Tuesday, June 30, 2015

How punishments shape our life

In the recent years, I have friends who have kids, and sometimes I get to hear anecdotes from their life. Most of them are hilarious, smart and witty for a 4 year old, you must think. And then, I also get to hear on certain days

“I am feeling so guilty, I shouted at my kid”

“I am feeling so bad I scolded my kid”

“He/she has become so naughty. I actually threatened to hit him/her”

This makes me wonder, how would our parents have reacted, every time they scolded us or even better when they gave us those bruises.

Well, to be fair to my mom, I have disobeyed her so many times, lied to her, back answered etc, which has resulted in me getting punishments.

One day, when I was in 2nd standard, it was a daily activity of me going to a friend’s house which was in the next road. My deadline was to be back home at 6.30 pm. But that fateful day, we went to another friend’s house and we forgot about the time, and mom had come searching for me, along with the aunty (mom of my other friend). That day I was locked up in the Toilet, reason – I lied to her about going to Friend A’s house and not Friend B’s house, and also not adhearing to dealing. Well, after that I was really scared about skipping the deadline.

Ofcourse, later she made me sit on her lap and explained what my mistake was. Also, I lost the fear of being locked up alone in a room.

Another time, by this time I overestimated me to be super smart. I thought, “Everytime mom hits me I tell her, not to hit me and I am sorry. So if I tell to hit me, then she might get all senti, and stop hitting me.” Wonderful idea I patted myself.

So that day when I did something worthy of getting a beating, I did something which mom never imagined I would do. She hit me with her hand. I went to the room, got a belt from inside handed it over to her in a filmy style and said “You want to hit me, then take this and hit me. Atleast your hands wont hurt Ma”

Now what happened next was totally opposite to what I had imagined “My mom took the belt and hit me”. The reverse psychology theory did not apply here. And all I remember was never to use my smart brain when mom is angry. I never told her ever again “hit me”.

Much later, she checked if there were any wounds and I never even felt that I was beaten some time back. It made me stronger, everytime I would get hit by accident or even if I bumped into things. I could just brush it away and continue with my work.

Once, only because I lied, I had to wash vessels, including idli plates, milk vessels etc. May be that’s is why I love washing vessels now. The shine in those vessels brings a smile to my face. Any I digress. So, if you see, my punishments were not always getting hit, they were some essential things which we need to know.

I have not washed many clothes, may be that’s why I am not very fond of it, and let the washing machine handle all the stress.

Today, if I have sweep, or clean the floor with water and a mop, or wash vessels, or do dusting. Basically all these household chores, I have learnt it as a part of some punishment, and when I do any of these activities, I do it perfectly. So any time our maid is on holiday, and I do these chores at home, the floor is sparkling like a mirror and no dust, and the vessels are sparkling clean.

And I must admit,  inspite of all these punishments, I have been pampered a lot, loved a lot. A small sneeze or a cough will result in multiple calls from my parents, and even though it becomes annoying, it feels nice to know that you are being loved by them.

May be my mom, also felt guilty when she was punishing me. And everytime I get punished, I could see her in more pain. So I am sure, it was more of a punishment for her than me.

So for all the punishments, which have helped me shape up, I would really like to thank mom.

“Like every after every storm, the sky is clear
After every incident like this, I could see the love for me in my mom’s eyes more clearly.”

“Like how a goldsmith, shapes his gold
Every incident has shaped me into what I am today”

Monday, June 29, 2015

Chitradurga : Rural Reach Program - Part II

Part 1 is here - Chitradurga RRP

The students were divided into groups of 50 (on avg), and finally I was allocated to a set of girls. They were seated in a circle, and I was at the centre. I had the feeling of a performing artist, and that I would be judged by them .

I uttered my first few words (in kannada, ofcourse) : “Yellarigu namaskara. Nanna hesaru Arathi” (Greetings everybody my name is Arathi)

I heard a few girls in chorus “Kellastilla miss” (we can’t hear you miss)

“Oops” was my reaction. Then I did what any sensible person would do…

“Oh ok.. Lets come a little closer shall we”. And it was a feeling of the earth moving, closing in on me, if I can say. All the 50 chairs moving towards me.

And then I asked them: “Can you hear me now”…. Again a chorus “Illa miss”

I now decided I dint want a circle… It’s not circus, and I cannot look at half of them. So I made them sit in 3 rows of concentric semicircles. And then asked them the same question. A little louder this time “Iga Kellasta idiya” (Can you hear me now). And in chorus again they answered “Yes miss”

I remember how in school, we would wish our teachers when they came inside our class “Goooood Morning Miss”, I never thought somebody would call me miss J

Anyway back to my class. I repeated my name and told them that they were going to learn about computers alright.. but before that they had to tell me, what they knew about it.

When I asked them the school name. I got an answer alright.. but again in chorus.. “fndsklncfffsfksdlk” is what I understood. I requested one of the students to answer “Priyadarshini Girls High School”.

I now understand, why teachers asked us to lift our hands… You just can’t understand what these kids tell you when in chorus J

I divided them into 4 groups so that I could get different opinions… They first told me what they knew…

“It’s an electronic machine”

“You can play games”

“You can talk to each other and also look at each other, face to face, even if you are countries apart”

“You can communicate easily”

“You can get lot of information”

And much more… I was trying to formulate my plan, on how to tell what to these kids.

And, I also tried to get what goals these kids had. Some wanted to be teachers, doctors, police, software engineer, military, district commissioner and some of them had no goals. So I tried to tell them how computers would help them in any field they wish to take up.

We started off with switching on the laptop. Only why laptop is called a “LAPTOP”. How a monitor looks. What a keyboard and mouse does.Then I made 4 of them come front to enact as monitor, keyboard, processor and a user and showed them how a computer does simple things like addition of 2 numbers.

And then after a lot of anecdotes and examples, I now let the kids use the laptop. The moment everybody were waiting for. I opened up MS-Paint for them. They went crazy over it. It was as good as how the toddlers feel when you introduce them to the actual paint.

I felt a bad, since there was only 1 laptop and so many kids, so rationing the usage time was very difficult. It had already been 2 hours and we hadn’t realized.

One of their teachers came upto me asking if the class is over and if he could take the students. The students dint want the class to get over, I did not want the class to get over. But the time was up. Infact we were supposed to have the class for some more time, but it seems the students had to leave since they had to have breakfast and also, their teachers were waiting.

This was the pic.. my students created in ms paint.

With heavy heart, we had to let go of each other. With a lot of good bye miss, and then shaking hands (I felt like a celebrity), we took a couple of selfies. “Bye miss” “Bye miss” was heard continuously for a couple of minutes. As I was packing my bags, I could feel “Inner peace”, if only for a few minutes. One of our collegues came and asked me, how I felt. Though there was a flood of feelings in my mind, all I could muster at that point was “Amazing” (with thumbs up). The “Bye Miss” brigade was still on, and I was waving to the kids.

The moment reminds me of the song, from the movie “Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara”
“der lagi lekin…maine abhi jeena seekh liya..
aasuon ke bin.. maine ab hai jeena seekh liya”

We returned to our rooms, and then thought of going to the park which was right next to the Math. As we were near the entrance, we saw some students leaving the campus. A group of girls came near me. These were the same girls in my class. So they asked me where I was from. Then one of them asked me for my phone number. I oblidged. And then another girl asked “Miss, can I have your autograph”. I was in shock. Somebody is asking me for my autograph… I don’t remember anybody ever asking me for this. So I did give my autograph to 2 of them.

After all this, the students left for the day. We roamed around the math, then the park. If anybody is going to Chitradurga, the fort is a must visit, and if you have some time, do visit the park too.. A very good theme park, on showing how human evolution has happened etc. There were lot of people visiting.

Around 4.30 PM, we started from the place, and finally reached our homes by 9.30 PM. It was a day very well spent.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Chitradurga : Rural Reach Program

“Teacher’s pet is that you?”. If someone had asked me this question, I would never have said yes. But if someone asked me, “Teacher, is it you?” I would have said yes. I have always liked teaching from my childhood, from helping friends to teaching my brother and other cousins.

So, when I got this opportunity to attend a CSR (corporate Social Responsibility) activity, from my office, I pounced on it. We were to go to Chitradurga (CD) and create awareness among the students, how to use computers, what to do with and how it can help in any career decision they make.

This post might get too long, since I want to pour in every little detail from that experience.

The program: students from around 20+ schools will be gathered in Murgha Matt in Chitradurga. Around 25 volunteers from our company would go there, to provide the awareness about the most basic thing in our life these days – COMPUTERS.

The Trip: We start from our office at 4.30 pm. I don’t know any of the other guys and gals, and initially everybody was in their seat, trying to catch a power nap. Slowly, introductions happened and I got to speak to some of them. There was heavy rain and the wipers in our van had some problem, due to which there was a delay. So with a break and delay due to rain, we reached CD at 9.30 PM. We were provided with food and accommodation at the Matt. The food was very yummy, and it helped that we were hungry. The matt itself was very spacious and calm. After a little chit-chat, we were told to assemble at 7.30 AM next morning, and all of us retired to our rooms.

I couldn’t sleep well that night, since I was a little nervous and very excited. But finally around 1.30AM, I think fell asleep. Around 5.30 AM, I could hear birds chirping, and I could no longer stay on bed. I went out, and it was a chilly morning. I spent a few minutes there, and finally came back to bed. By 7.30, we were ready and were at the meeting place in few minutes. After a few instructions, we were told about the day’s program. Then started the photo session. We clicked quite a few group pics. Around 8.30 AM, we went to have breakfast. We ate Uppit, Kesari bhat and tomato rice. It was very tasty. We then went back to our rooms to get our laptop bags.

Around 9.30 we walked towards the big hall where the program was to start. As we were closer and we could see the students, there were butterflies in my stomach. We saw lot of chairs on the stage, and lot of chairs on the side. We were walking on the side, where we couldn’t see the chairs kept. Just when we were wondering where we were going to sit. I saw some of our group members walking up the stairs and nearing the chairs on the stage. That’s when it struck. We are going to be on stage. “OMG!!!!!!!!, we are going to sit on the stage”

Well, after settling on the stage, I saw how it felt to sit on the stage looking at the audience. Usually I am on the other side. We had to keep a straight face and not behave funny, obviously with 800-900 students looking at us. But it was fine, we got used to it. In a few minutes, Dr. Sri Shivamurthy Murugha Sharanaru, who is the present pontiff of the Math arrived. The introductions happened, we were given roses, a micro mini speech by one of our representatives was followed by the speech from guruji.

I have always detested speeches, but there are very few speeches which I have enjoyed, and this was one of them. For 2 reasons, it was short, and it was interactive. First few minutes he iterated to the students, how computers are useful in life, and how they can benefit that day from our visit. Then he gave an example of animation movies, example of content from TV, then turned into an interactive discussion with students. The answers the kids gave were also entertaining. Finally he ended the speech mentioning, how they should utilize this opportunity.

Once the speech was completed, they mentioning, honoring of our group by the guruji. I was stunned. This has never ever happened to me. So when my name was called, I did namaskar to guruji and he put the shawl over me, gave me a gift (book), and showered some flowers on my. I thanked him and came back to my seat. All 25 of us were felicitated. Our group also, had taken a mala and fruits for guruji. After the vote of thanks, all the dignitaries from the stage departed, and the teachers started segregating the groups, for the classes. The actual program for which we had come. It was like waiting for “Moment of Truth”.

To be Continued........

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Something yummy to eat?

Last Sunday G was supposed to be working, and he told me I was free to make my own plans… Now before you think G is a controlling husband, and I need to take his permission, that’s not the case. He is an awesome husband, who just dint want me getting bored at home, while he was going to be glued to his laptop.

Anyway on Saturday, G’s cousin called to invite us for the birthday party. I had my mind prepared for it, that I would be going for the party, with my mother-in-law.

On Sunday afternoon, G says one of his friends has invited for a get together at home. Nothing formal, just the usual drinks and snacks kinda party. So I asked the most logical question “What about your work”. For which his reply was also logical “If work is over sooner, then we go”. Now I dint know if I could go to the birthday party or no. Finally in the evening, it was decided that I will go ahead to the birthday party, and G will call me once work is over, so I could then come back and we could go to the friend’s house.

As luck would have it, I got busy and couldn’t pick his call early. By the time I could pick the call, it was late, and by the time I was back home it was eight (that rhymes J ). We couldn’t go to the party, since it was quite far, and made no sense just to go for half an hour. So G, said choose a place to go, let’s go for dinner. I was stuffed with Bisibele bhat, jaamun, cake. But anyway I thought and in few minutes I said Hard Rock Café. G gave me a “In this traffic” look. Finally, we dint go anywhere and he ate what we had got from the cousin’s house.

On Monday, while returning from work, he said “I want to go eat something yummy”
My next logical question “Where?”
He says “You decide”.
And before I could come with something “And don’t just say something.. Think about it… Not like yesterday where you say Hard Rock Café and we take hours to reach it”

Then the conversation went like this:

Me: Fine.. then you decide…
G: Why should I every time?
Me: Coz, I don’t think and tell. I just blurt out stuff
G: Yeah you should think and tell.
Me: So what? Is there a place, we really really really want to go?
G: Yes, there is
Me: Which one?
G: there are lots
Me: Name one.
G: There are so many
Me: Fine… Name ONE
G: *Silence*
Me: I am waiting
G: You should know
Me: *seeing stars now… How on earth is it possible* I know we both love each other and all that.. But if you don’t know where you really want to go. How am I to know where you really want to go, without you knowing it?
G: *confused* What.. Don’t change the topic.
Me: Fine.. let’s go anywhere you want to go.. I am not the fussy one here

Finally, we went to a new place.. It  was an ok place, we are definitely not going to go back there, not worth it.

But next time G says “Let’s go to eat something yummy”, I know which place to suggest ;)  *two red horns on my head…. Don’t mess with me.. muahahaha*

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

DIL.. who is the DIL

I got this forward a couple of days back, and I am just not able to control my laughter after imagining a scenario:

So first the forward is this:

FIL : Father-in-law
BIL: Brother-in-law
But the Heart of the family is DIL: Daughter-in-law. She Takes care of the  family.

My take on this above forward:
Now Imagine this situation. There are guests at home, and introduction is in progress.
So the husband introduces his Wife. So XYZ, please meet my beloved wife – ABC.

Imagine instead the in-laws introduce her to guests. So XYZ, milo humari DIL se. Husband is wondering, when his wife became their DIL J

Also, imagine all the songs which have DIL in them.

If the D-I-L is kidnapped by someone :  Chura ke DIL mera aaaaa..goriya chali

When the in-laws are trying to convince her for something and she doesn’t agree, they are singing : DIL hai ki maanti nahi…

And ofcourse when she acts crazy : DIL to pagal hai…DIL deewani hai or humari DIL bhi kitni pagal hai

While she is pregnant, their future grandchild sings… Hum Aapke DIL mein rehte hain

If they are Shaqqi in-laws : DIL to hai DIL, DIL ka aitbaar kya keeje

When she is in trouble and they are trying to sympathise with her : Ae DIL hai mushkil hai Jeena bada

When her husband is not around.. and they are teasing her :  DIL deewani.. bin sajna ki

If she is of shayaraana andaaz : DIL aaj shaayar hai

If they want someone to hear her voice : DIL ki awaaz sun

And if they want to kill her : KILL DIL… KKKKK KILL DIL… KILL DIL……

Cant think of more songs right now.. but let your imagination go wild……

Monday, June 15, 2015

Birthday Parties

Yesterday, I went to attend a birthday party of a 3 year old, G’s cousin’s son. As kids came into the house. There were more than a dozen kids, since there are lot of kids on that road, also since the cousin has a daughter and her friends were invited too. The party was no doubt very noisy, with kids chattering away to glory, and felt good, seeing them so excited about the birthday party.

This incident took me back to the birthday parties we would attend. Anytime between 4.30 – 6.00 PM we would be invited for the cake cutting. I would be forcefully made to wear a nice dress (something frilly) , and then the face would be painted with the Ponds powder, and a nice bindi, matching bangles and earrings. At times I would even protest, “It’s not my birthday Ma”. After all this, I would be given a box wrapped in presentation cover.

“Give this gift to your friend after the cake cutting” would be the instruction. “And don’t spill anything on your dress” would be added. “Yeah right, that’s what I am going for, to spill the ‘to be tasty cake on my dress’ and get back to get scolding” would be my thought bubble.

As soon as you reach the friend’s house, there would be balloons in everybody’s hands, and some of them would be munching on a few chocolates and biscuits, which would be kept on a tray in the centre of the hall. Far off, you would see the dining table, where you would see glasses filled with orange coloured liquid, and next to it would be a big bag of chips, and if you were lucky enough, you would also see pakodas or samosas. These would be served to you later, after the main event.

You would then grab a couple of chocolates, and rush to meet your other friends. And like long lost pals, you would chat nineteen to dozen, as if the conclusion to this discussion is going to solve the world crisis. Who cared at that age, what world crisis was!!!!! All we were bothered about is, when will we get to eat the cake, and after all this celebration, after we went home, we had another great event to attend to, complete our homework.

Once the hosts realized that most of the kids had come, more importantly, the birthday kid’s best friend had come, and by now the child has no patience, we would all be assembled to stand behind the kid, while the candles would be blown and cake be cut.

Oh in the meanwhile, we would all wear those birthday caps and those ghastly masks which would cover our faces. Seriously, whats with the masks, first you ask the kids to wear the masks, then you take their pictures, and then how do we recognize ourselves…. The dress which we wore… I mean really, the dress which we wore, so we have to keep an account of what we wore to which friend’s birthday.

Anyway, back to the cake cutting, after this event, all of us would be asked to take our seats, and a paper plate would appear, with the cake, chips (our local lip-smacking hot chips), samosas or pakodas or anything else, and then to quench our thirst, the orange drink. Oh yes, before all this, we would have dutifully given the gifts to the birthday kid.

At times, we would even have some games and prizes, I might have won a couple, but I was usually not that lucky. I didn’t even know about the concept of return gifts….Darn!!! Wouldn’t it have been fun, if I had gone and asked “Aunty, I dint get my return gift”. Then within days, this news would have reached mom, that I had asked for a return gift, the consequences of which would definitely not be in my favour *shudder*

After a mini second helping of chips, and whatever else, we would then wash our hands, and then leave bidding the hosts good bye. Now on the way home, we would discuss on how awesome the cake was, come to think of it, we had no idea of flavor or colour. It was cake that’s it. Also, mentally calculating what we could demand from our parents for our birthdays. Ofcourse, any of these ideas were never considered for the birthdays, but the kids can dream alright!

Once home, we would be interrogated on what we ate, how much we ate, did we behave properly, did we overload our tummies with chips as if we had never seen any. After the 1st degree of investigation, we would be sent to change to the normal clothes. And then the clothes would be investigated for any blood stains from the murder, ok ok just kidding, a few stains of ketchup and the interrogation would be as close. You would be told “how you should eat and all that”, and if you were a good kid, and had not dropped even a mm of the chips on your dress, then you be given a compliment “Good Girl”. 
Finally the nail in the coffin would be “You have spent all your evening doing time pass, now off you go and finish the homework”. And thus, ended our super exciting event of “Birthday Party”

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

The bees and their sting

I was in a team meeting today, and there was some disturbance in the call. None of my teammates are in my location, they are all in a (will not be disclosed) foren location.

I gave my update and in between was listening to the call as well. There was a collective laughter, why I had no clue. After a while one of the guys gave his update and before it could go to the next person, he intervened.

Oh and yes folks, there is a small tip I have to give you guys.

“Never squeeze a bees sting”. I was shocked, went into sort of panic mode where my brain was running “What did I miss?” “What did I miss?”

He continued, just take the prick out, if you squeeze the sting, it can only cause you more pain. Yada Yada. I was sure, I hadn’t dozed off in the middle of the meeting. I am very alert and always look out for the word “Arathi, your turn”. So where did this bees topic come up.

Then another person says, “So why don’t you take an hour long session on bees and their sting, in our next team meeting. We should definetly add it in our agenda”

The first guy says, “sure I will prepare a presentation”.

*Collective laughter from everybody*

The next person started talking about his status.

I am still trying to figure out why this topic came into picture… “The bees and their sting”

Monday, June 08, 2015

Dance like there is no tomorrow

“Aawara bhavre jo holle holle gaayen”, this song from Sapnay (Hindi movie), brings back lot of memories. No, it was not because I am a fan of Kajol, I am not really a very big fan of hers.It’s not because the song was pictured in beautiful locations, but yes it was beautiful. It’s not because Hema Sardesai, the singer was the latest sensation at that time. So what is it, one might think! It’s the time spent with my cousins.

This song came when I was in school. It was during summer holidays, all the my younger cousins and my brother at time would consider me their leader, and do everything that I would tell them. So up we would go to the terrace and sing this song, and I was their choreographer. It goes without saying that I would be the lead dancer, and the other 4 were my background dancers, but all of us would have the same steps. Ofcourse I copied some of the steps… esp the line “koyal ki kuhu kuhu, papihe ki pihu pihu”. We would practice as if we had some performance scheduled. Infact, we had perfected the first stanza of the song, getting the beats right and also getting the steps in synch.

The holidays got over and we never danced to that song again, but all I remember of that song is all of us practicing “from the bottom of our hearts” to this song. I have danced during my school time for lot of songs, this is one of the most cherished ones.

Then came the time of “Taal”, and that signature pose of Aishwarya Rai, in her white costume. The song was Ramta Jogi, where she does a split. I have tried doing that a zillion number of times, but every time I was successful only in hitting my knee to the floor, so much that now at times when my knees pain or I have any trouble, I blame it on that song. I loved the other songs too, Taal se Taal mila, was one of my favorites, it was such a nice song to dance to, and in my room, I would be transported to the landscape of Himachal. Along, those times came “Kaho Na Pyar Hai” I would like to watch the songs and copy the dance steps, and most of the time if they were simple enough, I would learn them too.

Then came the time, when I would just dance with dad, bro and mom and try to teach them waltz and salsa, err, I don’t know the dance, the very basic steps with them to the songs “Dekho Dekho Janam hum dil apna tere liye laaye” from Ishq. And another musical piece.

Now, as time goes by, I don’t dance to the new songs, no time to watch them and also to try and practice them. But yes, on certain days I just want to dance away.
Dance like there is no tomorrow J