Sunday, December 30, 2012

Yet another fasting!

This has been submitted for a photo-post contest conducted by The Chennai Bloggers Club. The CBC is a Facebook group where bloggers with a Chennai connection discuss about several things and of course  about blogging.This contest has been sponsored by Cuponation which is India's largest coupon portal, specially designed to meet the needs of all online shoppers.

Images: CBC

"Hey did our cow tell you regarding our conversation?"

"This is not our cow but our master’s. When did you start conversing with a cow? What is the matter?"

"I told her that we have been starving for days and there might come a situation in the near future when we would share his food."


Wish you a very happy and prosperous new year 2013 :)

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Phasmopobhic fellow!

Everyone has fear for one thing or the other. And there are many out there who have this fear. Fear of Ghosts! The fear of ghosts is called Phasmophobia! Almost all of us would have had that fear in our childhood and some may have come out of it and some may have not. Some may oscillate between these two categories. 

At bright day times (and a very few nights), these type of persons talk courageous things, they contradict the existence of ghosts and they also tell stuffs like "There can be no evil spirits near our home which is an abode of Gods!". At nights, they are afraid even to go to a dark room alone in the same house telling stuffs like "For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. So if God exists, there exist evil spirits."

There is another category of people. They die of fear inside (irrespective of the time of the day) but never show them outside. I feel proud to tell you that I belong to this group of people. If you people are curious to know whether you belong here, answer the following questions!
Let us consider that there are more than two people who sleep in a bedroom and you are one of them. 

Do you feel awkward going to the rest room around midnight which is located away from your bedroom?

Do you put on all the lights on the way to restroom at nights?

As soon as you switch off the last light before entering the bedroom, do you run to your bed instead of walking?

Do you sometimes wake someone purposely but act like you didn't do it when you wanna walk alone around the night?

Do you ever look in the mirror at nights out of fear that a ghost might be laughing at you from a corner or just behind your back?

Do you pull your bed sheet right from head to toe out of fear?

Do you have trouble sleeping after seeing a scary movie?

Do you ever feel a bit frightened seeing an old, dilapidated house?

Do you ever run fast on an empty or dark street? 

If your answer is 'yes' for any one of the above, then you have the same fear which I have! Welcome aboard! I thought I could share an experience with you, a hilarious one!

It was a Sunday night. I have CAT class at Adayar from 9 A.M. to 1 P.M. On that day I went to my uncle's home after the class and was returning late. I had parked my vehicle in the front of MIT and to reach my vehicle, I got to walk around 3/5th of a kilometer. It was a vacation and the campus had an eerie silence. I got down at Chromepet and walked towards MIT. The watchmen as usual started his lengthy inquiry. I always wondered if he were a retired policeman and spent his life inquiring innocent people all his life. I had an awful time explaining him that I was the student of CEG which is a.k.a Anna University main campus.

"Show me your ID!" I took it from my pocket and showed him. He plucked it from my hand and examined it.

"Why did you go out?"

"I had CAT.. MBA class!"

"Why are you here during the vacation?"

"I am a student of CEG, Anna University main campus."

"Then what is this campus?"

"This is Anna University annex."

"Oh! So why are you here?"

"I am residing near the college and I have parked my vehicle here!"

"Oh! Is your name Harikrishna?"

"Isn't that there in the card?"

He grinned.

I started walking towards the other gate. I was in my vacation and so I have watched many films. And I watched two ghost films the previous day. One was Pizza and other was Talaash. I didn't feel fear or clumsiness while or after watching it but this lonely MIT road rekindled my fear. I kind of started remembering the ghost scenes. And the most irritating things in MIT at night are these street dogs and I do really hate them at nights. There are two roads in MIT from one gate to other. One is so lonely and dark where there is a huge possibility of a ghost landing right before me and slapping hard and the other is well-lit and is full of dogs. I gotta take decision and it was real hard. I was forced to take a decision between the devil and the deep blue sea. I thought, "Naaya? Peyaa?" (Ghosts? or dogs?). I didn't wish to imagine the dogs chasing me in pairs and so I took a bold, gruesome decision. "Pei" (Ghosts)!

MIT road
 Image: Harikrishna Raghuraman

I took the dark, ghostly road. I chose the devil literally! The road was well-lit initially and illumination decreased exponentially with the distance. Fear took its root in me as I just put my foot on the first shades of darkness. Nothing but pitch dark and eerie silence accompanied me and rarely a shrill sound. I used my cell phone light as a torch and moved forward with deathly fear in my heart. Suddenly, I heard a dog howling at its full strength and for a moment it seemed like a soul crying in distress somewhere near me. I turned back to see the condition. Very far away, I saw a yellow light and 2 figures chatting. They must be watchmen. If not? My fear blazed within me.

I have heard a story. And let me tell its conclusion straight away. Never turn back when you are walking alone in a pitch black area for there might be a burnt, scarred devil coming towards you. And don't ever think to turn if you hear someone calling your name. The ghosts do that kind of stuff. They call you by your name in the dark places, you turn back and they will kill you! These things along with the faces of the ghosts from the movies went on and on in my mind. The dog's howl was replaced by crickets' chirping.

I was walking past a partially built building when I noticed something moving beside me. I was startled and was almost dead for a second. But later found that it was a mongoose which run and hid among the bushes seeing me. It seemed that the mongoose was afraid of me. Wasn't I afraid too? Each of the two was afraid of the other. A complicated situation. I walked past the tents of the workers and I became bold for a few minutes and again fear encircled me as the darkness started. Then I heard something. 

The building
Image: Harikrishna Raghuraman


I was startled. I wasn't sure what I heard! One thought was that it was my imagination and other was that it might be a ghost. Oh My God! Then I heard it again.


It went on for many times each separated by a few seconds.


Though I was sure that I must not turn back, my curiosity took the better of me. At a distance, I saw a figure coming towards me. It was almost running and then I looked at my feet almost immediately and realized that I too was running. That figure ran towards me shouting my name and I turned around a corner. I looked back again and was happy to notice that the figure wasn't there. And again I saw it. I ran, ran, ran and ran and reached the other gate where I had parked my vehicle. And I noticed that there was only a single light near the entrance. The shops on the adjacent 
street were closed as it was a Sunday. I noticed a watchman hearing radio and I thought it was wise to run to him rather than to the vehicle. I have heard that ghosts will chase regardless of your speed when you are alone. So I went near the watchman. 

The yelling continued.


I yelled. The watchman in front of me laughed.

"Sir, he isn't a ghost!"

"Please help me out of here! Save me!"

"Sir, it’s the watchman!"

"How the hell did he know my name then?"
I looked puzzled.

By then, that figure reached me. He was the same watchman who inquired me a few minutes back.

"Sir! You didn't take back your ID card sir! And I saw your name in it and came running behind you shouting your name! You made me run the whole campus!" 

"You made my heart run leap out of my body!"

"Excuse me sir? I don't understand you!"

"Aaahhh! Nothing!"

I sighed and felt a huge relief. After all, ghosts don't exist. Do they? I became courageous again seeing the people around me.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Is today the only doomsday?

The doomsday has arrived at last. It is said to be today! 21.12.2012. The very hype started a few years back and it has been progressing exponentially from then till today. The very same day after which Mayan's calendar ceases to exist. The very same day, on which disasters are expected to end the world. The very same day on which numerous number of articles are being written! The very same day, on which the posts, tweets, statuses, messages, chats, conversations have been going on at an alarmingly increased rate over the past few months. But I have a few questions!

Will this be the first time the earth is going to get destroyed? 

Is this the first doomsday for our beloved earth?
Will a meteorite hit us? Or a powerful earthquake?
Or a whirling Tsunami? Or a nuclear disaster? 

No, not any of the above! And to much surprise, this is not gonna be our first doomsday! We have had several dooms days! A couple of days back, our country witnessed one of the worst dooms days in its history! I am ashamed to tell you all what had happened to a girl in our Capital! I am abashed to be a useless citizen who could do nothing but only to pour my hatred on such people. I am distressed to be a common one not capable of doing anything except writing an article condemning it.

A girl was molested and groped at and beaten up in full view of the public in Guwahati a few months back. That wound is yet to heal in our hearts and within a few months another incident happens. India witnessed its doomsday a few months back in July when a teenager was pushed out of a moving train as she resisted their attempts to rape her. This is what we should call doomsday and not some natural calamity. It witnessed its another doomsday ten months back in West Bengal when a lady was pushed out of a train and was raped before being robbed.

There are several articles flying around against the accused and some against India! They state "India is a country full of rich tradition. It is so horrible for incidents of such type to happen here". I wish to tell those people that this incident is not a matter concerned with Indian tradition. This would have happened anywhere. Anywhere around the world. And if you wish to condemn, please do it against those men and not against India. They rape not because there are no strict rules, not because they are powerful, not because the people are timid, not because the women they rape don't struggle, not because they can escape easily and legally too, not because they are sex thirsty monkeys, not because they are urged by the costumes women wear, but because they are rapists.

Don't tell your women to be safe around but tell your men to respect the women around. Don't tell your women to dress carefully not exposing their parts but your men not to look at them. Don't tell your women to be traditional but your men to be traditional. Don't tell your women to not to flirt around but your men not to take advantage. Don't tell your women to resist the rape but your men not to attempt it. Don't tell your women not to get raped, but your men not to rape. Don't tell your women to remain strong after such incidents but your men to feel ashamed. 

Education, awareness or advice won't change things happening this way across the world. But only the judgement! The serious penalty will teach all those squalid men to respect the women. Giving those accused a penalty, a life imprisonment or even death sentence would never stop from the next incident happening. Something more only will prevent these tragedies.

I am talking to those affected women. Hey, I am really ashamed at the tragedy happened to you! But I am furious and I know that you too are. None except you has the right to punish those who hurt you. We are ready to give the power to you. Hurt them more than they hurt you. Hurt them so that none would ever think of an incident like this. Hurt them so that no other female of this world has to undergo the tragedy you had undergone. Hurt them so that all the men respect women. Hurt them so that you avenge your hurt! Hurt them my lady, hurt them!

To all the parents around the globe! Please teach your children what respect is, before you teach them what sex is! Please teach your children that there is a duty called "Duty to respect women", before you tell them who women are! Please teach your children that there is NO right called "Right to rape", before you tell them what rape is!

There can never be a doomsday worse than this day. There was never and there will be never.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Detective Kokonut and Inspector Jaan (Part two)

Read the part one here.

Detective Kokonut was presiding over a council meeting of the colony when he heard a commotion outside the briefing hall.

"Excuse me! I shall be back in a moment!" said Kokonut and he swiftly moved towards the aisle. The two guards standing near the door saluted him with a tensed face and opened the door. Kokonut motioned the guards to accompany him. He was shaken by the scene he witnessed.

There were around 50 ants gathered in the stairway with some agent ants flashing lights and shouting out questions. Kokonut hurried towards the stairway with a look on his face certain that he knew what was going! The guards nearly gave out a scream when they saw the person.

It was Inspector Jaan standing midst the crowd with a couple of bandages in his hand and a bruise on his forehead. Kokonut chuckled at this sight of the famous Inspector and greeted him with a grin. Jaan couldn't face Kokonut and he hung his head in shame but there was vengeance in his heart.

“So Jaan, how do you do?” asked the detective.

“Sarcasm? Please don’t hurt my pride detective.”

“I warned you against your action. What you attempted to do was suicide!”
told Kokonut checking his bruises.

“I at-least have attempted to teach Alex a lesson but you! You cautioned everyone to hide when he is out. That is preposterous and cowardice. Dare you mock my attempt again detective, I will blow your heads off!” growled Jaan.

“Relax boy! What you attempted to do was not bravery but foolishness! Completely imprudent! See what it has done to you! See what that Alex has done to you! Alex has taken out his experiment on you! I knew what was going to come and so I recommended our fellow-ants not to wander carelessly!”

“You knew that this was Alex’s thing! How come? I didn't tell that anyone. I wanted to brush it off thinking it would hurt my reverence. How come you knew that this was going to happen? I escaped from that place with the help of a cockroach. I am still puzzled about that cockroach! How did it know about me?” Jaan looked entangled.

“It was me who requested the cockroach to help. When I was informed of the continuous murders before the last one, I got a bit suspicious. I wasn't satisfied that his torture porn films were the only reason but something else was there for these murders. I wanted to investigate the case myself thinking setting off others for this may not produce any results. I came to understand several horrible things that he is going to undertake!”

“What are those?”
claimed the Chief. None noticed the arrival of chief. Everybody nodded their heads to give their respect for the chief.

“We are all aware that the family recently toured China, Japan and other countries. We all have the notion that Chinese are fond of food recipes of us, the insects. And I was not too much surprised when I found a Chinese recipe book of insects in this home. I became eager to know his next move and so I sought the help of the detectives of spider and lizard colony as they can wander anywhere. I came to know his next move from the lizards.” 

At the same time, the representatives from the cockroach, lizard and other insect families arrived at the place. The chief and Kokonut personally welcomed everyone.

The lizard chief broke the silence. “My guard eaves dropped the conversation of Alex with his mother. I will tell you the exact conversation; please don’t act haste. Listen with patience.”


“Mom, I need those dishes we ate in China.” told Alex.

“You want me to run after the insects in home to give you a snack, Alex? I have several other works to do!”

“Mom, please! I need them so badly. Please prepare that for me. I have even bought a recipe book.”

“But I don’t have patience Alex. Do a thing! Get them and I shall give you!”

“Are you sure? I shall get them and you must keep up your word?”

“I have seen some insects in home; a very few here and there. Where are you going to get a whole damn of them?”

“I shall take care of that!”


Everyone stood glued to their place. Kokonut came forward in a placid manner and faced the gathering. 

“Yes, He is trying to locate our colony; the ant colony. It may be us now but in the near future all the colonies are in danger. The cockroaches-they hummed-the lizards-they screeched-the bees-they buzzed-the worms-they shuddered. Which colony is going to escape from Alex? Not any one of us. Jaan, how long you have been away from Alex’s place?” 

“An hour Koko!”

“Don’t call me Koko! Alex has purposely made the situation so easy for Jaan to escape. He has cut his stomach to bleed and he would follow the drops; like the Hansel and Gretel fairy tale except that this time it is too late to erase the marking. If I am not wrong, within minutes he will attempt to capture us; all of us. What are we going to do?” 

Everyone hissed. They all seemed so frightened even the guards! The chiefs of all the colonies looked puzzled as they had no idea regarding the things to be done! But they were all certain that something should be done to prevent a disaster. Kokonut stood so serenely thinking about the situation.

“Call the guards of all the colonies!” ordered Kokonut.

“But why Koko?” the worm chief asked.

“I have an idea. Assemble all the guards and even ordinary citizens, who are dare enough, in this place within 15 minutes. I shall announce my plans then.”

Within 15 minutes, the guards and a very large number of common insects assembled in the place. Kokonut gave some quick orders to a few spiders, called the chiefs to the front and he started speaking.

“Friends, We all know that we are in a great peril now! We must do something brave enough to stop this kid now and forever! I shall require courage, honesty and wisdom from all of you present here. Will I get them?” Everyone said a loud ‘yes’.

“That’s good. Now listen to me. I have asked two spider guards to watch the entrance of our colony. They will let us know if Alex approaches us. Our plan is this. We all know that this part of the house is never used and nobody pays us a visit except for that monster. This room is located beside the portico and one must cross it in order to enter this room. The other side of the portico is covered by a few waste boxes which they haven’t touched in years. 70% of you hide in those boxes. When the spiders give us the sign of his arrival, the rest of us must be ready inside the colony for saving the inhabitants. And at the time, when he peeks into our colony, one of you from the boxes must bite or sting him. Then he will turn to catch that one and when he turns each one of you should be near him. If you have wings, fly around him and if you don’t, spread out in the floor beneath him.”

“What’s the use detective? He isn’t a common boy to feel frightened at our sight. He is a dodgy one. He might harm the entire community!”
asked Jaan.

“Foolish Jaan! That is the thing he will expect us to do. Fear! I also understood from his actions that he had never harmed or attempted to harm us when we were in groups. His attacks are always on when we are alone. 70% of us will be very much greater in number. Very much larger enough to threaten him.”

“What if it doesn’t work? What if he is not afraid of us even in groups? We can’t afford to risk all our guards.”

“That is not possible. He is and he will. Do it now or don’t feel sorry afterwards. Who is on my side?” 

Initially none responded but gradually everybody accepted it as they had no other option and the 70% of the insects hid in the boxes. The remaining waited for the signal from the spider guards.

“Who is going to do that life-threatening job of turning his attention? I think flying insects could do it after all they can easily escape. Will you please volunteer?”

Only one raised hand and it was Jaan.

“Jaan? You? Don’t risk your life again! You are not capable!” the detective told.

“You have never allowed me to do my job! I am doing it and I will finish it successfully!” Jaan left leaving all of them in admonishment especially the detective.

Everything was in place when the Bee chief in the boxes saw the spiders running to the colony. Kokonut also noticed the signal. The sight of Alex threatened everyone except Jaan. He made slow movement behind him and when he peeked in the colony inside the room, it bit him in his foot real hard taking its revenge on him. Alex lost his balance for a moment but gained his control back so easily. He took Jaan in his hand and identified it as the same ant he caught a few days back.

“How dare you? This time I am not going to leave you!” barked Alex!

It wasn't a moment when all the insects surrounded Alex. He didn't notice them till the buzzing of bees made him a little peevish. He turned around and was stunned to see so many bees, grass-hoppers, mosquitoes, flies, cockroaches suspended in the mid-air. He let out a long cry and tried to run away. And that is when he noticed many worms, ants, spiders, lizards and others were surrounding him. He nearly jumped and ran to his room and fainted. Thankfully no one was hurt. It was then they realized that Jaan wasn't there and everybody praised his sacrifice.

“I am not dead still fools!” shouted Jaan in the hands of Koko! Koko saved him when he fell out of Alex’s hands. Everybody rejoiced their victory. Needless to say that Alex never entered their territory again and they found that recipe book in the boxes. Hail Koknut! Hail Jaan!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The star of the twelve!

Decembers and Januaries always give us scintillating memories to recapture. For the human race on this earth, Decembers indicate the end of an awesome year full of memories and Januaries indicate the arrival of a fresh year full of hopes. The pre and the post new year celebrations always come and leave which keep us cherishing the moments for the entire year to come. Each has their own views of these two months. The youngsters have their exams combined with holidays during these months and the adults have so many deadlines and celebrations to keep them engaged. 

Christmas, New Year and Pongal! 

Aren't these enough to keep us excited? The transition from the month of December to the month of January not only gives a joyous effect but also a customary, traditional one. The Tamil months usually start in the middle of an English month and end in the mid of another. The December-January has a beautiful Tamil month called "Margazhi" in it. 

One is likely to notice "Margazhi" as the ninth month, if he sees a Tamil calendar (A Tamil Panchangam). Tamil months are also twelve in number like their English counterparts. It starts with Chiththirai (April-May) which is celebrated as the Tamil New Year and ends with Panguni (March-April). Every group, irrespective of its kind: a group of scholars in a court, a group of stars in the northern sky, a group of animals in a forest, a group of players in a field, has a star entity in them. Similarly, this group of twelve Tamil months has Margazhi as its star month. Yes! Margazhi is the most blessed month of all the months. What specialty does it have to quote it as the best month? 

Lord Krishna Paramatma in Bhagavad Gita tells, “Maasanam Margasheershoham”, which means “Among the months, I am Margazhi!” This one reason is more than enough to accept it as the most beautiful month of the twelve. Margazhi is also called as "Dhanur madham" (Dhanur month). This month and the activities done during this period also have various specialties adorned to its name. There are of course scientific things other than the spirituality! 

Devotional character of the people deep in them gets revived and all of us engage in various devotional activities. One could not see us that way during any other month. Let us consider the good practices involved in the activities done during the Dhanur month. 

We, the Tambrahms, have a special way of doing things in this month. The most active followers of Lord Vishnu are called Azhwars and they are 12 in number. They sang hymns in praise of the lord which are around 4000 in number and they were composed as “Nalayira Dhivya Prabandham” by Sri Nathamunigal. They are classified in terms of Azhwar who sang it and each Azhwar’s hymns are further sub-divided into groups (groups comprising of various numbers accordingly). Out of these hymns, Thiruppavai (30 sung by Andal), Thirupalliyezhuchi (10 Sung by Thondaradipodi Azhwar) and Thirupallandu(12 sung by Periazhwar) are considered the basic hymns which every Iyengar must know and these are sung daily in temples or homes during the Dhanur month.

Early in the morning:

One wakes very early in the morning. Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise is a well-known saying. This period of the day is called the “Brahma Muhurththam” in which the atmosphere is full of pure air. The silence prevailing at this time is so much suitable for the soul enlightening activities. The doctors advise almost every person to do yogasana or deep meditation or indulge in some sort of exercise in this divinely hour of the day. This would keep a man healthy for his life time. It is well-known that the yesteryear people had been so strong throughout their life because of their habit of waking early in the morning. These are winter solstice days in which days are shorter and the nights are longer. In order to compensate the shorter days, people wake early to indulge in their activities.

The Devotional spirit:

Wherever one turns during this period, he/she is likely to hear the sacred chants, songs, His praise and His name. Each gets an increased devotional aspect and we indulge a lot in devotion singing His name and praise. Several houses can be seen with lamps decorating their entrance. There will be huge Kolams displayed in front of the homes with coloring effects. Several who don’t even see temples during the other days become pious and visit  temples almost every day during this period.


Then one takes bath, wears the traditional dhoti (pancha Kachcham in case of married men) and indulges in devotion either at home or temples. One sings the hymns which I have mentioned before. This helps improving our concentration, pronunciation, discipline and above all, the spirituality. The history behind these hymns also enriches our knowledge, moral values and develops our austerity.

The festivals:

Not only Hindus, but also people of every other religion have several reasons to rejoice this period. The New Year is one of the very few festivals which are secular. People all around the world wait for that 00:00:00 moment and the entire race celebrates it with a louder sound. Not to forget the Christmas, the birth of Jesus, celebrated widely around the world. And the Pongal! The Pongal spans its celebration across four days which indicates the end of this month.

The Music:

One does not simply forget music when talking about Margazhi. This is a musical season with all the sabhas and mandapams engaged fully in the musical chants. Vocal along with the musical instruments dominate Chennai and other districts throughout this month. One could notice the face of the people full of energy and zeal. Till some years back, both the organizers and the viewers of these musical events were the elderly people. But now, there are people flooding these concerts, both the dais and the seats, irrespective of their age; Right from the school going kid to the fragile old fellows. Classical singing has once again become popular and effective among us. We have started taking the traditional things more seriously and hence almost one out of 4 kids learns either vocal singing or musical instruments. 

Image: The Hindu

The Utsavams:

The hymns sung daily which have been mentioned at the beginning are 52(30+10+12) in number. What about the other Azhwars and their hymns? There are nearly 3950 hymns remaining to be sung and don’t we give them their due importance? These remaining hymns are chanted twice in this auspicious month. Yes! Twice! There is a Thithi called ‘Ekadasi’ and it has awe-striking history behind it. This thithi is considered the holiest of all by the followers of Vishnu and they undergo fasting in this thithi every month. It does mention a special reserve in the month of Markazhi called as “Vaikunda Ekadasi” during which the people undergo fasting for the entire day, keep awake during the night chanting the Lord’s name and end their fast after drinking the “Thulasi Thirththam” in temple the next day. The ten days before and after it are respectively called as “Pagarpathu utsavam” (Pagarpathu - ten days) and “raappathu utsavam” (raappathu - ten nights) and in these twenty (10+10) days the entire “Nalayira Dhivya Prabandham” is chanted in temples. 

Image: Harikrishna Raghuraman

The competitions and the programs:

Either the competitions or the programs will be in the devotion genre. There will be kolam competitions, Sloka chanting competitions, traditional singing and dancing competitions, mono-acting competitions etc. And almost all the television channels broadcast devotional concepts right from the early morning around 5 A.M. to the day time around 10 A.M. and similarly in the evening. There will be upanyasams done by very popular Vedic scholars all around the city and also in the television channels. There will be a special arrangement done by the local bodies for devotional tours. All the sacred places throughout the country will be flooded with people. 

This Tamil year is called “Nandhana” and in this year, the month of Margazhi starts tomorrow. And from tomorrow till the Tamil festival of Pongal, the city is going to be extremely alive both traditionally and modernly. Let us also participate in this exuberant month activities and increase our moral values and also our traditional knowledge. Without tradition, we don’t have anything to our names. 

P.S: But I am in my winter vacation and I wonder how I would wake up very early in the morning. I leave this job to the loudspeakers of my nearby temples and I hope that they will do their job efficiently :D

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Sir, post!

"Sir, post!"

It's been so long, that I haven't heard this word, 

I'm trying to be silent, but the control I have is washing away. 
It won't be long, before I get you in my hands, 
And just hold you, write (in) you, paste you, send you to where's been on my mind. 

(Modified Akon's "Right now" song! Thank you Akon!)

I am writing this post with a letter box on the wall beside me. I stood up and counted the number of letters in it and its types. There are some 6 letters in the box against its capacity of 30 letters. All these 6 envelopes are wedding invitations. No other posts! I am disappointed! 

Image: Indianstampghar

My mother often tells me the way people used to wait eagerly for the postman's call and the letters in the olden days. Postmen usually call on either during the noon or the afternoon around 11 A.M. - 4 P.M. They usually wear a Khakhi uniform and a cap (only in the olden times) and they ride a bar-bicycle probably a green colored one with a bunch of posts in their hands. The ringing of their cycle bell announces their arrival. The modern day postmen have a logo announcing their taglines stitched to their pockets. The way they get down from their cycle and put the center stand of the cycle is always fascinating to me. They somehow always know the door numbers, street names, areas even if they are new to that area. 

The job in the urban areas is always an ordinary uneventful one. Get the posts from the post office, reach the place, ring the bell and deliver them. But it is quite amusing for the postmen in rural areas. Get your posts from the office, reach the place, knock the door (no bells in most of the houses) and deliver it. Alas it doesn't end here! If the people to whom you deliver the letters are literate, you are lucky. If not, you aren't. They will ask you to open the letters for them and read. If it is happy news, you may get hugs, kisses, sweets, praises and even tips. If it is sad news, you are done. You might even get beatings from them. If you are a post man and you read a letter to a man which is an apology letter from her daughter for her elope! What would happen to you? Man, you are done! If you lose or damage (accidentally or purposely even) a letter or money (for the money order), you might get a memo too. Of course, this is a dangerous job at times. 

I don't know how many know this comedy from a Tamil film. It is a film called "Seval" in which the famous comedian "Vadivel" acted as a post man in a rural area. He goes to a place to deliver a post. The guy in that home is an illiterate and so he asks Vadivel to read the letter.

Vadivel: Hey, you have got a letter! 

Guy: I don't know to read. Please read it for me. 

(Vadivel thinks that it is dangerous to read it but opens the envelope. He is astonished to see that the letter has no content except for a line at the end "Tear it after reading".) 

Vadivel: Hey, it is written "Tear it after reading." 

Guy: Is it? Did you read it? 
Vadivel: Yes! 
Guy: Then tear it. 
Vadivel: Then okay! 

(He tears the letter and moves his cycle.)

Guy: Hey what are you doing? Stop!
Vadivel: What else should I do? 
Guy: Tell what you have read! 

(Vadivel gets shocked!)

Vadivel: It had "Tear it after reading". I read and I tore it. 

Guy: Okay. Tell what you have read! 
Vadivel: Idiot, It had "Tear it after reading". I read and I tore it. 
Guy: That is what! Tell what you have read! 

And it creates a bigger problem. It had only that single statement! Here is its video.

The people in the olden days waited anxiously for their posts. They would wait near the doors for the cycle bell and "Sir, post!" shout. Once they hear, they run to the gate like a child does when it hears its father coming and receive the posts. If there are more than one, one could see them smiling! They loved reading them. They would carefully open them using knives (not for a postcard of course!) and read slowly line by line and cherish them. They also preserved them for re-reading. When they come back to their home from outside, the first thing they check is their letterbox hoping for a letter. Those red color letter boxes in which we put our letters to be posted always haunt me. They are very rare to be seen these days. 

 Image: Wikipedia

These letters not only served as a means of communication but also games, knowledge, art etc., There are people who write the letters in the mirror image way that it could be read only by seeing its reflection on the mirror. They use secret codes among them and only those people know them could read it and other members of the family could never find out the true content of the letters. The letters also served as a great means of knowledge. There are several letters written throughout the history which proved to be a great deal of knowledge. There is a book Famous Letters:Messages & Thoughts That Shaped Our World by Frank Mclynn which is a compilation of great historical letters. Jawaharlal Nehru's letters which he wrote in prison to Indira Priyadharshini made her a great leader. One can always hear the previous generation people telling that they have gained a wide vocabulary and sentence forming knowledge from these letters. 

The history of letters is quite amusing and well-known. The pigeons, the scroll followed by the cards, inland letters, envelopes, money orders and telegrams. The cards and inland letters always meant some sort of relations writing them. Money orders are always joyous ones as they gave people money. No bank transactions, no online payments, no mobile transfers and these money orders served a great way. These money orders also started the act of giving the senders "delivery reports". Telegrams are usually scary since the most urgent messages are sent through them especially the sad ones. One would not know what is there in the envelope unless they open it. And not to forget about the stamps, they are a great deal to the kids which help them know the countries, their leaders, monuments etc., They indulge in stamp collecting which gives them a wider knowledge.

E-mails can be accepted as an equivalent to letters, but can never supersede them, for you can store them but the telephones and mobile phones don't have a way. They had a great popularity initially because of the transmission of the voice of the people. But we cannot rejoice the conversation or their voice later when we wish to. But the letters provide us these recapturing moments. Letters taught us the way of formal and informal speech. It gave us the tradition of addressing the reader as "dear" or "respected". The letter served as way of communication with respect and affection.

"Letters are among the most significant memorial a person can leave behind them."

---Johann Wolfgang von Goethe 

I have not seen a postcard or an inland letter drop in my box for almost a year and I have not passed a day without expecting one. I'd often check my Milk box (for it serves a post box) almost twice a day. Hope the day comes when the letters dominate the world again.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Le Rice Upma!

It was another usual day of my college. I had a lecture and a lab in the morning session. I definitely need a separate post to tell you about the labs and the lectures in our college which I will probably do it later. After that we had that most expected hour, the lunch! The lunch period as we used to call it in our school days, which later changed to lunch break in our college period, has been the most welcomed period in the life of the students. The lunch period not only gave us the required break from those hectic sleepy classes but also various other possibilities which we are likely to discover during our own lunch periods. These breaks must have certainly molded several people to what they are today. These gifted times midst the routine activities help us develop our personality traits and the other characters needed to face this challenging life.

Coming to that day in my college, our gang (some 7 or 8 who hail from from my area) assembled for the lunch in the famous Sundial of our college. We were discussing about the morning sessions and each of us told the way our classes happened. It led to various useless, frivolous talks (it usually does) including movies, friends, games, buses etc. We usually behave like highly qualified critics and we don't leave out any area in which are interested. We gradually gave in to the topic of food. I asked each one about the food item they despised the most. Each one mentioned their own dislikes. The girls had several items in their hatred list and they took so long to finish their list which we had no option but to listen with patience. There was brinjal, puri, sambar, beetroot, and lady’s finger and so on. We all had this non-vegetarian items as a common disliked item for we all the tambrahms. And then it was my turn. 

"Oh! I asked this and I didn't think of an item! What do I despise the most?" I wondered.

"Hey, you are supposed to be the Bhima of this gang. How come you can despise an item?" one of my friends mocked.

"Oh does that supposed to be funny? It didn't. Better luck next time!" I gave him back.

"So what do you hate?" asked another. 

"Hmm! Wait...." 

(After a few seconds)

"Yeah got it! How can I forget! It's the Arisi Upma (Rice cake)! I despise it! I hate it! Yuck!" I exclaimed.

"What? I too don't like!"
said one.

"I like it a lot!" claimed other.

"I also like it! Being a Tambrahm how can you hate it?" shouted one more.

"I neither like nor hate the upma." told the other.

And I found it happy that there is at least one who has my taste in hating upma. And what do I hate in it? Well! To be frank, I don't know why I hate it but I do hate it. A huge number of variations of Upma are made with whole or refined ground wheat and rice of varied grain size, vermicelli, Durum wheat semolina or pearl sago. A wide range of vegetables may be added, and may be garnished with a variety of beans (raw or sprouted), cashew and peanuts. For a variation called masala upma (known as 'Kharabath' in Karnataka), sambar masala or garam masala is added along with red chilli powder, instead of green chillies. This is what the Wikipedia defines Upma! I don't dislike all these types but only the type made of rice. But the fate is that my mom and sister find it too much palatable to eat and that alone marks the end of my fate.

And the lunch got over as soon as it usually does. The afternoon session was only for 2 hours and about 4 of us started together to home. We were talking throughout the journey in bus and train. We reached MIT in Chromepet where we took our vehicles and started. It was one of the others who started this idea of eating Pani puri in a stall. All the four but for me accepted to eat. I usually think once or twice before eating outside. I was in a confused state whether to eat out or not. I had this greedy tongue (that is why they should have called me Bhima!) which took the better of me. They also persuaded me in eating outside. I actually love Pani puri and all these road side shop items. That was when my mother called me asking where I was. I told that I was in MIT and she told me to come home and eat the Tiffin she had prepared, not to eat anything outside. Then I remembered that I had told my mom to prepare some delicious Tiffin for the evening. I told a "wow" and cut the call. Then I turned to my friends.

"Hey, I am sorry. My mom has Tiffin prepared for me."

"So what da? Have a plate of pani puri and go home and eat what your mom has prepared!"

"No da. If I eat here, I will not eat properly at home. My mom might scold me after all she has prepared the Tiffin only for me."

"Atleast have half a plate! That is not going to full your stomach! C’mon!"

"Nope! And also that I have 10 rupees only which will not suffice!"

"Arey! No problem, I shall sponsor you!"

"No da! I am leaving home! You guys have fun!"

"Ok atleast spend time with us till we eat and leave stupid!"

"Hmm yeah okay!"

He punched me in my stomach. We went to our regular place and we ordered. We knew the shopkeeper well that he asked me why I didn't eat. I explained him that my mom had Tiffin ready for me at home! I also thought why all these people were persuading me today. They offered me a piece. I declined their offer. 

"Hey have at least a piece!"

"It’s ok! You guys have!"

"Hey leave him! Let him be hungry! Let him go home and find nothing to eat!"

"Hey why are you cursing you stupid? My mom has everything ready! Go to hell!"

After sometime we left the place and I headed straight to home.

"Amma! I am starving! Please give me the Tiffin!" 

"Go wash your face and come!"

"Cha! Ok!" 

"I have kept it on the table. Eat it!" 

I came eagerly to the hall and found my dish covered with a plate! I greedily opened the plate and..........

Yes! It was Arisi Upma! My friend's curse went true! My mom forgot that I despise Arisi Upma! There's a proverb in Tamil whose translation goes like this: No matter how hungry the tiger is, it'll not eat grass. I too did the same! Lol! I didn't eat it and I starved the whole evening.

I told all of them the next day and everybody laughed during the entire lunch break. I had no option but to smile idiotically. 

Image: Wikipedia

Moral: Never decline an offer to eat because you have something at home to eat. After all, you might end up like me!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

The clown and the cry!

This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 34; the thirty-fourth edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton. The theme for the month is "Of-Course, I'm insane"


The echo of his laughter was very ominous which must have threatened even the frightful ravens. The bats hovered above him with a gleam in their eyes. He felt that he should have been so close with the bats somehow for there were several similarities between them. Both the bats and he was nocturnal. They loved to come out at the dusk and finish their work off and leave before the dawn. But he had not had any relations with those bats in this birth. He thought that he might come across such a relation in future. He shooed the bats away. They hurried towards the opposite park with fear in their eyes. He again laughed out loud. Thankfully, no one else was there for they would not have left the place alive. That laughter was not a heroic or a comic one. It was a horrifying one projecting the nature of the person, his attitude and his current state of mind. He seemed so much pleased for what he had decided to do.

He wanted to admire his beauty, the way he had dressed and the way he had got ready for what he was about to do. He looked around the place he was standing. He could not find any piece of mirror to appreciate his beauty. He glared at the door which lay directly in front of him. Still, somewhere in the corner of his heart, there was a soft part. It urged him to leave the place. It persuaded him to drop the job he was about to do. But that small part of the heart could not compete with his remaining part which had become cold-blooded a few years ago.

A pup of that colony of bats which drifted away a few moments back entered the lawn again. It maneuvered back and forth in front of him blocking his view of the door. He suddenly leaped forward and grabbed the poor tiny being with his rough hands. He sat down on the dry grass and opened his hands carefully so that it couldn't escape.

He looked in the eyes of that mammal and asked, "Do you want to know what I am about to do? This will be the first one and there will be many more. I must leave my message to someone. I have an instinct; A feeling that there is a bond between us." 

He hesitated for a few seconds and later after a few deep breaths he told the creature, "Let me first tell you why I am about to do what I am about to! It must have been some fifteen years back. Wait first tell me! How do I look?"

The alarmed little bat tried to shake his hand off and dodge away. But he was far too strong for its body.

"Okay let me continue. Tell me about my looks later! Yes, fifteen years back, I was fifteen years old. And fifteen years back from then, I was born. I might sound crap or funny or even stupid. I was born in a big hospital with the tenderly care of my parents and the doctors around. My birth was celebrated in the entire city for my father was a hot-shot in the city."

There was a little hum coming from the far end of the lawn inside the door that lay opposite to him. His speech was hindered by that constant sound which left him a little peevish. He turned his gaze back to the struggling one in his rock hands.

"I too wish to brag about my birth that way but sadly that was not the way in which it happened. It was too far from the normal cry. My mother always used to tell me that I was a nocturnal being and sadly she isn't here on this holy earth to feed me. I put her out of her misery. With the very same hands I am holding you now; I injected her a high dosage of some kind of drug she gave me. And that was fifteen years ago. That was my first one but it was not something to be proud of because it was her request to do it for she had a disease. An incurable one. Don't know how she got it. Her last few words were, "You are crazy and remain crazy and persist your dream continuously till your end. You should never turn back from your path whoever it might be against." Coming to my birth, I was born in a truck I guess. Wait, it might be a lorry or a bus!? Okay, it's a heavy vehicle and let me leave that detail for now. There were some 15 people in the same truck and I was born in the corner of that bus with a long cloth hiding us from the rest. The men were giggling at me because it was not the right period for the blacks to arrive to this earth. Or they thought so. I don’t have a name and so I think I could name myself after you fellows, the Batter? We resemble a lot except for that echoing stuff and flying. I too am a mammal."

That constant hum rose to a distinct sound. It was a shrill voice making some sounds. For anyone outside would have recognized it as a cry from a human being. He listened keenly and he made out a few words from that sound. “Leave”, “Kill”, “Mercy”, “Black”, “Son” and a few more. He started laughing again now at the top of his voice. The intimidated creature startled and pushed against his hand flipping its wings. Its struggle to break out was so obvious and its teeth made a cut in his hands. The blood started oozing out at a slow pace for it was a minor cut. His laughter turned into enthusiasm. To tell perfectly; It was a beast's one when it sees its prey immobile and helpless.

"Oh you struggle against me! You hapless tiny one! Wait let me show you something." 

He took a small blade from his pocket in his pants.

"No, I want someone to listen to my story. So this would wait. I have no name and so I have random names. They call me the name whichever strikes their mind at that moment. Freak, Stupid, Useless, Cold-blooded and many more. But the most common term was the uncommon word ‘Bastard’ for I was one. My mother used to be the black servant of a famous white guy of the town. That famous guy had a famous lady as her wife and a famous boy as their son. He wasn't the Indian epic Rama guy and so he fooled around his wife but he took safety measures every time. But my mother was unlucky and she had me because of him. The whole family came to know the matter and they made her leave the city after a few months of incessant threats. And on the way out, I was born. Hurray! Hurray! Shit! Shit! Hurray! Hurray! I went with her to a new city and we started living. She fed me by enacting funny things on the road side. Our home was an unused water tank. As I grew up, she taught me to beg for food. Act like a freak and they will give you money. This was all she told. I did, I begged, I did, I begged. There were cops and they always shooed us away. Our fellow street people gave them money and continued to stay. But we didn't have money for we didn't even have enough food for the day. I always wondered how my mother persuaded them to allow us to stay. The policemen used to go inside the tank and I was pushed away and after an hour they would leave. Each time they left, my mother would become sick. I just knew they had hurt my mother and I had to take revenge on all those authorities."


"This was happening till my mom’s request to kill her. I killed her. Ooohahaha Ooohahhahahah! I went to her husband’s place and asked for a livelihood. Hmmm, he is my father too! My dad told me that I did not resemble him a bit and I was ugly with a black face and a face full of scars. My brother told me that there was no use of me as I was a boy and he chuckled. I told them that I can make pranks and entertain them. I can do any sort of work they would assign me. I begged them and I fell at their feet. They accepted me as their servant. I silently grew there for fifteen more years till I was strong enough for this."

The words grouped to make sentence and they always do. He could hear complete sentences. He stood, walked slowly and busted the door open. The room was dimly lit by a small lamp at the far corner on the top of a shelf. It was empty except for a few rodents and cockroaches. He watched at a rodent but decided against it seeing the bat in his hands. And slowly he walked towards the only other door present there. He knocked the door. 

"Gentlemen, May I come in?" 

Saying this, he opened the door slowly and peeked in as if he were a cop searching for a terrorist. There lay a man with his hands tied to his back and a cloth stuffed in his mouth. Wait! No there was one more at his back. Two people were tied to each other. The front one was not making any sound and he lied there with his head hung down as if he were in a shame. He didn't make any struggle and he was immobile. It must be the back one. He went around the figure and saw the other one with a grin on his face. The man tied down at the back was struggling.

"So, is your son dead sir? Let me check." He turned around to the front and checked him.

"Yes, he is dead sir. Your son is dead. Excellent!"

"He is your brother, you freak!" the man bawled. 

"Haha! No! Not brother but Step brother!"

"But I am your father. Please have mercy!" 

"Oh! Yeah! You are my father! A father who abhorred his son!" 

He went near him and whispered in his ears. "An Illegal Son! A harami! A bastard!" 

He moved towards the bed next to them. 

"But you are my father. What could I do possibly? Okay! well! yeah! Have this as my present first and then let me finish you!" 

Telling this, he cut the bat’s throat and gave it to him. He shuddered.

"Have you lost your nerves?"

"Of Course, I am insane!"

He looked at his figure in a mirror above those figures. He had painted his face so that his ugliness isn't visible and extended his lips on both sides which he tried to make like he was smiling always. But it was not looking like a smile. It wasn't anymore than a scar. A colorful green coat over a full hand shirt! He took out a small blade from his pocket.

"You Joker, freak, disgusting fellow with scars!!"

"Joker! That is a good suggestion. I might consider it. Scars? Speaking of which, do you know how I got these scars?" 

The fellow Blog-a-Tonics who took part in this Blog-a-Ton and links to their respective posts can be checked here. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton. Introduced By: Muthu Kumar, Participation Count: 01
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