Author Archive

What’s in a Tag?

Apparently a lot – you can write your whole life down using the beginning of each of these letters of the alphabet. Mandira, as the surviving readers of this blog know very well, has been trying very hard to get me to write. This is her latest attempt – I don’t blame her. By tagging me for the alphabet tag, she has ensured she gets a minimum of 26 words if not sentences. Here goes, the “me” in alphabets.

A- Available? Dear Alphabet A, Please be more specific with your question. With lots of love, Lakshmi.

B-Best friend: …………… – Fill in the Blanks.

C- Cake or Pie? Cake for eating but a Pie seems far more fascinating to throw at someone.

D-Drink of choice: Water

E-Essential thing used everyday: Two actually – Toothbrush and Paste

F-Favourite colour: I am colour neutral

G-Gummi bears or worms: Gummi bears sounds cuter but I wouldn’t want to eat either

H-Hometown: Huh?

I-Indulgence: Chocolates – dark, bitter chocolate.

J-January or February: What if January was called February and February was called January?

K-Kids and names: Whose kids?

L-Life is incomplete without: Good Sleep.

M-Marriage date: Is not available for public consumption – I don’t want unsolicited calls/ emails/ comments for loans or buying those million ideal gifts. My spending is not linked to my anniversary. Believe me, you will face no profit or loss on account of not knowing my marriage date.

N-Number of siblings: One.

O-Oranges or apples: Apples.

P-Phobias: Injection-0-phobia.

Q-Quote: “Adults are always asking little kids what they want to be when they grow up because they’re looking for ideas” – Paula Poundstone

R-Reason to smile: Too many to put down!!! Reason to cry would be easier to do.

S-Season: I live in Chennai. It makes no difference.

T-Tag three people: Asha, Srivalli, Amma.

U-Unknown fact about me: I day dream all the time – its like there’s this television running in my head all the time.

V-Vegetable you do not like: Pondalangai.

W-Worst habit: Pro—–cras————ti—————————-na——————————————I’ll fill in this last bit later.

X-x-rays you have had: X Ray for my Ankle

Y-Your favourite food: Idli – Milagai Podi. Those of you you assume a sambar and vada with it, will get pasted by me.

Z-Zodiac: I am a Lion. Right now, this is sounding better than “Leo”.

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An Award for the Sleeping Beauties and Other Random things

Now no one really likes to compete with never ending soap operas – but then there are these rare occasions in life when we can say that we are truly touched – and this is one of them. Our friend Mandira at Churning the Word Mill thinks that we are…..
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Thank you Mandira!! 🙂

Unfortunately Mandira is also consumed by grief over the sad untimely demise of this blog – The Quaint Treasures of Life. The “not to be missed” rib tickling obituary will tell you more.

We have made it quite clear that its not really the lack of ideas or time or the absence of will to write that caused this sudden lull in QTOL. Our blog atmas are incorrigibly INTP.

Meanwhile here are some of the things I have been consumed with while “not blogging” on QTOL – this list excludes work that I do for a living:

  1. QTOL isn’t a good place to rant. The past few months I’ve been more in a rant mood than a “so let’s look at quaint things in life :)” mood. Worry not, there is no pent up aggression. I have ensured that a considerable amount of Neha’s chat real estate is occupied with my rants.
  2. I have been busy earning the distinction of Cyber Squatter by blogging on my mom’s blog – until this effort was stopped in its tracks with a “I don’t want to cook” syndrome.
  3. I have been regularly deleting mails that say forward this email to 5 people and you’ll be blessed with good luck, forward to 15 people you’ll be blessed with gold, forward to 20 you’ll be blessed with diamonds, forward to 100 you’ll own Google, forward to 1000, you’ll become god. If you don’t fwd, you’ll be struck with bad luck for the rest of your life. if you ignore and snigger, then the devil will fry you in hell alive.
  4. I have been trying to figure a way to disable a facebook account. I hate to sound dumb, but I actually couldn’t figure how to do this for quite sometime. My random urge to sign in and figure what facebook was all about resulted in days of inbox overflow with overzealous people who wanted to hug me, kiss me, throw something at me at the drop of a hat.
  5. I have been day dreaming about doing a whole lot of things – illustrating a Children’s Series, traveling around the world and getting paid for it, running a marathon (idea credit – here and here), taking an offbeat holiday with Neha (idea credit – here), writing a book, running a retail outlet exclusively dedicated to kitchen gadgets, blah, blah and blah.

Some of these have been so very consuming, that even if I took time out to watch the leaves of the Gulmohar flutter like a butterfly in the wind – I din’t bother to write or share. Perhaps, its time to change that or to imitate a motivational speaker “The Time for Change is NOW”.


Our Blog Atmas

Neha and I haven’t updated this space for a long looooooooong time now. This blog infact seems to suffer from bouts of the Kumbakarna syndrome that Hema has explained so well – rib tickling perhaps but mind you its as real as life can get. Not even the valiant efforts of a dear friend to start a MEME that can get us to write could wake this blog up.

There are somethings about “us” that we can’t explain – we can’t put a finger here and there and say “Oh, I am too busy to find the time” or “I have a writer’s block” because these aren’t true. We have some stuff sitting in our drafts and some more waiting to be read on our hard disk – we just don’t update because that’s how we are – a reason that’s hard to explain and perhaps to many to understand. Many people in our life think we’re positively crazy and strange – and we couldn’t agree more.

I recently stumbled across a link to this 4 question test at Dining Hall that threw up the these four letters as my Blog Atma – INTP – explained as:

“You are an INTP!
As an INTP, you are Introverted, iNtuitive, Thinking, Perceiving.
This makes your primary focus on Introverted Thinking with an Extraverted Intution.

This is defined as a NT personality, which is part of Carl Jung’s Rational (Knowledge Seeking) type, and more specifically the Architect or Thinker.

As a weblogger, you might not be as concerned about popularity, but more with the ideas and theories that you strive to understand. Because routines aren’t your strong point, you might be more likely to work on the concept of how to do a blog, but not be as excited to keep it up.”

Now one could hope for some level of sanity and balance if the co author of the blog has a complementary personality – perhaps QTOL still has some hope if Neha turns out to be more of a stickler for routine.

Neha took the test as well and apparently her blog atma is also denoted by the very same four letters – INTP.

In short we like to explore and think, love change, but aren’t people who do something religiously. Although there are times when I seriously wish I could be as organized and regular as Mandira or my mother, honestly as of now I am quite content being an INTP 🙂


The Stars

This is a poem written by Nikhil, my nephew who is about 8 years old. Besides being an intelligent kid who loves to read and play, he’s an awesome big brother to the impish 2 1/2 year old Sanjana.

The Stars

Come out, come out

My dear little stars

Night will soon be here

If you don’t come out

I can’t see you appear.

 

I am standing at my balcony

And I can’t stay for long

As my mother is coming back soon

And she’ll call me back

 

Oh no!

Here she comes

I’m sorry but I must go

I wish I could see you shine

In that vast coat of black

But sadly now I must go

But please you don’t go!!


The River – by Nikhil Idiculla

This is a poem written by Nikhil, my nephew who is about 8 years old. Besides being an intelligent kid who loves to read and play, he’s an awesome big brother to the impish 2 1/2 year old Sanjana.

The River

It squiggles and wriggles
And houses many fish

And at dawn and dusk
It reflects the sun

It makes the land around it fertile
That so many plants can grow

But if you throw any old toy or shoe
You can cause a lot of woe

Be careful and take care of rivers
It is a very precious thing

If we let anyone spoil the river
It can affect the whole world!!!


A Decent Burial

I have mentioned before about the fact that most of my fond memories revolve around my brother who is about six years younger than me. He’s a very special child sensitive and intelligent with unique interests.

One of few things that he is passionate about is wildlife – for years I never saw him watch anything else on television beyond National Geographic, Discovery and Animal Planet. He devours pages after pages of books on animals and birds and rattles off their Latin names and their unique behaviours in an excited tone equivalent to “everyone on earth has just landed gold”. He has always had birds as pets at home and brings up their babies and their babies’ babies with tons of love and affection. I can still remember the excited glint in his eye as a middle school-er when he discovered the first batch of eggs his friends had laid, his crushing disappointment when a clutch failed and his over whelming joy at the sight of new born chicks.

It’s amazing to see him interact with his birds – they respond to his voice, play with him, communicate their worries as parents when a clutch of eggs are laid, let him clean and monitor the health of their new born babies – birds can be so much more personal and attached than one can imagine.

When we moved into a flat of our own in Bangalore after years of travelling through cities and various neighbourhoods, one of first things that we did was to convert his balcony into a well equipped aviary complete with rounded mud pots for nests, nesting material, lovely bowls for food , a smallish tub for them to have a bath and a smaller private area for those who need some space alone because of sickness or injury or plain simple maladjustment.

One of the biggest things that this lovely relationship has taught my brother is “death”. He experienced his first encounter with this heart wrenching separation when he was about 12 years old. One of his birds had fallen very sick and no amount of care could nurse Maco back to health. It almost broke all our hearts to see Maco’s partner hover around his body, trying to wake him up. Its a scene that’s burned in my memory like no other.

After some time when Maco’s partner had reconciled, my dad went ahead to take Maco out of the aviary and proceeded to wrap him in a newspaper and a plastic bag to “dispose”.

“Dispose”??!!!! My brother was extremely angry – now combined with the sadness of this loss you can just imagine how red his face could have gone. In his own words he wanted a “decent burial” which was “respectful”.

And so this Sunday morning was spent performing Maco’s last rites. After a few minutes of searching my brother and my dad zeroed in on a burial spot on an empty plot of land. My dad dug up a small grave while my brother put Maco in. They offered a fist of earth each as a token and said a few silent prayers before covering the grave with earth. To end the ceremony, they planted a small sapling of a bush nearby over Maco’s grave.

Losing a loved one is very sad, but giving a “decent burial” full of love and respect is indeed one of the best treasures of life. It’s a lovely acknowledgment of their moving on in their journey; an acceptance of their passing into another world and a higher plane.


HahaHeheLol

Not so long ago laughter – voluminous, throaty, uncontrolled – had not really been an incessant part of my life. Yes, I was happy and did have “32 sparkling teethy peals” but then HahaHeheLol would become one of my greatest friends and treasure in life only in the December of 2003.

Although it may seem fairly recent if one compares it with human lifespan, I know that the events that took place in the winter of 2003 will remain one of the most QTOLish moments of my life. Just to clarify, I was doing my masters at TISS in Bombay which doesn’t have much of a winter – so this had nothing to do with the weather.

But then it had everything to do with the spirit of Christmas. Having spent three years previously in a Catholic College that gave me the joy of being a part of all the fun and festivities, I was feeling sad about missing out on all of that in TISS. Thankfully though, the campus did have Christmas celebrations and most importantly everybody seemed tuned into the Secret Santa game. “Yippie!!”, I thought and smiled to myself. “Some things in the world continue to be sane”.

Masters in Social Work turned out to be much much harder than I had thought. Apart from tons of assignments, academic pressures and blues of being away from home, the atmosphere was extremely tumultuous. The world suddenly seemed a little too upside down for comfort (note: it already was, which is why many of us were there at TISS – ‘to change’). Each day presented a bunch of new realities that we were supposedly being trained to analyse and develop strategies for – from communities living on garbage dumps to facing an eighteen year old lecherous boy as a ‘child with rights’. By the mid of first year the meaning of ‘develop strategies for’ on campus emerged as endless nonsensical debates, generous amounts of ambiguity and extremely polar ideas. TISS at this point was like being in the company of an eclectic group of beings who’d have issues with the fact that something was a ‘non issue’. The most cliched question of the moment was always ‘But who decides?’, indicating the ever lasting ambiguity of individual freedom versus working in the interests of people. In short every single conversation would begin and end in concentric circles. Now if one adds a dollop of hostel woes, ranging from ‘smoky reeking corridors’ to ‘sleeping with bright lights and loud noises’, to this already confusing and tumultuous situation – you’d understand why I was yearning so much for a game of Secret Santa.

So on this lovely December 2003 afternoon, in a rather unpleasant DH (Dining Hall), we all had to pick small chits of paper with names of people who we were to adopt secretly – and send them gifts, goodies and letters, or torture them till Christmas eve. Soon I became a temporary mother. But then there were unfortunate souls whose names had not been picked. An ominous poster declaring their orphanhood was put up, requesting people to adopt. The idea of two children dint appeal to me, so quite frankly I still don’t know why I adopted ‘HahaHeheLol’. It just took a small suggestion from rather cute and diminutive neighbour Chandni and I had a daughter who was going through as much of a cranky bad patch as I was. Perhaps, this is what is called destiny.

Over the next few weeks, I don’t know what got into me, I sent my child loads and loads of handmade gifts with lovely handmade paper in numerous varieties. Even a small silly note would be laboriously made, I spent hours together each night getting my act to make each day special for my child. It was midnight oil burning at its best. No , this wasn’t a competition, and I dint even know ‘HahaheheLol’ – in fact we had not even exchanged pleasantries. But somehow her booming laughter, excited ‘show off of gifts’ in class, her small notes drizzled with a hundred ‘lols’ – these smaller things just made my day. This world of sheer joy, laughter and child like excitement seemed so far away from endless debates and assignments. And yet it was so truly life like and so much ‘human’ in essence.

I even sent her an embroidered handmade paper folder!!!

Neha and I got to know each other pretty well through that game and we’ve shared a lovely friendship ever since. We’re so connected that one would think that perhaps there is a mini device that aligns our wavelength and thoughts together. We go crazy over little things, laugh like raccoons over frivolous stuff, love the quaint and argue like children. The Internet’s biggest boon has been the fact that I have been able to share the same amount of space and time in spite of the distance – over email, IM or this blog. I continue to receive virtual or sms notes splattered with dozens of smileys, hahas, hehes and lols.

Thanks Neha, alias HahaheheLol, for all the laughter and joy you bring into my life.