Monthly Archives: April 2017


S being Sunday.  I am so done with this weekend. Give me Monday.  And work.

I learn today that the uncle who shocked me by his untimely death on Friday, had committed suicide. I can’t wrap my head around this one bit.  This chap was a very successful doctor in a large town, had pots of money, a very smart wife… children, but I wonder if that would be disturbing enough for a 59 year old man to kill himself. I hear from the grapevine that he had been disturbed for a few months now due to setbacks at work, but seriously – why must someone’s work be connected to his survival instinct?  I don’t know if I should be angry or sad.

It really bothers me when I hear of people committing suicide.  When I was a teenager, two of my friends committed suicide for stupid reasons.  One was our maid’s daughter- my age, but who had married early (~16, yes illegal), who burned herself because she had a fight with her husband.  Another was not quite a friend, but a neighbour, whom I occasionally chatted with, but I didn’t quite get along with – she and her boyfriend drank pesticides and died because their families wouldn’t agree to their union.  Bollocks.

I live in a university township where there are college kids that periodically hang themselves from the ceiling fan because they didn’t get good grades, or failed, ,or were spurned by their crush or whatever stupid reason.  It burns me up.  I very uncharitably want to say “good riddance” to them.  A 16 year old who used to be my neighbour and who I have seen grow up, killed herself last month because she had a spat with her boyfriend.

I don’t get it.  I just don’t.

This uncle of mine who bit the dust was a doctor.  A brilliant doctor. I don’t get how and why he could not see the symptoms of depression in himself and seek help.  I will never know.


Movie madness

I am on a roll with the matching word beginnings, or what.

I went to the movie “Lion” with the kid at our local open air theatre.  And cried buckets.  Buckets.  I was so embarrassed because my friend was sitting right next to me, and I couldn’t stop sobbing.  And then when I tried to stop myself from crying, my throat got all caught up, and started paining, the strain of trying not to cry gave me a headache, and not letting the water pour out of the eyes made my eyes smart.  Oh bother.

I am a complete nut case.  I can’t watch a single movie with a single sentimental scene without sobbing like a child.  In fact, I can’t even stop myself from getting all teary at the National Anthem that is sung now before all movies.  I usually start singing along with the aired version, but by the time I reach Jaya Hey, I am a mess.

Tsk Tsk.

Weird weekend

I swear I did not try to make the two words of the title start with the same letter. There is no way else I can describe the weekend that is panning out.

Yes, I am home (practically) alone, but it hasn’t been as restful as I had hoped it would be.  Interestingly, it is 5.40 on Saturday evening, and this is the first time this week that I have had a moment to sit and sip tea.

The “busy”ness has been in my mind rather than my body.

Yesterday morning, my cousin (strictly speaking, he is an uncle, but since he is my age, I prefer to address him as cousin) called me out of the blue.  This is a very shy cousin, who prefers to think twice before speaking and not speak after all.  So, I knew it had to be bad news, which is perfectly justified, considering the number of senile oldies in that wing of the family.

“M passed away”, he started.

“Who is M?” I really couldn’t place an M among the oldies, and certainly not someone that my cousin would address using first name.

“M.  R Chithappa’s son.  From [the town’s name].”

“You mean R Chithappa died?” R Chithappa is 90 years old, and completely off his rockers.  And stays with M.

“No.  R Chithapa’s son, M died”.

I thought my cousin had gone mad.  M is (was) a famous urologist, around 58 years old, trim, prim and very calm.  And very healthy.  I wondered if it was April first, but B is not the kind to pull a joke, much less about something as morbid as death.

“I know.  I am shocked too.  Please inform V, S and the other cousins.  I need time to collect myself”.  He disconnected.

Believe me when I say that the exact same conversation happened with my cousins V and S, in these cases, I being the side to break the news and they confused about whether R Chithappa died.

I was in a daze all of yesterday because it made no sense, and I could get not get any further information about the death.  I think it must have been a cardiac failure.  M’s wife, N, is a very good friend of mine, and I am scared to call her/write to her.  What do you to say to an aunt/friend who has lost her husband untimely?

But that was not the end of it.

This morning, my very good friend calls me and says that her husband had mild heart attack.  It took me a while to process that as well.  Thank God it is only mild, it is disturbing nevertheless. Again a young (relatively – in the forties), and apparently healthy looking person, with apparently clogged arteries. What can I do but hope and pray that he gets alright soon, and she retains the strength in her to tide over this crisis.

If the above were mental disturbances, there were material stuff as well.  My ancestral home is 70 years old, and now and then, problems sneak up and grow to fairly large proportions that need immediate attending to.  There is a large loft in the attic, in which the oversized old brass and bronze utensils are stored. They are saved for antiquity value and not because they have any use anymore.  There is, for example, one bronze coffee filter that is used to make coffee for fifty people in one shot.  LARGE.  The problem was that my father discovered pretty serious termite infestation in the loft.  Since the contents of the loft are fairly valuable (not overly so, but sorta), he needed to have the oversized utensils removed before letting the termite control guys into it.  So, gobblefunkist to the rescue.  Climb up the rickety loft, get bitten by termites and bear down utensils that are twice her size.   Then, once the termites were treated, get the termite guys out, climb up the rickety loft again, and put back the utensils twice her size.

Tomorrow life will return to usual and people will return to cohabitate with me.   I wish my time-alone had been a tad more relaxed. But I wonder if that is a myth, and the relaxation is all in the head and not in the environment.

The rare gem

Not me. Of course, I am the rare gem, but the post is not about me (not entirely at least).

I am not a jewellery person.  I don’t hate jewellery, but I don’t care for them either.  This is unusual for a TamBrahm woman in her forties, because usually TamBrahm women in their forties, and thirties, and fifties and eighties and all in between (at least the ones in my married side of the family) are decked like the idol of a prevedic goddess.  I don’t think jewellery suit me either.  I wear the wedding necklace during the day (it goes on to my side table at night), not because of any sentimentality, but to avoid arguments with the oldies around me – there was one lady in my family who threw a tantrum because I forgot to wear it one day and she was convinced that bad things were going to happen to my husband. My father gives me a hard time even now because I refuse to wear the silver toe ring that shows me to be a happily married woman. The mangalsutra (the wedding necklace) that my husband’s family made for me was like one of those ropes used to tame an oxen – It weighed 7 sovereigns (56 grams), not counting the various dingbats that hung from it.  Within six months, I changed it to a 1 sovereign chain to hold the dingbats, which displeased my in-laws to no end, and I was told that a 1 sovereign chain would never hold the paraphranalia that weigh 3 sovereigns and that my chain was going to break and become inauspicious to all concerned.  It has been fourteen years that the eight gram chain has been bearing the load of 24 grams of additives.

But that is not in any way related to what I aimed to write about.  As with any TamBrahm family, my family gave me tons of jewellery during my marriage – all of them being family heirlooms that had been handed down over at least a couple of generations. After the wedding, my better half and I promptly returned them to the  family, for safe keeping.  It has, since then, been under multiple locks and keys, in a safe place, and checked once a year and put back in the safe, while I went around either not wearing any jewellery at all, or fashion jewellery under extenuating circumstances.

Today was the day I checked the jewels in the safe.  They were all there (touch wood), waiting to be handed down to the kid at a later date.   I saw this most beautiful period jewellery that I had to show to the world (or an infinitesimally small subset of the world that visit me).

This is a piece of jewellery called “rakkodi”. It is a hair clasp of sorts.  I remember trying to wear it at my wedding but giving up because it was too heavy, and it seemed to be an unnecessary burden to carry.  Besides, I don’t have enough hair on my head to be able to hold such a heavy object.  But there are others in my family with stronger hair, who have worn this for various occasions.  This rakkodi could easily be a couple of centuries old, because it was inherited by my grandmother from her grandmother, who had told her that it was a family heirloom. It is an intricate design of “kemp stones” (which I gather are “Cabochons”, which again, I learn from Wikipedia, are “gemstone that has been shaped and polished as opposed to faceted. ” If you turn the image about 30 degrees anticlockwise, you can see the swan set in stone (the red stone being the face of the swan) in the center.  These days, such types of jewellery are called “temple jewellery”, I gather, and are worth a considerable sum of money.

So, the much spoken about Rakkodi.



I show this to my kid and she says, wow, it must be expensive.  So maybe we can sell it and become rich.  This is the kid who wont throw out a speck of dust from her room.  Sigh !

Friday Faloola

Why faloola?  Because I am too lazy to think of any other word to start with an F –
I’d rather kill my blog than call this post “Friday Fun”.  There are other F words that can only be used in the sanctity of the kitchen when you’ve burned the sambar AGAIN, because you were checking for wordpress post updates on your cell phone. I have no idea what Faloola means, or where I have heard that word – oh wait, Faloola is Monica Geller’s middle name, isn’t it?  Urban dictionary tells me that Faloola is non-sexual euphemism for body part that can’t be named in a public blog post without being rated X.  We have a dessert item called falooda in this part of the world.  The first and only time I tried it, I gagged.  I’ll have my vermecilli as payasam, thank you.

The weekend promises to be a welcome lazy one.  Partly because I will be home alone for most of the time.  The better half is away at his home town inaugurating something or the other as a “special guest” and wowing school kids with his oratorical brilliance (no, I am not being sarcastic here) while the in-house teenager may or may not be home depending on where another nondescript day of summer vacation takes her.  The best part of living in a closed community setting is that there are kids of all age groups around – they move as a hive to wherever their collective consciousness takes them at the moment.  So either there are fourteen kids of ages 10-16 trashing my house, or zero kids anywhere in the vicinity for hours on end.

The kitchen needs organizing.  The heat is putting me off.  Perhaps I will get to it sometime this weekend.  Gym-routine needs a slight up-grade, and I should, at least this week, work up the courage to check my weight.

This year marks the 1000th birth anniversary of Sri Ramanujar, the most important philosopher/theologian of the sect in which I was born . May 1st is the millennium across the Sri Vaishnavaite community, and many temples have been celebrating the event for many months now. This week, the celebrations seem to have reached a feverish pitch, with special urchavams (ceremonies) being conducted in all Sri Vaishnavaite temples in the south. Despite being born and married into fairly religious/gnostic families, I am a skeptic of sorts. I believe that the theologians of my sect (Sri Ramanujar, Sri Desikar etc.) were all scholars par excellence (Sri Desikar was, to put it mildly, brilliant), and head and shoulders superior to theologians of other sects in my religion (and this I say not as a SriVaishnavaite, but from a strictly impartial perspective, having been acquainted with the literature of many sects). I am, however, not a subscriber of the philosophy of Vishishthadvaita propounded by them and others because it raises more questions in my mind than provide answers and goes against my basic belief that we are all one, irrespective of which God you choose to follow, or not.  But no dogma ever allows that belief, so I doubt if I would subscribe to any existing philosophy.  Ramanujar probably came closest to the doctrine that everyone is equal before God.  Besides, having been born into the Sri Vaishnavaite sect and being an admirer of the intellectual/literary contributions of Sri Ramanjua to  the philosophy of my sect, I want to attend at least one urchavam before the millennial celebrations end.  I would probably visit the Parthasarathy temple over the weekend, get jostled by the crowd and tick my name against the “been there, done that” list.

Have a good weekend folks.









Shameless solicitation

Yes, I have been writing for the IT company, although I have not been sharing the links here.

The latest one that is posted on Huffpost (a reminder: I am the ghost writer, which means that my name goes in the post script as a “co-writer”, the “co” for all practical purposes intended to be silent) is a bit cerebral, but somehow I liked how it turned out.

Social Media & the Healthcare Sector

Please hop over and read it, and if you have an FB account, I would appreciate a share and/or a like.  It would earn me brownie points with the client and all that.

Yes. I am shameless.


Seasonal mood disorder

It’s very unfair that people have only studied the connection between cold weather and mood changes.  Heat can affect moods a zillion times worse than cold – has anyone ever wondered why Indians as a race are a short tempered bunch?  Blame it on the heat.  Look at me – I have nothing to complain about (even the HP has started behaving itself, it just needed some time to adjust to my keystrokes, I like to believe), yet, here I am like a closed room filled with liquid petroleum gas, ready to explode at a single spark. I can only attribute it to the heat.  And the 80% humidity.

I can see one more effect of middle age.  I would never sweat until recently.  Even when I did something strenuous, there would be a single bead of perspiration perhaps that would fall off my forehead, but that used to be it.  The last time I went to the gym two years ago, I would feel a little sticky, but not really sweaty after half an hour of cardio. Now I am like a pig.  Yesterday for example, as I got off the treadmill after half an hour of interval training, I was dripping.  My clothes were dripping, and there were buckets of water pouring from everywhere.  This has never happened before.  Could this be the “hot flash”?

The same thing happens every time I cook. I cook early in the morning to minimise heat, but by the time I am done with a simple meal, I am so sweaty and yucky.  Eww.

The fact that I feel all bloated does not help  my mood either.  I am told that start of intensive workout first causes a bit of bloating due to water retention, so perhaps it is a sign that I am doing it right.  But what happened to the endorphins that are supposed to make me feel good after exercising?  Hmm.  And what’s with the constant hunger, huh?

God, I am a bitchy little thing these days, ain’t I?  Like I said, blame it on the heat, since the hormones and the HP can’t really take the blame this time.

I keep telling myself that pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional, but its so hard to practice, isn’t it?

End of griping.