Saturday, May 29, 2010

The "Baap" of IV's - Bhongir (Part - 2)

If you haven't read Part-1, you can read it here: The "Baap" of IV's - Bhongir (Part - 1)

Day2 started as usual, getting up early with a bath in the cold water in an even more cold morning in January and a rush to have some hot hot coffee. This was bliss. A hurried up breakfast, and we were ready to move off to our respective survey points again, ours being Bhongir Fort. This is a really huge stone hill and the fort at the top which is in ruins. 
Bhongir Fort: Source Wikipedia
I was really gasping by the time we reached the top although I was not even carrying any of the instrument boxes, courtesy the boys again. Anyways, we set up the survey instruments. Our instructor gave us instructions and we did the work in turns. Well, we took readings only once and the rest was done by B. B was the sincere learner of our batch. Each and every topic was diagnosed and analyzed to the core. Each and every book in BCL (British Council Library) was turned inside out to empower his knowledge. So, for exams, we didn't have to bother much. Just one hour before exam, B would give his discourse on the subject and that was good enough for us to write the exam. 

In the library

So, when we were done, we left B and the instructor to discuss and write a virtual book on surveying. We went about discovering the ruins and the moat behind. When we came back, B and the instructor were finished with writing the first chapter of the book on surveying. The instructor seeing that we were not as much enlightened people as B, started to tell some interesting stories about the Bhongir Fort, like it was built by the Chalukya ruler Vikram-Aditya and how it served as a formidable fortress in those days. What particularly interested us and especially the guys was the "hidden treasure" still believed to be hidden in the fort.

Surveying and readings were forgotten, including by B, and the boys started to search for hollow places. They went on banging on each and every stone and were very excited whenever they encountered a hollow one. They even started engraving their names on those places so that it can be reserved in their name if ever the treasure was unearthed. So, much for a treasure. Sigh!

The great treasure hunt

Finally, after a lot of treasure hunting, the guys realized that they were not going to find it, and it was time to return back to the camp. Had a yummy lunch and waited for the rest of the group to join us and lazed around in the camp. We had another class by the surveyor-in-charge and it was decided to have night observation that day. 

Now, post dinner there was a discussion, as to who would carry the target to the hill top nearby so that the rest of the group could do the night observation. As such, many were not willing to go there, as we would have to be awake till 11 for the night observation, as well as an extra half an hour to come down. The guys didn't want to lose that 1/2 an hour of blissful sleep and maybe they were scared too:). Anyways, after a heated discussion, three brave people volunteered to go to the hill top. A torch was to be used as the signalling mechanism. If the torch was put on and off 1 time, then it meant that we were observing. If the torch was put on and off 3 times, then it meant that they could come back and so on.

So, R, K and Captain went to the hill top to set up the target while the rest of the group waited  for them. While waiting for the three musketeers to set up the target, we got talking with the instructor again and he was again on his spree to tell us stories. When he had gone to survey in a forest, it seems the group he was in had lost its way in the night. They suddenly spotted somebody with a lantern moving in a particular direction and decided to follow it. After a few mins, the person vanished right in front of them. They all didn't know what to do and stood transfixed. No one slept that day and they kept awake till the morning.

By the time, the story was completed some of us were perspiring and looking at each. The place from where we were observing was right opposite to a burial ground (eeks!!!).  Our instructor was continuing his ghostly encounters. It seems at many times, our instructor (T sir) had heard anklet sounds and seen some moving figures on a full moon day. Fear filled us. Our gaze went up to the white round thing which was looking in all its glory at us, yes today was also a full moon day. I was getting uneasy. My subconscious mind wanted to dispel the fear but I couldn't. Through the corner of my eye, I saw something wavy, something moving. I caught K's hand and stood grounded.  We started looking at each other to see if the person next to us was our friend or Mr/Ms Ghost. 

All this while, B and V oblivious to the ghost stories surrounding them, were sincerely setting up the instrument for the observation. We were more than happy when the observations were done and we signaled to the guys to come back. We waited for 1/2 an hour for them to come back but there was no sign of them. It was time to sleep and we girls went to our tent. Somehow the chillness outside and added to it the eerie silence of the camp was making me restless. I lay down and tried to sleep but couldn't. I kept hearing some tinkling sounds like those of anklets. I closed my ears and tried to sleep. I must have drifted off to sleep when something fell on me. I got up sweating and heart beating aloud. I wanted to shout but it looked as though I had suddenly become dumb. I fumbled for the torch in the dark and finding it, put it on. Holy gosh, it was only V's leg on me. V had the habit of putting her legs on whoever slept near to her. Least did she know that she gave me a mild heart attack that day. God, bless my weak heart, I can be so scared at times for stupid things.


So, next day got up with a severe head ache having lost my sleep to Ghostji. And if you are wondering, if those guys came back or not the previous night, they did. They had dozed off in the hill top for a good 2-3 hours after having gulped down many bananas while we were taking the observations. Finally, when they did get up, they realized it was late and came back by themselves. Some people can sleep anywhere and everywhere, good for them. I just can't, not even in a bus, train or for that matter a flight also. 

Day 3 happened to be Sunday and a special menu was decided for the lunch. So, a group of 5 went to the local vegetable market to get the stuff. Most of the vegetables were on display and did not require them to unleash their Telugu skills. However, onions were not on display anywhere. This group of five people searched the entire market for onions but couldn't find any. V kept asking for "Vengaiyalu" at each shop but the shopkeepers couldn't understand. It was later on we came to know, there was no word as "Vengaiyalu". She had added Vengaiyam in Tamil + lu to form this word claiming this was how Telugu words were formed. Captain was in the most foul mood and was giving all the "so-called" "well versed" Telugu speakers, the choicest of words left and right. Luckily for them, K spotted a hand cart with onions. in the nick of time and saved them all from Captain's wrath. 

Day 4, we got up refreshed. T Sir decided to move us to different locations and the survey points of all the groups was changed. This time we went to a nearby hill top. This was the most scary climb of all, at least for me. The rest of the climb is ok but when we reach the survey point, it is a single stone with a 90 degree inclination and you need to be a Spiderwoman with a web to climb that. Anyways, I was literally pushed up the stone and the survey started. While B and T Sir went about writing the second chapter of Surveying, the rest of the group played cards.

Day 5 was the final day of our survey and we were given the entire day to make our charts and complete the calculations. B, Me, V, K and some of us were very sincerely doing the work while some slept and the rest went for a walk. It seemed to be a never ending process. We calculated, re-calculated and by dinner, we were done. We showed this to T Sir who said the the calculation was wrong and have to re-do it. We felt a bit sad but still sat down again not knowing if we could sleep that night. 11pm turned to 3 am but we were still doing the calculations. It was shivering cold outside but that did not deter us. We went on and on trying to match the calculations. Around 5 am, Captain woke up the cook and got some black coffee made for us. That totally washed down our sleep and we continued. It must have been around 9 am when we finally completed the calculations. It took us 24 hours to do this entire task and we had not once slept in between. Anyways, after that we caught a few winks of sleep while the rest of the group copied the results (as always). 

It was also our last day at Bhongir and we were to bid farewell to this place where we had some awesome time for the past 5 days. It is 8 years since this camp took place but the memories are still afresh. We all now reside on various points on the globe but these are memories which will we carry all through our life. No wonder, when K suggested this topic, I just couldn't resist. 

Now K from hamara bharat desh and B from Germany are putting in their brains to work too for this post. It may seem am exaggerating but I can't help but saying "I have the best friends in the world". They are friends with whom I may not talk for months together but will be the first ones to be by my side in my most troubled moments, friends with whom I can giggle and just be myself and not the matured person I pretend to be, friends to whom I don't have to say "Please come" but rather "Are you going to come or not... else am going to send my goons to parcel you to India", friends with whom I can talk and talk for hours together and when the conference call ends, its just "Why did the call end?". Three unknown people, brought up in different environments met each other and there blossomed a lifelong friendship. K and B have been an integral part of my life since college and my best buddies till date. I have met many people, have made a lot of friends but no one can take the place of K and B in my life. Thank you guys for everything :). 

Final part to be continued in next post showcasing our Jibba story and the final run to catch the train. 

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The "Baap" of IV's - Bhongir (Part - 1)

IV's or Industrial Visits during college times were more for fun and less for education. Our curriculum required us to take a survey camp compulsorily in our 3rd year of study. Whether forced or enforced, this was truly a time for us to rejoice as it was 10 days of real fun away from the confines of our college and classroom. Not that we didn't like our classrooms or college. You won't rather when professors hardly come to take class and you are on own most of the time. No wonder our branch was known in college as the most cool branch and had the maximum number of IV's to its credit (Atleast we did something useful other than studying :)).

So, it was a group of 19 students and a couple of professors who were bid goodbye by a small group of parents on a rather sultry day in January from Chennai Central. 
The train moved on, we sang, pulled each other's legs and had the usual fun college going students have. We had the dinner we had brought along. I started  to feign sleep by 11 pm and told everyone that I wanted to sleep. Well I didn't want to sleep actually because it was my birthday the next day and I knew a cake was eagerly waiting for me to cut it. But I didn't want to spoil the surprise my friends had planned. So, with my eyes tightly shut, I  tried to show off that I was in a deep sleep least no one suspect. 

Just a few minutes before 12, people tried to wake me up but I didn't budge. K moved me, B called out my name in my ears but to no avail. Slowly after many efforts, I got up, I yawned, stretched out my hands as though woken up from a deep slumber and then seemed pleasantly pleased and surprised at the cake in front of me. My dear classmates till date don't know that I was awake all the while... Don't you think I could be a good actor???. For the first time in my life, I cut my birthday cake in a moving train.

Cakes and sweets done, we all went off to sleep finally (this time in reality) unaware of what lay ahead of us at the camp. Morning we were woken up by the captain. Let me introduce Captain before I proceed. Captain comes from a family wherein the entire family is dedicated to serving the nation (Police/Army). No wonder now he is in the Navy himself. So before I say anything about him, I have to say the customary salute to him as we always do in our friends circle. So, with full reverence, I say aloud "Salute Captain". 

Now, Captain in college time was the taskmaster. He was the one who managed each and every IV beautifully. Every single detail from booking the bus, booking tickets, accommodation to food, sightseeing, used to be taken care by him. So, while we coolly boarded the bus/train to the destination, he did all the running around. Mind you, he enjoyed every bit of it. However, if we ever happened to get in his way/do something that we shouldn't have done we got to hear the choicest of words, otherwise known as gaali in Hindi. Girls were spared up to 40% while guys were spared 0%. This tour too without exception, Captain managed everything along with T (T being the class rep at that time). A cook from the college mess was arranged to cook for the 6 days of the camp (the remaining four days were to be spent in Secunderabad). Groceries and all other supplies, including cooking also was successfully managed by the Captain without a glitch. 

Coming back to the present, we woke up and by the time we could come to our senses, one of our rather "high profile" professor announced we should get down at the coming station and catch the local train to Bhongir (the destination for the Survey Camp) and then, there was mayhem. We had brought along many types of survey equipment for the 19 of us to be used in the camp and these equipment weighed a tonne literally. Have you seen these queer looking instruments by the roadside with people looking into them trying to detect a target. 
We had similar ones. Captain took charge, all the instruments were brought near the door. Girls were advised to carry their bags and leave the rest, the guys would take care as the stop was short at this particular station. So, out jumped the girls followed by the guys forming a chain to pass on the stuff. (At that time, I really thanked God that I didn't have to pass/carry those heavy stuff around). 

Now, our same great professor told that we would have to go to another platform to catch the local train to Bhongir. This prof came year after year to the Camp and was well acquainted with the place and the route. So, with all bag and baggage and of course the instruments we moved to the one as directed by our Prof. We waited for another 1/2 an hour there. Finally, they announced the platform number and yes, you guessed it right "We were at the wrong platform". You can't trust Indian Railways to allow the train to arrive at the same platform year after year right.  So, it was run, run again.

I was literally dragged to the other platform in spite of my legs not helping me in anyway and was almost out of breath by the time I reached the train door. I sat down in the train and came to normal while the guys were again loading the instruments into the train. 

Finally after an hour of travel, we reached Bhongir. We got down, flagged down some share autos and reached the survey camp without much ado. The survey camp is set over a large area with no buildings and has only tents as the living quarters. The guys (13 of them) were showed one big tent and the girls (6 of us) were showed another smaller version. 
We were told the bathroom was on the backside of the tent and the toilets were outside. The toilets were one big piece of cloth wrapped around 4 poles in rectangular shape and with a khula aasmaan on the top and khula gadda on the vertically opposite side. This is the girls toilet, for guys, I hope you will understand. They don't need one right. With a lot of skepticism and not being used to such a environment, we tried to settle down. There was only one bulb in the tent and the floor had been layered with clay to even up the space. We chose our corners and put away our stuff and got ready for the day. The water had to be fetched from the tap a little away from the tent. So, we got our buckets and started to get ready for the day one-by-one. However, the guys had to take bath under the tap itself (no special treatment for them :)).
The cook had by then setup the kitchen and vegetables and other things had been procured from the nearby market. So, we got to have our lunch too. Post lunch, we were given a short briefing by the surveyor-in-charge about the plans for the rest of the 5 days. We were then divided into four groups and dispatched along with four instructors/surveyors to start our tasks. So, we marched to the surrounding hill tops (including the bhongir fort) to start the survey work.

Day 1 passed off without much problems. We called up our parents in the evening from the local STD booth (those were times when we didn't have cellphones). The surveyor-in-charge. also took a class for us (Night time post dinner and class.... yawn!!!). We had some fun around the bonfire and winded up soon as it got chilly. Sleeping on the clay layered floor and added to it the chilly weather inside and outside of the tent, sleep eluded most of us :( but maybe the tiredness got the better of us and finally all of us drifted off to sleep unaware that we would be meeting a ghost the next day ...
To be continued ...

P.S. "Nee illai endral vaazhkaiyil illai vaanavillay..  Un mugam parthu sooriyan sirithu ezhunthathinggay…." This was a popular  tamil song at that time from the movie Dheena.

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Indian Touch to Fukuoka

On a lazy Sunday morning, I got up wishing I could get some bed coffee/tea/breakfast/lunch without moving my lazy bones. Well, if it was home I would have got it almost but then when you stay alone you can't have the luxury of such things. So, how would my reactions be if I was granted this particular wish. Excited, elated and contended. Thats what exactly happened. We had a barbecue party yesterday and there was chicken still remaining. Not intending to waste it, the bachelors had requested R to make some chicken curry for them. And so all of us got to eat yummy chicken curry without moving an inch of our lazy bones all courtesy our super chef R. 

R is not only a superb chef, she is an artist too, the "chupa rustum" type because even two months back, we didn't know she could paint so well. And one fine day, I see this beautiful painting, rather a mithila artwork on her orkut album. It was really a shock as well as a sweet surprise. Believe it or not, not just me all the guys were also dumbfounded by this. Her culinary skills were well known among us but this was something we had never expected.  

In the below picture, she has captured the spirit of the traditional Butter churning process. So much of intricate details and colors. She takes about 18 hours to complete each painting.When you put so much of effort, the outcome is naturally beautiful :)

These are a set of six table mats made on green paper on which she has painted motifs of ladies depicting various emotions. These are complimented by a mehendi design below each of them. 

Now comes the icing on the cake. She also teaches Indian traditions, painting, basics of Hindi and cooking to the Japanese over here. Japanese people love Indian curry which speaks for the abundance of Indian restaurants. Of course, except for a few which offer authentic Indian food, the rest are Indo-Nepali restaurants which have made Indian food look as though there is nothing beyond naan, palak curry and chicken curry. A look at one of her classes which she conducts 2-3 times in a month. Its sure is a lovely way to tell about our country. 

We grow up intending to be doctors, engineers, business analysts, and so on. Sometimes, its also the circumstances which decides our profession. However, its  inherent talent which prevails over all this and brings out the best in us. It also gives us that immense sense of satisfaction and pleasure which a high profile and high paying job can never give us. R has found this love and satisfaction in her paintings. So, heres wishing her a lot of luck. May she make more and more lovely mithila paintings and bring more talents of her to the fore.  

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Do you still watch Cartoons?

"Do you still watch cartoons?" Go Ahead and let me know.... :) 

My answer would be a definite "YES". An age can never be defined to watch a cartoon. Any time of the day and irrespective of whether am in a good or a bad mood.... I could always watch one. Can you ever forget "Jungle book.... Jungle Jungle baat chali hai pata chala hai......." ? Now that you are grown up, have seen the world around you but still if this music plays won't it attract you to the TV/Computer wherever it might be playing. I made this small video combining some of the youtube videos to relive our childhood memories. Hope you enjoy it.

All of us have an inherent kid in us. As time goes by and with age, we do tend to act or be mature. But once in a while, don't you want to leave all that grown up stuff behind and behave like a kid. Let your hair down, jump about crazy, watch all those old-time cartoons and the more recent animation movies like "Kung - Fu Panda" and "Ice Age". Can you forget Uncle scrooge and Donald duck, Mickey mouse and Goofy, Glo friends, He Man (I have the power), My little pony  and all those cute cartoons which made your childhood so very colourful. I enjoy watching a cartoon as much as I enjoy watching a good Hindi/English movie. It uplifts my spirits when I am down and yes of course, keeps the kid in me alive. I never want that kid in me to die. 

P.S. You may be wondering why all of a sudden I am telling all this. This stems from an argument/discussion that I had with my colleague A that Colleague B likes watching cartoons all the time and its not correct or rather a wrong thing to do at this age. Considering all of us are 25+, this might sound absurd to some but is there anything wrong. I couldn't find anything wrong as I am myself a cartoon lover but not an addict. If colleague B likes to watch cartoons only... so be it.... he is following his heart... which most of us forget to do as we grow older.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Christmas Party

December 14, 2009 - December 19, 2009

Let me start planning for the Christmas party. I have hardly any time left. Let me first list down all names.  22 people in total + 5 kids. Mostly vegetarian and some are non-vegetarian also. So, have to keep both the dishes. (After some googling, some of the dishes are decided. A list is made of the things required.)  And all these days, I think of nothing else but the party (Am under deep pressure) :(

December 20, 2009

I am trying to unwrap the Christmas tree and set it up but it refuses to transform into a tree. I call for help but to no use. I am snipping here and there thinking that the branches are tied to the trunk of the tree and only the leaves of the tree are coming in my hand. Hmmm, this thing should be having a simpler way to setup. I will try bending the branches to make it look like a tree for the time being and lo and behold, thats all I needed to do.Tree is decorated fully .... the serial lights are laid over it and doesn't she look a beauty :). 

Ain't I cute ?

So, now since the tree is done, I will go and get the groceries. R has promised to accompany me. Good, else I will be buried under the weight of all the stuff. :D 

So, R and I leave for grocery shopping. First attack is on the 100 yen shop for disposable plates, cups, bowls etc etc and I also pick up some home decoration stuff to decorate the home. R is the best person to do shopping with ... doesn't mumble/grumble and helps you in picking up stuff you need. He has patience to the core and the girl who marries him.... Wow... wont she have a superb time... a husband who doesn't complain while shopping. :D. And yes, we got Santa's dress too. 

Next attack is on the vegetable market in the same building but in the ground floor. All vegetables are picked up as per the list. A final look at the list. Everything has been bought except for puree and some minor stuff. Anyways, we have 8 covers already in hand. I have 3 and R is holding 5 more. So, its a taxi and we are back to home. Things are sorted out and neatly arranged.

Now, time for home decoration. The blue steamers are put up with help from M. The wall is hard and the pins are breaking. After many trials, finally they are put up to some shape. M leaves, I look at the room and am not satisfied. The room needs more decoration. 

December 21, 2009

Office is over. Time to get some more decoration for the home and the other stuff remaining. So, off I go to hawk's town for the puree and decoration stuff. I find some bells only. So, having no other choice, I dash off to dankies to get the decoration. All along the way, I am worried if I will get stuff there too. Finally reach there and thank god, there is a lot of it. I pick up some shining silver streamers, some plastic ones, more balloons and am done for the day. I walk back home and start the remaining decoration. God, why didn't you make me a little taller. See for putting up each and everything, I have to use a table and a chair. Finally, after multiple trips up and and down the table and chair, everything is done. The silver streamer is in place, the bells have been stuck, the large Christmas wreath is also done. Now, balloons are only left to be put on the D-Day.

Couldn't get a better pic :(
December 22, 2009

Need to get home fast to make the rava laddoos. I leave office by 6:30 pm. Quickly freshen up and start roasting the rava. All the while am crunching on the chips packet. I also start clearing the things on the floor so that the entire room is empty tomorrow except for the lonely rack else it will be difficult to accommodate 22 people + kids in that small room. The rava roast is also ready. Need to be rolled into laddoo shape. R also comes down to help. He doesn't want to give the round shape and starts making apple shaped laddoos. Whatever, it has to go down the food pipe. If people find it tasty, am not worried about the shape :D. Laddoo is done. Chole (Chick Peas) and Chana daal are put to soak. Badam milk is also prepared all thanks to MTR's Badam mix. Time now to go to sleep. I have a long day ahead.

December 23, 2009 

D-Day Dawns...

7 am
The rooster has woken me up and after some tea and refreshments, I get to work. Its the day to show my culinary skills and I am damn tensed. With great determination, the chole, the batura dough, chicken curry are prepared in that order. First of all, I put the chole to cook and side by side start preparing the chole masala

8 am
Chole are done cooking and in they go into the masala. I am really liking the smell of the masala. Hope, the end product is also ok. The potatoes are next to go on boil. Meanwhile, chicken is marinated and kept aside.

9:30 am
Potatoes are boiled and have been peeled. Now, I need to knead the dough for the batura (Ya, I made chole batura). The cooks who make rotis for dozens of people everyday, Hats off to them. How do they even knead the dough. I am going crazy kneading it for 22 people. With lot of muscle power and determination, that is also conquered. I am already half-tired and energy is going out. By now, the second round of chole is up for cooking. 

10:30 am
R offers me some tea and I happily gulp it down. So refreshed after drinking it, am ready for my second round of cooking. So, chicky dear goes next now. But oh, I don't have puree for the second round of chicken curry. So, off I run to get them.  I meet a client at the store there. He introduces me to his cute kids and wife and after some pleasantries, I come back home with the puree.

Finally, chicken curry is done and ready. R is also preparing black chana masala and says he will be soon done  with it.  

R comes home and starts to grind the chana daal for wada. I meanwhile start preparing the stuff for cutlets and clear the remaining mess in my home.

Sk troops in with the flowers for the pictures of Jesus. Its now his task to beautify the room further. Lots of roses and chrysanthemums decorate the place. I am busy making the cutlets. D is called in, and both of them blow the ballons. After 10 breaks for blowing 20 balloons, they finally tie it and the room for sure looks gorgeous.  R in between goes and gets red sack and red shoes (from M) to complete Santa's costume.  

Sh comes with the Gajar ka Halwa (yummy!!!) but no one else is in sight.

7:30 pm
Official time for the party to start and yes me and Sh are the only souls in the house. So, its tring tring time. "Haan kahan pe ho S san?" "Abhi aa rahe hain 10 mins main". So, with all these responses, we wait.

Coming to the present
Finally, everyone had assembled and badam milk was served. Santa Claus was called to give his special appearance. (Santa couldn't lift himself up after getting into the costume and needed J's help to reach my house).

Santa is ready for some action

Santa in masti
That was one hell of time. All the kids and parents got excited on seeing Santa and it was Camera time. R said "Yaar meri shaadi main bhi itni photo nahi kheechenge, jitna aap log kheech rahe ho" but anyways he happily smiled and posed for the pics. The kids then got their gifts and balloons from Santa uncle. 

We then had the cake cutting ceremony by the youngest members A and Sr. And what a lovely cake L had made. It was amazing.  After starters which included 2 types of wada, cutlet, chana masala, apple shaped laddoo and cake, we played some games. One was to pick chick peas with the straw and the other game was a memory game. By the time all this was over, it was late and time to serve the dinner. 

Santa with the cake
Santa is always hungry :P
The ladies quickly started rolling out the baturas.  Ladies of Fukuoka what could I have done without you people. Thanks a tonne Ladies. RC and U had also made Aloo Gobi and Veg Pulao respectively. So, people were happily fed, over-fed and double over-fed to chole batura, chicken curry, aloo gobi, veg pulao and raita. People didn't even have the energy to budge after the meal. R did the task of making sure that no one's plate went empty. Result, when his turn came to eat, everyone made sure he was double and triple over-fed.  :D. I tell you these guys are a whole lot of funny guys.

Finally, when people thought we were done for the day, the gajar ka halwa was brought out. Sadly, not many people had it but the next day, it was wiped out clean in the office. 

That was the end to a fun-filled, tiring, and yet happy Christmas party.  Some people helped to clear things and put back my only pieces of furniture. After, they had left, I dropped off to such a deep sleep that even an earthquake couldn't have woken me up. It was really a Christmas party I will remember all my life. A special thanks to R. Without him, I couldn't have managed or done many of the things. Thanks to all my other colleagues too who lend a helping hand whenever required. :D

P.S. This is a long post. I hope you enjoyed reading it and didn't feel like hitting me :D. For two years, I went home to India for every Christmas. Last year, since I had gone on an early vacation, I spent my first Christmas in Fukuoka with a great rocking party. 
Swaram, This post has been put up especially for you since you had once commented so in one of my other posts. (
R: yes yes, he is the same person with whom I shopped for 8 hours to buy clothes for his teenager sister and the biggest news and relief to me... She liked it yippie....

Monday, May 17, 2010


It was a Sunday. The day we went every week without fail to Church. Mummy didn't however wake me up at the usual time. I got up a little later, brushed my teeth and mama gave me coffee. I looked around for Daddy and realized he had gone with his students to Nagaland to hand over the body of one of his students who had been drowned during a picnic. Since, it was a Sunday, I looked at the clock and saw that we were way beyond the time for Sunday mass. I was confused and asked mummy, 'Aren't we going to Church today?'. Mummy said,'No Ma, there is water all around the house. So lets wait for the water to go away before we can go out'.

I didn't understand because water around the house was a common thing in Manipur. A badly maintained drainage system and water clogging aggravated the situation and it was common to see water around the houses during the rainy season. Mummy took me to the window in drawing hall (my favorite spot in the house) and showed me outside. There was water upto the first step leading upto the house. Another 2 steps and there would be water inside the house. I didn't think anything was wrong but Mummy looked worried. Mummy meanwhile made breakfast and gave to me and my sister. She kept on repeatedly looking outside while I was enjoying my cartoons and serials in Doordorshan. 

Water was not receding, it was slowly increasing. By now, water had crossed a step more. She started to block the gaps below the doors with carpets and other thick stuff least water came inside. This was a really big house with as many as 4-5 doors. My mom was going berserk trying to find rugs to close all the gaps. She managed to fill most of them. I was looking at my mother in amusement. She started to move clothes from the lower racks in the cupboard to the higher ones. First the one in my bedroom was attended to and then she moved to the one in the master bedroom. 

Water level was increasing, it had covered half of the final step. My mom switched off the TV and started to remove all the wiring.First the TV was moved to the cupboard with some help from my sister, slowly followed by the VCR and tape recorder. I got angry.... She had switched off the TV when my cartoon time was going on (Especially, if Dad is not in town... there is a lot more freedom to watch cartoons ... Else it will be Shilpa do you homework... Shilpa get the tool from the toolbox... Shilpa call Rudy ... Shilpa this Shilpa that...phew.... how much work will a small kid do?). She went and looked at the window. Water had now reached it - the final step.

Slowly the water covered the verandah and moved up to the front door. My mom started clearing things still lying on the ground.  I was put on a bed and told not to step down. My mom and sister started to furiously move things to higher locations. I just kept on watching them.  Our dog Rudy had started howling and barking. It was also put on the bed along with me and both of us were playing. The water now started to enter the house through the gaps and the rugs. In an hour or so, water filled up to 1/4th of the wall. I got a notebook and was happily sailing paper boats in the water and running here and there like a duck. My mom had a tough time keeping me on the bed. My sister also joined me in sailing the boats. My mom was getting all the more worried. 

Mom started to say prayers that someone should come to our help. We didn't have a phone also in our house at that time. Help did come in sometime. Daddy's students from the college came to check on us. They informed us that the water was due to the floods as the local dam wall had broken down and our entire colony had been flooded. They helped us shift all the heavy things to the top of the cupboards. After clearing these, they asked mummy to pack some necessary things and move to the girls hostel. The girls hostel was across the road and had not been flooded as it was at a higher ground level. So, off we went, me on one of the students shoulders (I was very small so if I went out, I would be fully submerged in water), my sister, my mom, and two other students with our things and Rudy in tow. There was water up to the waist level outside.

The girls vacated a room for us where we stayed for about 3-4 days when finally my Dad returned. There had been a landslide in Nagaland (Very common thing in that part of India) and all the roads had been blocked. So, camping here and there finally they reached Manipur after the roads had been cleared. On Friday of that week, the nuns from the school where my mother worked and me and my sister studied, came to meet us. They asked us to move to the dormitory in the school there. Yes, we had to move as we couldn't inconvenience the girls more. So, again we packed and went off to stay at the school. There we stayed for around a month. Every week my parents and my dad's students went to our house and cleaned and scrubbed it. The water had receded but had left behind moss all over the house. The house literally stank. It took nearly four weeks of cleaning, scrubbing, phenyl and all those stuff to bring back things to normal. Daddy stayed at the boys hostel all this while. I felt awkward. Although we were in comfort but the comfort of your home is something else.

When I went to the house after about a month, there was still a line all over the house indicating till where the water level had gone up to. The mark covered almost half of the wall. The last two racks in all the cupboards had been spoiled and along with it many things which lay there. Comics, some toys, some clothes, old stuff everything had been spoiled. All the furniture bore the mark of the floods too as we hadn't moved them to a higher place. The kitchen garden and the flower garden in front too had been spoiled. The water tank had also been cleaned out fully and was waiting to be refilled. 

The irony during all this was that our neighbours knew about the flood the previous night itself. They had all evacuated along with their families to their ancestral homes. All of them knew my father was not at home but still they didn't care to inform us. When we returned back to our home, none of them could face us. They all ran away on seeing us. It took them months to talk to us and feel sorry about it. 

Years later whenever I remember this incident, I sometimes laugh and sometimes feel sad. They say help comes in every form and it did. On that day, if those students hadn't come, we don't know where we would have gone. Maybe we might have gone to the school directly. Its just a maybe. We don't know what would have been the story otherwise but "All is well that ends well".

P.S. Yes this is a true story about the floods we went through in 1989 in Manipur.I was around  8-9 years old when this happened. Some details I don't remember. I have brought out the events to the best of my memory.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Doll House

The Artsy Craftsy Challenge has been going on for sometime now and I have been always tempted to try it atleast once. So, today down with a bad cold and cough, it did push me to take this challenge :) and boy, it felt so good. Its a really long, long time after which I am making these things. As a kid, I ended up doing anything and everything that came on TV. My dad and mom always bought me everything they could manage to find in that small town for my expeditions like this. I remember one time I used white paper to try out some oregami flower, and since the outcome looked cute, my dad got me a lot of green colored craft paper(since the local stationery shop had only green color) so that I could make a similar larger one. It was hung for a long time in my old house... Don't know where it is now though :(

So, showcasing meri gudia ka ghar/Doll house.

Things I used besides the usual craft things are 

1. Some lovely block arts which I picked at some fair (My battery went out at the last moment.. So will upload pics later ... as of now, you can get a fair idea from the below pic)
2. The color stamps for these block arts
3. Different colored craft papers
4. Some decorations which I got for Christmas and came handy now.
5. Thermocol sheets (Thick ones and Thin ones - which are normally used for packing glass and other such fragile material)

Of course, you can unleash your creativity and decorate this doll house as you like. 

So, here it goes, 

1. Cut out three long slabs (The length as you may desire) and two small ones for the walls
2. I then pasted colored paper (light red color) on the ones meant for the wall. On the paper, I made some designs as you can see below. The other side, I left the thermocol as it is and painted them with red color paint.

3. For the floor, I pasted a thick white cardboard onto the thermocol sheet and then used the block pieces to make those designs.  Then I stuck the walls to the floor. You can use fevicol to stick them together but since I didn't have any I made use of board pins to hold them together.

4. For the back wall, I covered the thermocol with a thin variety of thermocol sheet and stuck those leaves and bells on them.

5. For the roof, covered it with black craft paper and then used the stamp color to make those golden imprints. 

So, how do you like it.... I don't have many dolls, only these small ones... wish I could keep more in them :P. 

So, what are you waiting for. Why don't you also take up the Artsy Craftsy challenge.... I had  so much of fun :)

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Old is Gold

Well, can we ever forget those wonderful ads of the 80's and 90's. The ones which formed the song of our life, the ones which we laughed at, enjoyed and yes, till date we remember the entire jingle till the dot. So, lets go down memory lane today too... Some of the Indian ads which held our fascination and do continue to do so ...

Bajaj Scooter - "Hamara Bajaj... Hamara Bajaj"- Past

The current one

Surf ki lalitaji yaad hai???

And this is just so cute

Liril had always models in scanty clothes and continues to do so :)

"Jab main chota ladka tha... meri chori pakdi jaati... roshan hai...????" - Does that ring a bell

Lime and Lemoni "Limca"
And the current one which is equally so so very sweet
And the current one which is equally so so very cute

"Vicks ki goli lo... khich khich door karo"

And the current comparison to the old one

"Chai Coffee kesan bhai... karam kurram"

I was taken aback and felt proud of the achievement made by the ladies behind Lijjat Papad

Cinthol (Though I don't remember this one much)

Digjam - The music was deadly

Fevicol Ad (That's Rajkumar Hirani ... The now all famous director of 3 idiots)

And the recent one which I don't want to understand

Gold Spot (Wonder where it went?)

I love you Rasna

Asian Paints

I am a complan girl, I am a complan boy

And the Nescafe one - really refreshing music

And the mesmerizing music of Garden Vareli ... Can you forget that?

:) Do I need to tell about the below one... I bet you all will sing with it....

And can you forget this titan ad???? - Just great show of sentiments 

And these all so so cute cute ads which we drooled over :). Well I did as I was in my teens when these ads came.

And one of my fav from tamil ads :) 

Well I could go and on, but then my page wont load itself :). There are so many ads which we grew up seeing. They were like part of our life. Remember these ones, "Raju aapke daanth toh motiyon jaise chamak rahe hain?" or "Kya hua, bacchi ro rahi thi.... Woodwards de de, wahi toh main tumhein deti thi jab tum choti thi" or the Onida Ad. God I was so much afraid of the Onida Ad. Used to hide behind the curtains whenever it came on TV. Such sweet memories of childhood and Doordarshan times, can we ever forget. The ads may have changed their format over the years, but isn't it the old ones which still linger in our minds? There was a simplicity to which we were attracted and we identified with. Those times may never come but we can enjoy those ads thanks to Youtube and all such media sources.

So, do you remember any other old Indian ads ?
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