Friday, June 27, 2014

Nature's Creation! Different Stages Of A Tree!

This tree is visible from our balcony.  We admire the tree, watch the birds sitting on it etc., nearly every day. After 'noticing' the different stages of this tree for the first time, I started looking for it in other areas too because I thought this is a rare/unique tree...but no, it is seen in many places!!!

Have a look! Click on the pictures to have a better view pl.

Picture taken on 6.4.2014

Picture taken on 10.5.2014

Picture taken on 10.5.2014 (A close-up shot)

Picture taken on 20.5.2014

Picture taken on 19.6.2014

Monday, June 23, 2014

When I Got Married...!

Part II

This is the continuation of the post I had written earlier, here

When there was around 2 weeks' time for me to join the new office, one morning when I went to the office, the shutter was open.  I had one key and our Manager had the other.  I was the one who was coming early mostly, to open the office.  The maid would be waiting to clean the place...then the routine started.  On that day, I entered the office thinking that the Manager must have come early.  But I had a SHOCK! He was sitting know what I did...I just came out and went to my neighbour's shop.  It was a boutique and the lady who was working there was my friend (though she was a mother of 3 children...she was a very good friend of mine and protective about me always!).  I just told her that I would wait there till the Manager came.  Then the Manager came and asked me why I was sitting there instead of the office, I went back quietly...huh, I can still feel how terrorized I was at that time! The usual office work started and in the evening I told our Manager that I wanted to go home early and left! I escaped one day!

The next day, I was caught! After the Manager and the other person left the office (there were only 3-4 people in the office, since it was just a branch office), he came to my table and said, 'you have not replied to my question.  Did you think over it?'....the question was posed nearly 7-8 months back! I never expected it to usual, I was scared.  I didn't know what reply to give...I just wrote in my note book, 'my family won't agree' and showed it to him! Without a word he tore down the page and left with the paper! It took sometime for me to move and go home!

I reported everything to my sister.  She was my adviser in those days.  I was a timid person...The next day, in the evening, our Manager asked him to go home. Then asked me to stay for a while! Came to my table and drew a chair and sat down and asked, 'Sandhya, what do you think of him?'  Then, showed me the paper I had written 'my family won't agree'! 'Appaate pesava? (shall I talk to your dad?)' I said 'I don't know'! Actually, I didn't know what to do! We had never discussed about anything ... we had never spoke personally about anything until then! 'I know their family and so can discuss with your appa'.  He knew me very well and didn't ask anything later.  (I came to know later that the Manager took assurance from him that he would keep me happy always!)

The office was normal for a few more days.  I was doing my best not to stay alone in the office! Then one night my father was talking to my mother...'T (our manager) spoke today.  He says that he knows a boy and his sister is looking for a girl  for him/her brother. He would speak to them if we are interested in marrying Sandhya now.  He is a Tamilian'.  My sister and I were listening carefully! As all my friends here know, I am from Udupi, Mangalore and speak Kannada/Tulu at home. We are settled here, in Chennai for the past many many years.  Language was not a problem at all. The discussion went on for a few days.  And then my mother came to know that the Manager was talking about a 'boy' who was working in our office.  She was furious.  She stopped talking to me for a few days.

Here, in the office, he said that his sister wanted to meet me.  Then she called me in the office and asked me to come home.  She said that everything was going to be alright.  She was just curious to see me/meet me immediately so that she can take further steps.  Her brother had refused to see any girl she had recommended until then! I looked up to our Manager again.  He asked me to go and meet her.  We went to his house in a taxi...he was sitting in the front seat with the driver and I was sitting at the back! My sister knew about this, though! His sister, her husband, her mother in law and her 3 year old son were there, at home, waiting for us.  All of them were very friendly, esp. the child who came and sat with me and started chatting and playing with me.  I had bajji, Kesari (sooji halwa) and coffee there.  Her mother in law liked me a lot and was fascinated by my long thick hair, it seems...he told me later that my hair was his first attraction too...huh!  Normally, boys come to girl's house and have bajji and halwa.  Here, ulta (opposite).  I, the girl,  went to the boy's house first! I was dropped home our street corner!

Our Manager was slowly pushing my father.  He came home and spoke to my mother about the 'boy'! 'Since both your families are from the same community, just language alone will not pose a problem.  Rituals are nearly the same' he told mother. Slowly, she started thinking about it.  She wrote to her brother about the 'boy'.  He took a nice photograph of himself (I still have got a copy of it!) from GK Vels, which was the famous photo shop in those days and it was sent everywhere, to my relatives!  Here, the Manager and the sister's husband met my Chikkappa (my father's younger brother) and spoke to him.  My mama spoke to our Swamiji (Pejawar swamiji) in Udupi.  This swamiji is a very forward thinking person and he said that we should encourage this type of marriage...language barrier should not be considered as a barrier, since the rituals are mostly the same, etc.   He had sent some akshata also, blessing us for our wedding.   

My mother agreed to welcome his sister's family for a formal 'girl seeing' ceremony (here, my  parents were seeing the boy for the first time!).  They came home...he was with a very 'serious' face! He was not looking at me at all...I don't remember whether I was looking at him, but my sister was watching everything! His sister was a very nice person and a good chatter and so the meeting went on smoothly.  The Manager and his wife also had come.  My mother had prepared vanghee bath and carrot halwa which was loved by everyone.  I remember writing down the recipe of the vanghee bath and handing it over to him, the next day as per his sister's wish! 

My father wanted to have at least 6 months' time to arrange for the wedding (he was planning to sell a land in our native place for the expenses).  But the Manager said that the wedding should be spending on jewellery or anything else.  His sister wanted the wedding to take place at Tirupati.  Since his father's annual ceremony was there, after 2 months, the wedding date was fixed for a convenient date after that. The wedding date was fixed for 10th May, '74.

In the meantime, I had joined the new office.  I was meeting him on Saturdays with my sister or brother as escorts.  My brother and sister were competing with each other to come with me since they were getting huge chunks of ice cream at a good hotel.  He was coming with his friend.  He was nervous until we got married later.  He used to call me in my office and I was always nervous to talk to him.  I used to disconnect after speaking a word or two! I knew my colleagues were discussing about me already!

This is the end of Sandhya and Kumar's story...may be the beginning!

I can write more about how I took time to adjust with Tamilian cooking using gigely oil (we use coconut oil, mostly!), esp. eating dosai milagai podi with lot of gingely oil.  I used to bend my face down, block a nostril and swallow the dosa in my sister in law's house for a few days, until I got used to it!

Somebody was curious to know if we uttered 'I love you' before marriage...I laugh about it even now! It was never said, I think.  We were not talking to each other much.  Always nervous, both of us.  After the 'girl seeing' ceremony my sister in law asked my mother to send me with him to buy a ring for me! Both of us went out alone  for the first time.  One Jain jewellery shop was there near Panagal Park, in T.Nagar.  He got me a coral ring.  Then we went to the Marina beach.  Sat there for half an hour or so, nervously.  I think he talked about he being an angry man and assured to change himself! Hahaha....did he change?! The things that brought us closer together was Hindi and Tamil film music and English and Tamil books! Both of us used to sing together and fight for new books, if I remember correctly! is 40 years complete now!

Thanks for reading our story and I know many of you enjoyed the first part.  I have written facts or whatever I remember of the incidents.

All of you say, 'All the Best for our future!'

Edited to add, the next day: I forgot to mention this! I think Amitabh and Jaya got married just a few months back then and they were in the news.  Both of us were compared to them...heightwise! Jaya also had a very long thick hair!

Friday, June 20, 2014

When I Got Married...!

                                                           Part I

"Will you marry me?", he asked me on 5th August, many many years back on a Saturday afternoon! Since it was a Saturday, I didn't have much work at the office and I was preparing to leave.  He had come to Madras office on an official visit from our Main Rajpura (Patiala) office for a month or so.  Our Manager had already left the office.  He said "One minute, Miss Sandhya, take this notes!" I didn't like it! Grumbling inside, I went and sat in front of his desk with my shorthand notebook and was ready to write down.  "I want to marry you" he said.  I had started writing the shorthand strokes...I think I must have written the whole sentence! Then it struck me! He had proposed! Huh, my legs started shaking and I wanted to get up and run away! Somehow, I did and was home and poured everything to my sister.

He looked stern and angry all the time in the office.  He was very tall with huge side burns (it was the fashion in those days!). I was sort of nervous in front of him, while talking to him or taking notes from him. Until then, I was pampered by our manager and others in the office.  Since I was the Manager's friend's daughter and very young and small/tiny, nobody raised their voice on me! That was my first job too. It was like another home for me! It was a small office.  This was a temporary job.  I was planning to shift to a new job when I get one, as per our Manager's advice! When the office work was over, I was asked by the Manager to go home...even at 3 pm and sometimes he was asking me not to come to office on Saturdays...(Onnum velai illema...leave yeduththukko... means, 'Not much work is there tomorrow, you can take leave!').  You can imagine how I would have felt when he came and always wanted the office to be 'office' with proper working hours!  He had come to our office for some work just for a short period.  After 'that' Saturday, I DIDN'T GO TO OFFICE on Monday and Tuesday because I was nervous and scared.  Called our Manager and said that I was not well.

Funny thing is, he never showed/expressed any affection or anything until then when we were working in the office.  Did I tell you, he had huge eyes! I was never talking to him.  When my work was over, I was reading James Hadley Chase, which was my craze in those days! And magazines too.  I was a free bird always! Whenever people were bored in the office, were asking for some magazine from me, even the Manager!

I returned on Wednesday and came to know that he had left for Rajpura on Saturday itself! Oooof...I was relieved!

After a month or so, our Manager got a mail from him.  Our Manager was his childhood family friend, though they didn't have contact for many years until then...since his handwriting was undecipherable, our Manager asked me to read it out for him. I did! The last line in that letter was 'How is Miss Sandhya?'  I was stunned! The Manager asked me 'Ivan yedukku unnai vijaarikkaraan?' (why is he enquiring about you?).  I just gave a blank look!

Another letter came after a few days.  After the office matter, the line was there 'How is Miss Sandhya?'. In the mails which came later asked the Manager to create a vacancy in the Madras office and get him transferred there! I started losing sleep!
This went on for more than 7-8 months.  Our Manager got me a job in a Quazi govt. company.  I gave one month's notice in this office and was training the next girl who was to take my place in the office. 


                                                                             part shortly!

P.S.: The II part is here

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Wordless Wednesday!



Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Community/Caste Certificate While Admitting Children In Schools

My maid said today said that she needed one day's leave for getting 'community certificate' for her children for changing their schools and admitting them in a new school.  She had one earlier which she lost while shifting houses.

She got the last one, 3 years back and she spent a whole day going to 3 offices, in different places.  She lives in Thoraipaakkam, Chennai.  She had to go to Sholinganallur and then to Saidapet and then back to Sholinganallur.  On the way, she had to 'pay' to 4 people, Rs.50 each to move/sign the papers! Now, she may have to 'pay' more...3 years' gap might have enhanced the 'charges'! She has got a ration card. Her community is dhobi (washer man), though nobody in her family works as a dhobi now!  She doesn't get any concession in the school fees...she is joining them in a private school.  Why do they ask for the community certificate, I wonder.  She never used the community certificate anywhere else until now, she says, nobody else asked for it.

Our driver is a Christian.  He said that he too went to the Taluk office and got the community certificate for joining his children in a private Christian school! No concession in fees, here too! Then why do they ask for the 'community' certificate?

I remember filling up my children's application form.  In 'Community' section, I wrote 'Hindu'.  I didn't fill up the 'sect' section, I remember distinctly.  No questions were asked.  Nobody asked for 'Community' certificate.

Hmmm...I called my relative who is a teacher in a famous school in the this city, Chennai, just now. Their school also is insisting on 'Community' Certificate, it seems! They are collecting these certificates for the past 2 years, from all students. Weird, isn't it?


I remember now. Last year some government school teachers came home for collecting census details. Or so I thought. They had actually come to collect details of our community. "Jaadi Kanakkeduppu", we were told. They asked for my sect details also. Just "Hindu" was apparently not enough. I refused to fill up the sect details.

They seem to expect even infants to know their caste. Where are we going?

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