February 4, 2011

How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?

Things I’m remembering today (in random order):
Warning: This is a long inane post where I'm just rambling. So if you have better things to do, i suggest you skip this. Ok? Ok.

Here we go.

Sneaking up to the terrace of our house in Kochi and stealthily eating the tamarind that mom had put up to dry. The old lady who used to take care of me.
The biscuits that amma used to make. The heavenly aroma when the lid of the oven is lifted. Closing the windows and balcony door of the room obsessiovely before going to sleep because there was a plague fear going around. I was afraid that a rat would bite me when i was asleep and i would get rat fever.
Dad carrying me and walking back and forth, trying to put me to sleep, when I kept them up all night because of my asthma.
Sitting and giggling with Maari all night, when we were supposed to be studying.
I remember the taste of the tomato rice I had in a hospital in Pune 18 years back, that was prepared by a kind by-stander of my neighbour-in-sickness. I’ve never had tomato rice like that ever since.
I remember running outside the door to cough so that my parents won’t get upset seeing how ill I am.
I remember the angst my dad went through each time I puked after having the terrible terrible syrups that he bought with his hard-earned money.
I remember the red and gold chappal I pestered my folks to buy for me off the roadside in Pune. The first time I saw a softie and fell in love with that twirl that forms on the top of the cone, and felt dejected that I was not allowed to have ice creams.
The kindergarten I went to in Pune, Green Woods, with the green and white uniform. The tiny classrooms filled with kids speaking a language that I just couldn’t understand. The blue colour water bottle that doubled as a snack-box too, in which my mom put mixture and biscuits for me. Running to the gate every afternoon when the bell rang, overjoyed at seeing my mom waiting for me to take me back home, and crying inconsolably when she became a little late one day, and her guilty face that she had made me cry. Amma bribing me to eat food with a bunch of green grapes.
The P&T colony where we stayed, which was the first place I learnt skipping. The rat infestation in the house, and subsequently getting a cat to get rid of it. Spending all the time the cat was there, on top of the sofa, because I was shit scared of it. I developed a lifelong revulsion towards cats after that.
Drawing on the walls of that tiny little house with crayons. All four of us sleeping on one single bed. Finally learning to speak Hindi. The red and white hair bands I’ve worn to school always and had become synonymous with. The colourful beads that I got after a lot of yearning and would painstakingly braid onto my hair all the time.

My mom coming to my school to judge a CCA competition.
The first skipping race I won in school, and going beyond the finishing line in my excitement at coming first (I think the momentum had something to do with it as well. Anyways.)
Going for the interview at K.V.Pangode and answering ‘I don’t know’ when the principal asked me what my father’s name is. (Hey, in my defense, my dad’s name is A.K.Ramachandran, and he went and changed my full name to Divya Nambiar when he enrolled me in school. And at that age, as far as I knew, the name that comes after your name is your father’s name, and since I knew that my father’s name definitely wasn’t Nambiar, I was confused! I was six years old, dammit!)
The white shoes my neighbours from Malaysia gave me ( a hand-me-down), which I absolutely fell in love with because it had (gasp!)heels and (another gasp!) a little bow, and I wore it with anything and everything.

The lovely grape wine that my grandma used to make every summer holiday. The big book of Panchathantira that she used to read out loud to us. The milk powder that w used to steal from her shelf.

A rumour that was doing the rounds in my native place one holiday, that there was a muslim woman who’s husband was away in Dubai, and she was so very beautiful, but promiscuous, so when her husband found out about her little side-show he threw acid on her face. That she roamed the town in a burqa, walking into houses and lifting up her veil, and while people stood shocked at her scarred face, she went inside and robbed them. I swear, I’m not making this up. You can check with my sister if you want. That summer, every time I heard the gate of my grandma’s house open, my heart would stop for a sec, and I would refuse to step out once the sun went down.
Falling into the water tank in school in 4th standard, being pushed in actually, me and a friend. Sitting wrapped in a shawl, shivering, and breaking down when I saw my sister coming to take me.

A very very very (I cannot stress on it enough) silly mallu movie, in which the heroine is a model, and has signed a contract with the agency that she won’t get married or have babies for three years or something. So when her folks force her to get married to her cousin, she strikes a deal with the guy that they won’t have a ‘normal’ physical relationship (How innovative na). But in his prime, he can’t control her anymore and slips a medicinal drug into her bittergourd juice one day, one thing leads to another and then there is thunder a lightning and all the required symbolism for sex. Needless to say, she gets pregnant(Yes. The superman mallu guy). The women of the house go nudge-nudge wink-wink giggle-giggle, the girl is distressed, blah blah blah.. Melodrama ensues where she tries to abort the child and all that.
I have just one word for them. Dude, contraceptive.

Zipping around town with my sister on her kinetic, going to movies, restaurants, going to watch her fashion show. The little round pillows that mom had made for us, and then when one of them wore off, fighting for turns to hug the other one and sleep. (Chech, I know you’re smiling while reading this). Watching her give her campaign speech for School Pupils’ Leader, and then when she won the election, feeling very proud and high and mighty that she was my sister. Wearing her clothes, even if they were a little big for me.
The Onam and new year parties in Woodlands. The powercut fun on the fourth floor spiral staircase.
The poem ‘Oh captain my captain’, that me and chechi have recited so many times in competitions and won first prize for. The topic I got when they were having selections for Deputy School Pupils’ Leader Primary Section (The topic was ‘National Animal of India’). The investiture ceremony. Going up to receive the badge.
The group dance practices for onam and annual day. I can still distinctly remember the ache in my thighs the first few days of Thiruvatira practice.
Consistently failing in my Physics and Chemistry papers in 11th and 12th. The tears in my father’s eyes when the board results came out. The tension at home. The support that everyone gave me so that I would not just be another statistic in the suicide cases in the city.
My first crush, my first relationship, the joy of being a teen.

The song ‘O mere sapnon ke saudagar’ from a Pooja Bhatt movie, the name of which I forget. (And the freakiest thing happened. I was thinking of it and I got into a CCD, and the instrumental of this song was on!) Dancing to it along with Deepthi Chechi and pretending to be a princess or a fairy or some such thing.
My first day in college. The bus rides with Sree. The Magic Oven trips with Sree and Neethu. The side bench, the second last bench.
The chicken biryani that mom makes, which can kick the ass of any biryani in the world (for me at least).
Dad bringing home sweets every month the day he got his salary. Going out to have Chocolate Sharjah at Eden Park.
Chechi and me playing with Abu’s brand new toys.
The smell of mehendi. Mmmm…
The thrill of being in love. The trauma of breaking up.
Going for The Last Samurai on the day we got our hall ticket. Walking in fifteen minutes late and leaving half an hour early. Having no clue what we were watching.

The taste of the chicken pulao in Royals. The freezing studio where we watched documentaries. The day mom and dad returned after leaving me in H’bad. Mom crying, the rain…
The freezing Hyderabad, more specifically HCU, winters. My first breezer with Thusha and some others in the hostel room. The prolonged chai and banana chips sessions. Hugging Hosku after fighting with her. Arun holding on to the cycle and running behind it while I attempted to ride it for the very first time.
My purple Miss India cycle.
The smell of water that’s been boiled in a huge vessel over burning wood. Playing Scrabble with Mumsy darling till 1 in the night. And she spelling words like Ariel and Rin. :)
The rain on the day I finally passed my drivers’ license test.
Necklace road early in the morning. Our Sundays… Necklace Road station.
Uncertainty. Award-winning Majjiga Pulusu. Goonja sa hai koi Iktara.

Rambling. And rambling. And rambling…


  1. :-) Nice! I'm sure a lotta people'll be smiling after reading this. About the piece of work thers no doubt miss..a lil tweaking here n ther..n yer the next Ruskin Bond.:-)

  2. @Rjun: I've a long long looooooong way to go before i can be the next Ruskin Bond. But just the thought that you felt i'm close, means a lot to me. Thank you! Also, tell me where i have to do the tweaks, so that i can use it productively for my next post.

  3. @Prem: Thanks Prem! :) Seeing that this is the first time you're commenting on my blog, i take that as a HUGE compliment.

  4. Adipoli!! ;-)

    One small doubt...didn't we go for Last Samurai when in school?

  5. This one's the best of all of your writings! Go on... I'm sure you ll write great even without being part of an organization to give you an opportunity to write :-)

  6. @Shru: Maadam maadam,pls to be giving me a job in your newspaper maadam.pls pls pls. :P
    @Musings: Thank you.

  7. Memories and experiences often make the best subjects and this is a perfect example of how it can get others started on it too...
    After listening to so much rambling I am myself tempted to ramble...

  8. good one darling, i did laugh a lot :)

  9. "chicken biryani's a**"...????
    God u are just amazing. Know what...I've never had such good reading experience in my entire life...I love to read...but every time I try to write something I end tearing up the pages...or page rather...can you help me out with a story I have in mind for a film...??? Please sister

  10. @Edward: Oops, Sowwie! Saw your comment quite late.
    First of all, thanks!
    I've never written for a film or anything, but would love to give it a shot. I think you can find my mail id in my profile, just drop me a mail, and I'll be happy to help out. :)
    P.S: Are you the same Edward who is Srini's bhaiyya? That's the only Edward I know.

  11. Loved this post the best so far!! I like the randomness of your memories. And the briefness of it, somehow makes it even more beautiful!

    P.S: This post gave me the nostalgiscious goosebumps, if you know what I mean :D

  12. @Lunatic: Of course I know what you mean! You and I speak the same language of lunacy, my girl. ;)

  13. Ecstasy is the only word that comes to mind when i read your post. Yes, I connect with almost ALL of that, and yes, I have heard of the burqa lifting robbery story too.... but how this spread from Kochi to Kannur where i lived, is a mystery! Also, I sit up and get all attentive when I see the word 'Nambiar' - so yup! u nailed this one for me!

  14. @Meena: I don't know about Kochi, but I heard it in Thalasherry, which is where my native place is. And are you a Nambiar as well?
    And before I forget, thanks! :)

  15. Oh! Thalessery makes perfect sense - for the story i mean! I am a Nambiar too, and one half of me belongs to Thalessery too! :-D

  16. OOps forgot! A Nambiar-ish post - where I got all gooey sentimental!


  17. @Meena: You're a Nambiar too?!! Then I'm sure in some far-off twisted way, we're related! :)

  18. That is a very rich tapestry of writing that you have woven in the year 2009 (not that subsequent years dim in comparison), and I congratulate you - four years belatedly, I agree - on that.

    PS: In response to the title of this post, here is my favourite tongue twister from the film 'King's Speech'. Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush) renders it.

    "I am a thistle sifter. I have a sieve of sifted thistles and a sieve of unsifted thistles because... I am a thistle sifter."


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