Monthly Archives: February 2014

from a book i am reading…


Over the past few years I’ve spent many hours in a cancer unit at a major American hospital. On the oncology ward there is a separate TV for each individual patient. The TV in the waiting room is never turned off; there are even TVs in the exam rooms. Some of the patients there are facing imminent death, yet the best modern medicine can offer is distraction — game shows and soap operas and violent movies. — Linda Johnsen in ‘Meditation is Boring?’


the ups and downs


of a runny nose…

a child in baby param’s class has a cold. and baby param IS FASCINATED by the upward and downward movement of the fluids from the nostrils.

“when D. inhales it goes back in, amma”

“and after a while, it trickles down”

“how does he do it, amma? how does he do it, EVERYTIME? and only from one side?”

baby param is coming down with a serious case of neighbour’s envy.

attention mothers with a voice…


Do you wish to sing the divine songs of Thyagaraja, Purandara Dasa and great composers? Do you regret not learning Carnatic music? Or do you regret having tapered off Carnatic music because of various reasons?

A team of experienced teachers from the balabrundam group, started by Sangeetha Kala Sarathy Smt Seetha Rajan, will train you to sing in a group, to help you rekindle your interest in music.

Effects: Your interest in Carnatic music will grow, and you will be better able to appreciate Kutcheris and classical music. You may even be able to sing at small functions in a group.

(for some background, here’s a lovely video of Dr. Seetha Rajan singing along with her senior students…

Classes will be held in Besant Nagar once a week. No fee is charged.
This is a public interest venture aimed at promoting and universalising Carnatic music.

mail me at to register…

and if you are living in Chennai, do spread the word…

bajjis at the beach






about a 100 students from a school for mentally challenged children and adults were at the beach …

and what a marathon-task it was for the teachers…. to round the children (and adults) up, line them up to the waves, give them bajjis, deal with bathroom breaks, keep an eye out for the hyperactive, heave-ho the man(child) whose feet couldn’t make it past a steep step, match the child into his or her bus to head back…

it was uphill all the way.
flashback memories returned of my college days where i worked at a special school for my internship — i remember how i cheered for mainstreaming, how slow could be s.l.o.w. That time i was all gung-ho for parents, who i thought, were THE role-models of patience and love.

Today i was on the teachers’ side, (who ate their bajjis last, after every child had finished), for making this trip happen. An old gentleman on the beach stuffed some money into the trip’s co-ordinator and said “what a wonderful job, you are doing”. i sat quietly on the sidelines and agreed.



“…we had to spend 15 minutes trying to find an Indian word for loneliness.” Pandit Usharbudh Arya writes in a book on spirituality.

*felt very happy to read that*

(I tried to find the tamizh word for loneliness and I immediately came up with தனிமை, which neatly rhymes with இனிமை (sweetness). my ma tells me that the poet avvaiyar used them both together.)

a chariot full of culture


recently, the newspaper tom-tommed the artweek in Chennai– with exhibitions, photos and the like splattered in many prominent spaces. but the curators of the one-off expo shouldn’t be worried;

artweek is always on.

and today, we were surprised by a rathload of art, and culture unfold at the elliots today.


the wheels of the rath go round and round..

the wheels of the rath go round and round..

the event banner. check.

the event banner. check.

the two heads of firstborn and baby param upping the bored quotient... and ask for the 34th time, can we go to play cricket NOW

the two heads of firstborn and baby param upping the bored quotient… and ask for the 34th time, can we go to play cricket NOW

a madisar and a pavadai -- fashion by the beachside

a madisar and a pavadai — fashion by the beachside

cuteness quotient

cuteness quotient

the kolam bubble that grew and grew and grew

the kolam bubble that grew and grew and grew

at 60, the designs look like this

at 60, the designs look like this

at 16, they look like this...

at 16, they look like this…

blowing up a kolam

blowing up a kolam

music. check

music. check

group photo op. check.

group photo op. check.

the rath and the photographer...

the rath and the photographer…



I am wearing a pochampally cotton sari starched and maroon, on a hot summer day.
I show the boys a spray of hot sambar that I inadvertently spilt while cooking, that I am wiping off.

“but what are these white patches, ma. is it kaka-pee? or maybe they are indra’s lightning bolts?” firstborn wants to know.

a way way overdue lesson on ikat, coming up.

social experiment in progress


been influenced by this video by sadhguru jaggi vasudev…

trying to hop off my pedestal.
egad my pedestal isn’t a tallish stool that I thought it was. erm. it’s made of quicksand.

for the three days since I watched this video, i am actively trying to change my perspective of my firstborn. i try to think he is a cherished friend — say someone like V.

and if he really was, i figure he would get my attention, my regard, an open heart and conversation.

else, standing on that icky sticky pedestal, i have been bossy, judgmental, impatient and non-specifically rude.

sigh. what a lot of work lies ahead in the clean-up.

i hope your pedestal is just a low low stool. easy hop on easy hop off.

blake’s tiger and lamb.


if I could dedicate poetry to my sons, that revealed their spirit…

this would be for baby param, 5, passion, fist permanently in the air poised to deliver a punch, small, twinkling, can-do child, very unafraid.

The Tiger

TIGER, tiger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare seize the fire?

And what shoulder and what art
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand and what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? What dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

When the stars threw down their spears,
And water’d heaven with their tears,
Did He smile His work to see?
Did He who made the lamb make thee?

Tiger, tiger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

I have a lovely, lovely poem for firstborn, 8, idealist, lukewarm limerick writer, high-strung, dreamer with contempt for details and routines. but kind. intensely kind.

The Lamb

Little Lamb who made thee

Dost thou know who made thee

Gave thee life & bid thee feed.

By the stream & o’er the mead;

Gave thee clothing of delight,

Softest clothing wooly bright;

Gave thee such a tender voice,

Making all the vales rejoice!

Little Lamb who made thee

Dost thou know who made thee

Little Lamb I’ll tell thee,

Little Lamb I’ll tell thee!

He is called by thy name,

For he calls himself a Lamb:

He is meek & he is mild,

He became a little child:

I a child & thou a lamb,

We are called by his name.

Little Lamb God bless thee.

Little Lamb God bless thee