Monthly Archives: January 2011

The untold story

At the age of six, she was sent to her uncle’s house coz her parents couldn’t afford to provide for the growing family.
They understood the need for basic education and she was sent to the ‘palli school’ like every other member of the xian community did those days.  She was one of those kids who lived alienated from the concept called lunch. The family didn’t expect her to continue her education beyond 4th standard. But, she was good in studies and her uncle made a special request to let her continue her studies to the authorities, even though the family didn’t have a single penny to fund her education. The convent recognized her potential and decided thus, at the age of 10, she was estranged from her parents and siblings. For, her free education she was supposed to take care of the needs of the other younger kids in the convent, who ended up there coz their lives were meant to be that way. Abandoned, orphaned or some who had no idea what fate landed them there.

She managed to complete 10th grade, did reasonably well and an English medium education was unthinkable for people from families like her’s. Just coz she was good at it, they had the kind heart to take care of her education. She couldn’t join the congregation as she didn’t have the money that needed to be given as contribution those days.

She had the option of completing her pre-degree as a private candidate. Without any textbooks, depending on whatever material she managed to get from neighbours and relatives she cleared her PDC exams. And then, a cousin in Bhopal needed someone to take care of her little kids while the cousin went on night duty. Thus, from a small town in central Kerala, at the age of 17 she landed in a totally strange city,to be of service for this particular cousin. The kids grew up, the night duties ended and she had to find another option. The extreme weather conditions started taking its toll on her too.

A clerical job in a book depot was the first step of her career. She saved most of it and sent it to her family, so that the younger siblings could also complete their education. Meanwhile, she managed to complete her graduation as a private candidate again. It was in this job, she discovered her love for literature and writing.

Those days, clearing an exam for a central government job was everybody’s dream. Several attempts and several failures later, she finally got one. And she sticked to it for over 3 decades.

She got married, she started to manage a family, juggled between her job and family duties, compromised a lot. She could have built a strong career but family came first for her. The only reason she continued to work was to supplement her husband’s income and provide the best for her child.

A strong pain in her back, wrong diagnosis and a wrong injection that turned out to be almost lethal, turned her life upside down. But, she has always been a fighter. Even though her health beat her several times, she kept going strong. Her will-power is what I admire in her the most. She fought for 8 years and finally gave up. The surgery was the final blow and now it is time to let go. For what she accomplished so far, she has done much more than what she could do.

Tomorrow,  she leaves the organization she worked for, for the past 32 years. And I think this is the ideal time to say the untold story of a woman who is ALMOST everything that I am NOT.

Ma, you deserve a break from this race now. So, this is…wishing you a happy retired life. ( SHE reads my blogs :P)

I don’t know what others would say, but as a working mother you were just perfect.

Rather than trying to make up for the moments you couldn’t give me your attention when I needed it, you made me understand the circumstances that led to it. That was the best thing you could ever do for a daughter.

It was your enthusiasm to write letters to the editor that actually cultivated a habit of reading newspapers in me. Even though I could barely understand what you wrote,just seeing your name in the section made me swell with pride. And, that inspired me to write too.

You taught me, that having a barbie doll or a normal local made doll never made a difference. And you refused to buy me a barbie doll in spite of me making a huge fuss about it. That was the best lesson in self-restraint that you taught me.

You allowed me to have a birthday celebration at home, with friends just once in the past 23 years. But, when you took me to the orphanage on my birthday, you made me realize, how blessed I was.

I was miffed at the restrictions you placed, growing up was a pain and sadly, it took me several years to realize you were just right.

I never really bothered to read or appreciate your poetry until I stepped into my twenties just coz, anything written in 4 lined stanzas repelled me. Today, when I read them I just feel like kicking myself for ignoring them.

YOU ARE THE COOLEST MOM EVER.

And since, you are wondering what will you do post retirement, let me remind you, about 2 abandoned blogs of yours. The first and the latest. Revive them instead of blog-stalking me ;).

(What a relief when I didn’t try to play circus with words here)


Each time I think, I’ve lived through the worst nightmare, something tells me the worst is it yet to come. I need to sail through this phase of life which I can’t remain oblivious to. I cannot afford to let it beat me. But, sometimes I am just clueless and lost. Since, when did we have answers to all our problems anyway?

 

 


Since, I’m not biography worthy, I’d rather do an autobiography ;)

Once upon a time…

The uniforms that held us in bondage were discarded, the terrible red ribbons which in no way matched with our uniforms were thrown away and I was celebrating independence. I liked to believe so.

The ‘single-pampered-spoilt-brat’ label was getting on to my nerves and I pleaded, persuaded and pestered ( the 3 Ps of parenting the parents) to send me away from Mallu Land and away from them. Delhi University was out of question and Chennai was a dirty place. So, Bangalore seemed a safe bet with Hitler (aka my Maternal Uncle) and family appointed as my local guardians.  I had the choice of only 2 colleges, Christ and MCC. Christ is where, every B’lore Mallu and his cousin existed and I knew I wouldn’t be spared from the web of extended family  here.

MCC chics were pretty cool and my moment of epiphany happened on a particular trip to Veega Land, when the girls and boys were sent in separate buses due to several ‘concerns’. So, while grooving to the beats  in the bus, during this particular trip, I wanted to know how it would be to study in a women’s only institution.

As I walked up the drive for the first time, I fell in love with the college. The Principal tried to dissuade me from opting humanities and attempted culpable homicide by asking me to shift to Economics, Math and Stats combo instead of the artsy combo of Pol. Sci, Eco and Socio. I stood firm, for the first time in my life.

Interview done, admissions done and it was time to pack my bags and come back to Bangalore. This Bangalore was nothing like the early 90s Bangalore which I’d lived in. So, advice flew in all directions. “Be very careful, the girls are dangerous”. “People will make you fall in a trap”. ” Don’t befriend guys there”. ” Be yourself, don’t succumb to peer pressure”… sad I didn’t note down some of the hilarious ones.  Also, questions arose on why go all the way to B’lore to do a mere B.A. Many people offered their condolences on the ‘death of an engineer’ in me. ( Who decided I’d become an engineer anyway?). But none of it had prepared me for the awesomeness and awfulness I was supposed to experience in the years to come.

Hostel, college everything was new to me. The reopening session included the mandatory Retreat which I attended diligently, like a goody goody Mallu catholic girl who had just come from Kerala. From the next year, I entered the vicinity only when attendance was taken and in the final year retreat, I slept most of the time in my room.

Now, I believed my college life way cooler than everybody else’s and wrote tiny bits and pieces and spammed people’s inboxes until they issued a shoot at sight sight of mail order. And that’s how I discovered this cool thing called bragging by blogging.  Well, the main reason was a particular friend of mine, the bane of my existence in school had started a blog and received many comments. I hadn’t outgrown the ‘competition’ spirit yet, and if she could, then I should blog too.  People were generous enough to comment and encourage me those days. Arun, Kunju, Raghav, JK, Akhil.. the initial days of blogging without any apprehensions were so much fun. A big thank you to all of you who took time off your busy schedules to read a few kbs of my online trash.

And once, I began blogging, almost everything about my life is chronicled here though there has been change of urls/addresses. ( just like me). This page is like an extension of me now, though I don’t like the fact that I’m forced to keep certain opinions to myself to avoid the wrath of people I know in real life ;).  I already told someone off coz he’s was being a prick, picking on me and my blog entries, fb updates and tweets. Today we refuse to acknowledge each others’ presence which is very convenient for both of us.

Ya, so where was I? Meandered as usual?

By the way, its time to change the Blog headline in a few days time.  I won’t be a Mallu stuck in B’luru anymore 😛

 

 

 


A special moment of 2010…

“We are waiting for you, come fast”, my uncle’s voice commanded over the phone, while I was trying the wipe away the water trickling from my hair and falling on the desk. I had decided to scoot from this wedding but uncle pulled me into the trap. I had no choice but tag along. I didn’t even have the ‘wedding’ type clothes to wear and made myself presentable. Being the typical asocial kind, I dread public gatherings like this. This was a wedding of someone I see on and off in our campus. Apparently, as kids we used to play but, I don’t have any memories of being her friend as such.

We entered the wedding hall and I saw a lot of familiar and strange faces. Some people, I see on a regular basis but have no idea who they are. Some, I acknowledge with a smile and some, I do make conversation at times.

“Do you remember Ikka and family?”, Uncle asked. I had no idea.

“They used to stay opposite to Ittiyanam auntie’s house”. I still had no idea. I do remember the yummy pudina chutney in the Ittiyanam household and that her grandson Danny was a friend. He had grand birthday parties while, I had only one. And, ya a pic of him in my birthday frock. Auntie had dressed him up as a girl.

“Oh my, isn’t this Tintu… she has grown up so much. She looks just like Annie Auntie”. A lady in her early 30s exclaimed.

Shit! These people know me and I am absolutely clueless. Who is she? Someone I knew from my childhood for sure, but who?

“Don’t you remember, Bindu chechi?” My uncle played the savior. Oh yes, Bindu chechi, my aunt’s best friend when she was here. She’s now a 10 year old kid’s mother. She had a brother, Prasad was his name. I guess.  She point me to the slightly balding man, with his hair showing shades of grey. There was a very Business-man like look about him.  Last time I saw, he was this college lad,  clad in bell bottoms and check shirts zooming in his moped.  Time…

****

The early nineties.

Bindu chechi and her family stayed close to our quarters. One afternoon, Ammumma’s family and the people in Bindu chechi’s family decided to go to Manoranjan theatre ( the one in the Air Force Campus) for a movie. Now, ‘I’ was a problem here. My mom wouldn’t return from office until 5.30 and they were going for the matinee show. There was no way, I could be entrusted in some other neighbour’s care. So, they decided to take me along. The women travelled by Auto and the men in their two wheelers. I was the front  passenger in Prasad ettan’s moped. I still remember the excitement I had while riding on that moped. Appa’s Bajaj was the only other two-wheeler where I could be a front passenger  until then

. Adjusting my long legs, holding the handles tight and the pleasure of being allowed to eat potato chips and ice cream in the absence of the control freak called ‘Amma’ :P. That was a day to remember. Of course, yes, if the memories still remain fresh almost 20 years later, IT HAD TO BE.

THE MOVIE WAS  ” PERUMTHACHAN”. All I remember is Thilakan, the scary apooppan.

I vaguely remembered attending their ‘gruhapravesham’ a few months after that.  They moved out of the campus.

****

These people faded away from my memories with time. I never thought I’d get an opportunity to meet these people ever again.

But then, I did.

I now wonder, what if I had skipped the wedding and returned to my pg?