Thursday, April 27, 2017

#atozchallenge 2017 w for where

Where?  M said W for where.

God,its all the effect of being taught phonics. When i was a kid w was only for watch and it remained so for quite a long time.

Well, where are we going?  As a species where is mankind heading... One side we have brains that are developing and inventing never imagined things.... I remember visiting my grandparents in Chennai during the holidays.There were very few houses in the neighborhood that had a telephone and my grandparents one was not one of them.When my dad who used to stay back in our residential town had to call us, he would call one of the neighbors, and my mother and we kids go their house and wait for my father's  second call which would follow. Of course not much could be discussed from a neighbors home.Switch back to the present and in one second we are communicating with so many people on Facebook,whatsapp etc. What a leap!

But have we learnt to live on this planet in peaceful coexistence?  How many problems are there that we have created? Most of us do not have the time to think about others leave alone the planet.  Where are we heading? 

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

#AtoZChallenge 2017 V for Vase (Fiction)

Shruthi's eyes were a unique brown - honey, but a kind of beautiful honey. Now they were weary and staring at some distant world beyond the cold white walls of the hospital.Suddenly, as if jerked out from there, they slowly moved towards the frail figure of her mother, who had finally given in to exhaustion and had dozed off in her chair.  Life had been like any other fifteen year old's, till a week back. A severe headache had suddenly assaulted her during basketball practice and she swooned. Who knew that, what she thought were headaches due to being in the sun would need a complicated brain surgery? It was scheduled at 9 am the next day.

Her eyes now moved to the white glass table in the corner of the room. The peacock shaped blue vase held some yellow flowers. She hated yellow - had always had. Now they seemed to foretell something sad and unfortunate. She was a child, yet old enough to understand the complications of what was going to happen. The table on the left was covered with bouquets and cards - Friends, classmates, relatives had been visiting her regularly wishing her and trying to get her spirits up. She was surrounded by love.Yet they haunted her - those yellow flowers. They gripped on to her psyche as if they had invisible tentacles. They seemed to scream at her "You are doomed. You are gone. " and laugh in ruthless,cruel mirth. A nurse came in and administered her a sedative and she slowly drifted off to sleep.

The next thing she knew was being gently woken up by the chief nurse. It was around 6 30 in the morning. After exchanging a few pleasantries, the nurse explained the procedures that they would follow before wheeling her to the OT. "I will come back in a few minutes" she said with a smile and departed. The white of her uniform moved away from Shruthi's vision giving way to the vase at the back. Shruthi's pulse quickened with excitement. She felt a sweet surprise and a kind of beautiful calmness. The yellow flowers were gone. The peacock vase now had roses...roses in different shades of red and pink...They were beautiful and bright. She felt good. She felt alive.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

#AtoZChallenge 2017 U for Umbrella

The word umbrella reminds me of the book Granny Grandy's umbrella. Its a kids book and so none of you would have heard of it  suppose. But  I have read it to my son nearly a hundred times. Granny Grandy uses her umbrella when it rains, in the sun, in a dance, to stop a taxi and even to catch a thief. I read it to my little girl as well before she decided one day to make a 100 piece jigsaw puzzle out of it.

In Singapore we have rains throughout the year. Umbrellas are hence an inseparable part of our lives.
Yet the skies would feel very weepy whenever I forget to take an umbrella with me and have no nearby shelter.If  I did remember to take one, the poor spokes of my umbrella would prove themselves powerless in front of the winds that would have  seen me and decided to assume their strongest form.

Umbrellas of different types and shapes are used across India in various temples as part of the temple processions.

Image Credit:nevil zaveri on flickr Creative Commons

Image Credit:shankar s on flickr Creative Commons

I have seen pictures of Japanese umbrellas. I think a Japanese costume would be incomplete without it. Kimono clad ladies holding colorful umbrellas look so graceful and elegant.I just read on the internet that the Japanese umbrellas are called the 'Wagasa' and made using paper!Can you believe it? Found this information at http://japan-magazine.jnto.go.jp/en/1404_umbrella.html

Umbrellas form great props when used in a dance.  Needless to say Indian film industry has used it in so many of its songs.  The movie Shree 420 starring Nargis and Raj Kapoor was released in 1955 and it is one of my all time favorites.



In fact leave the romance, the tune and the lyrics. This song has so much rain that every time I see it, I start craving for some deep fried pakoda.(an Indian deep fried snack)

Monday, April 24, 2017

#AtoZChallenge 2017 T for tortoise

The story of the hare and the tortoise and how it is important to be slow and steady to win the race is very popular all over the world. Atleast in places where there are hares and tortoises. I have heard different versions of the tale. A recent one I saw on TV was, the hare does not sleep but a final swimming component is added to the race. The hare speeds all the way till that segment and then he is at a loss. The tortoise catches up in a painstakingly slow manner and then swimming is a piece of cake for him. 
Image Credit:Keth Roper on Flickr Creative Commons


Another tortoise I know of is the mosquito coil brand. In fact like xerox, people did not know that 'Tortoise' was just the name of the brand and not the name of the product. 

Did you know that giant tortoises can live upto a 100 years?

Whats the difference between a turtle and a tortoise?

My son enlightened me as follows - Turtles live on land and may come to land only to lay eggs. Tortoises live on land and may or may not swim. A turtle is an omnvore, has webbed feet and a much shorter life span whereas the tortoise is a herbivore and lives a lot longer.

I Some species of turtles are endangered. There is a voluntary group in Chennai - Students Sea  Turtle Conservation Network [SSTCN] that does some work towards conservation of Olive Ridley turtles.As mentioned in their website https://sstcn.org/

"During this season we walk the beaches every night looking for their eggs which we collect and relocate to a safe place. When the turtle hatchlings emerge 45 days later, we release them safely into the sea. On Friday nights and Saturday nights we conduct a walk for interested people. We use this opportunity to interact with them, and create awareness about the plight of an endangered species and the state of the environment. "

Saturday, April 22, 2017

#AtoZChallenge 2017 S for Sun

The big star, our planet has been happily revolving around, ever since it got formed  has currently caused a lot of ire and frustration in my home town. Summers in Chennai are scorching. I am sure that the unbearable heat should be the first topic of discussion in most of the phone calls coming into the coastal city of India.

I love the animated images of a smiling sun that usually adorn the boards and walls of preschools and kindergartens. Its kind of symbolic of all the bright happy things in life including the smiling faces of innocent children and their simple sweet worlds. Having said that, we cannot deny that today's internet equipped little brats grow out of their innocence a lot earlier.

I am thinking of the Circle of Line song from the movie 'The Lion King'. The rising sun and the male voice singing those Zulu lyrics with absolute zeal is simply mind blowing.

ImageCredit: Ong on FlickrCreativeCommons
The early morning sun's warmth can fill us with a lot of energy and positivity. A morning walk in our neighborhood park is one of my favorite activities. I usually see a lot of people sitting facing the rising sun and doing some exercise or tai chi or yoga. The surya namaskar or sun salutation routine taught as part of yoga  is supposed to be beneficial for almost every part of the body. The sun s rays also serve as a mood lifter. A few minutes of basking in the sun can make us brisk and happy We always feel better on bright sunny days rather than dull wet rainy days right? At least I do.

The sun is the reason for a lot of things around us - our climate, weather changes, the rains, morning night cycle, the existence of plants and what not. No wonder earth is clinging on tightly in its planetary orbit.I remember watching the live telecast of a solar eclipse live on TV once. Its a beautiful natural occurrence especially the diamond ring appearance after a total eclipse.It is a commendable thing that the sun's energy is getting harnessed through solar panels in many walks of life.

I just remembered something. My laundry that was hung out to dry is still on the clothes line thanks to the showers that dominated the weather today. Tomorrow being a Sunday, hope the star of our solar system decides to chase away the clouds and shines upon all of us and my clothes!


Friday, April 21, 2017

#AtoZChallenge R for Rabbit

I asked M, "R for?" sincerely hoping that like quite a few of the previous letters, she would tell me something unexpected. For a change, she told me the expected R for rabbit. What can I type about a rabbit?

I love animals, and I believe in coexisting with them in peace without disturbing their ecological systems and habitats. But I am not a big fan of very furry things, like guinea pigs and hamsters and rabbits. Big ones like cats and dogs are fine, no problem.I even love hugging them. But these smaller ones that love gnawing at things, kind of give me a ticklish feeling when I see them.Its akin to that strange repulsive feeling when chalk goes on with a screeching noise on a  blackboard or metal scraps against metal.  Its a DNA thing I suppose. I would not want to hold a rabbit or a guinea pig though I did not mind touching an iguana at a zoo recently with my son. 

I remember visiting the Hidimba temple at Manali,India. There , we have some women holding huge (really massive ) rabbits and using them to lure tourists for photo taking opportunities.I did not find those rabbits cute or attractive. They were quite shapeless and huge like big teddy bears. Now I did a google and found out that those rabbits are Angora rabbits whose wool is actually used like sheep wool. 

By the way did you know that a baby rabbit is called a kitten? A male rabbit is a buck, a female doe and a baby is a kitten. Are you imagining deer and cats now?


#AtoZChallenge 2017 Q for Queen

The rays of the setting sun fell on the lone big diamond on the crown and splattered across the room . There were numerous other stones but they seem to step backward and meekly pay obeisance to its glory.

The crown fit on her head perfectly. She stood erect with her held held high and her cheekbones shouted authority. She looked around and could see everyone - ministers,guards, soldiers,courtiers , people, children and the entire kingdom  bowing in front of her. It filled her with a weird sense...one of absolute power ...Ruthless, dangerous and overpowering . She wanted to simply charge ahead, crushing anything that dared to stand against her under her feet.

"This thing s jinxed" thought the museum curator as she carefully put back the crown in its place.