Wednesday, 1 August 2007


A lot can happen, in two years and a half. In fact a lot has happened…In these two years and a half!!!

Still fresh in my mind… is the day one… the day one @ Cogni!!

A cute smiling face peeped out of the car that was along side the bike my dad and me were traveling in… It was a very memorable ride for me… and with apparent excitement; she greeted me with a friendly ‘Hi’. She seemed very happy for some reason. I found out the reason in a few moments. Upon reaching our common destination, I was instructed by my new ‘middle-of-the-road-acquaintance’ to wait for her. She had figured I was from the same college as her’s… she had recognized me in the midst of the traffic!... and was elated that she had with her, at least one remotely familiar face, amidst an ocean of unknown faces we were just going to meet.

I was elated from my side too, to have found my first companion, and with whom I can share my ‘first-day-jitters’ with… as I ventured into my exciting odyssey into the corporate world…

...Introducing Karpagam… - Oh….I learnt not just her name…but quite a lot about this Tamilian Brahmin… apart from the fact that she is from the same college as me, but a different department from mine. In just 5 minutes of interaction with this peppy ‘chitter-chatter’ gal whom I gladly be-friended, I already liked her and was pleased to have met another person who loves talking as much as I do!! :)

After about quarter an hour, my class mate from college… a dimply mallu gal… Introducing Vidya… joined me, as we had pre-planned to meet at the venue before going inside the meeting hall for our formal induction sessions. A brief introduction was made between these two gals and after a little MOPian chat, we stepped inside the hall…Karpagam with her gang and me with mine.

[Amidst the sea of new faces, sat somewhere two more gals and guys from four different colleges… unknown to each other (…as yet…) equally excited and anxious as the 3 gals from MOP!!! ]

In the coming days… the once totally unfamiliar faces, seemed familiar and smiles and greetings were exchanged randomly between this new set of about a few hundred people… who together came to be called as the ‘ELT Batch mates of July 2005’.

Eventually after a week of group induction, this huge gang was split up into several smaller groups of ‘training batches’ of about 25 in each… college mates’ n newly formed friends were separated  in this process and new friendships were forced to be formed…however, we the MOPian landed up in the same group… which was named ‘AM005’!

As we celebrated our being together… one quite gal sat amidst us, quite apparently missing her friend who was put into the other class. But this Iyer ponnu was not gonna be left lonely… introducing Archana… joined the three of us for coffee breaks @ our favourite ‘Horlicks bar’ and girlie chitter-chatter. All being from similar background – BSc grad, day scholars from girl’s college… it didn’t take us too long to form a close knit gang and enjoy this new fun-life… which we referred to as a ‘second college’ @ Siruseri!

In AM005, there was this pretty looking gal, with whom I didn’t have much interaction with until we were put into the same assignment team… after which we grew so fond of each other, for reasons unknown. Delicately made up hairstyle, neatly done make up and a smile fixed on to her face at all times… oh yes…I still remember the way her face lit up during those frequent calls from her beloved (…at that time, I jus guessed...) …introducing Maha.

As I slowly mingled with my fellow trainees along with these gals, a new found excitement creeped up in me… after three years of college life with only girls around (…hehe...!) this mixed gathering brought a spark of excitement along… and several hidden qualities within me (…which I myself didn’t realize I had possessed…until then…) were brought to the fore!

One day, it was during the time when ‘Exit-Tests’ were round the corner and the neighboring class had already had them… we wanted to check on how it went through… I found one guy from that class approachable… (…or so I thought!) During a coffee break, I walked up to him and enquired about the test… and poor guy…I still remember (…am sure, so would Kappu…) the nervousness he portrayed just to answer a question put across by a stranger gal! :) It was a comical scene… introducing Harish. And hence grew the friendship (…slowly the nervousness ceased…and our friend’s circle also widened…)

There were several little gangs formed at Siruseri. One of the more prominent one of them was the bunch of notorious guys whose main hobby was teasing just anyone who passed by. And we were no exceptions to that. Gutsy nicknames were created… (…Maha was ‘Mema’ – Makeup Maha!! & Me – Candy!! Reason? Ask them!!... ) crazy remarks were passed and in this process these guys successfully managed to get into the hate list of many delicate gals… who feared these pranksters! But I found them extremely funny…! Especially one main brat of the gang… (…whose name we figured out from the register one day… :) )… Introducing Tommy. Never did I speak to this guy during training… but had decided one day I would… and that was to happen one day after our training came to an end…

Before we knew it, two months were up… and it was time to bid good byes to friends and batch mates. Much trepidation was created on the probable transfer of entire AM005 to Coimbatore. A week long of suspense prevailed… which I termed as ‘negative surprise’ for some reason…! It was during one of our anxious days @ TCO that I be-friended Tommy… the brat we were so used to seeing in Siruseri, had turned into a gentleman. Two reasons for this… (1) He was not with his gang of Brats!! (2) He was already allocated into a project and monsieur was probably trying to look serious on his new job!! :)

At last the long wait ended and each of us from our batch was allocated into projects right in Chennai! It was a bitter-sweet moment for all of us. The happiness of learning that Coimbatore episode ended… mixed with the somberness on parting with friends… once again… and this time for good!

Each one of us got busy settling into our new projects and our little gang was split.  

[But little did we know then, that that was just the beginning!!:) ]

Archu and Me ended up in the same project (…am still coursing my bad luck for that!!... :P ), Maha ended up in Tommy’s team. Kappu and Vids were allocated to different projects in different locations and Harish was yet to be allocated.

Slowly, (…I still don’t know how it happened so smoothly…!) we formed a sort of gang @ Navallur when all of us except dear Kappu moved to that location. Tommy and Harish were introduced to each other by us the gals, and they got along great. And then came by one team mate of Archu’s and mine who was a few months senior to us but somehow fitted into our gang so easily… introducing Swadeep.

Personalized-group mails were exchanged… fun and frolic never ended… the madness for photos were equally shared by all…birthday treat outing…surprise parties… home visiting……and lo!! “Dearies” was created!!! :) This bunch of 8… spelt absolute fun and nurture unlimited memories to carry for years to come…

Today as I sit here and recollect all the times we have had together, I smile to myself as I recall the various developments that have happened in each of the Dearies’ lives… “Promotions… job recogonition…project shifts…personal problems… little quarrels and fights… misunderstandings… secret moments…lending shoulder to each other, for comfort… higher studies…resignations… onsite travels… proposals… hints of wedding bells (wonder who is gonna be the first!!!)...“   and so on and so forth…

Life really has changed a LOT in the past 2 years and a half…and we have come a very long way from being absolute strangers….to the closest of friends. But one thing has never changed… and will never change… it’s the special bond that we share with each other and above all else…. Our Friendship!! :)

Tuesday, 29 May 2007

The recipe of Happiness!

[Published in Woman's Era - Feb 2011]

Serves: ALL!

Life is what we make of it! The steering wheel of our life is in our hands and we steer it the way we like it. Of course the route is chalked out much earlier by Him. But the decision of making it a joy ride or a rickety ride, He has left to us. Let’s make our life’s odyssey a wonderful one. Let’s look at the secrets to Happiness!

Smile and the world smiles with you. The most contagious act in the world is a simple smile. Smile… and you get a smile back. Smile… and you spread happiness. Smile… and you make someone’s day. It takes fewer muscles to smile than to frown. So why frown and create wrinkles, when you can smile and flash your dimples!!

Do away with comparisons in life. The life we are living is exactly meant to be the way it is. Nothing more… Nothing less. The grass may always seem greener on the other side. But if your whole life is spent on admiring the other side, even the little greenery on your side would wither away!! Its human nature to want what is missing thereby missing out on enjoying what we have! Making the most of what is given to us would be the wise way of living our life rather than to crib for what we have not.

Shed away those grudges. Not everyone always do things that please you. Every individual is unique. If everyone thinks the way you do, wont life be boring! There may be instances when views clash, bitter words are exchanged and feelings are hurt. So what do you do? Hold a grudge against that person? Promise yourself to get back at him/her one day or the other? Holding ill feeling against one another would only breed contempt. What purpose do they serve? Just forgive…Forget…and move on! To quote Malcolm Forbes “Keeping score of old scores and scars, getting even and one-upping, always makes you less than you are.” 

Just follow your heart. When there comes a situation when you have to choose between the decisions of your heart and mind, chose the heart. The mind is moulded by society to behave in a certain way… but the heart is pure and intuitive and reflects the real you. It won’t let you down. Just sit back, go by your heart’s decision. It will guide you towards the right direction. 

Dream!! Dreams add glitter to your life. Dream on… nurture dreams… big or small. Some day or the other… dreams do come true. Nurturing dreams for years and finally seeing them come alive is a feeling worth experiencing! Life is never boring… for a dreamer!

Never give up! In your quest to do what you feel is right…. Don’t ever give up. Give your cent percent to whatever you do, a sense of satisfaction results. Sweat it out when you have to; you have enough time and more to rest once you have accomplished what you wanted to. Reach for the stars, even if you have to step on thorns.

To have a friend, be a friend. Friendship is a special relationship in life. Some of the best lessons in life can be learnt from this relationship. A shoulder to lean on, when in doom; a hand to clasp, when in fear; an ear to lend, when you have a secret to share; valuable advice, when in distress; a firm grasp to bring you back on track, when blinded by pride; heartfelt applause, when success comes your way; warm embrace, when lost in this world……that and much more is friendship! And in order to enjoy a lasting friendship… one has to be a true friend first.

Love…unconditionally! Love is the pre-requisite for an ordinary association to become a meaningful relationship. According to me, there is no greater joy than making a person happy. This inner joy comes from the love bestowed on that person. Loving without any expectation and restrictions is the best feeling one can experience! It is this essence in every relationship that is what makes a house – a home, a group of people living together – a family, an acquaintance – a special friend. 

Celebrate life… don’t live it like a duty. Face each day with new hopes, aspirations and dreams. It’s the little moments in life that bring greater joys. Look around for them carefully, or they may jus slip away. You have just one life to do all the things you want to. Time gone by is gone forever. Between a thousand yesterdays and a million tomorrows, there is just one today! Go ahead and live it up! :)

“Do that something,
You always wanted to.
Tell that someone,
How much you care.
Be generous with your smiles,
Make someone’s day.
Cos hey! You never know…
Kal ho na ho…”

This article was published in Woman's Era - Feb 2011

Tuesday, 15 May 2007

Pandemonium at the Mandap!!!

It is that time once again… Festivity time at ‘ANAND’!! The twins of the family are venturing on to take their first step into the world of family hood. It’s the betrothal ceremony… a double betrothal!! Which means… double the festivities, double the fun-fare, double the joy….and maybe double the pandemonium!!

With identical twins like my dear brothers Suchit and Sumit, identity related confusion is never far away. Even to date there are several relatives who mistake them for the other. Rewinding a bit, when these two were young little brats, this identity crisis was utilised by them to their favour! At school the mischief monger would put on an innocent face and conveniently blame the other twin for all the mischief done. And it’s not too soon before he gets paid back for it by his sibling in just the same manner!

It is that time once again… Festivity time at ‘ANAND’!! The twins of the family are venturing on to take their first step into the world of family hood. It’s the betrothal ceremony… a double betrothal!! Which means… double the festivities, double the fun-fare, double the joy….and maybe double the pandemonium!!

With identical twins like my dear brothers Suchit and Sumit, identity related confusion is never far away. Even to date there are several relatives who mistake them for the other. Rewinding a bit, when these two were young little brats, this identity crisis was utilised by them to their favour! At school the mischief monger would put on an innocent face and conveniently blame the other twin for all the mischief done. And it’s not too soon before he gets paid back for it by his sibling in just the same manner!

And now… as they are stepping into the threshold of family hood, there is all likelihood that such identity crisis would repeat itself on several occasions. What if Suchit’s ‘would be in-laws’ walk up to Sumit and proudly introduce him as their ‘would be son-in-law’, to their relatives. And amidst the introduction, when Sumit is enjoying the fun, Suchit walks up from behind and says, “Excuse me… I am Suchit… he is Sumit. And Sumit, your ‘would be in-laws’ thought I was you and are now looking out for the actual Sumit!” At this point, I guess I have successfully managed to confuse you too at this possible scenario.

Here, I take liberty in letting my imagination run a little wild for the sake of some self entertainment! How would the situation be if the lovely brides too were twins! What if Jyoti and Rita were twins!? This means… double in one more aspect… the identity crisis also doubles! The boys, who were till date on the fun side of the identity confusion, now would be on the receiving end!

Consider the following hypothetical situations…

Situation No: 1: Suchit wants to introduce his fiancĂ©, Rita to his room mates. He looks around the hall and sees his bride. He smiles and waves to her and signals her to come over. She returns the smile, and rushes to him. The introduction takes place fine…. Hmmm…. or so he thinks!! There is a naughty twinkle in the girl’s eyes… just as the friends move on; she whispers into our hero, Suchit’s ears, “I am Jyoti!! Rita is over there…” pointing to a small gathering of giggling girls who were all party to the prank.

Situation No: 2: Sumit wants a picture to be taken on his digicam to capture some special moments of his special day. He pulls over his fiancĂ© and poses for a snap. But then all of a sudden… just as his sister is about to click, he stalls her and turns to his bride. He gives her look of concentration… a tinge of suspicion creeps in his mind… and he stares at her for a few long seconds… his expression changes to desperation…“Is she really Jyoti!!?”. All the while Jyoti looks on at him with concern wondering what was going on… The expressions are perfect and the sister loses no time in capturing this candid moment on camera!

I guess I have been entertained enough for the time being… so lets return to reality. Thankfully ‘ANAND’ would have to deal with just one pair of twins. And thankfully the two have decided to grace the occasion in different coloured attires. The ‘ANAND’ clan eagerly awaits this unique dual betrothal ceremony. Designer sarees and their silk counterparts would be flaunted by the excited ladies of the household. The unison of three families would take place. Excitement and exhilaration would surpass every other emotion and amidst all that… A pleasant loving welcome awaits the beautiful brides!!

Thursday, 18 January 2007

The Legacy Continues…

For as far as my memory takes me, there is one thing that has never changed in my life. Over the several years, it has instilled the same feeling of belongingness in me as it had many years back. It is what I fondly refer to as ‘my home in Kerala’ – ‘ANAND’.

My first home after my birth, it was here that I spent my first few months as a tiny infant. Dolled up and laid in a copper ancestral cradle, I was christened, amidst much joy and fest. Right from my mother’s last few months as an expectant mom, to a stage when I was old enough to hold my head straight, this home saw a phase of ‘babyness’. Lots of sleepless nights, when the silence of the dark, would first be cracked by baby cry which would be gently hushed by lullaby by the patient but sleepy mother, aunt or grandma on duty!; lots of visitors, to have a glimpse of the ‘new member of the family’ and to make comments like, ‘Oh, she looks just like her father’, ‘Her nose is just like her mother’ and the like. Baby food, baby clothes, baby toys all over and just the baby feel hung in the air of ‘ANAND’ for this entire period. I must clarify at this point; this home has witnessed several births before mine.

Each time, it’s just the same. Lot of happiness is written all over each face of the household to play host to the ‘event’, whatever the ‘event’ maybe… Wedding, Baby Shower, Birth, Christening … whatever. The house always has enough place and more for any number of guests. Things never run out of stock and people never get bored.

I recollect with nostalgia, those summer vacations during my school days. Summer holidays spelt ‘Kerala’ for us, cousins. It was the time for our annual meet up and the venue? ‘ANAND’ of course! My uncle and aunt, dear to all and like ‘God Parents’ to each one of us would have all types of entertainment ready to keep their nieces and nephews occupied throughout the summer. Delicious meals are cooked, trips are made, notes exchanged….and LOTS of memories are created. Hide and Seek, Shuttle, Carrom, Cards, ‘Let’s Pretend’, Mimicry…. The list is endless.

Every single time, just instances after the door bell is rung, (the arrival…be it at any hour of the day!) excited snuffs can be heard on the other side of the door, where an impatient, extremely friendly, huge, cuddly dog, our dear ‘Bushy’ waits for the door to be opened to happily greet the visiting members. The very wagy tail goes around bobbing behind him, slapping everyone on its way. This warm welcome is reserved exclusively for members of the household. Outsiders… beware! The gimmicks carried out by this funny fellow, amuses us all thoroughly and he has a special place in every one of our hearts. The earlier four legged companion of the family was ‘Bikki’ who was equally loved by all and is deeply missed too.

How can the household be complete without ‘Leela’!!? Our domestic help for over a decade and a half and also a fellow Konkani, she is more like a family member to us than an outsider. The long thrilling family excursion we made, on boats, to her house a few years back, is an adventure which would not be erased away from our memory for years to come.

Today, I sit back and relive my recent and latest visit to ‘ANAND’. My eldest cousin sister had a baby boy! The little prince announced his most awaited arrival into the world hardly a month back and proudly triggered the count of the 4th generation.

After 22 years, the cradle was decorated again and occupied by a beautiful baby. The fussing over of the new infant was quite a measure more this time than before, thanks to the large number of aunts and uncles to pamper their only darling nephew.
Nothing has changed at ‘ANAND’ till date. And my excitement at the thought of visiting ‘my home in Kerala’ will never die down… each time the joy of reunion is plentiful… each time, new memories are created and old ones are relived… and each time the farewell bid is half hearted…
The legacy of ‘ANAND’ continues…