Last week was “The End” week. Started off with Pongal, our Thala Pongal, to be specific. Since I assume this blog has a cosmopolitan readership(:P), I will take a moment to explain that “Thala” festivals are the first time festivals celebrated after one’s wedding. Thala-diwali,Thala-pongal and the likes. Of course extrapolated to thala new year, thala birthday etc. No, that does not mean we celebrate thala sister’s week, thala international wear-a-pink-dress day and all. Those are solely Facebook’s “Life is a festival” initiative. So the thala year ended with K’s thala birthday. Despite being a person who has kind of started to accept that birthdays are only an indication that you are getting older, he was generally fussed over, dragged to buy birthday dresses and gifted with oh-so-lovely presents(by who else!). One’s hope is that he now knows the level of expectation he has to face, come May!

Oh and the birthday was occasion for a carrot kheer experiment. Though not as brilliant as mom’s turns out, it was a fair attempt, I should say! ๐Ÿ˜€

The week also marked the end of my career at R. It ended with the most awesome Mango Blueberry cake I have ever tasted. That was the only high point of the end. The place holds a huge bundle of fond memories, and I was truly sorry to leave. It is rather hard to think of another workplace as “office”. Too much sentiment for one office,no ? I know. Sigh! <This is a warning for you to expect more “gyaabagam varudhe” posts on R in the future>

Just to end on a more cheerful note, pick up Dork by Sidin Vadukut if you have time to kill and want to laugh it out. It is like this glorified blog, nothing literary, but super fun to read.

PS: First post from the new office P, on Day 1. HUGEE sign of productivity, I know ๐Ÿ˜€


This day, that age

Attended my first ever concert with K, on new year’s eve. It HAD to be Sikkil Gurucharan, no? It was. Turned out to be an amazing concert(Being me,I had decided it would be one even before I went there). Bilahari is officially the more sprightly ragam of this season. Love. I was a little concerned that K might get bored thro’ the 3-hour concert, but he enjoyed it as much for the most part – atleast thats what he said(He SHOULD know I take that as a sign to drag him to more concerts next time around). On the same note, managed to catch most Margazhi Mahotsav excerpts on TV – Abhishek Raghuram ! What-A-Talent – should listen to him live, soon – maybe off-season!

…Dont remember when I attended my first kacheri – reckon it should have been earlier than I can possibly recollect given how carnatic music crazy dad-mom are. But I do remember the time when the likes of Bombay Jayashee, TMK and Sowmya were regarded as “upcoming artistes” and would be slotted in the morning free kacheris in most sabhas. There were fewer sabhas, but hey! those were simpler times right ? The three of us would go piled up in dad’s blue Chetak, sometimes with A perched up in the front when there was noone to take care of him. Now I think we must have looked like a spectacle right out of Jumbo Circus. The tickets would cost no more than Rs 25, dad and mom would have deep misgivings to buy 50-rupee tickets. It was an expense-overhead, and we would try to stick to sabhas that had Rs 25 seats. Each song would start off with a combination of anticipation, tension and pressure – the Ragam HAD to be figured out. I had exactly a minute into the song/alapanai before dad played spoilsport and triumphantly announced the ragam. I would put my fingers in my ears and beg him to not reveal it till I figured it out myself, and then there would be a debate in hushed tones in case there was a difference of opinion. Beyond the ragam identification, the rest of the song was only waiting time for the next song to begin. I would lose patience thro’ the main piece and tani avartanam and wait impatiently for the RTPs and tukkdas to begin. It was much later, maybe from around 10 years ago, that I started actually revelling in the music itself and not stopping with just ragam identification. The margazhi of 2010 that I spent in Mylapore is easily the best, music season-wise. So many sabhas, so many kacheris, a more mature ear for music – but, the first minute tensionย  for each song never left ! Some things never change, do they ? ๐Ÿ™‚

Mom-Dad’s company was sorely missed this season. Man! I cant wait for them to get back to Chennai !

Fourth edition of the Chennai TAP happened again this year! TAP ? In Pilani, TAP stood for the annual Tyagaraja Aradhana Practice. Over the years, the actual Aradhana we held at Pilani came to be referred to as TAP too, and hence the name sticks to the Chennai edition! We have been hosting TAP in Chennai for 4 years now(Sigh! Thats how long it has been since I graduated :|). With each passing year, though the BITSian representation in Chennai has been slowly diminishing, we have managed to pull off full house Aradhanas(never mind that the “house” in question is pretty small), thanks to brilliant enthu levels of the Raag alumni to take up organization of the event. Despite the initial to-have-or-not-to-have TAP confusion, things somehow fell into place this year and after a hurried rehearsal, we went up on stage with more junta than we had hoped could participate. The show was not without its usual share of goof-ups and eye-winks and coverups – after all, those are the things that contribute to the fun and laughs of such annual gatherings, but overall, it was a good effort. Saint Tyagaraja, hope you were pleased ๐Ÿ˜€

…TAP in Pilani was a regular second semester event that happened on the Founder’s day every year. Apart from the actual Aradhana itself, the practice sessions that we had for nearly a fortnight and an exclusive dinner grub on the day of the event were the most memorable aspects of TAP. Every year we would have a couple of people from Raag teaching the Pancharatna Kritis to everybody interested, and we would perform them to faculty and students on the day of the Aradhana. Have very fond memories of certain regular goof-ups we were known to make, like mixing up the last few charanams of Dhudukku gala, starting Endaro on samam etc – and unfailingly, every year, atleast one of us would promptly execute these goof-ups!

This year was no exception too – but that SOOO brought back memories of campus, of chilly wintry evening practice sessions in 2217 and the old Raag room in FD-2, and Vind/Nimmy/Enthu/Chak and the Raag enthu !

PS: I have a strong suspicion that I might have been Cheran’s sister in my previous birth. It freaks me out how I go off into the gyabagam varudhe mode so often! *Should ask him if happens to have a mortal fear for dogs now and hopefully rule out suspicion.*

Picking up from where I left…

2 years. A very long time for blog dormancy I know. That puts my prospective biographers in a very sticky spot indeed. Imagine, 2 years of undocumented life! It would probably leave a huge section of the world guessing what transpired then. HENCE, being the gracious subject that I am, I have decided to give a quick round up of the last two years to plug this gaping hole.
Did I hear someone grunt ? Haan ? No ? Ok good. I thought not.

So well, the last 2 years, at the risk of sounding extremely cliched, have indeed FLOWN by ! Looking back I realise there were so many things I should have put down then and there, and would have made pretty reading for me at 40, but because of <insert lame reasons here>, I somehow never got around to doing it ! So, as a comeback post, I thought I should put down all that I remember now, and all that need to be remembered, lest old age catches up ๐Ÿ˜

1. Got married! Not that I am likely to forget that, but still, since it ranks amongst the most momentous happenings of life, it comes there right on top! Also, simple as it is to say “I got married last year”, the process behind that was extremely long winded(to put it mildly) and took up more than a year of the 2 year hiatus ! From tamilmatrimony.com and numerous jaadagams and conflicting astrologer views and aย  million phone calls and inquiries, to skepticism, hope, disinterest and apprehension, it seemed to loom out like it would never end, but things took shape and miraculously fell in place in the eleventh hour, and as it so turned out, the quest ended in the office work station next to mine ! ๐Ÿ˜€ย  Ah, so all IS well that ends well. Following whichย  were the frenzied wedding preparations. Now it seems like those seven months were just ONE LONGGGGG DAY – nothing else was thought of/spoken about apart from the wedding. Drawing up lists, striking items off them, countless rounds of shopping, arrangement check lists – take it from me, Indian weddings are NOT overrated – they ARE truly truly big ! And then, the move to the husband’s place. (Ok, that sounds wierd even to me, even now. Henceforth, he shall be referred to as K). So the move has been smooth enough. More than I could have hoped for, actually. I ve lived away from home for 4 years of engineering, I am used to it, is what I thought. I was wrong. Living on your own, and living with people whom you suddenly start considering family are two different things. Thankfully, the bouts of homesickness have been few and far apart, thanks to K’s parents.

2. Visited places – quite a few of them. Going to new places came to a pretty abrupt end after campus trips stopped. 2011 brought in a good amount of travel, and my first passport stamping ! Yay !! Srilanka it was, for the record. That apart we visited Alleppey(heaven-ish, really!), Pondy(my first time after 16 years of living in chennai :|), Lonavla(touch and feel clouds) , Pune(dad’s transfer :|), Coorg(the office gang trip), Trichyย  and a host of temple towns. Missed travelling to the US by a whisker, but thats another story altogether.

3.Watched IPL matches live – 3 of them, with friends from work. On that note, the GAENG at work (comprising of animal planet and a couple of human beings) has been hugely responsible for a lot of laughter and fun over the last couple of years. Yards and yards of chat on Skype(we have concluded that if someone wants to look for something in the chat, the only way to do it would be to data mine it.), eat-outs,food obsession, gossip, cribbing and a whole lot more. 2012 holds a new job/workplace, and not to be pessimistic or anything, but I am quite convinced that workplace is never going to be so much fun as it has been these 3 years.

4. Started watching sitcoms and serials – now this surprises even me. For someone who was not bitten by the F.R.I.E.N.D.S bug even in college, when the whole place was going gaga over it, I have definitely come a long way. I think it just caught up a little late. So now it is Big Bang Theory – check. Dexter – check. HIMYM – on and off. 24 – current fever. Lined up – Prison Break and House. Agreed, I still fall asleep mid-episodes sometimes. But the frequency is coming down ๐Ÿ˜€

5. Watched more movies in the theatres this year than I have in my entire life. True story. This includes many downright crappy movies that noone in their right minds would even think of downloading, leave alone , watching in the theatres. But the film-buff in K is indomitable. He truly considers it his duty to write off a share of his income to the film industry religiously.

6. The passing away of thatha – by far the most saddening thing ever and shaken up seeing death at such close quarters. It is still way too hard to digest even as I am typing this, and has left a void nobody can possibly imagine to fill. I feel proud and blessed to have shared my childhood with him, have him tell me stories, teach me shlokas and let me see a part of the great life he led. If I had to attribute the word “godly” to a person, it has to be, without doubt,to him. It is an absolute privelege to be addressed as “Venkatesa Iyer pethi“. The way I felt/feel about his greatness is not something that can be expressed in this triviality of a blogpost. Plans are on to write his biography – an attempt to put down the gratitude of the many many lives he has touched by his wisdom, humility and benevolence –ย  I hope I will be able to contribute to that. RIP, thatha.

7. Did a good amount of reading – admist managing home and office, this is a real blessing, thanks to the office drives with K. Nothing like good books and music to lighten up office journeys. The Millenium series and the Shiva trilogy are picks of the lot. Hoping to read more good Indian writing AND translated Tamil works.

8. Acquisitions: A Dell laptop, an Amazon Kindle(Yayy! By far, the bestesttt wedding gift), an XBOX with Kinect(ok, this one too! ๐Ÿ˜€ ), an IPhone (a hand-me-down phone, but a giant leap from my earlier phone nevertheless, AND my first smartphone), second earring piercings, status elevation to Chitti and Mami(yes :|), LASIK(bye bye soda-buddi and lenses!) and last but not the least, more kilograms of weight than I would have liked ๐Ÿ˜

9. Lived the Mylapore life : Despite spending 16 years at Kodambakkam , and currently living in Mambalam, I think Mylai is THE essence of Chennai. The one year and few months of pre-marriage life there are truly memorable. Soaked up in the temples, kacheris, parks, buzz, karpagambal mess, maminess,ย  poshness and the general tam-brahmness of the area !

If you managed to read thus far, I appreciate your patience and would like to test it no further, lest I lose one ardent fan of the blog. Winding up with a whole lot of memories, mostly good of 2010 and 2011, and hoping 2012 brings forth more to write about !

Appy New Year !!