Friday, July 25, 2008

“Adventurous Night”

For a person like me who has lived a totally secured life even a small excitement is equal to an adventure. And that’s how I see that night, which I call adventurous night.

It was 24th February. I and two of my hostel friends (Shilpa & Krishna) had gone to tirupur to attend a friend’s wedding. Our train was to leave at 1 p.m. from tirupur station and reach Chennai by 9 p.m. So after attending the marriage, we three went to station and found that the train was 1 hour late. Now that meant that we couldn’t reach hostel by 10 p .m. (the time we are supposed to be back in hostel!! We were so happy that first time we’ll be outside our campus after 10 p.m.J). The train actually came at 3p.m. only.

The train journey was going on quite smoothly till around 9 p.m. when the avadi station came. The train stopped in avadi though it wasn’t actually a stop. After 10 minutes of stop, all the passengers were wondering why we have stopped here for long time. After 20 -25 minutes, an announcement came that the train won’t go after this station and all the passengers are requested to get down from the train.

This announcement resulted in a chaos among everyone as we didn’t know the reason for this. And to make matters worse the train had stopped in the middle of thee tracks and to get down we have to practically jump. It was around 9.30 p.m. and suddenly avadi station was full of stranded passengers. None of us knew what to do. We three were wondering how we could reach hostel. Getting transport at this time of night was tough and none of us new the actual route to go till egmore. We didn’t know whom to call also for help.

After 10 minutes or so, again there was an announcement that a local train will come which will go to central station. To get into the local train was a major task as the platform was overcrowded with all passengers and that too having heavy baggages also.

Somehow all 3 of us got into the train. We were hungry and tired and hoped to reach central station soon. There was a talk in local train that some derailment has taken place near central station because of which other trains were also affected. We thanked god that nothing happened to our train. The train stopped in Basin Bridge and we three were making plans on what to do for dinner when we reach central in another 10 minutes. But then that was not about to happen. The train stopped in Basin Bridge itself. Again there was major chaos as some said the train will leave and some saying that the train won’t move.

Now, all three of us were pretty scared. It was 11 p.m. and we didn’t know what to do. Half the passengers were getting down from the train. There was a gentleman who was sitting near us. He went and enquired and then came and told that the train will not move from here. Our cell phones had also switched off as there was no charge. When we came to platform we didn’t know how to go from there to egmore. We came out of the station and there was not a single public transport. Roads were full of stranded passengers waiting for autos and all. The same gentleman was also standing there and we asked him about bus stands but he said it was a bit far away and to walk till there alone won’t be safe. My local guardian’s were out of station and the other two friends didn’t have local guardians as such. As our cell phones were not working we didn’t know how to contact our friend’s. The gentleman offered us lift saying he has a car which is going to come to pick him up. Initially we refused saying we’ll somehow go. His car came some 20 minutes later and in that time we saw that there was no way we could get any other transport. Many passengers, mostly families, were having some 1 to come and pick them up and all those vehicles didn’t have any vacant places. To make matters worse, at some distance there were a group of guys who had been eyeing us for a long time and we were getting very uncomfortable. Finally after giving thought about it, I told my friend’s that it would be better if we accept the offer by that gentleman as we had no choice. He looked very decent and we had to trust him now, though he was a stranger.

So finally we decided to go with him till central station and went to him hesitatingly. Just that time his car came and then we got into it. True to his words he dropped us till central station. From there we got an auto and finally went to our college around 12.30. The “wonderful” guards were sleeping and we had to wake them up by throwing stones and shouting. Finally they woke up and opened the gates and we got into hostel totally tired and hungry but happy that we were safe.

And hence in this way our adventurous night came to an end. Though my parents didn’t say anything about it, Shilpa and Krishna’s parents told that they will never allow both of them to go out like this from now on!!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

“Get-Together Preparations “

People who conduct parties or some sort of get-together regularly wouldn’t be facing preparation problems. But what about those who keep it once in a while (when I say while, it means gap of maybe even more than 10 years :D) ?

Such a situation rose a few days ago in my house. Though still the planning and preparations is yet to be finalized but I would just like to tell this particular incident.

The get-together has to be organized on request of a family friend (Mr. N) who is visiting Bhilai along with his wife, daughter and son-in-law. His daughter and son-in-law are coming to Bhilai first time, after their wedding two years back. So Mr. N wants a small get-together with few families (still staying in Bhilai) whom his family knows.

This get-together has to be arranged by my appa and Mr. S. So, Mr. and Mrs. S had come home to discuss about the preparation with my appa, amma. I and my brother were also present during this discussion. The discussion starts –

The first point was to list the families who all were coming and number of members from each family (to get an estimate count of people for get-together). Among the 15 odd families, only two families were north Indian families and the rest tamilians only. So we first thought of asking Mr. N to not include those two families in the list as they will feel odd being among us. But then we remembered that SIL of Mr. N is also a north Indian and he might also feel odd if he’s only among us tamilians (err..he’s the chief guest of this get-together na!! :D). So finally the total number was decided after including those two families also.

The second point was to choose the place, whether to keep the get-together at our house itself or to book a hall outside. We didn’t want to this to look as a formal meeting but then to keep this within house would be slightly difficult. But after lots of discussions it was concluded that it’ll be in our house only.

The third and most important point is the menu to be served for dinner. The option to cook at house itself for all was ruled out unanimously, so we decided to order food. Now the question was to whom to order? This is purely based on the type of menu we wanted and also the type of people who were coming – north Indian (like puri, chapatti and sabji) or south Indian (like mixed rice and side dish) or south Indian Tiffin (like dli/dosai and sambar/chutney). Now none of us as such wanted Tiffin as it’s something very common we eat. Most of the people who will come are old so the menu should suit them. We decided to go for mixed rice (lemon rice, coconut rice etc along with some side dishes). Now we had to decide about the catering people. As there were two/three people/groups whom we knew will cater us? There was a debate on whom to choose with Mr. S saying he has tasted one of the caterers “aviyal” and it was good and Mrs. S saying that their another dish wasn’t good. My appa said that some other person’s dishes were not that good and trying to think where he had tasted it and my amma not agreeing to him. Overall the whole discussion was being enjoyed by me and my brother, both of us silently saying that we’ll go outside somewhere else with “chief guest and his wife” to eat and leave the “Hosts” (my parents and Mr. S) to be with other guests.

Suddenly my amma got up to look at the calendar to see which day 1st august is falling on, when she discovered that 1st was “aadi amavasya”.
This meant that no saadam on that day and only palaharam. So menu had to be again changed and now it has been finalized to idly, sambar, chutney and a sweet dish.

This whole discussion went for more than three hours and all of us got tired with it, so we decided to choose the caterers later. The decision is yet to be finalized and today only amma said that their might be some other change in the menu and all.

Well I don’t when the final decision will be taken and how the get-together goes on, but this incident made me wonder how the regular party-holders do their planning and preparations with so many criteria’s and conditions.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Me and Carnatic Music

My relationship with Carnatic music has been of ambivalent nature.

As a kid I was very much interested in dancing. When I was in KG1 & KG2, I used to dance on my own in verandah in my house. I do not know whether I was good at it or not, but then I didn’t care because I was enjoying myself. Seeing my interest in dance, my parents decided to let me go into dance class. Simultaneously they enrolled me (and my brother also started coming with me) into carnatic music, thinking it’ll help me for my dance. Initially I didn’t bother about music classes as I was more interested in dance and just went there to please my parents. But within one year my dance classes ended as the teacher was not good and there were no other proper dance teachers. I was totally dejected and disappointed. But my music classes continued. Now the whole point was that my interests were fully in dance and not in singing, due to which in a way I started hating music lessons. But then went for the classes till my 12th with my brother (he loves it) as everyone expected me to.

During the Navrathri days, I used to have tough time. I loved going to everyone’s house and see the gollu, but then hated the part when I would be asked to sing. Whenever I go to some one’s place or to some wedding, after asking about my studies, the next thing am asked or told is to sing a song.

I love listening to Carnatic music. MS is Goddess and her voice gives one a divine feeling. And I love to go to kucheri’s. But then I hate singing especially in front of all. Unless I’ve interest in it, how can I sing from my heart?

One day in hostel, i waslistening to carnatic music in radio and got so much involved that i stared singingalong with it. Now i don'tknow if i was singing well but then again i didn't care as i enjoyed at that moment. But that doesn't mean i will enjoy singing all the time, especially when people ask me to at all times. Its my interest.

Well after my 12th, I left music classes. Now whenever I meet a relative or some family friend, one of the questions among the normal set of questions is surely about my singing. Once I tell them I’ve stopped going to classes, I’m advised to re-join and continue as am supposed to be good at it.

Now how can I tell them about my strange relationship of love-hate with carnatic music to them?