She’s this chubby little cute thing who was sitting beside me at the adjacent system in the lab, muttering to herself about some thing random. There were others who were making fun of her. I was new to this place, this was my second day in the department. She and I took the same courses that semester, we started talking about the readings, and assignments. We started having this routine of walking back to the hostel for snacks after class. Gradually, I started visiting her room, she came to mine, we used to sit on opposite sides of a table in the library and do our work so much so that the librarians would ask where is your friend today if we went alone. One semester down, 15 days into my month long break, she calls me and says, “Come back, I miss the walk and the talk.” I too missed being around her for all the chubby giggly girlish sisterly fun. D for me is that! She would have just returned from the department to take rest in the hostel, I wouldn’t have gone to the department at all that day. I’ll go knock on her door, pull her out and say, I haven’t signed today, come. And she comes, just like that, tiredness forgotten. Apart from my three, she is one of those few people I take this kind of extra freedom with somebody I can call at any hour to share an idea, and she in turn will be just as pepped up as I am, or she can say, I’m feeling lonely today, let’s have a pajama party at my place or I’m going mad woman, I’m going to rant, listen to me. or hug me! In the last few years, we have watched cricket matches on the big screen, attended concerts, fooled around doing nothing, let’s go to marine drive at midnight kind of urges, hit Mumbai roads on Ganesh Chaturthy and dahi handi every year walking the streets, make me understand what Husserl is saying, why does this man have to write so cryptic! By the end of this year, she and I may go different ways, living in different cities. I’ll miss this woman of mine like crazy, miss that corner in her room where I plonk down and talk, miss her love for Darjeeling tea when she makes me my cup of coffee, our shared love for gummy bears dipped in nutella spread, will miss shopping with her! when people become habits …
I don’t think the 4 of us slept well that night, we tossed and turned in our beds discussing our plan in the dark. We were up at the crack of dawn and were walking out of the house through one of the side doors to the garden towards my mango tree in our pyjamas with our caretakers. All I can remember of the rest of the day is being woken up by my grandmother. She stood towering above the 8 of us, she seemed to be scolding us, a deep frown was pasted on her forehead! I couldn’t make sense of what she was saying, my eyes refused to open, my ears refused to listen..
What none of us realized is we had fallen asleep under my mango tree with sticks in hand between the wait to catch the mango thief
My maternal house is situated in the midst of fields and a lake. It is a small town in the adjacent district. For somebody like me born and brought up in a port city, summer vacations were mainly running wild in the fields, sleeping in the shade of tamarind trees, reading books perched upon the branches of the cashew trees that stretched sideways, climbing guaves trees with packets of chilli powder and salt.. and overseeing the rice and coconut harvest alongside my grandfather and his retinue.
This is about a time during those days before my grandfather’s untimely death when I was still in primary school. During the first day of summer vacations, he used to assign a tree each of each fruit to each one of the four cousins. Since mango was the prominent among the fruits, we were assigned mango trees
My mango tree stood in a corner of the garden that lay farthest from the main house! One day, as we were surveying our trees before the four of us began our siesta, we realized that somebody was stealing mangoes from my tree. My mangoes were the ones that were small in size, green in colour but ripe from the inside and really sweet. It was never cut into slices. It was meant to be had as is, using the skin of the mango as the cup.
We did not sleep that afternoon, but were on the watch out for the mango thieves. Four of us, two of us were in class 1, the younger ones were just starting school. I almost forgot to mention, each one of us had a caretaker.. after we returned home for the day in the evening we hatched a plan to wake up early the next morning and keep a watch over the mango tree to catch the thief.
If I want to take away the MNCs out of my life, let’s start with ….
- Can’t use the lift/elevator that takes me up to my room
- No Crompton Greaves (mm Indian firm, but as somebody just pinged, we’ll still have fans if they stop selling outside, fingers’ crossed :D.. ) ceiling fans – I have to get used to being sweaty hot!
- No Philips Tube lights – need to get used to working when the sun is up and about!
- No smart phones! – !! I’ll have a lot of free time on my hands now that the phone is..
- No Android! because Google is or – all in the same bandwagon..
- No Google – no Word Press – will I have to stop blogging.. gulp! –
- What about dictionaries – Publishers are also..
- Will books go away too.. !!!
- Note books.
- No Gas Stove – because Prestige is …
- What about matchboxes.. are they, or are they not, if I want to make fire, ..
- I love my bread! 😦 local baker.. I love that scent of the bread at noon time when they make it ..
- No more silk … will have to plant cocoa trees
- Toothbrush! and tooth paste! – I’ll have to shut up permanently then!
- May need to be on foot because buses come from volvo or isuzu
- May need to contact the local shoemaker, hope he has elves to help him .. because.
- Can’t fly as Airlines are .. may need to take swimming lessons and strength training seriously from now on!!!
- Just may be I can travel by trains .. but the parts are made of ..
- Add to the list.. let’s see how mundane MNCs have become in our lives..
In conversation with a friend, on MNC are devils in disguise! #inspired! in the background – Made in India
He seemed harmless until he bought that plate of vadapav and offered it to a hungry Pooja. Inspired by Hindi films, she says, I could have thought this was the beginning of some of kind romantic love. Raj and Simran fell in love when their one month trip of Europe was over, what if this Rahul and I did as the train entered Dadar in the wee hours of the morning. Is this happening for real, she never realized Bollywood had influenced her thoughts to this extent, unconsciously 😉
Pooja was travelling from Hyderabad to Bombay, once upon a time, by train. Let’s make her take the Hussain Sagar Express to Bby 😉 It departed from Nampally Station at 14:00 in the afternoon and was to reach Dadar at 4:00 according to the schedule.An ideal location for my story as Solapur station falls on this route at approximately dinner time.
Pooja boards, meets a set of her co-passengers, all of them travelling towards different parts of Bombay. Dadar and a station before it, Kalyan, the two women who sat beside her said, were an hour apart, all part of the same city! Why am I trying to exaggerate, she wondered, even Falaknumma and Nampally stations are nearly an hour away on the MMTS in Hyderabad. She settled down at her window seat with her walkman and her book… this was going to be a long journey, her first time alone without her friends or relatives. And, she was warned to stay away from strangers, and the food they offer, not to use her laptop in the train. All those thoughts rushed back as he, let’s name him Rahul, you can call him Raj as well 😀 😀 offered her the plate of vada pav, he bought from a vendor at the Solapur station.
Every bite she took of that vadapav, Pooja assumed she was going to be knocked out.
“They mix sedatives in it, offer to co-passengers,” she was reminded of her aunt’s words “by the time you are awake, all your money would be gone.” With her aunt in her head, to Pooja now it seemed that the two women and the other man in her cubicle of 8 were staring at her, waiting for her to doze off under the effect of the strong sedative they had mixed with the potatoes of the vada in conspiracy with the vendor at the station… it could be even in the dough of the pav, she mused 😉 What will they take and run away with, I just have overworked laptop, it has to be plugged in everytime I need to work and a few clothes, after all this was a trip for an interview 😉
The vadapav was tasty, she had heard, it was Bombay aam admi food, all Bollywood knowledge, what would she do if not for Hindi cinema… While she was eating, she realized how very hungry, she was, in a rush to reach the station before time, she had skipped lunch from the hostel mess that afternoon. The second pav on her paper plate had a piece of ommlette in it. Raj told her it was omelette pav. To satisfy her hunger was her only aim… Satiated and sip of water later, she felt at least now I have some energy to fight him, if he is planning to kidnap me… she wanted a plate more, but the bags around her legs were making it impossible for her to move out. Rahul offered to get her one more. In a few minutes he was back with more vadapavs, this time for the two women as well. The other male passenger accompanied him to the vendor, they got Bisleri bottles. Pooja could not thank him enough.
It was a dry day in the train, the pantry had unforeseen technical problems after the train was miles away from the Hyderabad station, food was delayed, it was already 22:00, the passengers were impatient with hunger and Solapur railway station seemed like a food haven. The train had stopped there for about half an hour.
Every time Pooja recounts this incident, she says, the idea of a stranger as dangerous was induced into her head while she was growing up. Her co-passenger, (we called him Rahul or Raj right) was a man in his late twenties, he spoke little during the entire journey, he was not related to her, they did not board the train together and they did not know each other. He was a perfect stranger to her, but a stranger who turned out to be of great help during that journey.
Bits and pieces from a post written long ago.. title People…. …And so many we know.PersonallyFlatterersCheatersAuthenticScholarsStealersFriends,FamilyFoes,FakesBluffsMatesRealFans
One of the longest meals I’ve had on a journey is when I left home for the first time for higher education. MJ had packed lunch that day. DJ accompanied me during that train journey, MJ and the sibling stood there in the station, waving at us. It was the first time our family of 4 was getting separated. It was in that slow motion when the chook chook started to leave the platform, and their images faded away as the train gained speed that the feeling of going away to another city struck me, and it struck hard. it was the first time for that entire period of that admission process that I was sad. I do not know why the thoughts of going away for ever came into my mind, I was going away to study, I would be back for vacations… Tears popped out from the corners of my eyes, DJ let me be.. he opened the lunch parcel which he had packed for both of us at home and passed it to me. It was an unusually quite afternoon with the food in hand, I relished each and every morsel on that foil that day, every bit, even the mustard seeds of the seasoning, the greasiness left behind by one of the chicken legs…
As some of you may have noticed I am writing for the Write Tribe Prompt but working the ideas out with food as an overarching theme. It was surreptitious, totally, as things are with me 99 percent of the time.
Day 2 Food, I had a lovely occasion to celebrate with food and my sibling, some lovely pictures were shot, it had to go into the blog. It was a coincidence that WT was running the food prompt for the day as part of the Festival… With that post, things fell in into place.That post began my journey with the Festival of Words, Part 2, it was decided then that I will be a part of it after all..but then a second post had to written soon as part of the Memory prompt for the first day… 😛
Day 1, Memory came second in line in the blog archive list precisely for that reason… It so happened we were discussing about Payasams at the mess hall that day, which invariably translated into the post, a memory that keeps recurring, that keeps repeated every time it is made, it is part of the family lore.. and MJ keeps a bowlful of it in the freezer if I am to visit home in some days..
Day 3, Since the first two were on food, also prompted by Ains at the Scribbles and Whims, the book prompt also needed to be on food. It was a piece of cake as the Secret Santa experience was just behind me, the Gift book lay in front of me on the table, the memories of reading it were still fresh, the memories of playing it were still fresh. Cake walk, as they say..
Day 4 Then came the difficult part, Music..Ains and I brainstormed.. she comes up with lovely ones, but as they say, it is only when a writer inhabits the idea does it work in the writing…The music part had to wait another day to get published for nothing came clearly to mind to give a unique experience of music with food. And it still waits.. You’ll get to read when it drops down, hopefully sooner…
Today is Day 5, My journey so far for this prompt inserting food into each of the daily themes..I rarely carry food while on a journey, the rare occasions when I do, the place of departure is from MJ’s Kitchen. Otherwise, it has always been food on the road, whatever the mode.
When a couple of us, lovers of food, its cooking and its tasting and lovers of fiction got together over an FB chat one day, we decided on this book gifting idea… playing secret Santas in the month of October 😛 When a poll was put out to choose a genre, food fiction emerged as a topper. It was a new genre for all of us, none of us would say until then if asked that we loved reading food fiction, as we say, we are readers of thrillers or romance, or Dan Brown american historical novels or comics…
This is how our little gifting game happened…One of us was Soooper Santa, or Santa Boss. Along with her elf she decided the secret Santas and angels 😛 😛
The fun was in keeping the secret and finding out about the angel’s top book among the choices given! The fun was in lying to your friend because he/she is your Angel/Christmas Friend… and we were their Secret Santas..the fun was in misleading everyone, the fun was in giving clues, the fun was in writing a note to that Christmas friend, the fun was in sending parcels and waiting in anticipation, for the courier service to update the tracking details..
The fun was also in receiving the gift and finding out finally the faces behind the Secret Santa…… 🙂 🙂 This one came my way from my Santas, a lovely read separated into chapters according to the months of a year listing a recipe each for every month… still waiting to catch the film…
A long long time ago, when MJ walked into the living room she saw her little girl all woozy in one of the chairs, a coffee mug in hand with remnants of a dark brown liquid from the vessel on the gas stove. She had gone to attend a call, putting her little one in charge of the kitchen! all of 10 and 10 minutes 😉 😉
A glass or two of butter milk and a sound sleep later, when her little girl came back to her senses.. MJ had another cup of the brown liquid ready for her.. this time, the colour of the brown was far lighter….MJ made her understand that the dark brown liquid she had was not the payasam proper. It was concentrated jaggery juice.
The brown looked lighter now. MJ told her she had diluted it with cups of coconut milk from the first and second pressing of the fresh coconuts she had seen in the kitchen in the morning. The light brown colour, with so many of its little eyes looking back at her invited her to taste it…
The little girl’s favourite, anybody from Kerala would call it, Parippu Payasam
Each dish has a memory.
What better way to celebrate than celebrate with our dear ones with food…In the order of what came to our table 😛 😛 Enjoy.. we had fun, hope you will, as well..
you bet it was a special day, with that boy who came into my life one rainy night in August (I still remember the nurse who refused to give him to a 4-year-old me to hold) this time for a very special reason.. my day of independence as we nicknamed it …. 🙂 🙂 🙂
Yummiliciously, pins n ashes 🙂
The very first time I saw her on somebody else’s blog commenting, then the blog hop happened and I was at her place and she was at mine. She went on to become a regular visitor, even when I went into a phase of just writing posts and never hopping or commenting at all. She was there all along all these years almost the first person to read whatever I have written after I hit publish. Yes, she does pamper me in unknown ways 😉
Then came along a letter about a post I had written. This was one of the first ones I received and I was thrilled… The reading and writing continued until a point when I wrote a post and she was one of few people who got back to me on it, personally. The joy of being understood, that is some joy all of us feel as opposed to the three word casual attendance comments for a post such as excellent or lovely or very good or some such words strung together.. where the reader may not know how to articulate about the post they just read but have to say something….. I replied showing my joy and then life continued.. she visited I visited… and out of the blue we were on the same time line and began to chat …… and so evolved a relationship that went on to be like being with a twin, as we call ourselves ….
It could be that we empathize at the level of the academic courses we are into… its ups and downs, the moods and the way it swings in its extremity or just the way we are…. don’t think we are even bothered to figure out why we came together and have remained this way, or want to ….
The woman in question writes from the heart, whatever she puts up on the blog, and she has not one, but more than two blogs.. She loves spinning stories most of the time and writing verse, is always up for a challenge.. the difficult part is that she would post mostly the exact same things which runs through my mind for a given prompt.. and publish it even before I have penned it down.. Now you do see the predicament she puts me into pushing me to think in different ways about prompts 🙂
At the moment for the Write Tribe Festival of Words she is spinning a tale about a beautiful girl named Violet, her new indigo dress and her handsome prince with Blue eyes.. she draws you into this lucid fairy tale, we go with the flow until you see the protagonists exchange phone numbers to make the reader jolt out of the Snow White kind of stories to a fairy tale in the 21st century.
Aps scribbles her whims at Aps’ Scribbles and Whims @ blogspot.in
words meeting people,
people meeting people,
people meeting words..
and the journey continues…
…. My twin from the bloggy world ….
- Monday Writing Prompt: Bashful (writersforpetessake.wordpress.com)
- Mixed Up Fairy Tale Writing Prompt (reliefteachingideas.wordpress.com)
- Thursday Favorite Things Blog Hop 103 (katherinescorner.com)
- Fairytale in red (textualwrapper.wordpress.com)
- Write Tribe Festival of Words – Day 2 (writetribe.com)
- Writing For An Audience Of One (semilshah.com)
The preparations for the trip started almost a month and a half before the actual dates, such that almost the entire world, now that is an exaggeration, could sense the enthusiasm rising and brimming over between three people online most of the time talking on their FB timelines about food and its variety, its appeal, their love and fascination for anything plated and edible. The love for food was a binding agent….. 😉
Nevertheless, food was not the only reason.. What brought us together, I still have no clue what did. Yes, our dear Corinne, whom we jokingly call the Mallu magnet introduced the two of us, a month or two ago, and then we found ourselves part of many groups related to blogging and book reading, and in a matter of minutes or days or weeks we are talking talking talking making fun, having fun, conspiring, planning, plotting, just talking, being ourselves and yes we never once felt that we hadn’t met in person before the trip.
Life these days has become such that a minimum of a ping from this woman in a day is a must otherwise “kuch khali khali sa lagta hai” 😉 😉 to which she would have something nutty to say ….
Nut of the first order, Madam Meena Menon builds expectations in her readers, whacky ones mind you, most of the time, and then she ends her posts with something as casual as the oxygen in the air, throwing the reader into a ROFL mode almost always in reaction to OMG I actually thought in so many ways… 😉 she can bring in that right smile on your face while reading her posts…. she just ‘naively’ suggests and never for once states 😛 😛 ….. to hold her reader’s attention….. and the nut that she is, she withdraws that hold at precise moments, the reader on their part all of a sudden gets transported back into reality, the reality of the space of the post, the blog, the virtual world, life in general and has a befitting smile …… all of this articulated with a tinge of humour in the brevity of words on her blog.
I think I was never so excited about anything in recent times like the trip. The pretext was a wedding, and I had to travel not once but twice back and forth to different places in a span of 10 days. Now given that it is me in question, my going for a wedding is a remote possibility because being part of a larger gathering such as a wedding somehow does not seem to appeal to me from teenage years. She was one of the 4 reasons I was sooooper excited about the trip and the wedding in question… what came as an icing, of course was the Phenomenon 🙂 🙂 requires a whole new post …
Throughout the month and a half of planning, meeting the 2 women and the 2 men took precedence over the friend’s wedding, I could have nearly missed the wedding as well for the 4 of them ……
words meeting people,
people meeting people,
people meeting words..
and the journey continues…
one of the gems in my life from the world of bloggy words
- Write Tribe Festival of Words – Day 2 (writetribe.com)
- Write Tribe Festival of Words – Day 1 (writetribe.com)
- Power of Seven (vishalbheeroo.wordpress.com)
- Seven Types of Unusual Wedding Themes (celebrationandpartyblog.com)
- Seven and Me (anditooblog.wordpress.com)
- Write Tribe Festival of Words – Day 3 (writetribe.com)