I gave into the callings of the child in me, and decided to blow bubbles of air into a hot glass of tea. One would assume that the bubbles would be spherical/circular in nature, but shape changes to hexagons when the concentration of the bubbles grew. I withdrew slightly, and the shape of the bubbles came back to their original circular shape.
Blow again: Hexagonal
Withdraw slightly: Circular
Blow again: Hexagonal ….. You get the drift. (It has been a while since I observed bubbles with interest. So, pardon me)

I’d like to hear other’s opinions and thoughts on this topic after trying out the art of blowing bubbles into one’s cup. If the act is performed in the midst of adults, you could all accomplish the following:
1) Provide mild entertainment to those staring overtly at you
2) Lay the foundation for future claims of instability due to stress
3) Gather members to your “Bubble-club” by taking those who admit shyly to you that they like blowing bubbles too.

Having this observation safely tucked in, I wondered whether the shape of honey-combs when it is being built is circular, and as the concentration grows becomes hexagonal.

A theory given by D’Arcy Wentworth Thompson, is that the shape simply results from the process of individual bees putting cells together: somewhat analogous to the boundary shapes created in a field of soap bubbles. In support of this he notes that queen cells, which are constructed singly, are irregular and lumpy with no apparent attempt at efficiency.

Well, well…….Kutty Columbus! Get back to Work!

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