Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Lost Childhood

A child in his growing up years sees his father as a hero, as a savior. He hopes his father can be his best buddy as well his mentor. For most fortunate ones, their wishes come true, if not completely, partially. His father cannot be his best buddy but he still can be a good mentor. However, for the less unfortunate ones, father is a dream, a costly wish and in the later years; the father is a lost dream.

A father had everything in his life he could ask for - a loving wife and two lovely kids. But as they say; few people don't realize the value of their possessions. They seek pleasure that is either fake or not permanent. This young man of 26 years started neglecting his family gradually, company of his friends and his vice of gambling providing him more pleasure. The crack in the marital relationship was subtle in the beginning; but got the worse of it as years passed by.

The arguments grew big, verbal duel got nastier, fights erupted between the man and the woman; the house turned into a hell from where the children could find no escape. Their lives were in constant fear and anticipation of the next fight that could erupt between their parents; when is the next time they will have to miss their meal, their sleep? When will be the next time their parents blackmail them to drink "poison"? When will the next time come when their parents left them alone to fend for themselves?

Sometimes, the fights would last days; mother beaten, bruised and bleeding while the father absconding. Gradually, the children wary of the brimming turmoil; worried if they can go to school the next day in peace? Will they be able to spend an hour or two in silence instead of pleading their parents to stop. The wants of these kids were not toys or candies or clothes, their wants were peace and harmony in their life. To be able to have an innocent childhood, to have a carefree life.

What responsibility is that to be having to dispense advice to your parents at that age? Or to isolate yourself from friends to save being embarrassed? As years passed by, the scene changed; each of the parent seeking love and solace out of wedlock; that awkward moment of children having to face newer mucks.

And one day, the father left home forced out by the kids; unable to bear the sufferings; they chose the better of the worse. Life moved on; the children growing up to finish their education, finding jobs and a place in society; nurturing their own small family now; trying to heal the wounds; meeting with the father once in a while.

One of those days, at the funeral of their grandmother; the father was worried that their kids have been without food since morning. He was lamenting about it and was pursuing the kids to grab something quick to eat. The once tiny lovely girl; now a woman shot back "Did you worry about us being hungry when you were pursuing your pleasure and we were helpless kids? Now we are grown up, earn our money and know when to eat". The father was speechless and the daughter sorry that she uttered those words.

But the damage was already done; snatching away the life that rightfully belonged to the kids - long ago when they badly needed them

Monday, November 26, 2012

Of Tones and Slangs

We had a small convenience store; which my mother looked after. Our home was in a tiny 10x10 shop; wooden frame draped with a heavy screen partitioned the "home" and the shop. While my mom was a home maker taking care of me and my infant brother; she also managed the shop.

It was the 80s; we stayed in an industrial estate in North Bangalore which had easily 500+ small and large scale industries. ISRO was coming up; Kirloskar was a big company with 1000+ employees. We catered to cigarettes, beedis, betel leaves and nuts, candies, bananas and such. A small time business you see.

Since it was house cum shop; my mom would leave the shop unsupervised while she attended to home needs like cooking, washing etc. I don't recall if I started school already or was it one of those days when I had a holiday. But I do remember two episodes; one is not related to other. But these two show how language and mannerisms can bring confusions and misunderstanding.

While my mom took care of my brother or was attending to house chores; she would make me sit on a chair in the front of the shop. I had to let her know if someone came over to buy some stuff. I managed the sale once I grew up a year or two :) Anyway one such day; a man walked by to buy a cigarette. I continued sitting and yelled at my mom "Yaaro vanthurukka".

The guy picked up a fight with my mom about how I addressed him without respect(in singular). He understood "vanthurukka" as vanthurukkaN". Notice the subtle difference here. Regular usage in Tamil would be "vanthrukkaR" addressing with respect. "Vanthurukka" is the Brahmin slang which is equivalent to "vanthrukkaR". My mom had to explain the nuances to his guy who was not willing to listen. The episode left me flustered.

The second episode was something similar. There were lot of Malayalee immigrants who set shop in that part of town. Now, it is very normal for a Malayalee to address someone as "Yaey!" which is so offensive to people here. A poor Malayalee who was new in town addressed my mom "Yaey" and guess what? She yelled at him until he ran away :)

What my mom failed to understand was this guy is in a similar position as her when I uttered "Vanthurukka" :-)

Monday, November 19, 2012

Hello World

void ()
    printf("Hello World\n");

The first program we write when we learn our programming techniques; be it in any of the computer languages and doesn't matter at what age. Imagine yourself standing in front of a huge monitor with two speakers on either side and a giant keyboard as a door mat. The monitor is actually an office building and the 2 speakers are extensions to office. You are entering the world of computer by placing your right foot forward by typing and executing the above lines of code :)

Well, well, I am sane and very much here. Been busy and been free as well. Just that losing motivation to blog. I think it happens but that's ok. I am back. I see Anil has quite few posts that I definitely should read. I was procrastinating at work; there are situations and times when you dont know why things are happening that way. You just cant question; yet remain confused. The phase continues. So I thought let me take a break; anyway I have to face and live with these confusions for a while. So off I went on a 16 day trip to Thailand and Cambodia.

Now, what do I say? The people and food definitely was shocking. Whoever says "I love Thai food" just after tasting Pad Thai or Tom Yum soup; I wont believe you. You have not tasted Thai food really. So shut up! The art and culture are borrowed from Indians whereas the Chinese have influenced the food. Its not everyday and everywhere you see the images of churning of the ocean of milk back home; I could see them everywhere.

Cambodia was a different experience. Siem Reap housing the world famous Angkor Wat is one among them. The people and the country seems to be 30 years behind. Food again was a challenge. The civil war has taken a toll on Cambodians.

Anyway, travelogues are pending. I am yet to finish my Sri Lankan Sojourn. I think I have become wary of documenting everything I see and experience. I dont know if I will write my experiences of these places. Let's see.