Identity crisis

The following link has been sitting in my drafts ever since I came across it.

Has this not been there for a long time? I remember a dialogue from an old Revathi movie – Marupadiyum where she says she wants to be her not carry her father’s name, nor a husband’s.

This had been something I argued about when a “friend” told me I “had to” change my surname cos I was married. I said, I would change if P changed his [ note: P never asked me then to change my name, he did later mention it in our many tiffs ๐Ÿ™‚ ] since he married too! That suggestion was not welcome much!! Glad I didn’t change, less of a hassle considering what happened ๐Ÿ™‚

Now A wants to drop his last name. Told him he can decide to do whatever when he is an adult. Now he carries whatever it says on his birth certificate. I don’t know if he will drop his last name, change it to something else (he says he will take my name or last name; or my grandpa’s last name; his gothra…choices are many).

So is it a case of rose by any other name?

This name thing apart, when like all out there, (or is it all out there??) I battle with the question of who am I? I have had many labels stuck on me. Some good, mostly bad ones. I am told by well meaning friends they don’t define me. How I look? What I am at work/home? Age? Education? Status? I have no clue! Wondering what I would tell my son when he asks the same questions….a cryptic find yourself?! Wouldn’t that be cheating?!

What is my identity? How will I be remembered? Someone who bungled her way along and failed in/ didn’t complete anything undertaken? A bad mother/sister/daughter/friend/student.(…and of course wife ๐Ÿ™‚ ) I know I have written about what success can be…at the moment, I feel like nothing ever will go right…ever in life. Do some wrong decisions spoil your entire life? Yes is my answer today! I have made a series of such wrong decisions! Will I never do anything right in my life? Let me guess…nope never!

Today is a day when I am not able to just smile away and show that nothing is wrong. Today is a day when I cannot just hear hey get over it, move on or anything that shows no empathy/sympathy. Today is a day when I cannot overlook people who have cheated me & taken me for a ride (emotionally/monetary/professionally…). Today is a day I wish I had someone to share my woes with , to hear reassuring words even if they were false. ย Today is a day I feel (and know) that I am a nobody; going nowhere. No….am not okay with it but feel helpless that I am not able to change this status quo. Yes, am on the other side of forty and have no clue! Yes I feel terrible. Yes….it probably is too late.

PS: Part of me does not feel like publishing this post. Part of me wants to cry out aloud.If anyone has come this far in the post, please do give a shout out so I can thank you for tolerating my rant!


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 ๐Ÿ™‚ )


This is my third post of the same title!! ๐Ÿ™‚ Trivia…

This made me look at what I had written earlier & when… 2007 & 2008. 2007 I have written about going back & following the tradition (don’t know if I have to laugh or cry at reading this!). 2008 just a wikipedia like note with pics taken from kolu at home. Then 2 years missing & this now!! ๐Ÿ™‚

Got no new dolls this year…yet. Think I got a proper Bengali Durga doll the last 2 years when I had not posted. Mum tells me that I had asked for a similar doll better looking one ages ago – but was expensive & we could not afford it then. I like this doll too.

Every year, as we keep the dolls on the steps, we reminisce about how we got the doll. Other conversation invariably revolves around how the quality of the dolls are not up to the mark. I can actually see that here… the dolls we have inherited from my great grandparents look so good even after all these years, but those we got recently are broken, faded. It feels like the artisans of yore actually took pleasure doing the dolls while the newer ones are more of a commercial venture?! Or is it just my random thought?

This year, one small doll is missing (we are in the process of finding out where she is gone…) It is Ganga in the Bhaghirath story of bringing her on to earth! Aside we are laughing at how even he cannot do that now if he tried & may be it is symbolical that Ganga is missing ๐Ÿ™‚ The weird conversations we have at home!!!! It is coincidental that in the 2008 post, one of the pictures is of the same set!!! So, we have her at least on that ๐Ÿ™‚

I noticed some broken dolls. Was wondering if we discard them… and lo behold Mum & I had a debate ( been a while since we even spoke to each other – we used to have so many of these nice debates – not fights/arguments…but debates ๐Ÿ™‚ ) She quoted “maha periyaval” saying He said that something to the tune of do we throw away old people if their limbs are broken or don’t function. My view was…hey these are dolls, we need to recycle. If they are broken, replace them…gives a boost to the artists when you buy, keeps commerce going. This got the response – well look at the dolls these days! ๐Ÿ™‚ Guess what in the end, I did succumb and decided to mend the mendable old dolls with quickfix cos they still look good. Even the paint of the old dolls look good!! What did they do – use vegetable paint I suppose?!

Anyways it was one “ok” day. With some work done, debates (& some arguments) – the kolu is up…hope to improve on it the next few days , may be go against my parents get a new doll or 2 or 3 …(and of course find Ganga ๐Ÿ˜‰ ). Must start calling friends and asking them to come over for the “vethalapaaku” . I keep saying I don’t believe in God & I do all this just cos this has been done all these years. I don’t want to influence my son with my views! He has to form his own ones… lets see!!

Happy Navarathri to one and all!

Republic Day 2010

Vande Mataram!

Woke up to watching the news featuring the new “Mile Sur Mera Tum hara” rather named “Phir Mile sur”

Check it out here

The older version or the original is here

I like both the versions. The previous one was simple, melodious while the newer one has more variety musically. Though both videos I think capture India.

As I was doing this, I read through some of the feedback on the new version. I see comments on how the new version has a “western” feel, about the clothes worn by an actress & how she must have worn more!!!!! The absence of people like Lata Mangeshkar who was there in the original. Is it just me?! Or do others also think these are harsh.ย  I suppose it is the same comfort zone factor. I don’t want to step out of what I am used to!! feeling?! Personally I felt that the new version depicted for want of a better phrase the “new” India – a blend of the old & new. I suppose the video link above does not the have the complete version of the song as I did see certain others featured in the news item on NDTV. On the same note, reading about the controversies surrounding the awards given out today also bugs me though I guess it is the same with any honour awards that are given out in any country! ๐Ÿ™‚ Guess any one can get awards if people get a Nobel award just for intention!!!

Just wanted to add a note that it was a pleasant surprise that one of the tamil channels was not all cinema & cinema based special programmes today!! It is now telecasting a recorded show byย  Taiwanese physically challenged artists. Amazing!!!

So typing this in as I switch between watching the Republic day parade & the dance/music show. ๐Ÿ™‚ Waiting for “Beating the retreat”. Something I loved watching every year growing up ๐Ÿ˜€

Jai Hind!

Edit to add the complete video of Phir Mile Sur

I read more comments about how the video is more Bollywood than to show integrity. I just see the video as I would any other remix ๐Ÿ™‚ I never ever thought that a remix(even a remake for that matter) ever matches the original. The point here is that intention is to sell India and Bollywood sells! I has more Bombay shots, less of all of India or cricket, not all the stars featured in the old video, many new ones here ! – so what?! Well, ย as I said before my take! Why not just take this as it is and not compare?! Or like I generally deal with remixes let it grow on you ๐Ÿ™‚


I have written many a post talking of whether I believe in God or not. About whether there is any reason behind many of the customs we follow (or at least read and commented on many posts on my blog hopping!!) ย I have also read a lot of posts on all this -why must I follow these customs in the name of tradition/religion? What is the meaning behind the way something is being done. Way too many questions.

My mum is not some one who used to say “This is the way it is done so do it.” She was one who used to explain when she knew or she would find the answer. We have had many discussions on lots of such topics. One book that P made me read and said that my mum would like (ok! bring those eye brows down….we have been married close to 8.5 years of which we have been together for 6.5 years of those – so we did have some good talks too!! ๐Ÿ™‚ ) was Am I a Hindu? by Ed Vishwanathan. Not a bad read.

Now, my mum is hooked on to something on TV. Initially I did not bother to find out what it was though I know she is not the kind to watch soaps. Slowly I ended up watching the show with her. Obviously the show has something to do with my long winded introduction. I find the show pretty good. It is in tamil by Cho Ramasawamy. Features on Jaya TVย ย at 8 pm IST. Name of the program ” Engey Brahmanan” (Where is the Brahmin?)ย 

I find the series very informative. Down to earth. Cho explains various concepts in Hinduism, being a Brahmin and lots more using a story as a baseline. Quotes from various scriptures, explanations in lay person’s terms. So suffice to say I am hooked on too. Feels good to watch something with my mum, followed by discussions (sometimes heated arguments even ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

If any of you is interested, do catch it. I know that Lakshย ย & Ms CP might be interested…. Catch it ๐Ÿ™‚


Reema had written this post on the issue of remarriage of widows, widowers, the attitude ofย  Indian society toward both. I agree to every single thing that she has written.

This post though stems from a different situation – an extension to what she has penned in already. From what I have heard and faced over the recent past; I should say that the attitude extends to divorced men & women too. In this day of rising divorces & broken marriages, I don’t know how many go through all this!

It is so easy for people to accept a man take on another wife while it is blasphemy if a woman thinks of the same. There are some who say, if it happens it is alright but don’t go looking for a relationship. A relationship went south once…so take care or live for your kid, get a career. Suggestions to forget one’s needs or replace them (one supposedly would be too busy to notice and when you do, you would be too old and it would be too late. Worry about it now – then the response Why are you thinking of something so far away?!? ๐Ÿ™‚ ).ย  A woman is not strong enough if she looks for a partner – get a grip! is what one hears. You will be fine! Though it is absolutely acceptable that the man “moves on”, dates, finds a partner proactively!!

I am just reminded of Revathi’s Marupadiyum (Shabana Azmi’s Arth in Hindi) where the woman chooses to be single. The dialogue sticks out in my head now : the heroine says the woman has grown up being a daughter of some man taking that name, then she takes on her husband’s name, then the mother of her kids.

So, when ever will the woman live for herself and not be penalised for it? Let a single woman be; if she wants it that way, let a woman not take her husband’s name; if she wants that….and if a divorcee (well in India you are that…not single again!) wants to live alone – so be it or if she looks for a relationship…why not?

Personal choices have no place! Being judged by society, being stamped as whatever – will these ever stop?There are times when I think single women (widows & divorcees) make that choice because of the attitudes she may have to face finally. It gets to you – the society….even if you don’t want to care, at some point it does overwhelm you to resign yourself to fate!

If this is the plight of women in a city where most of the population is educated. I don’t even want to think of those in villages where “tradition” has its place! Poor women stuck in marriages where abuse is the norm (physical, emotional, sexual….)

I doubt if these prejudices would ever end! At least I don’t think they will in my lifetime. I don’t even think I am being negative here. I feel that I am being practical – cynical yes, but pragmatic! Here is to hoping I am wrong!

Next time, some one wants to say “get a grip!” , “stay strong” – Stop!! The woman probably is doing it already!!


Vimal tagged for this meme here. He has written he wanted more visits to that page…may be that is why this late tagging happened ๐Ÿ™‚

I like tags. I guess I learn more about myself when I do them. This one : I learnt that I am pretty much open to most things in life; but certain stuff – I do have some boundaries which I think are justifiable.

Please thoughtfully consider the following, and choose one item for each of the categories below.(Be sure to describe your reasons for choosing)
One religious work from a non-familiar tradition youโ€™ll read:
Am not a very religious person. Off late I have flashes of atheism too. Though I firmly believe in knowledge for knowledge’s sake. Besides I pretty much read anything printed!! (Stay totally away from self-help books – read a few though) So, what would I read from a non- familiar tradition? I should say that even Hinduism to a large extent is non-familiar. Though am game for any other work on whatever tradition ๐Ÿ˜€

One music videoโ€“that you likeโ€“from your โ€œleast likely to listen toโ€™ genre:
Again I am open to any form of music and I don’t watch that many music videos. I am more of a listen to music kind of person. ๐Ÿ™‚ “Least likey to listen to” genre is metal for me though.

A book from a genre you almost never read, that you have read, or you will read (promise!):
Self help books!! eeeks!! no way! Erotic stuff have never read! I would rather do nothing!!! NO!! I will not read these! ๐Ÿ˜€ so none listed!! ๐Ÿ˜‰ No expansion?! no problem ๐Ÿ˜‰

Somewhere youโ€™d never thought to go on holiday/vacation, and why it might be fun to go there?
Timbuctoo or Mongolia….Don’t know why it will be fun. Just that I always think of some place remote. Run away from the maddening crowd…Any such place would be good ๐Ÿ˜‰ May be it is just now!

A specific food youโ€™ve never tried, but will because of this meme, honest!
OMG! Food….Well, I guess I will try anything lacto-vegetarian.


A sport or game you really hate, or havenโ€™t tried yet, but are willing to give one more go:

I don’t hate any sport/game. Hate is a strong word!! Haven’t tried? Well, that would probably fill pages and pages. This is an expansionist meme, right? So am game for any sport/ game ๐Ÿ˜‰

A style of dance you probably wonโ€™t try (we wonโ€™t make you promise on this one):
Again boring but truthful answer…willing to try any dance as long as it is notย  characterised under perversion.

A career/ job you donโ€™t feel youโ€™re suited for, and why:
Marketing! I cannot lie to save my soul. I cannot sensationalise. I can almost never convince some one unless I myself strongly believe in that (which I know will not be the case in marketing jobs!)

An item thatโ€™s โ€œthinking out of the boxโ€™ for this meme that hadnโ€™t been included:
I have exhausted my thinking ability on responding to the previous questions. Cannot think of an answer to this one!

Ifย  thereโ€™s one thing in life you wanted to do, and will do because of this meme, what will it be?
Again, I don’t think I would actually do anything because of a meme. There are a lot of things in life I want to do though! ๐Ÿ™‚

Now for the tougher part than doing the meme itself. I am going to take the easy way out – leave it to who ever wants to take this up. One condition : Let me know so I can come check your answers ๐Ÿ˜€

Tags – 1 down 3 more to go! ๐Ÿ™‚


Navarathri(9 nights) or Dusshera is celebrated in various ways in different parts of India. Had read Reema’s entry on Durga Pujo. Decided to write this on how it is in South India, especially Tamil Nadu.

This Hindu festival is celebrated in Purattasi month (tamil lunar monthย  around Sep -October) starting from the Mahalaya Amavaasai (no moon day) for 10 days(Dusshera). During these 10 days Goddess Durga (Ichcha Shakti) , Goddess Lakshmi (Kriya Shakti) and Goddess Saraswathi(Gnana Shakthi) serve as the main deities and are allocated 3 days each.ย  The first 3 days are specific to Goddess Parvathy. The next 3 for Goddess Lakshmi. The last 3 for Goddess Saraswathi. The 9th day is “Saraswathi Puja or Ayudha Puja” when everyone gives their tools of the trade — pens, machinery, books, automobiles, school work, etc. a rest and ritually worships them. On the 10th day, all of these 3 deities are worshipped together to culminate the puja. The 10th day is “Vijayadashami” ; an auspicious day to start any new endeavour, the day when gurus are paid homage by all the students.

Why do we celebrate this? In the south, it is to acknowledge the victory of good over evil by the killing of the “asura” Mahishi by the Goddess Chandika (who then on was called Mahishasuramardhini). Goddess Chandika is an embodiment of the 3 Shaktis.

In Tamil Nadu, we celebrate the festival by arranging dolls on steps, inviting friends and family. Traditionally, the women and girls invited are given the “tamboolam” that consists of betel leaves, turmeric, betel nut, the day’s offering to the Goddess (usually a “sundal”), fruits, coconut. Off late, a small gift is also added. This festival enables the mingling of friends, neighbours. This is a social festival. The women and girls invited are asked to exhibit their talent in singing or even dancing. The arrangement of the dolls on the steps allows the exhibition of the artistic aptitude. Even if one just arranges all the dolls on the steps, it encourages the artisans who make the dolls which could be of any material – Clay, papier mache, wood, wax, plastic, paper….Obviously, it also includes dress up. Small girls even dress up specially (I remember being in the traditional madisars, wore mundu, and just experimented….rather I guess my mom had fun with me not really complaining up to an age ๐Ÿ˜‰ ). There are households these days which base the arrangement on themes. A friend of mine has alien invasion, another has handmade dolls by her 80 + year old grandma portraying Ramayana & Krishna katha. Global warming, pollution, current affairs also find their place. There are competitions in neighbour hoods under different categories.

The number of steps are supposed to be odd in number (3,5,7…). One adds a “park” alongside where in the kids pitch in with their imagination. On the religious side, apart from the two major pujas mentioned above, a fast or vratham is followed with a diet of no onion/garlic; those who take meat avoid it. Daily pujas are done with emphasis to the Goddess – slokas like the Lalitha Sahasranamam, Soundarya Lahiri are read. Daily offering is made in the form of “sundal”. Lamp is lit by the “kolu” (the steps arrangement).

Below are a few pics of the kolu we have at my place this year. It is a smaller version; thanks to space constraints. Supposedly, A and his space take precedence…so the kolu has shrunk ๐Ÿ™‚ I posted the pics just to give an idea of how the kolu looks like in most houses. This year, we just placed the dolls on the steps, no themes or anything…more keen on taking care that A does not break the dolls that have come down generations even ๐Ÿ˜€ Though, credit to my dear son, he is a gem…he loved placing them oh so tenderly on the steps.

Ooh…I forgot…placing of the kolu…usually, people place the kalasam first. The Kalasam is usually a pot made of silver filled with either water or rice. Some put a set of tamboolam inside. And end up putting mango leaves around the rim with a coconut on top. We at my place for some personal reasons, don’t do the traditional kalasam but place a doll replica. Then Lord Ganesha’s idol is placed. Followed by “marapachi” dolls. These dolls can be decorated (or buy those that already are ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) A and I have that as our next project – decoration of the marapachi pair :D. Then the rest of the dolls are placed. Usually, most houses would have the dasavatharam, chettiar-chettichi selling their produce, dolls depicting a traditional wedding, along with dolls of other deities like the 3 Shaktis, Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu, Lord Muruga. We get various sets to depict the various mythological stories (My mother reminisces how her grandma used to actually position or make various dolls to depict these stories…whereas we all have it so easy; yet we crib about doing the kolu thing!!)

You can click on the picture for larger/album view.

Edit: Vishesh – This is this year’s park ๐Ÿ™‚

part of As train set & other toys thrown in.
part of A's train set & other toys thrown in.

First time in years!

This is the first time in my 30 odd years (yeah am gonna be 32 this year ๐Ÿ™‚ ) that I did not do the “nombu” for “garuda panchami” – a telugu equivalent of say Raksha bandan. I did feel a tinge of guilt but not as much as I thought I would. Having been brought up with the thought that being the only sister that my brother and cousins have, it was something I liked to do. Thought it was significant to pray for their well being. Do the puja the right way (of course eat all the food that goes with it…this time none of the food either cos we get food from a caterer!)

My mother did the puja. I did not even get up from bed! My steps towards atheism?! or is it because I feel that these pujas actually have no significance? Am I writing this out of the tinge of guilt I wrote about or just as a log of what happened? I am rambling here! Even when I was in the US, I did every puja…so much so some people actually said I was a pukka maami or way too traditional and the likes.

A step towards change in life? for better or worse? Again I don’t know! I wish I could just let go of so many other things (or people/memories!) Sorry…rambling again!

Ripple Effects – a reply…

Hey Laksh….Replying to your post here instead of as a comment…

I was never asked to do the weekly enna kuliyal…though I loved the way amma used the sambrani, the smell…miss that actually (and loved it when amma used to make chutta appalam on the coal adupu after …yummy!!!)
To the hairstyling bit; again I was left to myself and my ideas as long as I did not cut my hair ๐Ÿ˜€ I did when I was in twelfth, and amma actually called my father to let him know I did that!!! An international call in those days just for this!! ๐Ÿ™‚ Huge hungamma, my dance teacher also flipped with a dance programme in the offing ๐Ÿ˜€

Have definitely tried different lengths since then… Have my hair shoulder length right now; can let it loose; still put in a band because of the oppressive heat! Realised then, that maybe that is why letting hair loose is frowned upon apart from hair falling all over the place!

There sure is some wisdom behind all those rules most of the time which I am learning. May be some have lost their essence over time; like not using a needle after sun down…