Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Sorry 2014

English has become a tough language for me now. It’s not because I lost the flow in scribbling. I’m unsure about the exact reason. What I did to this blog is a sin! I should have posted at least some silly topics here once in a while. This was my pride and love. I was overwhelmed when I hear someone addressing me as VILLAGE GIRL.  Even today I’m so.  Only a few of my readers and fellow bloggers knew of my existence.

I had lame excuses. No time, always busy with official and household works. Still, I managed to frame regular articles for city supplement in Mathrubhumi, the daily I work for.  Just one night away, it’s New Year. If I count what I did this year in English blog, a big zero is the answer. Damuettan, my brother-in-law told me that I’m not at all concerned in upgrading my ideas in blog.

Will you believe, for past one year all I did in village girl was to blame myself for not updating regularly? Except a Rameshwaram criticism, there is no single serious post produced.  In spite of everything, I write the same words again and again.

Leaving all that and keeping in mind the whole lot, I take a New Year resolution for first time. I’LL UPDATE MY BLOG ATLEAST EVERY WEEK FROM 2015.  Posts may not be serious subjects for ever and a day. It may be weekly roundups or very personal moments.

2014… A year of storm, confusion, aimless journeys, bylines, hard work, tears and finally happiness! Whether job or family life, I’d truly believe this year I started the real voyage. My goals are achieved though a little more left.  I’ve a partner who likes me the way I’m. He let me work, read or write according to my wish.

More than that, we are settled at Kozhikode, my favorite city. Although free evenings are rare for us, we do enjoy ourselves when we get some. Beach, dancing tea, hot ice-cream, exhibitions or so on adds flavors for us.

Do bear me this time. Assuring you a regularly updated blog next year!  Signing off 2014… Happy New Year ahead.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Godly Warning And Reality

We have many ‘gods’ in India. Apart from the shrines, there are lots of living beings too.  In case of the second category, they are stamped so because they have either some super-natural powers (black magic mostly) or talents. Kerala has no difference. For us, the godly singer is Yesudas. It must be admitted that he is truly blessed singer. No Malayali will spare a day without listening to his songs. Even the major pilgrim centers play songs sung by him at desk and dawn.

His performance as a singer is hard to criticize. However, his words on October 2nd disconcerted at least a few percentages of his fans.  On this Gandhi Jayanthi day, he requested ladies to stop wearing jeans. That particular costume would tempt men, he added.

I know he is a great man and should be respected like any other old man. More than that, he is an artist whom the whole country would admire. Keeping in mind all that reverence, I pity him for his words that no much religious leaders may speak out in this 21st century. In social media, there was a photo of his daughter-in-laws wearing skin-fit jeans and short-tops. In Malayalam there is a saying that would mean ‘first clean your house then only your locality’. It is their family matter. As told by one of my colleagues, it is bad to drag their family into this. Let them do no matter what.

Just after Yesudas’ statement, many of my co-workers asked why I am wearing jeans or why I can’t follow his words. Though they told it lightly, it made me think. I posted it in many social media groups to get feedback. Comments were shocking. Some supported Yesudas while a few criticized. Here are the supporters’ points:
  • Decency can be calculated from dressing. Modest dresses (includes sarees and pardah) itself speak about the person’s character.
  • Females wearing modern are the main victims of rapes

Now, this is what I felt:
  1. Saree is one of the sexiest dresses.
  2. I had seen men staring at women who wear purdah. I felt it is real ‘ugly look’.
  3. Infants, kids and teens are raped. How about their dressing!

“Today even a one year baby girl has to be fully covered ”-says a man. So what about 2nd point I’ve mentioned.
Let me end the post with a story that a senior girl had confessed to me once she left our college. She had a good friendship with a boy in my class. Once she found a pen-drive owned by him. That USB contained the cropped and zoomed images of girls in my class. All these girls wore churidars with dupattas. Some were in sarees. He and his gang used to comment about our body shape, undoubtedly in a vulgar way. Since she was close to me, she made it sure that it didn’t contain any of my pictures. Both the girl and boy parted. She had recorded his voice admitting fault. Still, he has a very decent image among my college mates that no one will ever believe girl’s words.

World is not a best place to live. You won’t get any appreciation from anyone. You can be trapped at any point not just because of your dressings.  Be careful my dear lady fellows! 

Monday, September 22, 2014

No Foolaking

During my childhood days, social studies text described family as follows:
  1. Father, the guardian who takes care of your house and earns money for family
  2. Mother, the person who cooks and does household works (mainly cooking)
  3. Son helps father to do shopping and other works
  4. Daughter assists mom in cooking and gardening
But after a decade, life has changed. I don’t think the social studies would recite the same thing for new generation kids. They find both their parents working together at kitchen and going out to office. Today mother and father earn for the family. Even if there are a few families that hold patriarchal system of women at kitchen and men at verandah, many have changed. The social concept of equality is emerging though at a snail’s pace.
There is still a belief that women can be fooled easily. Common sense and tactics to deal with things doesn’t belong to men only. The image of woman depicted in televisions is still that of a ‘good for nothing’ creature

A recent ad by a famous desi mobile network provider shook me badly. In that advertisement, a guy proposes a girl from a cafeteria. She says, “I’m ok. But you must change your status in Facebook as IN A RELATIONSHIP”. And the guy is confused. Now the girl says you can’t fool females anymore as we have that particular network provider to help us with IDEAs.
That commercial became a hit in channels. But if you analyze that ad, you’d find a few points that are extremely annoying:
  • Girls can be easily fooled
  • Females can survive only with assistance
  • Changing Facebook status is the most important thing in life
  • A relationship status is a public thing and not confined between two people
Ads can be creative and funny. But it must have logic. The meanings in between words and scenes convey a lot. Commercials like this would result in decrease of woman’s confidence. We need self-assured woman folks for national empowerment. Let us realize the real sense behind these ads and not think that we need support to react. You are strong enough to judge what is right and wrong. Be yourself!

Monday, July 21, 2014

... and they call it Devotion (Part 2)

  To read part one, click here

Alarms set on mobiles rang at 6. After brushing, we rushed to the old man whom we had made an appointment on previous day. He asked an assistant to guide us to do the rituals in sea. He led us to the seashore. Rameshwaram is famous for sea with no waves. Water is absolutely still.
This seaside is addressed as agnitheertham. Priest made me and my husband to tie our clothes together and we took a dip in the sea. I found it hard to walk through the water since there was too many dresses dumped in sea. It is also a practice.
After bath, we sat around our guide. He helped us to do offerings to our ancestors who had normal or abnormal deaths. Again we went to sea with three balls of rice and a few ingredients and left it in the sea. It is believed that ancestors would come and have their share of rice balls. The guide said he needs Rs 150 per head.
In view of the fact that he is poojari, my family didn’t bargain though I had no support with their view. He didn’t charge me and my hubby as ours was a package. Once the rituals near sea were over, we waited in the queue for taking bath in theerthas inside the temple. There were 22 holy tanks in temple.
We had to take a ticket of Rs.25 per head for the holy bath. They’d tie a paper band on our hand. Masses of people, all soaked and dirty, waited near each well. There were at least two officials near each tank to (actually I must say) give a blow on our face with water.
 Notice boards warned devotees not to give any additional charges to officials near wells. But those words were not taken seriously. We’d see guides taking dozens of people near officials and they had special treatment (which is a whole bucket of water poured smoothly on their head). These guides were paid extra money and in turn they’d give a percent to temple-folks too.
A person standing next to a well demanded Rs 10 to collect a few drops in a bottle and Rs 70 to get individual baths. My uncle, who accompanied us, had an intention to collect theertham (holy water) in bottles and present it to my grandmother. However, the ‘cost’ of theertham made him to pull back his wish. Queue was tiresome. Long hours of waiting before each theertham made us tedious.
Lord Rama was famous for patience. I prayed him to offer me fortitude to stay calm. As soon as the holy baths were over, we got out of the temple and had a quick pray or I must name it an apology to Lord for not visiting his shrine. The inner courtyard of the temple (where the shrine was located) was completely crowded. Again, there are tickets to get inside without waiting. The more you pay, the nearer you’d reach and pray. I opposed that idea of ‘pay and pray’.  My family agreed though they wanted us to reach back to the priest quickly.
We changed our wet clothes and were ready before the head priest. His house sucks! I had sometimes felt that Bhakthi and cleanliness are too extremes. Even if the head priest had all typical decorations of a perfect poojari including rudraksha ornaments and designs on body with sandal pastes, his assistant’s costume was worse than the beggar I’d see in front of my office. I am sure he had not taken bath for past two days. His shirt, without two or three buttons, was torn.
Pooja started. Its name was Uma-Maheshwara Pooja. Before entering the pooja room, priest warned us, “Brahmins there will ask you for dhakshina (tip). You can give it later if you wish, but not now.”  Four North-Indian Brahmins were sitting next to the corners of homa-khundam (platform where fire is lighted to do pooja). During pooja, they are passing comments, actions, checking messages over phone and so on.
After Shiva pooja, it is Parvathi pooja. A lady sat in front of us. We had to chant hymns considering her as Goddess Parvathi. We had to walk around her, pay her dhakshina and in the end she would give as a few flowers as blessing.
Then the priest declared pooja is over. He gave the list of dhakshina (I like to call it tip) for each human being who participated in it. Also, we were asked to pay a small amount for a Brahmin’s meal. All these are supposed to be holy deeds.
We dumped our old clothes in the sea. That second itself, there were people to carry it away. These clothes will be dried to sell in open markets. My family was happy because everything ended well. We had a heavy lunch seeing that we ate nothing since morning. The moment our car started, I slept.
Indeed, it was a great journey. Sincerely speaking, I did not feel any bhakthi neither inside that temple nor during rituals. I did for the contentment of my family.
The only moment I could sense a heavenly bliss was on Pamban Bridge. Powerful wind and panoramic view, the point where oceans met! I stood on top of it, in between two water sources that weaved many civilizations… Godly!

Saturday, June 7, 2014

...and they call it Devotion (Part 1)

Rameshwaram, a divine place, from where Lord Rama found his way to get back his lady love Sita. This was my only knowledge about the island, that too from my grand ma’s tales. I was greatly excited to visit the place. I wanted to see Rameshwaram and check if it is according to my imagination. Thoughts are always colorful though the reality is never the same.

For me, belief in God is not bonded to rituals. My faith with Him is pure without much show offs. Only place I frequently stopover is Guruvayur. Apart from the poojas and customs, I find a relaxed mood there. The idol of Lord Krishna is a favorite of mine. He is a flexible character who has done all naughty and serious things like humans. Also, I could pick a few colorful fancy ornaments from nearby shops at a cheaper rate. In fact, it is really a good thing to collect lots of earrings in just one visit and try it out for next few months. Similarly, it is the place where my college is situated. I used to meet my college mates whenever I go.

Rarely, temples inspire me to pray. All I do is look around the construction and sculptural works. Preachers say God is everywhere and so I pray from my room, bus or even bathroom. Coming back to my journey to Rameshwaram, I and my family started at around 7.30 am. We had breaks in between for refreshments.

From the wild greenery of Kerala, we moved to Tamil Nadu. Today, land of Tamilians is greener than my homeland. Only difference is that it is all manmade vegetation. Sights of tiny and huge temples, women with jasmine garlands, little girls with pots to collect water, countless mopeds, hoardings and name boards written in Tamil, cattle wandering in agricultural fields and acres of paddy fields welcomed us.

We reached Pamban Bridge. Entrance fee is Rs. 100. All I knew about this bridge was a tagline from an old ad of Shanker Cement. I must tell you, once in a lifetime you must travel through this bridge. Awesome view and experience! There are two bridges with the same name- one for railway and other roadway.

Both these bridges connect island of Rameshwaram with the mainland of India. The bridges are built across sea. It is also the meeting point of Bay of Bengal and Indian Ocean. We could recognize two seas. Indian Ocean has dark blue water while Bay of Bengal is pale blue. Our driver stopped the cab in the middle of the bridge for us to get out and watch around. He warned, “Be careful!”
Take my word, if you have a zero size body shape, you’d certainly fly up. The wind there is heavy. We were there at noon and even then it was severe. Driver said it will be worse at night. But the view is truly breathtaking. Sea….! My words are not enough to explain its beauty. The sight of railway track will make you either scared or keyed up. It is just a few centimeters away from the deep seawater.

Bhakti made my family to get into the car without ‘wasting much time’ staring at sea. It seems there were some poojas to be held for me and my hubby to lead a happy life. We went straight to hotel rooms and kept our bags there. I don’t know why they made me to hurry up to meet an old man. He was supposed to do our pooja. He was a family friend of APJ Abdul Kalam, former President of India and a great visionary. There was a picture of him and Kalam hanged on his wall.

When we went in, he was busy watching a Tamil serial. His assistant informed him about us and he came out. He had all costumes of a spiritual leader except long hair. First thing he asked us was “Are you from Pattambi?”  It was my husband’s homeland. When we nodded, he smiled. I guess his expressed so because the one who had send us may have a tie up with this person and must have informed him earlier to buy commission. He says there are three kinds of pooja ranging from 5,000 Rs to 7,000 Rs. He said the benefit will be the same for all these three. When my dad and husband was confused about choosing, I strongly said I’d go for the lowest. Finally he told us to meet him after a holy dip in the sea and rituals in the morning.

It was already 6pm. So we had a bath and moved to the temple. I felt as if I had entered a huge fancy shop with shopkeepers inviting us to buy ornaments. Rameshwaram is famous for things made of corals. I bought a few earrings for my cousin sisters, bags for mom and in-law, bracelets and bangles for me. Then we entered the temple. It had a stink with no air circulated rooms. Also, the horrible smell of people with wet clothes welcomed us to pray. Now you tell me, how I can worship in such an environment!

Even the people at counter of prasadam were loudly banging on their table to attract devotees to buy prasadams like laddu. Once we completed the visit, we went back to our rooms. As the journey had made us tired, we had a good sleep.

To be continued...

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Let’s not close it soon

My words speak better than sound,
My letters tell better than tone.
Writings are my habitats,
Know me nowhere else.

I stood lonely in darkness,
You held my hands softly.
I asked to move away,
You left silently…

No tears in my eyes,
Yet my lips shivered once.
With hours of silence,
I had to sigh forever.

Sweating me and summer,
Both yearned for a rain.
To survive with smile,
To cool ourselves down!

Never forget to look back,
To find me at the place we met.
I stand frozen and still,
As showers touched me not!

A chapter is easy to turn off,
We have many pages left,
Puzzles and problems ahead,
Let’s not close it soon.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Hmm… It’s Fourth Birthday of Village Girl

I still remember that day! I sat in my post graduation classroom thinking “What should I name my blog?” Finally, the village aspect in me framed this name. Even when my dad says I am not a girl any more, I love to be addressed like that.
It has been four years since I started scribbling here. I am amused by the fact that I survived this many years here. My life revolved around this site once. I’d get excited when I find an increase in the number of followers or a rise in comments for a particular post. I learned the techniques to direct writers whose sites I visit and comment to my blog. I took pride in that.
Slowly I understood that it is the emotional aspect that would drive a blog. Your letters must dance with joy even if you are crying. Words should emit confidence when you are actually depressed. Realities covered with a flavor of imagination define the art of writing.
I must admit I am not as sincere as I used to be once in blogging. I had a stage where I stopped writing for many months. Sometimes, I feel today I blog for namesake. I have no answer of you ask how I am planning to develop my blog.
Life has become a puzzle and I find it hard to solve. When there are too many to laugh at you and your dear ones are bothered about it more than yourselves, days become tough. I need a hope and a smile. My thoughts have become dry suddenly.
I feel I am in a desert where I’d here many people’s voices but can’t see anyone near me. This was not the way I have imagined to celebrate my blog’s fourth birthday.  My sad thoughts have spoiled this post.

Coming to a few good points, I thank my friends who stood with me in blog’s bad times. I am grateful to my followers for not leaving this site when I said I won’t write anymore. Finally a token of love to my dearest friends Anees, Meenakshi, Navin, Vipindas, blogger Anjali and Malabaris Facebook group for your care!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

So I Work At Night

 “So you work at night?” Exclaimed the old lady I met today. People in Kerala are not still familiar with the jobs after sunset. There are a percentage of folks who think work time is always 10am to 5pm. Sleeping after 12 am and waking up late in the morning are many times considered as bad habits especially for females. As a lady, I had to hear comments like you must try for a job at daytime and so on. Interesting thing is that these are said by woman mainly.
If you ask me, I love my job starting from dusk till midnight. I could roam around at daytime and attend functions nearby without wasting leave. I have started reading again as I am free once sun rise.
When I get into buses in the evening, I’d find tired and exhausted travelers way back to their houses. I’ll be fresh with all make-up. Once I reach the newspaper office, time flies. There is no time to admire the color combination that sun create while disappearing or how bright the moon is! Only breaks are ‘canteen hours’ where all will be busy eating and also discussing personal topics.
Once the flow of news stop and the page is done, we’d again have a tea to relax. While we reach back, first edition will be out. After a peep through the paper, we’d get down. Cars would be ready to pick the lady journalists as night is supposed to be a scary time for us to travel.
We would be dropped at our door steps. Those busy streets of the city in the evening will be empty and silent at night except a few beggars curling up in the footpath, huge lorries with heavy goods or some freaky guys dashing off at high speeds in bikes. Many have said they have found prostitutes waiting for ‘customers’ although luckily I haven’t seen. Life would be fun inside pubs and luxury houses but certainly not in streets.
As the car stops at my gate, I would get down and look around closely because it is the only time where I’d see night all alone. Sometimes rain accompanies me till the house. Now it’s a transition time from winter to summer. I could see cats and dogs roaming around. Above all that, the enchanting fragrance of jasmine! Although I am not a great fan of that flower, its aroma makes me crazy now. Before I close my door, I’d stare at the sky to see moon looking lovingly at pole star. Thoughts at night would go wild and emotional. Let me go and have a nap before I start today’s work.