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!