Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Magic of Christmas

And so another Christmas has come and gone. When I look back, it seems to me that the best Christmases were when I was a kid. Mum would start cranking up her sewing machine sometime in December and sew us the prettiest Christmassy-est dresses. For all her three daughters she'd repeat the same frilly, frothy, lace-trimmed designs (all this was before my older sister turned 11 and got smart, refusing to wear the same dresses as us and wanting a different look instead). New shoes and socks and sometimes a cardigan would complete the picture and we'd be all set for another magical Christmas. Dad would string up brightly coloured streamers across the ceiling starting from the centre and rippling out to all four sides of the room and we'd sit warming ourselves by the brazier, pigging out on the oranges Mum always made sure to stock up on.

On the night of Christmas Eve, we'd put large empty trays by our beds for Christmas Pa to fill, and next morning we'd excitedly jump out of bed to see what was on our trays, usually an assortment of toys, little fashion accessories, sweets, balloons etc. Again it was my older sister who first found out Christmas Pa wasn't some nice kindly old geezer but your own parents and told us so. I didn't want to believe it and I still vividly recall the huge disappointment I felt the day I was idly talking about it to Mum who was busy working at her sewing machine again, and she admitted that yes, it was true and she even got up and swearing me to secrecy, showed me the stuff she'd got to load onto our trays the next day. I guess it's an indication of the shock to my system that I still remember one item she showed me... a little doll on a swing who swung round and round when you turned the key. Needless to say, that was the last time Christmas Pa paid us a visit.

Happily the tradition continues. And one of the most delightful sights and sounds on Christmas mornings are the little children asking each other 'what did Christmas Pa give you?' and showing off their goodies to everyone they see...

Sunday, December 09, 2007

A December Caboodle

December, almost the end of the year already. And Christmas season bigtime. Not the greatest time of year to be broke. I went to an atm to check my balance last week and found I had the princely sum of Rs 9.54. Ouch.


As beautiful as the origin of Christmas is, it's amazing how our largely hedonistic concept of what it ought to be like is so off-tangent with its beginnings. Most people seem to think Christmas is a time to let rip, literally and metaphorically. Little wonder there's so much pressure and tension, and SADs run rampant. Expectations and reality just don't seem to gel at Christmastime when people seem to be more selfish, grasping, and self-indulgent. On the surface, we all seem to open up a lot more, like a friend of mine once remarked in January, "Why's it that everyone goes back into their shells as soon as Christmas is over?" Maybe I'm just being overly cynical but maybe that opening up is just some subconscious maneuver to get a piece of the action.

And then there's my eternal grouse.... Christmas Eve, that ethereal night of songs like O Holy Night and Stille Nacht was probably silent and holy centuries ago; today it's the night of the most raucous noises and sounds equalled only by December the 31st.

Phew, feels good to vent.


Lately I've been working on a new project that suits me to a tee. I was born to a culture and a people credited with being the second most literate group of people in the country which accounts for us having a fairly sizeable heritage of literature. Unfortunately it's mostly all in the vernacular and while it's all rather simplistic and elemental, I had the bright idea of bringing it online in translations, what with cultural studies being what it is today. Part of the inspiration came from a good online friend who appears to be a larger-than-life figure to everyone who knows him in person (take a bow, Pu Epis :)) He got me wondering if I could make some meaningful contribution online and just about the same time I came across this book The Heart of the Matter featuring stories from the North East...

And so was born my Mizo lit in English blog. Had to make do with a blog since I know nothing about making a proper site and anyway right now I'm more interested with its contents and trying to track down people I know who write/wrote creatively in English. Most beat about the bush claiming they haven't written in aeons and all their old stuff is gone with the wind (which I personally don't buy for a second but then I wouldn't want anyone to lay eyes on the atrocious rubbish I wrote once upon a lifetime ago myself either).

Margaret who appears to be about the only active translator around has been just amazing - generously and tirelessly providing me with material and urging me to try my hand at translations too. Which I most certainly promise to do. And then there's Mona. This girl is a living, breathing genius. I tell her she ought to be in academia, giving literary seminars all over the world and instead she tells me she's tired of the "deconstructing King Lear's grey hair" routine. Not to worry though, the crystal ball in my mind tells me we'll have a few print collections of her mindblowing poetry in the forseeable future and kids will soon grapple with her writings in bastions of higher learning :)

The process of putting Mizo stories and poems online has also brought me to a new appreciation of Mizo art. I have this notion that every post has to be accompanied by an appropriate image and the more Mizocentric the better. I've been freely dipping into our foremost artist Tlangrokhuma's online art gallery and wishing more Mizo artists would make their work available online. And not just paintings either but sketches, photographs and other graphic arts. It'd certainly help display their skills and talents, besides giving them a good excuse for getting online.


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Once Upon a Time

Once upon a time when I was young
and the world was still in black and white

Me and my older sister with Mum and Dad

With gran, cousins, sisters and me. The baby's my cousin Mama who's since passed on, as has my gran. My older sister's the one that's happily grinning into the camera, the toddler with a hand on her head and panties half hanging down is my younger sister, the oldest girl sitting next to gran is my cousin who now has an adorable grandtoddler of her own, and yours truly grimacing in the far right.

This must've been someone's birthday tea party. Me far right again, my two sisters and another male cousin who too has since passed on. He was attempting to rescue his 12 year old son who got into deep waters in the Tlawng river. His son survived, my cousin didn't....


Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Splashes of Colour

Orchids grow wild in Mizoram. We had a few samples around a couple of years ago when my sister, who's the one with a green thumb, could move around. Since then I think this is the only plant that's still bravely defying neglect and flowering beautifully in somewhat arid surroundings.

Little red hot chilly peppers blushing mightily in the sun

Our first poinsettia of the season. It's not perfectly shaped but it's still beautiful.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Literary definition howlers

Metaphor: It is a way of something by comparing something else and something that was in a particular pattern.

Simile: It is a way of something word compared with something by used this words.

Quatrain: Name of an instrument which is widely used for the measurement of weather.

Satire: The poet has the proud words. The poet had announced the great and they announced and vivid the proud poet is known as satire.

Elegy: (i) It is a hymn normally made up of lines consisting words about people we long for and who have left the world. It is a hymn for sobbing and sad people.

(ii) It refers to a song used in ancient days for funeral purposes. It is used till today. It is often practise in churches and temples.

(iii) It is also defined as the rumour that one had experience before. He might be suffered from different things maybe a love affair between man and woman about marriages, family problems, live or death, suffering from some diseases etc.

Sonnet: (i) It is a way of describing a word with 14 lines.

(ii) A sonnet can be defined as the remembering of true love by nature and the recalling of past life that one had experience. The imagination of one thought of real sense of beauty of nature.

(iii) It is a meditative attempt to define the nature of ideal love. In the course of this definition, an ideal love is set against a sense of true love.

Argh... these kids are crazy!


Sunday, October 28, 2007

Goin' hi-tech

The end of the year is usually super hectic for most people, teachers in particular. I've been swamped with papers to wade through... evaluations and the shhhh strictly confidential kind. I haven't even been able to do anything beyond a casual flip-through of my obligatory Cosmo and Readers' Digest.

Plus I finally got myself two new high tech toys this month. One's a new Sony Ericsson W810 cell phone to replace my two year old K750i. I still love my old phone and would have absolutely no quarrel with it were it not for the joystick which has to be the crappiest thing ever created! So off with the old, which my sister's happily taken up with, and on with the new. Since the new model has pretty much the same features as the old, no problems there.

Not so with the other new toy, sigh. I've wanted a digicam for ages but now that I finally got one, a moderately priced Sony DSC W80, I've discovered I'm no photographer. Or at least I know zilch about the technical aspects of photography. Like I said earlier, I've been so busy with paperwork I haven't really had time to tinker with it much, and the best or worst part was a couple of evenings earlier on October full moon night when I decided to take stunning shots of the moon. Shock, horror, my pictures kept turning out even worse than my phonecam pictures! Frantic calls to my photography expert who assured me that capturing great moon shots is easier said than done, and much tweaking of ISO, shutter speeds and what have yous later, the results were still the same. The moon rapidly lost all its appeal and the cam's become another challenge that I'm going to have to meet, come what may!

I did manage to take some pretty ok pictures though. And here's a few. Now sooth my bruised ego and tell me that I have the makings of a fairly decent photographer in me :)

Friday, September 28, 2007


February 1995 - September 28, 2007

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

God on the Mountain

This is a song that I only recently heard and which I just love to pieces already. Written and sung by Lynda Randle of the Billy Graham Singers.

Life is easy when you're up on the mountain
And you've got peace of mind like you've never known
But then things change and you're down in the valley
Don't lose faith for you're never alone

For the God on the mountain is still God in the valley
When things go wrong, He'll make it right
And the God of the good times
is still God in the bad times
The God of the day is still God in the night

You talk of faith when you're up on the mountain
Oh but the talk comes easy when life's at its best
But it's down in the valley of trials and temptation
That's when faith is really put to the test

For the God on the mountain is still God in the valley
When things go wrong, He'll make it right
And the God of the good times
is still God in the bad times
The God of the day is still God in the night.

Bless you, Miss Randle


Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Water logged

Saturday morning. Usually there's lots of housework with veg shopping topping the list of to-dos Sat morns but last weekend was a completely different story. I woke up to find it raining heavily for the third day running and half of my room had morphed into a little lake of sorts. I went downstairs and quickly ran through my sister's leg warm up exercises, helped her get into her chair, had a nice hot cuppa tea, did the downstairs rooms, and then checked back on my room. The little lake had spread out so there wasn't a dry spot on the floor. It took about 3 buckets to mop up. And I had to repeat the whole thing three times throughout the day. By the end of it all, my doggie Patea and I were all pooped out. Lordy, I don't want to see anything wet for the next 6 months!

Friday, September 07, 2007


A student died yesterday. Having been a teacher for several years now, I've had a few students cop out before but somehow this one made me stop and think. I'd been the one to enter his name on the class register but I can't recall what he must have looked like. Was he short or tall, thin or fat, fair or dark? They say he'd had kidney problems and then a heavy case of jaundice which he'd succumbed to. I've been thinking a lot of things. Like it was just a couple of months ago that he'd come to class with high expectations, thinking he was now in college and on his way to getting a degree. And only a short time later he's dead and gone; his name soon to be removed from the records, and apart from a mention in the annual magazine, his memory obliterated.

As a Christian I've been thinking....what have I ever said to these young people about life hereafter. I teach them how to write an application for a job, how to write a resume, delve into and discuss the intricacies of human psychology, social and cultural myths and mores, etc etc via literature. I see myself as helping them get that degree.

But what about life after death? To them I'm an adult figure and whatever my inadequacies, they see me as a responsible, trusted mature person and I should be a guide, a mentor, a someone who ought to know that their young lives can suddenly be cut short and prepares them in some way or the other for that eventuality.

It's humbling to feel so completely inadequate and useless.


Sunday, September 02, 2007

This is where the buck stops!

I'm going to rave and rant this time. No putting my best foot forward. No pretty speeches. No clever poems. No killing 'em softly with a song. And don't miss the blood red text colour.

My biggest grouse about blogging and my fellow bloggers: why oh why oh why can't people have the decency to ask if they might add me to their blogroll? Where have good manners and the simple "Mind if I add you?" one-liner disappeared? It was there when I first started blogging a year ago but since I don't know when, I've clicked onto people's blogs and found mine quietly sitting on their blogrolls without so much as a by your leave. Now that really gets me, people! Sure I'm flattered as shit you consider me worthy of being featured on your personal pages but puhleeeze, have the decency to check with me first. In other words, knock on my door and ask "May I?" Puhleeze!

As it is, I'm not even sure anymore if I should continue going public. Unlike a lot of other people I know personally who choose to make very impersonal inputs, preferring to air cultural, social, religious, et al concerns, I have chosen to write on very personal matters. And I'm frankly freaked that any passing Tom, Dick or Harry should just sit out there and give my innermost thoughts a virtual onceover. So if one of these days, this place goes under lock and key, this is why!


Thursday, August 30, 2007

Of Blogs and Temps and "The One"

I loved my Magic Paper template so but it gave me endless problems and the last straw was when it just crashed the other day. And that's the second time that the site which hosted it closed down without so much as a by your leave. But then that's how the cookie crumbles in these dizzily paced times.

I once came across a beautiful temp with an antique paper scroll look and that's what I hope to hound down sometime. If anyone's come across it, let me know. It's tough work wading through mountains of temps, some so silly and teenagerish they give me goosebumps the size of teen acne. But in my case I know for sure there's one temp out there on the world wide web that's just sitting there waiting for me and so, go on I must. Not that this isn't a bad looking temp. I like the slightly yellowed olde look. Suits me just fine methinks.


Thursday, August 02, 2007

Seasons of My Life: a Perspective

A friend sent me this picture sometime ago. I hadn't really given it much thought then but as I was cleaning out my inbox last night I was suddenly struck by the poignance of the set of images. What saddened me especially was the deepening darkness as the seasons wear on.

Lately I've been thinking a lot about aging. I noticed little creases around a friend's eyes the other day and when I checked at home a few days later, found those telltale signs on myself too. Besides the crows' feet, I've also noticed over the last few years that I'm not as fit and agile as I once was. It no longer takes just a good night's sleep to get aching bones and muscles to mend completely. It now takes at least a couple of days to limp back to normal. The old bag doesn't exactly sag and droop like the proverbial sack of whatnot yet but the old butt definitely isn't as easy to move around as it used to be.

But that's the physical side of it. I never was any Helen of Troy so it doesn't hit me so bad that I might want to do a Monroe and call it quits just because of a few lines. And aging is so clearly a blessing for me in terms of so many things.

I used to be the world's shyest, most taciturn child. A couple of tactless people even actually asked my mother if I could talk. I was naturally shy and quiet, addled with all kinds of insecurities and complexes, among which was having two very pretty sisters. Then at age 11, I was suddenly transplanted to a different environment following my father's death, having to attend the local school since Mum couldn't afford to continue sending me and my sisters to boarding school in Darjeeling. Coping with all the environmental changes and teenage angst was t-o-u-g-h but somehow I survived. Still very shy, very unsure, very uncertain of anything.

I got into teaching which isn't exactly a profession for introverts but somewhere along the line, self confidence built up. Gradually there were a few things that I was sure of, where I had faith in my abilities, and knew I had something in me of good worth. I've come now to realise, partly through good advice I read repeatedly in books and mags that most people are very shy too, and if they're younger or I feel they could in some way feel intimidated by me (yes, amazing as it is, there are now some people actually intimidated by little olde me :0)) I try to put them at ease by gabbing a lot of nonsense and covering up those horribly awkward silences. I'm still not by any means even in the world's top 10000 best ice breakers but hey, I've come a long way, baby.

Propped up by a very precious faith in God, I'm now comfortable with myself and who and what I am, my limitations and drawbacks, my strengths and plus points. And that ease of being in my own skin doesn't even begin to compare with a few lines and acheovers. You win some, you lose some and I know for certain that I've won more than I've lost.

And at the end of it all, when under a dark pit I lie with only a little cross to mark my fleeting presence on earth, I think I shall be quite satisfied that I'd had a good life.


Friday, July 20, 2007

Wish you were here

there's distance between us
and you're on my mind
as i lay here in the darkness
i can't find no peace inside

i wish you were here, holding me tight
if i had you near, it would make it alright
i wish you were here
'cause i feel like a child tonight

there's rain on my window
and i can count the drops
but i can't help feeling lonely
there's no way, no way that i could stop

each moment is a memory
time is so unkind
every hour filled with an emptiness
i can't hide

oh, there's distance between us
can't get you out of my mind
as i lay here in the darkness
i can find no peace inside

i wish you were here, holding me tight
if i had you near, it would make it alright
i wish you were here
'cause I feel like a child tonight

lyrics by Christine McVie and Colin Allen


Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Love Song to a Stranger

how long since i've spent a whole night in a twin bed with a stranger
his warm arms all around me?
how long since I've gazed into dark eyes that melted my soul down
to a place where it longs to be?
all of your history has little to do with your face
you're mainly a mystery with violins filling in space

you stood in the nude by the mirror and picked out a rose
from the bouquet in our hotel
and lay down beside me again and i watched the rose
on the pillow where it fell
i sank and i slept in a twilight with only one care
to know that when day broke and i woke that you'd still be there

the hours for once they passed slowly, unendingly by
like a sweet breeze on a field
your gentleness came down upon me and I guess i thanked you
when you caused me to yield
we spoke not a sentence and took not a footstep beyond
our two days together which seemingly soon would be gone

don't tell me of love everlasting and other sad dreams
i don't want to hear
just tell me of passionate strangers who rescue each other
from a lifetime of cares
because if love means forever, expecting nothing returned
then I hope i'll be given another whole lifetime to learn

because you gave to me oh so many things it makes me wonder
how they could belong to me
and i gave you only my dark eyes that melted your soul down
to a place where it longs to be.

Words and music by Joan Baez

I've loved this song for years, loved the stark accoustic arrangements and the poetry of its lyrics. I read in a bio of Baez that she didn't write it for Dylan but some much younger relative stranger that she picked up on the road. I like that.


Thursday, July 12, 2007

Let's speaka da Ingrish!

A compilation of howlers that a colleague culled from exam papers a few years ago and contributed to the annual magazine like so...

Laughing at the expense of others - the students in particular, is it cruel? Maybe. Should a teacher do that? Probably not, but sometimes it is just so hard not to do so. Let us give you a taste of what we've had to endure (with a straight face) through the years.

Make sentences with:

null and void -

a) The complete silence in Hiroshima was null and void.
b) To null and void we go to the market.
c) Null and void is such a wicked man.

next to no time -
a) Monday is a happy time, next monday is no time.
b) I cannot attend the class in time, the teacher give me in next to no time.

the apple of her eye
Isaac Newton was the discoverer the apple of her eye from the apple lay it down.

high and dry
I can't cook, cooking is high and dry for human.

in two minds
a) Rama was condemned in two minds of Sangi and Rami.
b) He was in two minds person.

gift of the gab
a) With gift of the gab I consult the doctor.
b) The precious exams was the gift of the gab.

a wet blanket
a) Get your wet blanket face off me.
b) Johny was like a wet blanket, he was 102 kg.

in a nutshell
a) Samuel usually eats things which is inside a nutshell.
b) The beggars make their beggars bowl in a nutshell.

vague misgivings
a) Don't misgiving your vague.
b) He present his girlfriend a watch but it was a vague misgiving.

And who was Leonardo da Vinci?
a) Leonardo was a poet, an engineer, he also wrote a poem and a sonnet.
b) Leonardo Vinci was the early socialist artist of the history of Europe.
c) He wrote the famous picture 'Last Super'.
d) He was paint a very important for the people of Italian, like a Lisa.
e) The citizens of French which was pride of him.

These are in a category by themselves... guess their meaning!

Man live for rice.
They wear their necklace kamis which is called rebirth.
Endangered species are the species on land.
A "doormant account" is an account open by a person who is a sleeping person.
Finish goods cannot sells is like an empty jar.
Green stone used in jewellery = quarry!
Our politicians jumped into the jampacked.
Terror have no any chance for loot and plunder.
In that town security is also tightly available.
Student life is very good and enjoyable like no tension and no mention.

So what do you think? Hilarious? Unbelievable? Frustrating? Our sentiments exactly!


Monday, July 09, 2007

Hangin' around
Nothing to do but frown
Rainy days and Mondays always get me down.
What I've got they used to call the blues
Nothin' is really wrong
Feelin' like I don't belong
Walkin' around
Some kind of lonely clown
Rainy days and Mondays always get me down.
Funny but it seems I always wind up here with you
Nice to know somebody loves me
Funny but it seems that it's the only thing to do
Run and find the one who loves me.
What I feel has come and gone before
No need to talk it out
We know what it's all about
Hangin' around
Nothing to do but frown
Rainy days and Mondays always get me down.

- Lyrics by Digby Diehl, sung by The Carpenters


Saturday, June 16, 2007

Rain and wind, rain and wind, day and night.
The day gray, sterile, dark. Lightless,
shadowless. Only the rainy haze, the cloudy half-light and
the whine of trams, the grumble of traffic.

Suppressed weeping in the sky, sighing in the winds.
A long, long day, how far away the night?
Weary hours, languid moments; the shackles of time jangle
endless, tireless.

Night; bleakness in the room, darkness without,
the rain and the wind, the rain and the wind.
Empty, empty is my heart, barren, barren is the night,
but for the angry moaning of a sleepless city.

Bleakness in my heart, howling in the city, darkness in the sky.
Shadows, winds, voices, murmurs, angry whispers, deep sighs
in the city, in the empty room, in the rain-laden darkness,
in the jangling of time's shackles,
all night, all day.

The day is bleak, silent like a bog. The night too is dumb;
nothing remains. Nothing, nothing.
The rain's murky veil, the wind and the city's wailing
mask creation. Nothing remains. I am alone. Alone.

- Buddhadeva Bose
(Translated by Nandini Gupta)


It's been raining again. This last week we've had just one perfect sunny day and I'm just about ready to climb the walls! Anyway I was scouring the Net for good, strong, really into it rain poetry, the kind that knows rain can wreak havoc on a person's sense of wellbeing and not the sugary Oh-how-I love-the-rain kind of insipidity. And voila, I came across this amazing poem. I must admit I've left out some parts at the end so if anyone wants to read it in its entirety, it's at in the translations section.

Monday, June 11, 2007

I love 20th century lit. It's fascinating stuff even if it's pretty nigh impossible to teach, all those allusions and symbolisms and what have you. I'm currently doing Sons and Lovers with the freshers, and trying to lead kids just fresh out of school into the intricacies of modern lit is like trying to teach a day old baby all about arthritis and old age pains and pangs.
Anyway to get into Sons and Lovers, it's imperative to know all about poor old Oedipus who in all probability wouldn't have lent his name, had he been asked, to the Freudian theory. I usually ask the kids to dig into the Oedipus myth first and then the theory and then we get into the book.
Which all leads me to this pert little poem with an unexpected feminist twist that I found online


Long afterward, Oedipus, old and blinded, walked the
roads. He smelled a familiar smell. It was
the Sphinx. Oedipus said, "I want to ask one question.
Why didn't I recognize my mother?" "You gave the
wrong answer," said the Sphinx. "But that was what
made everything possible," said Oedipus. "No," she said.
When I asked, What walks on four legs in the morning,
two at noon, and three in the evening, you answered,
Man. You didn't say anything about woman."
"When you say Man," said Oedipus, "you include women
too. Everyone knows that." She said, "That's what
you think."

- Muriel Rukeyserink


Sunday, June 10, 2007

Rainy Day Blahs

I hate the rain
I hate the fog
I hate closed windows
I hate closed doors
I hate the smell of mildew
I hate dog poo around the house
I hate the feel of dank clothes
I hate slushy footprints on the floors
I hate being missed only
at 2 or 3 or 4 in the a.m
I hate having to hate something
I hate the creepy crawlies
that will creep and crawl every which where
now that the rains are here
and they've only just started.

I hate being claustrophobed
by a season.


Thursday, June 07, 2007

You tell me that silence
is nearer to peace than poems
but if for my gift
I brought you silence
(for I know silence)
you would say
"This is not silence
this is another poem"
and you would hand it back to me.

- Leonard Cohen


All you who sleep tonight
Far from the ones you love,
No hand to left or right
And emptiness above -

Know that you aren't alone
The whole world shares your tears,
Some for two nights or one,
And some for all their years.

- Vikram Seth


Maybe he believes me, maybe not.
Maybe I can marry him, maybe not.

Maybe the wind on the prairie,
The wind on the sea, maybe,
Somebody, somewhere, maybe can tell.

I will lay my head on his shoulder
And when he asks me I will say yes,

- Carl Sandburg


Thursday, May 31, 2007

Way way back in the 70s, there was this exquisitely made movie called Friends shot in the beautiful French countryside. It hit my sleepy little town several years later and, along with all my friends, I just loved it to pieces. After all, back then there were relatively no teen movies and TV was just a figment of our dreams. I remember in particular this scene where the 14 and 15 year old leads talk about their parents and the pretty Michelle says, "My mother died giving birth to me. She was very old. She was 28." Ouch.

Time passed and I had forgotten all about it until recently when I managed to get hold of another old fav movie Picnic at Hanging Rock through the Net. I wondered if Friends might also not be available and google-ed it down. Turns out the film's rather hard to find but in a movie forum I came across this amazing gentleman from the US who offered to burn and mail a copy of the fabulous soundtrack to anyone anywhere. So I emailed him and voila, guess what finally arrived in the mail this morning? :)
It's amazing what friends will do for friends, but I think it's even more amazing that a total stranger would be willing to do something like this. Don, thank you so much! You bring back to me so many sweet memories. And your generosity restores my faith in the goodness of people.


Tuesday, May 29, 2007

It took a lot longer than I thought and there's still some stuff that needs to be done...paint, curtains et al but here finally are a few pics of the kitchen as promised. How's it compare with my aunt's? I wanted off-white tiles too but my sis insisted on black so ours look a bit darker overall. But it's still a huge improvement on the earlier setup so we ain't complaining :)

My sis cooking up something

Monday, May 28, 2007


Day abandons it
night disowns it

a poet picks it up
threads it
into a poem;
but sometimes
it is barren,
so impotent
it gives nothing,
not even to the poet.

- Gulzar

I'm not sure if this was written in English or translated from Urdu but I like the different approach it takes to a topic that's been sentimentalised and done to death in the most humdrum way by poets and songwriters galore.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Sunday, April 15, 2007

The last few days I've been working hard at trying to make our kitchen look something like the one above, which happens to be my aunt's. My sisters and I have long felt our kitchen needed major upgrading, what with the outdated sunglossed cabinet doors and general antiquidated look. But knocking things down is hard, dirty, dusty work, and things don't always go to plan. Like after putting in granite slabs on the counter and cementing them down, there was a place in the corner where water puddled so we had to rip them up again. Sigh. My bones ache. And we haven't even actually started on the wood work.


Sunday, April 08, 2007

Musings on the Holy Week

We had the Lord's Supper sacrament on Maundy Thursday night. The church was full and it all started quietly in a hushed kind of way. As the bread and wine were served by solemn elders and ministers, the singing became more fervent and emotional. And as we sang of the sufferings of Jesus the night he was captured, tried and sentenced to death, I choked on "aw ka Lal, i lo kir leh tawh law'ng maw?", (oh my Lord, will you never return?) as scenes of a bloodsoaked Jesus staggering along the streets of Jerusalem on his way to Calvary from The Passion of the Christ came vividly to mind. Sweet catharsis.

A Hindu friend from Orissa once asked me why Good Friday was called good when Jesus Christ died on that day. It's hard for non-Christians to understand. I explained as best as I could about the whole concept of salvation and I think she was reasonably satisfied that Good Friday is indeed a "good" day for believers.

It’s Easter today, the most glorious day ever in history. But I never quite thought of it that way until after my mother died. When Easter rolled around after she'd left us, I only fully realised the implications of the resurrection of Christ and of death "swallowed up in victory". The entire chapter of I Corinthians 15 became the truest, most beautiful, most glorious thing I'd ever heard. Jesus died, and on Easter morning, rose again to lead the resurrection of the dead. Easter completes the cycle of salvation and redemption. And because of Easter, I know I shall meet my mother again.


He's Alive (Peter's Song)

The gates and doors were barred
And all the windows fastened down
I spent the night in sleeplessness
And rose at every sound
Half in hope of sorrow
And half in fear the day
Would find the soldiers breakin' through
To drag us all away

And just before the sunrise
I heard something at the wall
The gate began to rattle
And a voice began to call
I hurried to the window
Looked down into the street
Expecting swords and torches
And the sound of soldiers' feet

But there was no one there but Mary
So I went down to let her in
John stood there beside me
As she told me where she'd been
She said they've moved Him in the night
And none of us know where
The stone's been rolled away
And now His body isn't there

We both ran towards the garden
Then John ran on ahead
We found the stone and empty tomb
Just the way that Mary said
But the winding sheet they wrapped Him in
Was just an empty shell
And how or where they'd taken Him
Was more than I could tell

Oh something strange had happened there
Just what I did not know
John believed a miracle
But I just turned to go
Circumstance and speculation
Couldn't lift me very high
'Cause I'd seen them crucify Him
Then I saw Him die

Back inside the house again
The guilt and anguish came
Everything I'd promised Him
Just added to my shame
When at last it came to choices
I denied I knew His name
And even if He was alive
It wouldn't be the same

But suddenly the air was filled
With a strange and sweet perfume
Light that came from everywhere
Drove shadows from the room
And Jesus stood before me
With His arms held open wide
And I fell down on my knees
And I just clung to Him and cried

Then He raised me to my feet
And as I looked into His eyes
The love was shining out from Him
Like sunlight from the skies
Guilt in my confusion
Disappeared in sweet release
And every fear I ever had
Just melted into peace

He's alive yes He's alive
Yes He's alive and I'm forgiven
Heaven's gates are open wide
He's alive yes He's alive
Oh He's alive and I'm forgiven
Heaven's gates are open wide
He's alive He's alive
Hallelujah He's alive.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Sigh, it's that time of the year again. The most aggravating time for a teacher. And the worst part is that these papers aren't going back to the kids, just their marks, so it doesn't help leaving exasperated red-inked comments like "Do you even know what's in your syllabus?!" Or "I shall hold you personally responsible in the event of my mental breakdown!"

In particular, being an English teacher has to be the stressful job ever at evaluation time. When I first started out, I was tickled to death by the absurd things I read. I thought they were the absolute height of hilarity and would note down and quote the unbelievably whackier ones. Then came stage ii: I was no longer amused but outraged by the indifferent mangling of tenses and verbs and prepositions. I'd slash through the offending lines and mark them "MEANINGLESS!" Or sometimes "ABSOLUTE RUBBISH!!!" Then came stage iii: I'm now completely inured to it all and resigned to the fact that these kids are just incapable of constructing proper sentences in English. I don't open the papers anymore with any sense of anticipation at being entertained or having my ulcer act up. I just sigh and get on with it.


10 Things Teachers Would Love to Write on a Student's Paper

1. I would not allow this student to breed.
2. This student has delusions of adequacy.
3. This student is depriving a village somewhere of an idiot.
4. This student is not the sharpest tool in the shed.
5. Student has been working with glue too much.
6. If this student were any more stupid, he'd have to be watered twice a week.
7. Gates are down, lights are flashing, but the train isn’t coming.
8. It’s hard to believe the sperm that created this student beat out 1,000,000 others.
9. If this student had two brain cells, they'd kill each other.
10. This student has reached rock bottom and has started to dig.


Saturday, March 24, 2007


The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, then circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think, say, or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill. It will make or break a company, a church, a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day.

We cannot change our past. We cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you. We are in charge of our attitudes.

- Charles Swindoll

I like this. I've loved Swindoll's writings ever since I read his book Come Before Winter (which introduced me to the term "sweating the small stuff". And this attitude thing is something that I need to remind myself every day, every hour. I try not to be but I'm a reactionary kind of person. If someone's nice, I'm nice. If someone snubs me, I snub them right back. But it's immature and doesn't do anything for me in terms of personal growth so I need to keep reminding myself that I'm in charge. I call the shots. I decide how I'm going to act and feel. Easier said than done but at least I have Swindoll's wise reminder to prop my spine back into place when it sags under the onslaught of unpleasant encounters.


Thursday, March 15, 2007

Who tells the crocuses it's spring?
What calendar informs the daffodils
To bloom, or notifies the birds to sing,
Or bids the grass to blow across the hills?
What almanac has urged the leaves to wake,
Or stirred the tulips in their narrow beds?
What messenger instructs the buds to break,
Or violets to lift their purple heads?
And yet they know.
They know.
This is the hour when spring takes over.
Let the winter pass...
You cannot keep it from the wistful flower,
You cannot hide it from the eager grass.
It's spring. It's spring! The news has got around,
Spreading like fire across the quickened ground.

May Winkler Goodman
I'd meant to post this pretty Spring poem earlier but never got around to it until now when it's more Summer than Spring. Not that we actually have Spring in these parts. It's either winter where you need to sun yourself outside (January came and went with everyone doing basically that, just trying to catch some sun all day). Or it's Summer where we all wilt even up here in the cooler climes of the mountains. Or it's the third and my least favourite season, the monsoon where everything's wet, muddy and mildewed.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

The moon was so beautiful last night I just had to post this. Maybe I have a lunar fetish. Maybe I just like night scenes when it comes to photographs. Not that I'm a night person by any means though. I'm one of those increasingly rare, outdated breed that start yawning by 8.30 pm, unless I'm trawling the Net or being thoroughly entertained by something or the other. I need 8 hours sleep at the very least or I start wilting at noon. I truly envy those people who can survive on 4 to 5 hours sleep. Maybe it's a genetics thing, maybe it's just force of habit. And I did grow up at a time when power wasn't around 24/7 and we'd sometimes do our homework by the light of kerosene lanterns. It's such a relief being able to just flick a little switch and call it a day...


Monday, February 26, 2007

When I say I am a Christian
I'm not shouting 'I am saved'
I'm whispering 'I get lost'
Which is why I chose this way.

When I say I am a Christian
I do not speak of this with pride.
I'm confessing that I stumble
And need someone to be my guide.

When I say I am a Christian
I'm not trying to be strong.
I'm professing that I'm weak
And need help to carry on.

When I say I am a Christian
I'm not bragging of success.
I'm admitting I have failed
And cannot ever pay the debt.

When I say I am a Christian
I'm not claiming to be perfect
My flaws are too visible
But God believes I'm worth it.

When I say I am a Christian
I still feel the sting of pain
I have my share of heartaches
Which is why I seek His name.

When I say I am a Christian
I do not wish to judge.
I have no authority.
I only know I'm loved.

- Carol Wimmer

Friday, February 23, 2007

Won't You Step into my Garden?

I'm no green thumb but every winter I have this compulsion to get a few pots together and try to breed splashes of spring colours, usually petunias. Don't know why petunias especially but they're easy to grow and they don't seem to attract those horrible little furry things as much as other species. So early in December I got down and dirty and mucked around for a day, and mid Feb, hey presto, there's this glorious riot of colour to help ease winter's passage into summer...

Monday, February 19, 2007

I came across this via a friend today. And I'm going to make sure that I have it posted up on the bulletin board at work asap to provide some comfort to the good young girls that I teach. Just wish I'd had something like this to fall back on when I was younger and convinced that being a good girl was something very very bad. Of course, now I know better... being older and wiser.


Friday, February 09, 2007


There is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries..

- W. Shakespeare
Julius Caesar, IV, iii


Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old time is still a-flying :
And this same flower that smiles to-day
To-morrow will be dying...

Then be not coy, but use your time,
And while ye may go marry :
For having lost but once your prime
You may for ever tarry.

- Robert Herrick


(Photo by Joe Taruga

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Don't wait for what you
to come to

Go after it with
all that you
are, knowing
that life
meet you

(Photo by Sudhir Shivaram

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Deep Purple

when the deep purple falls
over sleepy garden walls
and the stars begin
to flicker in the sky
through the mist of a memory
you wander back to me
breathing my name with a sigh.
in the still of the night
once again I hold you tight
though you're gone
your love lives on
when moonlight beams
and as long as my heart will beat,
sweet lover, we'll always meet
here in my deep purple dreams

A Donny and Marie Osmond song that I used to love back when I was a young girl filled with giddy dreams. For me, the best gift the Net brings are the songs and music that I grew up to....

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Desolation Blues

ain't no sunshine when you're gone
it's not warm when you're away
ain't no sunshine when you're gone
and you're always gone too long
everytime you go away

can i live without you
now that i know you
now that i know you exist?
can i be the same
now that i've changed
with the gentle touch of your hand?
now that i'm divided
by my need for you
without you
can i be whole again?

Monday, January 01, 2007

A New Year's Prayer

Dear Lord, please give me...
A few friends who understand me,
and yet remain my friends

A work to do which has real value,
without which the world would feel the poorer.

A mind unafraid to travel,
even though the trail be not blazed.
An understanding heart...
A sense of humour.

Time for quiet, silent meditation.
A feeling of the presence of God
And the patience to wait for the coming of these things,
with the wisdom to know them when they come.

W.R. Hunt