Categories
reflections

#SoCS July 25/2020

Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “check/cheque/Czech.” Use one, use ’em all, use ’em any way you’d like. Have fun!

The word cheque brought to mind an incident which happened long back. My mother told me about it. In those days the finances of the family were usually looked after by the men. My father worked in the Indian railways and the salary was not very high and my mother used to say by the end of the month there was hardly any money in hand. She kept some rupees hidden away to be used in the last week of the month. We never knew shortage in any way and our needs too were not much. We lived in the campus and life was all about going to school, coming back, finishing homework and going out to play 😊.

In the seventies television first appeared on the scene. Two or three families had them and they were very kind enough to allow children and adults to gather in their houses on Sunday evenings to watch the movie on Door Darshan, the only TV channel then. We used to check the movie to be shown on Sunday evening, in the newspaper and if it was something that we wanted to see, we would go to their house. It was fun.

To come back to my mother, she told me she had never been to a bank in those days. One day my father told her to take a cheque, go to the bank and cash it. She was so scared that she asked her close friend to come with her. The friend too had never been to the bank. The two ladies went together and very anxiously asked one staff to help them. He was very kind and helped them to encash the cheque. Since then my mother had gone to the bank many times with my father but she was never very comfortable with it.

And I also remember her words when thinking about life. In those days she saved a little money which my father told her to keep aside for herself, it was a very small sum. To buy a sari, she had to save for many months. She would check the amount she had saved once in three months. Once she had the amount she needed, she would go to the shop with her friend to buy the sari. In 1979, a team of about five hundred people from Indian Railways were sent on deputation for three years to Nigeria. My parents had a wonderful time there. After returning from there my mother did not have to save money for months to buy a sari. She could buy one any time she wanted to. But she always said the joy that one sari gave after saving for months was very special. I think this holds good for most things in life.

Categories
reflections

Everyday Moments (#SOL-2020

My weekly Slice of Life are my letters to my Doddamma. She is my father’s elder brother’s wife. Doddamma literally means ‘elder mother’. She is 89 years old. She cannot hear properly if I telephone to talk to her. So, I have been writing letters to her since October 2017. I enjoy writing letters and she is happy to read them. They are only about the everyday moments in my life. Since last week I am sending my letters by e mail to my cousin’s wife. She is reading them to my Doddamma. I write to her a little more about our grandchildren😊

8-06-2020

Today evening after 2 ½ months my two neighbours, Rekha and Mrs Juliet and I sat together in Mrs Juliet’s verandah and talked for half an hour, wearing masks 😊. We had a nice chat and our main topic of conversation was corona and how it is affecting the world. And, sadly, we felt human beings will not change. It is a sad reflection. The South west monsoon has set and we have been getting rains mainly at night. Last two days were sunny but the not hot. We don’t have to water the plants. Our neighbour gave us some plant clippings and we have planted them. 

We had some plumbing and electrical problems and our plumber/electrician came today to fix the problems. He told us that most people who had come from other parts of our state to work here have gone back to their home towns and villages. The plight of blue collar workers was terrible during the lock down. Our cities and their infrastructure thrive on their work and with no work most of them have gone back to their villages. They really suffered and I keep wondering how they are managing. They have been labelled as migrant workers but I don’t feel that is correct. How can they be migrant workers when they have lived all their lives in those cities?

Last week my husband went for his yearly medical check up and fortunately everything is fine. That brought to mind an article I was reading in the paper about a devastated hilly region a few years ago, is now green and beautiful. Uncontrolled mining had led to the devastation. Under the leadership of the district collector, people of that region planted thousands of saplings. It was also nice to read about an old lady, Venkatamma, who is the lifeline birds and other animals everyday. Her family supports her whole heartedly. People everywhere are doing their bit and this gives us hope for the future.

 Last week I made rasam masala , this recipe was given by doddamma to my mother and she gave it to me. We get masala powder in the market but I prefer to make at home.

We enjoy our evening walks. We wear our masks though we do not meet many people. We have to take care of ourselves. The number of cases are increasing in our place and in the country. God only knows when and how this is going to end.

https://www.deccanherald.com/state/top-karnataka-stories/individual-green-initiatives-impact-communities-in-malur-srinivaspur-845727.html

https://www.deccanherald.com/state/top-karnataka-stories/committed-efforts-pay-off-vegetation-revived-on-channarayana-betta-845730.html

It is change, continuing change, inevitable change, that is the dominant factor in society today. No sensible decision can be made any longer without taking into account not only the world as it is, but the world as it will be.

                                                                        Isaac Asimov

Categories
reflections

A Photo a Week Challenge: Coronavirus Changes

IN A NEW POST CREATED FOR THIS CHALLENGE, SHARE A PHOTO OR TWO OF A CHANGE YOU’VE EXPERIENCED DURING THE CRISIS.

Lockdown started on March 24th. A week after that I took part in a Zoom seminar hosted by Mr L Subramani about story telling as a personal narrative. It was an interesting experience.

On 14th April we celebrated my cousin’s 70th birthday on Zoom. The party was organised by his daughter. All near relatives and friends joined from our country and different parts of the world. We all loved the experience.

Changes due to the Corona virus.

Categories
Life reflections

Away from home (Photo fiction)

Suresh was walking back home after a day’s hard work. There were dark clouds in the sky and he hoped to reach home before it rained. Initially the rains here had troubled him. In his home town it did not rain like it did here. Home was the town of Badami. The lack of rains had created so many problems. There had been no rains for two years. The land was parched. They had to walk for miles to fetch water. Life had become one continuous struggle.

Some of his friends had told him that there was plenty of work in the towns in coastal Karnataka. He did not want to go to big cities. Life was a struggle there too. He was used to open spaces.  He did not mind small towns. He and his family had left the Deccan plateau and descended the western ghats. They had found work in this town. Due to educational and employment opportunities in big cities  the local workers had moved away.

The work he did here  was different from what he was used to back home. Here there were areca and coconut plantations. Every morning he and the others gathered in the town centre. From there the land owner’s  agent would take them to the plantation.
Many more people  had come from his region. They all lived in the same area. It helped because it prevented them from feeling  homesick. Once in three months they went home. There was a night bus which was very convenient. While returning they carried  sacks full of provisions like jowar and ragi and other millets . These were very expensive here.

Life was different and he missed his home. But he was glad because he could send his two children to school.  He wanted them to study and lead a better life. This was his dream. He and his wife prayed daily that this dream would come true.

img-20190412-wa0000

My young friend, Meghana, sent this photo to me. It is of workers returning home in the evening. This is near my parents’ home where they lived till 2015. Meghana asked me to write a story. I liked this photo very much.

https://lensforlifecom.wordpress.com

Categories
Life reflections

Waiting

Recently I read about ‘waiting’ in two posts by my blogger friends. I have been thinking a lot about ‘waiting’. We wait for something good to happen and many wait for something bad. They are sure that life can only be unpleasant. It is a pity. But I believe people hope for the best. They wait for better days.

The general elections (elections to send representative to the parliament of the country) are underway here. We will be voting this 18th. And we will all be waiting for the results. Politicians make a lot of false promises. But they know, and we too know, that those promises will not be kept. But we have to vote. Those candidates will be waiting for the results. Winning will make a lot of difference in their lives. I am not sure whether it will make any difference to the lives of the people. It is really sad that we are forced to be cynical about these ‘leaders’ that we have to choose. But that is life.

We were in the hospital from the fifth to ninth of this month. That world is one where a lot of waiting happens. People are waiting for their loved ones to recover and others are waiting for an end to happen. It is an emotionally charged world. It makes us realise how important good health is. We have to do our best to be healthy but sometimes things are not in our hands. A young husband was telling me how his wife had tuberculosis in the brain. The young woman was healthy and the disease assailed her suddenly, so that there was no time to counter its effect. She is undergoing treatment but no one is really sure in what condition she will come out. She is in coma. I keep seeing in my mind’s eye the husband’s look of utter hopelessness. I last saw him on the 10th. He must still be waiting.

A few years ago I used to go twice a week to the children’s ward in the cancer hospital. I remember that small girl who did not survive. She was so brave and I could see that she and her mother were waiting to leave the hospital. I gifted her a necklace made of small red stones for her birthday. After that I could not visit for two weeks. Later I came to know that she had passed on. She did not have to wait any more.

There is a lady in the Home for the Mentally challenged. I go there twice a week. She is waiting for her brother to come and see her or take her home. Each time she sees me she tells me her brother is coming tomorrow. But he never does. She is a life time member and he and his wife believe she has no claim on them. It is sad to see her wait and that seems to be her destiny.

I listen to lectures by Bannanje Govindacharya on YouTube. He is great Sanskrit scholar. I enjoy listening to all that he has to say about our epics and Purnanas and so much more. He was speaking about how people wait for happiness to come to them. They believe that if they achieve their goal or if they do something they will get happiness. According to our Vedas we will get happiness only if it is within us. Our achievements give us happiness only if we have the capacity or the inherent nature to be happy.

“Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions.”
― Dalai Lama XIV

IMG_1040

2019 Indian general election – Wikipedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_general_election,_2019

Bannanje Govindacharya – Wikipedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bannanje_Govindacharya

More groups of people at the High School

“Learning to Wait”

Categories
Life reflections

The Journey through the Alphabet

My mother-tongue is Kannada and I have been speaking it from the time I learnt to speak. My father was working in the Indian railways and he was posted in places outside Karnataka. Somehow, reading and writing my language took a backseat. I have been living in Karnataka since my marriage in 1982. I learnt to read and write Kannada with my children. I never succeeded in achieving the proficiency I have in reading and writing English. Books have always been a part of my life. During the passing years I made resolutions that I would read many books in Kannada. There are many wonderful writers and books. But the lack of speed stopped me from reading all those books that I promised myself that I would read.

The year 2019 has started. I went to the library and borrowed two books by Dr Shivaram Karanth. He is one of the greats of Kannada Literature. My husband is reading one, and I have started the other one. It is called ‘Alida mele’. It means what remains after everything has been snuffed out. The book is very interesting. It is about this journey called life. The author writes when we travel from one point to the next by whatever means of transport, the vehicle becomes our home for that duration. When we get on to the bus, train, etc we find other passengers already sitting inside. We join them as newcomers. Some welcome us and others do not. This is what happens in life. We talk to each other and leave when we reach our destination. We very rarely meet our fellow travelers again.

I think the same happens with books. Some books remain a part of our lives forever and we re-read them over the years. They never age. But some books are forgotten before we reach the ending. Some fail to hold our interest. I read somewhere that when people say that they have only one life to lead, it means that they have no acquaintance with books. Every story takes us into the lives of the characters in it. Their worlds become ours.

While writing this my mother’s journey through the world of books comes to mind. She has always loved reading. In her childhood she read lots of books written in Kannada. My parents were married in 1959 and my father was always posted in North India. She could not get Kannada books there. He persuaded her to learn English and read books in that language. Her friend told her to start with books written by Barbara Cartland. She plunged in and has never looked back. She is 78 and still reads and enjoys books.

Books always bring to mind my husband’s aunt. She loved reading. In her eighties she used to read everything that came her way. She would be amused when people enquired if she read books on Philosophy and Religion. Their assumption was such books suited her age. But she enjoyed Harry Potter and Ponniyan Selvan as well. I remember her whenever I read a good book. I used to call and talk to her about them. My fervent hope is that I will never be forced to give up this journey through the world of books till the end.

“A book is like a garden carried in the pocket.” ~Chinese Proverb

Ponniyin Selvan – Wikipedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ponniyin_selvan

K. Shivaram Karanth – Wikipedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K._Shivaram_Karanth

20190101_173838

 

Categories
Life Song of the Road

Vacation in the Hills -1

21-06-18

Dear Doddamma,

We returned yesterday (20th June) from Nainital. Earlier we had been to Kausani and Almora. We left Manipal on the 11th morning at 9.30 to Bangalore. I don’t remember when we last went to Bangalore by the day bus. We passed Puttur, Madikeri and Chennarayapatna and Adichunchanagiri, the Shiradi ghat route is closed. This is a longer route. In many places we see fields for miles and a hamlet and then fields again. In our place this is not so. Houses and fields are together.

20180611_164249

We reached Kuvara’s (my husband) cousin’s house in Rajajinagar at 8 o’clock.

On the 12th morning after breakfast we went by Uber taxi to the airport. The driver, Gundu, was talking non-stop. He was enjoying himself and we were getting a lot of interesting information. His name in his ID card is written as Gunda ( In India a hooligan or a ruffian is called gunda), and because of this he faced a lot of problems. He had to run about a lot to get the spelling mistake corrected. Then one passenger told him a name is just a name after all, why worry about it. Now he has stopped trying to get the spelling corrected. 😊   Our aeroplane to Delhi took off at 11.20. I like looking at the clouds below us. It is always fascinating.  The sunrays on the wing of the plane took me to another world.

20180612_122441

We reached Delhi at 1.45. After collecting our luggage we proceeded towards the Delhi Airport Express metro. We were in Delhi after nearly twenty years. We had booked a hotel room for a few hours as our bus to our next destination, Haldwani, in the state of Uttarakhand was only at 9.30 in the night. Our hotel was not far from Chelmsford Road and State Entry Road where we had lived in the railway quarters. Doddamma, there have been so many changes in Manipal in the last thirty years, we were expecting a lot of changes in Delhi too. The changes saddened me. Seeing the houses were we had lived and the garden in the centre of Connaught place made me feel sick. There was stillness in spite of the traffic, the stillness of death and not of life. The pollution was so bad that even the sun could not penetrate through the smoke and dust. And this was the place where forty years ago we used to come for a walk most evenings with ajja  (grandfather). The high temperature and the pollution seemed to be draining life from us. We were very hungry and asked a girl about a simple eating place nearby. She was very nice, she told an auto driver to take us to a nearby dhaba (a small hotel). The roti and dal were very tasty.

20180612_175230

20180612_164631

We walked back to the hotel, had a bath and left for the bus station in another auto. It took us nearly an hour. The driver was telling us about Delhi and how it had changed over the years. He said the pollution was much less now !! I cannot even imagine how it could have been earlier. Anand Vihar bus station was very crowded. I think living in a small place has spoiled us. 

Our bus left at 10. The coach was not a good one and the AC was not functioning. Many of the passengers were getting angry and scolding the conductor.  He too got angry and said ,compared with the outside temperature, it was cooler inside !!

A young passenger, Nitin, sitting next to Kuvara was very nice. We got talking. He works in Noida and was going to his home town in Bhimtaal in the hills. Taal means lake in the Kumaoni language.  At about 12, the driver stopped the bus and said a belt in the engine had broken. We waited there for nearly two hours. It was near a petrol station, all the passengers got down, it was so hot inside. Another passenger, Divansh, had studied in Manipal, he came and talked to us. He had seen Aravinda in his department.  A strange situation, some of us getting to know each other middle of the night.

 

20180613_012315

After two hours we started again. When it was nearing 4, some of the passengers started saying they could smell something burning. All of us got down and removed our luggage. We were near a place called Gadh Mukteshwar. It was nearing 4 and many auto rickshaws were going by. All of us went to the nearest bus stand. The buses coming there were full and we had more than four hours of journey left. We, Nitin and one more passenger hired a taxi to Haldwani. We reached the place at about 10. A very eventful journey indeed. Nitin helped us a lot, without him it would have been very difficult for us. Some people come into our lives unexpectedly and become a part of our memories.  In Haldwani, he arranged a taxi for us to go to Almora.

More in my next letter doddamma. Our landline is not working properly. I will call as soon as it is repaired. I just got a message from Nitin that Uttarakhand Road transport had refunded some money to his account.

With lots of love,

Lakshmi

 

 “We

  Started

  Vacations

  On a good note.

  It was not raining

  The bus arrived on time

  Our journey to Bangalore

  Took us through different places

  Villages and towns we had not seen

  Day long journey but not a boring one.”  (Etheree poem)

[ My letters to my Doddamma (my father’s elder brother’s wife, my favourite relative have helped me to keep an account of my daily life. Everyday-life need not be exciting, but they make us what we are. My doddamma too enjoys my letters. She is 87 and I cannot tell her everything on the phone. I send her photos along with the mail, her daughter-in-law or her son read them to her and show her the photos. The internet has changed our lives so much. We can keep in touch with our near and dear ones, if we want to. 😊 I have made some changes while posting in Slice of Life. ]

“Sunrays on the wing
 Reflected the light above,
 While the clouds beneath
 Told us we were far away
 From Mother Earth below us.” (Tanka)

 

 

 

Categories
Life reflections

Life moves on

My mother is learning yoga and one day recently she told her instructor that she cannot walk like she used to. She has slowed down and has no work at all. The young instructor said that was the rule of life, the law (niyama) which God has made. Each stage in life is different, and it is not possible for us to do the same things in the same ways throughout life. How true her words were. Wise words from the young.

My mind goes back to November last year. I was with my daughter for 2 ½ months. Our granddaughter was born on November 10th.  Now she has completed six months. We are seeing changes in her everyday. She rolls across the floor and is also moving forwards. This first year in life is such a fascinating time. Our grandson will soon be five. He is changing every day but those changes are not so obvious. The other day my mother told a relative that she has to use a walking stick now. He said this was another stage in life. He believed childhood was the best time. So true. But it is a tragic truth of life that countless children do not have a childhood at all.

Life moves on, and so much keeps changing. Many a time we are not even aware of the changes. Maybe we change with the changes, and we accept life as it comes. My father-in-law is 93 now. He was always been a very active person, always on the move. He has lived all his life in a village and is an agriculturist. He worked hard along with the farmworkers and spent all his working life standing and moving about in the fields and areca gardens never sitting down to rest. But that stage of life is now in the past. Life has slowed down a lot for him. Looking at him I wonder “does he wish for those days to come back?” A few years ago he was with us for about three weeks. Every afternoon we used to sit in the front porch and talk about the old days. I wrote everything down and prepared a series of Facebook posts. Many of our relatives enjoyed his reminiscences. He said life has changed a lot, people in his times never imagined it would change so much. But he never hankered after those days. Some people do.

One of our acquaintances lives in the past when she lived in another city. She is always lamenting about the passing away of those days. I get the feeling living in the past has made it very difficult for her to be in the present. It seems so tragic.

Every stage in life is very different and there are so many changes; some of them take us by surprise; others, we willingly leave behind.

“Every stage in life
Takes us forward everyday
Till we reach the end.
We can live in the present
Or worry about the past.”

DSC07746

IMG-20180513-WA0000

 

Categories
Life reflections Song of the Road

A beautiful break

I have come to my daughter’s place for two months. She is expecting her second child. We will be nicely busy. 😊

I may not be able to post blogs but I will read some posts. My WordPress friends have become an important and good part of my life.

IMG_20171105_181851

A very old temple in our place dedicated to Sri Janardhana and Goddess Mahakali😊

 

 

 

 

Categories
Life reflections

The Universe Within (Slice of Life)

slice-of-life_individual

I have just finished reading The Gene: An Intimate History by Siddhartha Mukherjee. The book took me on a fascinating journey. The blurb of the book reads, “It is the story of the quest to decipher the master-code that makes and defines humans, that governs our form and function. The story of the gene begins in an obscure Augustinian abbey in Moravia in 1856, where a monk stumbles on the idea of a ‘unit of heredity’.” The story continues through the decades, even up to now. The author has made all those years and the works of so many scientists come alive.

We have always known the term gene and have used it casually to describe some characteristic in the family. In Mukherjee’s book we learn a lot about what makes us who we are. But this knowledge is scary too. It is as if there are so many universes within us just as there are universes out there in space. They are unknown to us, and these universes within us are in many ways unknown. It is as if they have a life of their own. A single mutation or a change and everything changes. Most of the time we cannot do anything to stop the chain of events resulting from the mutation.

Reading about cancer in the book my thoughts went back to the days when I used to visit the children’s ward of the cancer hospital. I met some very brave people, one of them a lady from the northern part of our state. She and her family were agriculturists. In the normal course of life we would never have met. But we did meet, and there was an instant rapport. She had come with her youngest daughter who had cancer. Her eldest daughter had insisted on this treatment. She wanted to do her best for her little one. Her husband wanted her to return home and let nature take its course.

That lady fascinated me. In spite of her problems, she was so enthusiastic. She had never been to school, and I would often see her with a pen and paper, learning to write her name. She told me how to make ‘jowar roti’, though my first attempt was a flop. But, she encouraged me and said that everything comes with practice.  Once the little girl was given colouring books and crayons, but she was reluctant to accept them. She did not want charity. When it was explained to her that they were given by a young man, who wanted to help children in some way, she was happy to accept them. It was so inspiring to see that self-respect. They had so less in material terms, but were so rich in right values. That little girl was lucky to have such a mother and the mother was lucky too. One day when I went to the hospital I learnt they had left. I don’t know what has happened to them, but they will always be a part of my life

Manipal lake (1)

The Universe Within (Slice of Life)