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For the love of reading

Once upon a time in a country called India, in the state of Tamil Nadu, in the magnificent city of Chennai there was a young girl who loved reading. She started reading at the age of 8 – 9. At any given point in time you could bet on the fact that she could be found with her nose in a book. Buried deep inside.  Her resources were limited but it didn’t stop her. She bugged her English teacher at school to get her books, bugged her elder cousins to give her their books and above all made life miserable for her parents asking them for books constantly. She read with passion almost everything in sight.  English text books, young world any thing that provided her with a route to her beloved stories. The passion continued unabated. Her love for stories ended up in a love for literature which still continues unabated.

I am sure there was absolutely no need for this long lumba – choda introduction in the third person as I sure my readers (all 3 of you) know I am talking about myself. Yes people today I am going to talk about my love for reading. I have no idea how it started but it was largely due to the above mentioned English teacher that it sustained (Thank you Mrs. Geetha Charles). Coming to Qatar one of the things that I really missed is not getting any reading material (read fiction). Being a member of an amazing library back home I felt lost without my beloved books.

Rescue was however on its way a friend (thank you Rahul Asrani) lent me a book and it was a lovely book. I am a very fast reader but with this book I took an unbelievable amount of time so I started wondering why. I realized that not just this book but with any good novel I am like this. When I approach the closing pages of one of these novels, a feeling of great regret comes over me, for I realize that I am about to end my relationship with characters that I have grown to love. I feel, when the pages dwindle as if something precious and irreplaceable is being taken from me. When I realize I have only a few pages left I ration myself, only so much one day and when the final page looms and I close the book I stare at the front cover aware that something precious has touched my life.

That is the impact that a good book has on my life. As a lecturer I have interacted with a lot of students from a wide cross section of society and something common I found in most of them (most not all) is a dislike towards books. Most youngsters find books boring and uninspiring – oh ye of little imagination thou knowest not what thou art missing.

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November 3, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Making it work

I am on the verge of getting married and as a result I have been an object of a deluge of advice. All meaningfully given but advice is as advice gets pretty much over my head. So from all the advice I received there is one that I especially liked and it came from (believe it or not) a mills and boons novel. This is the scene – the hero and heroine having confessed their love for each other wonders aloud what makes love work for some people and not for others. And the answer is this –

“I think each person has to make a commitment in his or her heart  to make a relationship work. Each time the commitment is threatened or when things get dull or hard or whatever then they have to decide to make the commitment again and again and again. And they should let the other person know they are still serious about making it work. They should be honest with each other about how they feel and what they need from each other even if it hurts at times.”

Obvious advice isn’t it but how true. If only we can remember this advice as we go ahead in our lives and relationships how much better would things be  🙂

December 15, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Of research, researches and researchers

A study published in the October issue of Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin to investigate nature’s influence on our personal values and behavior, a group of psychologists at the University of Rochester in New York had students look at slides of either natural landscapes or cityscapes. They also tested the effect of having plants in an office space.

In both experimental setups, students reported that they valued personal relationships and doing good for the community more highly after having seen a bit of green. And the more they immersed themselves in the natural experience, the less they cared about fame and fortune; they even became more generous with their money.

“These findings suggest,” the researchers wrote in their report, “that full contact with nature can have humanizing effects, fostering greater authenticity and connectedness.”

And Viewing cityscapes or hanging around a barren office made the students greedier and more selfish

Now I ask you all it takes is looking at greenery and we become better people. Now I don’t know the duration the students spent looking at the greenery but am assuming that you can’t spend too much looking either at the slides or the plants without getting disoriented. So after spending a minimum time you change so much???

Now I wonder isn’t it a little too convenient. I mean it is a well known opinion that nature gives peace and all that jazz so the students must have responded accordingly. I wonder if you can actually take “research” like that seriously. I mean I am a nature lover too. The sight of my native land (Kerala) fills me with inexplicable joy a sense of freshness etc etc. but I must confess that it never inspired the responses that these students have felt. So does that mean that I am dysfunctional or something. Well I know research is general what is true for one person need not be true for another so I conducted a mini research on the same topic. I went to my friends and students in the college and asked then what they felt when they saw greenery and n general nature inspired themes. They all (individually) said they felt at peace and good about themselves. I probed what about feelings towards others, you know an increased sense of bon – homie or love towards mankind, an inclination towards doing good for the community in general  they just shrugged their shoulders. I asked them if maybe looking at the city and pollution garbage disposal made them want to go and attach each other make them feel selfish greedy they just gave me a look oh God has Anisha lost it again.

The point I am trying to make is the authenticity of such researches. This was published in a well known magazine and maybe a lot of people would have read it and a couple od people might have used it for whatever academic purpose they might need. So a lot of people are being influenced by this. So I feel that before publishing research like that they must verify more than just the result also the methodology and if it makes sense. My opinion people what says you.

December 8, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Butter chicken and snobbery now

This maybe considered by some as a continuation of my blog on snobbery dated Nov 18 (https://takinlife1stepatime.wordpress.com/2008/11/18/coffee-and-snobbery/). It spoke about the costliest coffee in India Kopi Luwak which sells at Rs. 850 a cuppa. I have seen it all I said, seems it is not all for a while ago say about a month I read an article in an outlook magazine which talks about a chicken curry. Chicken Natwarlal that is being marketed through a website by a bunch of techies who run a website “www.anaarkali.in” that according to their description is the classiest chicken curry in the world. Well and for a mere 6000 rupees it is all yours. INR 6000 I kid you not. The process is very simple – You order on the Net, deposit the money in their bank, and 24 hours later they deliver a portion sufficient for two persons to your door.

These young enterprising young men decided to combine their love for butter chicken with some quick money making and as a result of 8 years of hard researching has come up with this mind numbing chicken curry. They are quite open about their ingredients. It is no exotic cat shit but good ole stuff from your friendly supermarket next door. No caviar no blanched oysters all you have is Godrej chicken, Hunt’s tomato paste, Lurpak butter, Taj Mahal saffron,  Nestle dahi, Filippo Berio olive oil, Evian mineral water, Dabur honey and Kraft cheese powder. Jesus Christ!!! That is all I have to say on the matter. Isn’t this stretching snobbery a little more than the accepted line?  They have a 40 point checkpoint to ensure that you always get the same taste everytime.

From their home page –
Anaarkali is the expression of our love and passion for butter chicken. Since the day we started, we have maintained that we felt we had made a butter chicken like no other, and wanted to share this taste with the world and in the course try to use this unique taste to do some good for the society.

Now I have nothing against spending money my parents will testify to the extent and ease with which I spend money but somewhere you must stop and think about it. No matter how much you are able to afford it you cannot – cannot spend money like this. Snobbery has got its place and at Rs. 6000 per plate I am very sorry to say it is ill afforded.

Images – http://www.anaarkali.in/Butter-Chicken/anaarkali-butter-chicken-gallery.html

December 5, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Anisha Kuruvilla
Anisha Kuruvilla
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August 6, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

2009 A Love Story

There is a story that needs to be told …a story that stands strong in this turbulent loveless time. In this age of recession talk and increased divorce rates I want to relate to my readers a real life incident that touched my heart. On the way to my house there is a slum and this one fine day on my way to college I saw a big crowd in front of a house, it was a house with a shamiana and a closer look showed that someone had passed away.

Even as I was going I heard a lady tearing her hair, wailing and beating her chest mourning for the loss of a loved one. Time constraints as I have in the morning made sure I couldn’t enquire. The next morning my maid told me that it was an old man who passed away and the woman mourning him was his wife. Very sad, I thought and shrugged these things happen. A little later as I rode pass the house I saw the woman wearing the same sari and lying flat on the ground outside her house. My maid reported the next day that the woman refused to eat anything and was just lying down. Oh, I said not sure what I must say in a situation like that.

For the next 3 days as I went past the house I saw the lady flat on the ground. A couple of days later as I was in my mad dash to catch my bus I saw the same shamiana and crowd in front of the same house. Déjà vu all over me not stopping I sped fast. The next morning my maid comes and tells me the wife of the man who died last week she passed away too.

My dad the ever sceptic argues it is lack of food that did her in after all she was pretty old. But it doesn’t matter what he thinks I know that whatever might have been the reason people might say the real reason must have been death by heartbreak. She pined for her love that will never be returned and she died. I realize that I am getting a little bit maudlin and mawkish here but something about the couple just touched my heart.  After all isn’t that what we all desire a love that completes us and if one half goes away what will the other half do?

July 10, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 7 Comments

Goodbye

This has been a rather sad week for me. The reason is the resignation of one of the staff in the college – Dr. P.V. Susila. She was the head of the department of Languages at HCAS. She left the college to join a government job which is after all at the end of the day a very desirable. Now for what reason would I be sad about her leaving. Well it would have been obvious to anyone who knew her. I could put it very elaborately but very simply put – she is kindness personified.

From day one when I was a scared fresher she has been a pillar of support for me. In the 1 and a half years that I have known her I have never seen her lose her temper or even yell. It is very important for me as I am the kind of teacher who shouts, rants and raves to get things done. Extremely polite, dignified, ever smiling are other words I use to describe her. In this world of people who change their jobs sooner than you can say abracadabra it is indeed wonderful to mote that she stayed 14 years. The first employee of the college she has served the college with resolute loyalty. Loyal, patient, dignified, polite, soft spoken – she is a true lady in my book.

As she starts her new career in service of the Government of Tamil Nadu here is wishing mam all the very best. I know even now as I write this blog that she is irreplaceable after all people like these are 1 in a million 🙂

Susila Mam

Susila Mam

July 9, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 1 Comment

Of People and their inflated sense of opinion.

A woman’s greatest enemy is not a man it is merely another woman.
I have said that a thousand times and I will tell you again. Whether it is a mother in law who tortures her daughter in law for money or a mother in law who forces to kill her innocent baby because she was unfortunately born a girl child. In a country where a woman is supposed to be revered, where the country is referred to as mother and the major religion having a host of women as deities is the girl child insulted and hurt.

Why am I spewing venom I read a newspaper report in which the NCW (National Commission of Women) had rejected a report filed by Nirmala Venkatesh, who led the 3-member team that enquired into the January 24 attack on girls and boys at a pub in Mangalore by Sriram Sena. Among other gyaan she sprouted in her report she bypassed the attack on women by Sri Rama Sene members, and instead said the club did ‘not have enough security’ and that ‘women have to safeguard themselves’. She also shifted the probe focus to whether or not the pub had the license to serve liquor.

Claiming that she was unable to trace the victims, Ms. Venkatesh met the accused in jail to seek their help in locating the girls. At one point in time, she even suggested that women refrain from wearing “skimpy” and provocative dresses.

Of all the incredibly stupid things to say. Women like her are a bane to normal freedom loving women. She has been rightly sacked from her post and she has joined the BJP bandwagon. Terming the rejection of her interim report on the Mangalore pub attacks as a “deep political conspiracy”, Venkatesh said, ” I am being made a political victim. I am deeply hurt and shocked.”

“I am shocked that certain people, whom I do not want to mention, have personal dislike for my honest work and clean image, and are out to settle their personal scores against me in this manner”, she added.

People and their inflated sense of opinion.

March 6, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Bell Bajao

A screaming woman in the background. Angry abuse from a male mouth. Sounds coming from your neighbour who is a factory worker. The drunken man is hitting her and using foul language, her cjildren and screaming. From the comfort of our homes we watch with a shake of our head and say these people just don’t learn. This is just achiched situation. A working class family drunken husband beating up his wife for money, but when it comes to domestic violence there is more…so much more. Domestic violence has been experienced and documented across nations and cultures throughout the world in all classes and communities. Domestic violence is a fact of human life- a universal phenomenon.
Domesticviolence.org defines domestic violence as thus – “Domestic violence and emotional abuse are behaviors used by one person in a relationship to control the other. Partners may be married or not married; heterosexual, gay, or lesbian; living together, separated or dating.”

Though it is seen as a worldwide phenomenon it is especially prevalent in societies where the woman is considered subservient. It is a criminal behavior and it is to express their r power and control over their dependants. Psychologists assert that people deal with their own insecurities and inadequacies by abusing and controlling the lives of others within the safe precincts of domestic walls. The domestic situation usually makes the abused very vulnerable and fragile.
Stats from domesticviolence.in says that even in a “developed country like America also Women are six times more likely to get violated by intimate partners than men. Surveys taken from time to time have revealed 305 women get violated in Barbados, 29% in Canada, 34% in Egypt, 35% in New Zealand, 21% in Switzerland and 22% in United States. Surveys done in specific areas have also revealed figures as high as 50 and 70%”

“ In India there is a crime against women in every three minutes, one rape every twenty-nine minutes and one recorded case of dowry death in every seventy-seven minutes. Cases of cruelty meted out by husbands and in laws are seen in every nine minutes. Patriarchal terrorism where one partner uses economic and social power to maintain control over another human is very common in India and other Asian countries due to the subservient status of women.”

So what can be done domestic violence will never be fully eliminated from society unless society refuses to tolerate it. This will require an internal change in the basic nature of society world over, beginning with the recognition of the worth of every human being as an individual. If the law does not buck up in terms of implementing punishment on those who violate others within the sacred walls of the institution called family and home, the weaker will continue to be violated and abused by the stronger – physically, mentally, materially and spiritually.
So what can we do about it. Stop tolerating it. Sounds simple na. But that’s it. If we recognize that even women are equal to men that they are human beings with feeling and not jus a receptacle of anger of the men in life it is a step forward. And the law must come down strongly on men who abuse their wives and daughters. Unless the change comes from within the society there can be no help.
Meanwhile chek this out it is but one way of stopping domestic violence.
http://www.afaqs.com/perl/advertising/creative_showcase/index.html?id=7049&media=TV

February 24, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Campus Connection

The sexy emcee came sashaying down the catwalk at the Madras University Auditorium. As the spotlight focused on her she split into a broad smile and said – Welcome to Times Campus Connect, brought to you by Hindustan College of Arts and Science. Yes people it was culturals time at HCAS and what a time it was. For two days at the madras university campus I had sooo much fun. It was like being back in college especially considering I did not have to take part in anything. All I had to do was sit back and enjoy and of course shout. To make matters even more special I had a likeminded company, my junior at college and my colleague at work Hari Priya. The huge audiorium with a capacity of 3500.people was packed. The shouting crowd the pulsating music the flashing lights… wow. To make a wonderful day even more special our chief guest came, and it was none other than actor Arya looing absolutely drop dead gorgeous. How the crowd screamed. Mercifully short speeches later the culturals was officially declared open. To start out with the there was a quasi – host dance performance by Spring Boots from our sister college Hindustan University. After that extremely well done show of Rasputin by Boney M the competitions began. Some good performances some bad performances at the end of the day it was entertaining. There were a lot of celebrities walking in and out the whole day including one of my favourite singers, Naresh Iyer. Specially note worthy were the pro shows Reflection by Deiv’s dance troupe and a rock concert by Junkyard groove. Two electrifying performances and oh my god what a time we had. Well at the end of our two day cultural extravaganza all that a person could do was ask could we have more???

February 4, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 4 Comments