Happy New Year!


Here’s wishing everyone a very Happy New Year!!


My mind, the monkey!


A long time ago, I listened intently to a speech on the part played by the mind in an illness. I was fascinated. Till then I’d never connected both. It was amazing that your mind was the culprit which gave you a headache, tooth ache, bellyache, heartburns, even tumors.

“Especially tumors and arthritis!” the speaker had emphasized.

So, if you can control your mind, you can heal yourself completely from any illness.

“Any?” someone asked.

“Yes” she stressed.

Apparently there was this person who’d cured himself of AIDS, by simply making positive affirmations everyday and ordered his immune cells to multiply. And after a few months it just happened.


Your mind has immense potential, it seems. While without control, it can give you innumerable ailments, but with control, it can make you a healthy, strong and loving person capable of miracles.

The talk was so impressive, I enrolled myself in a Reiki class the same weekend.

Did you know that our bodies have a glow of light around us, which cannot be seen by the naked eye? It’s called an aura. All of us are born with the capabilities to heal ourselves. Our ancestors did. But we’re so caught in the stresses of modern world, which we seem to have lost touch with that side of us. After the class I read extensively on every book I could on Reiki. It was fantastic. My migraine headaches vanished without a trace.

Then I came across a book on mind & body. It also preached almost the same thing my Reiki master had taught me, but this was simpler. Every negative thought you have produces acidic substances in your body, it claimed. And every positive thought calms your mind and encourages soothing chemical reactions inside. So if you think positive, you become happier and healthier. And the book also recommended various forms of visualizations. For instance, a woman with stiff knee-joints used to sit quietly for about half an hour every morning, close her eyes and visualize a warm and golden liquid, being poured on her knee joints.

And her knee was totally healed in a month!

Books on mind-body-healing drew me like a magnet. I spent hours browsing books. Ended up spending a fortune on such books.

I picked up this book on charkas. Your aura has seven energy points called chakras. And as long as energy flows through these chakras without a break, you’re safe. But once there’s block anywhere, an illness manifests. And the book shows how to deal with such blocks. It was so intense, I decided to save it for a rainy day.

Then came a book which taught me to be a witch. Not in a bad way, but according to the book, a witch is some one intuitive and compassionate, who listened to people with her heart. She is the nourisher of her loved ones. Someone who identifies and connects with the good energies around her. But during the middle ages, they got such bad publicity that they were hunted and killed and had a lot of stigma. This book teaches women to get in touch with their intuitive sides and develop their own capabilities to heal themselves and others through a series of exercises. I found this book extremely riveting, but once I finished it, I never got around to actually try anything from it…


Then a friend told me about Tai-Chi. I was impressed as usual and looked around for a place close home where I can enroll.

My husband put his foot down. “You will not join”, he thundered. “But, why?” I asked him feeling very annoyed.

“I’ve been watching you going from Reiki to meditating to crazy visualizations to chanting to being a witch to what not!” He roared. “Enough is enough. From now on I do not want to hear another word about your crazy obsessions. Why can’t you be happy with what you are?!” And went on to lecture me about being at peace with myself and being happy with just what I have.

“Ok.” I agreed sheepishly.


And then baby happened. My mind constantly occupied with all the harrowing baby-things, I had no time for any introspection after that.

Though I’ve been observing the various mind-body stuff from a distance, I’m waiting for my son to start full time school.

Then I can try that Art of Living class. Catch up on Yoga.

Maybe I’ll join an aerobics class.

And yes, definitely Tai-Chi!taichi.jpg



Crazy Colleagues – II

Chivalrous Chidambaram:

There was this guy once who didn’t know the meaning of chivalry. Being a hardcore feminist during my school days, I really believe in women being the superior species, but we do lack the muscle-power and I’m glad if a person with a bit more muscle steps in when I really need a bit of a help. Chivalrous Chidambaram used to work with me in the same office as I’d mentioned earlier with Paranoid Padmanabhan & Masala Madhavan.

Since we had no office-boys in those early days, we took turns to buy our morning cuppa and run whatever errands were needed then.

Once it was my turn and I was walking back with a heavy flask of tea and a pack of biscuits in one hand and clutched my purse, a sheaf of xerox-ed papers in the other.

I was struggling to open the gate with all the stuff in my hands when I noticed Chivalrous Chidambaram walking towards me from office. With great relief, I waited for him to open the gate and help me with my stuff. He opened the gate and said, “There you are! I’m so hungry!” Carefully pried the pack of biscuits from my fingers, opened and took three or four and ran away towards the road saying, “Thanks!! I’m late for a meeting. If you’d come earlier, I could’ve had the tea too!”

Left me speechless, really.

15 mins nightmare…

I took my son to the Citicentre today. Thought he’ll enjoy the festivities. at 3 and a half, he’s more tuned to Christmas than Diwali. Thanks to Thomas & friends and Bob the Builder, he knows all about Santa, Christmas Tree & Gifts.

Sadly the only thing he knows about Diwali is the fire-crackers. And he’s terrified of them.

Today, he loved the huge Christmas tree in the atrium of Citicentre. But again was terrified to go into the Santa-house. Loved going into Lifestyle even more because of all the toys he can get.

After a while, I was browsing some T-shirts for him. He just announced ‘I’m going’. I assumed he must be going back to the toys, so he can nag me for something else he finds there. About 10 or 15 seconds later, I looked for him and he was nowhere to be seen. I was pretty cool because I knew he’ll be around nearby. But after 10 minutes of searching all the aisles in the kids section, I couldn’t find him. Getting desperate, I started asking every shop assistant I could see. Nobody had seen him. By then I started having visions of him kidnapped or something as bad.

I ran to the counter and was directed to customer care downstairs where they can make an announcement. And two sweet ladies offered to look out for him in case he was still in the first floor. I dashed into the open lift, pressed the button and prayed. Has never been so scared in my life!

The lift door opens and there he is, in the arms of a shop assistant with a mike. They were just going to make an announcement!

Thank God! My first instinct was to slap him across is face to have created so much panic. But then he looked as scared as I was. So I just stopped with a mild scolding session. And when we went upstairs to thank those ladies and let them know he was safe, he said in a small voice, ” sorry amma…”

A friend who was joining us called to say she’ll be there in half hour. “I’m going home,” I told her. When I told her what I’d just been through, her wise advice was “Never tell your husband what happened. You’ll never live it down.”

True. But knowing what a motor-mouth I am, the first thing I’ll say when he walks in would be ” Guess what? I almost lost your son today!”

PS: Tried searching for those ladies, but couldn’t find them.

Down memory lane…

Driving my son to his school everyday is definitely a trip down memory lane for me.

Its a long drive, through various places of my past. We drive through an old neighborhood where I grew up, through the same road I used to cycle to school as a teenager, past the tree where a group of us used to park our cycles on our way back from school and chat for a while before we took separate roads to our individual homes, pass my school…

The list is endless.

The other day I saw my history teacher waiting for an auto. I stopped, reversed and picked her up. Chatting all the way to school about good old days. I filled her up what’s happening with the rest of my batch-mates and she on what’s happening at school. Which old student stopped by school in the recent past, etc.

Suddenly it occurred to me that I was indeed, very lucky! Most people long for a glimpse of happier times, esp their childhood and here I am, driving through it every day! ( except on weekends!)

So many memories come flooding back after all these years.

Of the lech who used to look from his window when the group of us used to chat on the road. And when he emerges out & literally hangs from his gate, we hastily said our good byes & pedaled away as fast as possible…

Of all the good times we’d had at a friend’s place when I drive past her house. (She now lives in another continent & her family shifted from there years ago)

Of all the Goldspot I used to drink from the pottikkadai, just opposite my house…( We drive past my old house too! And I still have a pic of my brother and me with a friend who was relocating to Canada, just outside the closed shutters of that pottikadai)

Of the afternoons we bunked school to watch movies at my place when my parents were away…

The bus-stop where I used to wait impatiently to go to college when I miss the ladies’ special (again!)

I’m surprised that I can still feel the energy of my youth in those places…

I feel happy & vibrant by the time we reach my destination…

Feels really good.

I just hope this post doesn’t tempt fate and I find myself relocating to Alaska or Argentina in future!

Gym – continued

Update on my gym:
The owner of the gym walks in the other day.
Looks like a typical hench-man-turned-politician types.
Gold rings on all 10 fingers, blood-shot eyes, white dhothi, white shirt and bellowing into his mobile all the time.
Could that woman who warned me be right? I wonder. On the other hand lot of new members are joining almost everyday. And some of them I know pretty well. Should I warn them too?!
Anyway, my membership gets over in Feb. Maybe I’ll check out a less controversial place before that!

Crazy Classmates -I

I had my share of classmates who were crazy too…
(Again names have been changed to protect their various identities)
Romeo Ramanathan
This guy used to sit next to me some days and give me updates on his love life when class was in full progress. He had a girlfriend who was in another college in the city. He always referred to her as “my chick”. I used to have visions of a bright yellow baby chick in a frock, sitting on his arm everytime he said that. Since I’d met my Mr. Right back then, he used those conversations to prove that his love was way supeirior to mine…
I never bothered to contend.
Here’s a super statement he once made. I lamented to him once that it was 10 days since I’d seen my guy(That’s how some of us “chicks” used to refer our love interset! Yikes!! I know!) and he immediately piped up. “Oh that’s nothing! I’ve not seen my chick for 15 days!” She was apparently down with chicken pox. I made all the appropriate sympathetic noises and went back to my books. Next day he looked jubilant and was smiling away at me everytime the lecturer’s back was turned. So I had to ask him, “So whats up?”
“I saw her today”, he beamed. “She’s allowed on dates so soon?” I asked.
He looked at me loftily.
“Her mother told her that now that your chicken pox is healed and you can go to the temple…”
He paused for effect.
And she came to see her god…”

Crazy colleagues-I

I ‘ve had the pleasure of working with a lot of people who are really funny. Some without meaning to be.

This post chronicles the most oft remembered characters.

* Names have been changed to protect their identity.

Masala Madhavan*:

We once had this dude boy working with us. He was fresh from college and was intent on making an impression on any new female recruits. He was good-looking, athletic and spoke with a yankee accent and was very good in his work. Very sweet, but he always had to add some masala to anything he said.

A sample: He once told us that while riding his bike in a storm in a Chennai road, he actually saw a coconut tree bend, touch the ground and went back to standing straight.

Paranoid Paranthaman*:

He is more of an alter-ego of a colleague. He’d manifest himself at the most unexpected moments. The usual happy-go-lucky guy who played practical jokes on all of us with enthusiasm would suddenly vanish and in his place would be Paranoid Paranthaman. He’ll then start resembling Kamalhaasan in that Jayaram movie.

Two guys from office had gone over to his place late one saturday. Finding the place locked, they decided to play a joke on him. Left a note under the door which said, ‘Be careful. You don’t know whom you’re dealing with…’

On monday morning we saw PP at his worst. He’d already called an uncle who’s in the police force to check if he needed their protection, listed out possible enemies with his wife, actually slept with a cricket bat under his pillow and had also got his parents in law involved.

The whole office was buzzing with excitement and each time the doorbell rang, all of us jumped. (Our office was in a residential building, part of a bigger house)

The monkeys who’d actually written the note had conveniently forgotten the whole thing. It was done on an impulse after a few beers. That particular day, both had gone for meetings straight from home and came back to office at the end of the day. And were soon caught up with the excitement. But as soon as they knew what started the whole thing, they fell strangely silent. Looking at each other, after few minutes of guilty silence, they confessed…

All hell broke loose! And after giving them an earful we broke into a fit of giggles…

Fish tank & delayed designs…

I was lucky in starting my career in a very off-beat office. It was hardly an office, we worked from a spare room in my boss’s house.

Almost fresh out of college (I chucked a trainee job in a regular office after getting shouted at by the big boss every time he lost his house keys or some domestic squabble!), I really enjoyed working in a place where there was a great sense of camaraderie. The boss was just a few years older than us & didn’t give a damn what we called him!

Anyway this post is about a fish tank.

A colleague once brought a small fish tank for the office. Another girl (who joined us straight after she finished her college) and me were thrilled to bits! We placed it on the window sill between our desks. We spoke about how calming it was just to look at the colorful fish… We took turns feeding the fish and cleaned the tank together every week…

One fine day, when most of the others were away at a meeting, my friend noticed that one of the fish was dead. . Feeling very depressed and sad, both of us mopped around for the rest of the day.

The boss walks in to check our progress on some designs. We haven’t done it. “Why?,” he demands furiously. “But the fish died” we say in unison, staring at the unfeeling maniac.

“So what?!” he thunders. I cannot go and tell a waiting client his work is not ready because two of my designers were crying over a dead fish! I want the work done in half an hour. Now get your act together. Your time starts now!”

He storms out, fishing his asthma inhaler from his shirt pocket. Soon we hear the tinkling of a spoon from the kitchen. He’s mixing his skimmed milk, to soothe his ulcers.

What a moron! We mouth to each other before plunging into work.

Half an hour later the boss is gone with his precious design.

Not even a word of appreciation for the record time it took both of us to save his face with a client.

The colleague who gifted the fish tank walks in.

“Hi!” We say nervously. All along, we were worried how he ‘d take the bad news. Will he be upset? Or will he get angry? Will he blame us for not taking proper care of the fish?

He walks straight to the fish tank. ” Hey!” He says. “This one out here has popped it”. He takes the tea strainer we use to transfer the fish to a bucket while cleaning the tank.

He fishes the fish, takes it to the toilet. Drops it in the bowl and flushes it while both of us watch in horror.

“So,” he asks after he helps himself to a cup of tea. ” Coming to the pet shop round the corner? We’ll get a new one… “

Summer Holiday.

I was lounging in the drawing room sofa, trying to kill time on a lazy summer day. I must have been in the eighth grade. School was closed for two months.

When I heard a war-cry outside my window, I looked up from the archie comics I was reading.

I peeped out to see my younger brother and his two friends deeply engrossed in a kung-fu game. They couldn’t see me, so I settled on the window sill to watch.

They were pretending to be kung-fu warriors. Three brothers, if you please! And were fighting some invisible enemies with all the moves they’d learnt watching those kung-fu movies.
All of a sudden, the youngest in the group Sameer, fell down with a thud, screaming and fighting for his life. But all his attempts to overcome the invisible enemy were futile as he was fighting a losing battle. His brothers could not help him because they were busy fighting their own enemies. So with a last war-cry, he called to his brothers and breathed his last.
Seeing this, the brothers quickly finished off their enemies and ran to their dead brother’s side. Crouched on either side, they looked at each other across his not-so-motionless body.
” They killed our brother” said my brother mournfully, “We shall avenge this!” Screamed Krishna, (a neighbor) They looked at each other with determination, a performance worthy of a tiny Oscar each…
“Here we come!!” they shouted in unison. And they jumped and shouted something incomprehensible and ran towards the invisible enemy’s invisible fortress. (behind a parked car)
Meanwhile, Sameer was getting restless. After all, he cannot lie down there for ever and miss out on the fight raging on the other side.
He woke up, walked to the fighting arena and started pleading.
“Please da, let me come back.. I want to fight!” Being the youngest of all three he was given the brush off. “You are dead! Just go lie down!” Bellowed Krishna.
“But I don’t want to die” whined Sameer, all set to have a good cry.
Faced with this minor emergency both the living brothers took time out from the fight and conferred with each other, a little out of Sameer’s earshot.
They came back with a decision. “Ok da.. Since you’re dead, you cannot go back to being our brother. Now you can be the enemy” declared Krishna.
“Yippee!” shouted Sameer. He jumped to the opposite sides. And with a horrible contortion of his facial muscles that belonged to an enemy he was back in the game..
And a fierce fighting commenced…

Chuckling, I went back to my book.
Of course, this was in an era where video games were scarce…. Where they were huge empty plots between houses for playing cricket or football… The worldwide web was unheard of… Cable television was not dreamed of…

And no kid ever said, “I’m bored!”