Sunday, September 29, 2013


A bundle of joy is born
With all the sorrows gone
From pretty pinks to radiant reds
Of frocks and skirts and lovely blouses
She is dressed in everything
She is treated as the little princess amongst all houses
The best of toys and dainty little things, she gets them all to play with
Invariably every little Indian girl child plays with a kitchen set
The reason behind this is a perennial quest
She plays with her peers and has no fear
She can sleep all she wants, not a soul in the family would even say a word
She needs good rest, so don’t be a pest, an older member would chide
She is sent to the best of schools in town, without a frown
Only so that  her standard of education is as high as the sky
She has more privileges than her male sibling
Does not know an inkling
About gender bias woes
She is watchfully monitored for all the marks she scores
And is never given any of the daily chores
Only so that she gets a job in her field of study
She could choose anything she wants so long as she is happy
Her dressing style is the style statement of her home without a hesitation
She has now transcended from frocks to gowns
Of chic kurthas and gorgeous saris
She is asked to try them all and becomes the style diva
She could befriend her male colleagues sans any restriction
Lest her parents know where she is off to and when she’d return
All the rest seems a safe haven to her
Until one day she is asked to tie the knot
Her head becomes hot
She’s told she’d rot
For she ought to tie the knot
She begins to think whatever happened to her career dreams
The world now does not hear her scream
With coaxing and cajoling she does tie the knot
Her kitchen set from childhood now comes to life
When she is another person’s wife
All this while she has only been nursing a career dream
And was told to study with her mind steady
It’s not all about money always, she does want a job only to carve a niche for herself
For sure she does not want to be dependant
And wants to sing songs of independence
She says, “So be it,” and gets going with her work
Whatever happened to all the intensive care
She now gets a stare
If she runs like a hare
To her workplace
Grades and Percentage were always products of comparison back in her days of education
Which earned her a great deal of dedication
For what joy? She now begins to whine
Only so that she cooks and thinks beyond her books
Of course she could work all she wants
Not a soul is going to haunt her
Lest she takes the pill of multi-tasking
She is expected to chill and work on uphill tasks
She is lashed for her nonchalance
And is asked to beware
Is told that her presentations at work would have no bearing
She needs to veer the steering
In the right direction
Else she is in for a strong rejection
She now has a little one
Again a bundle of happiness
And the cycle goes on...

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Just let her be

Her kohl-rimmed eyes, shine like a sparkling glass of wine
Her crowning glory like the waves of the sea
Complexion so dusky, with voice a little husky
Accessorising, to her, is all about earthen shades
She stands out a tad different from her comrades
Like her peers though she nurses interests so humble
She has nothing unearthly, just has her monthlies
There is nothing impure about it, except for the fatigue she goes through
Loves to interact with people day to day
Of course she has her times when she wants to keep to herself
She firmly believes in familiarity breeding contempt
An attempt to load her with ideas and advice
Would only attract misunderstanding
Lashed for her nonchalance by her kith and kin
Why can’t she just be, just keep to herself?
She may not keep rattling all the time
But could be battling with thoughts
She wants to be clandestine from the bottom of her intestine
She seeks pleasure in enjoying the tiny nuances of life
She detests when somebody wears her thinking shoes
Sings songs of individuality woes
Her needs are pretty simple; she even enjoys a solo pimple
For she believes it’s a symbol of youth
Age is always a number to her
Her nuptial knot is just an occurrence in life
She believes that there is life after the knot
Wants to look as young and vibrant as ever
And is happy to bits with all the glitz
Never shy of the shutterbugs
Loves to both pose and click
She just loves to celebrate the beauty of life
Wants to be herself
She loves rants
Chants hymns of praise to her enchanting Krishna
To her He is all pervasive
That is why she practises the act of surrender
Everything else is zilch for her
Romances life by living the moment
Wants to only deal with her conscience and her Krishna
So why don’t you just let her be?
For she’d be just fine this way...
She detests if dictated terms
So just let her be
Simply hates when womenfolk practise melodrama
For they keep talking tales of yore saying women need to be free
Yet care a flying fing about it and breed chauvinism
Causing differentiation within their own sex
She hates being excessively loved and cared for in the name of Love
For she feels it is a sign of insecurity
Ah how she hates hypocrisy
Pray, this is not a rant about hatred
Yet a loud attempt of venting out pent up feelings
For it’s all about words...just let her be, she’d do just fine!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The “Need” for “Knead”

A new day begins; I am grappling with thoughts and words
The menu for the day is ‘roti’
Of course I need food for thought, so I ought to knead,
A big bowl of whole wheat flour is thus ready
The bigger, the better as it provides more space to play around with the dough
Better than any work-out perhaps this wok-bound action provides!
I put my hands into the flour, just to feel it, although it’s not new to me
I wonder how I’d get that perfect blend at the end
At the back burner, I am still grappling with thoughts and words aplenty
I thus begin the kneading, with my fingers now getting sticky
The flour now slowly begins shaping up, as I am gaping at it
The more you knead, the better the output!
So quite rigorous I get with it, with the thoughts and words still at the back burner
The dough is now amassed and I do an action performed by the road-side ‘parotta’ stall guy
The lump-like wheat flour is thrown back and forth at this hour
Ah what a stress-reliever it is!
Needing to bust stress through this kneading is great food for thought
As the lump is thrown in and taken out, the thoughts and words from the back burner are now put to rest
Anything at all I may have had before the kneading exercise began, I now let out a sigh of relief!
For it’s my belief that there is a new found harmless way of beating that stress through this simple yet effective act of kneading.
Oh so the dough is now kneaded!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Palakkad Iyer Trivia :-

Of dialect, food and celebration

A: Are you a malayali?
B: No, I am not one.
A: But, you had mentioned earlier that you are from Kerala (puzzled) ?
B: Yes, I was born in Kerala, hence I am a Keralite, not a malayali though!
As simple as that.
A: So what’s your mother tongue?
B: (Now that’s quite a puzzle to crack) I do not know which one to pick, Tamil/Malayalam? I am not sure if I could coin the lingua talayalam here(conjugation of Tamil+Malayalam). Hence I give them the easy way out, have you watched the run-away hit in Tamil, Kamal Hassan starrer Michael Madhana Kama Rajan of the 1990’s? You know, Kamal Hassan who plays the role of Kameswaran in the movie speaks a certain dialect of Tamil(+Malayalam), we speak that language at home.
A: Oh yes, now I get it!
B: Sigh!
Ever been through one of these conversations before? Does this ring a bell in your minds as well? Welcome to the world of Palakkad Iyers!
The Palakkad Iyer Bashaai is a classic blend of tamil, malayalam and sanskrit. Movies like Michael Madhana Kama Rajan and Nala Damayanthi have done their bit in popularising this dialect. Personally, having had a mix of both regions, Madras and Kerala, I can converse both in Tamil and Malayalam, fairly ok, with Tamil having the upper hand as I have spent more number of years in Madras. If you are still a full-time resident of Kerala and have no connection with Tamil Nadu except for a few distant relatives who may be around, then the Tamil(+Malayalam) you are likely to hear would have a world of difference. It may be beyond comprehension for the native speakers of Tamil and Malayalam. Eg, When a Tamilian listens to this (new)dialect, he/she would think it’s malayalam, and vice versa. One cannot possibly determine the percentage of Tamil and Malayalam present in this Palakkad Iyer Bashai as it depends on where you have been living; am sure language, accent, and dialect is formed and developed, based on this premise.
Palakkad Iyers have gained popularity over the years through various mediums, hence it is easy to quote this name when someone asks what language you speak or where you are from. In reality, I may have no close connection to Palakkad, perhaps my ancestors did, this is the case with invariably every such family. Every family may be able to trace some remote route back to Palakkad, while their native places may be else where. I could take my case for instance, born in Kottayam(south-central district in Kerala), brought up in Madras for 14 years, and then went back to Kerala(Ernakulam district) for 6 years, currently in Madras since 2004. So where’s the Palakkad connection here? Well, there is one, but I don’t know the reason behind it, quite honestly. Our family is connected to a temple aka kaavu (in Palakkad Iyer Bashai) in Palakkad. Every family is associated with an adimai kaavu (better translated as family temple) which they worship.
The lingua franca followed is just as interesting! There are numerous terms used that only a fellow community member may be able to relate with. Most of the words are spoken with an extra “ssh” or “cha” sound in stead of the “sa” sound. Eg., the words sollu(speak), sappadu(food) , samayal(cooking), saadham(rice) in tamil become chollu, chappadu,chamayal and chaadham in the Palakkad Iyer Bashai to mention a few, and not to forget the famous“Ae Naan Palkkad Iyer aakum (Hey I am a Palkkad Iyer) !” I could go on with a lengthy list, longer than Kameswaran’s provisions list in Micheal Madhana Kama Rajan!
Food is unique too as is the case with various lingusitic communties in India. Signature dishes include, molagootal (made of dhaal, coconut, dry red chillies, cumin seeds and vegetables), molagooshiyam (made of vegetables and pepper as spice), porichakozhambu( made of tamarind, vegetables, coconut and dry red chillies), verumarishi adai (a pan dosa made of exclusive rice and coconut), et al. However , variants of exclusive Tamilian and Malayali cuisine are equally relished; so you would also find a sambar or an aviyal being part of the Palakkad Iyer kitchen.
When it comes to festivals, we have the likes of both the Tamil and Malayali festivals celebrated with equal fervour; right from Pongal, Vishu, Krishna Jayanthi, Ganesh Chathurthi, Onam, Navarathri, Deepavali to Karthigai Deepam, we have a list of celebrations, year round!
A lot of reason and uniqueness to feel proud of, the Palakkad Iyer community is thus a cultural and lingusitc mix of the two states- Tamil Nadu & Kerala.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Career and promotions(Taken from my Diary, year-2006).

In this fast and ever changing world of cut throat competition, to move up the corporate ladder is becoming a herculean task. This is predominantly caused due to work-related politics. One has to be invariably involved in this new found political nemesis. None can escape this, each one in the upper level management is a prey to this.  This is more so, because such politics is enthusiastically encouraged by most of the organizations.
                       Due respect to the efforts and performance of some workaholics amongst the gamut of some cheap, politically influenced people.  The irony is that, the effort that they put in towards their work is completely clouded by some of our own anti-social peers at work. Unfortunately, the higher management decides promotions based on who pleases them most! The simplest and common ways of pleasing them include getting them a smoke or drinking out with them or to be more blatant, sugar them with your impressive talk and dressing; especially if you are of the opposite sex. All this has come of age of late, and has become a part and parcel of work culture at MNCs per se. I clearly observe that such a trend has been borrowed, or rather transitioned from government organizations. Earlier, private companies used to be considered as the ideal place to nurture your skills and learn how to grow by showing performance. Sad to note that they have also joined this band wagon.
                        It feels annoying, to even report to work in such a company. You know for a fact that whatever you do is futile, so why at all work, is the in-thing. When you are aware that promotions are not decided based on the work that you put in, why would you work? What is even more disappointing is that, the career graphs of such people look pretty promising and happening due to their unhealthy ways of getting promoted. This is the primary reason for lack of performance at most of the companies. India is a place with a set of young brilliant minds, well educated and hard working. I am afraid it is all draining, and going to the dogs! Everybody seems to be caught in this political net knowingly or unknowingly, thereby deterring work balance.

                             Work culture has changed a lot, which is good, but at the same time has to be kept a strong check on. Money rules. Each one is busy filling their own pockets in this fast work world. As the common saying goes, the rich become richer and the poor become poorer.  This is not going to take our country anywhere. How can we claim that our country is even developing, when we are actually going backwards? This is certainly not going to take us anywhere, contrarily; it is only going to jeopardize the economy of our country. I exhort to my peers to ponder over this and realize where this fast changing corporate world is taking us to.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

What's your social quotient?

"This term has been used to describe the result of a measure that describes one's overall level of social intelligence." 
The above is the web definition for the term 'social quotient.' It sounds plain and simple yet has deeper insights of late. 
Say about a decade or two ago, a person with a good IQ was the most sought after in all spheres. Times have been changing, and as part of change, came into existence a new term called emotional quotient. Emotional quotient (EQ) was the new catch word as it had to do with human emotions, which is a delicate subject to deal with. A person who was able to control him/her self's emotions and adapt to various situations in life was deemed the ideal match for all practical purposes. 
Whilst coming down the order of  'quotients' in human lives, I do not want to miss out on something called 'spiritual quotient.' Back in school days, I used to attend Bhagvad Gita satsangs, part of Chinmaya Yuva Kendra; where a group of youngsters got together to discuss their religious/philosophical views. These classes used to be quite rational and unbiased hence they never got boring. During these meets, we were introduced to the term 'spiritual quotient,' and were told that anybody with a spiritual inclination could be considered to have 'SQ'. It was something that set humans apart from both machines and animals, we were told. However I believe nobody really took the term SQ in its true essence and it began to be interchangeably used with the term religion (spirituality is often misinterpreted as being religious which would spur up a whole new debate hence I am not getting there). I could perhaps coin a new term here called RQ (Religious Quotient)!
 Anyway, having said something about IQ, EQ and SQ quite briefly, coming back to where I began, SQ(now social quotient), I must say that this is the in-thing now... I feel social quotient these days is all about social networking, perhaps the term could be slightly altered to sound better, "social networking quotient." If you google out the list of social networking websites, they are given in alphabetic order, and the list seems to be endless and expanding like the population explosion in India! 
To not have an account on FB(Face Book) is considered primitive and old fashioned. (I am using FB for reference here only because it is the first thing that comes off the top of my head). I am not against any of the social networking sites as they are excellent means to communicate/keep in touch. Social Quotient seems to have acquired a new meaning and purpose because having an account on FB/Twitter/LinkedIn etc., means one is quite up to date with everything that is happening in the so-called society/community. I personally have both an FB&LinkedIn account and feel they are an absolutely great innovation in social media. 
Nonetheless, I firmly believe innovation is good only when used judiciously. You suddenly feel the whole world is watching you, as if you have no private life to lead. Every little thing is 'facebooked' or 'twittered' or the relatively newer kid on the block, 'watsapped' (thanks to the language, we are able to keep coining newer terms). One visits a mall/restaurant these days not just for shopping/enjoying good food, the need seems to be more for clicking pictures that are compatible for social networking. Thanks to the technology revolution that is taking place on a day to day basis, that we have mobile phones to keep up with all the competition. Each time I visit a mall or a restaurant, I at least find one group of people (not necessarily youngsters), who are busy posing for pics that could be instantly shared! It has become a social status and one is looked down-upon if they choose to follow the old school thought- where in a phone is something that is used for making phone calls or at the most, texting! Posting a status update, (may be it would be the most trivial thing that happened to them that day) serves for good conversation starters amongst many. I have observed this in my very own work place! Some of them may not even be friends in reality, but they pretend to be the  best of buddies in the eyes of the 'social' world. Anybody who is a newbie on social networking, is bombarded down right!  A person's name shows "online/available" as soon as he/she logs in, and it could be for his/her own personal reasons. I bet there is a group right behind you, that watches, or rather stalks every move/activity of yours and is more keen than you are about your personal/private life. Come on, just because I am online, does not mean that I am necessarily doing something on the web page. I could just be signed in to one thing and engrossed in some other thing of my interest or may be I just forgot to sign out, as simple as that!
The points I've been trying to emphasize here is, let us make some good use of the resources we have in abundance, rather than brooding over trivia. When used for the right cause, I am sure social networking sites are great agents of change and development, especially in an extremely volatile country like ours!
                                               So what’s your social quotient...?! :-)