Saturday, February 20, 2010

Pictures from my rooftop...

This sight rooted me to the spot, I had come upstairs as usual to supervise the construction work and when I caught sight of the sky I gasped. It was unusually beautiful, like the angels had been having a cloud fight (sorta like a pillow fight) which explains the tufts of clouds all over the place.


This was pretty interesting too, like a giant eagle swooping low... check out those wing spans.


These resemble scratches, like God had been testing his brush when he was painting the sunset below...
The sunset and the silhouette of a lone bird...

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Foreign Language Movies



My Girl (Fan Chan) : This is a Thai movie and I caught it on World Movies when I was switching channels one day. It had just started and I couldn't change the channel even if I wanted to, the kids in the movie were so cute. The story is bout a young man who receives a wedding invitation from his closest childhood friend, a girl in his class. He reminisces bout his childhood on the journey to his hometown to attend this wedding. It was wonderfully told and the kids played their parts well, the girl was so cute she reminded me of Winnie Cooper. I realized something watching this movie, these thai kids are so cute and the girls grow up to be pretty and beautiful but its sad 'bout the guys, they do not look masculine enough... they seem to have feminine features. The boy in the movie grows up and he looks like a girl, that was a bit of a disappointment... other than that, the movie was a joy to watch. I liked it a lot.


My Little Bride (Eorin Shinbu) : This is a delightfully cute romantic Korean movie, my heart melted towards the end. It tells the story of how a 21 year old man and a 16 year old girl are forced to get married because of a pact their grandparents made or something like that. So these two are thrust into an arranged marriage that neither of them are excited bout. But the guy turns out to be real cute, he loves his little wife dearly... the girl on the other hand, takes time to fall in love with him. When she does realize towards the end, its heartbreakingly sweet. Loved the movie, the actors were pretty good too... the girl as usual was pretty.


3 iron (Bin-Jip) : This Korean movie was different, there were hardly any dialogues and the ending was intriguing. Very engrossing movie, the actors emote well and the movie had a nice concept. A young guy breaks into people's homes and lives in them when they are away (also known as a squatter), but this young guy is a squatter with a difference. He merely doesn't live in them, he cleans up the place, washes the bathrooms, cleans slippers, dishes... repairs things lying around the house. I liked watching the way he breaks into houses and how he sets about cleaning them and sprucing up the place. The leading lady is the abused wife of a rich man, and she is beaten and ill treated on a regular basis. One day the squatter breaks into this rich mans house and goes about cleaning the place without being aware that the wife is at home, seeing her swollen lips (she just had a beating from her husband) and the agony in her eyes, he takes her away from that place and they both become squatters. She helps him in cleaning up the houses they break into and slowly they fall in love and its beautiful. But eventually the husband catches up with them and the young man is thrown in jail, what follows next is the intriguing part. You gotta see it to know what's happening I can't explain it, but the young man perfects some form of art he has been practicing and he appears to disappear at will and only the wife can see him. It ends nicely, with the husband hugging the wife but the wife is actually leaning in to kiss her true love. I liked the movie... it was different.

The Bicycle Thief (Ladri di biciclette) : This Italian movie was okay, showed the struggles of a working class man named Antonio due to the effects of economic depression in Italy post World War II. Work is scarce and Antonio has to feed his wife and two children, so when he gets a job sticking up posters he is overjoyed, his bicycle is a necessary part of this job, in fact its a mandatory asset for the job. So when his bicycle gets stolen, he goes crazy trying to find it. He and his little son roam the streets and the markets trying to find their bicycle and desperation drives him to steal a bicycle and this results in a sad ending. I can't say I liked the movie... the ending was not happy, it was realistic and showed how humans fall.

Rashomon : This is a Japanese black and white movie, its a crime/mystery drama. A samurai is found murdered and four people are brought before the judge to give their account of what happened. Each of these four people tell a different story and you are left wondering what really happened. The samurai and his wife are seen walking through the forest and they encounter a bandit, after this encounter the samurai ends up dead, a woodcutter passing through witnesses the entire thing. The wife's story is different from the bandit's story which in turn differ's from the dead Samurai's story (they use a medium to talk to the spirit of the dead samurai, it was scary) which in turn differ's from the woodcutter's story. I didn't like the movie and the Japanese wife was downright ugly, something was seriously wrong with her eyebrows.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

My school teachers...

So I got to thinking bout my school days recently and it saddened me that I was starting to forget a few teachers who had shaped my life, I have already forgotten nearly half the classmates... though its not my fault. Some people just don't want to join facebook, then how can you find them in this big world. Even if I do find them, there is not much to talk beyond the 'where are you & what are you doing' phrases. But the teachers are another matter, they deserve to be remembered for moulding us. I gotta hand it to the convent school I studied in, they really knew how to select their educators... all the teachers I had shared a genuine passion for teaching and above that they had strong moral values and faith which invariably shaped our lives. To them being a good person was what mattered the most and they made sure we grasped this knowledge, it also helped that I had staunch catholic parents who cemented this view. Anyway, I just wanted to jot down stuff bout my teachers so that when I am old with white hair, sans teeth or eyes... I will remember those people who made a difference to my young & impressionable growing up years.

My primary schooling in Abu Dhabi is just a vague memory, I remember having music classes where a pretty lady used to play the organ and teach us Church hymns. I studied in St. Joseph's School, located just behind the only church in Abu Dhabi, the St. Joseph's Church. I love that church, it brings back some good memories of catechism classes, children's mass, Christmas gifts and the Easter vigil. Here are a few pictures of the church...



Anyway coming back to my school, I had a nun (don't remember her name, I think it was Sr. Decla) who was very particular that we should write in cursive writing, she would hit us on the knuckles lightly if a word did not start or end with a tail. That's the way I write even now, in the cursive script... and when people tell me that I have nice handwriting (I get this a lot) I remember her. I also remember that we had a Library period and that we were given one book to read, we could take it home and bring it back during the next library period. I got an Enid Blyton book one day and the last thing I wanted to do was read it, I was barely ten & it was the last period of the day and we were all sleepy. The cover spoke of a mystery and a few kids who were caught in it, so I thought I might as well read it till it becomes time to leave and then I can give the book back. From the very first page I was hooked, my sleep had vanished, I was somewhere else with those kids trying to solve a mystery... I had no idea bout the time, or what was going on, or when the bell rang or anything else. I took the book home and devoured it, from that moment the library period became my most loved period, and I had fallen irrevocably in love with the written word, there was no looking back thence. Sadly, that's all I can seem to remember of my schooling there...

I then happened to change countries and landed at the southern tip of the Indian Peninsular, in a place called Nagercoil. Here too I studied in a convent school called St. Joseph's Convent Higher Secondary School. Here there are loads of teachers to remember...
  • Janet Teacher : She was our english teacher in the 5th grade and very pretty, that's all I remember. I met her recently after a long time, say 18 years... I was sitting in the bus travelling to the special school when she got in and I recognized that pretty smiling face, (she was still the same, slim with long hair) and got up to give her my seat. Of course she didn't recognize me, but she smiled and took my seat...
  • Arul Teacher : She taught me maths in the 5th grade and she was old and kinda strict
  • Sr. Teresa (1cm sister) : She is a very interesting person, very short and hence her nickname. She taught social studies, and she had this crazy urge to check my lunch box (which would invariably contain chappathi or sandwiches)... she would exclaim,"What kind of food is this! Tomorrow you should bring rice with curry, a vegetable and an egg or a piece of fish on top." I hated her for that, I mean I am not a rice person... to this day I still eat chappathi or sandwiches and avoid white rice. All her antics seem funny in the light of today, after all she only meant well. I ran into her a few years back in church, she seemed even shorter now that I had grown up, I introduced myself and spoke to her.
  • Vimala Teacher : She was our 6th grade class teacher, I remember that the school stage used to be our classroom back then.
  • Katherine Teacher : She was our 7th grade class teacher, taught us maths and catechism I think. She was a short, rotund and kind lady.
  • Jagadha Teacher : She was our pretty English teacher and the class teacher in the 8th grade. She's actually a relative, a cousin twice or thrice removed... we all liked her a lot.
  • Chandrika Teacher : She taught us Social in the 8th grade, she made us write a lot.
  • Pressy Teacher : She was our class teacher in the 9th grade and she taught us English and Science too I think. I like her, she was all prim and proper & always hustling and bustling around. She would make us recite poems loudly until she arrived for class, she brought out our creative aspects too. She was teaching a poem about a blacksmith and how his sinewy arms work hard at forging iron while bending over his anvil & sitting under a tree, she told us to picture this scene and draw it. I drew this blacksmith with his sinewy arms and the big tree behind him, and she actually liked it. (I'll put up the picture when I go home next). The other day she told us all to take a plain sheet of paper and write a poem, anything from the top of our heads... whatever we felt. I still have that piece of paper with me, it was a nice feeling to know that you could string words together and come out with a pretty good poem, if I may say so myself. Here is the poem I wrote in her class...
  • Chitra Teacher : She taught us Science in... which grade, I don't remember. All I remember is not being too fond of her...
  • Padmashree Theacher : She was my Hindi teacher through all the grades, her classes were laid back and fun. There used to be just the three of us (Me, Geetha and Divya) and we would wait for hindi class, with only three students to teach, the lesson would get over soon and then we could just laze around in the sun under a eucalyptus tree. Hindi teacher was a typical brahmin to the core, she liked to talk... she would tell us her problems, what's happening at her house, stuff like that. She was also a dedicated teacher, we could go to her at any time of the day with doubts, she taught us well... I liked studying all the Kabir and Rahim ke dohe.
  • Ida Teacher : She was a fantastic teacher, taught us maths in the 8th and the 9th grade. She lives in my colony, we used to travel to school together. She's a funny & lively character, her eyes would twinkle with delight when she taught us maths or cracked a joke... she was less strict and more friendly. I meet her from time to time when I go to church, her house is on the way...
  • Thangam Teacher : She actually took Tamil for my classmates while I capered off to Hindi classes. She also taught us Catechism and that's why I remember her so vividly, she was tall and graceful and forever meticulously dressed. Not a strand of hair or a pleat in her saree would be out of place, she always wore her hair in a tight little bun at the nape of her neck. She was regal looking, and carried herself with poise. She was a true believer in the word of God, and her heart belonged to him. She taught us catechism with a passion, you could feel her love for Jesus emanating from her words and actions. I still remember her telling us that her favourite part of the mass was when the Priest lifts up the chalice and host proclaiming 'Through Him, with Him, in Him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit all glory and honour is yours almighty God forever and ever, Amen."
  • Leela Teacher : She taught us maths (and a lot of moral stuff) in the 10th grade, she would always talk about honesty and how to behave in the world, and how to be good pious and chaste girls. She gave us tips on fighting off assailants if ever we were attacked, go for the soft spots... like poking out the eyes. She was the epitome of calmness and patience, she would talk so softly, it was difficult to hear her all the way to the back. So sometimes we would come closer and sit on the floor to hear her teach. She was the one who started a new concept called the honesty store. A little corner room was turned into a stationary shop and students could buy what they wanted and place the money in a tray nearby. There was no shopkeeper or attender, we had to be honest and pay for what we bought. The store actually went off well, she was like that... she believed in the goodness of students. She used to dress plainly, almost nun like... dull sarees with minimal print. She would start each class with a mental test, she would give us a mathematical problem and we had to work it out in our heads and then jot down the answer.
  • Rajeshwari Teahcer : She was our English Teacher in the 10th grade, a short little woman who would animate her teaching. She was funny that way, she was sweet and kind. I meet her too in church from time to time.
  • Stella Teacher : She is another example of poise and refinement, she was our social teacher in the 10th grade. She was kind and helpful and we all liked her, she taught us well.
  • Jesintha Teahcer : She was our English teacher in the 11th and 12th grade. Her classes were fun, there were less tests and exams... as compared to the other classes. The other teachers were preparing us for the public exams and it was a period of intense hard work. She was easy going and fun to be with... I meet her from time to time at large family gatherings.
  • Merlin Teacher : She was without a doubt the coolest teacher around, she was a few years elder to us... she was a student of the same school and she came back to become the Computer Science teacher. She was practically like one of us, we loved her classes and we loved her. The computer science classroom was located at the extreme end of all the class rooms, even beyond the hindi class... it was an eerie room that was hardly used and it had huge windows, and bats used to hang from the ceiling. I loved those classes, there were about 20 of us and we all shared a great camaraderie. I thought if this was how college was gonna be, I can't wait to get into college... little did I know what shock would be in store, but that's another story.
  • Sujatha Teacher : She was our Chemistry teacher and our class teacher in the 12th grade. She was a delightful teacher, witty, smart and beautiful. She taught with a passion and I enjoyed her classes, she was delicate, graceful and I liked her a whole lot. Turns out she is a relative too, I meet her from time to time at large family events. Everybody is related to everybody else in my small hometown...
  • Vinsula Teacher : I know weird name, she was our Physics teacher in the 11th grade. She was also called the neckless or cylinder teacher. She was a picture of rotund bliss and her neck could never be seen, it was hidden by her plump smiling face, she more or less resembled a cylinder. She is a nice person, with a kind smiling face, whenever she taught she would scribble the equations or words on the board and the more she got into the subject the more she scribbled... by the end of the class, the blackboard would be white and it was as though a deranged man was let loose in the class, you couldn't make out a thing, it was crazy. I met her when I had gone to her house to give her my wedding card, she was the same picture of rotund smiling bliss.
  • There was a maths teacher in the 11th grade and I can't remember her name, got into an argument with her one day...
Well, that's all I seem to remember... Nameeta, Raina, Saras, Bella you guys probably remember more, let me know what I've forgotten or if I've wrongly entered stuff here. To all the teachers named here and to those I don't remember, wherever you are, I hope you are doing good and I just wanted to say thanks for everything.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Walking into the sunlight...

So I am standing there in line at the doctor's office, cursing everyone and glancing at my watch for the upteenth time, I hate waiting... I have no patience whatsoever. Anyway I am standing there and muttering to myself, when the guy in front of me turns back and smiles. He's a young boy, 20 something with a friendly grin and a pleasing nature, he starts talking and tells me that he has to undergo an operation and hopes that everything turns out alright. After a few minutes his turn arrives and he enters the doctor's office, leaving me out in the hallway. I stand there no longer impatient but wondering bout the affable young man and how he changed my mood with his outgoing nature. He comes out smiling and takes his leave with a wave of his hand, that's the last I see of him as I enter the doctor's room. After being examined the doc conludes that its a minor infection, writes down a few tablets and tells me to visit again in two days. Two days later I am back and fully cured and as I turn to leave I remember the young guy and turn to ask the doc about him. The doc shakes his head and says, "He didn't make it, he died yesterday during surgery." I flash back to that day when he walked away with a friendly smile and a wave of his hand... he seems to be walking into the sunlight now, and that's when I woke up.
I had this dream a few days back and since then I haven't been able to forget it, I wonder what it means...

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Owen Trust Library

There is this library back home that fills me with wonder every time I go there, it's actually an ancient antique looking house that was entrusted to a trust fund to function as a library. And what a library it is, its got that old rugged charm and it warms the cockles of your heart. Every room you enter has got rows of well stacked books and the sunlight just spills over them, and as you go from room to room touching those worn out books and smelling the sunshine... you feel this is it, this is how it should be... this is how paradise probably is. Well, everybody has got their own notion of heaven and this is how I think it will be... anyway, here are a few pictures of Owen Trust Library.



So I've been listening to George Strait lately and he's in one word awesome, he deserves to be called the King of Country, his songs are still rooted deep in the soul of country music. He is like a beacon to the true spirit of country songs. When many country artists are now considered contemporary because of their crossover to a more pop kinda edgy music listening to George Strait is a relief, he still makes you feel like you are out there in the open fields under a blue sky watching the horses stroll by. And when he sings bout love, you really tend to fall in love and that's what this post is actually about.
Should I be worried that when he sings bout love, all I can seem to picture is the Owen Trust Library, I mean what does that say bout me. I mean I do love Antonio and my family and all that, but since I visited the library recently... I keep wanting to go back. Am I becoming too obsessed... ah, who cares, I love that place!