Friday, October 25, 2013

The Ghost

As a child, I lived in Kolkatta.
One day as I was having dinner all alone, I felt something pulling my toe from under the table.
I couregously looked under and got a fright to see something big and dark moving to and fro.
I panicked, took to my heels with all the strength I had crying out, " A ghost", and ran to my parents room and collapsed.
My mother, a courageous woman, wanted to prove that ghosts did not exist. She carried me to the room and looked under the table and lo and behold!, it was a mosquito net freshly dried that had dropped off the chair and comfortably settled under the table. The rope had got entangled on my toe, so as I moved my leg, the net too had moved to and fro.
Even now, this incident is narrated to children and they have a good laugh.

Linking this to 100 words on Saturday at Write Tribe prompt of ‘I knew it was my last day there’.

Also linking this post to the Ultimate Blog Challenge and October’s NaBloPoMo.
I saw a lovely light afar
Clouded in mystery, heavenly glow
Appearing near, an angel
Wand in hand, smile on lips
Messenger of God
Coming closer
A slight touch
Filled with

An unforgettable day

The incident took place in Delhi in the 90s.
My husband was invited to a Parsi lunch hosted by Mr Irani from The Statesman.
He took me along to the sprawling venue which was guarded by Black Cats.
Upon entering, I noticed Mr TN Sheshan, his wife, Late Mr. Madhavrao Scindia and  BBC news reporter Mark Tully.
I got friendly with Mr Sheshan's wife and it was a pleasant surprise to know that she hailed from my native place in Kerala.
She narrated how Mr Sheshan had given up coffee when she chided him for excessive drinking when I noticed that he was not accepting coffee when served..
Then it was time to gorge on the delicious Parsi spread.
There was this gentleman sitting next to me describing each and every preparation.
I relished the dessert which the gentleman said was called rabadi and proceeded to give the receipe.
A very friendly person.
After lunch, as I was getting up, my sari got caught under the chair. Mr Madhavrao Scindia who was sitting two chairs away, quickly got up, pushed back the chair so that I could retrieve my sari.
A true gentleman!!
Before leaving, I bade goodbye to Mrs Sheshan and she did the same cordially.
In the car back home, Venu was really shocked at what happened.
He told me that the person sitting next to be was the host Mr Irani, and I was very casually talking to him. Not only that, he told me that I patted the back of Mrs. Sheshan before leaving like she was some well known friend.
Overall it was an unforgettable day.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A scary but funny incident

Yesterday, while working on my computer, my 87 year old mother came and sat on the bed near me covering her face and shaking all over.
I panicked and on a closer look saw that she was doubling up with silent laughter.
She was finding it difficult to speak with all the laughter.
Finally, when she was able to talk, she narrated how when putting all the vessels in order in the kitchen, she tripped and had a fall which made her fall with a thud on her back with her hands and legs up  like some four legged animal.
Luckily, she had no broken bones and was able to get to her feet and narrate the incident to me.
I am really grateful to the Almighty for having protected my mother from a nasty fracture at her age.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Ayurveda - Traditional Knowledge, Natural Growth!

Ayurveda is the traditional Hindu system of medicine, a form of alternative medicine that is the traditional system of medicine of India, that preceded and evolved independently of Western medicine, and that seeks to treat and integrate body, mind, and spirit using a comprehensive holistic approach especially by emphasizing diet, herbal remedies, exercise, meditation, breathing, and physical therapy. Incorporated from Atharva Veda, the last of the four Vedas, which is based on the idea of balance in bodily systems and uses diet, herbal treatment, yoga and yogic breathing.

 I belong to a family of Ayurveda doctors. My mother, now aged 87 years makes her own herbal medicine whenever she feels unwell.I can say with pride that it is her homemade products that she forces down my throat whenever I feel unwell. I can proudly say that I fall sick very rarely, never suffer from headaches, knee problems, stomach disorders, my eyesight is still good and I can walk long distances without getting breathless. I am going to complete 60 yers in March, 2014.

 I used to suffer menstrual cramps every month and that too very badly.I used to dread those days when I used to be confined to my bed with unbearable stomach aches and bouts of vomitting.My mother prescribed ASHOKARISHTA, a remedy for mentrual problems and taken only by ladies and girls. A few bottles of this medicine cured me.

As a child, I used to fall sick very often. Only the ayurvedic kashayam DASHAMOOLARISHTA cured me.
I have even been forced to eat tender curried neem leaves for health.

When my son had jaundice, my mother suggested herbal leaves called "Keezharnalli" to be ground into a paste along with the roots and given to the patient.It proved beneficial.

I remember once after a minor operation when I was convalescing, my mother made a kashayam of goosberries and jaggery and give it to me everyday.

I used to give my son a spoonful of Chavanaprash, both Dabur and Kottaikal when he was a tiny tot and refused to eat anything when going to school.A spoonful of the ayurvedic wonder and a glass of milk was all he had.I had also taken chavanprash for many years before going to bed.

The ayurvedic oil and tablets "Mahadanvendaram" I applied on my body during the 7th month of pregnancy and the tablets taken with JEERA water after bathing prepared by my MIL everyday proved very beneficial.

 Even now my son  enjoys a good hair massage with Dabur lal tel every week at the massage center.Recently my husband bought some pain relieving aurvedic oil from kerala and it proved useful after he applied it on the aching leg.

It is with pride that I can say that once while travelling from Delhi to Kerala, my co-passengers were to Spanish ladies.I noticed them eating Chavanprash and then drinking milk before bedtime. They explained to me the benefits. I told them them I came from a family of Ayurvedic doctors and knew about the benefits.I should have kept quiet becaue they wanted to know more about Ayurveda, the temples of Kerala, the rituals etc.I explained whatever I knew.

I really think Naturopahy treatment is the best form of treatment. Aurvedic massage centers are a boon in todays world full of stress and tension.Children from their formative years should be made to know about Ayurveda and its miracle on human body and mind. The advantage of Ayurveda medicines are that they have no side effects and even children love them. My son loves to take DASHAMULARISHTAM saying that it tastes like wine.

In conclusion, I can say that this school of medicine is good for mind, body and the soul.

This post is written for the "Traditional Knowledge, Natural Growth" contest on Indiblogger sponsored by Dabur Lal Tail

Monday, October 14, 2013

The cooking experience

Though I was supposed to be a good roti maker and other snack and sweet items, I was a novice at making string hoppers, idiappam as called in the south.
Without having learnt the method, I thought I was good at it and told my husband of a few months that I was making idiappam and mutton curry for dinner.
Venu, my husband, was elated and waited impatiently for the delicious dinner.
Unfortunately, the rice dough refused to come out from the mould after I used all my strength to press it.
I called out to Venu for help and in spite of both of us trying together, the idiappam refused to come out. Venu ran to our dhobhi, a young and healthy young man who joined him in the Herculian task.
Somehow both of them managed to gather some amount of idiappam. Later when Venu went to the room, he saw the dhobhi waiting.
Venu wanted to know what he wanted and pat came the reply. " Sab, Eisa cheech mai ab tak nahi dekha, mughe to is cheech khana hi hai! (I have never seen such an eatable, I surely want to taste it.)
All said and done, now I am good at making idiappam.
In fact idiappam flour has to be cooked, and I had tried making with raw flour, so the hardship faced.

The power of prayer

For the past so many decades, my day always begins with lighting a lamp and agarbhatti in the pooja room. The wonderful agarbatthi smell taht wafts the entire house calms me and I know the day ahead will be a blessed one for me and my family...

I have many a story about the power of prayer in my life. But the below one is my favourite....

 It was a beautiful wintery night in December when a team consisting of my nieces along with a college gang went on an excursion to Delhi by the Tamil Nadu express.One of the nieces was a professor and made us join her team. It was an enjoyable journey full of sound and frolic.

Reaching Delhi, we were ushered into a luxury bus, our companion for 10 days. The old driver very dexterously drove the bus through foggy roads. It was fun and food all the way.There were two students entertaining us with their melodious singing. Our itinerary was Delhi, Agra, Mathura, Amritsar and the holy shrine of Vaisnodevi.

On reaching Agra, we decided to go to Mathura, first. We went to Brindavan in Mathura to offer our prayers to Lord Krishna.Walking on the rough terrain, I chanced to see a monkey walking on the overhead cable wires. I thought how ugly the monkey was.The next moment, I felt myself hurtling down with full force after having hit a big stone. Maybe, it was a punishment by Lord Hanuman for having thought of one of his clans in an insulting manner.

I lay stunned, not knowing what happened. Nearby people helped me to my feet, and I staggered to stand properly.Everything seemed OK. We went to the temple where everyone had to sit cross -legged for prayer.
The moment I tried to sit, I had a sharp pain on my right knee and found it impossible to bend my leg.As it was night, we decided to go to our hotel and visit Agra the next day. On reaching the hotel, I got down from the bus and experienced an excruciating pain when my left foot touched the ground.I went dizzy with the pain and stood rooted at the spot not able to move. Everyone got worried.A chair was put for me to sit. My nieces helped me up to the chair. An auto rikshaw was called, and I was helped into it and taken to a nearby ortho clinic.

The good natured auto driver too helped me up the steps leading to the hospital. Upon entering the hospital, we could see the rural people (patients) huddled together watching an English movie. It was really funny, and I smiled in spite of the severe pain.The doctor attending to a patient took sometime to come. When he entered his chamber, I was taken in. The moment he saw my foot, he said that I had a fracture.

I was heartbroken because the next day, we were supposed to visit the Vaishnodevi shrine. I told the doctor, and he replied in Hindi that if the Mother wanted, I would surely be able to see Her.

He put a pair of tight socks on my fractured foot. The pain became unbearable. I was literally carried to the hotel and to the alloted room. The other professors and students trooped in one by one to see me. I was in real agony.At bed-time, I managed to do some foot exercises amidst the pain and prayed to the Lord with all my heart for some miracle so that I did not miss my Vaishnodevi trip.

Upon waking up the next morning, I felt a little relief to know that I was able to walk a little without the agonizing pain. We all boarded the bus to see The Taj mahal.On the way, everyone got down to visit Fatehpur Sikri. I stayed back and one of my nieces too stayed back with me. She insisted that I should try to go out and walk. I was able to walk without any pain much to our delight.

After reaching the Taj Mahal venue, everyone got out forming a line to go inside. Even though I had seen the Taj Mahal a few times, I too joined the line and was amazed to see that I was able to walk normally.Then it was back to the bus and off to Amrithsar for a darshan of The Golden Temple.My loving nieces formed a protective shield around me so that no one stepped on my injured foot. After a wonderful darshan, all of us were on the way to Wagh Border to see the flag closing ceremony between India and Pakistan.
It was an unprecedented crowd there, and all the way I had my nieces protecting me. It was a wonderful experience. The last lap of our itinerary was Vaishnodevi.

It was indeed the Goddess's blessing that I was able to climb the hill to the shrine without any difficulty.It was as if I had not injured my foot at all. Vaisnodevi Mata had indeed heard my prayer.

Upon returning to Chennai, my husband who was in the dark about everything immediately took me to an ortho.An X-ray was taken clearly showing that there was a nasty fracture. The doctor was amazed and told me in wonder, "I still cannot understand how you walked".

It is true that if one offers his/her prayer to the Lord from the botton of their heart the Lord listens!

With Diwali round the corner, I am spring cleaning the house in preparation for the Laksmi Pooja!  Thus I was delighted when I heard of the Sampporna Lakshmi Pooja package bought out by the reputed Cycle Agarbatthi Brand - no more running around poojaris or the market to source the ingredients! Am off to visit Pureprayer and get myself a pack of it - how about you?

A haiku

nestled on the mother's bosom
sleeping little children see
colorful dreams
  An entry for haiku competition                               

Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Feeling

Yesterday at our society function, my student who was seeing me after 26 years recognised me and introduced me to his 6 year old daughter as "My English teacher". I had taught in a reputed school in Chennai (where my student was in std 6) for 4 months and had resigned to go to Congo, in central Africa.
Today when I read in the paper, " Good teachers are never forgotten" was like winning a crore at a lottery.

Case of the missing car

During the final day of the Eat festival ( organised by Rotary 3230)on Eliot's Beach, Chennai, our driver frantically announced that our car was missing.
He had gone for dinner and on returning found that the car was not in its place. A few rotarians got into action.
The Jnt commissioner was informed and an FIR filed at the nearest police station. All were feeling bad for such a tragic end to a geat show.
As usual, I prayed to Lord Ganesha, who very often listens to me. Returning home in a cab, when we reached home, I had a lump in my heart seeing the garage empty.
 Venu on the other hand was afraid of all the car smuggling racket and wondered that when very expensive cars were at the venue why any thief should target our poor summer blue Indigo ECS.
There was a feeling of hope that the car would be found and prayed with all my heart hoping beyond hope to get the car back. 
On returning by cab, I felt a heavy lump in my throat seeing the garage empty and fought back tears. Early morning, we were awakened from our slumber by a call from the police station informing that our car had been located at the same place it was parked. 
Our old driver who had gone to have dinner had gone looking at a different place and panicked when he did not see the car, thinking it was the place he had parked it. 
The police had never come across such an incident!!! you can guess what they would have said. 
All in all a comedy of errors.
Really happy to see our car back where it belongs!!

A summer blue Indigo car

The Nocturnal Visitor

One evening, I had a noctarnal visitor, a vampire bat. It was surprising since all the windows and the grills on the balcony were netted. 
The creature was flying too fast all over my living room creating havoc within me.
My screaming brought my mom running to the hall. She left saying it will find its way out soon.

I was not pacified and somehow made my way into the kitchen and brought a plate keeping it in front of me as a shield to ward away the bat. 
The bat was flying too fast and that too very close to my face, and I was literally battling it with my shield. I managed to open the nets on the window and the front door.
Inspite of escaping avenues, the bat found it convenient to hide behind the Ganesha idol displayed on the wall. From there, after taking rest in between its flight, it got twice the energy to fly at me in full speed.
I got exhausted jumping up and down and warding it off with my shield to keep it away from my face. 
It disappeared suddenly even without saying a sorry for having scared the wits out of me, maybe, through the front door. A really frightening excercise to remember.

A sari (sorry) Tale

The incident took place in early 1978. I was five months pregnant.
I was wearing an orange and white floral organdi sari which my father had painstakingly searched and bought for me. The next morning my husband offered to drop me at my university.
Since I was too early, I went with him to his office where a very friendly receptionist praised me on my glowing looks and the beautiful sari.
As it was time for university, my husband dropped me some feet away from my university and went back to work.
As I was walking up to my university, much to my chargin, I saw my sari trailing behind a cyclist's wheel. The poor fellow was unaware that a thread from the hem of my sari had got stuck to the wheel and he was gleefully riding away.
I stood rooted, shocked out of my wits and tears welling as I was standing on the road in my petticot and visibly pregnant.
By passers threw compassionate glances to see a woman stripped off her sari in public.
I managed to get my senses back, picked up the torn sari, bundled it together and walked up to university.
After reaching, I ran to the rest room and tied it with the torn side up so that the damage was not seen.
I visited a lot of tailors to repair the sari but to no use.
Finally a clever tailor managed to stitch the shreds and put them in place so that the sari looked wearable. It was a gift from my dad, so I did not want to throw it away.
Sadly, the sari is not with me. How I wish I had preserved it!!! 

The Chase

One fine afternoon while returning from the market, I saw the cylinder delivery van moving off from my building. I thrust my shopping on the security and ran behind the van for some distance.
Luckily, an auto driver stopped, I jumped into it much to the driver's shock, and he was even more shocked when I told him to chase the van.

The shocked auto driver hesitated, but when I told him that if I missed it, it was difficult to rebook. Maybe, he felt a compassion seeing my woebegone face and started chasing.
We went a full turn, but the van was nowhere in sight. So we had to return. The auto driver really looked  forlorn at the great miss. 

Sheer waste of energy, money and time!!! Now I wonder whether the cylinder was for me. There was no 'missed you' card at the entrance!!

A hilarious incident

This happened a few years back. I am petrified of crossing roads.
 It so happened that I was waiting to cross a very busy road. 
Seeing the surging traffic, I was absolutely panic-stricken and wondered how to cross. 
Pity was there was no signal. Looking around, I saw a small girl with her cycle waiting to cross. 
Taking the chance, I went caught the girls hand and the girl very dexterously crossed the road with me tagging behind. 
Once reaching the other side safely, the little girl thanked me profusely for helping her cross without realizing that she was the one who helped me cross.
I pray to Lord Ganapathy, (especially the Lord Ganapathy in Edapally, Cochin who is supposed to be very powerful).  
Whenever something needs to be done or to retrieve lost things which seems to have disappeared completely from the house( the fact remains that the lost item/items should be in the house and not expect the lord to travel all over to retrieve it for me), I pray to Lord Ganapathy.
One day, one well known soothsayer said in Hindi- Ek din Sud nikalegha aur marega!! meaning -one day a trunk will appear and hit you. 
It so happened that while on the way to Hyderabad from Chennai by car to drop Pheno at his new workplace, Venu told me that we will be going past Kalahasti temple.
Since I was longing to visit it for a long time, we stopped to have a darshan.
After a lovely darshan, while coming out, I saw a baby elephant blessing the devotees. Pheno went and got its blessings, and then it was my turn. 

I went and in silence and devotion bowed my head to get the blessings.
I was taken aback when all I got was a strong whack on my head. I went dizzy, my hairdo opened and the clip holding it fell off, and I staggered on my feet. (It was god's grace that it was a baby elephant).
When I came to my senses, I told my son that it was wicked of the elephant to have blessed me in such a manner.

He asked me whether I had given some money to the elephant. When I replied in the negative, he told me laughingly that it was its way of blessing a person who did not give it money. 
All said and done, I was reminded of the prophecy of the soothsayer. The soothsayer was no one else but my son Pheno (Pravin) Menon.

A Kolkatta incident

Another laugh gag!!
This took place years back when pheno was studying in UKG. 

I befriended a very loud mouthed Bengali lady whose son was studying with pheno. 
Those days I was the father and mother to my son as venu was away in Dubai. 
One fine day, as I was waiting for my son at the school premises, my loud mouthed friend arrived and her question in Begali from behind - tho eitha Probiner baba (so this is Pravin's father)shook me from my thoughts.
Turning around in shock, I noticed a very tall, fair and handsome sardarji with goggles on standing close to me. 
I moved away in embarrassment and chided my friend for her outburst. Venu was amused when I narrated this incident. 
A few years later we shifted to Chennai into our new home and came to know that a Sardar had opened a school near my home.
Venu pointed it out and told me that the Kolkatta Sardar had purposely opened a school close to my house.

The wine incident

This incident took place in Kolkatta when I was newly married. 
Venu and I were invited to a friend's house for a dinner party. 
Upon going there, I saw that it was a lavish party with a large gathering.
We were ushered into the friend's stylish bar and offered drinks.
I was given a small goblet(I was seeing such a glass for the first time) and my husband was offered a bigger glass. 

The friend then poured whisky in the bigger glass and poured what he called a 'Lady's drink' into my goblet. Everything was new to me. 
It so happened that when the friend filled my goblet with wine, (I came to know that the drink was called wine) I gulped it down. 
He kept pouring and I kept gulping without knowing that it should be sipped little by little. Finally, the exasperated friend showed venu the empty bottle.
Venu looked shell-shocked. The friend then told Venu, "Either your wife is a drunkard or she does not know what this is". Luckily, I was in my senses throughout the party.

Maybe, that incident made me fall in love with wine. So at times, I whine for some wine!!

The visitors

Two days back I had surprising visitors.
I was watching the crucial scene of a serial when I heard the doorbell ring.
I told Venu to open the door as it may be the dhobhi.
Venu said the dhobi was inside and wanted to see me. I went to the sitting room and found Meena and
Pravin there. They had paid a visit without prior information much to our delight and surprise. Their journey would surely have been very enjoyable without the parents annoying them at each interval to know where they had reached .