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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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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 🙂


Music is everywhere; it’s for the creator to find its source!

For all those people who have had the privilege to travel by local trains in Mumbai, they would have also been witness to the crowds and chaos on the local train stations that dot the city of Mumbai through its lengths and breadth.

One of the many rituals and entities that form a part of the local train station culture in Mumbai are the Boot polish stalls. Scattered through the platforms, these boot polish men and boys provide the quick smart look for all those on their way to important meetings, first job interviews, perhaps a lunch date and anything that gets someone to want to have smart, clean and shiny pair of shoes!

The job is done most efficiently, both in terms of the time as well as the result produced. Care is taken to make sure the polish does not spill over to the clothes, care is also taken to make sure that every corner of the shoe shines when the job is done, so that the 5 Rupees earned is for a job well done! The timing is so impeccable that it ensures that the customer doesn’t miss his next train!

The typical set up for the boot polish guy is a square box, with a drawer, which contains all the important material, the different shoe shine colors, brushes and the shine cloth. The Top of the box has a three-sided foot rest. The rest where the customer’s feet find nudge themsleves comfortably when the master is at work! The typical spot, which this artist occupies so that he is not in the middle of the crowds and yet at the same time can be found easily by any pair of feet wanting a polish, is against the pillars that are spread throughout the platform.

Between any two jobs he is left alone with his machinery and time to kill. Typically if you have been around one of these stalls when they are not tired and are eliciting customers, the ritual is they hit the brush against the stand, and making a repeatedly monotonous sound…thak…..thak…..thak….thak…. till the next customer arrives. The customer at that point in time is not only a boon to the stall guy, as he brings him the next income for the day but is also a boon to the by standers as he spares the already noisy and crowded station from the additional noise of the waiting boot polish guy.

But then one day, I bump into a boot polish stall that not only polishes the boot, but also creates music in his spare time to elicit customers. As part of my daily ritual I was standing next to his stall waiting to board my next local train, when suddenly I saw the box and the stand in front of the guy being turned into a musical instrument of enormous potential.

Perhaps uneveness of the box, varied thickness of each side of the box, the stand open position with the closed position of the box, and perhaps a zillion other such permutations and combinations of space and mass , resulted in a different sound for each hit of the brush on a different part of that ensemble.

Soon after a few experimental trials of hitting the brush on different parts, as though tuning the instrument to check for the right sound, a rhythm followed. It was a simple beat with varied sounds, which converted itself into a nice piece of music. I enjoyed the show till my train arrived and I had to leave the show mid way. But this show seems to repeat at regular intervals between his shoe shining jobs.

In his own way, this guy who sits on platform No. 1 at Grant Road station has made his shoe shining box into a unique musical instrument providing soothing sound to all those waiting, rather than simply adding noise to the environment like most of his other colleagues! Cheers to the Musician and his Instrument!