Feb 29, 2012

Taking toll...

Nope! I didn't get to do any of those special, dreamy things I had planned out for the leap day  - it has come and gone just like any other day!

This alone weighs me down today as I sit down to take a toll of the many days that have just come and gone - just like today. Yesterday, the day before, the day before that, last Monday, last 1st of the month, the last leap day four years ago, it's all gone! Forever! Here I am moving on to the next new month, as if nothing has changed a bit!

Mhhhhhmmmm - that was a BIG sigh that just escaped me. As I was thinking hard about all the toil for so little returns, turned to read my Bible and landed on Psalm 127, verse 2 which was direct and goes: In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat— for he grants sleep to those he loves.

So true, it's all vain.

If only I can save the weekends for myself, I would be wise. But no; I have to have company; either I visit or I invite and there goes the weekend!

It's all absolutely vain.

Shut me down somewhere where there is no access to the outside world - just me and my family with some clean sheets and comfy pillows and please dim the lights on your way out. Yes, that will do! Thank you!

But then I know if I give up now I will regret it as soon as I am back to my senses. So shoving my thoughts aside, getting ready for more toiling and of course to cherish the new month! 

Happy March folks!

Feb 25, 2012

Where were we?

So, where were we? I remember; looking at the chimney smoke in Grandma's house! Seems like just yesterday, but years and decades have passed by since then and from there.

Like a giant machinery picking up pace with each passing moment, time just rolls on and on and on; hardly allowing us to pause for some fresh air, to soak in the sun, to savor the moments, or to stand and stare... who even has the time to think of the life long sped by? Time to move on I guess...

Speaking of time, don't we all wish for few extra hours or minutes certain days - especially when we are working on a dead line? Well, our wish has been granted! Come Wednesday we will linger on a little while longer in February 2012! In fact we are getting a full 24 hours day! Yahoooo! I need to plan out something special for that day - like sitting down to actually enjoy a steaming mug of coffee or something... Let's see if that wish gets granted.

Almost forgot! Have you met Eye in the Sky? He is from Manila, Philippines who quotes: "I've worked to acquire a career that allows me to maintain, improve or heal what we know as life; and life has allowed me to roam and occasionally forget what I do for a living." He writes such fascinating posts about his travel that you will get addicted to it easily. Check him out if travel is your fancy; you will not be disappointed.

It has been very quite in my blog world lately. Many of my favorite bloggers haven't posted in a while; even those who post, seem to lack the energy or enthusiasm they offer otherwise. I am not my usual bubbly self either. Every sentence I wish to write, something blocks me. Every idea that develops in my mind is soon scratched off. Hope we can all recover from this "spell" soon and share some sunshine.

Wishing you all a relaxing weekend. Look forward to hear from you all soon.

~ NRIGirl

Feb 15, 2012

Chimney smoke

Warning: Something fishy about it!

Grandma had a wood burning stove that was built-in on a raised platform in her kitchen . Right on top of it was the chimney. I loved looking at the sun rays that came down just as the smoke rose up; where they met was a work of art, where you could see the particles dance in mid air.

I was convinced these were "molecules" but no one confirmed it. Papa said molecules won't be visible to naked eye. Then what were they? DNA? I guess that's what it was, because sometimes I could see some ladder like structure with a dot in the middle of each square that connects and this whole structure appears to be moving in the air. But nobody else saw it and so I couldn't continue my speculation any further... (At this Israel laughs saying DNA is microscopic, as if I don't know... didn't know it then!)

The chimney would be the highest point in the house back then and I guess even now. So I would run up the stairs to the terrace for a closer look. It was absolutely fun to see the dancing smoke, the mouthwatering aroma of Grandma's cooking and the smell of roasted chillies that would suddenly leave us with a coughing fit and burning eyes.

From the terrace we could see our neighbor's backyard. This neighbor was a shoe maker or butcher I couldn't possibly tell, but we got a glimpse of the animal skins and horns he would process for his trade. Mom always warned us not to look in that direction but that was enough reason to look. Couple of times I have gotten sight of the drying meat in his court yard and it would send chills through my spine. It was a huge relief for me years later when I heard they have moved out selling their piece of land to Mom.

Grandma occassionaly dried some fish on a string tied across her wood burning stove. For the first few days she would dry it in the shaded sun and bring it in afterwards. As the cooking smoke rose up the chimeny it would mix with the drying fish and reak the whole kitchen and terrace. I remember asking grandma once why she had to do it and she said that it was to preserve the fish for longer days. Though I hated the smell, I loved the curry she would make of it and so kind of learnt to get used to the smell. After all it was not everyday she would do that, only for a week or so and then we didn't see any sight of it till our next visit.

I cherished my visits to the fish market with Grandma. Grandma was a preacher's wife and so everybody called her Amma, including the fish ladies. Though I hated the smell of the fish market I loved to see the different kinds of fish and especially going out with my Grandma. To the few people who ask of me she would proudly say I was her grand daughter, visiting for the summer.

One thing different about the village market compared to the stores in the town (where we lived) was that here they would sell cut mango or cut coconut so you need not buy the whole thing but just enough for the day's cooking, which only means you would return to the market on a daily basis.

Towards the end of our trip, on the way out Grandma would buy me 'javvu muttai' a sticky squishy sugar candy. I loved it.

When we return home Grandma's assistant would set to clean the fish by the far end of the well. I would find a comfortable spot on the nearby tamarind tree, or for an upclose look might find a rock or piece of wood to sit on - close to the person cleaning the fish. I must say these observations came in handy the first time I had to clean the fish few years ago, fish that were caught by Israel and kids from our fishing adventure.

Before long food would be served with the most delicious fish curry and freshly made paruppu kulambu, rice and aviyal. I would happily eat it without any complaints and get back to my play on the terrace or more of my chimney watch!

Next thing cooking would be jaggery coffee... Hmmm those were the days - let loose and carefree...

Feb 14, 2012

A Love Story

Loved this and wanted to share. By our friend and Pastor Matt Monyhan.

Love is in the air. Can’t you feel it?

This morning, I awoke to snow, did my morning ritual of shower and grooming, and kissed my wife goodbye, wishing her a Happy Valentine’s Day in the process. I was out of our neighborhood before I realized that something had gone terribly wrong on this peaceful morning.

I was not wearing my wedding ring.

Apparently, during the night, I took it off and set it on the desk beside my bed. This is not unusual because the fingers can sometimes swell and I will do things during sleep without realizing it until the next day. What is unusual is for me to forget to put my ring back on. I love wearing my wedding ring.

It reminds me that she picked me.

As the morning has progressed, I feel odd. I look at my finger and it seems empty. Even odder is the indention where my ring has obviously rested for the past 16+ years. It looks like I am still wearing my wedding band, even though it is currently sitting on my desk at home. Looking closer, I notice that the skin tissue where this indention resides is actually calloused, almost scarred, into the shape of my ring.

I think about friends and family that have gone through separation and divorce and…I do not understand. I cannot imagine my life without my wife. I realize that widows and widowers have to learn this difficult lesson by no choosing of their own (as well as unsuspecting spouses, at times). But, in my mind, there is no world in which I would willingly choose to be back on my own, rather than part of a union…and not just any union…I am talking about Stacy, my wife.

She is as much a part of me as the callous on my finger that reminds me of her. I was once asked how I knew she was the One. My answer at the time was simple. How could she not be the One? It was a good answer. But my answer has changed.

She is not the One. We are One.

It would be hard to be tempted by another when we are One. It would be impossible to wish for a life as a half when I am part of a whole. Heck, I am sure we will start to look like each other soon.

I used to tell people that I did not have the perfect marriage…I would tell them nobody does…but that is a lie.

If marriage is defined by the ability to “cleave” to your wife, then mark us down as a 10. I am a better cleaver than Ward, Wally, and the Beaver put together (nice Leave It To Beaver reference). What God has joined together, let no man put asunder.

This is our love story.

By our friend and Pastor Matt Monyhan.

Feb 10, 2012

What a girl really wants

Love is in the air! I can feel it all around. It was fun to watch the guys at work hurrying for quick lunch breaks to buy the cute little something for their sweethearts. One of them even told me what he got for his wife: a quill pen with an inkwell and some chocolate! Isn't that cute?

Now, for others scrambling for last minute ideas to please the special girl in their life, thought I could share some tips. After all a girl knows what a girl wants!

It is true we love the exotic stuff  like red roses, strawberries dipped in chocolate, love notes, heart pendants, and of course the quill pens, but our heart is in the little things - things you take for granted - things you would miss out completely on - things you won't even understand - things that are dear to our heart... okay, you got it! For those who didn't, here's the list:

1. Show genuine interest in how our day was, instead of going on and on about how yours went.
2. Respect our parents; allow us to buy them whatever we like to; never ask why and never ever say no.
3. Yes, bring us a full glass of water; we are so busy keeping your house in order that we often skimp on nourishing water.
4. We love to eat out; so take us places.
5. Walk with us - with your hands around our shoulders.
6. Make us laugh.

Now go ahead and get us that quill pen if you must; we will take it along with the rest of the list. If you don't care for the list, you might as well keep the quill pen; we care the least for it anyways... But the roses we will take - with or without the list - that's about the only exception!

Feb 8, 2012

Elbow wars

Hi there! How have you been? I am writing this post while riding the bus on my way home from work. It is 5:50 pm on Wednesday, Feb 8th.

The day was good - before I knew it it was time to leave for home. I like days like this. On the other hand I would prefer the nights to take to a slower pace, but it hurries by only faster. It would seem like I just closed my eyes but soon the alarm goes off. But then it is really a blessing considering horror stories of sleepless nights tossing and turning.

I have come to like my bus rides better than the train. It is faster and I board it right by my house. Also I get an extra hour of sleep in the morning. Evenings too I could sleep if I wanted to, but I normally don't.

Mostly I get the first row seating on the passenger side which gives me ample view of the passing scenes. Oh! The New York skyline is a sight to see from these panoramic windows. The bus has an advantage of height over the cars which gives you a theater feel, if you will, of things around. And the car dashboards look so sophisticated from the bus and every single car seems to run by smoothly as if in a commercial.

There is one issue though. There is no elbow rests in the middle of the seats which means that unless you get a window seat you can't rest your elbows. More importantly you have to watch it from straying out of your "territory" into your neighbor's space. Even as I type this post in my blackberry I am elbow rubbed by my neighbor's jacket which is spilling into "my space". I often recall my days in the outskirts of Trichy where I have witnessed some very interesting elbow fights in the local buses...

Okiedokie, let's call it a day. It was nice sharing with you. Few other thoughts that have lined up in my mind for possible posting are: Fly away hair, chimney smoke, conversations in the air etc. The problem is I can't quiet put my thoughts into words; at least not yet. Hopefully I'll overcome the shortage soon.

My stop is just a few yards away, so let me click Publish! You all have a good night or good day depending on where your sun is! See you!

Feb 6, 2012

Up close with the nose

This is a repost from Feb 2011.
Have you ever found the nose to be the center of attraction during a conversation? It happens to me quite often though not as much as it used to when I was a kid.

Amidst a nice interesting conversation suddenly I get deviated towards the nose - how it looks, how it flares with the emotions, what the conversation really does to ones nose, face minus the nose, face with the nose, bigger, smaller, what-ifs,  and other funny thoughts tickle me...

As I said this habit is very much on the decline now and I thought it necessary to capture it before I lose the 'art' completely; hence this post.

Not sure when or how it all started but I notice the person's nose, next to their fingers. Just like fingers can never lie about one's personality, nose can never lie about one's emotions. People say all those nice things about the eyes, but in fact it is the nose that makes the eyes look pretty as it kind of balances both eyes, so the credit should go to the nose. Imagine if we had not the nose, where else we would hoist the glasses?

Mom's nose turns red when she cries or gets angry. Rachel's nose has droplets of sweat since she was a baby and we guessed she would be short tempered; hasn't been true! Joshua's nose definitely smiles with his eyes, Sharon's nose is turned up when she is mad at mommy and mommy's nose is neutral except when she gets upset, then it flares up with her voice... (happened to catch myself on the mirror once or twice when this happened); Daddy's nose up close makes you wonder why it is so huge!

It feels so uneasy if something is on someones nose when you are talking to them. You very much want to tell him/her, but can't quite, and finally you do, and they excuse themselves and there aren't many awkward moments like that. We won't really feel the same if something was on their ear or lip or chin; why is that have you wondered?

Some when they laugh their nose too rolls with them - making a funny sound which only ignites more laughter, have you noticed? And some when they blow their nose it sounds like air horn of some kind startling sleeping babies and their pets alike, have you seen that? And those that try hard to sneeze and it goes so mild and weak and they try again with hands raised, rooms cleared only to get a faint feeble sneeze, then there are some like my Grandma who mostly kiss with their nose sniffing at you... Some noses can sing too, have you heard? How about the snoring noses that hiss or hush or thunder like motor bikes?

Do you think I am being 'nosy'? Is there anyone out there who shares in the same curiosity on noses as me?!

Feb 1, 2012

Leaping forward

Hard to believe January 2012 is history now! Just as fast as it came it is gone. Today marks a brand new month. It is a bit more special because we are in a leap year. Let's leap forward!

The moment Christmas decorations come down, the stores pile up high on hearts and cupids, cards and roses, teddies and chocolates, all the sweet nothings which absolutely mean nothing to most of the crowd - after Feb 14th that is.

Come Feb 15th, the aisles will be screaming with rock bottom prices for the left over tokens of love. What difference a day makes! The "heart" you would have had to pay a fortune any day before the 14th, would be marked so low that no one wants it. Is that all love is about? Just a day?!

There was a time I too was caught up with these trends, but not any more. When at work everyone discussed where they were going for their Valentines dinner I would be afraid they would ask me next; not any more. After the day is over when friends show off their diamonds and rubies or the five dozen roses, I would look for the nearest exit, not any more... There have been days when a teary eyed me have made life more miserable for Israel for forgetting to buy me at least a bar of chocolate, not any more...

Am I more refined; hardly so! It's just that I understand now that these "tokens" have nothing to do with love or romance but are mere marketing gimmicks. (What? You see a halo around my head? Thank you for noticing...)

The roses and jasmines Israel & kids pluck for me from our own plants during the Spring and Summer weekends mark my Valentines days. The Toblerone chocolate he gets for me just because he saw it in the stores and thought of me, on a regular day, makes it all the more special. And I know with a bar of KitKat - especially the white ones - I can win him over any given day and don't have to wait for a marked Valentines Day!

But for those of you who look forward to the day, here's wishing you everything the day can offer and much more for the days after! Happy Valentines Month!

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