Friday, November 19, 2010

Thank You Swathi For This!

My Student Swathi's poem about Dew Drops, Our English Exhibition!

I just asked her to write a poem about our preps for the exhibition!Just after 15 minutes, I got this lovely poem.....

She had a plan, more like a dream,
And she was determined to do it.
We were called, we were told.
We understood, we imagined,
We had to draw, we had to cut.
Together, we had to put it all together.
Day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute,
Drops formed on the walls...
No, we put them up!
We got together, we worked together, we enjoyed together!
Back at home, we thought about it,
In the midst of all our work.
We drew, we cut, and she wrote.
Burning discs, writing records, bouncing balls,
I had to do it between them all,
and so did they...
Brushes, paint, tape, markers, and of course, time,
A sudden thought flashed in our mind,
That it was almost time!
We stepped into the room, the minute we all waited for,
And there it was --
Pink and blue, here and there,
Each drop told us something new...
We did it all, fulfilled our dream,
And so did she...
We hope to know,
When people come and go,
What they came to know,
From our masterpiece,
And her vague dream for days,
Our very own DEW DROPS...

Love U Swathi for this one!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

This is for You, Kate!


Clean-up day – as it always is – I decided to clean up my book shelf! While dusting and arranging the books, I found a card that Kate, my friend and ex-colleague had given me on the day of our parting! It is such a plain and unadorned card, but …………………..! It is such a small thing but it makes so much of a “positive difference” I feel. I still remember – there was a smile on my face when I got that card and read that hand-written note that she had put in it. I read it again and when I read the last line – I felt she was telling it to me in person – “I am not saying good bye Sunita, I am sure, we will meet again!” 

She came like a migrant bird, overshadowing thousand of miles, all the way from U.S. After a year, she returned like a monarch butterfly, but, she left a lot of colorful memories. And in between these two journeys, she had inspired a lot of young minds and even me too. And I had seen, how skillfully, she brought forth talents and capabilities of kids, out of concealment. I have often wondered, why birds migrate thousand of miles? And, my friend Kate is an answer to that! 


25th May 2009

Kate and I joined the school on the same day. On the first day, we had a short meeting with all the staff members – old and new! Just after the ‘self intro’, this lovely lady came up to me and said – “ Cochin and Tiruvannamalai are two of my favorite places in India” – (In my intro, I had said that I am a native of Cochin, but have lived my life for almost 8 years in a spiritual town called Tiruvannamalai). We started talking and within no time, I could make out that she is a person who knows a lot about India and Indian culture! It was evident from every word she spoke! 

From then on, we were very good friends! There are soooo many good memories about her – A trip to Tiruvannalamali, an evening at the Osudu Lake, her visit to my house, our usual lunch sessions, discussions on the English lessons, her cooking experiments, her first “saree” day and many many more! But what I love most about Kate is her ‘free and frank’ nature. 

This is one thing which I have always noticed about Americans – they are never ashamed about showing their real feelings - especially the good ones! If they like something, they show their appreciation without any hesitation – very much unlike Indians! If they meet someone after a long time, they would not hesitate to extend a warm hug. If they are not so happy, they would not really mind crying out! I often feel, here in India, people are like dish antennas engineered to absorb channels of negative thoughts. If someone does something good, there is no way people can employ their tongues to compliment, but I bet you, there will be a big hue and cry, if someone does something wrong, at least in a very silly way! 

Sometimes, I feel, even small kids are so much into this kind of behaviour. There are many instances when I have told my students to stop laughing at others and instead, boost their confidence by expressing their real thoughts! Sometimes, I have noticed, even when they are so much impressed by something or someone, they can not really bring themselves into expressing the real thoughts! Expressing oneself is so important for any kind of relationship, I feel! Positive expressions are always better to keep negative expressions at check! 


Yup, I have noticed this always, I am very good at digressing! 

Coming back to what I was saying……… 

Just when I was done with my cleaning, Gauri came running to me and said, “You have a message from Kate Miss, Achan said!” 

What a coincidence!!!!!!!!!!! I ran to see the message! 

Miss You Kate! 

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Adorable Swami!


"Ta na na tna na na naaaaaa, Ta na na tna nana naaa"…….. Most ppl in my generation would never forget this tune! Yup, I am talking about “Malgudi Days” which used to be aired on DD, some 20 years ago! 

Recently, I watched an interview with Manjunath, the boy who played the role of Swami, in Malgudi Days! From then on, I was planning to make a post on Swami! The reasons for my love for Swami are many! His simplicity, the way he tackles each difficult situation, his lame excuses and so on! Even his dress – his dhoti and the round cap! 

R.K.Narayan – Two things that strike me when I hear this name are Malgudi Days and Swami and Friends! I never used to miss a single episode, even on the re-runs! Narayan is a true literary genius. His style of writing is so simple, and of course, the choice of words is so meticulous and settings are soooo common. And most of all, the fictional town of Malgudi seems so real to me! Even now, I believe there is such a town somewhere and that Swami still lives there!!!!!!!!!!!! Such is the impression etched indelibly on my mind by R.K Narayan's fictional character. 

This year, I have taught two stories by Narayan – The Hero and An Astrologer’s Day! It was so much fun teaching “The Hero” to the 8th graders, Astrologer’s Day is a bit of a serious tone though!

I am literally laughing now, as I got reminded of the expressions of my 8th graders, on reaching the climax of Hero!!!!!

Anyways, I am happy that my resolution of being regular on blog is at least done this week!

Have a gr8 Sunday !

Friday, October 8, 2010

Am I Cribbing?

Today was one of those blue days, where everything and anything seemed just too depressing. I don’t like to crib, but today was one day I just hated!

I feel, in life, priorities keep changing and as they keep changing newer problems will surface and old problems would seem NOTHING! Yup, it happens – Just when I think I have solved one issue and settle down comfortably, another issue props up – which makes the previous one seem NOTHING!

I wonder – is it only me or is it the same for everyone?

Neways, the much-awaited Weekend is here – so, hoping for two brighter days!

B/w - A two-day weekend -Thanks to Sonia Gandhi for her visit to Pondy !

Okie! Calling it a day!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

To Sir, With Love!

“The time has come for closing books and long last looks must end

And as I leave I know that I am leaving my best friend

A friend who taught me right from wrong and weak from strong

That's a lot to learn, but what can I give you in return?

If you wanted the moon

I would try to make a start

But I would rather you let me give my heart

                                                                                    `To Sir, With Love'”

Last Year, when our academic director mentioned that I have to teach the ninth graders, the novel – To Sir, With Love, I was really excited, mainly because I had learnt a chapter of this novel in my eighth grade! I thought I could relive my experience! 

I would never forget Ms. Caroline who taught me that chapter, for the way she taught. She just lived as Mr. Thackeray, the teacher who appears in the novel. Even now, I can visualize the way she taught it and her expressions that captivated me! 

This year, I teach it to the ninth and tenth graders! But, more than teaching, it is ‘movie watching’now.  The novel was made into a movie (1967) with the same name! But anyway, it is definitely worth watching. It is a heart warming film that makes your heart filled with emotions. I guess I have watched it more than a dozen times, with my students, but every time I watch it, I watch it as if I were watching it for the first time.. May be because, I too am a teacher! 

It is the story of a young black man,Mr.Thackeray, who is an engineer, joining a school to teach, when he does not get a job in his stream of study. The school he joins is the school that is run for the kids who are not so privileged. They are kids who work in the evenings and come to school in the mornings despite many financial and personal problems. They definitely do not lead a life of luxury. In short, the school is run for such unattended kids, who are rough, indecent and unruly. He tries hard to bring in a new approach among the kids. Though it was very difficult to bring them to his track, he wins their hearts at last. It is such a touching novel/movie for any teacher. 

Like an icing to the cake, the last scene offers you a wonderful song sung in praise of the teacher! Once you hear it, you may never forget those lines – it is so powerful that you may tend to hum it very often! 

Monday, October 4, 2010

Sau Saal Pehle.........

I am soooo happy! At least, I could make a post today!I had made one yesterday too!

Well…sometime back, I almost thought my blogging died.... anyway, I am happy that I have been able to find some time to keep this alive!

Yesterday night, I heard this song and I felt that I HAD to write about it somewhere. This is one song which I just LOVE! But, it has been ages since I heard it! Yesterday, while looking for a song for Gauri on the Youtube, I bumped into this link!

It goes ‘Sau Saal Pehle Mujhe Tumse pyar dha…………..” What a song!

The credit for ‘Sau Saal’ does not go just to its director Shankar Jaikishan - but to the singers – Rafi Saab and Lataji too ... They have sung it in such a casual way, as if the song just sprouted from their own being and are actually feeling what they are singing. It gives an exhilarating feeling to listen to them skimming through the lyrics in great pleasure. I even felt they gave me a small pair of wings and took me up and up, from the start to the end of the song.

And inevitably, when the song got over, I held up all that I was doing only to scramble for the back button - once again to be mesmerized!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Food for Thought!

I have been lately caught up with loads of work at school and at home. Due to reduced energy levels these days, doing my normal stuff is slowly turning tedious. Though I had taken a resolution that I would make a post at least once a week, I have not been able to keep up with blogging at all!

The other day, I got a set of papers on my table, where kids had written about themselves! I had asked them to write about themselves for the ‘Rosebuddy of the Week’ which I run for my School Blog! One thing, which I had specially mentioned was to write about their hobbies! I went through the papers and noticed that most of them had a long list of hobbies! The next day, I discussed these and kids were really excited about telling about their best-loved hobby! 

It went on for a while, when a guy got up and asked me, “Miss, What is your hobby?”

For a moment, I couldn’t say anything! I really wondered if I could give him an answer!

Then I said, “I think, these days, my hobby is correcting your assignments!” I was right!


Back home!

I just asked myself – Do I really have any hobbies now? I tried answering – YES – I have!

Household Chores! Nothing else!

If someone had asked me the same question when I was a teenager, I would have given them a long list of hobbies! Where have all that gone!!! I wonder!

With growing age and increasing work/home pressure - people are losing their hobbies... I guess, there are very few people in my generation who take time to go out for music/art classes, who read a book as a hobby, who play a few games that they love!

Most of us are too much into our work that we don’t really find anything other than that. We know everything and anything that is new in the world – we are more into earning more money for an easy life, that we hardly get time to spare a few moments to do something we 'once upon a time just loved doing'! 

I feel, once in a while, it is very important that we take out sometime out of our busy schedule to do something that gives us happiness, something which is out of the routine, something that will keep that "extra-curricular" vein in our body alive and tingling ... It is necessary for us to rejuvenate ourselves by spending more time with ourselves, to gauge where we are in life, whether we have attained what we wanted, where are we lacking, how happy we are .... and how many real friends have we made in life ... 

Believe me, spending time with oneself, can be really refreshing!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Hats Off to the 'Loud Speaker' Crew!

Sundays are holidays, sundays are also lazy days, once in a while!!!!!!! 
Usually, Sundays are more hectic than the week days!
Today, I guess, was a lazy day!

I had a lot of school work to be completed, so I dedicated some time for that and later sat down to watch a movie. YouTube has become a real blessing these days, as visits to the theatres are very rare! Dhanesh suggested “Loud Speaker”, an award winning movie – I was not for it, I thought there was no use wasting my time on such a movie, I had not read any reviews too. Anyway, after a while, I agreed to his suggestion and made up my mind to watch it.

It was no waste of time, on the other hand, I felt, I have never been touched by a movie, for quite sometime. It is a real movie, with real emotions, it is a kinda movie that viewers get sucked into. It is the kinda movie, which is all about being human. It's is all about the relationship that develops between a donor and a receiver of a kidney ,a NRI menon, who is in need of a kidney and Mike, the donor. Mammootty is just ‘wow’ and lives the role of Mike superbly. Sasikumar, the veteran Journo, too gives a convincing performance. The remixed version of yesteryear melody 'Alliyambal kadavil....' adds to the charm of the movie!

It is sure to move you, make you smile, make you laugh and make you thinkkkk! If you are a mallu, you ought to watch it, it is never a waste of time!

Kudos to Jayaraj for this wonderful movie!

On a personal front, I feel good films make us sit and think about our own lived ways. It’s only through this sort of introspection, can one find the meaning of one's own life. A good book, a good film, a good friend , a good hobby and a good sacred space can be some of the ways by which we can meet with own being, in our busy lives. After all, we’re the only caretakers of the little space we live in.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Two Days at Auroville!

I don’t really know how many times have we visited Auroville! Every time we go there, we talk about spending a weekend there and visiting the Matrimandir! It had been quite some time we were planning this, but it was only last week it materialized, when I got a Saturday off! This academic year has been very tight till now, with almost all the Saturdays as full working days. It had been a really good weekend at the Auroville, specially because I got a chance to just leave everything behind and have a few hours of mental peace.


Auroville is a global village where people from allover the world live. It is the vision of the Mother, a place where people from allover the world can live in harmony. In Mother's words, " Auroville wants to be a universal town where men and women of all countries are able to live in peace, progressive harmony, above all creeds, all politics and all nationalities. The purpose of Auroville is to realise human unity."

We have been fascinated by this place ever since we read articles by people who have visited and are staying in Auroville. In our previous visits, we had just seen the Matrimandir from the viewpoint. Not all the visitors are allowed inside the Matrimandir, which is the real centre of Auroville. It is not a place of worship, it is a place for personal concentration. This time, Dhanesh wanted to visit the Matrimandir too! 

Auroville has numerous guesthouses and each one is unique in its own way. We stayed at “Athithigriha”, a guest house which is austere, elegant and simple, be it the facilities or food.This is one of the best, made on Indian styling. Auroville does not see itelf as a tourist spot and does not promote itself as such. But, it welcomes all visitors. For those looking for a break, it is a great place. Wonderful buildings, numerous farms, dense woods, bicycle tracks, friendly and interesting people.


We also enjoyed the company of an old couple from Israel! It was really great sharing their views about India and Auroville in particular.

Savitri Bhavan
The first day, we just drove around, and made visits to Savitri Bhavan, the Solar Kitchen, Bharat Nivas, the shopping mall etc. The next day, Dhanesh had to go for ‘concentration’, I could not go bcoz, they don’t allow small kids inside the Matrimandir! Gauri and me decided to go to the view point! But when he saw Megha (a girl who also stayed at Athithigriha), he refused to come along, finally we landed at visitors' centre again. There is also a cafeteria and some boutiques at the visitors' centre, with things that are highly priced. 

Visitors' Centre
After so many awful weekends, it was just fine, and now I am looking forward to the day when I can make it to the Matrimandir!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Sanjna, Sammy - You Made My Day!

Understanding that you will be writing your imprint on your students’ memory, so they will know that there was someone who really cared for them and believed them and made their school life a special one for them. That is a the kinda joy that every teacher aspires for!

Special are the moments spent with students who really understand you and the effort you take to mould them.

More special are the moments you understand you have been able to get a special corner in their hearts! And most special are those moments when they express their real thoughts about you, as a teacher!

Gone are those days when teachers were held in high esteem, this is an era when teachers are considered as friends by most students. Good or bad – it would just be good if the students try to get the best out of their teachers!

Yesterday, at school we had the Teachers’ Day celebration and I was very busy with its arrangements. Most kids came and wished a very happy teachers’ day. Some had brought homemade cakes and gifts too. My students greeted in the first period itself and then we got busy with the preps of the function which was to be held in the afternoon. I guess it was in the afternoon, when Sanjna and Sammy (sisters) came up to me and handed me a card and wished me, ‘ Miss, A very Happy Teachers’ Day”! I also remember Sammy telling me” Miss, I made the envelope for the card!” and Sanjna telling me” This is specially for you miss!” I just took it for a casual greeting card and went into the staffroom. After sitting there for a while, I just opened the card, and I should say I was sooooo happy to see it. It was not the kind of usual card that usually we get on these kinda days. It was too cuutteee. I liked the effort they had taken in making it. Sanjna’s card was a poem which will always remain in my heart. It is simple, but to me it is something very very special!

They just made my dayyyyyy!

To Sunita Miss!

You not only taught me “Last Leaf”
But also a new way of life!
By being an example yourself
You showed that one has to strive hard
To prove oneself!
You taught me conjunctions
And organized many functions
You opened the “Voice of Primrose”
So that we could blossom like a rose!
You corrected my grammar
And asked me not to murmur!
Ms.Rita, Ms.J.C.Das and Ms.Mamta-
They are some of my favorite teachers
And to this list I now add Ms.Sunita
This poem I dedicate to you
And on this Teachers’ Day
I would like to ‘Thank You’
For everything that you have taught me!!!!!

Thank You!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Love U Frost!

The woods are lovely, dark and deep

But I have promises to keep

And miles to go before I sleep,

And miles to go before I sleep.

Frost is one poet you will never get tired of reading!

And, when you think of Frost these are the lines which are sure to come to your mind!

I have always loved teaching Frost, specially if it is “Stopping by the woods on a snowy evening”. That is one poem I never get tired of reading, never get tired teaching and never get tired of reciting!

There are so many things associated with “Stopping by the woods……” . If I just look back at my Jeeva Velu days, I am sure to find a lotta things connected to Stopping by the woods…. The English Exhibition that I used to organize year after year was sure to have a touch of Frost. The most exciting one was making the still model of the poem! We managed to make it with a lot of cotton for snow, black charts for the road along the woods and pine leaves for the woods. And most of all, I loved the cute lil girl Ramya Ramprakash reciting and explaining the poem to the visitors.

Those days are unforgettable!
How I miss them all!

Today, Stopping by the woods …..continues to be my best loved poem, and I love it when my little one recites it without missing a line! I was amazed when he managed to memorize the lines so well! Well, I have this habit of reciting the poem, when I cook, when I walk to school and even when I simply while away my time. Hearing me recite, he too started reciting! Like mom, like son!

He too seems to love Frost!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

A Lovely Bunch!

I meant to make this post a week ago, but that didn't happen!
Last week, I was exhausted and it took me sometime to get back into the swing of things. Of late, I have been quite irregular with my writings. It has been quite sometime after I made my last post. There are so many thoughts to write about, so many incidents to capture, so many people to talk about, but there is always this lame excuse which most of us would give and I am no exception to it. I too would say - "I was very busy, I didn’t have time, …………………..….blah, blah, blah."

There are a lot of things that I love about being a teacher. Teaching is one profession that will make you feel young, you always have the opportunity of learning something new everyday and being with the naughty teenagers will always keep your spirits high!!!!!!

When I thought of making a new post, my 9th graders came to my mind. Of course, they are the craziest batch I have ever come across, but I love them just the way they are! I remember the first day in their class, when I was like, “OMG, How am  I gonna teach them?” They seemed to be very shy and reserved! But, I was proved wrong the very next day! As days passed, I could get to know the ‘REAL’ them. 

Today, having taught them for over a year, I could very well say that I just LOVE this batch, though they are very very naughty. What I love about them is their sincerity in work, the kind of friendship they have developed among themselves, the way they tease each other (but no one ever feels hurt) and so many other ‘lil’ things! 

There are just 17 of them, each unique in their own way.
Well, a word about each of them! 

To start with the naughtiest of the lot, (who can that be), it can be none other than Novi himself. This guy is really talented, and you can't really help laughing once he opens his mouth!!!! Miru alias Mrinallini is one pretty lady, who just love to laugh and laugh and laugh! Amazing talent indeed, she keeps laughing and makes others laugh too! There are many others like, the serious Prasanth, the most adorable Suji, (A real sweety who cant help talking of foods- don’t tell any one - she is fooooddiieee!), the obedient guy Kaevin, the witty Javeed(He is one guy who is very hard working and systematic, keeps smiling always), the most adorable guy Hari (always helpful, down to earth, and very obedient), Roshen, (Gentleman of the class), Siva, the CCCCChatter Boxxxxxxx (He likes Tamil movies a lot, cant help saying something about it very often), the playful Tamizh Malar , Sanjay, a quiet guy, Shobana, the studious girl, Rhea, the dreamer (She loves chatting, but when it comes to studies, she is just wowwww), Swathi, the cutie with twinkling eyes, (She is a good writer, a good speaker, and is very studious and industrious), Dharma alias Dharshil, , a guy who loves to experiment, the lovable girl,Hemha, and to complete this package, the insatiable Arvind, a studious guy. (He makes it a point to express his opinions, no matter what happens, but he is one guy who is the first one to apologize, if he thinks that something has gone wrong)!

Having said so much about this class, I can’t help saying about their class teacher too, Mr.Geo, a very good friend of mine! 
Together, they make a gr8 class!
Cheers to you all!

Monday, May 31, 2010

At the Doorstep of the New Academic Year!

How Time Flies!
I hit the tenth year of my teaching with the upcoming academic year!
A decade!
Ten wonderful years – I guess I have earned quite a good number of students!
Being with the younger generation is real fun! As a teacher, I really love my job. I love my subject, I love the relationships I develop with my students, I love to watch my students grow up ……
I love teaching teenagers because they keep me on my toes and make me feel young!

One thing which I loved today – Got to see everyone after the vacation. The teachers have reported back at school for the preps for the next academic year though the kids are going to be here only after a fortnight. Everyone was busy today, wherever I went, I could see others scurrying around, arranging the classrooms, making birthday calendars and decorating the rooms to welcome the students!

I am very excited about the English Literary Club, we are introducing this year! A lot of planning has been done, and we are ready for the take off in the month of June!

Hope it works out well for the kids!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

A Tribute to Madhavikutty!

“Krishna, I am melting,

Melting, melting

Nothing remains

But you”

One face that kept coming to my mind last week was Madhavikutty’s! A beaming smile, passionate eyes, child-like talk – That was Kamaladas – Kamala Surayya - Kerala’s own Madhavikutty!

She was a soul who was so passionate and so hungry for love, and it was very obvious in every word she wrote. She was in love with the concept of ‘Unconditional Love’. Her ‘love for freedom’ made her different from many other writers. Of course, she was the best-loved writer to her true readers and an attractive woman by all standards! Her works, charged with emotions and beautified with wonderful imagery won her an unforgettable and irreplaceable place in the world of literature. 

But to Mallus, who didn’t realize the true genius in her, she was a writer who wrote about love and lust. But she was always true to herself, unlike many of the so-called literary icons. She was never pretentious and did not try to hide her weaknesses. 

Just love her for what she was! 


Friday, May 21, 2010


The other day, I had a chat with Meena, one of my good friends from Santhi Nagar and it made me take a trip down the memory lane to the good old days in Santhi Nagar. Santhi Nagar is a small residential colony in the heart of Aluva. It was wonderful living there! We moved to Santhi Nagar, when I was just 7. Since then, till my marriage, I was lucky to be a part of Santhi Nagar. Those were, for sure, the best days of my life, the days that were untouched by the worries of life.

I still remember the day when the Santhi Nagar Residential Association was founded by Mukundan Uncle, and since then it was a gala time for the children in the colony! Monthly Meetings, Onam Celebs, New Year Celebs and Annual Sports and other Competitions added color and joy to our lives! I feel these activities have helped us to come out of our shells and gain confidence and self sufficiency! Thanks to Paul Uncle and Lizamma Aunty, who used to lead us from front!

Out of all these, Onam Celebs has a special place in my heart, especially because of the Pookalam Competition! It was real fun, getting up before the break of the day and rushing to the houses around for flowers…. The two hours that we spend to decorate the floral carpet was not just 2- hour work, but was the result of a great deal of discussion and planning! Well, I must say that I used to thoroughly enjoy making the floral carpet just for the pure exhilaration of working together. Working with flowers, fixing the sand, letting the mind stray to get some creative combinations was an awesome experience. It was worthwhile for the enjoyment and energy it generated within the kids.

And……at the end of the day, when the results were to be announced….Oh! what a moment it was! The much-awaited moment! And……… the first prize of the Pookalam competition goes to…………………………soooo tensed we used to be when the winners were announced! Almost every year, we were really lucky to grab some prize! Winning wasn’t really important, but the fun it rendered! Hats off to Santhi Nagar!

Gone are those days, they will never be back again. Even now, we have pookalams and other competitions, but have never been able to find that kind of joy now, may be, that is something associated with childhood, the joy of being a child!

The Rockers of Santhi Nagar are scattered around the globe now, but most of them are in touch! To name a few – The Sisters with lovely hair, Meena and Veena, the Trio – Dhanya, Anto Saumya, the Big Brothers-Babu n Raju, the Intellectuals Teena and Balu, the Cute girls –Riya and Eliza Kochu, the Nightingale Usha, the Studious boys Sudil, Suman and Sumod, my bro Pappu, the violinist, my sis Syama and me. There are many more to name, Oooooopzzz! How could I forget the chatterbox, Nijil, the pretty Subhashree, Brinda, the lovely dancer, Radhika, the cutie, Binu, Jaya, Deepa, Sreenath alias Dilip, Nino, Neeraj , the list goes on…….

Even after all these years living outside the God’s own country, Santhi Nagar and its memories haven’t really gone out of my SYSTEM!


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Promenede - What makes it special?

What wallops your mind when you think of beaches?
A great expanse of water, foamy white waves hitting the shoreline, soft, soothing breeze and you enjoying this beautiful sight, right? But I should say, You are gonna be baffled when you step into the Promenede!
At first, like anyone I too thought, how can a beach be called a beach when you can not play in the waves??
Promenede is a rocky shoreline, where entry into the waters can not happen! But …….. You can spend a whole day here!!!!!!!!!! That’s something!

There you are, at the entrance of the Goubert Avenue - the northern end!

Among the places of interest in Pondicherry, the Promenede Beach occupies a special place in the hearts of the tourists, thanks to the memorials and monuments sprinkled along this beach. The best thing about this awe-inspiring beach is that, though there are quite many buildings along the Goubert Avenue that runs along the beach, they are built in a way that doesn’t impinge on its beauty and the calmness! Needless to say, these monuments play a vital role in enhancing the panoramic beauty of this union territory. Pondicherry has many beaches, but it’s always great to kick start your beach combing with the Promenede, as this one offers you the finest view of the blue waters of the Bay of Bengal!

Anyone who enters the Goubert Avenue, from the north will be awestruck by the splendour of the Promenede beach! Mornings are better for a leisurely walk along this beach, as it is less-crowded.Though crowded, the beach road,  becomes a traffic restricted area in the evenings! 

As you step into the avenue, salute the Indian soldiers, who sacrificed their lives for our motherland - the Indian War Memorial. A rifle, flanked by four pillars – a symbol of the sacrifice of the Indian Soldiers, a memorial built by the Government of Pondicherry.

As you move on, you can see the French Counsulate, the Secretariat, Aurobindo School, Splendour, an auro shop etc.

Almost in the middle of the Goubert Avenue, stands Asia’s biggest Gandhi Statue. The Statue is flanked by eight exquisitely hewn monolithic pillars, brought from the age-old Gingee Fort. This is the highlight of Pondicherry and one place which the tourists love! Weekends are very crowded here. On Saturday evenings, this place brings in a fair-like atmosphere, with the police band playing music! That’s amazing!

A step or two, you are at elegant French War Memorial, built in honour of the soldiers who laid down their lives in World War I. This graceful White Memorial is considered to be one of the architectural wonders of Pondicherry. Every year, on July 14th, on Bastille Day, this memorial is beautifully lit up. Even without the illumination, it stands tall, with all its charm!

As you move on, Le Café!
The 200-year old Le Café is one restaurant frequented by the locals and the tourists alike. This is the only building on the beach side and offers a splendid view of the bordering sea. It is a wonderful place to be in the evenings with family or friends. It was once Pondicherry’s harbour office! You can not really help stopping by the café to gaze at the sea and sip a cup of coffee. The deep blue waters will fascinate you!

Stroll on, and you will find, Place du Gouvernement, and the 29m-tall Old Lighthouse. It was first lighted on July 1, 1836. In 1931, the old fixed lamp was replaced by a revolving lantern. It is said that the guiding light could be seen even from a distance of 30km.

Towards the southern end of Goubert Avenue, there is small children’s park, and there stands the majestic statue of Dupleix , a French statesman, who was the Governer of Pondicherry. Dupleix expanded Pondicherry and changed it into a rich town. In memory of this great administrator, a 2.88m tall structure stands there, overlooking the sea.

Now, walk towards the sea, and that will lead you to a 284 m pier. This rocky walkway is amazing and if you are lucky to have the pier all for yourselves for a while, that is incredible!!   What a sight to behold – the merging of the sea and the sky!

Your visit to Pondicherry would never be complete without a stroll on this rocky shoreline! Sitting on the rocks there and enjoying the sunrise can be heavenly!!!!!!!! 

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Gorgeous Lakshmi!

We visited the Manakula Vinayagar Temple, the most popular temple in Pondy! As soon as we entered the temple, I looked around to see if Lakshmi has arrived. Oh, She is not to be seen anywhere! My son too was disappointed about her not being there, so we decided to wait for her! Are you wondering who this Lakshmi is? She is none other than the gorgeous temple elephant!

Manakula Vinayagar Temple, which dates back to 1666, has this gorgeous elephant welcoming the devotees to the temple. Manakula Vinayagar Temple is one major attraction to the tourists who arrive in Pondy. History says that the French tried to remove the Ganesh statue from the temple, but to their utter amazement, the idol reappeared each time it was removed. So they had to drop the idea of demolishing the temple.

So coming back to Lakshmi!
She’s adored by one and all, though the perception and outlook changes according to the age group. Kids show a playful fascination towards her. If you watch her for sometime, you are sure to be captivated by the way she reciprocates to different age groups. Her gestures and pranks towards children are to be seen to be believed. She uses her trunk to show her affection towards the kids, sometimes with a tap on their heads, or a gentle pull to attract them!

Most of the devotees, specially the elders consider her as the physical embodiment of Ganesha! But for the kids, it is totally different. Some of them cry, others crave for her gentle touch! No matter, whoever comes to her is sure to receive her blessings with a gentle tap on their heads!

Have you ever seen an elephant with anklets??????

After around 15 minutes, Lakshmi arrived! A real treat to our eyes!

Lakshmi is 17 years old now. She was just six, when she was gifted to the temple, by some devotee. Since then, till date she has been welcoming the devotees to the temple.

She stands there as the symbol of Ganesha!!!

So, if you are planning to hit this part of the globe, make sure that you meet Vinayagar and Lakshmi, won't you?

Friday, May 14, 2010

Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself!

Too much of anything can be disastrous! Sometimes, it happens so that everyone makes things so legalistic and they feel everything has to be carried out by rules. I don't mean to say that rules are bad – of course, rules create order! But too much of it can be awful!

Many people have this idea that we must think in the way they think! This is exactly because they are so bound by the order of the system and any slight diversion just scares them!!!

Well, why doesn’t everyone understand that it is not just their view that makes the world run, but everything may go on well if a collection of ideas are perfectly sewed in? Just like a mixture of colors give ‘white’, the color of purity and peace! Why can’t this ‘peace’ be taken with a broader mind?

“We have been like this, so you too ought to be!” This attitude can be frustrating! And, it’s highly irritating! And this attitude of the people around you can be the very reason for you to break all the rules.

As educated people, we must understand the great rule of time - Time changes and so will the rules and conditions. If we adapt to the times that we live in, that is more than enough for a comfy life!

It's most probably the fear of living outside the system that causes everyone to be scared and get bound by the same old rules. But, if you need to be comfortable, you need to change! If not, life can be disastrous, and perhaps you may put others in trouble too, what do you think?

Friday, May 7, 2010

A Lovely Walk to Remember!

I guess, I should write more about the Beach! May be ‘coz, we spend a lot of time by the beach every weekend! I would love to go the beach every single day, but my work schedule doesn’t allow me and so weekends are kept aside for a calm stroll along the beach. My son loves being there, and once there, he makes friends with everyone he sees! Usually, we go to the beach near the French Town, but last week, as Dhanesh wanted to meet Baga, a trainer in the Integral Yoga at the REPOS Community of Auroville, we decided to go the Auro Beach.

We met Baga, a gentle lady from France, who has lived most of her life in Auroville. Dhanesh wanted to get trained in Integral Yoga and so that meant he would not be available for the next two hours! So what should I do? I looked around, is there something that can be of some interest to me? Finally I decided to walk through REPOS settlement. Repos is located on the beach. I came to know from the staff there that Mother gave it its name, which means 'rest. They said, they try to provide a restful, peaceful atmosphere to their guests. I could see that the Repos settlement is lush and shady from the many coconut trees that were planted there throughout the years. They also have a little snack bar with fresh juices, salads, cakes, sandwiches etc. Being there was really wonderful; believe me, the calmness of the place takes hold of you! Lucky are the people who live there!

It took almost an hour to walk around and see the huts in Repos. Now I could go to the beach! It was almost 5 and the sun was ready to hide. I wished the beach wasn’t crowded! No, it wasn’t!! I was excited! Let me tell you something about the Auro Beach.

The Auro Beach is perhaps the most popular beach in Pondy, which is frequented by foreigners. It is located near Auroville, the global village, along the shoreline that borders the Bay of Bengal. The best thing about this beach is that the waters here are shallow and so it offers a great swimming time there. Even if you are not a good swimmer, it is safe to enjoy a great dip in the waters. What makes this beach so lovely and beautiful is perhaps the turquoise blue waters that hit the shores and every time it hits it brings in little shell fragments and shingles which ornament the shore! This beach is not littered and that makes it exquisite and spectacular!! It is an ideal place to spend time in seclusion far from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Dhanesh would join me only at 6. It wasn’t very interesting to walk alone, but I had no other option. I had to spend an hour all alone. Anyway, I made up my mind to walk along the shoreline. It was highly refreshing, after the hectic week, mainly because there was a lot of work that need to be completed before the school closes for the summer vacation. I started from Repos, walked towards the splashing waves and stood gazing at the sea. I felt the soothing touch of the waves and was all the more excited! I spotted the catamarans of the fishermen coming back to shore with the wealth of the sea. They seemed to be too excited- perhaps they have had a good day at sea! Though the noise of the motor boats was a bit annoying, it was really wonderful to see them singing and rejoicing!

Calmly, I walked along the beach. The smell of the ocean, the sounds of the seagulls, the songs of the fishermen, the soft sounds of the waves – everything seemed to have a rhythm. I felt I was in some fantasy world – I felt the peace, I wanted, at once! I don’t know, how long I stood or walked there, enjoying this serenity! Never in my life, have I felt so much peace and calmness. Thanks to this lovely beach! May be, it has the blessings of the Mother and Shri Aurobindo, by which it could offer such a state of mind to its visitors!

I felt someone patting on my shoulder. It was time to go! Dhanesh had done with the day’s session and it was time to go!

So Back to Real Life!

I must leave! The walk along the beach is done! It was such a nice evening and a lovely walk to remember!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

I am in love with Pondicherry!

I've been reading a lot more than usual and may be that is why it wasn't until yesterday evening that I decided to do a little more than my usual work. ‘Blogging can be intriguing’- I thought. When I decided to venture into blogging, I asked myself if I have a plan. I realized that I actually have some plans. The first thing that came to my mind was writing something about the place I live in – Pondicherry!

Pondicherry/Puducherry as it is called now, has always been a fascinating place for me and my hubby Dhanesh, ever since we visited this lovely place, way back in 2003! Then, we used to live in Tiruvannamalai, a highly spiritual temple town, which is almost a two-hour drive from Pondy. Finally, we decided to move to Pondy after six long years and now we have almost settled here! Pondicherry is a place which I have always wished to live in and I am happy that my dream turned true! Unlike many other places, there is a special charm about this place which makes you feel cling to it!

I am a native to Aluva, a small town by the Periyar. A trip down the river and its silken-smooth sand-banks will be one of the most memorable experiences in one’s life. From the banks of Periyar to the shores of Bay of Bengal, it has really been a long walk! A long walk that made it possible to enjoy the beauty of little things of Aluva and the magnificence of Pondicherry!

Pondicherry is a unique union territory which covers just a land area of 492 SqKm. It is one of the most beautiful and peaceful cities which I have been to. It is rightly called ‘Quintessence of French Culture’, ‘India’s Little France’ and ‘The French Riviera of the East’. You can still see the French flavor in it, like the grand colonial mansions, beautiful boulevards, and placid promenades, spellings on sign boards and buildings, names of roads and public places.

The White Town is a well planned and well built town. You can see for yourself how the French gave importance to order and flair. It is on their craft and grand architecture that they constructed the oval shaped, lovely ‘boulevard town’ – the French Quarter. A boulevard encircled the town and a canal, divided it into two sections- one the Tamil side called as Ville Noire or the black town and the other, a European side which was known as Ville Blanche or the white town. The Ville Blanche or White town is a typical Medieval French township with fine built monuments, government buildings, royal mansions, well-designed churches and lush green parks.

If you love beaches, then Pondicherry is the best place for you. During our first visit, it was this beach which we loved the most. A stroll along the beach in the morning is sure to refresh your spirits! Serenity Beach as it is called, can offer you relaxing moments. The soothing and cool waters, soft breeze, clear and sparkling sands and superb seclusion, with all these, it’s a real paradise here. You can spot seagulls and sandpipers here. The beaches in Pondicherry offer a calm and peaceful atmosphere, and are perfect locations for sunbathing or a quick dip in the Bay of Bengal!

The Beach near the French Town, is a 1.5km long, rocky shoreline. It is said that some of the bloodiest Anglo-French battles were fought here. But now, this beach is perfect for a calm stroll. Or if you are a person who love sea gazing, you can sit on the rocks by the sea and gaze out at the rolling waves for hours. You can see the catamarans of the fishermen at work, and enjoy the sea spraying at you! It truly refreshes you!

I guess, this is just a very small description of Pondy. There are more things to know and much more for me to pen!