Monthly Archives: May 2017

Trumpet blowing

An article that I beseech you to read, like, share and fawn over, if you can !

Partnership to empower

For the uninitiated, an article co-authored by me, the “co” being silent.

 

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Sharing my world

Cee’s Questions for this week:

What is the most famous landmark or building you have ever seen?

Quite a few I think.  Locally, the Brihadeeshwarar temple.  And a whole lot of temples down south.  Globally, the latest would be the Leaning tower of Pisa – highly overrated, famous nevertheless.  In the new world (how quaint!), stuff in NY, including the erstwhile twin tower and the lady of liberty, all of the “Patel spots” of the capital city – the Capitol, the Smithsonians etc. etc.  The Seattle Space Needle.

Do you like long vacation or lots of mini-vacations?

Lots of mini.

What is your favorite National or State Park?

I have once travelled through the Mudumalai reserve,  but I didn’t enjoy it because I was too tired, and irritated because bus rides don’t agree with me, and I didn’t even want to go on the trip because my relationship with my dad was strained at that time – he wanted to take me on this trip to do the father-daughter bonding, and I was such an ass that I did not want to mend fences.  I regret it now.  I did not see a single tiger to boot.

My classmate from gradschool is a forest reserve officer in the north of the country.  Must visit him sometime and have him take me on a tour on his official jeep into the forest.  So cool.

What is your fantasy vacation

Ideally a beach resort.    I would love to go to a luxury beach resort, lie on the beach, sipping cold something, reading a book and occasionally dipping into the water.  Unfortunately, my better half does not find water appealing, so I don’t see that happening.

If it were a spiritual retreat, and I have mentioned this before, the Himalayas.  Alone.

Grateful last week for:  The visit by the sil and niece.  Had fun.

Looking forward to: End of this excruciating heat.  The past two days have been terrible. The heat is truly draining.  I need a break.  I need rain.  Please let it rain?

Family fun

We have guests this weekend.  My cousin’s charming wife (let’s just address her as s-i-l because we consider cousins as “brothers” in our part of the world) and my charming niece are visiting us. They spend the nights in a hotel because our house is too small to have overnight guests, but other than that we have spent some fantastic times this weekend.

It is not often that your sister-in-law is a good friend, and this is one of those cases (touch wood).  S-i-l and I have a great rapport, we have the same kind of thought process, we laugh to the same jokes, and crack the same kinds too.  Our parenting styles are similar and the second generation second cousins – the kid and my niece – have similar attitudes and interests and get along fabulously as well.

Yesterday we spent hours at the beach.  Today we watched Salazar’s Revenge, ate out, and visited a bunch of oldie relatives in different corners of the city.  I am exhausted, but in a nice kind of way.

They leave tomorrow.  And life would fall into boring routine.

Have a great week ahead folks.

 

Haunting

The 13-year old kid and her 12-year old cousin are at the back seat of the car on the way to the beach.  They are discussing the stupidity of horror movies.

Kid:  You know, everything is clear.  Don’t open the door.  Don’t pick up the phone.  What do they do? They open the door. They pick up the phone.  Seriously…what’s wrong with them?

Cousin:  Yeah.  And then, things would go bump at night, windows would slam, yet, the lady of the house would say “it’s the wind”.  What’s with that?

Kid:  And get this.  There is a psycho with a machete outside the back door.  What would the girl do?  Not run to her well-lit neighbour’s house through the front door. Instead she will run into a dark cul-de-sac with the psycho in pursuit.

Cousin: And yeah…what’s with ghosts scaring inmates?  If I were a ghost, and you were the inmate of the house, I would simply tell you – you stay in that room, I will stay in this, we won’t bother each other.  Just give me the Wi-Fi password.

Cousin and kid are truly related by blood, I can see.

Bedroom questions

From Embeecee, who got it from pressing patience.

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The Questions:

Do you have a “before bed” ritual that you do, well… before going to bed? If so, how long have you had this ritual? How uncomfortable are you if you cannot, for some reason, perform it?

I must change underwear, wash my feet and brush my teeth, in that order.  I don’t remember when I started doing this.  I can’t sleep too well if I have not done these.

Does sleeping in someone else’s space make you uneasy? or can you sleep anywhere?

Oh yeah.  I can’t sleep in anyone else’s bed, except perhaps my daughter’s, when she has had a nightmare and needs my presence.  These days, owing to the fact that she is as tall as I am, her single bed is uncomfortable for two of us. So, I snuggle up until she falls asleep again and get back to mine.

I don’t mind hotel beds, ofcourse, under the assumption that the sheets have been changed.

When I am staying in other people’s houses, I prefer lying on the floor, with or without a jamakkalam.  Or if there is a guest room, the guest room bed, but only under extreme duress.

Where is the strangest place you’ve spent the night? How well did you sleep there, if at all?

When I was in grad school in the US, I let a friend persuade me to take a road trip down to Nashville.  They were weird 4 days because I stayed in strange people’s apartments (other desi students I did not know) overnight, went pub hopping although I was a teetotaller at that time and spent the days in stupor because I had no clue what I was doing.  I slept on the dirty carpet for three nights and bathed in grimy bathtubs.  I still don’t know why I did it.

When you were a child, did you have a preferred blanket or toy you couldn’t sleep without?

I had a pet pillow that I hugged.

If you could build the perfect mattress for you, what would it be made of?

Cotton.

Do you sleep with your bedroom door opened or closed? or does it matter?

Open. Fully open.

What is the longest consecutive period of time time you’ve gone without sleep?

12 hours !

Contrarily, what’s the longest consecutive period of time you’ve slept?

12 hours !

Have you been informed that you snore? or do you sleep with someone who snores? What, if anything, do you do about it?

I snore when I am very tired.  My better half snores very loudly.

Everyone dreams, it’s a scientific fact, but do you — in general — remember your dreams?

Oh God, let’s not go into that.  My dreams would be the death of me.

Do you think that the dreams you remember are significant in any way?

Yes, they tell me the state of my hormones.  They also tell me that I am a neurotic idiot who really needs to learn to let go.

How difficult/easy is it for you to go to sleep once you lie down at night? and/or wake up once you get out of bed?

Out like a light. Waking up takes an hour and two cups of coffee.

Have you ever had an episode of sleep paralysis?

God, I hope not.

Do you wear bedclothes of any kind? or do you prefer to be au naturelwhen slipping under the covers?

In summer I sleep in shorts and t-shirt. In less-than-summer, I sleep wearing a really faded and soft salwar.

If you have pets — cats, dogs, and the like — do they share your sleeping space or is it a “humans only” area?

My pet shares my bed.  My better-half.

When it comes to going to bed and waking up, are you on a schedule (bed by X up at Y) or do you just go with the flow of your body’s rhythms?

10.30 PM to 6.30 AM.  Yes, I need a lot of sleep.

Have you ever had hypnagogic hallucinations?  They’re very common…

I get very disturbing dreams just before I wake up.  Perhaps they are hypnagogic hallucinations.

Can you sleep without blankets? or must you have something covering you when you sleep?

I use a thin coverall when it is chilly. Else, no.

Do you have any superstitions or taboos regarding the bedroom and/or sleeping? For example, no shoes and/or hats on the bed.

Feet must be clean before getting on to bed.  MUST.  My kid must show me her feet before she gets on to my bed, and only when I am satisfied that they are clean, can she get on.

All doors to cupboards must be fully closed.  Door to room must be open.  I like the window doors to be open too, but sometimes that’s not possible.  I have learned to live with that.

You?

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Man, the destroyer

I am disturbed about the Manchester violence, who wouldn’t be?  It has been bothering me that had I lived in the UK, my daughter would have definitely wanted to attend the concert, and I would have chaperoned a bunch of teenage girls to it.   What quirk of destiny is it that I live in India?  And what cruel fate for my counterpart out there. My heart goes out.

Man is a weird species.  A dangerous and weird species.  Why is it that all religions preach love, but none in any religion gives it a damn?  And yes, I generalize on purpose.  I don’t believe one religion is better than the other.  Religion is not the opiate of the masses, it is a dangerous weapon.

I find myself not wanting to associate with any religion these days.  I don’t like talking about religion (and politics) in a public domain for obvious reasons.  But sometimes it bothers me.  Last week, a friend sent me a WhatsApp forward about how my sect is best because we pray to a particular god.    Her words were “A true vaishnavan is one who obeys Lord Narayana implicitly”. I was miffed because I don’t think Narayana, or whatever other name She is referred as, is petty enough to require obedience.  It is a mortal insult to the immortal grandeur of God, if you are a theist.  Besides I believe that a true Vaishnavan (or whatever religion you want to throw in there) is one who, like Abou Ben Adhem, loves his fellowman.  I replied to my friend’s WhatsApp message with the following YouTube video.  The meaning of the song is given below.

 

He is true Vaishnava who knows and feels another’s pain
Always willing to serve the unhappy without a shred of vanity
With humility of being and non-judgemental existence,
With pure words and deeds, blessed is his mother
Of tranquil and equal view
Bereft of lust
Seeing the mother in all women
Failing to utter a single untruth
And not a glance at another’s possession
The bonds of earthly attachment bind him not
With mind set to renunciation
And every moment, uttering the name of the Lord
His body is the home of every God that may be
Having conquered greed, anger and lust
Such a Vaishnava, says Narsinh,
saves a family through seventy-one generations