Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Exploring my Roots

Eid Mubarak! Today's the first day of Eid, and if I were back in the Emirates, it would be just the beginning of a three day long holiday. But I'm in Singapore and I get only one day off (Thank God for at least one day!), which should be spent in productive work, but that's boring, so I procrastinated quite a bit, this post being just another example of that. Anyway, it's been drizzling and I spent a little time watching the rain fall against my windowpane. And, it brought back memories of Kerala, and I knew I just had to write about home. Kerala, a narrow sliver along the peninsula, nestled at the south western corner of India, evokes so many memories.

My roots are in Kerala, but I really haven't got an opportunity to explore my roots. Spending the first few years of my childhood in Ooty, and then Bangalore and Dehra Dun, a majority of my teen years were in the Middle East. As a result, Kerala was just a holiday destination, where I spent not more than a week, due to the fact that a lot of my relatives don't reside in the state. It just struck me how little I know of my own state. Pardon the regional parochialism, but this post is really about a sense of longing to go back and discover one's roots, spurred by some favorite Kerala memories of mine.

As I listened to the gentle drizzle outside, I remembered my holidays in Palakkad. One distinct memory- I was in Grade 10 at that time, and I had to study, even during the vacations. I remember mugging facts on Indian temples for Social Science, sitting in the front verandah of Raji valiamma's house, watching the fierce rain swathe everything around in white. Good old times. (On a side note, I'm still using the same folder for my notes- except this time instead of Geetha Ma'am's helpful notes, I have complex stuff on accounting and auditing and risk management. Not that these notes aren't useful- I need to work on them. Who knows, the good luck might rub off :)) Another memory is visiting the family shrine in the village of Kollengode, on the outskirts of Palakkad town. I really used to look forward to it, since it was probably one of the rare occasions where I got a chance to don the paavadai thavani. How superficial, right!

And how could I forget the annual trips to the temple town of Guruvayoor? I think I've been going there almost every year- Appa and Amma make it a point not to miss the trip. Even while working on this post, I can visualize the smiling statue of the Lord in the garba griha... Hopefully, I'll get to go there again next year. A random memory associated with Guruvayoor is an old shop that was right outside the temple. As a child, I used to be proud that it had the same name as me- Krishna Sruthy, spelt with a 'y' instead of an 'i', but spelling doesn't matter, I used to tell myself. A few years later, I was disappointed that 'my shop' no longer existed.

Returning to Coimbatore from Guruvayoor, we sometimes stopped by at Thrissur. What was the purpose of halting there, you might ask? Usually, it was to drop in at Pulimootil/Emmanuval Silks, near the bus stand, where Amma could compare prices of pattu saris and see whether they were as good as the Chennai Silks saris. 'Why no discount?', she would ask, 'In Coimbatore, all shops have aadi discount- You should also do something like that, alengil all of them will go to Tamil Nadu!'

Another favorite memory is the trip from my Valiacha's house in Kochi to Vallickavu. We would set out early in the morning, around 5 or 6 am, and then drive down south. Upon reaching Kollam, we would drive parallel to the beach and arrive at the village of Vallickavu. Taking a boat, we would then cross the backwaters and reach the Amritapuri ashram on the other side. The smell of the sea in the breeze, the calm backwaters in the vicinity, the tune of familiar bhajans played on the harmonium and the wonderful prospect of a hug from dear Ammachi, it was something I really looked forward to.

Just a couple of days ago, a friend with a 'fascination' for Kerala and I were discussing a potential Kerala trip. We would explore Kerala together, we vowed. I certainly have a lot to explore for myself- watch the velichappad, witness the Thrissur pooram, hike in the hills of Wayanad, visit the world's richest temple in Trivandrum (not Tirupati!), travel along the coast to Kanya Kumari, explore Malabar (my visit there has been limited to the Calicut airport), and truly witness the meaning of the popular Usha Uthup song, 'Ente Keralam, Ethre Sundaram'. Here's to that day when I get to explore my roots!

Should stop here. My textbooks are begging to be read.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Of Book Sales and Happiness

For the past few weeks, I have been craving to read an Agatha Christie novel, especially one from the Miss Marple series. I cannot explain why I suddenly felt like reading these books, but maybe, I associated it with certain memories and as those memories struck me, the books came to my mind. For instance, A Murder is Announced was probably the first ever Agatha Christie I read. I remember reading it after my grade 8 final examinations, a good seven years ago, when we were still in Bahrain. I was expecting the exam results and I calmed my poor nerves by reading this hard-to-put-down book. As a result of reading the book, Miss Marple found an ardent fan in me.

Times passed by and soon I began to grow weary of the morbidity involved in most of Christie's books. (Fame and fans are fickle friends, Miss Marple!) I began to shift to different genres, often not reading for long periods altogether, thanks to my hectic academic schedules at school. I'm glad to say that I've got back into my old habit of reading regularly, largely due to my summer internship. This was my life saver during those long hours on the bus and MRT and the lonely times back in an empty hostel. I used to read before the internship, of course, but it was sporadic and unfocused. Imagine, even a book as gripping as A Thousand Splendid Suns took me one whole semester plus the winter break to complete!

Nevertheless, am glad that I still manage to squeeze in some time for reading. So, when I was anxiously awaiting my semester results, I remembered waiting for my grade 8 results a long time ago. The old memories struck me and I knew I had to go and find an Agatha Christie somewhere. I specifically wanted to read A Murder is Announced again, but the Library didn't have the books I wanted. I was sulky that one day, but thankfully managed to find something else to read.

Imagine my glee when I walked to the Central Forum today and what was I to find, but an old book sale! And wonder of wonders, they also had Agatha Christie books, very very reasonably priced. And best of all, they had A Murder is Announced. Now, I certainly do not endorse the gloom and ominousness associated with the title, but I have really been craving for this book for quite some time. What a happy accident!! :)

I'll take this incident as a sign from the heavens to stop slacking and start working!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A Lesson from my Little Niece

I cannot believe that my summer holidays have come to an end so fast! I must admit, it's been a very fruitful vacation due to a wonderful internship and so I celebrated the last week of the summer with my parents, who flew down to Singapore. They stayed at my cousin's house, so during that week I got a lot of time to bond with my one and a half year old niece, whom I hadn't been able to play with for a very long time, thanks to University!

Children, in all their innocence, can really teach you a lot. I found it to be the same with my niece. I was playing with her and accidentally, my elbow hit her on the forehead. She didn't react to it immediately. But as soon as I realized that I had hit her, I gasped loudly. When she saw my reaction, she became frightened and started crying, huge tears falling onto her ABC mat. Later, I understood that she cried not because of pain, but because of my response to that situation. It took us all a while to coax her, and later she came back to me to continue her ABC game.

While traveling back to my campus, I began to ponder over the incident. Aren't we all like that? Sometimes, don't we pay more attention to how other people react rather than how it affects ourselves? This lesson from my niece reminded me that whilst it may be important to listen to other people , sometimes all that's required is to listen to yourself. At the end of the day, that's what is important. That's what counts. Be good to yourself. Be true to yourself. In Dale Wimbrow's words, 'Your final reward will be heartaches and tears; If you've cheated the guy in the glass'.

Thank you Anshu baby, for teaching me this lesson! You'll probably never read this, but I want you to know that I'm proud of you and will always be your loving Sruthi bua. :)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Exploring my Roots

Eid Mubarak! Today's the first day of Eid, and if I were back in the Emirates, it would be just the beginning of a three day long holiday. But I'm in Singapore and I get only one day off (Thank God for at least one day!), which should be spent in productive work, but that's boring, so I procrastinated quite a bit, this post being just another example of that. Anyway, it's been drizzling and I spent a little time watching the rain fall against my windowpane. And, it brought back memories of Kerala, and I knew I just had to write about home. Kerala, a narrow sliver along the peninsula, nestled at the south western corner of India, evokes so many memories.

My roots are in Kerala, but I really haven't got an opportunity to explore my roots. Spending the first few years of my childhood in Ooty, and then Bangalore and Dehra Dun, a majority of my teen years were in the Middle East. As a result, Kerala was just a holiday destination, where I spent not more than a week, due to the fact that a lot of my relatives don't reside in the state. It just struck me how little I know of my own state. Pardon the regional parochialism, but this post is really about a sense of longing to go back and discover one's roots, spurred by some favorite Kerala memories of mine.

As I listened to the gentle drizzle outside, I remembered my holidays in Palakkad. One distinct memory- I was in Grade 10 at that time, and I had to study, even during the vacations. I remember mugging facts on Indian temples for Social Science, sitting in the front verandah of Raji valiamma's house, watching the fierce rain swathe everything around in white. Good old times. (On a side note, I'm still using the same folder for my notes- except this time instead of Geetha Ma'am's helpful notes, I have complex stuff on accounting and auditing and risk management. Not that these notes aren't useful- I need to work on them. Who knows, the good luck might rub off :)) Another memory is visiting the family shrine in the village of Kollengode, on the outskirts of Palakkad town. I really used to look forward to it, since it was probably one of the rare occasions where I got a chance to don the paavadai thavani. How superficial, right!

And how could I forget the annual trips to the temple town of Guruvayoor? I think I've been going there almost every year- Appa and Amma make it a point not to miss the trip. Even while working on this post, I can visualize the smiling statue of the Lord in the garba griha... Hopefully, I'll get to go there again next year. A random memory associated with Guruvayoor is an old shop that was right outside the temple. As a child, I used to be proud that it had the same name as me- Krishna Sruthy, spelt with a 'y' instead of an 'i', but spelling doesn't matter, I used to tell myself. A few years later, I was disappointed that 'my shop' no longer existed.

Returning to Coimbatore from Guruvayoor, we sometimes stopped by at Thrissur. What was the purpose of halting there, you might ask? Usually, it was to drop in at Pulimootil/Emmanuval Silks, near the bus stand, where Amma could compare prices of pattu saris and see whether they were as good as the Chennai Silks saris. 'Why no discount?', she would ask, 'In Coimbatore, all shops have aadi discount- You should also do something like that, alengil all of them will go to Tamil Nadu!'

Another favorite memory is the trip from my Valiacha's house in Kochi to Vallickavu. We would set out early in the morning, around 5 or 6 am, and then drive down south. Upon reaching Kollam, we would drive parallel to the beach and arrive at the village of Vallickavu. Taking a boat, we would then cross the backwaters and reach the Amritapuri ashram on the other side. The smell of the sea in the breeze, the calm backwaters in the vicinity, the tune of familiar bhajans played on the harmonium and the wonderful prospect of a hug from dear Ammachi, it was something I really looked forward to.

Just a couple of days ago, a friend with a 'fascination' for Kerala and I were discussing a potential Kerala trip. We would explore Kerala together, we vowed. I certainly have a lot to explore for myself- watch the velichappad, witness the Thrissur pooram, hike in the hills of Wayanad, visit the world's richest temple in Trivandrum (not Tirupati!), travel along the coast to Kanya Kumari, explore Malabar (my visit there has been limited to the Calicut airport), and truly witness the meaning of the popular Usha Uthup song, 'Ente Keralam, Ethre Sundaram'. Here's to that day when I get to explore my roots!

Should stop here. My textbooks are begging to be read.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Of Book Sales and Happiness

For the past few weeks, I have been craving to read an Agatha Christie novel, especially one from the Miss Marple series. I cannot explain why I suddenly felt like reading these books, but maybe, I associated it with certain memories and as those memories struck me, the books came to my mind. For instance, A Murder is Announced was probably the first ever Agatha Christie I read. I remember reading it after my grade 8 final examinations, a good seven years ago, when we were still in Bahrain. I was expecting the exam results and I calmed my poor nerves by reading this hard-to-put-down book. As a result of reading the book, Miss Marple found an ardent fan in me.

Times passed by and soon I began to grow weary of the morbidity involved in most of Christie's books. (Fame and fans are fickle friends, Miss Marple!) I began to shift to different genres, often not reading for long periods altogether, thanks to my hectic academic schedules at school. I'm glad to say that I've got back into my old habit of reading regularly, largely due to my summer internship. This was my life saver during those long hours on the bus and MRT and the lonely times back in an empty hostel. I used to read before the internship, of course, but it was sporadic and unfocused. Imagine, even a book as gripping as A Thousand Splendid Suns took me one whole semester plus the winter break to complete!

Nevertheless, am glad that I still manage to squeeze in some time for reading. So, when I was anxiously awaiting my semester results, I remembered waiting for my grade 8 results a long time ago. The old memories struck me and I knew I had to go and find an Agatha Christie somewhere. I specifically wanted to read A Murder is Announced again, but the Library didn't have the books I wanted. I was sulky that one day, but thankfully managed to find something else to read.

Imagine my glee when I walked to the Central Forum today and what was I to find, but an old book sale! And wonder of wonders, they also had Agatha Christie books, very very reasonably priced. And best of all, they had A Murder is Announced. Now, I certainly do not endorse the gloom and ominousness associated with the title, but I have really been craving for this book for quite some time. What a happy accident!! :)

I'll take this incident as a sign from the heavens to stop slacking and start working!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A Lesson from my Little Niece

I cannot believe that my summer holidays have come to an end so fast! I must admit, it's been a very fruitful vacation due to a wonderful internship and so I celebrated the last week of the summer with my parents, who flew down to Singapore. They stayed at my cousin's house, so during that week I got a lot of time to bond with my one and a half year old niece, whom I hadn't been able to play with for a very long time, thanks to University!

Children, in all their innocence, can really teach you a lot. I found it to be the same with my niece. I was playing with her and accidentally, my elbow hit her on the forehead. She didn't react to it immediately. But as soon as I realized that I had hit her, I gasped loudly. When she saw my reaction, she became frightened and started crying, huge tears falling onto her ABC mat. Later, I understood that she cried not because of pain, but because of my response to that situation. It took us all a while to coax her, and later she came back to me to continue her ABC game.

While traveling back to my campus, I began to ponder over the incident. Aren't we all like that? Sometimes, don't we pay more attention to how other people react rather than how it affects ourselves? This lesson from my niece reminded me that whilst it may be important to listen to other people , sometimes all that's required is to listen to yourself. At the end of the day, that's what is important. That's what counts. Be good to yourself. Be true to yourself. In Dale Wimbrow's words, 'Your final reward will be heartaches and tears; If you've cheated the guy in the glass'.

Thank you Anshu baby, for teaching me this lesson! You'll probably never read this, but I want you to know that I'm proud of you and will always be your loving Sruthi bua. :)