Showing posts from 2011

A journey

I started a new journey in 2011 A journey that I planned With books, stories and creativity And all that that made me spark! Snapshots of all the activities that I did in the library , fun, creativity and loads of hard work...good happy times...

Scaling your Understanding

I found another interesting tool to use with children, especially when we are struggling to understand them and be understood as well... Ask for your child to rate your understanding of them on a scale of 1 to 10. I did Daughter is so used to me this way; she gives me a look (after I explain that she needs to give me a score on a scale of 1 to10, based on how much she believes I understand her) and says ..."8" ooo...I like that I think but aloud I give her a complimentary look and ask: "are you sure?" (not sure I should have done that) so far so good, but should I doubt her initial I not giving her a very warped signal that she may be wrong and has to rethink?....lines of worry... is fine I asked as she says: "maybe 7"..."hmmm...between 7 and 8" wow, I like now I know my understanding can dip and dance, up and down...and my empathy is labile...and she knows it too...super!! On to son...

It starts with me!

Pouring over some storytelling sites and activities, I veered off to look at how Stories and Telling impact learning, creativity and development. It does and Indian history is choc-o-block with stories of how stories were used as tools for learning!! I don't have to delve too much there, that's stuff we already know. What most people dont know is how far it can impact learning.... Stories actually impact us at a very subconscious level. It is not about reading print or telling children fairy tales, the impact of sharing personal stories of childhood, growing up stories, stories of success and failure, stories of Heroes from reality and mythology, all add up to the "building up of character". The best part is that this "Character" is what determines how successful a person becomes in life. I am going to write about "character building" and more on that later; I even have a story that I often tell, which fits perfectly into the facets that this

Religious...where are we?

Early morning rhythm; husband up by 4;30 am, (yes he is one person who utilizes the "Brahma muhurtham" very well!)  Up at that time, he reads and reflects and plans his work day, as I snuggle cosily into my blanket, trying to squeeze in some extra hours of blissful sleep. Yet today as I stood there in front of the stove, stirring and chopping, getting those meal plans ready and done, a word kept popping up;...magnificent...merciful.... and my mind went back to college and then furthur to school. Raised in a Tam-Bram household we usually woke up to the strong smell of filter "kaapi" and and if we had snuggled in longer, some aromatic agarbhathi/dhoop. Suprabhatham or nadaswaram played on a radio that was invariable turned up too loud and woke us up by 5 am, but we tossed and turned refusing to allow the external noises and voices to penetrate our internal slumber. Praying and worship was a part of our existence that we took for granted. I questioned it for a

Stories from a Farm!

So I finally got down to putting together these pictures, taken from our trip to Gerry Martin Farm. Saturday is a working day as children  go to school, and of course I go to the Library. So when we did get off on a weekday (being Diwali), I packed ourselves off to a farm. Yes I did get the "what a crazy way to spend Diwali" undercurrents from family...but not in as many words. Plus "why are you not celebrating" from the same ...but we did... Just Differently!! In any case getting up early, having an oil bath before dawn and bursting crackers has just flown out of my household (I have stopped fighting it). Getting kids to wake up on a cosy weekday morning to have an early pre-dawn bath is absolutely impossible (unless there are a whole bunch of enthu-cutlets like my family members spending/celebrating with us). Add to that my partner and fellow-ditcher (who is usually up by 4.30am), who promptly turns around and chooses to snuggle into the blankets, just to

Children's day Story

Children's day Story at Brainvilla library, amidst dragons, tigers, dancing lions and a gigantic Garuda. Iliana's Quest ( Audio story) that I got from the net. The props got more affection than the story of course! It always makes me wonder how we as adults appreciate that age of innocence (not any more), only much later. One child who couldnt make it for the story, dropped by the library that evening and pestered me for the story. Even though I showed my (mock) displeasure, as she had not joined us that morning,I was quite happy to give her the brief outline...happy that this time it was the story and not the craft! Imaginative tale of adventure, discovery, happiness, and sense of wonder and imagination...even if one child chooses not to loose this in the future, I will be delighted.  


The place we are born in, the people we are born with, the bed, the linen, the food. The size of things, the manner of doing things, who we do it with, how we do things...nothing is permanent, everything is transient. Just climb into your own personal glider, fly high, right there above those pointy trees, towards that clearing and look yourself. Are you where you want to be, how was the journey? Where do you want to go from here, how far away, or near? Thoughts float into me, as I stare at my daughter's feet. This foot I hold was so tiny at one time, just as big as my forefinger...maybe smaller. Did I imagine it would grow to this size when I held that frail little thing clumsily in my hand. I know she would grow, but how did it happen? In fleeting moments, as fast as the beating heart In creeping minutes that I painfully felt... Time is transient Nothing is permanent Change is inevitable Change happens every minute, and we dont even know it happens at t

Rangoli night

  Couldn't resist just snapping some pics of Rangoli's outside the door. This was sneakily done, I should have done it more boldly, walked up and down the apartment, but I got shy, and then I was worried I would be asked to come in. Somehow, though I have lived in the Airforce for so many years, I am not used to this walking in and "bouncing" people culture. Which is just that, you bounce people unannounced!! But surely on Diwali night, doors are thrown open; but I had another excuse...I had walked out impulsively, and was not dressed properly!! My daughter and her friend too tried their hand at Rangoli indoors, so thats their artwork; indoors, as it was too windy to do this outside the door. Good effort right?!!  

Where South and East met

September30th created a meeting I will not forget. When you meet someone after 15 odd years and then continue the conversation like there was no interim, then you really understand the meaning behind the words; Life's ebbs and flows. So smoothly did we hit it off, like we have kept in touch for all this time. We dwelled on the past, our journey, our shared tales and of course new stories that has created who we are now. I am lucky she did decide to come for this Confluence of storytellers held on the outskirts of Bangalore; with uncertainty over what an educator would do in a gathering for tellers.... But the informality and the openness of the tellers gathered, made it easier. Thats one story The other is the East and West meet, briefly I stayed to interact with people from the Eastern mountains of Sikkim, and the blue mountains of Nilgiri mountains. A story wove us through a Treasure Hunt, beautifully created by Salil Mukhia( along with Ba

Odeurs that linger

Driving back home one evening, after a long day at work; a deep breath to inhale the wonderful earthy smell of Bangalore. Sometimes the beauty of this place makes me send up a silent prayer for all that we have and have been given. It takes me back to other places and other smells, fragrances, feelings, thoughts and oh so seemingly tangible memories. My throat swells with emotion as I write this....we leave our past behind, yes otherwise there is no moving forward, but sometimes when I visit those spots, those spaces, i feel comforted. After all who I am is a whole bunch of memories!! Incense, agarbhati and dhoop....any Tam Bram household you know wakes up to these smells. Mine was no different. The pooja room with its distinct odour, morning and evening wafting its gentle fragrance into the house. Now we have Aroma Therapy, but back then, that was a part of our daily routine. I do it now too...light agarbhati morning and evening, and I swear when I come back home the first sme

Who will cry when I die?

I was reading Robin Sharma yesterday, and every page is a gem. This one is called "Who will cry when you die". The way in which it landed in my hands is a short story!. There is a store-in-charge cum assistant in the library I work for. Smart, diligent girl, but lack of exposure has given her a language handicap. Dusting the shelves she chanced upon this book and the title was irresistible for her. So she promptly plonked the book in my hand with a desire to have me do Bhaashan on it and in that way as they say in Tamil;"oru kallile rendu maanga"; for my more discerning readers that's Tamil metaphor for one shot,two mangoes;double pleasure! She gets philosophy expounded to her with minimum effort... My pleasure! Why should the book be irresistible for her...a valuable question. As I said before my student is a sharp cookie, and apparently she goes around telling her folks that no one should cry if she dies and there should be no hoohaa over her death ( th


This post may seem weird to some and may need some PG rating ( flicked that from a friend!!). Well I hesitate to even talk about it as it is a part of me that I keep as a well guarded secret. Well...taking into consideration that I have a spouse who condemns all such irrational nonsense and a best friend who would in all probability make the hooting fun of me....I have to keep it to myself... Yet...I can't deny I am hopelessly in and head over heels in.... Hold it...I mean your breathe... let it out now... yep, the same breathe... so here goes... I think I am more than normally convinced.... That we humans have rebirth, that we are born into a particular family for a particular purpose, and all other subsequent attachments and detachments have a necessary link to past life... There I said it... Whacko? Well, working in a library I have access to many books, and given my natural curiosity for occult, philosophy and alternative systems, I happened to read the bo

Mythology: are we ready to dismiss it?

Telling stories from mythology to small children is a bit tricky. Do we need to discuss the gore and brutality that is sometimes included in these stories? Do we need to actually speak about the heavy romantic sentiments which gets included in these stories? Or do we really need to tell children about cheating and deception, betrayal and loss of faith? Now Myths are a part of every society...we have Nordic Myths, Celtic Tales, Indian Folklore, and Greek Heroes. Where strange fantastical beasts, half human/ half God, perform crazy feats with such elaborate story lines, that even I get lost. I do tell a lot of mythological stories to my children and of course Amar chitra katha is a great educator. Whichever stories I have not told, they get from Dr.Pai's innovative idea, which has raised generations of avid readers like me ( and my kids). In our country Hindu mythology is engrained in every child's learning process. Somewhere they come to hear of the story of Ganesha,

Just a thought

We are born with some traits and then we acquire some through interactions, experiences and habits. I can't say I have a brilliant analytical mind, I wish I did,because that is the skill required in today's world. Analytics runs Google System analysts run the systems that run Google and...brilliant Analytical minds run the system in the analysts.... Just having some fun with words!! Anyway... What I have is logical thinking, some creativity, patience and high tolerance for anything that doesn't function. In terms of how the world is moving I would say I am the turtle in the Hare story! I'll get there but I have to put in effort and I take my time!

At the festival; Day 2

   A Pot-Pouri of distorted images. Sorry that's all my Nokia cell camera could do.But the main players of the second day are all here. Geeta, Ola and Ulaf ( I hope I got that right). Geeta needs no introduction, she is a master storyteller, and barely uses props. Her voice is her greatest prop! She modulates and mimics with no inhibition and carries us all through one and half hours of stories. The ease with which she moves from story to story, stands for her deep involvement in the field and I can say she lives and breathes the stories. Each one narrated differently; each one with a quirk of its own! Ola Henrikson is a story educator at Sweden and uses stories to work with immigrant children in 10 schools, in and around his district.He uses folktales and traditional stories for team building and to integrate kids into their groups. He says that language is not much of a barrier, if you try and connect to the child's imagination! I liked the way he narrates, i

At the Festival! Day 1

A festival is a time to celebrate! And when we have a festival of stories, hosted by Kathalaya (the place where my journey in Storytelling began), it is really an experience I do not want to miss. In the mundane, humdrum of routine and schedules, chores to be met, a space was created for people like me to rejuvenate and refresh our committment to this art of Storytelling. A two day event on August 1st and 2nd/ 2011. The first day had Dr.Mirella from Sweden; she is an educator, puppeteer and puppet maker. She uses and teaches children to make puppets with easy materials such as sponge and cloth.Here you can see the pretty little Butterfly Puppet we all got to make with material especially imported from Sweden.  Yet what I loved about the session was her coaching us on how to use the puppets! Simple easy techniques of puppet behaviour behind the screen and in front. Awesome. It was a glimpse only but it left me thirsting for more!! The purpose of a puppet is to engage th

It is in your Thinking!

Youth is in your thinking... Or so I would like to think! I know some very old people who are extremely energetic and youthful in their thinking (my Dad for one!). While I huff and puff over mundane issues, he looks at any challenge and every crisis with glee! He has come a long way from being the eldest of a family with four siblings living in a one room “chawl” in Mumbai and sharing a common toilet, to being a Rural advertising pioneer; much sought after problem solver and go-getter! He is a person everyone wants leading their team What makes him unique is that these people not only focus on their own lives, but like a Tsunami, they are capable of holding on and carrying the people around them to greater heights. That is the difference! Yet they are ordinary folks with average intelligence who have climbed up the hard way. Is it intelligence? Decision making capability or clear vision? (Not really. I believe many intelligent, focused people lack what they

Story Time

I tell stories and when I have the space and audience to tell every weekend; regularly...what more can I ask?! Baba Yaga; a Russian Folk tale is full of fun and adventure, and loads of creativity too. Just like we have many Indian stories that get loaded and presented in different ways,so also Baby Yaga is a character who claims her right in many stories. The one I chose was for kids and they loved it. We also made a Witch hat at the end of it!! 

When your work is fun!

Stories for some are just play and fun, for sure that's true, and thats how it should be too Yet there is some serious thought involved  as what we say is what we hear  and what we hear is what we have experienced... so Teachers and all be aware of what you say  for little minds are creative and the experience that you give  is deeply etched in their hearing and  greatly reflected in their saying... So I said, when I did the workshop at the Airforce school in Bangalore as I emphasized the need for good stories, preferably Personal and Real as against Symbolic and Abstract, for the purpose of a story is to connect with the child and get his world... rather than thrust metaphorical stories on a mind that is too young to comprehend.... any comments on that is welcome....   

Adding Value to life

How does one add value to another life? Is it only through being with them physically? But then I can be physically with the person but add no emotional or intellectual value to their living.... For me the greatest value we add to another living is being available to them when they seek you... Being Present to their concerns... A keen observer Willing to bring to notice that which we cannot confront, that we just dont want to state... A wise reflector Willingly ready to share and make meaning of the Reality that we exist in... Listening and providing the listening for our true self to show up... Just their Being brings out who we are... Unconditional...yet confrontational Highest Level of Acceptance...yet goading us to aspire greater heights Making it most meaningful... Adding Value...

Inner peace

I feel I could write about this on million rolls of paper....and still feel I have just started, skimmed the creamy layer to say! lifeunderthesky said that our kids will find it on their own...Oh How true. To tell you how it goes at my home... I decided to have a chat with my son on this topic. Why him, you could ask. Well... simply said ...I am frustrated that I cannot enroll him into any other than TV watching as his daytime pastime. Other than cricket and some running around, he just wants to stay glued to it. So I spoke to him about Po,(he knows Kung fu panda very well, as Father and son have spent countless hours watching the movies)...about finding Inner peace, by engaging in some activity ( meaningful) and finding joy and happiness in doing it... Not difficult to guess by now, what he said... He gives me a patient hearing and then a straight look, and says " Yea, that's in watching TV for me!!" Hey, kids nowadays are way too smart!

interesting living

I've been pretty blank these days. Sometimes I jump up, run to the computer, only to stare blankly at the screen. What do I write? What thought? What feeling to share? blank............. I feel like the the blip on the Heart and Lung Machine. That cliched visual we see so often in any of our classic tamil or hindi movies. blip blip blank................. Yet so many things are happening with me... A new job. (I am still wondering if I am at the right place!) new ideas on what kids can be involved in new found energy, as I manage home and work new skills to be learnt as I tackle the excel sheet Yet a sense of meaningless pervades this new sense of meaning that I have created for myself. humans think too much, analyse too much, dwell too much, expect too much, yet what else makes interesting living?! we all find our Zen in something. for some it is in books and reading for some in music and listening....or singing for some it is in being could be hu

Another storyteller

Pure storytelling is not performance... As we sit or cuddle cozily into bed, or mayhaps, cuddle near mum or grand mum; old forgotten stories, or new ones are told. There are no frills, no dramatics (maybe, if you have a person who loves to be theatrical!). Just the teller and the audience, transported into a world of words. Living and feeling the nature of the story. Sometimes pensive, sometimes giggly, sometimes bored, sometimes demanding, the audience draws the teller into different moods and spaces. This audience may have not done all this, yet the teller took us into his world of stories, lost to many, but discovered by the interested few. I went for a story telling session at Page Turners book shop by Acoustic Traditional.( Hmm...I would like to know the story behind that name?!). They are an NGO working at reviving tribal folklore and stories. Salil the story teller and the brain behind AT, sweetly and cleverly spun 2 tales from ancient lore for us. One about a monk and h

A Deep Connection - Inspiring Lives

  Sometimes we realise that people are indeed the most unique in the world. Whatever said and done for every Evil that happens....(yet that need not happen)...the Good that happens is also manifold. Meet Mrs.Beulah of The Refuge Foundation, she had a calling (she says), from early childhood to take care of children. The children we take pity on but rarely step forward to do anything about. Yet her family wanted normal things for her, marriage, husband, job and twin sons. But one day she took that step of faith into another world. She quit her teaching job and started taking in children abandoned by parents and society. Now she runs an orphanage (I cannot call it that, as what we saw was a wonderfully warm Home), with 19 children. With the support of her husband who continues to work in a school, and her twin sons, who are equally compassionate, she takes care of these children like they are her own. Meet Mahesh , whose mother died and father was incapable of looking after him a

Together we Aspire new Futures

Children are the future of our country. Watching CNN-IBN hero Anuradha and her fight for girls in Nepal from trafficking, moved me beyond words. She asks a simple question "Can you see your daughter in my girls?" I do, but for this I can only cry. Narayana Murthy says that we must provide Real heroes to our children, to live values that they can emulate. I want to, so for this I can only try. ---------------------------------------------------- Children in Orphanges grow up with a disconnect. Unless they are lucky enough to be in a nurturing environment. They need real Heroes to show them that they too can create new futures and possibilities. As a part of of a leadership programme that I am doing, my project is about taking Real Heroes/Heroines who grew up in Orphanages and have them share their success and failures with other children who are now growing in a similar environment. I am looking for people who have become successful in spite of growing up in O

She and I are the same....

My son came back from school and as usual the auto chap had ditched them and they had to come back in the hot sun. (Unusually hot this summer Bangalore is fast losing its green cover, I see wonderful avenues denuded in the name of expansion. Yet this topic is a double-edged sword as the roads are pretty narrow and one can find heavy, heavy traffic lumbering through snaky picturesque narrow lanes.) He was upset for many reasons. Having had to carry two bags (he was helping his sister), and feeling hot, and as he had not eaten his fill at school. Even on half-days he carries a good solid meal to school, as hungry boy is a seriously upset boy ! So today he was upset and angry. Throwing his bag on the floor and kicking his shoes here and there. He removed his belt and socks, yelled for some water and kept shouting and yelling. I had no idea why... So cautiously I questioned him and he said; My teacher did not allow me to eat today. I am so angry with her. But why? She doesnt

Another story, another audience

  (please click on image for larger view) The story of Shambala, from the Kalapa valley told by Waltar Fordham was the story for my telling today. We flew to Tibet and the cold valley mountains along with Iliana the brave and courageous girl who travels afar to face many challenges, meet some fantastic creatures and ultimately to find the Sun of Human Dignity within her. Every time I tell this story I feel a thrill, I feel the magical connection with Iliana and every other human who has embarked on this journey called life. The same wonder is mirrored in the faces of the children, though what they take back is definitely far far different from what I get in the telling. I can see the wonder in their eyes as Iliana travels through the snow and meets some fantastical creatures. Its not just a story it is the experience and just as Iliana goes through many emotions; wonder, fear, joy, sorrow, thrill, defeat and pain. I see the way our own lives is but a kaleidoscope of feelings.

Around the world in 5 stories

Around the world in 5 stories is the theme for my summer workshop this year. Though the response has been limited, we had a blast...the children loved the story of Perseus and the Gorgon Medusa...and they loved the mask which we made along with it. Tomorrow we complete this session which ran through the week. I took them to Africa, then Russia, then introduced them to a Greek Hero, flew on to Tibet on wings of imagination and finally tomorrow we return to India with a folk tale! What I really found fantastic was that the children really were waiting to hear the stories! I clarified on the third day by asking and unanimously the children said they loved the stories!! So that makes me doubly happy...and though other attractions like the craft activity or the theater games make these sessions interesting, I believe the children are really there to hear the stories... What a wonderful space to be in... know I never want to leave this space!! Next week I do a similar

Excercising Rights...

I feel a little embarrassed, a little sheepish, a lot of pain and sheer squeamish to say this. But I have to: My maid came to me this morning and asked for leave. That's not new. She is brand new though. After 6 months of maid come-maid go,and walk in rate of 3, I got some one to do the sweeping and mopping...that's a job I could not take on myself. I have to draw the line somewhere.... Well within the first month of work she took off 3 days, yet I don't cut salaries and I let it go. But within a week, yesterday to be precise, she comes to me with "Akka, I want leave". ( Now her addressing me "Akka" has a funny story behind it as well...two days into work, half way through the sweeping, she looks at me with a serious expression, gives me a pointed look... "What shall I call you? Akka or Madam?!" I did a double take, wondering where this is coming from...and then it struck me...with a quizzical expression I asked her, her age...and sh

Kissing Carps!

There is something about animals and creatures that live on this planet with us... I am no great animal lover, more like...don't disturb me and I wont disturb you....or vice-versa. Yet these absolutely adorable Carps at Wonder La near Bangalore were a delight!! My kids couldn't get enough of the fishes were clamoring and crowding for the food they were holding. My son tells me it felt as if they were kissing his fingers! They were a bit squeamish at the beginning, but once they got over the newness of feeling fishes feeding from their fingers, they were pretty excited and thrilled (nice alliteration huh?!!). Lovely, lovely space to be in....watching fishes swimming is surely mesmerizing!!

Mixed Feelings

I have a sense of relief tinged with a little guilt now as I say this. My mother's mother is no more. I remember all that my sister and I have shared with this grandmother. Vivid memories of summer holidays spent in a small one room kitchen in Mylapore, where she stayed with my Uncle. Somehow the size of the house was not at all significant in my mind, and we spent many summers whiling away time playing PalanKuzhi, or Hopscotch, that we called Pandi. Over the years she has shared her story with us and it flashes back to me now. A by-gone era filled with stories of struggle and difficulties. (Yet they raised children so well, and we balk at minute and insignificant challenges thrown at us...let me not get judgemental here...) I remember the beautiful photo of Paati hanging in the tiny bedroom cum living room. She is sitting with a veena and looks like a movie star or a Raja Ravi Varma painting. What I cant forget is the look of confidence, self assurance that sits on her fac

Love is in the Air

time flies on wings of responsibility as love cocoons us, in its warm folds of unconditional acceptance. Romantic? For sure, Love is in the air. Valentine's Day: February 14th, and much hoo haa . Moral Police play politics and beat the Indian public for aping Western culture. Sure are we not aping in every way? We wear clothes that is by far more western than eastern, we eat food, play games, have hobbies, entertain in a very Western way. many, many ways that the Western world has entered our existence. Is any thing wrong? Moralistic attitude here is so redundant. As we expose ourselves to other cultures, especially American way of life, we will be influenced and we will necessarily infuse many of those ways into our lives. Yet, if you have read Freakonomics, you will realise, that common place notions about changes in society is all a they state: It was expected that crime rates in the US will increase dramatically in the year 2000,

everything and nothing

fire and freeze calm and chaos still and turbid all in one one in all together it blends into a solution of emotions an amalgam of nature a being of immense dichotomy a human. The fire within me belies the freeze without. The chaos within me contradicts the calm without. The turbidity and murkiness inside me is deeper than the stillness outside. I am real and unreal at the same time. all and none up and down inside out Every thing and nothing.

the flight

This one is for you sowms!! You gave her wings Wings of understanding, she took flight soaring high above, feeling the rush of happiness the touch of love. beyond words above reason moments of ecstasy a glimpse of paradise. within her she feels that presence she is he and they are one. higher wider deeper they travel nothing holds them together nothing can tear them apart invisible threads of understanding binding their hearts love like no other soars unsaid thoughts realised un-thought words felt real and unreal merge creating a space for togetherness earth holds no bird that destiny chooses to fly on wings of love and understanding.

translating thought to action

It’s only when our thoughts translate into actions that we reach out of ourselves and impact the life of another. (courtesy: The Art of Non Conformity ) How many times have you thought, you would contact a friend, and then never did it...or shall I say, postponed it...till date? How many of us have wanted to buy a gift for someone close( a friend, a neighbour..why even our spouse?), and then find we don't have enough time, the occasion passes by, or even...that the person passes by? How many of us have consciously reconnected with all that is important to us? How many of us truly appreciate the little things done for us and to us? And how many of us have translated that appreciation into action, rather than keep it safe within us as a word or a thought? We need to create a space for ourselves where our actions impact the other. If this does not exist then there is no relationship. We need to acknowledge the abundance around us and be present to the reality of all tha

the fall

she falls.... into that chasm heads down screaming no sound can you hear she spirals... into that shaft eyes open tearing images flash by she spins... into that void pores tingling numb too fast to feel she crashes. pieces of her scatter her body lies here but her soul is over there and her heart is elsewhere can she be this way? a shatter a scatter non-pieces fragile and fake. she lies there immobile pinned down. till they all come together there may be no flight.

A story helps us...

This is a small childhood incident, but its impact is felt by me even today. The purpose of this incident is served today as I choose to tell my daughter the same anecdote when she faces a similar situation...hoping that the learning I did not gain, she does get... I was in 7th standard, and my language skills were average and nothing very significant. B grade student. In my mind I was being compared to my sister who was 2 classes senior to me, and a more creative and talented writer according to the general feedback from teachers. There was this one story completion exercise that I did for a creative writing essay, for which the teacher gave me an A grade( my first). I was ecstatic. Yet the teacher when handing over my book said: " I hope this is your original work and you have not copied it" The impact of this was multi fold: I could never write again without feeling I am copying some one else's' idea... Original and creative took a different meaning, as I t

Chennai in transformation

Childhood memories apart; the city that I have lived in as a child, a teen, and an always the quintessential Madras to me... Last week a friend of mine returned from Chennai to Bangalore, and I asked her toddlers in a voice loaded with interest... "So how was Madras?" pat came the reply from my friend, "They dont know Madras, they know only Chennai" I took a double take. Its not the first time I have had to correct myself, both verbally and mentally. But this was the first time I have had to do it so unconsciously. Those born into the city called Madras find it quite difficult to call it by any other name. My so called roots. I have mixed reactions about the city, bitter sweet memories. I know no other city culturally and I believe I am both a spectator and a participant to the transformation that I see in it. The beach: Elliots beach is where I grew up. It is located very close to where my parents live and subsequently my in law