Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Bindi and Belief

When you are an Indian and a Hindu, you can’t be exempted from wearing a bindi. In northern parts of the country, married women wear this while in south maidens also wear ‘thilak’ as they call.

The area between the eyebrows (where the bindi is placed) is said to be the sixth chakra, the seat of "concealed wisdom". According to followers of Hinduism, this chakra is the exit point for kundalini energy. The bindi is said to retain energy and strengthen concentration. It is also said to protect against demons or bad luck.

An example of bindi itself can draw a picture of how beliefs, culture and costumes are mixed up in the nation. There are people who stamp those females without bindis as rebels. They say introducing a fashion of small bindis and thus uprooting it gradually is a new policy of Anti-Indians. Also you are supposed to wear red bindis. Black bindis are believed to be bad.

Bindis may increase the beauty of a woman. It may also have scientific benefits. But after all, it can be categorized only as a costume or an ornament. When the world is moving into a global village status, it’s an individual to decide whether a bindi has to be worn or not. Following a culture is not bad, but imposing it on a person is not praiseworthy. And the so called Indian spirit cannot be just shown out by putting a bindi on forehead. It is the willingness and respect to accept all traditions that makes us unique.

Friday, October 22, 2010

It’s a Local Matter

“Panchayat election …this is all what this paper contains” says Madhavan, a farmer pointing a major Malayalam daily. For last one month, reading newspaper is just for a namesake. Reports of local election campaigns take up the lion’s share in these dailies. Television channels also ape the same.

News of local government elections interests only a small mass of public. For others, the places and candidates are strange. A newspaper reader who resides in Kottayam is not at all curios about who is the candidate in a ward in Wayanad district. So naturally, he will skip those news columns. It will arouse interest in them if there is a peculiarity in that ward. That too, will be read only when it is presented in a unique manner. Giving such news in local news section is understood. Here it is covering majority space in local, state and national pages of a daily.

In case of news channels, they always provided news as a capsule from around the globe within a time span of 30 minutes. Now this new shift focusing on local areas seems awkward. And the other side of news channels in particular, is as soon as the election is over; they won’t even care what is happening in these wards which they had once highlighted as their top story.

It does not mean they should not mention a single word about the ballot vote. The time-line and space is to be reduced. Local news is meant to be local until it has a global importance.

A friend in need is my sister indeed

You’ll never know who is there with you until the day you find the days are blank. For last couple of months, my life was in such a situation. Broken dreams and poor health made my nights sleepless. I traveled aimlessly. Sun, moon and whole universe seem to be laughing at me. My depression pulled off writing skills. Words used to chock in my mind as I start to write something. The only writings I’d manage to do were some poems about loneliness.

It was then I found a friend. Actually she is with me from my childhood days. Now I realize when I complaint about my loneliness, she used to listen it with a smile. By the way her name is Jyothi, my cousin. Ayyo! If I call her my cousin, she is going to kill me. She is my sweet sister. Her care and affection is amazing. Once you meet her, you’d never ever forget her. Her love is so sweet and innocent. I’m really lucky to have her as my best friend. Also I regret for not choosing her to share my tears and smiles till now.

Now back to the beginning, she made me realize such a character doesn’t suit me. According to her, this is not my real self. There are many who like my real character very much. Listening to her words made me think. I’ve changed a lot. I used to make at least one friend a week. I was very active in social networks and communicated well with everyone. Then I somehow moved away from everything. She also asked me to write. She scolded me in spoiling my skill to express through words.

Yes! If can’t draw pictures with these words, it means I’m dead. I’m not much good in writing. I don’t know the art of writing. Jotting down whatever I feel give me satisfaction and relief.

At present, I’m back in the starting point. I too want to be in the race…this is not an assurance, but a promise to my sweet sister; my best friend!

Thursday, October 21, 2010


When her mom gave her that golden ring, she knew it will be the end of a revolution. She had worn it only for a function. But it was the climax of a rebellious movement, first of its kind in the state.

In January 2008, a group of girls from Department of English in Sreekrishna College Guruvayur, decided to boycott gold ornaments. To spread the message, they gathered under the banner LES MISERABLES. They conducted a huge campaign taking oaths. All major media covered with great importance.

A few boys also joined swearing they will marry without asking a single penny as dowry. They issued a news letter with the same name LES MISERABLES. Highlighting the issues of girls in colleges, they came out with a short film BLACK BOARD. The film received a couple of awards and appreciations in many film fests.

The group received with harsh comments from their own friends and college mates. They were suffered a huge set back from society. They seemed to be determined with their decision.

As days passed, they started wearing golden rings, chains and ear studs. The people, who were in the forefront, were the first ones to wear it. “I had been tracking all the news on Les Miserables from day one itself. Sadly, I also knew the kids won’t be able to carry the ideals with them for so long. However I appreciate them for taking such an initiative.” Says Indu, an advocate from Kannur.

Now the organization is almost dead. The only thing that remains is a community in Orkut. No one knew it has turned to ashes. As always, revolutions start with a big bang and vanish in silence…

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Malayalam Voice

On Vijayadasami day, in Kerala, there is a custom known as vidyarambam. It is the only time, a Malayali try to write Malayalam alphabets. Writing all those 56 letters is a tough task if you are not familiar with the language. Keralites may not be aware of how tough is their language to speak.

I understood this fact when my Mumbaikar friend Meenakshi who approached me to learn Malayalam. I told her a simple thing, she can learn the language if she can pronounce ‘zha’ (ഴ ).

For last three years, she couldn’t make that sound. A Non-Malayali can spell it only either as ‘ssa’ or ‘la’. I should also admit that many Malayalees can’t say it properly. “I have got friends from several states. I have learned many languages from them. But my dear friend, Malayalam is the only one I failed to master”.

Her comment made me proud of my language Malayalam. Keralites have a belief that their language is inferior to other languages. And this idea makes them learn other languages and speak that instead of their mother tongue.

The truth is it is the flexibility in Malayalam that helps Malayali to learn any language around the globe. And to add more, it is the second toughest language after Chinese. Now you can surely boast about your mother tongue, instead of being shy and calling yourself a ‘Mallu’ instead of ‘Malayali’

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

From MCVs Grand Daughter

It was when the taxi driver applied a sudden break, he woke up. An old man was trapped in front of his car. Driver started shouting, “Why can’t these oldies sit at home? Simply coming out to block other’s way”. The man sitting behind the driver was in his seventies. His name was MCV Bhattathiripad. Driver’s words were like a blow for him. He decided to do something for senior citizens around him.
As a result, in 1993, Kerala Senior Citizens Forum was formed in Kuthuparamba, a small town in Kannur. MCV Bhattathiripad was the founder president. Now it is the only registered senior citizen’s organization in Kerala with more than one lakh members. From the day of formation, it is always in forefront to fight for the needs of the old. Even after MCV’s death in 2007, the Forum is working out well under new leadership.
All these are materialistic facts about MCV Bhattathiripad and his organization. For me and my cousins, he was a loving grand father. We could ask anything to him. He prepared long speeches and essays which we presented in our schools and colleges. His writing style was so simple, but hard to imitate. His flow of language, whether it is English or Malayalam, was simply superb.
He used to write letters for us and he will be extremely delighted when we reply though we rarely do. I’ve kept his letters safely in my file. Reading those letters give me an energy and courage to tackle the word ‘impossible’.
On the day of his demise, people from all the spheres flowed to his house. Schools were closed and harthal was declared in Kuthuparamba mourning his death. Next day, Mathrubhumi wrote editorial about him. He was a regular column writer in that daily. Other dailies also wrote write ups and follow ups on him. It was then we realized demise of him was a big loss for the society too.
We never knew he was such a popular public figure until his death. He never boasted about his popularity. He was an advocate by profession and a graduate in English literature. He had written five books describing the difficulties faced by senior citizens in society. These books were appreciated by eminent personalities.
He really cared for our little things and had an amazing patience in analyzing them. He corrected my articles. He was the one who encouraged me to write and I’m always committed to him for whatever I scribble. The enthusiasm he had in learning new technologies surprised us always. I still remember how he appreciated me after teaching him how to send SMS.
Vallyachan, as we call him, was our strength, power and of course our pride. We are still finding it hard to fill that emptiness. His smile that had a healing power, his advice, his care, his love… missing everything!!!
I don’t have a photo of my Vallyachan to upload. None of us have kept his photos with us as we still believe he is with us. Yes…he is with us; guiding and blessing us to serve ourselves and the society!

This post is a part of #Soldierforwomen in association with BlogAdda.com

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Current Shock

It was a dry evening. I and My friend Sreelakshmi were very thirsty and planned to drink some cool drinks from college canteen. We can’t expect anything more than frooti, appy or LMN. Surprisingly we saw a small red tin with a ‘name board’ CURRENT.

Wow! A new drink in the campus was a matter of surprise for both of us. “Shall we give a try?” Sree asked in her usual excited tone. Whatever I and Sree experimented were all flops- Chattinad Dosa, Black Olive, Grape soda…list will go on! I remembered all these; but we were damn thirsty.

It costs Rs.50…we somehow managed to take out the money. Finally we bought CURRENT and were eager to taste. We didn’t expect a flavor less than coke or sprite. Sree took the risk of tasting it first. Oops! Why her expression suddenly changed?

Well, let me also try. Shit! How can we call it a soft drink...? It smells and tastes worse than cough syrups.

Anyway we bought it, we have to finish it. Luckily we saw Meenakshi sitting outside with her friend Kishor. Let her also bear the thrill of this drink. We happily rushed towards her and told her a fine made up story of how good is CURRENT. She said she is not interested to drink. It was my first meeting with Kishor. We offered it to him. Oh! He wants to taste… After having a sip, he also gave the same expression as ours.(Though he regretted later for tasting it without listening what his friend had to say, that encounter made us good friends). Meenakshi smiled and said, “My dear idiots! are you guys mad to buy this stupid thing? If I’d have known, I’d have stopped you. Arey, we used to get this drink for 5 Rs in Mumbai footpath”.

Nothing more to say, the CURRENT really gave use a shock which we won’t forget in this life time...

Why Do People Scrap?

“Because I can stay in touch with my friends dragged me to these social sites” opines Abhisek, an MBA student. The degree of proximity or the feeling that we are always with our dear ones makes social networking sites much popular among youngsters. Whether you are in US, UK or Saudi Arabia, it allows you to know what your friend in Calicut does.

“I simply join when I get requests from my friends” says Aravind who has joined too many social sites, many of the names which he even can’t remember. Social networks have become a part of present society’s daily life. The numbers of such sites are growing so fast each day.

In India, Facebook, Twitter and Orkut lead with maximum number of users. Apart from sending messages (also called as tweet, comment, scraps), these sites also allow you to upload and share photos and videos with others. Simple games and horoscopes also add fun in many sites. It also let you to join communities or groups having a common interest and discuss your opinion with other members. There is a chance for you to follow celebrities in sites like Twitter. In that case, you don’t have to go through their speeches to know more about them. They will let you know through their ‘tweets’. Tweet-fights among celebrities are nothing new today. Gmail and Yahoo have come out with Buzz and My Yahoo to compete with other social network sites.

The criticism against these sites is, it is increasingly making people addicted to it spending hours wasting their time and energy. In the present state, most of the individuals busy with their own business live alone in their rooms communicating with no one. At times he needs to mingle with some one. So if something can make him feel his friend is sitting and chatting next to him or his parents caring as if he is in home, no one can blame… After all, human was, is and will remain as a social animal. We can’t separate society from us. So keep buzzing, tweeting and scraping….

Monday, October 4, 2010

Demanding D

In Guruvayur, hotel business is the most profitable one. Even when it does not have anything special, people are ready to occupy the rooms. Surprisingly the room which has the highest demand is simply a small one, not even spacious.
Yes! People used to book room number D in Jayashree lodge in advance. And when you enter the room you may get surprised what is so special about this room. A small family room with two tiny windows and a dressing room. The room doesn't even have a plug to charge your cell phone. Also you will be welcomed by heavy mosquito bites.
However the best thing that you would get is a feeling that you are inside the temple, just near Lord Guruvayurappan. You can directly view everything in the temple through the tiny window. This makes it the room with highest demand thouh it costs only Rs 275 for a day to stay there. "People used to call up and book the room from all districts of Kerala", says attender Omana. "For last 40 years, whenever I come for darshan, I stay here. I can't imagine staying in any other rooms." says Kalyani Amma from Malappuram.
But Room number D can hold its head high only for a period of three months from now. The lodge owned by thantri of Guruvayur temple, itself will be demolished within that time span for making out a wider temple courtyard. Till its last breathe, both the hotel as well as that special room will help its guests to have a fine darshan with the mantra 'OM NAMO BAGAVATHE VASUDEVAYA'