Thursday, February 16

Moved to Wordpress

I have made a move to wordpress and would be continuing my journey of blogging from this address -

Wednesday, February 15

Ooty Trip - Day1

The start of the trip was uneventful - we managed to reach the pickup point on time (considering the b'lore traffic), had food and were in bus on right time except for one big prob I had as soon as I boarded the bus.. I had to use the restroom and there were none to be found with less than 5 mins for the bus to leave. I started pestering S to do something. The hero that I have married went into action mode, ran around few places and found a paid toilet. I quickly ran in and he was having an eye on the bus. What did I see? Except for a door, there was nothing to qualify it as a toilet... ofcourse there were like a 100 Beedis and some crap. I igbnored everything and did my work, came running back to him :) I am given numerous examples everyday why I have chosen him as my life partner :)

Once the bus started, I wanted to go to snoozeland.. But do I have such luck.. Definitely No... they started playing Singam Movie (In Hindi) on the tv.. S being the movie freak he is, was keen in watching that. I tried to follwo it for a while and started bugging with 1001 questions :) I dono when I slept but a call from lil sis at 12 work me up. My bday had started :) Immediatly, S distracted himself from the movie to wish me and we had like 2 mins personal time :) A few more calls and msgs from friends - which touched me.. I was back to sleep at around 1. When I spoke up again, the bus was halting somewhere. It was all very dark and I could hardly make out the place. I was assuming that the driver will take off the bus as soon as he is done with his susu. I checked the time it was 3.15am... I tried to get back to my sleep but the curiousity of why the bus has been stopped took off the sleep from me. I waited like an hour to find out that there is some problem and the bus wont move anything soon. I have to say that I have serious allergies to bed bugs and like wise. It has happened so many times before and I will be the only victim for all these insects. It wasn't any different this time.. In no time after the bus stopped, some insecsts started to attack me and I was at my wits end.. scratching myself crazy from toe to head :( :( The much worst fact is that everyone including the driver, cleaner had gone into deep sleep.. Including the one sleeping next to me.. I was tempted several times to wake him up and fight just for the sake of it, I resisted hard. In some time, a surprise teashop blossomed and the guy was selling tea, coffee and bread omelete. Thats when I deduced bus would never move. At around 5.45, someone's alarm went off and thats when everyone got up to see we have ben struck at a place including the hubby darling, hmmph! Finally the bus started to move at around 6.15... (when the scheduled time to arrive ooty was at 6.30) By this time I had totally lost the sleep and was in tantrummy mood. We were crossing through Bandipur National Park (and those fellows wont permit vehicles before dawn) The views were scenic.. though I dint spot a tiger or lion, not even a monkey. Soon we reached Mudhumalai. While was looking through the window, dear S had gone back to snoozeland much to my anger. I tried to wake him up but no such luck. Spotted some elephants and monkeys - it was spendid to see them drink water from the river. We started climbing the hill at around 7 only and I was already so hungry and badly needed use toilet. Thankfully, the bus was stopped at a place that has "so called bathroom" where they charge 5rs per head!! Had hot cofee from the roadside shop - What a spendid way to start the bday eh.... never before experience. It was close to 10 when we reached the hotel room. The autowalas literally cheated us by getting 80rs for a distance less than 2 Kms. But they all formed a pact and either we agree or not get dropped by anyone.

After a quick breakfast, we were on to sight seeing. Omg.. Forgot to mention about the climate - It was freezing cold, literally. Stopped initially at a tea estate which was so beautiful.. Later went to Coonoor.. to see the lamb's rock, suicide point, dolphin's nose and some unknown waterfalls (which we never got to see due to the mist). An old man approached us saying he would guide us through the spots and would be happy if we give him 50rs. Looking at his age and determination, I urged S to accept though there is no necessity. He immediately took in charg of our camera and asked us to pose at multiple places that are no worthy to take pics of! We could do nothing but smile :) I remember how he said "this is a photo spot" for a tree formed like a swing..haha :) On our way back, we had some lunch was so lousy. Doddabetta was the next location and we loved to see all the places from such heights. I never knew its the highest point of south India. This is where I did some adventures like climbing on rocks, giving poses, hanging on the end safety railings like crazy when S was clicking off my pics and like wise ( I was asked to do so!! ). We had to climb like a 100 steps and walk on the steeps - which was very tough for me. I would get asthmatic attack as soon as we reach some heights and its hard to enjoy :( Next is something I can never accept. We were taken to Ooty Lake where there is pedal boating and all that. I agree that it was hell crowded. S decided that we would cover boating at another bigger lake the next day and not to tire urselves with all these crowd. We were doing some random shopping and walking in the sun to get some heat. I finished my most awaited job (what else, susu :P :) and off we went to the hotel room. After having a hot cup of coffee, we started to go on some local shopping. There were numerous shops selling only antiques, chocs and bakeruy items on both sides of the road. S wanted to select my birthday gift myself. I am not so pleased with that option. Give me anything you wish - I can accept happily. But asking me to chose, I dono what I need. There isnt anything actually. His idea was to get me a diamon pendant which I opposed. Had our small fight as well. Finally I chose toe rings that I loved a lot :) He also gifted me a salwar, this time his selection :) Had an awesome dinner in a 4 star restaurant and I really loved it :) We had fun while coming back to the room blowing air out of mouth to see the patterns of mist coming off.. Hotel room was no better. I was shivering with a sweater and 2 blankets. We called it a day by having chocolates at night :) Thats how the day 1 cum my birthday was spent :)

Tuesday, February 14

So... Its our Wedding Anniversary!

An year filled with lots of happiness, dreams, some worries, big & small decisions, immense care, lots of love & affection, few arguments with some fights, little adjustments & compromises - made it a perfect blend and I am loving it!!

I am falling short of words to explain how I feel today, my eyes were wet when S wished me at 12am today - Its so hard to believe we are married for an year. This is one day  I thought will never happen in my life. I had no hopes of our love and marriage being accepted by both sides of parents/family. But all of a sudden, everything fell into right places and we had our wedding on this day. We struggled a lot to reach here. Not only I and S, but both our families together. They faced all the confrontations, bitter words from the society, hatred from relatives for the sake of our happiness. I owe our happiness to all of them who made this day special for us. 

On this day, I would want to open up my heart and say a few things to S - 
  1. I love it when you cant see me with tears in my eyes.
  2. I love it when you ask me to talk and hear all the blah blah that I do.
  3. I love it when you try yourself to be punctual just because I like it that way.
  4. I love it when you sleep like a baby.
  5. I love it when you compliment me for every meal I prepare.
  6. I love it when you dont let me carry the luggage.
  7. I love it when you mess up the kitchen to prepare me something.
  8. I love it when you hear closely not wanting to miss anything that I speak.
  9. I love it when you encourage me even if I am no good at it.
  10. I love it when you are totally confused and ask me a suggestion.
  11. I love it when you understand how much my family mean to me.
  12. I love it when you say I love you :)
  13. I love it when you tuck me under the blanket every night.
  14. I love it when you scold me if I am stressing myself out/ unwell.
  15. I love it when you do the stuff I hate to do. 
  16. I love it when you try yourself so hard to keep up a surprise.
  17. I love it when you know my needs even before I tell you.
  18. I love it when you give up during any argument. 
  19. I love it when you take care of me like your child. 
  20. I love it when you deny me ice cream, but buy it the very next moment. 
  21. I love it when you give off your chocolate to me and enjoy watching me eat it. 
  22. I love it when you prepare me bread omelet/ maggie as soon as you reach home from office knowing I will be hungry.
  23. I love it when you massage my head when I have headache.
  24. I love it when you give me much higher preference over anything.
  25. I love it when you respect me as what I am :)
  26. I love it when you stand behind me for all the shopping I do. 
  27. I love it when you try to talk to my relatives in Telugu.
  28. I love it when you take me to the animated movies which I like the most.
  29. I love it when you take it cool even if I shout at you. 
  30. I love it when you solve any mathematical question as quickly as possible.
  31. I love it when you make complex calculations in your head correctly when I struggle with a calculator.
  32. I love it when you come to temple for the sake of me.
  33. I love it when you hate milk & milk products and how you react if I bring them close to you. 
  34. I love it when you calm me in the moment of tension.
  35. I love it when you are so self less and do anything for me.
  36. I love it when you call me ammu.
  37. I love it when you scold for straining myself over keeping the house clean.
  38. I love it when you act very lazy.
  39. I love it when you dont remember the important dates correctly and ask me for help.
  40. I love it when you hold my hands while crossing/walking on the road.
  41. I love it when you quickly call me and ask me to say something.
  42. I love it when you stop me talking ill of someone who hurt us, being the soft & good-hearted you are. 
  43. I love it when you do something with utmost care and concentration.
  44. I love it when you understand my problems and help me.
  45. I love it when you supported me for calling you by your name in front of the immediate family.
  46. I love it when you care for my parents as much as you do for yours.
  47. I love it when you told my mom how to take care of me while going on a foreign trip.
  48. I love it when you pretend to read something that I want you to.
  49. I love it when you dream of having a home for ourselves.
  50. I love it when you have bigger aspirations and try your best to reach there.
I should agree that there are few things that I dont so like about S. He is not at his best all the time and same with me too.. We have had our good amount of arguments and fights. All these spice up the life and is making the relationship going ahead!

Here's wishing us many more years of happiness, love and affection together!! 

Happy First Wedding Anniversary S!! :) I love you sooo much!


On other record, both of us are at office on this big day :( :( But all those calls and wishes from our loved ones have touched us!! Planning to go to temple in the evening followed by the dinner somewhere - hopefully this gets executed. 

Friday, February 10

25 up!

Its my birthday tomorrow, this year is going to be the first out of its kind for I will be out with S, not with my parents. I have never been away from my family  for my b'day. Even for the 3 last years I had been alone in Bangalore, I would somehow get off from my work and go back Chennai. Only to find immense happiness. Mom would cook my favorites dishes. Dad would have got a cake the previous night and surprise me. Lil sis does her best in finding the best gift she can get for me (she remembers to get the ones I have wanted to have). She clicks like 100s of pics of mine, satisfying the hard-to-satisfy-person in me for I love getting photographed. We will have cake cutting in the evening when dad is back from work. Though we are only 4 of us, when the cake is being cut - the other 3 of them sign happy b'day in a loud voice followed by claps :) (This has continued for all the 24 years) I would giggle and laugh a lot partly cos of the joy and happiness and then partly for the voices signing the song :D.. S and close pal V have joined us for the 2 last years and I can say nothing has changed except that they are additional gifts from them and 5 voices signing for me :):) 

It would be so different tomorrow. Only me and S. This thought brings me happiness as well worry. I am no longer the kid I used to be to my parents. I need to act all grown up, married and behave accordingly. I am going to miss them loads and they would too. When I spoke to my dad yesterday to tell him that we are going on a vacation for my birthday, I could sense a little sadness in his voice. He would secretly wish me to come home, I know. Life is changed now and we all need to move on. I would always cherish the b'days I had at home. Being said all this, there is excitement in me. I am going out on a vacation!! I would welcome this change happily, to respect the love and affection S shows for me. Initially he had planned it as a surprise. I would pester him with 1000s of questions everyday. He never gave in. I am a  person who hates surprises given to me. I somehow wanted to find out where we're heading to. Some hard clues given - around 400Kms, should go by car/bus etc. I was guessing it to be Ooty (the only possible choice given we can afford only a day off). And come Wednesday, he tells me he has a hard time getting all the bookings done all alone.. :)Haha, as expected. He was afraid he would mess up something and told me the plan. I quickly jumped into action mode - did the tickets booking, hotel reservation and took print-outs too. We are all set to start tonight. :) Its a trip clubbed together for my b'day and first wedding anniversary (on 14th) and I am loving it!

Thinking of my b'day, its hard not to recollect one incident that I remember all the time fresh in my memories. It was my 4th bday I guess. We had a few relatives at home including my atha-mamayagaru (aunt uncle), thathaya-ammuma (grandpa grandma - maternal). They were all all busy preparing for the cake cutting and haarthi in the evening. My sister being 2 years old then thought it was her bday. When I was asked to cut the cake, she started crying she would cut the cake as it was her bday :) (her actual bday is on 27th Jan, when she had cut the cake already) I was no way going to let her do that.. I first cut the cake and quickly, my parents let her also to cut it. I wasn't quite happy except that I was given her chair and she took my old chair and that would be visible from my expressions in the photo. Coming to think of it now, I would happily let her cut my cake for she will always be the apple of my eye. 

Sharing that photo where I look all chicken (for the fear of losing my bday cake) and whats with my mom to dress me up like that :( :( Dont forget to look at the "nethi chutti" and the "poo jada" :P 
From L to R - Amma, Atha, Ammumma, then its me and my sister
One more of my favorite bday pics - Look at my dress, it was gifted by Pinni (Mom's sister). She always dreamt that I would be born as boy and had saved it. But who cares, I do look like a boy below :D
My First Bday :)
So, here's wishing me Happy Birthday in advance!! :)

Wednesday, February 8

A life without mobile phones...

Sometimes I feel life was much more easy with no gadgets around us, especially the mobile phone. A coin has 2 sides and similarly everything has good and bad. Mobile is letting us into misery most of the times. What happened to those carefree days where we would engage in real time conversations with friends. When I had to talk to my friend, I had to walk down to her home. Similarly, when someone gone out had not returned home on time, there was patience and hope. I used to cling on to the window or balcony to check if my dad was coming. As a kid, I had no worry if he was late by 10 mins. I now think what would have been running through my mom's or grandma'd mind not seeing dad on time, they never showed it out except under extreme conditions. Fast forward to today's life, I feel so tensed if I dont see S home by the normal time. My mind thinks of various possibilities. Some dark thoughts surround me. Within a minute, I would take up my phone and start ringing him. Sometimes there is this dilemma - what if he is on road? what if he is risking his life trying to attend my call? what if he thinks I am in an emergency? The thoughts of calling him take a second place. Again in a minute, I would grow restless and make a call. If he attends (and even scolds me) I am happy. When the call waits, I know he has not yet started from office. When he doesn't attend the call, I make myself believe that he is on his way and try again after half an hour. But what if he is not reachable? Those dark thoughts attack me, this time with twice the intensity. Its really a pain to sit through this. If this is the case with someone I see everyday, I cant say how I feel about my parents, sister and in-laws. When my dad has not come home on time, I call my mom every 5 minutes asking if he has reached. When my sister couldn't contact us for the entire day from her office due to some signal problem on a day, I was literally crying praying God she should be safe. Distance plus mobile phones make the problem only bigger. 

There is another problem too. Some people doesn't have the time sense when it comes to calls. Getting random calls after 9 or 10PM has become ordinary now. The other day, S got a call at 10.45Pm to discuss something official. Now these calls doesn't end in less than half an hour.  Some friends call us after 9. I would never pick up a call at this time. I have politely told some of them too. Its the family time I get. Thats the only fruitful time I can spend with S before going to sleep. But as usual, some dont understand! I get reminded of an incident happened 2 weeks back. There was a call from an unknown number to one of the mobiles. I simply didn't pick up the call. (Anonymous + Night time). The next minute, I got it on another mobile. This time, I could see who was calling me (her number was saved). I chose not to pick it up. S got furious of this act of mine. He said I am showing attitude and I am being arrogant. I said, its OK.. Thats what I am but refused to pick the call.  Within 5 minutes, I had 7 missed calls from her. I felt there must have been some urgency and picked up the call for the 8th time. It was such a non-sense talk at 10Pm in the night. The most useless call I had ever had. She was playing the blame game with me and showing her anger on me for something I am totally unrelated to. After a tiring day of work, if I have to hear something stupid from some unwanted person, I would better not have a phone at all. If this is not enough for me to rant, she went ahead to post some rubbish on my FB wall meanwhile trying to make several calls to me. Totally useless. I have no choice but to ignore these kind of ppl. 

Of course, without a phone I would never be able to reach out to my parents, sister, in-laws and my dear friends. Its like 2 sides of the coin as I said earlier. I am seeing that when its advantageous to have a phone, using it wisely will only bring happiness. 

Tuesday, February 7

Same day last year.....

It was the most awaited day... I fell in love with this date for some reason.. February had always been the month I loved the most, for my birthday falls during this month...It had only been made further more special with two of its dates marked as milestones in my life last year. I have 3 important days of this month associated closely to me and one of which falls today!

Its our engagement day today! I think we will be the only couple who had been in courtship for around 4 years, got all the matters settled with both the families an year prior to the official engagement, had the engagament done just 7 days before the wedding. My mom was persistent that there shouldnt be much gap between the engagement and wedding, I dono why! I was only happy to accept whatever came my way. As it always happens, time has just flied by.. looks like it was just yesterday I got married but its an year already. I cant believe, I and S were living together as married couple for the past 12 months!!

Let me go to flashback mode now  - to the same day last year. We had a whole bunch of relatives at home. Mom was struggling to prepare food for all of us with no help from any of them. Sis and I were the first to finish the lunch.. We both were so excited, we dint even remember what we ate. We were rushing in to have a trial make up done before the actual one for the function in the evening. I am lucky enough to have an younger sister. Before I could open my mouth for something, she will be ready with what I want. We both locked ourselves in the bedroom. What followed was not the trial session but the original cos we spent so much deciding what to do and how to. I was finally ready by 4 o clk. Only then I realised, I cant use the toilet until the function gets over... :( Our transport was to come any minute. Thats when, everything was sinking into me. I was getting engaged. After some tense moments, we reached the mandapam. Funnily, the groom's family was already present and there were some 30 people staring at me.. I saw a few friends of S first. My eyes were searching for him.. No where to be found. In an isntant, I saw him. Both of our eys met for a minute. I started feeling shy all of a sudden :) The next minute, there was something going on on the stage and I was forced with a plate having the silk saree with loads of flowers. I was wishing my sister only to be present with me.. But what awaited me was a shock. I was accompanied by my SIL along with S's aunties. They were scrutinizing me top to bottom. If this is not enough, there was a bigger shock. The room given for me to change had no lock and 2 big windows with no panes :( They all quickly made curtains from my saree and asked me to change... all of them looking at me... I was so helpless.. I looked at my sister first and then my SIL. Atleast they both understand. But they couldnt chip in too... They were shooed off saying.. "Chinna Ponnunge". Still they quickly helped me to remove my jewellery and saved my hair from being pulled off in multiple directions in the name of helping me wear the saree. Not to mention the 100s of bangs on the door asking me to come out fast. My head was literally pulled behind with the innumerable strands of flowers. Those aunties were disappointed when I mentioned that I wont have those orange flowers too... But they tried to pin them down as I was running towards the stage. S was all seated with a ring in his hand... With in a minute, before I could realise what was happening, the ring was on my finger. They made me repeat it for him. Numerous photos being taken, some claps. We were made to sit on the stage with huge garlands (atleast for me). They did what is called as nalangu. It would have started at 6.30 at the maximum. Even at 8.30, there was no trace of someone calling us down for dinner. I was literally fasting.. From nowhere my cuty sis got me a badam kheer. I still owe her back for that... :) At some point, all the guest were busy with dinner, we were left all alone on the stage... Someone had to perform some customs before we could dine. So, we were waiting. We were having some random conversations (of which I did the talking :P ) when we were surprised with a big cake.. We had not planned for one actually. Soon after, we had our dinner. I gave him the first bite of gulab jamoon and S gave me back a chapathi piece :( not fair enough! We were done for the day. My MIL was one happy person. So were my parents - including some close relatives. Once I reached home, I spoke to S. I cant forget the night, I couldnt take a bit of sleep. It was all happiness that was filled within.

Coming back to the present - This morning was the busiest in the recent times. I dint even have a minute to speak a word with S. It was a total rush. Lunch Breakfast cooking, burning my hand at two places, S washing the dabbas (forgot to do yesterday),me packing the lunch, preparing Paal Pongal for Sun God, bathing & getting ready. By the time I could breathe in, S was all set to leave to office. Thats when I called him for a hug and wished him Happy Engagement day  (if something of that sorts exists...). Thats how life has changed now.... .....

Monday, February 6

A Message to some people around me...

Sometimes life seems tough to live with these kind of people around. Who are these really? - The ones who cant get themselves a better life instead of poking their long nose into someone else's life. Looks like its that time where my life seems to be the very business for some people. I want to pass on a message to all those to whom I can't give a direct bark!! Yes, a bark really! I wouldn't mind a bite too!

@ all the oh-so-relatives of mine - I am still living with my hubby with no fights/arguments/hits so far. Just that I had love marriage (and my parents are supportive) doesn't mean that I should fail as you expect me. I am not a loser. And one more clarification - I would be working not bcos S supports me, but cos I want to and I am passionate about my job & life. You dont have to draw unnecessary conclusions with my life.

@ that distant cousin of mine- Just bcos I am the only one in the entire family to have married out of caste, you dont have to spend a fair amt of your time publicizing this fact. I hope no one is interested to know this. Having a love marriage doesnt mean that all I do everyday is to sing duets with S around the trees/ making love. Your meaning of love is not even close to what we both feel. So, please shut-up and mind your work.

@ that horrifying aunt of mine - My parents are not into a competition called marriage. If your daughter who is older than me by 2 years doesn't get a match while I am happily married, dont burn your stomach. No one is comparing anything here. Its you committing a self damage. Dont rush into everything and spoil your daughter's life. And one more thing - you dont have to randomly advice me to plan for babies sooner. You even went a step ahead by giving me a super plan of leaving my baby with my parents in Chennai while I continue to work in Bangalore when I was not even ready to listen to you. If possible, test proof this with your daughter before advising me.

@ that irritating team mate - I am very much vulnerable to common cold. Couple that with an asthma attack, I cant get up for a day or two. Given the cold climate of Bangalore, I tend to fall sick often. Just because I am married and had been taking 2 sick leaves from January doesnt qualify me "to be expecting". When that case comes, I will declare it to the whole world ok. Please, Oh please till then dont bombard me with these questions often. You being a guy working in Malaysia doesnt quality that you can talk any rubbish to me. I am reaching my peak and soon your case will be escalated.

@ that maid, K aunty (At Mom's Place)- You dont have to hit the panic button every time you see me coming  home/staying alone. I and S are very much at peace and have no problems. :) You have to understand that S has some tasks to complete and I cant tail him everywhere he goes or vice versa.

@ that mom-of-my-classmate (aunty) - You have to understand that I am not as practised as you are when it comes to walking comfortably with silk saree, that too on a really hot afternoon waiting for a bus after a heavy meal at wedding. A simple act of me clutching the pallu of my saree tightly againt my stomach just means that I dont want to give an open show of my back to the fellow passengers. You dont have to look at me up and down, ask me (pointing to my stomach) how it is... I cant understand these code words until you tell me what it is.. Then you went on to ask how many months.. I am shocked! How can you build a story on me the very minute you saw me? When I declined, you were not accepting. How helpless I was :( You went on say how you got to know the news from someone... Seriously, some people know better of my life than I know!!

@ that very very irritating girl at office - I know its been months I saw you. I also know that I have gained those extra pounds after my wedding. I know what I need to do also. You dont have to run from one end of the cafe to where I am shouting that I look so different and unrecognizable after wedding. As if this is not enough, you tell me everyday (almost!) how its high time for me to start reducing. You start the conversation with "evlo weight pottute...." (how much weight have you gained) everytime and its so irrritating. I am a person. Not a machine to increase or decrease my weight as I like it. Please see me as what I am. My personality doesn't depend on my weight or my identity is not going to change with my weight. Also, there is something called as politeness with which you should convey whatever you think. You are being plain rude and I have no option but to reciprocate the same to you. As if you dont have anything better in your life, you saw my friend today and asked the same question?!?! I am going to ignore you - truly..

@ the neighbour aunty - I know you want to be as much helpful as you can to me. You can start a converstaion given 1 sec time. I am not that talented as you. I am a kind of person who cant make friends immediately. I am not a social bird as well. I cant engage in random conversations with you, that too when I am in a hurry to lock the house with 5.5 locks holding 2 cell phones and a heavy laptop bag rushing to the office. Just because S was drying the clothes on Saturday doesnt mean that I was bedridden and sick.  He was taking up some tasks that I hate to do. You dont have to go overboard and let me know some lady doctor details in advance. The requirement is yet to come and I am not planning for it.

Finally @ my MIL - Amma, I and your son would need sometime to adjust to our new life together. We are still immature, fighting over petty things. We still dont have the trust on us to raise a child yet. I personally cant take a big decision at this stage of my life and need some time to think over. Your acts of telling me directly or indirectly to have a baby soon is just bringing a lot of anger and irritation in me. I must say I cant help over it. You seem to tell me as if I am the only person concerned. Even if I am satisfied with all your reasoning, I cant make your son accept to what I feel. Please understand this and stop showing/giving me a million examples of couples who had it worked out in the first month. I am helpless here.

@ all who would want to poke into my life - Me not getting pregnant within an year of marriage or having gained a few pounds  are not earth shattering problems. Better concentrate on your life! Gossiping might give you happiness, but its temporary. 

Friday, February 3

With a heavy heart.......

I was gone for a long time now. Health issues, frequent travels to Chennai, work pressure took a toll on me and I didn't want to do anything. Everyday tasks seemed very boring and I lost interest completely. I hope this is a phase and goes off soon.

Coming to the title of the post, thats how I am feeling right now after my visit to Karunashraya, a Hospice for Cancer patients. Frankly speaking, I have never heard of the word hospice until I experienced it myself today. "A hospital is where treatment is given and Hospice is something where care is given" - as uttered by the managing person of Karunashraya. I got to know some striking facts from her.
- All the patients found in there are in the final most stages of life i.e the terminal stage.
- They charge nothing for the patients stay/food/medicines.
- All that the patients require is that love and care which works better than the medicines.
- Number of nurses/staff working there are always higher than the number of patients. They almost maintain nurse vs patient to 1:1
- All the staff or nurses working there are of age group 18-25.
- The period of stay for a patient is from 1 to 30 days at the maximum.
- Most of the patients doesnt know the fact that they are closer to death while coming here. All they hope for is a treatment that would take off their pain and they would want to go back home - which is an impossibility.
- They have a in-house cook preparing food for over 100 people - 45 patients and others are staff working there.
- For every meal, each patient is approached by a nurse to get to know the food that each one loves to have. If the demands are very exceptional, they try to at least get that from a hotel nearby for they cant take chances. One can never say which is the last meal for a patient.
- The hospice has around 55 nurses, 2 counselors and 2 doctors. The nurses are given free accommodation and food with a stipend of 5000Rs. Counselors are the only people whom the patients wish to see and they meet the patients every morning & evening.
- Some people are fortunate enough to stay 2-3 months and that's when it gets difficult for the nurses. They tend to get so close to these patients, their loss seems immense for them.
- Karunashraya runs solely on donations with no government aide. They have a 5 acre campus which is so peaceful and pleasant.
- It has a lake in the center surrounded by 4 wards each with 12 beds. The setup of the wards and beds are worth mentioning. All the beds have facing veranda. Some beds have the view to lake also. They are separated by curtains. Each bed has a opening at the rear end which remains closed. In case of death, a patient will be moved out of that door instead of taking him all the way through the ward. This means that other patients are not disturbed by the death of their neighbors.
- They have a common prayer room which has symbols of all religions. When a patient dies, he is kept there and prayers are offered. No screaming or crying loudly.
- They also have a meditation room which is being used by some patients or those young nurses to recollect themselves after every loss. Unlike a hospital where the nurses see the happy faces of cured patients, nurses at hospice only see deaths and sad faces. Meditation is utmost important to gain back courage and strength.
- There is no big procedure to join there - just a certificate which mentions that the patient is in final stage of cancer. They are free to go home anytime they wish. There are no visiting hours as such. Free to see anyone anytime. They have separate wards (private wards) which has a bed for an attendant. They are willing to give this room to anyone provided the attendant is willing to stay with them 24hrs. The attendant is not given free food though.

Personally, I am still not sure if our presence brought happiness to them or irritation! We were a bunch of 15 people who turned up from our company. We were asked to hand out some roses to the patients followed by  a small game. What were the organizers thinking - a game for the patients who are dying in their game of life!!! We were told that most of the patients are confronting the meaning of life and are very much irritated by their own condition and wouldnt want to talk to anyone. In that case, we would not disturb those patients but keep a flower on their bed. We are allowed to talk to a few who were ready to talk to us. Since we visited them in the afternoon, most of them were sleeping. From what I could see, 99% of them were women.. :( I had a lump in my throat. They are reduced to a size of a 3year old, literally! I could see their bones very clearly... pathetic was their condition. Most of them having wounds that needs to be dressed every hour. I had tears welled up. I had to keep myself stone hard and not to break down infront of them while giving the roses.  If possible, I should be a comfort to them. If not that, I should not be someone who should remind them of their sickness again! With all my heart sinking, I went into the first bed. There was a guy (not more than 25 years) fully covered with multiple blankets lying on the bed crying hard. So was his mother standing next to him. I felt ashamed to have interrupted their precious time together. But there was someone forcing me from behind and I couldnt help! I went in hesitantly.. The boy looked into my eyes, with his dark red teary eyes. I quickly turned to his mom, handed her the flower and said.. get well soon... :( I don't know why I said so.. but I was crying when I came out. I know he is in his last stage and he knows that too. My words are just for the comfort. We visited a few other beds where the patients were sleeping, reduced into a lump of meat and bones. I felt bad to have left the flower on the food table. It makes a huge difference to hand over the flower and to keep it on a table. I never know how many of the m woke up to see the flower.. :( I mean it really. When we enquired the staff there on the number of patients they said the count for yesterday was 38 and they are yet to count today.. the very statement made me very uneasy. They were really close to their death and some were counting the number of hours. We played housie game later with some 4 patients who would come to the auditorium. Some were least bothered to care what was happening around them. Winning a prize here does sound so stupid when they have lost everything in their life. I felt it meaningless. The aunty I was accompanying even felt bored and irritated to touch or hold the gift she just won. Again, I felt we were only disturbing them rather than comforting them. I just thought for a minute - even with a simple headache, I feel irritated so much. These people have gone beyond all the boundaries. I also got to hear some stories of some patients which I would like to jot down, I would come back to read it whenever I feel I have a suppressing problem.
- An oldman has gone back home 7 times claiming that he feels good to see death for the 8th time.
- A person wanted to have chicken biriyani for a meal and died for the next meal.
- No painkillers were working on an old lady. When counselors spoke to her for 3 -4 days, she opened up finally. She had just a pair of small gold studs. She wanted to give them to one particular grandchild of hers. She was adamant that she would not pass on that through her sons. Staff made that grandchild come the very next day. She handed them over to her grandchild personally and then had all the medicines work on her. She died soon after.
- A couple where the wife was in final stage didnt know she would die until she reached here. When she knew, she broke down completely. Her only wish was to see her sister with whom she had fought 30 years back and never spoke. The next day, the husband brought his SIL. They both broke down and spoke finally. This lady had the peaceful death later.

Some things that seem so small to us mean a lot to them. They dont have all the time in this world and know their life would end any moment. I learnt that life is too short and we are busy spending our time on unnecessary things like hatred, frustration, stress and anger without knowing the real importance of the time we have.

I have only wish today, I would pray for the same. Let all these innocent souls have peace at the soonest!!!

Thursday, January 19

I am feeling HIGH today!!

The past few days have been very gloomy to me. My home seemed like an alien land and kitchen - an unexplored territory. This is the not the first time for me, but I have not prepared lunch for 6 days straight. I was never a sleep lover, but suddenly sleep gained more importance than food. Very Strange. Cooking had been my passion, but whats now thats making me hate it? To take the office cafe food 6 days continuously only made me realize how tasty my food is :) :) S being S wanted me to have additional sleep if thats what my body wished and was faking that his cafe food is great! Pah, who is he kidding?!

This morning I made up my mind and pushed myself to prepare dabbas for us. It wasn't feeling good initially. My bed was calling me back to have a cosy sleep. But I made up my mind already, so went ahead with the preparations. Breakfast was dosa with broad beans kurma. Lunch was simple - Green Peas Pulav with Cauliflower Curry. It took me 40 minutes exactly to finish everything including the strenuous task for finding the right dabbas to pack the food. I was mighty impressed, felt very happy and satisfied. Finally, I could go back to what I enjoyed doing previously - Cooking. I no longer have to wait in long queues in the cafe today to get the alike tasting 3 vegetables, 2 dried rotis, half cooked rice and sour curds. I can have my dabba and this feeling made me feel high :) :)

The first task one does on reaching office is to check mails. I am no exception. What was waiting for me today? A recognition from one of the stakeholders. Goodie Drawer Award as we call it here - for a task thats been completed nearly 2 months back. Now, who would expect an award for a task that was done last year - I thought I dint deserve it that time. But what has to come to you will come if you have worked hard. This is an example but not true always :) I am lucky this time! I was already feeling so high, a smile crossed my lips. Next thing my eye caught up literally gave me a shocked surprise. A mail from my manager read - FYI, I have nominated you for Q4'11 Silent Hero Award. I was staring at it for a good 5 minutes before I could open the contents. How can this be possible? HE is nominating ME..for my contributions to the team in the last quarter. I thought I was living a dream. I am feeling as high as flying on cloud 9,10, 11 etc :D ok ok.. This is just the nomination and the award results will be announced by March or so. Forget the award, I am atleast nominated and I am feeling all motivated... :) The write up he had come up with for the nomination says how much I have worked hard and my management is aware if that. This is what I desire!

Monday, January 16

The Pongal Weekend...

.... was well spent in Chennai from Friday to Sunday. Dont ask me why friday.. Its cos thats when I booked tickets for.. I had to book Pongal tickets as early as October, by which time the leave calendar for 2012 was not yet published. I "assumed" Pongal would be 13th, 14th and 15th and thus booked tickets for the wrong days. As Pongal fell on Sunday - One holiday gone waste. We took off from work on friday for no other reason except for the pain of booking new tickets again. Friday was spent at my place - the most relaxing of all. I remember nothing but eating and sleeping - LITERALLY. Moreover, dad and sis had to go office so it was only me and mom. We spoke, spoke and spoke a lot. It was the best time of all.

Saturday was Bhogi - mom made bommattu (poli) which was just melting in the mouth. After having a heavy breakfast at 7 in the morning, I was restless for mom to complete her pooja to satisfy my taste buds with those ghee laden bommattus. I had not kept the count of how many I ate, for I will have heart attack later :) Lunch was again heavy with sambar, yam fry , tendli fry and curds with pickle. My quota of stay at my place was getting over as soon as lunch and it was turn for me to go to in-laws place. Thats when I decided to have a twist. One of my close friends is getting married and what else would be the better to meet friends.. We quickly decided to meet at one of the other close friend's home. We were four of us and we brought down the roof of the house literally :) :) So much of talking, laughing, screaming, shouting, pulling each others legs - I was truly living my school days again..We also had a cake cutting (for Dr. R, hahaha ) in advance and it was great!  We had to force ourselves to leave as it was getting too late. What was I waiting when I went back home all dry throat, fully exhausted - I was half expecting the night would be so long and I was not proved wrong. The local association was organising a kolam comptetion and all the inmates were more than excited about this. Being experts in drawing perfect kolams, we serached over net for some intricate designs, practised them. After a quick dinner, we went out with all the winter wear to beat the weather and laid out 3 biiiiiig kolams. I dono what time it would have been when we started to color them. It was too huge a task. I was left was shaking lims and trembling hands at the end of 3hr struggle, but it paid of well. At 1.30Am in the morning, we finally called it a night and went to sleep.

Sunday being the Pongal festival and I being the new DIL, the preparations were huge. Thank God I was not denied breakfast, I was already feeling so low. I had not planned a saree, I knew I would have lots of work and Its not easy with saree. We started preparing from 9.30 in the morning. Venn Pongal and Chakkara Pongal in 2 big pots. Avial had to prepared for the side dish. I was impressed by the recipe so much that I would try it sometime here. 10 different vegetables cooked in coconut milk and paste, tasted so good. We also made Vazhai Poo vadai, crisp and hot! It was nearly 1.30Pm when we had offered all this to the Sun God along with sugarcanes and fresh turmeric. The lunch was heavy but so different for me. Only Chakkara Pongal with Avial (one very sweet and the other being hot, salty). I took a long nap after the tiring day of work. I was really missing being at my home. This is something I cant accept how many years it may take. Girl being girl will be deprived of all the fun she had once she is married. I missed my home, my mom's cooking, watching tv with sis and above all getting to stay with dad on festival. These cant be sidelined at all how much ever care, love and affection been shown from in-laws. I felt guilty was missing my home when everyone surrounding was so affectionate with me - but thats only natural, it felt to me. Yest was the most tiring - I have never worked in the kitchen for such a long time and it was definitely back breaking though MIL was helping me equally. I cant imagine how hard it is to pull over everything all alone. For a minute I felt responsible (I had to act atleast). I had watched no special programme on TV yest-this is the first time ever. Looks like its the time for me to act grown up. But it looks unfair. S was all the time enjoying himself watching tv or doing the stuff he liked while I had to take up the tasks whether I like it or not. (His mom wouldnt let him do anything, that's another post altogether). By the end of day, I was feeling have mixed emotions. I knew I cant handle these changes in my life. The day which started happily was looking a bit broken by the end of it. It was all made up when my dad and sis came to see us and send us off in the railway station. I had some quality time with them and hit the berth even before the train started off. This is how the 3 day break went off so soon.... :) Waiting for the next 4 day break!! :)