Thursday, March 30, 2006

How Happy am I?

You Are 56% Happy

You're definitely a happy person, even though you have your down moments.You tend to get the most out of life, though there's always some more happiness to be squeezed.

The past few posts of mine have been quite dreary and I wanted to write something cheerful for a change. But I've not been in the best of spirits - nor in the pinkest of health. Pains and aches can be so distracting - and whether it is age catching up or my net surfing- I've been afflicted with pains in my shoulder and neck for some weeks now-Only if one is able to think beyond one's physicality can one concentrate on anything- including the very simple act of going through one's daily routine- the aches and the accompanying anxiety sours my mood.

I try to stay away from the pc- as far as possible- I had to do my blog hopping standing- and in between my chores- so as to avoid continous browsing-

"Raaja paarvai" - roughly translated as "the Royal view" - is a term also used in jest to describe a stiff neck- and thats how my view had been this whole of last week- moving my neck even slightly was agony- and the mode of treatment was not pleasant either. In Ayurveda, we have this treatment called "Nasyam"- where by first after applying medicated oil on the afflicted area, followed by fomenting the region after which drops of medicated oil is poured thru each nostril. One has to deeply inhale the oil poured- and then the sinuses get cleared - finally one has to gargle with warm water- On the first day , I created quite a ruckus and DH had a tough time pinning me down to administer the treatment- My sons watched the proceedings in unabashed amusement.
However tedious the procedure is- the results were dramatic. My stiff neck and shoulders relaxed except for sporadic spasms of pain a few times during the day. Even that has gone now.

My elder son's Boards are over and he says the papers were easy. Once he had finished with Maths and Science papers he was like 'the holidays have begun'- tho Hindi and English papers were still left.
After the exams he went to the movies with his friends- and there was so much of planning and phoning- excitement and anticipation- they went to see' Thampi'- and he loved it. he wants to grow hair like Madhavan in the movie- groan- he regaled me with some glorious gory details in the movie-

Now he drives me crazy because he's forever behind his younger brother bossing over him- and the younger one has absolutely no intention of being bossed over- the ensuing war zone medley makes me go crazy- I'm swinging between extremes of mood swings- rage, fury and misery- every time I blow my top once in a way- I'm worried I'll give myself a heart attack- and try to take deep breaths- massaging my tense shoulders-

ufffff...yeah- so thats how happy I'm- and still I made it to 56%...nothing short of Miracle- I should say...

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Between Yesterday and Today...

Between last time that I posted here, and today, something among many things had changed. A person who had been living and breathing then was no more now- sure that happens every day at every corner of the world, but when it happens to somebody one has known to a little extent atleast , talked to- laughed with- the reaction, the experience is different.

On 18th sat noon, M maami -a neighbour from the flat upstairs called me and informed
me tearfully that R- the young married daughter of the people in the opposite flat had committed suicide in her huband's home ( which is near by).

At first, nothing registered. I just couldn't grasp anything that i heard and blabbered something like an idiot- simply because I could not believe what I had heard- that sweet, soft spoken girl- no more!! And when the truth finally seeped in, my first impulse was to try to rewind time and revoke the incident. I felt that if we tried immediately, we could undo the situation. I kept asking maami if she was sure that everything was indeed over- perhaps she was mistaken- perhaps she had been just injured- perhaps she had misunderstood the news- but no- maami had just returned after seeing the ‘body’- a person we called R was now ‘the body’.

It came like a bolt to us and the other neighbours. Besides, I was under the impression that she was happy in marriage- apparently, I was mistaken- she was having problems- with her MIL, SIL and hubby-
The last time( during diwali) I had seen her and talked to her, she seemed fine...
and it turns out that it was not a suicide- she was being physically abused- her MIL was not allowing the son to talk to her etc...and the girl had not even told her parents all this- they knew there were some problems but she had always maintained that he was a good man and things would be fine soon- I cant even begin to recount how the MIL behaved later when the body arrived after the post mortem- the happennings were extremely disturbing-

We are now hearing all kinds of stories of the harrassment meted out to that girl... she was not being allowed to even phone her parents- and perhaps we’ll never get to know what actually happened that morning.

The parents are totally devastated- case has been lodged against the husband and MIL- seems she was hit in the head- and then they tried to make it look like a case of hanging- and now they have the gall to say she was having an affair- and all of us know that it is just impossible- the relatives of the girl are now telling her parents that they should've brought the girl home- but they were not aware that things were so bad- seems the girl had not told them... whenever they
asked her, seems she would say that her husband was a very good person at heart and she was sure that soon things would be fine...

Anyways, I too went for the condolence- I saw R – ‘the body’ lain on the floor- she looked so serene and peaceful- almost like she was smiling- she looked emaciated- she had always been slim and had even seemed to have gained some weight when I had seen her last, but now she looked emaciated. Needless to say, the scene was heartwrenching- I came back with a depressed soul and a pounding headache-

The next few days had been very upsetting for all of us here in this apartment block...and am just not able to stop thinking about her- I keep remembering the times I talked to her- how she had burst crackers with my sons during diwali- how we used to tease her when her
husband used to call her on phone so frequently after the engagement-how we had attended her wedding-

So many questions kept haunting me- abt her last moments- she had not called her folks for more than a month- she would’ve longed to see her parents- she would’ve felt so lonely, unloved during her last days- seems she had not been eating even- and now she is beyond all pain and sorrow- all in a matter of a few moments…

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

The Fountain Pen

I kept searching for it high and low- I knew I had kept it away in some safe place but could not remember where. This happens to me often. I would tuck something precious into some 'safe' place and then forget where the safe place was. This time it was my appachhan's ( maternal grandfather) fountain pen- the one with which he would write in his diary daily until his last day in this world- the silver capped maroon Parker- which my ammamma- grandmother had given to me. The one that I cherished-
Yeah, so here I had been searching for it since some days and I couldn't find it. It nagged me- but I was sure I'd find it sooner or later. I searched everywhere- in all the nooks and crannies- in all the little purses in which I had tucked away bits and pieces of treasure but the pen eluded me...

That day again, I was searching in the cabinet - and suddenly my eyes fell on the little red velvet purse in which I had kept a few pieces of trinkets- and Voila! I knew it was to be in there- I opened the purse, and sure enough there it was lying nestled in between my trinkets- I was so happy and relieved- and my eyes filled with tears- I called to my sons and they came running- they knew how upset I had been about not finding this pen- my elder son filled the pen with ink ..and I wrote my first entry in the new diary that my vallyamma (MIL) had given me...

Wednesday, March 15, 2006


When I was reading the various posts on the Blanknoise project, I had no intention to post one on my own. Because, for one thing, I had moved on…
and another thing I did not want to speak out such a thing in a public forum…

But then at some point, I felt I had to, because:
  • The most important thing was to speak out and not remain silent.
  • Felt that the furore of the blogs was making a difference in some way- there were several comments to the effect that they had not realized this was such a rampant phenomenon- I felt the increasing awareness among both men and women would make a difference-
  • Wanted parents to be extra careful about their kids- about who is chaperoning them- abt making them aware, teaching them to react, to take the necessary action if necessary without feeling guilty, to recoup… and to be able to avoid if possible-
  • Parents play an important role in bringing up their sons with the right values, teaching them to respect women as individuals- to respect womanhood…

And to my friends who expressed their concern and affection, I can only assure them that I’m fine- don’t worry.. :-)

Monday, March 13, 2006

Blank Noise #Metoo

Had hidden this post , now Re posting this, after several years.

Reading about child abuse…well, opened old wounds…I really wonder if a single woman escapes…I think every woman undergoes such an experience in some way or the other- to a greater or lesser extent.  
I had always been small for my age and upto the 8th std, I have had uncomfortable experiences of even sirs/male teachers cuddling me and I remember feeling confused, and a weird sense of having been defiled…
And then of course, buses, movie theatres, bus stops- some of us girls would keep a safety pin or umbrella handy- I have had the pleasure of poking safety pin into many a curious, wandering fingers…
 And then when I left my parents for the first time- and joined college in Kerala, I went for a short holiday back to the Gulf to my parents- during Xmas hols. My  maternal uncle and aunt ( M uncle and M aunt) saw me off at the airport. Everything went fine. I was traveling to and fro alone.
 I was to return and this time another uncle ( S uncle) was to receive me at the airport. He was just a few years younger than my father- and he had always been a reticent, stern type of person. But, for no reason, I was feeling very wary, very nervous about this person coming to receive me, though I had had no unpleasant experience in the past with regards to this person. I even felt guilty about feeling nervous regarding a person who was supposed to be like my father. The plan was that he would receive me at the airport, we would then go to a  family friends' house, freshen up, and then board the same night train and we would reach my grandparents’ home early next morning- this was the plan decided upon. 

However, on the previous evening, for no plausible reason, a thought just occurred in my mind, what if this S uncle suggested that  we travel only the next day morning,and that we would spend the night in a hotel. I immediately chided myself for this thought- felt ashamed of my suspecting a father figure- and besides, this S uncle also had access to free  rail passes- and hence ticket availability would never be a problem.
 Uncannily, things moved just as I had foreseen. At the family friend’s home, he called me aside and told me that  there had been no tickets available for the same night, and since we should not be  burdening the friends, we should put up in a hotel and leave by the early train  next morning. I was aghast. I tried telling him that we could stay in the friend’s place- they were one big family- and they would not mind us staying over for one night but he did not relent. We left that home telling the friends that we were going to the station. On the way, he told the auto driver to detour to a hotel. 

I can’t express the trepidation, the uneasiness that I felt- on one side, it was fear, on another side, a tiny voice telling me that he was after all my S uncle whom I had known since childhood and I should not be thinking of him like a villain.
 We reached the hotel, all I can say, is NOTHING happened- but it was very traumatic- S uncle  was walking around in the room the whole night, talking to himself aloud. I was curled up at one end of the bed, chanting my prayers. Towards early morning, he just embraced me tight- and kept repeating over and over again in my ears-“I shall not do anything to you” , I was so frightened, I somehow managed to tear away and lock myself in the bathroom until it was time to leave.
 I don’t know why we did not take the train the previous night- what had the S uncle  thought- I know nothing, but by next morning- I had become a different person. If something had happened, I know one thing for sure- either I would have become insane by sheer fright- or maybe- I don’t know…
 Anyway, we boarded the train the next morning, reached my grandparents’ home by evening- I did not speak a word, refused to eat any food- and was crying silently throughout the journey. I had just left my parents, and now I did not know how to handle this about  someone whom I had thought was like a father- and someone who had daughters of his own.
 My M aunt who had come to see me off when I left for the Gulf noticed that something was amiss from my face, and asked me if something was wrong and I broke down and told her everything.
 But for years afterwards, I could not face this S uncle- my heart beat would increase, my palms would turn clammy- and I hated the very thought of men.
 But, I did not keep silent, I did tell my folks- my M uncle and M aunt, my grandmother, and then when I went to my parents next time, I told my parents too.
 See, in today’s context perhaps, the incident sounds very harmless, but in my family- girls and boys do not interact freely after a certain age- and staying in the same room for the night was definitely totally uncalled for- and years later, we did get to hear that this S uncle was rather feared by his own female cousins.
 I avoided talking to this S uncle for a long time afterwards, but after several years after my marriage, I did manage to make small talk if absolutely unavoidable. My parents have never been able to forget this incident and have had to behave cordially towards him all the time. And all the time he was fiercely protective of his daughters!!
 Other people think of him as a gentleman, and now that he has passed away, it is sometimes very painful to hear him glorified like he was a true gentleman in every way. His children adore his memory and keep praising him to the skies.
 I think I can say that I have overcome that episode in my life-though I had a tough time while in college, hostel, but I did know that I was not alone, I knew friends who had similar experiences, and sharing and venting helped me a lot in overcoming my anger- it is anger- fury- rage that I feel when I think about such things happening to  anybody – I feel harsh punishment needs to be meted out to such perverts. I am aware that though  I escaped unhurt physically- the mental, emotional trauma was very much  there for a long time. The fear that I underwent that night was harrowing. And of one thing I was sure- tickets / free passes at that were surely available then why??? And another thing, why did I think of such a thing happening even before it happened??