Category Archives: India

Nemmara Vallangi Vela 2009

The Nemmara Vela 2009 is an unforgettable experience. Not only did I get to participate in the festivities, I also got to experience the fireworks, a first for me.

As usual the festivities began with all the pomp and vigour. On a positive note, neither was the heat index as high as last year nor did it rain. Excellent panchavadyam was music to every aching ear, heigtening each of my senses and transporting me to a greater world. If I could choose from my entire life, all the episodes where I have experienced heaven on earth, this panchavadyam is definitely going to be somewhere on top of that list.

As usual, Bhagavathi’s thidambu was beautiful, personifying her dignity and elegance. The “thidambu ketal” ceremony at Mannath Temple was great to watch. It gets better every time. The magnificient pachyderms stole the show, atleast from the point of view of the petite participants. All of them were awestruck by the eleven elephants at the Vetaikorumagan ksehtram.

Both the pandals were pieces of art. It seems bad that they are coming down as I type this but then if history is proof, the next ones will beat even these.

As a grand finale, the night sky errupted into hues of dazzling colours. My little one was more interested in knowing the winner of the fireworks display. I personally liked both, one for the accoustic effects and the other for the pyrotechnique display.

This Vela is a significant event in our calender and if you go by the sea of people thronging Nellikulangara Kaavu on the two days, it is understood that many hold the same sentiments.  I am inspired to create an entire writeup on the Vela after interviewing DH’s Ammamma. That is definitely in the agenda for a future post.

Note: Pictures and videos are definitely on the way, as soon as I get back to my broadband.

Finally uploaded the pictures.

Advertisements

Mein Jaag nahi sakthi

We humans are a strange lot. We don’t care for anything we own unless we loose it. And then we miss what we no longer own. And the cycle continues.

images_logo1 I miss complaining about how little my one vote can do to change the system. I miss my Dad chanting “No vote, no college” mantra when I used my extra important morning class excuse(the one that I otherwise conveniently bunked). I miss my right to vote in this country. Yes, I made an informed decision to become a “Videshi” but back then I didn’t think about what I would loose. When Jaago Re plays on TV, I keep thinking about how I cannot wake up from this slumber, how I cannot be one insignificant number in the one billion target. Why? Because nobody cares about my Perfectly Indian Soul. 

So all those of you who plan to hit the snooze button, think about it for a minute. Would you rather try and make your feeble voice heard or have no voice at all? Think about everything that our past generations may have sacrificed so that we could have this luxury that was once their dream. It must have been each of our grandparent’s vision to see their future generations having a say in the country. What would they say if they saw this apathy? If not for us or our ideals, do it for them.

Go make your mark. Nothing may change if you do, but if you don’t then what is the use of all the gyaan that comes later?  The word democracy itself says “crazy”, so quirks are part and parcel of it. Everyone is free to pick on the quirks but does it do any good? We have a long time to pick on the quirks, I’ll join you in the rants but first go vote.

Socha hai?

I’ve often wondered why we like to complain and not take action?

Why do we like to criticize and call it constructive?  Is criticism ever constructive?

I criticize the netas for the infrastructure(or the lack of it) and everything bad that happens in the country. Once I get tired, I give up. I don’t lift a finger to change things. And best of all, I call it constructive criticism.

I wonder why there is this inertia to make a change, however insignificant it may be? The Auto Driver at a crowded intersection, who instead of moaning like the rest of us, took control of the situation and made me think. Sandeep Unnikrishanan and Vijayant Thapar, took charge and made me ponder.

If the Auto driver had not done what he did, the intersection would have been a mess but Bangalore would have survived.

If Sandeep had not said “I’ll handle them”, many more innocent lives would have been lost but surely Mumbai would have still made it.

If Vijayant had not died fighting for our tomorrow, many lives would have been lost but India would have still survived. But then, India would have lost her soul if people who act and make a difference, were not in our midst.

Where would India be if they did what I do? Where did the helpless Aam Aadmis like the Auto driver, Sandeep and Vijayant get the motivation from? Ever wondered where the country would be today without them?

I’m sure the motivation started from within, a thought that provoked action. Maybe we should start by thinking positive. Maybe the small change that we need to make is to stop being the critique and start being the optimist. Let’s make a start by thinking positive.

Like Farhan Akhtar rightfully sang, socha nahi toh socho abhi…

A year later

Jan 1, 2008 was a memorable day. We celebrated the birth of 2008 with family after landing in Bangalore 🙂

Today, we have completed a milestone – one year after returning to India. Looking back, it has been a great year personally. I would like to Thank a lot of people for inspiring me to make it this far.

Amma and Dad, thank you for your undying support. We could not have done it without both of you. You’ve dropped everything in hand to run down and help out in every possible way and we are grateful for having the support.

Achan and Amma for the endless prayers. I’m sure your prayers are being heard and are a huge factor in us being where we are today.

Sis and BIL for all the help. We could not have done it without you.

Veliamma and Veliachan for always talking positively. We are glad you are in Bangalore and look forward to your visits regularly.

A and RRK for the inspiration and showing us that it can be done. RRK, special thanks for your informative web site. I hope it inspires many more. And yes, I’ve not yet forgotten my promise. I’m starting an R2I diary this minute 😉

Friends, you rock! S,V and R, even now if there is anything I miss about the US it is you ladies. Of course, K, K and A, I’ve not forgotten you guys. Thanks for all the help and support. I’m sure it was difficult to help us with the move along with a zillion  other things you’ve got but you did it and you will remain truly special. We made it and so can you. Here is wishing you all the best in whatever you choose to do.

It has been a momentous journey and here is summing it all up.

The ups

The vibrant country, the beautiful culture, the resilient people have all exceeded our expectations.

The school and K’s friends have made it truly a great experience for K. Hope her spirit continues to soar and transcend all boundaries, just like their motto “O nanna chetana, aagu nee aniketana”.

The apartment community and our wonderful neighbors have all been exceptional.

Our friends and family continue to inspire and support us.

Personally, the ability to stay at home and still have a social life is on the top of my list.

We love the new Bangalore – the multiplexes, the malls, the supermarkets have all made the city very likeable. The old timers still have the famed commercials and brigades, Lalbagh and Cubbon park, the Bull Temple and the Infant Jesus church and all else.

I enjoy visiting parents at the drop of a hat. It’s an overnight train journey and weekend trips are convenient.

The festivals, the celebrations, the beauty of everyone celebrating what we are celebrating is definitely exciting and fun.

The sense of belonging, especially feeling “I never really left, in spirits I was always here” is truly euphoric.

The availability of help for anything and everything is also noteworthy.

 The downs

The traffic, the potholes and the lack of civic sense hits us the instant we set foot on any Bangalore road. GOD help the Bangalore commuters! The sheer difficulty in getting from place to place wants to make me stay put. Driving is definitely not an easy task on non existent roads!

The recent terror attacks in Mumbai have left a deep impact on every Indian around the world and we are no different. I don’t feel secure even in India. I know we are being targeted and hope and pray that the world is a safer place for our children.

Mr. ASATYAM Raju(Satyam = truthful and that’s not true anymore) has made sure that the already failing economy has something more to worry about. What was he thinking? We have been seeing hiring freezes, job cuts etc and I’m nervous. Hope things work out.

It is difficult for women to work in Bangalore. It is expected practice to work 9.5 hrs and add to it the commute, it is pretty much all work and nothing else. I would have loved to do something with my career but other than changing careers or slogging it out, I don’t see a way out. For now, I’m happy at home but I wish I found employers like the ones I had in the US.

And all that in between

The fond memories of a distant country we called home for years, the first years together, the birth of a beautiful baby and most of all the friends we made are all in our thoughts.

So far, no regrets regarding this move, only hopes for a brighter tomorrow, as always.

S,V and R, I hope you are reading and getting inspired! Come back, for all the glitter will still be there to go back to someday in the future. Think about it, isn’t it more important for our children to pick up the phone, call Grand mom and tell her to bring Mangoes and Bananas for this visit and then after a pause tell her that the most important thing is that you and Grandpa are here with us? For our children, this is the place to grow up in. So ghar aaja pardesis…….

foot in the mouth syndrome

Quite a few of our Netas seem to be suffering from it off late. It seems to be quite contagious actually. First it was the Gujarat CM Narendra Modi, then it travelled south to the Deputy CM of Mumbai RR Patil, then came the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) vice-president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, back to Mumbai to Vilas Rao Deshmukh and from there it traveled further south to Kerala with CM Achuthananthan.  Some of the Television journalists also seem to be affected by it. The minute by minute coverage of events during the attacks, whereabouts of commandoes and trapped guests were televised live in the name of competition and freedom of the press. The terrorists had to just tune in to let the so called “Angels of Free Speech” guide them to the commandoes and guests. When will they learn the etiquettes of on screen behavior?

This happens only in India….

The terror strike in Mumbai is shocking. It goes on to say, no matter where you are vigilance is essential. Indian politicians have a lot to learn from their US counterparts when it comes to standing up to terrorists. The NSG commandos are fighting it out for the country, the operations are still underway at the Taj hotel and Nariman house and all I can see on TV are politicians slinging mud at each other. All I can see are parties supporting themselves and defending their statements and of course trying to offend others. Today I have realized that a lot of good happens in this country but its politicians will never change. What is the message that each of you is giving out to the world? Come out on national TV and support the guys who are actually putting their life on the line trying to fight these terrorists. When 9/11 happened, I was in the US. I watched every TV channel for days together. Every American was with the Govt and I didn’t hear a single person utter “Intelligence Failure” on National TV until weeks later. The need of the hour is not to find the reason but to protect the Nation. A lot of talk and no action is what we have been seeing but I guess that’s Indian politics. India, wake up and go after the offenders.

After 9/11 New York came to a standstill, New Yorkers barely stepped out. Not only New York, the entire country came to a standstill and here I see a difference as well. We really need to applaud the spirit of the Mumbaikars. They are already on their feet, the local trains are already packed to the brim and everyone is nervously normal. This can also happen only in India. The Indian spirit is hard to break. Why can’t Indian politicians have the same spirit? Why can’t they buck up and stick to each other and show the outsiders what the Indian spirit truly is! Is this really wishful thinking……?