Me and a mile run… never! It is too boring and too exhausting… I haven’t done it in ages, but I was convinced I could do it the other day, after all I was in a fitness boot camp. My trainer jogged slowly with me every step of the way, quietly instructing me to keep an even pace, even stride and a rhythm. He had a backpack on him filled with bananas and water, just in case I need energy. I took a short water break or two, but surprised myself by finishing the mile run in 12 minutes 0r was it 13.
“I don’t watch news on TV”, I say proudly. Then, internet is never faraway, even if you are not surfing the internet, just being logged into Facebook is enough to be aware of what is going on around us. It saddens me to see a lot of hate. I just a read a piece by a woman of mixed heritage being asked to leave the bus, the country because she is somehow responsible for the crimes and the shootings. There is was another story of a Sikh gentleman – Darsh Singh, mistaken for muslim and being ridiculed for playing basketball with his turban on. Yet another story of one being stabbed, another being beaten and yet another being mocked.
Just barely read a long spiel on kindergarteners and first graders coming back home from school utterly exhausted. The class size is a problem, the bus journey is a problem, the emphasis on test scores is a problem and the list goes on. As somebody comments, “The class size needs to be capped at 12.” “There isn’t enough help for the teachers with 30+ kids in the classroom” says another. Again, there is a flurry of similar comments. Of Course it is easy for you and me to simply talk or type away on a funky laptop.
Pooranmashi ( full moon) after Diwali ( festival of lights), is that magical time of the year, that has always been special for me. The moon always has a special aura around it, after all it is the Gurpurab, the special day when Guru Nanak was born in Talwandi in Punjab, India, (now in Pakistan) 500+ years ago. It is that day, when I did not go to school in Bangalore, but went to the Gurudwara (place of worship) instead.
We were watching the movie, “Boy in the striped Pajamas,” where Bruno meets Shmuel. Bruno is a privileged nine-year-old while Shmuel, is in striped pajamas. What separates them is the barbed wire fence. Bruno envies Shmuel, as he imagines him playing with other kids his own age behind the fence, in the comfort of his Pajamas, while he is all alone in the open world outside the fence. Bruno is unable to comprehend the horrors of living in a camp, as he offers simplistic solutions to Shmuel’s problems. When Shmuel talks about being hungry all the time, Bruno gets him food from home.
“Talangu Tadigina thom tha thae thae thath… Kitta thaga tham dit thaam- Dit thaam kitta thaga thayi thath thae…
The opening sequence of Allarippu – a Bharthanatyam dance remains embedded in my memory. It is a beautiful dance symbolizing the offering of respect to both God and the audience.
It is Geography club time again at the elementary school. Even though we are focusing on the prominent countries of Asia, the islands continue to be my absolute favorite. My sons and me have spent many a night savoring the stories. Each island has a unique story. Our favorite ones are from Fiji and Pitcairn. Fiji had cannibals at one point, and back then, the most respectful way of greeting each other was “Eat me!” Pitcairn, a tiny speck of an island, only 3000 miles from New Zealand was populated by mutineers of a ship named, HMS Bounty, which soon grew over populated with 200 people. So, some people volunteered to move to another island called the Norfolk, knowing fully well that the Norfolk island was a penal colony.
.There was a heated discussion going on at home, after all it was an important issue. An issue close to our hearts, a Television set. We (my mother, my brother and me) had our hearts set on watching the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics on a color TV set at home. After all our neighbors had one! We could hear the movie songs and the dialogs, and desperately wanted to have a TV set of our own. We lived in Bangalore, where – the people were quieter and calmer, unlike Delhi, where everyone spoke loudly and all at the same time.
I was making matar paneer, – Peas with homemade cheese, when the aroma jolted me back to my childhood, in India. It used to be my favorite dish, especially the way my mother made it. Cubed pieces of paneer – homemade cheese floating in a delicious orange colored sauce. I could hear ” Chalte Chalte ” Farewell – blaring from a neighbor’s radio at 6:00 in the morning. Watching movies and listening to movie songs is a huge part of people’s lives in India. All my friends saw movies. So, I expressed my desire to see the movie Chalte Chalte a popular movie in the mid 70s, my mother glared at me and firmly declared, “No more movies for the next few years, they promote wrong values.”
O is for “Ordinary”. Yes Ordinary is regular, mundane and then special too.. and Ordinary is “Oota” ( food in Kannada) …actually the only greeting I know that is related to food in the world ” Oota aayita” (had your food) is actually an Ordinary greeting like “How are you?” Often times complete strangers on the streets in Bangalore are bound to ask you, “Oota aayita”? I am often tempted to say , “illa” ( No) , but have always nodded my head and Ordinarily said, ” Howdo” ( Yes)……