Thursday, July 30, 2009

2 x 2 x 2 x 2 = tuttudoo too :)








RAT = (MICE x 4) – CUTE








Monday, July 27, 2009

India calling - 3

Arguing the Other Side

My brother was moving.

A month later, Shyam visited me from Chicago, where he and his wife then lived, to inform me that he was moving to India. His firm had openings in their Indian office and he was taking one of them. I was dismayed.

“Why are you doing this?” I asked.

“Don’t you like America? You want to leave me all alone here?”

Shyam chuckled at my aggrieved tone. “Look, in order to continue working in America, my firm requires that I have a green card, and I don’t.”

“I can fix that,” I said quickly. “I know Ann. She’s a great immigration lawyer.”

“I am not sure if I want to go through all that hassle,” he said.

“Not really,” I lied. “It’s mostly procedural.”

“That may be, but I am still not sure if I want to live in America forever. People work too hard here, and there is little time for family. India is more laidback. Home always is”

“But it is so far away,” I said, feeling strangely bereft, even betrayed.

“You know what your problem is?” Shyam said.“You are willing to put up with anything just to stay in America.”

“And you know what your problem is?” I shot back.

“You have a chip on your shoulder! You are so quick to see the bad side of things.”

Shyam was right, and I was, too…after all we are siblings.

In order to survive as a foreigner in a new country, you have to be willing to discount minor infractions, and I had become very good at that. When sales girls ignored me at department stores, I told myself it was because of my dowdy clothes, not my brown skin. When acquaintances asked questions like, “Do people still ride elephants in India?” or “Is India full of beggars?” I brushed them off as silly questions from well-meaning people. Shyam, on the other hand, would have called those people parochial and ignorant at best, racist at worst. He was a Leo. He had too much pride. He wanted America not just to accept him but also to adore him, to welcome him with open arms.

“Why does the INS treat everyone as criminals until proven otherwise?” he asked. “And why do you put up with it?”

“Because a hundred other people are waiting to take my place if I don’t,” I said. “Don’t you see? There are nuclear scientists and Nobel-prize winners standing in line to get into America.”

“Not me,” Shyam said. “I refuse to stand in line. If America wants me, it must accept me on my own terms.”

“Yeah, right. Like you’re some hot-shot who this country can’t do without,” I snarled. “The truth is that we need America more than it needs us. We have become dependent. We have laid our roots here”

“That’s not true,” Shyam said evenly. “America needs its immigrants just as much. And you think you have your roots here”

We glared at each other, upset and at an impasse. This always happened. I was desperate to get Shyam to live in America with me and couldn’t understand why he was being so dense and unrealistic about it. Why couldn’t he just focus on America’s rewards, instead of going on and on about transgressions — real and imagined? Shyam, on the other hand, couldn’t understand why I was glorifying America at all costs.

“Don’t you have any pride?” he often asked.

“I can’t afford to have pride,” I said. “Be practical. Until this year, I wasn’t even a citizen.”

“Well, I am not going down that route,” Shyam said. “I am going home.”

I paused and took a deep breath. Our conversations on this subject always disturbed me. For better or worse, I measured my life against my brother’s and when he made decisions that were the exact opposite of mine, I questioned my own choices. When Shyam talked about racism, it finally brought to mind all those instances when I had felt it but brushed it off — the patronizing Columbia journalism professor who assumed I couldn’t understand English, the rude salesclerk who enunciated every word when he spoke to me, the redneck in the pickup truck who had honked all the way while following me on a single-lane dirt road in Alabama, and many others.

Shyam had had enough of Chicago, of America, and was ready to flee to India. I, on the other hand, didn’t dislike America enough to pick up and leave. Living in New York was easy and stimulating, which was why it was so hardto consider anything else.

“Don’t you miss India?” Shyam asked. “Don’t you miss home?”

“Oh, get lost,” I replied.

Raising Indian Kids in America

There is a reason why so many immigrants who come to America never move back to their home countries, even if they — like me, the Nigerian cabdriver or Priscilla the pretzel lady — may long to. Many of us, even the ones who love our homelands, have gotten used to the ease and efficiency of America. I, for one, had lost the ability to copewith constant elbowing and jostling that living in a populous, resource-constrained society like India demanded.

New York was good practice but it was still not India. The combination of circumstances that facilitate moving back to India is so rare as to render it almost impossible: one spouse wants to move back but the other doesn’t; both spouses want to move but the children don’t; the family is dependent on an American income — not just for themselves but foran extended clan back home. Even if money were not a factor, uprooting a family involves numerous decisions — which city to move to, what job to take, whether to work or to live on American savings. By the time a husband and wife argue, agree and finally decide, time may have flown and the kids, too, may have flown the coop. We knew some friends in that situation who had talked for years about moving back and now talked about “retiring” to their hometown.

“Sometimes, I wish I were one of those lucky Indians who has no desire to move back, ever,” I told Ram. “I wish I were one of those people who are able to put the old country behind them and live happily ever after.”

“A lot of them don’t,” Ram replied. “Pierre goes back to France three times a year. Tomas still has his parents in Uruguay. Avi visits Israel with his American wife. But they’ve all figured out one thing.” He smiled. “Life really is better over here in America.”

I pushed the food around on my plate and nodded, unconvinced. We had just found out that I was pregnant with our second child, and were ecstatic. But the nausea had made me averse to all food.

“Come on,” Ram said. “We don’t have a bad life here. You love New York, we have a nice home, I have a decent job, we have friends, family. What’s not to love?”

“I am just worried about our kids growing up as Indian-Americans,” I said. “Hyphenated identities are tricky, especially ones where the two parts are as different as India and America.”

“They are not radically different.”

“Oh come on,” I said. “Americans eat sweet things for breakfast. Indians eat hot and spicy foods first thing in the morning. American kids sleep separately from when they are a month old. Ranjini sleeps in our bed and she is four.”

“What’s your point?”

“Indian parenting is all about hanging on to your kids and smothering them and preserving their innocence for as long as possible. In America, it is all about independence — separating them, teaching them to become strong and independent individuals.”

“Both ways have their merits.” “You can’t choose both,” I said.

“Best of both worlds,” Ram repeated.

I shook my head. The best of both worlds, he said, and it was hard to argue with that. Had I lived in Silicon Valley, I could see myself falling into the comfort and convenience of doing just that. But what was the point of living in America but shunning its culture? What was the point of living in America but socializing just with Indians?

When I met like-minded friends of a certain age with young kids, an oft-repeated lament amongst us all was how simple and great life was back in India and how confusing and difficult it was raising Indian kids in America. Part of this was nostalgia, part of it, amnesia — the kind that glosses over realities and assumes that the grass is always greener on the other side of the ocean. A lot of it was ignorance. Most of us had leapt across the precipice of youth and emerged in America as fully formed adults. The India we knew and remembered was devoid of adult responsibility. I, for instance, had never opened a bank account in India. Nor had I applied for a job, tried to get a telephone connection, bought a house or a car. I had done all these things in America with astonishing ease yet yearned for the “simple” life back home.

Several Indians I knew had made “firm” plans to go back home by a certain year. There were always postponements: to get a promotion, pay off a mortgage, finish a school year or wait for options to vest. There were always reasons to remain. And so I remained, a slave to opportunity, an Indian in New York, a paradox.

[to be continued..]

Sunday, July 26, 2009

India Calling 2 - Priscilla the Pretzel Lady

Although it seems illogical, many Indians activate their plan to move back to India after they get their green card or citizenship. It seems contradictory — the American government finally gives them permission to stay forever and then they pack up to leave. This certainly was true for me, thanks in part to Priscilla the pretzel lady.

Snow was falling as I climbed up the steps of the Brooklyn College auditorium, plump, happy flakes that danced over the red brick buildings and settle down my purple overcoat like fairy dust. I was early, or so I thought as I pushed open the door. The long lines of people inside testified otherwise. They were from all over the world — 54 nationalities, I would later learn, ranging from Haiti to Hungary, Tajikistan to Tasmania. In all, 1600 immigrants — waiters, nurses, bankers, cab drivers,divorcees, single mothers and transvestites —gathered together for the same purpose: to become naturalized citizens of the United States of America.

At 11:30 am that day, I became citizen of US of A. I was not happy. I was not sad. I felt blank!!

At the corner of 66th Street and Columbus Avenue, a stone’s throw away from Lincoln Center, is a tiny stand named Priscilla’s Pretzels, manned by an old woman who looks to be of Eastern European descent, perhaps Polish. I had always assumed her name was Priscilla, although the stand could have been named after her mother or daughter.

I passed Priscilla’s Pretzels several times a day — on my way to the subway, after dropping off and picking up my daughter at her pre-school, on my way to pediatric appointments, and when we walked together as a family to Lincoln Center during the summer for outdoor concerts.

“Hi Priscilla!” I would say as I passed her and she would wave back. I hadn’t made a single purchase from her stand because I disliked pretzels, but I didn’t think she held that against me. On that cold February afternoon, a few hours after I became a U.S. citizen, I passed Priscilla again as I walked back home. It was still snowing. Wisps of smoke came out of her stand as she wrapped a warm pretzel and handed it to a customer. On impulse, I stopped. It was a momentous day in my life. I felt exuberant, yet strangely weary. I was embarking on a new chapter and wanted to share the news with someone. Priscilla, I felt, would understand. She, too, was an immigrant and had probably undertaken a similar journey.

We shared a longing for America alloyed by a deep aversion to the INS. Or so I believed as I stood before her,holding out some bills.

“I became a citizen today, Priscilla,” I said. “Congratulations!” she said, slathering some mustard on my pretzel. She waved away my money.

“It’s on me,” she said. Her accent was hard to decipher.

“Thanks,” I replied. “No more dealings with the INS.”

“That’s right,” agreed Priscilla.

“No more waiting for green card and visa extensions.”

“Absolutely,” said Priscilla. “Now it’s time to go back home.”

I laughed. “Sure,” I drawled. “Work hard to become a citizen, and then turn right back and go home.”

“That’s right,” said Priscilla. “Family is family.”

“Is your family back home?” I asked. I still couldn’t tell where she was from. Priscilla nodded. “Every single one of them. I’ve been in this country 22 years but not a day goes by when I don’t think about them.”

“I know,” I said, nodding. I knew.

“Thanks a lot,” I said, holding up my pretzel. “Bye, Priscilla.”

“My name isn’t Priscilla,” she said. “Priscilla is my daughter.”

“Sorry,” I apologized.

It was only when I reached home that I realized I still didn’t know her name. So Priscilla she would remain, at least in my mind. Now it’s time to go back home. Priscilla’s words haunted me. It wasn’t the first time I had heard them or even thought them myself. Every time the going got tough with the INS, I would question my desire to stay in America.

“What am I doing here?” I would think. “Is this worth it?”

But there had always been the next step, the next challenge. Mount Holyoke College, graduate school, applying for a work permit, getting a job, getting a green card and finally, after 15 years, becoming a U.S. citizen. I had been so busy getting to the next step, I hadn’t bothered to check where they were leading me.

I had finally “made it” as an American citizen — what next? How now to make meaning out of my life? Staying the course was easy; inertia, easier. Dreams were prettier when they remained just that— blowsy, diaphanous and distant. The minutiae of living cut into the examination of a life. Until something or someone broke the cycle ... as Priscilla had done for me.

My first ten years in America had been glorious. Single, then married but still independent, I enjoyed them thoroughly. Life was exciting, and trips back home were boring necessities that I undertook reluctantly, mostly to assuage parents and close family. After every vacation, I raced back to America, eager to embrace its fast pace and pulsating rhythms, to see friends, to go to restaurants and catch up on the movies, sit-coms and magazines that I was addicted to. When the plane touched down at JFK International Airport, I would pump my fist and utter a silent whoop of delight. Yes! I was home.

It was after I had a child that I first entertained the previously heretical possibility that, perhaps, America wasn’t home for me. I was tired, sleep deprived and encumbered, and the “land of the free” no longer seemed so to me. I was saddled with a toddler and missed parents, relatives and other potential babysitters. I missed the respite that came from dropping off a child with a trusted aunt for a few hours. India’s social fabric seemed more conducive to raising a family. There, I could call a neighbor, any neighbor, at a moment’s notice and ask her to watch my child while I ran out for some milk.

I missed the septuagenarian grandfathers who patrolled my neighborhood and reported back all naughtiness and babysitter negligence. I had hated their interfering as a child; now, as a mother, I viewed them as allies. I missed the whole village of people who had raised me, who would help me raise my child. I wouldn’t dream of dumping my child with a friend, however close, at a moment’s notice.

All my friends led hectic, tightly packed lives. While they were perfectly willing to watch Ranjini, their schedules wouldn’t allow it unless we made arrangements days in advance. Work and family were distinctly different. There were work colleagues whom we never saw on weekends, and family or friends whom we rarely saw during the week. Our days and nights, too, were similarly divided: there was family night; date night, when my husband and I went out, leaving Ranjini home with the nanny; and couples night, to which children were not invited.

All this compartmentalization increased the odds of enjoyment but didn’t allow for lapses of efficiency. It was fun to dine with another couple at a fancy restaurant unfettered by tugging children. Yet, at the same time, the amount of planning that went into searching for, procuring and paying a babysitter made me question the necessity of such elaborate arrangements.

In India, the kids would have simply tagged along. They would have created a ruckus and, after a point, we would have paid the waiter a few bucks to entertain them at another table. It wasn’t very efficient, but it wasn’t a production, either. Part of the complication was that India was several time zones and several thousand miles away. I couldn’t just jet over to see family or attend a wedding over a long weekend.

For the first time in my life, I began missing my large, close-knit family.When Ranjini uttered her first word, there was no one to share the delight with me save my husband. When her arm swelled after a fall, I couldn’t S.O.S my grandmother right away for an herbal poultice recipe.

Most immigrants I knew didn’t want to return to their home countries. I knew several Indians who considered it infra dig to even acknowledge that they were from India. While they missed certain things, they had grown roots in America, ties both legal and emotional. In our building lived a Peruvian couple who spoke Spanish to their young son, ate ceviche every day, but had no desire to live in Peru — ever. Ranjini played with a little girl whose French father considered America the best country on earth. He liked to visit Paris, yes, but after twenty years in the States, he said, there was no way he could live or work in France.

Ram, too, was one of those people who loved living in America. He worked in asset management and enjoyed being on Wall Street. He liked being surrounded by brilliant, driven people and the fast paced exchange of ideas. He could move millions of dollars with a computer click or a phone call. He could e-mail a broker or research analyst with a question and have financial information on just about anything within a few minutes. Perhaps as a result of watching economic reform inch along at a snail’s pace in India, Ram was a big believer in the capitalist model of getting things done and moving on without endlessly looking back. Regret wasn’t a part of his psyche, and Wall Street and its here-and-now culture suited him perfectly. No wonder he was loath to question it.

“Priscilla thinks we should go back home,” I told Ram one evening as we sat on the steps of Columbus Circle having an ice cream together. Ranjini was watching a juggler, entranced by the sight of the colored dominoes that he threw up in the air.

“Who is Priscilla?” he asked.

“The pretzel woman at the corner of our street.”

Ram raised his eyebrows. “And she’s the authority on when we should go back home?” he asked. “You just became a citizen.”

“Two separate things,” I said. “Two separate things. Becoming a citizen is like taking life insurance: It is a cushion.”

“So now you want to go back?” Ram asked. “Why? I thought you liked it here.”

“I do,” I replied. “I love New York. But I also think we should explore the possibility of living in India.”

“After all these years? What will we do in India? I can’t work there. My job is too specialized,” Ram said.

“All I am saying is that family is family, and our parents aren’t getting any younger, and if our kids need to have contact with their grandparents, now is the time. I cant live the life where my mother can not understand what my daughter speaks!!”

Ram shook his head. “I don’t understand you,” he said. “Is this some kind of a feminist reaction to what you’ve just done? I thought you wanted to become an American citizen.”

“I did want to become a citizen,” I replied. “I do. I wanted to make sure that our kids were born here so that they won’t have to wait in line outside the American consulate like we did. I wanted to get my citizenship so I never have to deal with the INS again.”

“And so you won’t,” Ram said, chewing his gum “Aren’t you overreacting?”

“India is a great place to raise young children,” I maintained. “Life there is more relaxed, not as stressful. I could get much more household help for far less money. Our families would babysit. Things are slower. The whole system is set up to accommodate young children.”

“So you think,” Ram said. “So you think. You haven’t lived in India for years.”

“But do I want to live in this country forever? I am not sure.”

“Well, you’d better get used to it,” Ram said.

“Because I am not packing my bags and moving.”

[to be continued]

Friday, July 24, 2009

India Calling - 1

Prelude: Those who saw my Gtalk status msg on July 24th, 2009, they know what it was. For those who dont know, it was this - "Dreamt of going back to India forever :)" . I know its so soon to have such a dream. But still.. :) Now continue reading...

It was a nice pot-luck that night at Kuran-Ji’s house. It was on the way to New Jersy. So obviously we were beckoned by a lot of Tamil friends living there. Ram was in a hurry to leave the place and so did we at 10pm.

We hopped into a cab. I leaned back, exhausted.

“These Indian parties really get to me,” I said. “We are such pretenders, the whole lot of us…with our foreignaffectations and faux accents, when what we really do is go home and eat dal-chaval [lentils andrice] every day.”

“Why can’t we be both?” Ram asked. “Indian and American. Indian-American.”

“An ABCD, you mean?”

“Not necessarily. American for sure, but not necessarily Confused. The best of both worlds.”

I shook my head. “Doesn’t exist. India and America are too different. Best of both worlds leads to confused kids. Best of both worlds is a prescription for an ABCD. You have to pick a country; you have to make a call.”

“I disagree.” Ram’s voice rose. “Being cosmopolitan is not a bad thing.”

“Being cosmopolitan is all very well for adults with set identities. It is a disaster for young children,” I said.

“That’s not true,” Ram said.There was silence. We turned away from each other.

“It is true,” said a voice from the front. Our cab driver was looking at us with interest through the rear-view mirror.

“It’s true,” he said, nodding his head emphatically.

“Raising kids in foreign country is no good. That’s why I sent my wife and kids back to Nigeria last year.”

“Thank you for your comments but...” Ram began testily.

“Hear him out,” I interrupted.

“This culture — very different from African culture,”the man continued, clicking his tongue. “Here it is ...what you say ... sex, drugs and rock & roll, no?”

I smiled and nodded.

“Send your wife home,” the Nigerian cab driver advised. “Nice life in India. Hare Krishna, Hare Rama!” He grinned.

Ram rolled his eyes.

“Look, if giving Ranjini Indian values, whatever they may be, is so important to you, then do something,” Ram said, “rather than hankering for something which doesn’t exist.”

“I will,” I said as we got out of the cab. “I am taking her to the temple tomorrow.”

I wasn’t surprised that motherhood changed me.After all, I, an avowed agnostic, had suddenly started taking my child to the Hindu temple in Flushing, Queens, so she could be exposed to her faith. What surprised me was that motherhood changed my attitude towards America. Until then, America had been a welcoming land where I had spent ten glorious years being young and free. It had denied me nothing because of the color of my skin or the foreignness of my character.

Indeed, it had allowed me to fly, freed me from the constraints of my homeland. After my child was born, America became my daughter’s birthplace, her homeland, and I held it to higher standards. I wanted it to accept Ranjini, but — irrationally, perhaps — I resented that she would always be a minority. I didn’t want Ranjini to think like a minority, to carry a chip on her shoulder, to feel compelled to try harder like I did. I wanted her to have the ease of entitlement, the confidence of knowing that America is her country — because it is.

I wanted her to believe that she would have equal opportunities here, and that she was just like the other kids. So I began to look at other parents, particularly Indian ones, to figure out what techniques the successful ones adopted. Ram and I had many nephews and nieces who had grown up in America, and I talked to them about growing up as an Indian-American. Two years into the process, when Ranjini was about five, it became apparent to me that she would not be a typical American kid.

She was American by birth but couldn’t escape being Indian, not because of the way she was but because of the way her parents were. Ram and I were too Indian. We enjoyed America but had not been able to leave India behind.

Because of us, Ranjini would always be the other, the outsider, the minority, the “Indian” kid. She would be Hindu and vegetarian because we were. She was doomed to spelling out her strange-sounding name because we had thought it pretty and named her so. She wouldn’t escape Indian culture because we surrounded her with it.

Ram’s attitude towards parenting as more sanguine. He believed that as long as we gave Ranjini a stable home and basic values such as honesty, compassion and equanimity, she would turn out fine.

“You are overanalyzing things,” he told me often. “There is no magic cause-and-effect for parenting. It is more like a crapshoot. You do what you can, and hope for the best.”

“That’s not true,” I said. “I want Ranjini to believe that the world is her oyster, that she can become anything she wants, including the President of the United States.”

“You really want her to become President?” Ram asked. “Like Clinton?”

"Not really. But I want her to believe that she can. I want her to believe that she can walk in space and touch the moon,” I said.

“That’s great,” said Ram. “But how do you propose to impart all this confidence and make her humble and respectful to elders like a good Indian child?”

I pursed my lips. He was mocking me. There was a lot I needed to figure out. Cross-cultural parenting was harder than I thought...

[to be continued...]

Friday, July 17, 2009

2 x 2 x 2 = tuttudoo :)


















Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Askalakkadi lalakumari kolakoppara ngoyya!

A.R.Rahman was having a very bad patch then. It was Thenali, Star, Parasuram , Udaya – continuous musical let downs from the mastero. It was when Tamil cinema witnessed this man, ARR’s keyboard player, who ventured into Kollywood like a lightning – “Minnale” – Harris Jeyraj. His songs were all over the place. Be it “Azhagiye theeye!”, “Vaseegara”, Iru vizhi unathu”, “Poove vaai pesum pothu”, “Oru punnagai poove” – he was considered as musical midas. Albeit, I found his songs lacking the essence right from the beginning. Of course, there are few gems like “Uyire en uyire”, “Nenjukkul Peithidum” etc. Harris Jeyaraj copies, period. All his melodies have resemblance. Even now I cannot recognize what song is played in the movie “Pachaikili Muthucharam” for the first 40 seconds. I cannot differentiate the songs from ‘Sathyam’ and ‘Dhaam Dhoom’.

I am listening to songs for 3 hours every day for the past one month (thanks to Cleaver-Brooks Inc.,) It was then I found pattern in his songs and that's "various sounds made by human voices" between the I started listing the songs and sounds...believe me, that was the best time pass I had in recent times. Few of the ‘hummings’ by Harris….
Right from his first movie…
Movie: Minnale:
Song: oh mama mama :
Sound: kukukukukukukukukukuku..theru koothu
kukukukukukukukukukuku..rhythm pottu
kukukukukukukukukukuku..vidu jootu
kukukukukukukukukukuku..gana paatu

Movie: 12B:
Song: Love pannu:
Sound: (Pallavi)

Nanna na naa naa naa naa nana nana naa

Nanna na naa naa naa naa nana nana naa.. Naa naa naa… naaa naa naa

(Charanam Interlude) Thayaare Thayaare thai thai thai thayaaare...(repeated thrice)

Movie: Majunu:
Song: Mudar kanave:
Sound: sono leyo..oh sono leyo..(repeated twice)
oh maai maai aah...oh maai maai aah...
su maaio su maaio..suuuu maaiyo iyo !!!!! (2)
oh soooony sooony leyo..liyo liyo liyo leyo (2)

Movie: Lesa Lesa:
Song: Muthal Muthalaai:
Sound: nananananananan na na thuthu...(2)
thaara..thithithaaathu thithithaaathu thuthu(2)

Movie: Saamurai:
Song: Aagaya soooriyanai:
Sound: seele nayya....shakuraano leya...hey sunomoni aahu laahi hei hei hei hei....(2)
eliye soooona oh maahi hei hei hei hei hei...

Movie: Saamy:
Song: Aarumuga saamikku:
Sound: Alamakolaama omayo seele seele saamy (2)
rrrrrrrrrrrr a
seele seele seele seele seele seele...aikoyamayo
jillu jillu jillu jillu jillu jillu...sundari vandaalo
Alamakolaama omayo seele seele saamy

Movie: Kovil:
Song: puyale puyale:
Sound: aiiahakkaan..aai aai aii aiiyeho...ooooh oooh oooooh
aiiahakkaan..aai aai aii aiiyeho...ooooh oooh oooooh

And the most famous of all

Movie: Kaaka Kaaka:
Song: uyirin uyire:
Sound: Oh mahasiyaaan wohi yaala....Oh mahasiyaaan ohi yaala....seemo meha saai haaan
Oh mahasiyaaan wohi yaala....Oh mahasiyaaan ohi yaala....seemo meha saai haaan

Movie: Chellame:
Song: Kaadahalikkum :
Sound: oh ho ho ho...oh ho ho ho...en sonaali liso sonaali...
oh ho ho ho...oh ho ho sonaali liso sonaali...

Movie: Arasaatchi:
Song: manathil siru siru:
Sound: oh mohalai mohalai mohalai lai lai lai
oh mohalai mohalai mohalai lai lai lai

Movie: Thotti Jeya:
Song: Thotta Powerda:
Sound: Samba samba le sambale..sambala sambale
samba samba le sumbale sambala sumbaale

Movie: Anniyan:
Song: andankaaka:
Sound: randakka..randakka randakka...randakka randakka randakka randakka....(2)
ela ela elaaaa ela elamma...ela ela ela ela elaalelamma
hora hora hora hora horammma..hola hola hola hola holalamma

Movie: Gajini:
Song: Oru Maalai:
Sound: Ro Ro..shomole..shinnnnnng...chuchu cha cha chuchu cha cha
Ro Ro...shinnnnnng...oh ho ho ho..oh ho ho ho.
Movie: Vettaiyaadu Vilaiyaadu:
Song: Manjal Veiyil:
Sound: woo waaana sooovey...wooo waaana sooovey...oh ho ho sooovey

Movie: Unaale unaale:
Song: June Pona:
Sound: oooo hoooo ha ha oooo hooo ha ha...o la go maasta
oooo hoooo ha ha oooo hooo ha ha...hi hein grasssi a
o chaama triumaa (5)

Movie: Bheema:
Song: mudhal mazhai ennai:
Sound: mehu mehu mehu mahi mahi maaa..(2)
heeee hooo mehui...lohi lona (2)

And few of his songs were ‘inspired’ from Christian devotional songs… Enna koduma sir ithu??

Harris Jeyaraj oru modern S.A.Rajkumar nu solrathula thappe illa… SA.Rajkumar sticks to “thalaaa la la laaa laaaa la la laalaaaa la la laa”.. Harris Jeyaraj athaye suthi suthi vera mathiri paadaveikaran..

(Read it as: “’Vicks’a thanda suthi suthi ezhuthiruken!!”) Ukkanthu yosippano??!!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

1 car... 2 days... 3 doods... unlimited fun!

Pre Prelude : I know this post is a laate one. Actually we came back from Nigara two days back :) But I started writing this post even before that.. Completing it just now :)

Prelude: I am totally exuberant. Reason: I am going to NIAGARA... But then without a post on my first road trip in USA this wouldn’t do justice… right?


Yes I know it has been a couple of months since my last road trip. I was too lazy to blog about it. It was Spring break ’09 and many of my friends here went to Tennessee, break and I wasn’t able to be a part of it due to some ineluctable circumstances. And then it all happened on the spur of the moment.

On March 26th, we (Arun and I) rented a tatty yellow Chevy Aveo. Practiced the whole night. Thanks Ganesh to have squeezed in some time for us in your bottleneck GA schedule ;). On March 27th, Friday got the Illinois drivers license. The hoopla created to get a driver’s license was rubbled J and Arun was totally ‘driven’ for a road trip now. We decided to go on a road trip on our way back and extended the rental agreement for two more days. I came back and crashed on 26th night. Arun got a GPS and pooled in Madhan for the trip.

It was 28th morning and to our surprise we hit the road by 6 J Arun had a ‘so called’ plan (see picture below). It was a bunch of addresses written in a piece of paper. We entered the Miller beach’s address in the GPS and were off Chicago right away… We took very minimal dresses and eatables. Our breakfast that morning was bread… not toasted.. not with jam or butter… JUST BREAD J. It was an hour or so drive to the Miller beach…

The car

It was windy. No, ‘stormy’ would be a better word to use. Except for me, the other two were held to earth with the down jacket they were wearing ;) – ‘that’ stormy. The whole beach was just for us.. J. Since there were no bajji kadai, meen varuval or masala poori to spend time on, we left that place very soon after few snaps here and there L

Then we decided to go to Grand heaven. Reason: “Peru nalla irukku da”. There we could see shopping place, place to dock the boats, few boats and a railway station set-up. If you have read the last sentence carefully, I said – “we could see”… yes we were able to see the shopping place from outside. It wasn’t open; place to dock boats without boats; and boats without people. It was like as if we were in a post apocalyptic deserted town place retaining all its beauty! Whatae!!

It was noon by then and we (to be utterly honest – “I”) wanted to have Indian food as if it were ages since we last had something Indian. The GPS directed us to a place some 10 miles away.

--- after “some 10 miles away”’s travel –

It was dainty to see “Indian Gourmet – Saturdays and Sundays – Buffet $12”. All the joy lasted until we saw this in the door of that restaurant “Closed Permanently”… SCREW RECESSION!! McD came to our rescue.

Geography Trivia: There is a place in Indiana named “Santa Clause” – Pretty Cool J

American Trivia: People in America will accept that Jesus is fake. They will die if we tell there is no Santa Clause!

Then we headed to Grand Heaven State park. It was amazing!! Seriously.. The whole place was ‘Manirathnam’ish. Mild breeze. Chill air. Serene beauty! (Disclaimer: I am not telling “Sherin beauty”. I know she is an attu. Serene: Calm)

And it was here we almost spent the entire evening J - reason – I locked the car keeping the keys inside. He he… But then it turned out to be the reason which made us sleep inside the car at night instead of booking a room and all – to compensate the extra charges by the enterprise car rental guys. And sleeping in the car made the entire trip most memorable J So thanks to me! :D Had I not done that silly thing we could’ve never said this – “Semma trip da/di! Plan pannave illa… apdiye ponom.. suthinom.. night kooda car kullaye paduthutom theriyuma!!” :D When the reason is not told it becomes a mercurial adventure :D

Where were we??? Oh yes.. the G.H.State park.. We spent the evening in that place which also had a ‘light-house-kind-of-thing’. It was majestic with its rustic beauty. Later after that trip I happened to see the same place in a photograph.. “Justu missu!!” :D See pictures below.

Later that evening, we went to a local trail place which was looking just like the place from “Vettayadu Vilayadu” where Kamal finds the buried corpses. There again we were the only people in that beach!! Don’t know why… I found that place spooky! J

That night we had dinner again at McD, burnt some songs in couple of CDs for the next day’s trip; had our laptops fully charged. McD la thorathatha koraya velila vanthom ; only to find it was raining cats and dogs L We planned on sleeping outside McDs but it would be too obvious. So we thought of sleeping at Walgreens :D With the new pillow and socks that we bought that evening we had a cozy sleep; until it snowed!!

It was a god-sent snow, seriously for the following reasons

  1. We wouldn’t have woke up J
  2. The 2nd day would have ended up being monotonous...

We woke at around 7-8 in the morning, went to our home (that’s how we call McD since then), brushed with “Colgate tooth powder” J , had our face washed, drank coffee, freshly brewed, kept ready on the table; then left McD. ( Ithelam engayo panna mathiriye irukka? Veetlathan J )

Day 2:

We started our day with P.J.Hoffmaster state park. It was HUGE – really and it was overwhelmingly picturesque with the ‘just-now-fallen’ snow! It was like what you see in ‘Puthu vellai mazhai’ song except the high profound romance in that song J We had a trail path which just looked like stairway to heaven. And yes it was!

Then it was another amazing area of sand sloping down to the water of the Michigan lake (‘beach’ndrathaa than apdi suthi suthi ezhuthirikken! J ). Until then I have never seen a shore covered with SNOW instead of just sand. I am not sure if I will see such a beach again!! And yes, this beach was again just for three of us.

It was noon and we had to eat. But we were zealous about the climate. So we planned a short visit to the road side park located nearby. There Madhan tried a stunt only resulting in a bruise on his cheek. It gave us some of the best pics taken in the trip.

Then we went to KFC and bought 2 chicken buckets. McD engala kovama paatha mathiri oru feeling :D But then its ok, veetla sollikalam nu, we again seeked the GPS’ help for our next destination. I don’t remember the name of that beach but again it was Manirathnamish J JUST AMAZING.. The sea/lake was roaring with high waves and the wind was piercing our bones. It was there; Madhan took off his down jacket and wanted me to take a video of him doing all stuff – like running around, jumping and swinging etc… Naanum pannen… with a running commetry :) But there occurred a smaaal technical defect. Intha record button, record button nu onnu irukku… onnuthan.. atha press pannanumaam… payapulla atha mothave solla koodatha :D So all the breathless stunts by Madhan went vain.

Then again we did not want our trip to end.. so we started to one last place… but antha edathukku poga valiye therla :) kadaisi varaikkum… But things have to end.. The 2 day epic journey ended like a smooth crescendo fading out at the end of the song… The first day was like we were totally lost and we roamed like nomads.. the second day was like we were living in “Evano oruvan vaasikkiraan” song.. I don’t know how Madhan and Arun felt. But this is what I felt. That’s because of the climate and the places we went on that day… Innum konja thooram pona oru medical camp… anga Shalini oru tent la treatment kuduthutu irukka mathiri oru feeling… Innum konjam overa poi busa lam niruthi paatha Madhavana ye kandu pudichudalam pola irunthuchu… Yevano oruvan paata 15 hrs ketute iruntha epdi irukkum? It was that beautiful. Except for the feelings part of that song, the beauty was retained in every mile we travelled…

So finally whats with this trip? Why this trip? There is nothing like a reason for this trip and the two days of nomadic life (though nomads dint have a yello Chevy J ).. There are some poems that don’t rhyme… some stories don’t have clear beginning, middle or an end.. Life is about – not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it without knowing what is going to happen next!!

Post-Lude: People who read this post must surely know by now, I am a great fan of Manirathnam.. yes I am! Especially for the music and the cinematography in his movie.. ( athellam seri ippo en da atha solra? nu kekrathu enakku kekuthu.. chumma thagaval!! )