17 September, 2006

Anxiously waiting

Everyone would have had anxious moments of waiting in their life. Last week I was just thinking about how we wait for something in our life to happen. Sometimes it is a pleasure and sometimes it is a pain.

I had always felt it as a pain to wait for someone in a bus stop or in public place when the person for whom you have been waiting does not turn up. The times of pleasure are waiting for some dear one in the Airport or Railway station. I had a Periappa (Uncle), who was very good in receiving people at the Central Station. He used to take me along with him, to receive my relatives at Madras Central Station. It was a great pleasure in accompanying him. Since he retired as a Headmaster of a popular school in T Nagar, he was very familiar. His students grew up to occupy good positions. It was a great experience to walk with him anywhere in Chennai. Whenever there was a relative’s marriage, he volunteered the job of receiving people. He used to wave at everyone right from the Higginbotham book stall in the Central station, to someone working as a Ticket Collector. They would have been his old student. Then while waiting at the station, he used to get me involved with different characters. He was so brilliant, and admired each and every activity in life. He used to take me around the big gunny bags, near the parcel room. I used to wonder why he used to take me through those gunny bags. Later I realised it was for those great smell of Cardamoms in those gunny bags. He used to show me those betel leaves in basket near the parcel office, and talk about farmers. It used to be a great adventure in the early morning and wonderful to watch people waiting at the station. If we could enjoy those, it used to be more fun to watch people coming out of the compartments, and greeting their relatives, hugging them and crying out of joy. It was great waiting in those days in Central station. I always liked when the trains arrived late because I could spend more time at the station, going around and seeing more people.

Later, this helped me to develop interest in sending and receiving people at the Airports. Waiting at the airports for your loved ones is another pleasure. Imagining, how they would have changed in appearance, and what they will be talking on seeing us after long time was a great fun. It is a pleasure to receive, and pain to send off.

Waiting for the post at Post office is something which everyone would have done. During our childhood days, we had waited promptly at the Post office to check whether we had mails. One of our Post Man had such a great memory power, that he used to say whether we have mails, just on seeing us. He would have been in-charge of sorting and he was so brilliant to remember the houses which had mails and express the same to those who were anxiously waiting. Many of those pensioners and old aged people will turn glad, when they hear from the Postman that they have received Money Orders. All their pains of waiting will be forgotten.

Waiting for bus or train is a great ordeal. It used to frustrate everyone if we had something to do urgently and the train or bus is delayed. Another one, which everyone will be waiting and find it a great pleasure is waiting for the power supply to resume. There were days when we used to clap after the power resumes. The joy used to be more when the power comes back during a good Cricket Match, or a good Television program.

The most embarrassing time for a man is to wait before the Ladies College or office where more women work. I have cursed my sister for coming late, when I used to wait for her in front of her office, which was closer to some export companies where lots of ladies worked. Those moments gave me the experience of how ladies would feel in front of hundreds of men.

As an eligible bachelor and spinster the days of waiting for the right partner is another time of testing. Luckily I did not have to wait for long. But I understood the feelings from a girl side through my sister. It is another stressful time to wait for the groom’s side to arrive, during engagement and Marriage.

Waiting for the paper boy to deliver the daily newspaper, on the days when you were eager to read interesting news is another restless waiting. Waiting for results, waiting for job interviews, waiting for admission, and etc.. is all interesting and thrilling. This list will go endless. After marriage, the women waiting for the delivery is very anxious and stressful too. Especially waiting for the arrival of new one, after partner getting admitted with a false pain is unexplainable. When I had to experience at the Hospital's reception, it gave me a real feeling of what I had seen in movies before. I would say that is one of the most, thrilling waiting.

In the present days, waiting for a reply of your e-mail from a known person, or friend is exciting.

Of all waiting for those comments after publishing every post in the blog is another exciting time.

05 September, 2006

Then and Now

Nature reminds us many things. Fall of neem flowers and arrival of Water melons, Tender coconuts used to remind us of the arrival of summer. All children walking with the pads, with ‘Vibuthi’ on the forehead promptly put, will signal the arrival of annual exams. Normally History and Geography used to be the last exam. Most of us used to score less marks in those subjects because of that reason. Though Geography was interesting, History used to be a bit boring and dry. As children we used to return with a great happiness swinging the exam pads home with great plans of Summer holidays.

The same evening, we used start climbing the lofts to take the hidden play things. Those days we had treasures like Pallankuzhi, Thayam. Girls used to be busy playing indoor games. As boys we used to plan about hosting cricket matches, tournaments and cycling. The wealthier people used to go to far off places. In those days we had so much of pleasure in many little things. We have developed stomach pain, by eating too much of ‘Korukapali’. It used to be green and kind of fruit. It was available in abundance in country side. I cannot still forget those ‘Kalakka’. Once we decided to climb a nearby hill (the so called Vandalur malai), and started as a group of 7 boys. We have heard stories about a Iyanar Koil at the foot hill. Our seniors had told stories about Iyanar. They were bit exaggerated. We heard that Iyanar walks out of the temple to take bath in the near by tank right exactly around 12.00 mid noon. So, we decided start climbing the hill after 12.00 to avoid Iyanar. The trekking was adventurous. We never knew the location of the Iyanar temple until we reached there. It was among tall grown palm trees and bushes. We saw the statue of Iyanar. It was fearful. We slowly passed the temple and were keen to hear ‘Chal…Chal..’ sound. We heard a weird sound. One of the inquisitive bloke, tried to reason it out. I never had the guts to look back. Later my friends said, that it was the sound of palm leaves, dancing to the wind. After a great ordeal, we reached the top of the hill, to see giant reflectors. Suddenly we heard someone screaming “Cut…Cut…Cut..”. We realised that we had interrupted a film shooting. Probably the crew did not expect a group of boys coming behind from no where. We realised it was a Telugu movie shooting with a popular actress of yester years.

Tomorrow my son’s school is being re-opened and we were busy shopping this whole week for the kids stuff. According to my daughter my son’s school is reopening after they wake up from bed tonight and her school is being reopened after we go to bed tomorrow and wake up the next morning. They are glad with their new uniforms, shoes, school bags, PE dress, PE shoes and what not. Probably they may ask me the cost when their kids go to school. I look back at their holidays. They have spent their major time on Play station, Computer games, Cricket coaching, and few weekends out with the family. Of course they are familiar with bit of small screens and big screens.

We had pleasures in little things. Collectively we would have learnt many things. We would have had new friends, learnt new game, read books, met relatives and spent a bit of holidays in villages and towns. We would have tasted Nungu, Tamarind, had a bath in the pump set daily, walked on the lake shore, and seen more nearby places, cycled at least 150 Kilometres by cycle, all at little expenses for our parents.

What do the children nowadays have except those electronic games? Being away from home, it is difficult to have social gatherings. At the same time I pity the kids at home. Many of my relative’s kids are being pressurised with so many classes in their holidays too. I know that kids are kept busy with Mridangam class, Carnatic Vocal, Drawing, Oil painting, Sketching, Swimming, Skating, Cricket, and after all this coaching for their next year. Where are they heading to? I feel guilty for the new generation.

Already I am seeing a new generation who have come from professional colleges and are less experienced in other general matters. One of my young colleagues was spoon fed so much by his parents; he lacked in confidence and struggled hard to survive. Some of them are struggling to cope up with life, in every day’s affairs. I am ashamed to say, that majority of younger ones are more worried about only increasing their bank balance and not anything else.

At least I wish the younger parents will realise the importance of our olden days values, and find innovative things or bring back the forgotten customs, traditions and blend old and new to their offspring.