Hope can't die

This in in response to ‏@NameFieldmt's (twitter) blog post titled Gangrene (Click to open it in a new window)

I get why 140 characters were not enough for once for the girl who does not blog. This is heavy stuff. Many have felt that you put into words what they felt. I am one of those as well. I was a silent observer when this unfolded. I knew everything was going to die down in a matter of weeks if not days. Nothing was going to change. I felt numb and hopeless and detached even. I did not retweet nor respond. I was just letting it all wash over me because I felt everything was pointless.

I too have been touched many many times, starting at the age of 8. I’ve probably forced myself to forget stuff that happened before that. At 15 I begged my dad to drop off and pick me up from tuition as the bus rides were getting increasingly unbearable. I did not want to be the girl who constantly called attention to herself by yelling at the guy who would push against me no matter how much I moved away, and having the conductor stop the bus to throw the guy out. My middleclass dad took out a PF loan to get me a two wheeler. That was the best gift he ever gave me. But how naive I was imagining that I was finally free. I did not anticipate the dhupatta pulling and even shoulder touching even while riding it. It seemed girl on a scooter in a small town was just even more provocation. In college I finally had enough running away. The guy who tried to touch during this glorious ritual called ‘ragging’ got a piece of my mind and promtly got suspended for a semester. I was the college pariah and the proud recipient of ominous rape and death threats from ‘gangster’ seniors. But interestingly they all stayed about a foot away from me even while threatening to rape and kill me. The pepper spray I carry in my bag now has yet to see its day. But I have no doubt that I will be touched yet again. I have no hope. Not when it comes to the state of women. Not in my lifetime. But then again I watched Cloud Atlas yesterday and there was this sequence about an early salavery abolishment activist, a white guy. His FIL is a slave trader This is what they have to say.


” there is a natural order to this world, and those who try to upend it do not fare well. This movement will never survive. If you join them, you and your entire family will be shunned. At best, you exist as paria, to be spat on and beaten. At worst, lynched or crucified. And for what? For what? no matter what you do, it will never amount to anything more than a single drop in a limitless ocean.”

The activist:

“What is an ocean but a multitude of drops?”

And again later in the movie a woman rises up to speak for her kind and the atrocities of society against them. She respresents a rebel movement. The rebellion fails and they are all killed. When interviewed before her death on why she spoke out despite knowing for sure that this was going to fail. She says: “If I had remained invisible, the truth would stay hidden.”

Even though it happens to all of us, it remains hidden. Protesting, ranting, tweeting, making it political even, may not amount to anything. Not today. May be not even in our lifetime. But I realized that the truth is revealed, a little more louder this time. Louder than the time when Sarika Shah died. May be it will eventually get loud enough. Our voices and rants are just drops in a limitless ocean. But what is an ocean but a multitude of drops.

I decided to speak today after reading your blog post. I understand your anguish sister. But something feeble inside me makes me believe all this may not be futile. May be our daughters or their daughters will reap the benefits of our rage and ranting.

Another lyric attempt

This one is set to the meter of Kshanam Kshanam from Panjaa (Telugu) Composed by Yuvan Shankar Raja and sung by Shwetha Pundit. I do not read, write or speak Telugu. However, I do understand it somewhat. The highlight of this song is at the last line where the notes soar high from the subdued ones earlier: "Vasthunna Nestham Andhisthale Nava Jeevitham" (I believe it means something like Along came this love and gave me this life anew) It's is a vanilla variety girl falling in love for the first time kinda song. I wanted to sing this in Thamizh and decided to try my hand at penning the lyrics. This is not an exact translation by any means, not even a similar emotion. This is more of a girl-pining-for-guy song. If all works out will be trying to record my cover version of the song this weekend using the lyrics below.

கனா | கண்டேன் | விநோதமாய்
உனைக் | கண்டேன் மணாளனாய்
நிஜம் | நிழல்| நினைவெல்லாம்
நீயாய் | நின்றாய் | நோயாய் | தின்றாய்
விடாமலே | விண்மீனைத் தேடும்
கொளாகிறேன் | சில நாளாகவே
நான் ஒளியின் வேகத்தை தீண்டி
உனை நெருங்கினேன் |
நீ விழியின் ஓரத்தை தாண்டி
ஏன் மறைகிறாய் |
மின்னல்கள் தோன்றிட| கண்முன்னே நீ வந்து சீண்டினாய்
இன்னல்கள் தீர்ந்திட| மெல்லிதழால் மெல்லத் தீண்டவா

Here is the original if you haven't heard it before

Kshanam Kshanam

PS: Just realized that the meter for the 'நான் ஒளியின்' line does not repeat. Got to remove one of the two('நான் ஒளியின்...' or 'நீ விழியின்...').


Alright. Low budget movie. Here's the situation. He's your average Joe from Tamizhnadu, say Kumbakonam to be specific. Or should I say average 'Ramesh', 'Kumar' or the ever popular 'Shiva'? He is hopelessly in love with this girl. He worships her. He hasn't proposed yet. She still thinks they are 'Friends'. They are at a coffee shop (are there coffee shops in Kumbakonam? ) And as they talk, he drifts off into day dream land and we break into a dream song shot in Singapore. (Didn't I say low budget) This is supposed to be a melody song. I didn't set it to any tune...just penned down what came to me. Here goes:


நேசிக்கும் அவளை
வாசிக்க வாசிக்க
யோசிக்க தூண்டும்
நாசிக்குள் ஏந்தி
சுவாசிக்கும் வித்தை
யாசிக்கத் தோன்றும்

பேசிக்கொண்டே இருந்தால் எப்படியோ
பூசிக்கும் வேளையும் வருவதெப்போ

நண்பனே நீ ஏன் நெருங்குகிறாய்
நொடி நேரம் பிரிந்தாலும் நொறுங்குகிறாய்
இது தவறோ எனவே நான் ஒதுங்கயிலே
ஒரு தயக்கம் சிறு கலக்கம் குழம்புகிறேன்

காதல் தான் அன்பே வாய் சொல்லும் முன்பே
விழிதான் பறை சாற்றுதே.....

Never got around to finishing it. Suggestions welcome for the second stanza in the same meter in your comments. I even made up a silly tune for it :p

My lost million

He took the scissors and placed the pointed end on the back of my head, slightly to the right on my scalp. I didn't feel any trepidation. He pushed it in a bit and it tore the skin. He nudged one pointed end inside the skin and started cutting through. Strangely I felt only pressure. No pain. And somehow I was observing it from above. He continued to cut, parting and moving my dark locks out of the way. A giggle bubbled out of me. The whole situation was suddenly too funny. He chided me for moving. 'I don't want it to be crooked' he said. I stayed still. He had reached my forehead now. He was trying to cut out a circle all the way around my head. Right at the point where Jesus' crown of thorns would have rested. He kept cutting. Sticky, dark blood was dripping down my face and onto to my lashes. I tried to carefully wipe it off with the back of my hand without moving my head. He was almost done now. He had reached the point where he had started. "It's done" he said. I tried to run my fingers against the cut. The ridge felt warm and wet. I tried to slip my thumb into the groove. And I felt the first twinge of pain. "What are you trying to do?" He asked. I wanted to take it off. Didn't he know that? I got a neat grip on the cut out scalp ('cut out scalp' isn't that hillarious? ) with both my hands on either side of my head and proceeded to lift it up and off my head. The pain got more intense and the blood gushing out made it slippery. He was just watching me. He was just as fascinated by this as I was. At that moment I stopped. I asked him "Am I going to die?"
Stephanie Meyer dreams of the love scene between Edward and Bella in the woods; goes on to make millions. All I get is scalp cutting. Thank God it's Friday.

PS: If that last part didn't make sense - "I woke up (on that June 2nd) from a very vivid dream. In my dream, two people were having an intense conversation in a meadow in the woods. One of these people was just your average girl. The other person was fantastically beautiful, sparkly, and a vampire. They were discussing the difficulties inherent in the facts that A) they were falling in love with each other while B) the vampire was particularly attracted to the scent of her blood, and was having a difficult time restraining himself from killing her immediately." Quoted from Stephanie Meyer's website at about how she came up with the Twilight Saga which became a best selling young adult fiction series and Blockbuster movie series. She was an ordinary woman who turned millionaire(ess?) overnight literally.

Filicide - A bleak post

Are humans losing their very basic parental instincts? I tried reading up on whether parental instincts are learned or inherited. Most scientists seem to lean towards genetic inheritance while some argue that it is learned from the parents. Looking at all the recent news I read, I am tempted to believe it is the latter. For example a very high percentage of pedophiles have been identified to have been or claim that they were abused as a child themselves. Most cases of parents who kill their own children seem to be born in poverty and drug abuse ridden households. They just never learned proper parental behavior. What they know of good parenting is only through secondary sources like media or someone outside the immediate family.

This article here gives some troubling statistics:

250 to 300 children are murdered by their parents each year in the U.S.
Homicide is the leading cause of death in children 4 and younger. Of children murdered before the age of 5, 61 percent were killed by parents
(It)is the third-leading cause of death in American children ages 5 to 14

I have heard and read of girl child infanticide in rural (and sometimes urban) India. But I have never heard of reports of Indian parents killing their children because the child was an inconvenience. I might be naive on this issue though. It just seems that such things are so frequent in the country I live. Is it just getting reported more here? How can a parent kill their own child. How sick must that mind be to be able to do that?

Evil of such calibre is just too tough to swallow. But swallow I must, as I read about all these ill-fated children, hit on the head, drowned in bathtubs, chopped up and thrown in the dumpsters, choked, spit on or thrown into rivers while strapped on to infant seats and even raped and killed. All at the hands of the person who brought them into this world. Because I am not an activist. Writing about them in this blog is the furthest I can go. And loving and protecting my daughter than my life itself. So glad Leo and I are passing on both the DNA and the lessons of parenting to her.

PS: Here is the article that triggered this post.

About another Grandpa

This post is about another grandpa. Not mine, but my daughters'. My mom and dad leave tomorrow. Has it been 5 months already? Nobody should have to go through these kind of good byes. The kind when you are not sure when you will meet again.

Last night I had a long chat with my dad (appa) about a lot of things. Death, the Universe, God, Genetics, Natural Selection and Evolution to name a few. He narrated an incident to me about someone telling him about someone else "They both were talking to each other like a grandfather with his grandchild" ("பேரக்குழந்தை கிட்ட பேசுற மாதிரி" ) He said to me, that at the time, he let it roll off almost like it was a clichéd metaphor. But now, he understood what his friend was trying to convey. Because now, he truly knew what it is to be a grandpa. He went on to say that the emotion and love he feels when Lekha runs to him demanding his attention with a loud "thaaathaaa" is not like anything he had ever felt before. It is not like what he felt when he picked me or my sister up when we were babies. Although the love of a father toward his daughter is profound he says, it is distincly different from this unconditional affection and love that pours forth and moves you. He said that it took him by surprize and he did not expect it to be this way. He hadn't felt this when we visited India when Lekha was an infant. Sure he loved her then, but now it's a whole other level. Shortly after that we concluded the conversation and I left the room to have dinner. Because his voice was choked and his eyes were tearing up. I told him we'd skype often and made a stronger resolution within my self to move back to India as soon as possible. It is at times like this I feel like a complainer. I have everything and yet I am frustrated by the way my life has shaped up. I don't want to see the look on my daughter's face when she searched the guest rooms and finds them empty. I know her, she is not one to throw a tantrum, she resigns herself to the absence of loved ones. But I would see her loss in her eyes. I don't want to take away the peace and love my parents enjoyed these last 5 months either. But I have no choice for now do I?

Appa said I'd find out that feeling when Lekha has a kid of her own. Well there's a looooong time for that. But when it does happen, I'll come back and re-read this post and thank my appa again for already having given my daughter what I got from my grandpa. Grandpas rock !


He left us today. I can't stop thinking about the countless joyful memories that he has left for me. He was everything a grandfather should be. He showered his unconditional love on me in his very special way. Some of my very vivid memories of a joyful childhood were my moments with him. My earliest memories are of him taking me with his to the recreation club that he frequented. He would patiently put up with and even enjoy all my antics and never ever got cross at me...I remember thinking, why can't I always be with ammachi and Thadji. I remember when I bug him to tell me a story he would start the rhyme "கதையாம் கதையாம் காரணமாம் காரணத்துல ஒரு தோரணமாம்" and make me finish each line at the end of which I'd be giggling and laughing so much. He gave me the 'Wren and Martin' grammar text from his book shelf. He was my first English teacher. He taught me the difference between the perfect and the continuous tenses. When I was 7 I was hospitalized becaused I was severely jaundiced. When I got a little better, I complained that I was bored and sick of staying in bed. The next day he started bringing me tinkle comics and gokulam children's magazine...My love of reading probably started from that very incident. We had a fun game which we played as a spin off of the sketching challenge from Gokulam magazine. We would take a note pad and take turns making small scribble or squiggly line. The other person had to make use of that line to sketch an image. His sketches were so cool. I had so much fun trying to conjour up a sketch as good as the one he did. He had a unique laugh which expressed his pure joy at the simple things in life. His sense of humor was contagious. I've always seen him in a neutral pastel shade half sleeve shirt and a white dhoti with a small clean handkerchief folded into his pocket...I am glad I got the opportunity to take my daughter, his great grand daughter to him...I am glad he held her in his hands just as he held me. He was a man who seldom spoke ill of others...he didn't dwell on negativity at all...he always surrounded himself with pleasant thoughts and deeds. My Thadji wanted to live long and he did. He lived a complete and full life. A year back he met with an accident while riding his Sunny, he spoke to me after he was back from brain surgery. He said..."the doctor and everyone else wants me to quit taking the Sunny...I've decided that, may be I'll just walk to the club from now on..." This was at the age of 82. He never lost hope over anything. I've learned so much from my Thadji. But most of all I've learned to strive to be positive always. He has touched so many with his simple and just nature. He was an artist. Soft at heart. A gentle and loving soul. May you rest in Peace Thadji. I am sure I have given you at least 1% of the joy you gave me. I love you Thadji and I always will.