Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Once-in-a-lifetime Experience

Chennai Floods 2015 is the one of the most talked about topics in India. And if you have been following the news and updates in Social Media, you could have known that it left many people homeless.

I feel so sad for those who have lost their loved ones. I also feel sad for those who have lost their precious belongings and their home. When compared with them, I am in a much better position to manage life after floods.Though water was upto hip level inside the house, we were able to save few of our belongings. Some dresses, dinning table, most of the furniture, TV et al had to be disposed. Luckily I could save my laptop, but not my desktops. Scanner and Printer, need to be dried up under the sun. I am so grateful I could save the lives of my family members.



Cleaning wasn't very easy. I am so happy that my siblings and nephews are healthy enough to clean the entire house as well as the utensils. This is how it looks now.



Thank you so much if you were one of those who helped people affected by the floods. If not for you, we would be helpless.

I believe that this flood reminded us again that we all are ONE BIG FAMILY.

Luv u all
Uma
Freelancer

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

SPAM MAILS! RUN!



Luv u all
Uma
Freelancer

Monday, August 31, 2015

Soul Mate!


We all have greater expectations in life, in the official as well as in the personal front. Most of the times, we end up getting whatever we don't aim for. We still keep moving on striving to get what we wish and in the process some times, we get drifted like the boat in a sea storm.

Turning back and looking at the things that has happened in my life in the past ten years, it looks like a fairy tale.  I lived life differently in those ten years which I have not even dreamt of , before 2004.

Somewhere deep inside,  the search goes on and on, silently, not towards materialistic comfort, but towards a soul mate. That is what it is called as, if I am right. The search does not end that easily, it goes on and on.  It rests, may be when your life reaches the end of the road.

The wave of search travels across the borders. Find a few hearts. Then it thinks it has really found one until it realises after  a few months or years that its not the one what it looked for and then move on.

In this process there are heart breaks, sleepless nights, sorrowful days with tears rolling down and so on. Relationships are so powerful for an emotional person. It reduces the gleam in his eyes and increases the speed of ageing.

But we don't give up that easily, especially the ones who want to fight with life bravely. They keep moving on. If one door is closed, another door opens, always. Which really happens, when the eyes and other senses are kept open.

Every encounter seems to be real and long lasting but it is not. When the time comes to  move on, when the break happens, it leaves the heart with a deep scar. The heart rejoice again when it find the next soul mate, until it faces another heart break.

What do they, the soul mate, need and what does the heart that ended with this soul mate need, is always a puzzle.  The answer is yet to be found. But the beginning always looks very bright like a bright sunshine after a heavy downpour. The heart leaps in joy. But then the clouds of un certainity brings in darkness soon and the play comes to a sudden death.

Once you have started the journey of soul searching, then there is no turning back. You keep moving from one relationship to another like a migrating bird. Be in the place until the season changes and then move on to the next place. There are some native birds which do not move from place to place. They stick to a single place. Make compromises for their living.

Marriages are no longer a binding force for us, the soul searchers. We are not animals. We are not human either. We try to find a peace of mind, love, affection, care, togetherness, romance, soul partner, motherly touches etc.,  from some where or other. And that results in extra marital relationships with more complex life patterns.


Vijayan
Friend of Uma

( just a narration of what happened in my life)

Image courtesy: keawpiko from freedigitalphotos.net

Sunday, August 30, 2015

A Priest's Humor!

There is an Aiyappan Temple next to my house. The priest used to give a speech to his followers everyday evening to a small group of devotees that gather at the temple. He uses a microphone. So that those who can't come to the temple can listen to his speech right from their houses to get enlightened on spirituality.

Few days back I happened to be at the open terrace of my house while he was giving his speech. I could hear him clearly. He was talking about the things that are offered to God by the devotees. I didn't understand how can he even take this topic to talk when the Almighty accepts whatever is offered to him with love.

He started like this. "Have you seen how the sweets and savories that are offered to God look like? I see the sweets and savories that are offered to God every day in this temple. And I see most of them are not well made."

Huh! Wasn't the sweets & savories meant for GOD and NOT for the priest!

And then he said,"Some of the kozhukattais doesn't even look like kozhukattais."


Now, this sounded more interesting to me.

He continued,"I find them having different sizes and shapes but not of kozhukattais."

I walked very near to the parapet wall to get a glimpse of the audience. But the roof was so tightly covered that I couldn't see either the priest or the devotees.

He said,"They also have holes on them."

This time, I smiled.

He then said,"They look exactly like the blouses that modern day ladies wear."

I didn't hear the audience laughing loud. But the priest enjoyed his own humor.

WHAT! WHAT was he talking about? Was he commenting on the kozhukattais or the ladies that come to the temple wearing such blouses or the ladies that he see on the road every day?

HOW could THIS speech enlighten the listeners on Spirituality?!!

May God bless him!

Luv u all
Uma
Freelancer

Image courtesy: Go Dakshin

Friday, August 28, 2015

Are You Sick? Do Not Consult a Pharmacist!


I am sure you will never go to a pharmacist for your next health consultation, if you are one among many who do that to avoid paying doctor fees, after reading this incident.

My neighbor had a cute dog that was the love of the whole neighborhood. Few days before, the dog fell sick. Our neighbor went to the nearby local ayurvedic pharmacist and asked for some medicine that could cure the dog. The pharmacist gave her some medicine. And my neighbor gave the medicine to the dog in the night. The next day morning wasn't a good one for the entire neighborhood. The dead dog had to be buried inside the compound wall of our neighbor. Only after a few neighbors insisted, did she reveal the name of the medicine and the pharmacist.

When the pharmacist was confronted, he accepted that he made a mistake. He said he gave the medicine that was meant for Cows.

I have seen people asking the pharmacist to suggest SOME medicine that can cure their stomach ache/ head ache/ fever/ severe cold etc. And they promptly buy the medicine that he suggest and go home. I have also seen persons asking for another alternative medicine because the one that the pharmacist suggested for them yesterday wasn't much helpful. Isn't this bad for health, in the longer run?

Lesson learned from my neighbor's experience - Pharmacists are NOT doctors. Be sensible! Be safe!

Luv u all
Uma
Freelancer

Friday, August 21, 2015

Life's Lessons!



Few years back, when the rest of my family had an argument with my father, he hurled filthy words at us. We were all so annoyed that we decided to not to do any favor for him. Because we thought he was not grateful for all the help he receive from us. He is 86 years old now.

So, the next day morning, while I was gathering clothes to load the washing machine, he brought his shirts and dhotis to me. Asked me,"Can you take my clothes also?".

I replied,"Wash them yourself." He returned to his room calmly.

After a few days, he left us, to stay in another house that he has built, five streets away. The situation at home turned around and I had to move in with my dad to help my youngest sister who moved in with him for some personal reasons, away from her husband. She has two sons, one  is 7 years old and another is 8 months old baby.

I go to visit my mom twice a week as well as to wash the clothes. Dad didn't buy a washing machine here. He had a maid to help him but fired her because she didn't follow his instructions.

Now, just because am staying with my dad and just because am enjoying his facilities in this house, I HAVE to be thankful to him. So, how can I show my gratitude? I have taken the responsibility of paying some bills. What else can I do for him? Wash his clothes? Yes! Definitely!

Now a days, whenever I go to my mom's house with all our clothes, I go to my dad's room voluntarily and ask him for his clothes that are to be washed. The first time when I asked him , he refused to give his clothes and said,"Let's see later. Not now."

The second time when I asked him, he said,"There are too many."

I said,"It's ok dad. Just give it to me."

He gave me four dhotis, three shirts, one bed sheet and more. :)

While I was loading the clothes in the washing machine at my mom's place, I thought about the twists and turns of life that keep teaching us lessons. I shared my thoughts with my younger sister, who is the sweet girl of dad's. She said,"True Sis! We ought to do our duty to our family members, even if we have differences of opinion. Because we all are inter-dependent and that is why we are a FAMILY. I have learned this through my own experience with my husband. I did exactly the same to my husband and later I realised my mistake. All we need is a balanced mind."

She also added,"But dad hasn't mentioned this to me till date. What a nice man he is!" Indeed, he is! Its been two months since I moved in with him.

Life is a great teacher. We all need to pause for a second to listen and learn from our own experiences. Have a good day!

Luv u all
Uma
Freelancer

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Social Responsibility: What is it? - Part2

I live in a place called Sankar Nagar, Pammal in Chennai. It is the place where the population is growing steadily. Both the commercial as well as the residential real estate is thriving in this place. This place is promoted and developed by, Appaswamy Real Estate , a very successful real estate developer in the industry.

Way back in 1984, when we started living here, this place was surrounded by bushes and trees. It was so good to walk around the trees and bushes in the afternoons after 3pm. The breeze was cool. We didn't have to close the windows and doors to keep the dust away. There was literally no noise and air pollution. Now the concrete jungle has replaced the greenery. The inhabitants have made the place more inhospitable.

Sankar Nagar 36th Street

Sankar Nagar 39th Street

The other day while I was jogging in the street, I saw an elderly person emptying the dustbin in a rain water canal opposite to his house. I stopped and asked him,"Sir, don't you use the Exnora Service?. He looked at me puzzled. And then he smiled at me after a second and said,"No. I just throw the wastage here." I said,"You should use it, Sir. You can not keep your surroundings so dirty and the materials that you are dumping inside the water canal would only block the flow of the water during rainy season." He smiled at me and walked away. He repeated the same the next day also. I just looked at him and didn't say anything. He pretended that he didn't see me at all.

I thought people should be made aware of their own responsibility to maintain a better living condition before complaining about the maintenance of the surroundings by the government civic bodies. Now, I know that we should strictly make laws to prevent them from dumping the wastages in their own surroundings, for their own benefits. I guess it worked in the rain water harvesting project. Government announced that the electricity connection would be disconnected if the rain water harvesting is not done within the stipulated period of time.

So what should be the punishment given to those who dump the wastage on the streets and in the water canals? I would like to know your thoughts. Please post in the comments. Thanks!

Luv u all
Uma
Freelancer

Mommies Woes

As told by my youngest sister - mother of a son who is studying in second grade.

I went to pick up my son from the school yesterday evening. And this interesting incident happened.

Mommy No.1 - My son told me that the teacher asked him to complete the assignment of pasting three pictures from the categories of trees, creepers and herbs yesterday evening itself to submit today morning. I found it very difficult to get the pictures within such a short notice.

Mommy No.2 - My son told me that the teacher asked to paste  just Trees!!!!!?

Mom No.1 - Oh! But I read that in my son's home-work diary!

Son of Mom No.1 who was playing around these two mommies- I wrote it down when the teacher announced that in the class yesterday.

Mom No.1 - And he said that he has to paste three photos of each categories in one sheet of the activity notebook!

Mom No.2 - What! My son told me that he has to paste one tree in each sheets of the notebook. And that is what I have done for him.

Both Mom No.1 & Mom No. 2 were confused about the exact requirement of the assignment.

And here entered Mommy No.3 - Hey mommies!

Mom No.2 - What pictures have you chosen for your son to paste in the activity notebook?

Mom No.3 - Huh! What are you talking about? I didn't read any such activity in his home-work diary! My son didn't say anything about that.

Mom No.1 & Mom No.2 LOLed.
Mommies woes


The school bell rang. The teacher and the kids walked out of the school together. Mom No.2 approached the teacher and asked,"What exactly was the activity assignment?"

The teacher replied,"They can choose any pictures of plants and trees to paste in the activity notebook."

I heard this as soon as the teacher finished her sentence from both Mom No.2 and Mom No.3 in chorus - but my son, didn't, just trees, anything.

The teacher replied,"I just gave them an example by mentioning trees, creepers and herbs."

Mom No.2 - "I have just pasted the pictures of Trees but one in each paper of the entire notebook"

Teacher said,"What!!!??"

Mom No.3 said,"My son didn't say anything. So I didn't do anything in his activity notebook."

Teacher said,"That's ok. You can paste the pictures today. I have returned his activity notebook to
him"

She turned towards Mom No.2 and said,"I saw your son's notebook. Don't worry. Let me see how can I help you."

Mommy No.1 is me.

We both laughed at this incident.

This is what I inferred and I told my sister, that your son have heard about Trees, Creepers and Herbs earlier, even before the teacher mentioned it in the class. So he understood the words and wrote them in the home-work diary. Son of Mom No.2 didn't understand the other two words. So he didn't mention that to his mother. Son of Mom No.3 didn't understand all the three words. So he didn't mention anything about that assignment at all.

I heard from my younger sister, mother of a 5th grader, that the teachers of upto 4th grade are supposed to write the details of home-work in the diaries of all the students. Or the teachers should write it on the class board and ask the students to copy it in their home-work diary.

TEACHERS are you listening!!

Luv u all
Uma
Freelancer

Image courtesy: iosphere from freedigitalphotos.net

Saturday, May 30, 2015

I Lay Down Where I Wouldn't Sit


I felt little dizzy after my lunch one day at work. Though I had a little pain on the back of my neck, I continued working until I completed that day's task. The pain started spreading to my head. It got so severe, that I threw up many times. I still had this vomiting sensation even after my stomach was emptied. The phlegm that I was swallowing also, was ejected every ten minutes regularly.

I felt so tired,that I wanted to lie down for sometime. Inside of the office was very cool because of the AC. I started shivering. So, I walked out of the office and started climbing up the stairs to the pantry in the upper floor. I looked up
and the pantry was locked. The cook has left for the day. I felt weak and I lay down on the turning of the stairs. I felt better after a few minutes.I opened my eyes to look around. I was surprised to see that I was lying on the floor that was very dirty with sands all around. I was lying on the floor where I wouldn't even consider sitting on, for a while.

I was really enlightened with this experience.

I have seen beggars, construction labours and poor people sitting, lying and sleeping on very dirty places in the subways, near unused railway tracks, near sewage canals etc., I have always thought that they are not worried of their own and their children's health.

But now, I know that they either have no other place to unwind themselves or they feel so week that they just need a place to lie down or they have not let by others to lie down in a more nicer places.

I am sure that I will look at those people with different eyes now.

I feel blessed to have friends and colleagues who are kind enough to transport me from my office to home, when I fall sick. I feel blessed to have born in a family that provide safe and clean places to live.

I pray that everyone of us be blessed to have nicer places to live with nicer people.

Luv u all
Uma
Freelancer

Thursday, May 21, 2015

15 Reasons To Say No To Marriage!

I suggest and recommend that you don't even think about marriage, if you




  1. Don't know why your elders are asking you to get married
  2. Don't know why you want to get married
  3. Are looking for ONLY sex in a marriage
  4. Want to make way to your younger siblings. It has always been that way in our Indian culture. Elders first. 
  5. Have failed in your love life and looking for a get away
  6. Want to get away from some one who is behind you for many years and begging you for your love.
  7. Are not sure what your sexual orientation is.
  8. Don't have a job that could support you and your wife, financially
  9. Are not ready yet, to accept your partner into your inner circle
  10. Are not matured enough to accept your partner for what he/she is
  11. Don't possess a healthy body and mind to carry the responsibilities of your family 
  12. Don't have the guts to stand by and fight for your partner's space/place within your family
  13. Are looking for a house keeping assistant.
  14. Are in a relationship
  15. Can't mend your ways to save the marriage
Is there another reason that you could add to this list. for not saying YES for a marriage proposal?

Luv u all
Uma
Freelancer

Photo by farconville

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Married But Complicated

40% of my male friends are in a relationship or seeing some one or seeing many. 60% of my friends are married! Of them 40% would like to declare their relationship status as MBC - Married But Complicated.

When I ventured into the private territory of marital relationship of the latter 40% of friends, I found that almost all of them wanted the relationship status to be declared as complicated. Hushhhhhhhhhhh! Don;t ask me to point out them in my Facebook friends list. Their peace will go for a toss.

I always thought that parents who have kids at home are having the most happiest relationship between them.  I was curious to know why would they want to declare their status as "Married But Complicated". So I asked these questions to them in a very casual conversations. I found that all of them are happy with their marriage because they have a son or a daughter out of the marital relationship. But confessed they would feel more happier to be a single parent than living with a 'oh-not-so-understanding' partner.

Conversation between me and my male friend

Yours Truly: Hey, Long time no see, huh!
Male Friend: Yeah, Sorry. Couldn't stay in touch with you as often as I would love to.

Y.T.: That's ok. I understand.
M.F.: Yeah! You are a very understanding friend of mine. I have hardly met anybody as understanding as you are. (Honestly, I didn't make this)

Y.T.: (Smiles) Thanks. So, How are you?
M.F.: Am doing good.

Y.T.: How is your wife and kid?
F.F.: Both are good.

Y.T.: How is work?
F.F.: Work is keeping me busy most of the days. But its okay. I spend time at home on weekends. But not all the weekends, anyway.

Y.T.: Otherwise I hope things are better at home (throw a look at him questioningly)
F.F.: Yeah! Things are ooooookayyyyyyy! But could have been better if my wife understand me better. She don't even want to listen to my side of the story, almost ALL the time!

Y.T.: I guess you are married for 16years. And you think you guys still don't have a better understanding!!?
F.F.: Was it just 16years? Oh my gosh! Why do I feel like I have lived with her for 50 years??!!

Y.T.: What do you mean?
F.F.: Life is not so good at home. My weekday's evenings are hell and weekends are even worse. I get no time to sleep peacefully, even on weekends. I get no time to talk or visit my friends.

Conversation between me and a female friend

Yours Truly: Hi, How are you doing?
Female Friend: Oh! Am good. You tell me, how are you doing? Looking much younger, huh? (I could see jealousy in her eyes)

Y.T.: I am great. Yeah, I look younger compared to you, because I color my hair and work out. I have no kids. You have a son who is doing his engineering. How is his studies?
F.F. :Studies are ok. He can manage.

Y.T.: How is your husband?
F.F.: He is good too. How is yours?

Y.T.: He is good. How is life?
F.F.: Good to see my son growing. Am proud of him that he is active in sports as well. But sad that he is acquiring the characters of his dad.



Y.T.: Like?
F.F.: Very lazy. He sleeps on Sundays till 12.00noon. Won't take bath on weekends, unless we expect any guests. Won't help me on my house chores. Won't go out to buy things for home. Started having girl friends. Talks on phone and 'Whatsapp'ing all day and night. Just like his Dad! (This was told in an angry tone)

Y.T.: May be you have to tell him that you are growing old, you need some help at home and outside.
F.F.: Yeah! What would I do, if father and son sleep on the same bed?

Conversation between you and me

You: What about you, Uma?
Y.T.: Oh! No. Not me. My relationship status is HMBS.

My 6 years old nephew's obsession with automobiles - reflects my mood! :)

You: Huh!!?
Y.T.: Happily Married But Single. LOL!

I know, I can clearly understand if you are feeling jealous of me.

Have fun people!

Luv u all
Uma
Freelancer

Photo by photostock | freedigitalphotos.net

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Summer Activities At Home

Managing kids during Summer Holidays is very very difficult. I know all the parents and care-takers would agree with me. Keeping them engaged during holidays is a tough task, unless the elders or parents or the kids themselves are more creative.

I am so blessed with little nephews and niece because they don't bother us when we give them the drawing materials like clean notebooks, slates, chalk pieces, pencils, crayons etc

They all love drawing and painting, on the paper as well as on the computer. They use MS Paint to give life to their imagination, on the computer

Yesterday, I felt so proud of my 6year old nephew, when I saw this little art work that he has created using the pens, pencils, chalk pieces, water tubes, flying disks, erasers, Rubik cube pieces and whatever he could get hold on to.

Sharing the art work with the world. If you stumble upon this blog at any time, then please share some of your kid's creative art work here. Let us make a scrap book. :)


If this art work inspired you or your kids to try something new, then please share the art work here, in the comments below. Thanks.

Luv u all
Uma
Freelancer

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Choosing and Testing Leggings

I was bored of wearing the traditional Salwar Kameez and wanted to change my style. So, have started wearing some short tops and leggings, from this year, 2015.

My thought was that thick and tight leggings, would last longer. So I bought this black legging from a mall in Velachery five months back. I liked it so much and wanted to keep it for my best tops, as the black bottom goes well with most of the colored tops. I found the leggings in this sorry state after the third use. Trust me, I hand washed as per the instructions that is given in the tag.

The hole can be seen in the thigh section
There are many small holes that I tried to take photos using my iPhone 4. But they were not so clearly visible in the images.So, I didn't post them here.

Another view of the hole

Washing Instructions

This shows that a tight thick leggings doesn't suit a fast woman like myself. Yeah, I walk fast. Climb up steps in the subways running two steps at a time. Climb down the steps faster than others. So, am a very active person. And I I found that I feel very comfortable with short tops and trousers than with the traditional dresses like Salwar Kameez. I don't wear sarees. I suggest you don't buy thick, tight leggings if you are an active woman like me. :)

Next time when I went to buy some dresses for myself, I bought the more stretchable, thin leggings, a blue one for my bluish green top. This time I made a point to make a note of the brand of the legging. I selected this legging from the "Attract" company. I was so impressed with the different kind of stitches that I bought three leggings. I thought these stitches are made so, so that this would withstand the wear and tears. Along with this blue, I bought brown and black leggings in the month of January 2015. Am yet to try the black legging. But I have used the blue and brown leggings many times. 


There were no washing instructions on this leggings. So, I wanted to find out which washing suits this company's leggings. I hand washed the brown legging and machine washed the blue legging. Look at the blue legging in spite of the special stitching.

Threads from the stitches
So, this means, even 'Attract" leggings have to be hand washed. "Attract" leggings suits my faster lifestyle, though. They were flexible enough to withstand my run, hop and jump. :)

I will have to try other brand leggings to see whether they can be machine washed as well as whether they would be flexible enough to withstand my fast walk, run and the hop on the stairs.I will keep you updated with the new brands. 


Luv u all
Uma
Freelancer

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

A Small Break to Build Stronger Bonds

I am a very open minded, friendly and social person. So, its quite natural to jump on any chance to hang out with friends. I love to spend as much time as possible with friends with similar interests. While I was running my Cyber Cafe, friends kept visiting me whenever they found time. I closed my cafe in 2011.

How would you feel if you meet your long lost dear friend, after many years? Happy and excited, right?  A few minutes conversation on the road would make us more happier than spending an hour on a dinner night. Memories would rush through our mind and we would start seeing movies in our thoughts.

This is what happened when I met my two dear friends on a short break. While we were still single without any responsibilities, we spent hours together sitting and chatting and hanging out. We wanted to compensate for all those missing moments, now.

After I joined this engineering design organization, I couldn't find much time to spend with any of my friends. I hardly visited my friends who live in the same city of mine, Namma Chennai. I know most of them are disappointed with me due to this. So when one of my long time friend who got transferred to another city called me to inform me about his visit to Chennai for three days, I made up my mind to not to miss this chance to meet him. I didn't meet him when he visited Chennai, twice, earlier. The more the merrier. So, I invited him to visit one of our mutual friend's home for dinner. This dinner date with the other friend was pending for a long long time.

Friends For Life - Reunion. The kitchen help, yours truly and the Super Chef ;)

Chappathi with Paneer Butter Masala

Victory for him, he made the dough for chappati after getting the instructions from his mom from Trivandram

Here is our Super Chef from Varanasi, who made the yummy Chappati.
The dough was so watery that he had to make the chappati pieces thicker than the normal

It was a great time to make up for all the years we were apart. Our Super Chef had his own stories of life in Varanasi. Our kitchen help, a marketing guy, had his own stories of his clients and family. Though it was only a short break for all of us, it did help us to build the friendship stronger.

Luv u all
Uma
Freelancer

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Train Journey - Bangalore to Chennai - Vacation 2014

The Yellow Board


I took the train back to Chennai from KR Puram railway station. My host, my friend for life, Kamesh, was kind enough to drop me at the station, early morning on that Christmas Day.

We reached the station just few minutes before the arrival of the train. The queue in the ticket counter was so long that I couldn't want for Kamesh to buy his platform ticket to accompany me to the platform. Kamesh instructed me to find the parking lot of my reserved compartment 'D' from the board in the platform. I couldn't find the board written 'D' on it. I could find A,B and C.I was looking at the small boards that were hanging from the roof.

I walked from this end to that end, twice, looking for my compartment number, in vain. I finally decided to ask some one. I went near two ladies. Looked at the younger one and asked,"Yeh compartment kahan rukega?" showed my mobile for her to read the booking confirmation SMS. She didn't look at my mobile and blinked at me.

I again said,"Chennai Express, compartment D, kahan rukega?". She murmured something which I didn't understand.

I said,"Do you know English?". She smiled and shook her head twice, which meant a NO.

I said,"Kannada?"

She smiled and nodded her head up and down twice. People were watching me strolling up and down with my mobile stretched forward. I felt like an uneducated nomad. There was a family standing next to the girl watching and listening to our conversation.

I walked forward a step ahead and asked a girl,"Do you know where the Compartment D would be parked?"

She answered,"You can find out from the board there. Which train?".

I said,"Chennai Express. But I could see other compartments and not D", pointing at the hanging boards.

She smiled and said,"Oh! you missed the large yellow board that shows the train names along with the parking spot of the compartments. Come with me"

I followed her. The large yellow board was erected right at the middle of the platform. I felt so shy and foolish to have missed that board that I laughed at myself.

She scanned the board for a few moments and said,"Your compartment would be parked in the place where you asked that girl. So lets go and wait there. In fact, I have bought a general ticket, though I have a tatkal ticket booked for me. But it is in waiting list. I shall ask the ticket checker to allot a cancelled seat for me."

I looked at her blankly. She understood and said,"Yeah, when your booked ticket is in waiting list and if you buy a general ticket before boarding the train, you can cajole the ticket checker to allot any of the cancelled seat, by giving him 'something'." I smiled at her.

The train arrived. People who were standing here and there started running towards the entrance of my compartment. The train would stop just for 2 minutes in that station. So,everybody wanted to get in before the train moved. I found no change in the behavior of the crowd.

The Fat Lady

I had a reservation and my seat number was 49, the window seat. I don't remember the name of the station from where this fat lady boarded the train. She looked at me and said,"50,51,55 get up". I looked at her and she waved her hand at me and at those who were sitting next to me. The one next to me was an old lady and she took her own time to get up. Probably she didn't have a seat reserved for her. She was supposed to travel in a general compartment. The fat lady looked at me annoyingly. I actually laughed at her and showed the written seat numbers to make clear that my seat number was actually 49. She shouted until others got up. Her behavior looked so funny to me. She didn't even made an attempt to verify or ask for my seat number, before commanding me as well as the others to get up. After the seats were vacated by a handful of people, her husband, her daughter and herself took their seats and sat comfortably. 
While this fat lady was preparing to sit I heard a loud argument just two rows ahead of me. I heard a girl shouting,"You should ask us politely, Mam. We have also reserved seats for us and we all are friends. We just want to sit near each other."  LOL! I know why the girl was angry with that woman.


Uma, the Observer

I am a kind of person who is interested in observing and analyzing the actions and reactions of persons in any given situation. This fat lady just got inside the train carrying all her luggage. I guess she was tired because she helped her thin husband to carry the suitcases from home to the train. She must also be tired due to her body weight. She was upset because her seat was occupied. She just wanted to sit and relax ASAP. Until then her body would not cooperate with her mind to act in a more polite manner. I was right. Because after sitting comfortably on the opposite seat of mine, she was bit composed and quiet. She stamped on my feet almost ten times before making herself comfortable. She didn't bother to apologize. I know the leg space was too small to accommodate her big feat. I had to sit tight to make more leg space for her throughout the 6 hours journey. She smiled at me after some time. I smiled back at her. She tried to strike a conversation with me. But I was not interested. So I buried my face in the book I bought from Higginbothams, Jeff's 'Kane and Abel'. 

Destined Meeting

I found Bangalore very very very cold. I returned to Chennai, with severe cold and throat infection. I had to pop a pain pill in the middle of the journey to feel better. After reaching the Park station from Chennai central station, I walked towards the ticket counter to buy the train ticket to Pallavaram. The girl who helped me in KR Puram railway station to find the parking lot of my compartment, was walking on the platform.

I smiled at her and said,"Oh! we are here again, together."

She smiled back and asked me,"Oh, yes. Where are you going?"

I said,"Pallavaram. And you?"

She replied,"Chrompet."

I asked,"What about the ticket?"

She said,"I have a monthly pass."

She walked away from me and I went to stand in the queue. There were five persons in the queue already. I was the sixth and the last. A guy came and stood beside me. I thought he has come along with some one else who was already standing in the queue somewhere.

After a while, he went to the guy who was standing before me and said,"Kannada"?

This guy looked at him questioningly. He said again,"Neenu Kannada?" and added,"Oru ticket Tambaram."

The guy who stood before me said in Tamil,"Queuela vaanga." (Stand in the queue)

The "Kannada" guy went back to stand in the queue.  Three more persons were standing behind me in the queue now. 

I bought the ticket and started to climb up the overhead bridge to the platform. The train to Pallavaram arrived and came to a halt. I was still climbing down the stairs, carrying my rolling travel suitcase. I didn't want to run down with the heavy suitcase, so I climbed down in normal speed. The train didn't leave the station until I boarded the ladies compartment. I found a vacant seat and went to sit there. The same girl was already sitting in the opposite seat of mine. This time we both laughed.

I said," I am back to you, again."

She playfully said,"Are you not going to leave me?"

I said,"Nope. I feel grateful to you. Because you helped me in Bangalore."

She said,"Oh! that's ok."

I got down in Pallavaram, waved my hand at her and said bye for the last time. She smiled and waved her hand back at me. Some people come into our life for a reason, a season or a life time.


Luv u all
Uma

Monday, February 16, 2015

Thrilling Drives - Vacation 2014 - Bangalore

The path to the lakeview holiday home is not much illuminated. So if you plan a late evening drive to the city or beyond Jakkur Lake, then please make sure that you make a note of the turns and points to trace back your way to the apartment from the main road.

This is how thrilling it was when we returned back to the apartment after a late evening drive to the city



The drive to the city was not so thrilling. But it was really enjoyable to watch the decorations on the MG Road for Christmas and New Year.

I had a nice time with my friends & family and the city, Bangalore. I am already looking forward to my next vacation - to Mysore :)

Luv u all
Uma
Freelancer

Friday, February 13, 2015

Lake View Holiday Home - Vacation 2014 - Bangalore

I always wished and dreamed of taking a break in a place where there is more nature and less people. I love to live with nature. No, I am not talking about living in a forest. Though I love adventure.

My dreams are
  • to wake up listening to the chirping of the birds and to the bright sun light shining through my window
  • to be invited by the greenness, colorful birds and flowers in my backyard early morning
  • to watch the mother birds and other parent animals feeding their little ones
  • to take a long walk when the sun is slowly raising from the horizon, feeling the cool breeze on my cheeks
  • to laze around or lie in the backyard basking in the afternoon sun
  • to take a long walk in the evening to watch the birds flying back to their nests
  • to lie in the open terrace in the night, to count the stars and to watch the movements of the clouds over the moon
  • to walk in the woods after rainfall
  • to sit on top of a mountain to get the feel of the air and to look at the surrounding land, lake and water beneath the mountain
  • to scuba dive and touch the underwater animals and plants (am yet to learn swimming)
  • to climb a mountain on a horse
  • and many more
I made it a point to spend a few days with nature this vacation in 2014. I chose a service apartment of a friend of mine, which is near to a very large lake in Bangalore, the Jakkur Lake.  The view of the lake is beautiful from the windows, front patio and side patio of the first floor of the house.

So, if you are looking for a place
  • to watch ducks swim lazily
  • to watch little ripples of water on the lake day and night
  • to watch the colorful sunset behind the lake
Below is the view of the sun set from the side sit out of the first floor. It was such a pleasant feeling to look at the ever changing colors of the sky and the yellow ball of fire going down behind the trees.

 




  • to watch Emu and other birds roaming around your neighborhood

    • to watch the beautiful sunrise from your front patio
  • I am sure you will love this view of Sunrise from the window of the large hall


    • to taste the wine with your partner sitting on the side sit out enjoying the cool breeze from the lake
    • to unwind in a large living room on comfortable couches
    • to chit chat with your partner without interruptions from the barking stray dogs
    • to sleep peacefully sans your loud mouthed neighbors 

    then I recommend you, to call my dear and long time friend and cousin, Vijayan to book the holiday home for you. I also suggest, you should let Vijayan cook lunch or dinner for you. Because he is a great Chef. I literally drank many cups of Sambar that he made for lunch. And the Chappathi's that he prepared were soft and tasty. Rest assured that he has kept the kitchen clean and very hygienic. He also write posts occasionally for this blog. 


    Luv u all
    Uma
    Freelancer

Monday, February 9, 2015

PISASU with a handsome stranger - Vacation 2014 - Bangalore

It was Christmas holidays, so my princess was staying back at home. It's always fun at home when kids are around, as long as they listen to us. Ash, was a very obedient and sweet girl. She and Santhu went to participate in one of her friend's Birthday celebration in the neighborhood. Santhu said she danced in the party merrily. Sadly Santhu couldn't record it, because she left her mobile at home.

Afternoon was our appointment with the PISASU, the Tamil movie directed by, Mysskin, one of the most admired directors, by the present younger generation, in the Tamil film industry. The movie had all the interesting features such as comedy, suspense, thrill, action and romance. I enjoyed watching the movie in Gopalan Cinemas in Bannerghata Road.

A Handsome Stranger


We had three seats reserved for us, the adults. Ash had to be carried on either Kamesh's or Santhu's lap. When we found our way to our seats, I saw that our seats were in the middle of a row that had approximately ten to fifteen seats. There were four unoccupied seats. A handsome young man was sitting next to the third vacant seat. I know Kamesh would decide to occupy a seat, so that he could sit next to a man. So that either Santhu or myself could sit comfortably without worrying about being seated next to a stranger. But what would he do, if the other vacant seat is going to be occupied by a man?



I didn't leave either Santhu or Kamesh to tackle the situation. I went straight to sit next to a handsome stranger. Santhu sat next to me. Kamesh sat next to Santhu and carried Ash on his lap.

I looked at the stranger, only when I went to sit next to him. I have to admit that I was attracted to him. He looked nice. I had to calm myself and had to stop myself from turning towards him to take another look. I didn't want him to find that I was attracted to him. Because I knew I have to sit next to him for another two and a half hours. I knew I have to share the same arm rest of the chair. I knew I have to be very careful that my knees don't touch his knees when I sit comfortably. I knew I have to make myself as comfortable as possible without sending any wrong signals. I have the habit of squatting on the seat while watching a movie in a movie theatre. But this time, I had to force myself to not to do that while watching the movie for two and a half hours. It was tough but I succeeded. I was very decent. LOL!

Our lunch was Pizza in a Pizza Corner in the same mall. The last time I had a Pizza was on Sep 20,2012, my birthday. One of my close friend, with whom I spent the day, bought a Pizza to celebrate my birthday. I don't eat junk food. I learned that day, that Santhu loves junk food. But that's okay. She is still young. :)

Luv u all
Uma
Freelancer

Monday, February 2, 2015

My Hosts and The Twits - Vacation 2014 - Bangalore

Friends For Life: My Hosts

I felt so happy to see one of my best friend's family. I met his beautiful wife and his gorgeous daughter for the first time that afternoon. Oh my! I must admit that Santhu made me feel that we have been friends for years. She was so nice to me. I got another sister in this life. I feel very thankful for the love she showered on me.

Santhu's Love

The day I arrived in Bangalore was very very cold. I was not used to such a cold weather, that I was literally shivering. She didn't hesitate to lend me the bed sheet, that was presented to her by Kamesh during their honeymoon, to cover me. She offered a new bed sheet to me that first night. I refused to use it saying that, that was new. I used an old one. When I went to bed the next night, the new bed sheet was lying over my pillow with a new bed spread on my bed. I was so touched with her love that my eyes were moist with tears. The cold weather, the water and the food left my throat sore. I was suffering from severe cold. When she looked at me and saw me suffering from sore throat, she readily offered me to give me a bottle of hot water. I used it for dinner and she again gave me a bottle of hot water when I retired to bed that night.

She took such a personal care of me, that she reminded me of my dear sister, who always make it a point to take a cue from my facial expressions and other body languages to take care of my every need. I love my friends' family. :)

Kamesh, Santhu and Ashwi

Kamesh, my dear friend

Kamesh is very fond of watching movies, reading and writing stories and watching stage plays. He is an aspiring story writer /script writer/editor. I wish him all the best.

Kamesh had the ticket booked for the stage play 'TheTwits' at Jagriti Theatre  on the evening I arrived in Bangalore.

Ashwini, my adorable princess

 
We call Ashwini as Ash with love. She is young and smart enough to understand and speak in English. Isn't she looking like a princess? I adore her. She is such a lovely child. She liked the pink dress so much that she told her mom, Santhu to stitch a dress for her in the same fashion. 

Just as any loving mom would do, Santhu bought clothes to stitch a dress for Ash. Santhu is learning sewing. This is how Ash looked at me when I told her to look at my Iphone camera. We were on the way to the Jagriti Theatre. 

An evening with 'The Twits'

 

That is Mrs.Twits with her dirty, entangled hair and my princess, Ash, in her favorite pink dress. She really enjoyed watching the show. The play was enacted very nicely by the kids. After watching the stage show, she couldn't stop herself from chanting 'roly poly, roly poly'. She watched the 'The Twits' cartoon play on youtube endlessly, on her dad's laptop, after we returned from the Theatre until she went to bed.

Luv u all
Uma
Freelancer

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Train Journey - Vacation 2014 - Chennai to Bangalore

The Breakfast

The train rolled out of the Chennai central station fast. That was a electric train. So it started to run fast. After a while, I felt hungry and waited for the food vendor to show up. A vendor entered  my compartment shouting,"Idli, Vada." I waved my hand at him and bought a packet. The Idli was cold. Sambar was watery. The coconut chutney was sour. Probably I bought the food that was made for the previous late night travellers. I shoved inside whatever I could and drank the only pleasant fluid that I had. The water that I bought from the ZeroB outlet.

The elderly people started to talk among themselves. The little girls felt fresh after a short nap at the lap of their mother who was sitting next to me. The younger one stuck to her mother's chest always. The elder one squeezed herself between her mom and me. I guess they didn't buy ticket for them, since they were too young. So they didn't have their own place to sit. The three elderly persons, one man and two women, who were sitting opposite to me, didn't even bother to offer space for the elder kid.  They were all travelling together and the mother of two little girls addressed them as sisters and uncle. She looked different from others. She was dark, short and thin. The women and man looked fair, and healthier than her. The little girls looked exactly like their mother. I some how felt that this lady with the kids were not getting her fair share of respect and care from the other elders there. She was the only one that was tending to both the kids. None of the elders offered any help to her, when either of the kids wanted to use the rest room. When the elder whispered to her mom that she was hungry, the mom looked helplessly at the elders. But I could see no response from them. The kid said that she is hungry, this time a little louder that others could hear. There was no response again.

Water Bottle Making Rounds

I felt very pity for the mother and her two little daughters. While I was pondering about the ways that I could lend my help to them, she called an elder and asked,"Sister, where is Idli package?" One among them pointed to another person who was sitting two rows back. This lady left the elder kid with me and carried the little one to get the Idlis. She came back with the silver bucket of Idlis. And I saw another woman accompanying her with another silver bucket of Coconut Chutney. I felt happy to see the little girls relishing their breakfast. The mom was happy too. The elder kid asked for water and all the elders answered at once,"We forgot to keep the water bottles in the bag." I offered my bottle of water immediately. The other elders started to have their breakfast once these two little ones finished. My water bottle was making rounds, jumping from one row to another. I was only praying the almighty that I shouldn't feel thirsty until I reach my friend's home in Bangalore. I have a very sensitive stomach. So, I don't have food and water from outside shops unless the situation demand.

The train stopped on the way somewhere. The man got down, bought a bottle of water and gave it to me thanking me for offering my water bottle to them. The elders were all praise for me, for lending the water bottle to them and letting them to finish it. I politely said thanks and buried my face into Jeff's Kane and Abel.  I didn't touch the water bottle and left it hanging in the bottle pouch and told them to use it since they were going to travel till the Bangalore main station. I got down at KR Puram railway station and waited for my friend, at whose place I was going to stay, to pick me up. I was feeling very very thirsty as well as hungry. I was waiting for the moment to calm down my growling stomach and wet my dry throat.

Luv u all
Uma
Freelancer

photo credit: ranjit via photopin cc

Saturday, January 24, 2015

The Start - Vacation 2014 - Chennai to Bangalore

Chennai Central


I reached Chennai Central at 07.00am though my train was only at 07.50am. I wanted to meet another friend of mine, who was going to leave by 07.20am train to Bangalore. But he arrived at the station at the time of leaving, so we couldn't meet. He just called my mobile phone and apologized.



I wanted to buy a bottle of water. Went to the ZeroB water purifying outlet and bought a 2 litre bottle of water.Turned around and saw the Higgin Bothams. The journey is going to be a 6hour one. So decided to buy a book to read. Looked at the Jeffrey Archer's and Paulo Coelho's, two of my favorite authors. Chose Jeffrey's "Kane and Abel", paid and came back to the front of the digital notice board. The platform number of my train hasn't announced yet. Wandered around Saravana Bhavan and Fruit juice shops. Didn't like any of the food items. Made up my mind to buy something in the train. Came back to the notice board.

A middle aged couple walked fast and came to a halt just in front of me. She was carrying a little kid on her hip. The man was looking at the notice board. She said,"Can you please hold him?"

He said,"Why? Where are you going?"

She said,"I will go and buy a platform ticket for myself."

He asked,"Why do you want a platform ticket?"

I thought - Isn't it quite obvious that she want to see her husband off in the train? What an idiot is he!

She said,"Ok. Let me go and buy the platform ticket."

He repeated again,"Why do you need a platform ticket? I can't carry this bag all the way to the counter and then again here to take the train"

I thought - 'come on man, you are just going to roll the luggage and your wife wants to see you off, obviously.' It was quite clear that the man didn't want his wife to come to the platform to bid him bye.

She felt sad and turned to look at me. I pretended to not to hear their conversation and fixed my eye on the notice board.

The Train


The platform number was announced at 7.45. I had to pass three platforms to reach mine. When I went there, there was no train. But the crowd was milling about in the platform. The designated compartments were not clearly marked for the reserved travelers. It was 7.50am, when the train slowly moved into the slot. Since that was the time that train is supposed to leave, the crowd panicked. The compartment's door were closed. I found my compartment marked "D". The crowd was banging the door to open. After 2 minutes, the door was opened from inside. All hell broke loose.

Some one shouted,"Get in fast. It's time for the train to leave the station."

If only they had entered the compartment one by one, we all of us would have boarded within ten minutes. When my turn came to get in, I saw a man standing right in the entrance. I looked at him puzzled. He moved and made way for me. Some one who got in after me, shouted,"If you don't have any reservation made, then you should get down immediately." The man jumped out. Luckily my seat was near the entrance. I sat down and found myself surrounded by five elders and two little girls who were talking in Tamil, my mother tongue. I thanked almighty for it. I didn't want to be surrounded by people who speak Kannada. Because I don't know the language, though I am going to the place where people talk in Kannada.

After settling in, the train started to move at 08.05am. I was excited. I was going to Bangalore on a vacation. A vacation that I was planning since 2000.


photo credit: Ravages via photopin cc