Home is where the heart is…

From the time I joined Mar Athanasius College of Engg for my B Tech, life has always been away from home and more so from the time I left for job. I have longed for home, the food, the plush sofas, the curtains, the sunlight that fell in thru the windows, the cots, the bathrooms, the smell, the greenery that greeted me thru the windows. I found it difficult to accept hostels and PGs, in spite of all the fun they gave, it was never home! Home is that cosy comfort that you feel, that sense of belonging, it’s about growing and associating your memories to a structure in brick, wood and mortar, it’s about the bond you build with a physical structure, the pains with which you clean, decorate and renovate it from time to time.

For many of us in our journey of life, home is a milestone, a landmark which all of us dream of. It is our resort after work, a calm place, a place where we want divinity and grace to be filled. It is a dream to build a house and make it a cosy home for your kids to play and grow.

I have my own home dreams...dreams of dusting my furniture… Of the containers arranged on the kitchen racks… Of the wonderful dishes kept in covered vessels… Of the book shelf, lined with the books and magazines…The framed Wedding and Reception snap capturing our best moments… Birthday cards from Punnan... The painting of the lovely Krishna, with a flute lost away in thought... The smooth and lacy curtains... The beds with soft designed bed sheets…The sunlight that streams in thru the French windows…The curtains dancing in the breeze and images cast by sunlight…

Thus, as Man and Wife, we had begun our search for home. In the vast and ever-expanding Bangalore, we had our heartbreaks seeing the prices, the Marketing guys frustrated us, we strained ourselves to find hidden costs and motives, and we swore to ourselves that we’ll never ever look for a home in Bangalore. To hide our home searching disasters, we blabbered about what a worse city Bangalore is, searched for alternate options in Kochi. After walking thru construction sites on weekends, tired and desperate, many a times we broke down emotionally. We calculated our funds again and again. We reasoned and argued. We prayed…

And finally we saw a house that would soon be ours. We saw hope, that carried us thru Bank Loan deliberations and Registration. And finally brought us to the d-day wherein we appeased the Gods and moved in to our new home, happy and contented. It was after all just a 6 month of search and wait for us, we thanked God for making it happen so soon and for having our parents around who helped and supported us.

We are in our new house, and on a new voyage of associating memories to this man-made structure. It is so much a part of our dreams and in future would very much be part of our memories. God bless!

The Venice Of The East

People say you are in your first year of marriage, young, no commitments, both have jobs, living together in Bangalore - so everyday should be a picnic, a holiday :) Well, it more or less is, more so on the weekends when we have the whole day and no work. It is a picnic in mind space, but then cooking, shopping, washing, cleaning, moping just don't make it a picnic in any real sense. Initially like every new couple with a married tag, we made an unending list of places to visit, innumerable ways to spend our weekends, but somehow slowly the weekend chores have taken precedence. I have moved on at work space also, and when after 5 days of IT Support, Saturday - Sunday is for a peaceful time at home cleaning up everything that has accumulated from 5 days at work.

So it was rather a surprise when during our latest trip home, there came this chance for a boating trip in Alappuzha. My native in Alappuzha, a place called Haripad. But then Alappuzha had been one place which came on our way to Haripad, and a place about which the people in my office kept enquiring. There ended all my connection to Alappuzha until I formed a new one.

What waited for us there was not just heat and humidity, but waterways with either side laden with greenery. People gazing from either bank when a motor boat and two people with cameras tried to capture what they felt was a normal day to day life. People who live a life close to nature, but then circumstances seldom allowing them to enjoy the nature which people from far and near come to capture in still and moving shots. Little children who waved, and chaps who whistled. Old people who appeared shaking their heads, probably thinking about what had become of their once calm and quite backwaters. Bold ones, young and old, who rowed their private valloms defying the currents sent by big motorised boats. Fleets of house boats which very much define the God's Own Country abroad. Coconut palms stretched in a never ending line which made us wonder where the end of the world is. Temples lined on the banks. Election banners occupying prominent spaces. Small cool bars selling coke and cigarettes.

That is Alappuzha as I saw it and the ripples that it passed through my mind. One thing unsaid might leave my impressions of this trip incomplete – the wonderful lunch we had at KTDC’s Yatri Nivas in Pallathuruthy– a homely Kerala meal accentuated by the wonderful tasting dishes, refreshing buttermilk, karimeen fry and chicken curry.

Unsaid and unapplauded my blog turned one on April 28th. I still remember that fateful day I started blogging and I am sure it was one of the best days of my life. Thanks to all of you out there, for all the encouragement and feedback.

Moving on...

This draft was written 2 months back, in a very emotional situation..And I was searching for something to post on my blog and found this one. And trust me, it still makes emotions swell within me...

I have moved out of my company. A place where I had planned to stick on for the rest of my life. A place where I had achieved. A place where I had carved a niche for myself. A place where I was known, accepted and appreciated. A place where I had stood up to critique systems and processes. A place where I had questioned practices. A place where I had made friends and became friend to many. A place where I had vouched that one day I would climb high up the ladders. A place where I had resolved that I would change the systems that I felt was outrageous. Still in a moment all that was overtaken with an all powerful feeling that I cannot define in words and I moved out!

I still remember my induction into IT industry in Hyderabad – how I stared wide-eyed at the people, the big stages and presentations. How I felt myself brimming with emotion when the PowerPoint’s flashed with the company values. How I had strained my ears to hear about the growth opportunities. How I had contemplated getting an onsite opportunity. How much I had seen myself in dreams and daydreams as a smart and achieving corporate.

But then time…the great factor time had taken me through to opportunities, disappointments, heartbreaks, heroism, and camaraderie. It had shown me that values are wonderful bits residing on papers and sites, you work your way around the values. It had given me an extension of college life. It had given me a happy-go-lucky fresher tag that I enjoyed. I got a chance to work with wonderful managers, people who polished my skills and attitudes, and influenced my outlook and behaviour. It also showed me that the world is not a place as green as it appears to be. There are a lot of “red people” who “stand out”! But then that is the way things are. Situations are not always plum and people are not always rosy. But then life is just about taking people and situations as they are and as they come.

I have met some wonderful people and had some wonderful insightful experiences, they stand out as lessons to guide and inspire me. I still remember how as a team, one careless dialogue from our side went to the verge of risking my manager’s job. But this great man, the most wonderful manager I have seen, came back to us and without scolding or losing his cool explained the situation and told us to be utmost careful while communicating. Even now when people praise me on the clarity and content I deliver thru my official communications, my mind just goes back to the tips given by this person. Every time I am bogged down by work pressure, I remember the moment I had broken down in front of him and his words of advice that very moment which shows me the path ahead.

I remember the heated discussions that we had with our clients on billing and service delivery, where I sat confused as to why the person with whom I always had the friendliest of conversations was so animated now? But then I was again in for surprise when the same person pinged me on chat and told me not to take offence of the mud throwing in the discussions and that personal relationships and friendship is all above business. I still cherish that moment.

I remember all my sweet friends who shared their cups and concerns. People with whom I went for coffees and lunches, the wonderful discussions we had, the insight that each of them gave me, the stories they shared which made me feel important, the way they reached out to me when I needed but pretended that I was fine. My training batch for being the best group, a much “unified in diversity” group that made my extended college life.

Time had shown me that mind is a wild horse which you would always have trouble controlling. It showed me that a human being and more so an ambitious one will always have problems when situations don’t move and offer terms of growth. It showed me that big decisions are taken in a moment. It showed me that a single event can turn your life and you to some decisions which you had never expected to take. It surprised me that I found justifications for quitting my company and also effectively communicated that to the people around me. It surprised me that my mind accustomed to my new decision and longed within for the change which was just a momentary decision.

Well so thatz the story. Quitting was tough, but then somewhere I got the courage to stand by my decision. Still I hold my company close to my heart and as my company! Probably I would for a long time… Pardon me for any spelling/grammatical mistakes guyz; I quite don’t have the mind to read thru this stuff. It is said once and for all!


The idea for this post sprouted in my mind during my return train journey from home in December. As usual, Amma had packed her routine Pothichoru for us. Taking account of Sandettan’s addition to my life, the amount of food had quadrupled. Thatz Amma’s style!

It is not the first time that I had carried Amma’s Pothichoru. I have vivid memories of the rice stuffed in that plantain leaf, of the melting taste of omelette, the tanginess of the ginger-tamarind chutney and the chicken or fish pieces of gastronomical delight (Sorry for killing English language!).

This unassuming green pouch has made way into the travel bags of all our relatives who have left our home on a train travel; it has joined my relatives travelling from Kayamkulam to Bhilai and Delhi at the Ernakulam Junction railway station. The wonderful meal contained inside never had the Paneer Butter Masala or Chettinad Chicken to boast about, it never had a glossy aluminium foil cover, it never had boxes to hold the side dishes. It almost always had the same menu of rice, egg omelette, ginger tamarind chammandi, and a piece or two of fish, chicken or a thoran, it always had the dull green plantain leaf holding it, and side dishes wrapped in smaller plantain leaves.

But the love and care with which it was prepared made this meal heavenly. The feelings that cooked into the meal translated to the wonderful taste which became a trademark. It bonded our people to Achan and Amma. It taught me all about being there for our relatives. It spoke and taught volumes about the family ties and family values. In this fast world, it taught me the simple joy of cooking a good meal, serving and sharing. And in the succeeding days and years, brought name and fame to Mani Chechi’s Pothichoru.

Sometime in between I felt a little hesitancy in carrying that traditional plantain pouch on my train journeys. But then, the moment I open that pouch, the smell that emanated out would engulf my thoughts and bring back that familiar longing for home. The unsophisticated ordinary little Pothichoru forever brings before my eyes innocent and unassuming affection. How fragile are external appearances – an old newspaper sheet covering a plantain leaf? The value is within coz that humble abode lodges the radiance of love, care and warmth.