Home

Home

I sit in the same corner table, looking through the glass of Heathrow. Staring in smug contentment as aircrafts land and take off. People going and coming home with a sort of wistful energy that a wasp with a loud buzz would convey.

Two empty cups sit in the table in front of me. One I had nursed and the other, she had held. The coffee is gone but the conversations remain. She is gone too. The ruffled fabric of the cushion on the chair, the only other trace she has left behind. ‘So, how many days have you been away from home?’, she had asked a while ago. Her first question. I am still at the first question.

‘Two weeks’, I had said.

‘I mean HOME’. She had emphasised. With an emphasis that a stern teacher would reserve for the slowest student.

She wasn’t talking of where I lived now. She was talking of where we had lived earlier. Where we went to school together.

With the careless ease of slipping into the favourite shirt that got tucked beneath several layers or new purchases, we had dived in. Deep conversation abounded leaving me with abundant joy to think and talk of the easy times when innocence was still our skin. Now, she is gone. Her flight was on time and mine has ‘delay’ written in the air. The empty cups are on the table and the conversation runs in my mind.

So what is home? I ask myself. Still with the first question she popped. My mind darts in many directions. I watch one aircraft take off and my mind follows my eye.

It is but natural to think of HOME as a physical structure. The one that gets built with steel rods, bricks, mortar and paint. From time immemorial the need for people to add structure and territory to safety has existed. The cave men sought out caves for psychological safety as much for physical sanctuary. Over generations, the building of a home has morphed into a ‘life purpose’! It still is, for large parts of India.

I remember what it took to build our home. My dad ran to the architect and then made a dash to the bank. He worked insane long hard hours, to get the structure up. Mom kept the family together while he was at it. Me and my brother watched from the sidelines sometimes lifting a pipe or moving a brick. It was the quintessential man on the moon moment for him when he did build it. We called it HOME. He thought we would live in it forever. But it turned out quite otherwise.

As our age of making our own living arrived so did jobs. We nurtured new dreams of living under bright lights and bustle that big metros invitingly held out. Upon their urging me and my brother flew the nest while dad and mom stayed on. Since then, we have made homes our of mere houses and raised our families in different cities but we can say for sure, that we can never ‘outgrow’ the HOME that dad built. We were, and we are, wedded to the place mentally.

But now, our dear HOME that dad built will tell a curious visitor the tale of poverty of residents and the plentiful silence its privy to. The occasional hosting of the grandchildren, giving the arc of effort in its construction some angular (and only) redemption. But perhaps the building isn’t privy to how often I visit it. To take the memory route to get there, just takes a closing of the eye. Sometimes, that isn’t required either, when you could reach there with wide open eyes and easy ears.

My memories of HOME come alive when I recall conversations. Some hard fights, tender moments, the spanking that we got when we lied, the company of good books, lazy gawking and good coffee. Of course, good coffee! Memories bring the HOME alive. A sanctuary of care and love whose walls come coated with familiarity and ease. Where even the pillars seem to understand us well and the floors take to the careless toss of a well-worn shirt with a muted grin.

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Memories sparkle and rush out like pieces of iron sighting a big magnet. If a home is this accessible, is it a building in a particular place or is it an ‘idea’? To a migrant like me, memories of the place are as sacred as the place in itself. Long after the people moved on and the blue sky turned gray, the twinkle in HOME’s night sky comes from the glow memory offers.

Somedays, sitting in the new home, a memory begets sighs. A longing for what it was and how it would be to go back there. The famous lines from Garden State that my good friend Manu put into my head several years ago come alive

“You’ll see one day when you move out it just sort of happens one day and it’s gone.

You feel like you can never get it back. It’s like you feel homesick for a place that doesn’t even exist. Maybe it’s like this rite of passage, you know.

You won’t ever have this feeling again until you create a new idea of home for yourself, you know, for your kids, for the family you start, it’s like a cycle or something.

I don’t know, but I miss the idea of it, you know. Maybe that’s all family really is. A group of people that miss the same imaginary place”.

HOME gives us renewal. But home can also dull us into inaction. With its familiarity and comfort. It does a few things to us. It makes us take to it and our lives thereon with a certain air of settled certainty.

Thoreau‘s brilliant thoughts on ‘living deliberately’ can bring a thought or two. We need seek out the unfamiliar and make new homes. For it is in the balance between the ‘wild’ and ‘cautious’ that new bearings must get taken. These often lead us to tearing down old ideas, learning anew and building new ones. Not only are homes built on the ground around us, but also what we structure our minds with. Perhaps, that makes all the difference.

A few days ago, I had a conversation with my brother. About home. Our HOME. We were sitting in a foreign land and talking. We are both migrants with stickers and seals in our passports that ease our entries and exits from places we now call ‘home’. We are migrants too, of a luckier kind. Our migrations forcing upon us a need to reinvent ourselves, renew our relationships and take new bearing. That it hasn’t been easy, is a story that will remain silent. But what retains eloquence is the idea that the HOME that dad built, remains our personal centre of reference.

It connects us back, I realise, not only to what dad and mom put into the building but what they put into us. While the building gave a dimension of physical space and comfort, the real giving was in the treasure trove of moments they have left in us to cherish. It is ironical that building stands in silence, for it has got us sing new songs in faraway lands.

The home’s essence lies in what we put inside it. The care with which we load its beams with strength walls with colour tell stories about the hopes we have for our future. Our children’s future comes from the moments we fill their lives with. The time that we take to talk to them and be with them. It constructs a sense of identity and gives us an inner resilience to build all over again with a sense of imagination and hope. Hopes from which new homes and new futures can get created.

Hopes that can cause us to honour this space with the title of HOME!

grooves

I continue gazing through the glass window of Heathrow. Another flight lands and taxis away. So there, if you aks me ‘so where’s home’, I have this blogpost as an answer for you.

How wonderful would it be to sit down and go on a long memory ride to hear your stories of pillars, beams, lessons and moments.  I will buy you a coffee and spend a few hours with an inviting ear and a careful presence. Perhaps you will open to me, the grooves of your memory lines and the tenor of your dreams. And through the images of your HOME, I will see a little bit of your soul.

When even a bit of the soul is worn on the sleeve, dots connect and new skies become visible for everyone around. Of course, new skies make old clouds irrelevant.

Coffee anyone?

Written after viewing TATA Tiscon steel bars being made at the TATA Steel plant in Jamshedpur as part of the #buildingblogsofjoy campaign. Arresting sights & sounds of iron ore morphing into steel rods and some smelting conversations with people who exquisitely choreograph this, makes me think of HOME. What it takes to build a house and the stuff that makes it a HOME.   Part of a blogger group, put together by www.blogadda.com. Do read the posts from others for a different take. They are listed here. Vivek Patwardhan, Lakshmi Sharath, Shruti Garodia, Shoma Abhyankar, Vamshi Krishna,  Sammya Brata

Big Deal !

There are some parched seasons. And some floods. And there are inbetweens. That’s the case with everything. Money. Happiness. People. People, this seems to be the season for travel. No. No complaints at all.

Travel took us to Tanjore. Down in the deep south. A kind friend and unfettered kindness meant we got to see some fabulous heritage monuments ! As usual, they left an indelible mark.

What the kings managed and accomplished in the past is no mean joke. They built tall buildings out of single rocks. Multiple rocks. Different buildings. Layers of architecture. Architecture with waves, folds, dramatic cuts and sincere corners. Without safety helmets, cement, mortar, B.E degrees or capitation fees.

Like this temple : The Brihadeeshwara temple.



This tower for instance, all of 216 feet tall. Made of granite. A 1300 odd years ago ! No cranes. No nothing.
Some splendid architecture, that deserves a separate blog. Leave alone a post.

But, but….‘One more post on architecture and history….’, the missus had remarked the other day. It has been my experience, that whenever she let silence to do sentence completion, the effects have been, well rather loud !

So, lets talk about something else. Like the chart that the amiable chap who showed us around at the Big temple. He insisted on speaking English, had such charts to show. Infact many such charts to show.


On that note, please do well to notice, Raja Raja Chola, the chap that built this temple, had 14 wives ! ’14 members’ he says ! Now, that sounds like a committee! Fourteen! FOURTEEN ! Imagine.

But then, suddenly the Brihadeeswara temple suddenly seems to be no big deal. The one woman in my life pushes me enough to get up from bed, go to work, get back and powers my completion of a sundry assortment of errands that makes my chest swell with pride often ! ( Notice people. I say ‘My’ chest )

But with Fourteen times that push…. well the big temple, is a sure possibility !

In other news, the big mouthed me, let that thought loose in the vicinity of the sharp ears of the missus. She has let silence do the talking since then.

hmm !

Leveler

In the world with walls, inclines and declines the South Indian way of eating out of a banana leaf offers a degree of equanimity !

For those that aren’t in the know, traditionally food is served on banana leaves, in the South ! With ‘progressive’ generations moving on, steel, plastic and other material have come to occupy the primordial place that the banana leaf used to enjoy, when the average southerner was hungry !

In the modern times, a wedding or an ‘authentic’ restaurant tries to cater to the nostalgic South Indian mind with a leafy serving ! That said, it is easy to see that the banana leaf is perhaps the earliest version of common place ‘use & throw’ system. Natural. Bio-degradable. And green too.

A typical lunch would mean three or four vegetable curries served from a bucket straight onto the leaf. Arranged on a straight line that could resemble a battle tank formation !
The remaining place is strategically kept for loading heaps of rice, where the mainstay of the battle is. (As soon as the rice arrived, i didn’t click any more pictures. Well…). Usually filled with three categories…of well, lets call ‘toppings’ (for want of a better word) !
Some Ghee – Sambhar ‘topping’ for round one.
Some rasam ‘topping’ for round two.
Some curd / butter milk ‘topping’ for round three !
(Topping isn’t accurate at all ! They are not toppings. They are massaged with five fingers into every morsel. Right there on the banana leaf !)
Of course… all the while, accompanied with a smacking of the pappad and a touch of pickle. Finished with a flourish of some delicious payasam !
Bliss. Often times announced with a burp that could well set off an anti-aircraft missile in Pakistan!
If you are used to spoon, forks and plates, well, you are in for trouble. That is to put it mildly. Very mildly. For the banyan leaf has no ‘walls’ nor any ‘height variant’ ! But then a hungry southerner, who is used to having food out of a banana leaf would have let go the burp, by the time you finish reading this post !
(We eat in some hurry. As though, there is a Olympic medal that will do the country proud! That’s for another post though).
What got me started on this post was a lunch that well meaning colleagues took me out for. At a Gujarati restaurant.

This was our table, as we approached it ! The array of containers to hold the different types of accompaniments to the ghee laden stuff was simply mind blowing. Lets not talk about taste here. For whatever was served there, disappeared before the chap could count get started counting 1-2-3 !

I learnt my lessons rather well. And here it is : For a battle hardened veteran the field doesn’t matter ! Be it the plains of the green banana leaf or the shined walls of the Gujarati Thali containers !! Food is a great leveler. Leveler. ( Some word that is).

Of course. Two minutes on the lips. And a lifetime on the hips. And everywhere else too.

So ?

Still standing


These are not buildings with architectural significance ! But then, like every other building they hold in them a history. A tale. Perhaps two.

These were used as car garages. Many many years ago. In these ‘sheds’, as they were called, many an Ambassador or a Premier Padmini would stand. In the company of a slew of bikes. All from the housing colony over there.

And so these sheds shielded those vehicles that were owned with great pride. Sometimes to get people around. Many other times, to just keep up with the Joneses !

There were a motley crew of incorrigible kids who thought of this ‘shed’ with greater affection. For it was part of their life for most of their day. And dreams too.


These are snaps that were clicked a few months back. For at the side of these ‘sheds’ do you see those ‘stumps’ drawn.

Cricket !!!

Yes. Those three vertical lines, topped with one horizontal connection ? They were drawn with charcoal. A bowler of any merit, in the local community of local kids, gunned for those stumps.

The boundary was the road. The sixers meant broken glass panes. Tennis ball. Wooden bat. Teams. Matches. Challenges. All there.

There was no third umpire. There was no umpire in the first place. As kids, things were sorted out, mostly in a jiffy. Arguments. Fights. Sometimes walk outs. All would happen. But the game had to go on.

Kids didn’t play for honour or advertisements. Every kid played there, for cricket was life. Cricket was fun. Cricket defined. And cricket helped connect to other kids.

Many years later, those garages still stand. No longer are cars parked inside. They still stand though, with perhaps a thousand memories. Of kids, who live adult lives elsewhere.

The garages still hold evidence of their creativity. Of their ability to sort out things between themselves. And move on to the next match.

And perhaps those garages wonder, how different these kids grow up to be. With degrees in the pocket, jobs and routines as life. Treating cricket as a spectator sport. And somewhere, living life by rote.

Does this remind you of a different time. When passion ruled. The possessions were few. The heart was light. Losses never mourned. Fights were resolved. Smiles prevailed.

hmm..

Give me some company, will you. I’ll get the bat and the ball. We’ll have a heck of a match. And more importantly, a heck of a time.

You see, the stumps..they are still standing.

Stable story !


This is a real life story. Set, far away from Mumbai’s Mahalakshmi Race course and the Mahabaleshwar mountains. Down in the deep plains is Madurai !

And there, there is this horse stable. A stable that adorns the display rack of a lonely house. Maintained immaculately by the lady of the house, and looked at longingly, from a distance by the man.

These are horses. Looking artistic to them. For the strange, inanimate objects that they are, they seem to carry life. They were mere objects on many retail shelves. But that was before they were picked up with care.

Over time, each one of them came to signify one member of the family.

There was one for the man of the house . Another for the lady. One each for the sons. Each signifying and standing for the real ! Each figure matched by the living’s characteristics. And so they were reared at home. By the lady and man. Quite unknown to their sons.

And when the daughter-in-laws came into the household, horses were added to the stable. And when a young one arrived, a pony took its rightful place. And of course, there is more space.

And when the sons, the daughters-in-law and the grandson are busy running their own courses much away from Madurai, the lady of the house dusts this stable clean. With a dry cloth. And then with a wet cloth. Wet with a tinge of a lonely tear, sweat and toil of many years, to make the family run its course.

And so, this inanimate stable which takes a life of its own adorns this house. Inanimate it is, to the rest of the world. For the man and the lady, the horses themselves seem to leap to life. Every time they look at them. And even when they don’t.

And so, this is the story of the stable. A stable that adorns the display rack of a lonely house. Maintained immaculately by the lady of the house, and looked at longingly, from a distance by the man.



This post concludes the series on ‘Horses for Courses’

Anyone for coffee ?

We are brewing. Really. New brew ! We have officially established South Indian rule in our home ! Yes. We We too drink Filter Coffee !! I mean, we too make it at home. Right here! And yes. We too have arrived ! (Wikipedia has all the details for you here !)

Amongst the many that i talk to, any discussions around my origins invariably lead to a discussion around Filter Coffee. The sharp eyed would have spotted my squirm and a shuffle of feet. Or atleast a shuffle of fingers of the feet, inside the shoe.

For in the family, ‘filter coffee’ was confined to the borders of Tamil territory. In our family tree. But we broke it all.


During this trip back home, coffee powder was picked up. ” ‘PB’ standing for ‘Peaberry’ ” we were told. The coffee filter was picked up, right here in Mumbai. And voila there is a decoction and the strong aroma of coffee that waffles through the morning air are now common place.

To the uninitiated, this may not be big deal. Neither was Filter coffee a big deal to us, until we moved here. North of the deep south !! Here, good old Filter Coffee is seen as an integral part of a Tamil existence. That connection seems to rule common mind space. Like a cross to Christ !!! Very rightly so !

Sample this. We would have guests at home. The best of good food would be served, nay, attempted. And promptly showered with wonderful critical acclaim that’s generous. And then a few thinly veiled questions would surface about filter coffee. You know, something like, ” the food was tastier than the ones that we get in Matunga, but over there you get filter coffee also’ !

And we would grin and mouth our ‘thank yous’. Pretending that their statements didn’t go beyond the comma. Now, the guests who did comment were a small minority. But you know, we feared the worst. Even when nothing was said !!!

But now, hey, we too have filter coffee !

And as the coffee sinks in, leaving a strong aftertaste in the mouth and in the air around too, we glance at slogans like “coffee drinkers are better thinkers” with a new slant !

But you know something, the coffee is something. Really something. Today, i wondered why there is so much of connection to the drink. I wonder if its because it helps me connect with home, with every sip? I haven’t been a great fan of coffee. Until now.

I don’t know.

But that’s not whats important. Whats important is this : The guest list is being refurbished. With some confidence ! Aha !

Now, anyone for coffee ?

Question D !


I need some help. Read on.

Preserved by a dotting mother who doubles up as a collector of family memories, this chap remains. Many decades after he was slapped, thrown about, trampled all over and sometimes washed up and decorated ! Yes. This chap was my toy !

And i was reacquainted with him last week. And promptly clicked !

And what an aspirational toy ! At that time, there was desire. To wear those bell bottom trousers. For that long wavy hair. And yes. For that bright yellow shirt and sky blue trousers ! For that red guitar and lovely music, that i saw film heroes spew !

And this chap is symbolic of a time when there was innocence in the air and the thinking was as wide as the vast expanse !

As education seeped in, one after the another, the tastes changed. For the whatever remained, reality reared its stark face. The last on that list being ‘wavy hair’ !

More importantly, this chap reminded of a time when you were asked four questions. All the time. Many times over. By new people. Same people. Half people. At dinners. Get togethers. When people visited. When you visited.

a. Which school do you go to ?
b. Which class do you study in ?
c. What is your class teachers name ?
d. What do you want to become when you grow up ?

Of course, there would be a few more questions. And there were those who would ask the same questions all over again, in the same interaction so much so, that you wondered if could make the earth would part ways. Then and there !

The answer to question D, on that list, would vary. Many times according to mood. The intensity of the sun. Of course, on who was asking, and who all were listening. The answers used to vary from, ‘Pilot. Journalist. Prime Minister. Policeman. IAS officer’ and the like. These were my oft quoted.

The more libellous ones were, ‘Film star, cricketer, Astrologer..” Whatever the answer, without doubt, there would be those who would probe further. ‘Why’ they would ask. Or sometimes, smirk / laugh / nod head and say, ‘really?’.

There was one gent who used to be a master at this. He would ask me this question, over many years. And when he did ask me this question, for the 2,33,678th time, i remember, having my hands on my hips and telling him, ‘ Superman’.

The man’s eyebrows widened. And there was momentary surprise. There was a plan. That if at he would ask me ‘Why’, i would muster all courage and state that Superman got to wear blue trousers for underwear and read underwear for trousers. And of course, had a curtain cloth hanging on his shoulder.

His surprise had him mute. There was no need to muster the courage. I remember wanting to go on. And tell him, “Phantom”. “Tin Tin”. “Batman” and each had equally powerful reasons. Surprisingly the 2,33,679th time didn’t come.

This chap with the guitar reminded me of that time ! Now, If you spot a dark chap in a bright yellow shirt and a sky blue bell bottom trousers, with a guitar slung across the shoulder….well, spare a second look ! It could be me, wanting to recreate that time !

Many decades later, the toys have changed shape. Size. But hey, the questions remain too. Slightly different though.

a. Where do you work ?
b. Where do you live ?
c. How many kids do you have ?
d. How much do you earn ?

And this is where i need some help. Can you help me with a ‘superman’ kind of answer for ‘question ‘d’ ‘ !?!

Meenakshi Amman Temple !

For all those who asked for pictures…presenting the Meenakshi Amman Temple ! Full details of the place is here..

These two pictures were clicked during an earlier visit.

These pillars and stone know each of my travails. My joys. My sorrows. For it is here that i spoke in silence. To the voice within. In silence. To peace. Part in belief. Part in practice. And more importantly, all in reverence and peace !

The Meenakshi Amman Temple at Madurai, is a must see. So, if you haven’t seen this place. Pack your bags ! Its a significant piece of architecture that i have never stopped being in awe of.

Built about three hundred years ago, when there were no cranes, no lifts, no cement, no sophisticated architects and 3D experts with expertise in Maya, it is a celebration of whats possible ! And yes, a sight to behold. The internet will supply you with inputs and information. I am just sharing a few pictures that i clicked !

Temple tower covered with scaffolding now

The temple is under renovation. All towers are covered with scaffolding and presumably the architecture on the towers are getting a new coat of paint. It will be a sight to behold when the scaffolding comes off. For sure !

Painting work on !
The dry temple pond and the dual painted steps to the pond


The temple cow just outside the sanctum sanctorum. Well, the colourful drape on the cow has been sponsored by Sivasakthi Bakery ! But that’s besides the point. The rituals are quite something ! Rich and full of pageantry !


A passageway with a painted designs for the cieling, Tirukural verses on one side, and sun rays streaming in through pillars on the other ! I stand there. Absorbing each moment. I dont know for how long !


A pillar in the South Tower. The camera and my own limited photography skills convey a very small fraction of the beauty of the place. It has to be seen and experienced. So, go ahead. And make that trip. If there is any other information / help that you need, do write in !

So, I step out after a couple of early morning hours in the temple.

As has been the practice with me for a few years now, i buy trinkets here. I pay. And the shop keeper says, ‘Rhamba Danks’. I hear it as Rhamba Dance ! And then in a minute i realise he was actually thanking me with a “Romba Thanks” ( Thank you very much ). I wonder whats come of me. To think of “Ramba Dance” ! At this time of the hour. With this setting. Huh !

On yet another note, there is this guide, who speaks in an American accent with a stiff Tamil dialect, that i can hear in the background. And he tells tourists that the Temple was built to keep the economy going. “Building a large structure gave employment to many thousands of people for many many years”, he says, rolling his R.

I notice that tourists nodding their heads vigorously. I wonder if these guides adapt their ‘presentations’ to current contexts. But, this theory seems plausible.

That is the solution ! Are world leaders of the recession hit world listening ? I wonder. For now, I hurry home. I am hungry. Already.

North of the Deep South.

A migrant rants.

It has been more than a decade, since i put my home city of Madurai on my rear view mirror. Firm in the belief that my future lay beyond the semi urban hinterland of the deep South. And trudged North of the deep south. Armed with whatever a small town living and a simple middle class upbringing could provide. To the wallet and to the mind !

With wide, dreamy awestruck eyes i stepped foot in Bangalore. Bangalore had already taken off. As a wide eyed young man, it seemed to be a no-brainer that i was beyond the influences of the people and culture of my past ! I thought i had arrived. And my future was in the promise of the new found land ! North of the deep south !

Only to realise, within a very short time, that whatever went into my wonder years : the small town upbringing, steady rhythms of life, an emphasis on simple values and shared love, would never be beyond me. But more importantly, it would be the essence of me, in the hustle and bustle of burgeoning metropolises !

And from then on, I have made it a point to return. Just like i have done now. For renewal. For faith. And just to soak in the air, the love and hoping that the spirit gets auto renewed. Like it always has.

Here. There are houses where there were paddy fields. There are malls where there were houses. There are huge apartments where simple stores once stood. There are new stores with neon signs. The old stores continue becoming new. The temple towers stand. They share the skyline with numerous Telecom towers. There are new names to old streets. There are new street corners. There are new streets.

I stand. Just as another tourist. Camera in hand. In my own land. Clicking pictures of what i think has changed. And of what remains, for i know, what remains will also change.

What goes into the camera goes in. What cant get into the camera’s many GB hard disk goes into my memory. I relive moments from the past. Moments when i smiled. Cringed. Loved. Smiled. Won. Lost. Ran. Walked. Jumped. Fought wars. And made peace. And grew up. Indelible moments.

The settings may have changed. The script is still relevant. It will always be. For it made me.

Tonight we catch Train No : 6731. And head back. North of the deep south ! I will carry with me a million pictures and a zillion stories. And as the deep south recedes in my rear view mirror, i am pretty much sure that a fresh spirit will course my veins.

Sincere wishes for good tidings from the people and land that made you, they say, stays with you. So they say. I have no reason to doubt that. For, my life is blessed. In the north of the deep south.

Too.

Happy Pongal !

Happy Pongal !

Tomorrow is Pongal. Wikipedia informs me that Pongal is akin to Thanksgiving. I only know that it is a festival of harvest. It is a festival of a new beginning, of sugar, of jaggery, of decorated cows and of course of pristine joy! Perhaps a flowing over the brim of all of these !!

Wikipedia also informs that the Tamil Nadu government has decided to announce that from this year on, Pongal will be Tamil New Year ! I guess they wanted to become Julius Caesar or somebody by changing the calendar. (Ah. I have given a word to my missus : No politics on the blog. Ok. So, i stop there. Right there). Thats a different issue.

Back home, Pongal meant four days of holidays. And those wonderful dishes that amma made. The prayer and the offering to the Sun, in the spacious courtyard of home ! And of course, sugarcane ! Endless sugarcane !

Pongal. Madurai ’06

This is a picture from the album. Pongal celebrations at home. 2006 ! My taste buds are already active, when i look at the offerings on the leaf. And of course, you cant miss the sugarcane. Those long, thick purple hued delights.

Pongal brings to mind a different time. And makes me miss home. And when you miss home, you miss home and the glorious times that were part of home ! Parents. Friends and the times !

Tomorrow however, the missus will wake up early in the morning, and make Pongal (the dish). And we’ll have a prayer standing in our apartment kitchen, from where we hope to catch a glimpse of the sun, and say a quiet thank you. And then, i run away to work and and she goes her way !

In that space would escape a thousand memories and a few techni colour memories peppered with longing for recreation and renewal to a far away land that’s close to a migrant heart.

Sugarcane. Pongal ’08

The one material thing that i would miss, is the purple hued sugar cane. We went around shopping for sugar cane, and ended up with what you see. That size would make a home grown drumstick from Madurai beam with pride !!

On another note, i guess Pongal is about a new beginning. About acknowledging the forces of nature that sustain us. About peace. About happiness. About community. About sincerity of a wish for a better tomorrow.

And that sincerity is not dependent on where you are or for that matter, by the length of sugarcane in your region !

So here is a sincere wish for you ! A sincere acknowledgement for being there and a prayer + hope for a better tomorrow for all of us !

Happy Pongal !