Thursday, January 31, 2008

My Pandora Box

My room has a wall sized rack and a shelf where I used to store all my belongings while in school and college. These were kind of untouched ever since I moved to Bangalore. So last time when I was home for a longer duration, I decided to check the same. And what I found there was quite interesting. It was like diving into my past and unveil the life of that silly little girl who treasured anything and everything.. Would you also be interested in having a peek?

First, a box full of 'manjadikkuru' and 'kunnikkuru'(abrus seeds). As a small kid, these colorful little seeds really fascinated me and I just loved collecting them.. The main source for this collection was Guruvayoor temple. There is a big vessel where these seeds are kept and children are made to play with it. It is supposed to make the children naughty just like Srikrishna! I still don't understand why parents invite such headaches deliberately! Anyway coming to the point, these used to be very sticky (as it will be filled with sweats of so many people) and so one or two would always stick to your hands which would eventually fall off in the pradakshina vazhi. I used to collect those spilled ones (of course with lot of scoldings from mom for picking up things from ground :P ) to come home and fill my jar.My manjadi collection grew with every visit to the temple. Kunnikkuru came from one more source. Near my grand mom's house this plant was there and these seeds used to be scattered all over the place. We didn't know the location of this plant and so had to satisfy ourselves by collecting the fallen ones. It was fun to run around to collect them and also our petty fights in the process. We even used to play different games with that. These seeds are so cute that I never felt like throwing them away even though I outgrew the games long back..

Next a box of Valappottu (Broken bangles). As small girls, we used to play a game with the broken bangles. We would shuffle a bunch of them with different colors and spread it over the floor. You need to pair two similar ones, draw a line in between and strike without disturbing others. Whoever collects the maximum number was the winner. I never had the habit of wearing bangles and so was always the one who contributed the least feedstock for the game. Since you tend to collect anything rarely available, this also became a collection although I have no idea from where or how I collected them!

Then I have a colorful plastic phone in the shape of a house. The house is green in color, the red phone handles would be resting on the roof of the house, then the white dial is in the front. I saw it in a shop and asked for it thinking I can replace the dull black instrument at home with this one! But then it turned out to be a 'kudukka'(a piggy bank) with a small opening at the back. My parents took that as an opportunity to implant some saving habit in me (Wondering why it never stayed but) and explained to me how I should use it. Anyway although I was disappointed by the fact that we should still use the plain old phone for making calls, I was excited with the thought that this little phone when filled would give me money to buy anything that I want.. But though I counted the coins every day, my phone was never full and I used to be desperate. Those were not the days were kids got lots of pocket money (at least not the 6 year olds) and so it was real hard for me to fill the box. The deal was if I find any loose coins in the house , I can take it and fill my kudukka. But most of the times I used to go to dad and ask for some coins. The generous person he was, he used to give me all the small changes and BINGO my bank used to be full :)

I guess it was in my second or third standard that we had to write a composition about "My Hobbies". Instead of making the students write it themselves, we had a ready made composition that we had to mug up (possibly this is the way it happens in all convent schools). The composition was quite detailed and gave step by step information about how to take the stamp out from the envelope without damaging it, how to store it properly, how to expand your collection and so on. Anyway end of it I realized I have a hobby called stamp collection without a single stamp in possession!!! Think like all kids in that age, I was also experimental and decided to try it out from then on .. Any letter that came home went under my careful surgical procedure. Luckily those were the time of snail mails and so I didn't have any problems for my collection to grow. Slowly as I grew older I took it little more seriously and expanded the collection by exchanging with like minded friends as well. But this died a peaceful death once I left school.

I also have a small collection of coins. This was when my 'phone kudukka' started collecting different shaped coins rather than the small changes (Of course even these were donated by my dad). Does anyone remember the old 10 ps, 20 ps, 5 paise coins? I also had some 1 ps and 2 ps coins from my mom's time!! But this also became stagnant after some time as it was not so easy to get different coins unlike stamps. Earlier, I used to expand it(rather tried to) by adding some left over Marks, Liras or Francs after any trips. Now after the single Euro system the variety is again gone :(

I was always crazy about craft works - now and then. I never bothered to specialize, I was eager to learn all - stitching, knitting , embroidery , hand works,... (Yeh jack of all trades, master of none). When all other students used to dread the work experience class, I was always looking forward to it. We had a choice of 2-3 items out of which a student can choose one and complete it in the course of the year. But I always completed all the available choices. So one section of my rack is filled with Wall hangings, baskets , mufflers,hand embroidery works, curtains, etc etc. Also a bag full of raw craft materials like beads, pakkeesa, embroidery threads, cross stitch kit, plastic wires..

Somewhere I saw a beautiful aquarium inlaid with shells and decided one day I should also have one like that. Think that was the spark for my shell collection. My dad's ancestral house is near the coastal area and many of my relatives stay very near to the beach. So our trips to these houses were never complete without an excursion to the beach where I was busy exploring every inch in pursuit of unique and beautiful shells. Also once I started earning and traveling around, I bought many big ones as well. That way I have a decent collection of corals and shells (though I have no idea how I got those corals) big enough for a room sized aquarium. But the irony is I'm yet to have my first aquarium!!

Then a neatly filed newspaper cuttings which is a collection of news or pictures that interested me from time to time. Think I got this habit from my mom who is a readaholic and treasured even a small piece of paper. I keep fighting with her for keeping all the pile of books and papers but never realized I have also inherited the habit though to a much lesser degree. This collection also has a subsection - picture cuttings(mostly advertisements). These are the ones that impressed me and and felt that I should draw it someday. But for most of them that day never came !!! Then there are lots of story books which filled my time(not free time), school and college magazines of every year and even some of my lab records..

A box full of letters and greeting cards. Yes I treasure each n every letter that has come to me. Sometimes when I feel down I pick up those cards or letters from my friends and that invariably brings back the smile on my face. It's interesting to read these one sided letters once in a while and guess the replies I wrote or just re touch the memory that such n such incidents happened at such n such time.How I wish I wrote more often now..

I am crazy about soft toys and of late I have a good collection, most of them gifts. But my first teddy bear was when I was a teenager. I knew my parents would never allow me to buy one, but I wanted one so badly. So I was determined to get it and started saving my scholarship money and finally after 3 years I had enough savings to buy one. It is a brown teddy bear about 3 feet tall from the Chandamama collections and costed me Rs.750/- (A decade before this value was much much more than it's present value). But soon after I bought it,a sense of guilt gripped me. I did something that my parents won't like, I spend my money for something which is just not worth it. But I guess teenage is always about such fluctuations.

Then the small gifts that I got for my b'days during college days. Each one of them thoughtfully picked and reminds me of the friend who is far off. Though we may not have regular contacts now, it just connects me with them instantly.

Oh how can I forget my beloved photo albums. Any trips , any functions I used to be the one who would collect negatives from everyone and take copies from every single cam. I have lots and lots of them so much so that my mom keeps complaining that one day I might need to rent out a whole house just to keep all my albums. Luckily digital world saved me that expense ;)

Think that covered almost all corners of my rack. If anyone remembered the character Urvasi played in the Malayalam film 'Midhunam', you now know who inspired the script writer ;) And if you think my room is a big mess with all these junk, yes it is - an ordered mess :P

Sunday, January 06, 2008

taare zameen par

I am not a movie buff and so hardly keep track of the latest releases, forget watching them. But "Taare Zameen Par" did arise my curiosity mainly because it deals with a dyslexic child. I was also interested to see how Aamir Khan,who is a perfectionist, would deal with the subject. So this weekend I made sure I watched the movie and I am quite happy that I did. Hats off to Amir Khan for handling the subject with supreme sensitivity and to Darsheel for portraying the child's world so brilliantly. No I am not here to write a review about this movie. I would leave that to the talented lot out there. But I would recommend you to watch the movie (if you haven't yet). You can relate it to your life and the lives around you. It would also change the way you look at your kids and would enhance our sensitivity towards children..