Nine years

Scrolling through the memories on Facebook … Saw posts of friends added over the years, down I went a picture of my nephews I added to the family album, the last entry in the list was “9 years ago today” the post I had put in at 6:09AM  ” in India :)” 

It hit me! It has been nine years when I bundled the toddler of a boy that A was then, with his infant speech, wide eyes, chubby squishy one he was…. Friendly moving in from the economy seating coolly to business class charming his way through!! We were blissfully ignorant of what lay ahead. Now he is 11. As he claims almost a teenager. Not that open & trusting. Just crossed a milestone. Had his upanayanam officiated by my parents. 


He loved it. Being the centre of attention, paid attention to what he was to chant taking in the pronunciations, meaning, significance. I certainly had pride welling inside of me – the boy he has become. No!! I didn’t feel I have done anything for that. It is all him. He is one strong willed, kind & caring boy!! He does have his flaws but hey who is perfect right?? 

Nine years since we were ousted from what we thought of as home. ( at least I did… Thinking A thought where Amma was , was his world then)  Still trying to find a footing, a place to call home. We have come a long way. Loads of people to thank who have helped us along the way. Hurdles crossed, small wins…. Still a long way to go. 

I have no clue what is next- work, personal life,kid….I am not going to say the worst is over, and good times are ahead. I would rather think there is worse to come, but believe that we , both A & I , have the strength to face and overcome that, take pleasure in the little joys, be thankful for small mercies. Even if there is a miraculous change, here is to hoping that we don’t forget the tough times we have been through. I hope I can help A not lose his childhood ( though a part of me knows he is tough because of what he has gone through. Scratch that tense & make it present.). 

Toast to the unknown future. ( even the next few hours in the day 🙂 )

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Notification?

My phone beeps….Wordpress notification
boom

Intriguing!!! Really?? Why?? How?? I have not posted anything. I have been really bad at being a blogger! So, what do I do….go check the stats page of my blog! Let me share screenshots (found the slideshow feature! 🙂 )

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There is more on that page….still this is enough to get my thoughts meandering. Why Feb 2009?? Triggers just go off left right center. Time when I had to come to terms that my marriage was indeed over, heights of blogging – tags, memes….made many blog friends…..some who have become those I hold close.

It has not been a good last month. One more young death added to an already long list since the year started. This has affected me as it is a close friend’s brother. Not even 30!! I had not met him but knew him through his posts on Facebook, reactions to my friend’s & his wife’s posts. He came across as a really nice person, honest, funny, genuine. Reiterates the fact that there is no God!! He/ She is cruel. Taking away a person who is loved, has his whole life ahead of him!! I am very bad at condolences but not a day passes by without me thinking of my friend and his family! Hope they find the strength to deal with this injustice. How could this happen?? When the world should have more such people, why take such people away?!?

Thinking of that, anything else I undergo seems so trivial. Yet, while going through them, it feels humungous! Yo-yoing between feeling guilty and horrid!

It has been a stressful time. So called relatives bailing out, work as usual throwing weirdos [I tell myself now that I am a magnet to such people while there are those who cruise through with wonderful co-workers!], elections, seeing how disabled unfriendly Madras is… Wondering why bother with all this?

Hearing about death makes a person like me go in all directions. One part saying “hey! you never know when, so live life to the fullest”. Another goes “no one needs me, not a person will bother if I am gone”.  And everything between the two extremes! The middle is when I just end up going through the motions of the day, trying not to think at all, mechanical, just exist!

No one knows what tomorrow holds. Wish people understand this and just be nice & considerate. A kind word does not hurt. Instead of just posting on social media about being nice to each other, do it in real life!

And those who helped spike my stats! Please do more of it 🙂 😉

Enough rambling for a notification!! :p

Reflections & Remorse

It is already February! One month has just flown past. Nothing happening on the work front wondering if something will change ever! Meeting with friends has been a good feature this month. Looking forward to getting to do more of that! A little adventure of losing my phone and well that can be a post on its own (will do that if I get it back!). Reading books, new gadgets…

Speaking of friends, I had been meaning to call this particular friend of mine. I got to know her as she followed me in this space. I had met with her. A wonderfully warm & genuine girl. Blame it on all possible lame excuses I had not called or contacted her in anyway! Yesterday, Facebook reminded me that it was her birthday….prompting me to post a birthday message and asking her how she was! The shock was when I received a private message from someone saying he was her cousin and she was no more!!! Soon after her sister also responded to the wish saying she had passed away last April!!! A young lady, had a child after struggles. I am still reeling over that shocker news 😦

All those memes you get on your feeds saying do not postpone, just reach out. Even if it is just to say hello hit me hard. Also ended up reflecting on how fickle life is. I met with Rads yesterday. Our conversation steered to this news I got and how it was affecting me. I mentioned I have to get my will done. Now as I write this post, I remember having mentioned this here a while back….. (coincidence? it was Monday almost five and half years ago that I had written that post titled… Morbid Monday . Also happens to be the day my friend passed away last year! :() I have not even got to start on the task. Shows how even important things just slip by and one can take things for granted!

Do not put things off! You never know is what hit me really really hard! A shout out to all those who follow me and have been wonderful to me here. Thank you! I wish the very best to all 🙂 Ping me, write or call….

‘Tis the Season!

As Google Doodle today says….‘Tis the season! The time when one reflects on the year past and the year/life ahead.

Looking back at the year I have had – less drama from years before? May be not! I had enough of that at work. It is little solace to know that it is not over! So earlier this year, I embarked onto a project with shifts (shifting shifts at that!) Apart from the politics, impact on health & time was huge. So, moved on then got into another project that I was looking forward to working on. Alas it was not to be! Back to bench. Again some ensuing drama, tiff with management, I did get picked for a short term project that did not kick off at all. Back to bench (which has become a phenomenon in my life this year…BTW, I am benched now again). I attended scores of training sessions.

Through this time, met a motley crew of people few of whom have gone on to become good friends. Of course there are a few I wish I had never crossed paths with. Have had my dose of humour in interacting with some too!! In effect, at the work front, I have not gone anywhere and have this weird feeling that if at all, it is that I have fallen back! Sigh!

Home – pretty much goes with same old same old. Nature forced us to be together with nothing else to do early this month. It also saw me find people rise above just to help! All one had to do was ask, and response was immediate from various fronts. It makes one believe in humanity and goodwill! It also made me see people whose reactions amazed me! Well there are many different views and people!

I did manage to catch up on some reading. Feels good to just read. Long list of books on the to read list! Lifetime not enough!! I completed the 100HappyDays challenge (mentioned it in a post earlier). Been posting pictures on Instagram.

The year has seen me battle with health issues that started while working those shifts. It does scare me about how it is going to be with getting

fat

older! Depression showed up quite a few times. It can never be my long lost/forgotten friend I suppose! 🙂

Yes, am also the same fat self! No
change there as well!! 🙂 Really liking the minion quotes…and this one 😉  or something that goes about not being able to fit all the personality in a tiny body!! I kid myself! I need chocolate, coffee, cake and may be more! :p

A is growing up (he was asking when he will be a teenager!! 😀 ). I wonder how he will turn out despite all that we are going through & I am putting him through. I sure do hope that cliché about what does not kill you makes you stronger is true!!  He has had his share of disappointments this year – one really huge one. I was amazed at how he handled that!! Amazed especially when I was seething with anger and more so by some inane reactions – a whole other post can be written on those!! Yes…he is growing!! (and I am not! )

A few friends of mine at work have moved or are moving to other cities. I think if someone wants to move from Chennai, they just need to become good friends with me. Am a lucky charm for it! 🙂 I am super happy for them as that is what they want though it also is difficult to know they are moving (selfish much!?). Caught up with some others and renewed friendships. Thanks to social media & smart phones we still endeavour to stay in touch.

As is the case of gaining, it also brings with it losing those you think are friends. Well this year not so much. Knock on wood. Though it did bring in a time when I saw the true self of some people. The not so endearing true self. As a person who does not write off anyone easily, they just moved to becoming people I know and interact with. Also wondering where some friends have disappeared and hope to hear from them. If you are reading this, please ping and let me know all is well! 🙂

What are the words that resonate for me this year? Humanity, Blessing and well stagnation, doubt (hey if you have been reading my blog you must know that it will not be all positive!! 🙂 )

What am I looking forward to next year? Nothing! I maintain that I am better equipped when I expect nothing and even the little that may come my way pleases me. No dreams, no expectations …absolutely nothing! Do I have new year resolutions?! Nope!

Lesson learnt: Life goes on… (well not a lesson more a fact. It just keeps getting reiterated).

Happy Holidays to all!! 

Blessed

I am in Chennai and I am safe!! I say am blessed and so are we at home here. The area around our home was flooded but not our street alone!
My Experience:
December  1: By chance, I drove to work instead of taking the shuttle. Two of my friends came with me. The downpour had already started. A few of the places on the way were water logged. I had to take a particular road to get on to the highway, wherein I felt like I was steering a ship. Worried about the water around. Little did we know this was nothing! Reached office safe. After a few hours, many leads asked people to leave if they could. I ask mine & his response classic! (Did you ask the onsite manager you interact with? –  who happens to be in Chicago!). We manage to leave and two other girls ask to be dropped off on the way. Two of the girls worked out of another building. They were prevented from going out and had to sign release letters saying they were leaving on their own risk! We finally started. I was worried about getting the girls home safely! As I got out of our office, the water was flowing on the road like a river with huge rocks being carried. They were hitting the bottom of the car. After slow driving, we did reach the highway. I did manage to drop the girls off safely. Had I reached even five minutes later, I would not have been able to take the road home as I pass through a low bridge over a rivulet that flooded that early on and was closed! Blessing!! Miracle!! By then, there was no power at home. The UPS was on. My neighbour asked my father to get some ration from the nearby grocers before they close up. We did along with some basic veggies. [The grocer sold almost a month’s sale on that one day! Veggies were being sold at a premium as expected] By the time dinner was prepared, the UPS ran out and we plunged into darkness. The mobiles lost network.
December 2: Rain poured. No clue what was happening in the world outside. It kept pouring! We managed through the day rationing use of water wondering when the rains would stop and when the power will be back on.
Following days:  News started trickling in about flooding in various areas. I was worried about what I would do once water levels rise and if it entered our home. How do I manage my mum who is bedridden? What about my old father and A? I had an emergency bag with basic documents packed and ready. Was planning on how I will either take my mum upstairs or how I can get a boat if it comes to that…

Still no power, landline also got severed. So totally cut off now. Our street was still dry. We went back to stone age. Thanked the building contractor who insisted we have a well in the house. We drew water from it with a pulley. The water was soft & clear. So, we could boil and use it for drinking! Our neighbours also used the well thanking us! No mixer grinder, meaning we used the roller stone for grinding. Yeah the taste was better! :). Sweeping and mopping – no vacuum cleaner. Candle light & oil lamps lit our homes. We woke up early to get things done, went to bed early without needing to catch a program on TV or that last minute social media update. Dug out the old transistor radio and found that there were helplines being set up. The way people were being rescued. Neighbours told us about how badly nearby areas were affected. Milk being sold at exorbitant prices (Blessing again that our neighbour was a milkman and was still supplying the fresh cows milk as usual). We finally got to see and interact with each other on the street. Honestly, felt good to be away from technology (yeah people around were worried…still…back to old age was good)
Rains stopped for a while. I was standing out with my father & A talking to some people! I find a schoolmate riding on his scooter. He came all the way to check if we were alright at home as we could not be reached! Another friend came the next day when it was raining!!! Here I was thinking if I disappeared, no one would bat an eyelid! Hit me as to how grossly wrong I was!!!
Saturday early morning: power was restored.  Only my mobile came back to life (patchy though). Managed to send word that we are safe! Astounded by the number of people who were trying to find out if we were fine especially being in a badly affected area. Blessed is an understatement!!

December 6, Sunday: A turned 11. Low key! All his friends had left Chennai as their homes have been affected badly. One of his best friends sends a birthday message and calls in saying he is in Bangalore. A is thrilled to see the messages. It took a while for me to respond to all the queries of if I am alive! 🙂 . Realisation of how much we depend on the phones was sinking in (also how we did manage without them too!).

Slowly realised life was back to normal. By Tuesday Dec 8th, I was on my way to work on the office shuttle. Relief work still going on high steam in horribly affected areas.

Life goes on…. (another realisation. Not just for me who was hardly hit but even those who lost their homes.)

The autowala I use in the morning said he lived on the second floor but his auto was submerged and there was about two feet water above his auto. It took him almost a week to get the auto started and repaired to make it ready to get his livelihood. My maid said the water had reached the roof of her home & they were evacuated to a relief camp in a school. Simple things…she said she was given a saree, no blouse/ in skirt. She asks how do I wear the saree? A’s school is badly damaged – the library, the offices, the dining spaces, accounts department – pretty much everything on the ground floor all under water. My friend’s homes have been affected. This flooding has spared very few! Regardless of how rich or poor…

It saw people just pouring in to help. Mood was not why? but what can I do? even if it is in a small way – what do I do? Those who themselves were affected jumped in to make sure the city is back on it’s feet. No fanfare, no hey am busy doing so much…. Those who could be on the ground were there, those who were away coordinated with the givers, those in need and those who went to supply. It seemed to work as a well oiled machine. In most places now, it looks like life is back to normal. Relief work has moved to rehabilitation – people talking about how we can help for longer (& self) sustenance. That said I was just amazed at how from my friends to the autowala first inquired about how I was, how things were at home.

Yes, all this was not without hitches. There were instances of how goods provided were being sold in the black market. Instances of relief being done only for the show & name ( well we take them in cos they still do something! 🙂 ). Politicians failing (no surprises there).

Lessons learnt. Though we as a city have risen, with loads of help from outside, it is clear that we lack disaster management (keeping apart whether it was natural or man-made). All are worried about how we are going to manage epidemics, the garbage being collected with all homes being cleaned out. What next? What do we do? How can we help – really help? Relief work happened haphazardly. The army came in with no clue where to go. Volunteers poured in and reports of the same area being helped came in. People donating stuff without much thought into where and how it is going. All good yet lacking thought. Instant gratification is what we all are looking at. Finding people not wanting to wait and see what more needs to be done, some not even realising that we should move on from relief, find out what the government is going to do further (if they are as they are supposed to) so we can pitch in where it is not or help where it is needed.

This calamity has brought people together and hoping that it stays that way. People were being patient on the roads, without the incessant honking. Though, now as a sign of normalcy, they are back on.

Irked by those who want us to keep wallowing in the disaster. We are moving on and getting to semblance of normalcy while doing what we can to help those in need (without selfies, photos splashed on social media and any other fan fare…..). This comes along with us wanting to get into the festive mood of Christmas which comes along with giving that we are doing. So shoot us those of us who now appreciate more of what we have and could have while you supposedly play the messiah!! [Of course I am going to rant about the few who have managed to push me off the edge while appreciating the scores of people quietly being awesome. One bad apple!!] –Rant!! Sorry!

I told my grandma that now I believe in miracles. I believe I must live my life to the fullest while I can. Don’t know how long this will last before I am pushed into depression by something/someone!

I am thankful I am there for A [ this is a totally different reason not related the flooding, may be will write a post & may be not!]. I will strive to make him feel as happy as I can.

PS: Didn’t realise I was going to write such a long post and I still have another in mind!!
PPS: This is entirely my experience. It is not harrowing just felt like the rains would never stop. The shockers were meeting and hearing stories of how they were affected. Proud of how they just are looking ahead and don’t know if they are spiritual when they say, those are just stuff – we are alive!

Ping!

Today is awesome!! And today is not so awesome either!! Yeah yeah roll eyes and say oh boy this Libra!! 🙂

How many of us make the effort to stay in touch? How many of these friendships last? I am almost OCD in trying to stay in touch. I can’t not ping just to say hi. Over the years, age,ego have come in the way many a times! 

I have even called a close friend told him I will not call or text him ever saying I am done putting in the effort all the time. He is still my friend and am in touch with him! This outburst is like shaking him out of his stupor.

Then there are those you put in the effort for a while & decide ” well guess I am not worthy of the other person making an effort to reciprocate”. This fizzles out. Today is not so awesome a day for this reason. I decided I am not making the effort any more to ping a friend of mine who was really close. The last time I interacted I had mentioned that it was always me who initiated a conversation with the response saying “hey I always respond”.  This was a couple of months back. I pinged recently and well no response. So today I decided enough is enough! If I don’t even deserve a response, then why do I have to put myself through the effort??? 

Today is also awesome!! Friendships you make when you are a growing up do mean a lot! Out of the blue a wonderful friend pings and says hey! Saw pics of you & others in a meet you had. Jealous I am not there. Felt great to catch up. I said I was feeling bad and the response was so heartwarming saying that our friendship was special & treasured. 

Makes a whole world of difference to know that you mean something to someone indeed. The balance is swaying not ready to settle right now. 

I will just endeavour to be happy about those who are present in my life. ( even without my knowing they are there even 🙂 ). I will try not to delve in anguish about those who may not have time for me in the hope that they too might be cherishing the time we had spent together. I also hold dear those friends who I have not even met in person (yet…) but have been great! 

Here is to friendships!! My source of strength in life 😊. Thanks!! 

Splendours of the Hoysala Empire- Haleibidu

The “part two” 🙂

Sukanya Ramanujan

I wrote about the Chennakesava temple in Belur yesterday. The information was presented in a lecture by Dr Chitra Madhavan, renowned historian and expert on temple architecture in Chennai.

Today, I will be writing about the Hoysaleswara Temple in Haleibidu. This temple was also built in the reign of King Vishnu Vardhana and is about 15 kms away from the town of Belur. The building of the temple was taken up in the same time as that of the temple at Belur. The town of Haleibidu was originally called Dwarasamudra because of a lake that stood there.

Although there are similarities between the temples at Belur and Haleibidu there are quite a few differences as well. The first thing that strikes you- especially if you visit both temples on the same day is how much more ornate the temple at Haleibidu tends to be. Where the sculptors at Belur squeezed…

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