Thursday, July 17, 2008

Silver Spangles

Mathew send me this 'spark' to brighten the Bower :)

8 things I am passionate about

Faith ( a tree planted by the waters..(Jeremiah 17:8)..)
Family (including the large extended family)
Friends (People who add colour to my life)
Writing (no matter how I fare in it;still cherish all those handwritten letters and my diaries worth a decade.)
Kerala (Maamalakalkappurathu marathaka pattuduthu....)
Monsoon (thankfully it has caught up here,though late)
Good music (as important as life air)
Being myself (don't care how old fashioned it might make me)

8 things I want to do before I die (a.k.a wild dreams)

Write a book
Learn to swim
Learn to dance
Travel wide
Sing a duet with Sonu Nigam(the "Pal,pal,pal "song or the Parineeta songs)
Master a couple of foreign languages
Teach in the school and colleges I studied in.
Find Mr.Right (if there's one.And I hope it isn't the doctor who administers me on my death bed ;-D)

8 things I say often:

Aakemotham(irritates Mum to hear me use it)

8 books I last read (thank God it doesn't specify 'last'!!)

Afterwards-Jaishree Misra
To Sir With Love-E. R. Braithwaite
Nectar in a Sieve-Kamala Markandaya
India:From Midnight to the Millennium-Shashi Tharoor

Currently my table has a pile of books that have the slightest mention of words like "Orwell","Animal Farm",and "hegemony" as part of my project work.They want a 40 strong bibliography(sigh)

8 songs I could listen to over and over again(who ever made this tag...this is uncomfortably restricting )

Pinneyum pinneyum aaro kinavinte-Krishnagudiyil oru Pranaya kalathu
Sahyasaanu shruti cherthu vecha-Karumadikuttan
Ethalurnnuveena paneer dalangal-Thanmathra
Nee Madhu Pakaru-Moodal Manju
Nila Kakirathu-Indira
Super Trouper-ABBA
Nahi samne-Taal

I tag


Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Down memory rails...

Look to the right,then to the left and then to the right again.If both the sides have a red light you cross.Don't think I follow the directions word by word,but this is one activity I do when I make my way to church and back.Most of the time I get a clear path or else there would be a 25 bogie long train blocking my way.

Trains were part of our life ever since Neil and I turned one.Mummy recollects that we made the grand first trip to Trivandrum from Ernakulam on the evening of our first birthday.Ofcourse we don't remember that,but that was not a loss at all because umpteen train rides awaited us in the years ahead.

The visit to native places during vacations started and ended with journeys by train.These were trips between Trivandrum and Ernakulam or sometimes Aluva and took 5 hours.The Onam and Christmas holidays were short so we started right on the evening the school closed.The summer vacations saw us leaving by the early morning train from Trivandrum.I especially liked these trips because it had scope of the enjoying wayside sights in daylight.Neil and I always fought for the window seat and most of the times,I lost.I would find myself sulking until Papa declares the seat should be swapped at regular intervals.Usually,I didn't have to wait long, because Neil would nod off before the train reached Kazhakootam when he'd be gently removed from the window seat and I take his place to watch Kerala zoom past me.The break of dawn,the cold morning air being warmed by the rays of the sun,the houses in slumber waking for the day,the wind against my face,the rhythmic rocking of the train were all the things that delighted me as a child.Once I ventured to write down the names of all the stations but fell asleep on reaching Varkala.
Neil and I were quite a boisterous pair and often attracted the attention of fellow passengers.Mum recounts that I was once howling because of the heat and the co passengers actually took turns to pacify me!We do have a couple of family friends whom we met on train journeys.Once the train was stopped for a signal.Neil and I kept bombarding Mum with "When will the train move?".It must have either sounded cute or irritating, for two amused men told us the train would move if we tried pushing it.We listened in open eyed wonder and almost immediately started pushing the seat back with our little hands!The people sharing that berth laughed until a red-faced Mum convinced us that we had given our best.
The stretch we traveled had certain landmarks to look out for.They were the model of a rocket at the VSSC,the Perumon bridge,the two tunnels before Kottayam and finally the marsh filled with colocasia where the train would stop for a maddening half an hour just before chugging into Ernakulam South.
The tunnels were the most fun.We'd be busy playing Rock,Paper,Scissors when we are suddenly plunged into darkness.We were not the kind to howl in the darkness(maybe we were a little scared in the early years too) but we would press our faces against the window bars to see the thin line of light at the end of the tunnel.The position of the rocket at the VSSC always confused us.We would wait in the aisle, ready to dash to the right or left with a cry of "Dei,Rocket !"
The little red tug of the emergency chain was an eternal temptation to Neil.We would make Papa explain how it works and how they would find out if someone pulled it for fun.Mum discloses that she did fear he would give it a try sometime and land us in trouble.However,the warning painted alongside kept him at bay ever since we learned to read.
Sometimes the journeys started off with adventurous dashes across the platforms and long treks to find seats.Once we traveled without tickets because we turned up just in time for the train.Papa got off at Kollam to get them because it was the only place the train stopped for 10 minutes.
There were rare occasions when we indulged in the luxury of traveling in the A/c Chair car.Neil and I were very excited and kept experimenting with the push back seats.We have seen the other extreme too when we actually slept on the floor of the general compartment while returning on the eve of a school reopening day.

The shift to Ernakulam put an end to the regular train journeys.These days they are very rare.But trains and rails are very much part of our life.Our home being just four blocks away from the railway track,constantly keeps us in touch with the rattle,the hoot, and the sheer magnificence of the locomotive.The railway clearing is one place every kid in the family must have seen.It was the trump card used both to pacify a tantrum or as a reward for being good.As kids we used to scramble over sleeping uncles to look out of the window whenever we heard a train pass.The house still trembles when a goods train thunders by.
Everytime,I cross them I look wistfully at those tracks that stretch to infinity,and then take this jolly trip,down the memory rails!

"And when the tramway down the hill
Across the cobbles moans and rings,
There is about my window-sill
The tumult of a thousand wings."

(A Town Window, John Drinkwater)

Picture courtesy