Thursday, March 30, 2006

Four Girls - Born and Named

“You are blessed with a girl”. The nurse announces. “It’s all right. It’s all right. Don’t worry, don’t worry. After all this is the first child. She will be very helpful to her mother when she grows up”. Sad faces convince each other. “How’s my daughter? Is she alright?”, only the mother asks. “She is not awake yet. She is alright”. Some relief.

“Have you decided on a name”? The priest asks. This is the first ear-piercing ceremony for the first grandchild for both the families. “I would like her named after a deity”, Head of the father-side family speaks. “You are very right”. Head of the mother-side family concurs. “She was born on the day auspicious for Goddess Meenatchi. I believe Meenatchi herself is born in my family as my granddaughter. I would like her to be named as Meenatchi”. “We can call her Meena or Meenu, as Meenakshi looks too old fashioned”, mother’s murmur in her husband’s ears goes unheard amidst the priest’s chanting, except his Meenakshi.. emphasised, with a little gap before and after…


“You are blessed with a girl”. The nurse announces. “Can I see her”? The happy father asks. “We don’t mind a girl child. It is also a child, right? Grandchild is a grandchild. I am a grandpa. She has made me a grandpa.” Grandmothers and grandfathers try their best. “Is she alright?” mother asks. “She is not awake yet. She is alright”. Some relief.

“Have you decided on a name”? The priest asks. “don’t tell, don’t tell. You have to tell in her ears first. Who is going first?” “It has to be her father, right? In our customs it has to be the father of the child who gives the name first. Go, say her name in her ears”, mother calls the son. “Have you checked with an astrologer”? Worried priest questions. “Oh, yes. He told us that the name has to start with P or R or T, as her birth-star is Hastam. We also considered numerology. We don’t want T, as it will go very last in the attendance register in school. Even in interviews she will have to go as the last candidate. By that time, the interview board might have become exhausted and that will ruin her career. R is not very different from T. So we have decided to stick with P. “Preethi”, the proud father announces on the 11th day naming ceremony.


“You are blessed with a girl”. The nurse announces. “I always wanted a girl Can I see her”? Excited father asks. “We support girl child. Granddaughter is the one who is going to take care of you when you are really old and need care. Sons and daughters won’t give a damn”. Grandfathers and grandmothers hide their faces from each other. “Is she alright” The husband asks. Mother joins. “She is not awake yet. She is alright”. Some relief.

“I don’t want a typical Tamil name. They are too lengthy and not easy to pronounce. I want my girl to be modern and her name should reflect it”. “How about Jennifer”? “Nah, that’s too Christian. We don’t regret our roots. We do respect it”. “Ok. How about Shruti, you know she is the music of our life”, mother teases her husband. “Honey, listen, I want a short and sweet name. When she goes to the States or England, I don’t want her name pronounced wrongly. Or, atleast I don’t want her having to explain her name all the time. You know, also, it has to be less common, if not unique”. “oh, yah yah, I know. You want everything. You don’t compromise, do you?” “Honey you chose. That is it”. Passionately looking into the eyes doesn't make it easy. So beautiful. She is everything. Hmmm, “How about Rita Ritu”? “Rita Ritu” loud and together; happy.


“You are blessed with a girl”. The nurse announces. “Wow”. “Hold on, hold on, let me wrap her”. She is just beautiful. Tears in father’s eyes. “She is not awake yet. She is alright. She will be out soon, I will let you know.”. Smiles the nurse. Father becomes restless. Don’t know what to do. Should I call..., it must be midnight there. Wait. Let her come out of the recovery room. She has to know first. Wow. She will be on the top of the world. What name? Let her come out. Some relief.

“Are you tired? It is a girl.” face glowing out of pride. “How is she?” feeble voice. “She is fine. She is here. Do you want to hold her”? Slowly trying to sit up and coming to terms. “See. It is our daughter.. honey, what name”? “I have short listed five names. It was there in that paper”. He opens the draw. Looks for a paper in his “kit”. “Did you pack it when we left”? “It must be there. I kept all important papers in a folder”. “I packed your clothes. You were in pain. I was in a hurry. May be we have left it at home. Do you want me go home and get it”? “haaaa. I am tired”. “I know. I know. I am sorry. You were in pain. I panicked and didn’t pack everything as we planned. I will go home and get it”. “No. don’t worry. I might remember.. Akash.. No that is a boy name.. Anushka, and…”. “Honey, I love anushka. Its very modern, unique, reflects our roots. We can shorten it as Nush… It is perfect. Look, she looks like Nush.. She is so Nush”.. A week laughter from the mother. “Ok. You lazy bugger. Nush it is”. “Have you got a name?” The nurse asks. “Anushka”, a feeble and a happy voice joined together.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Pangunipongal - Maavilakku - II

Prescript: Senthil is the central character in this post

“Dei, have you booked a terrace”? Murugan is the man of resources in our group. “What for”? “How are you going to watch maavilakku today”? “Loosu, there is no fun in watching maavilaaku from terrace. I toldya, don’t include these school-going makku (stupid) boys in our group. They lack common sense”. That hurts. I don’t dare to ask another question. I just have to follow him. Raasa comes in help. “We will go around and around, walk with the maavilakku. That way, you can have more fun”. “What? No., I am not walking with maavilakku (procession). Akkaa is carrying maavilakku today and the whole clan is getting ready for it. What do you think I am that stupid to walk with them”? “I toldya”. Murugan laughs. Others join. Raasaa helps again. “Loosu, we will walk separate totally outside the procession”. Then how will you get to see things? I don’t want to ask another question. I will ask Raasa later.

I have to get ready. House is in total chaos. They are really making big fuss about akka carrying maavilakku. That loosu (akka) is also making fuss about it. She is not letting me get ready. Always a pain, she is. “I am going to take bath first. I am getting late. You can do it later”. Fight for the bathroom. “Where are you going? What late? What do you have to do”? Nosy! “Senthil”. Raasa is outside. “Raasa, what are you going to do? Why is he telling you are all getting late? What is the plan”? I signed him not to tell her. “Raaasa, come inside. Where is your mom? Has she ground rice? We need another ulakkai”, mother. “Have you had food? Come, I have some idly for you”. Aachchi. “Aachchi, I have finished lunch. I did eat idly for breakfast”. Raasa replies to the eldest questioner. “Come let us go”, I have finished. “Eeh, did you eat your lunch? Look at him, he has finished his lunch. Where are you going without eating”? Aachchi’s voice slowly disappears, as we run. “Where are we going? There is still time for maavilakku”. “We will have to find who is sponsoring oil today. We have to become volunteers to distribute oil”. What? If we work, how are we going to enjoy? I am not going to ask that.

Oil sponsors have linked us with some other big guys who each will be the in-charge for a big oil andaa (tall cylindrical big brass vessel, equivalent to barrel). We have to fill thukku’s when the public brings one for a refill. We will move along with the procession. There are few groups. Our leaders (big guys), and our distribution points are explained to us. Ok. Joot (run).

“Sinnangulam maavilakku has come, it has come” someone is shouting. Karakam has started. "Look, it is your family in the front. Looks like lathaakka’s maavilakku is the first in the line”. Oh god, she will be bragging all day tomorrow. Hope there are enough entertainments outside tomorrow. I can’t see her. She is surrounded by Chithi, Amma, Selvikka and the whole clan. There is no distribution point here. They don’t need refill yet. The line moves towards the temple. We run to the temple to join our group. It is still twilight. The real thing starts after it gets dark. We wait.

I finally got their plan. The distribution starts only after sometime the line has moved, as people come with their own oil in their thukku’s and already the vilakkus have oil in them so they last for sometime. This gives us time to get a glimpse of everything. As there are few groups, we are not constantly distributing. When it is not our point/location, we have enough time to enjoy. Big guys refill the andaas (barrels), we have nothing to do with that either. Distributing is fun too. I even went with Murugan when he went to the line itself to refill oil for one family, no, no not for his folks, that girl’s. My god, all those girls are wearing so much gold. Their heads are completely covered with jasmine and kanakaambaram flowers. Murugan was talking all nonsense and was laughing for nothing. He said this is how you get the “close look” and winked.

It is full dark now. Best time of the season. I run. Silambu group leads the whole thing. They play as if they are fighting to entertain the crowd. It is like an art they are doing it. I walk with that group for sometime. Theeppandham group also playing similar art, but it looks one needs more practising to play this. It looks like a magic to keep the pandham (flame) alive and still move it like the way they do. It is windy today. That helps him when he spits fire out of his mouth. Whoo. Fascinating. Aknichatty and aayiranganpaanai are also there. Their lights are very dull in front of the loud maavilakku lights. They are everywhere. Line of lights, few in each, moving slowly, overpower the entire crowd. They take away my “enjoying” mood and calm me down. That’s strange; Yes, it is; Strange. I stop where I am. No more running. The crowd pushes me away from the line. I jump on to a bullock cart. They make some space for me. I stop there and watch. Now I hear the loudspeaker from temple. The kottu goes past us. Silent heads shaking nodding, talking to each other, oils being refilled, exchangers move in and out.. the line moves. Winking lights in each kudam wanders in the wind and moves with the head… “Senthil, Where did you go”? Raasa has spotted me. “Come, let us go. There will be orchestra tonight. We are not going to get a terrace for tonight. They are all fully booked. Murugan has gone to get his brother’s bullock cart. We will have to find a place for it. And we are going to stay there until he comes”. I jump off the cart and there we run.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Pangunipongal - Maavilakku - I

Part6-Maavilakku-2 Part4-Mulappaari Part3-The games Part2-The Shops Part1-The Announcement

Maavilakku starts in the same way as mulappaari. That is, servaar thaaththa takes karakam and leads maavilakku. But, girls take mulappaari from temple and wait for the karakam there. But as maavilakku gets ready at home, in every street/lane they start in their street/lane and join the procession led by karakam at some specified points/locations, as the procession proceeds. In our lane, it is our vaasal, as servaar thaaththa’s house is just opposite to ours, we get to join him first as well. Today the whole day has been very busy preparing maavilakku. Removing bran from rice, and grinding it into powder and then making that into paste.. Always Selvikkaa comes for that, as mother alone cannot do that. We don’t have Kuthural. So we use Velthai Chithi’s. We borrowed another ulakkai from pushpaththai so that mother and Selvikka can do it together. They are very rhythamic. I love watching them using two ulakkai like that. They are fixing three vilakku on the side of the kudam. Because, I will need space to keep my hand to hold it. The kuthuvilakku that is being fixed on the top has five threads. “Bring oil, bring oil”. Chithi shouts. “do you know who is sponsoring oil today”? There are few families. There won’t be any scarcity for oil today. I think there will be more than 100 maavilakku today. In our lane itself there are fifteen. There are those thekkuththeru people, kilakkuththeru people.. have you forgotten the Sinnangulam group?” “Sinnangulam maavilakku has come, it has come…” someone is shouting outside. Sinnangulam is a small village outside our town. Traditionally they join Kombai for all festivals. They come in a line and wait just before our lane. They get to join the line next to our lane people. I am ready. I am bit anxious, nervous, excited, all of those. “Bring Summaadu, bring summaadu”. Summadu is a basically a towel folded like a ringball, kept in between kudam and my head to keep the kudam balanced and keep my head cushioned. “keep your head straight”. "Careful, careful, it is windy, look, the oil is spilling. Bring white cloth to wipe it.." Mother comes with a full kit: few white cloths, a thukku (stainless steel container) to carry oil, and another towel for another summaadu. "We need two thukku, one to collect oil from the sponsors and I will keep one to keep filling”. Chithi, the manager. Mother brings another thukku. “Careful, careful, it is windy. Keep your head straight”. Guarded by few people to keep the lights not-off, the maavilakku goes on my head. I hold it. “Keep a cloth yourself, hot oil will spill, you will have to keep wiping them, otherwise you will get hurt”. Two white cloths are given to me for both my hands. It is little not so convenient to hold the kudam, rather, I am finding it very difficult. "Don’t worry", there are few of them holding it along with me. Ok. I turn my head to see if thaaththa has taken karakm. “Don’t move, don’t move”. How am I going to walk if I shouldn’t move? “Slow, slow. Slowly turn your head and walk”. Great.

The karakam started. I join the karakam as the first maavilakku in the line. Others join after me. We walk. Slow. Slow. We reach the end of our lane. Sinnangulam group joins the line. We walk towards the temple. Few hands are keeping the lights not-off, few other hands are holing the kudam with me, oils is being filled by a hand that manages to find a way, I keep wiping the spillage, We have reached the temple. Wow, it feels like an achievement itself. Another some poosai and kottu. Another group from koyiladitheru joins the line. we move.. “Do you want a break”? Selvikka asks. I can’t nod. She got the signal. She prepares her summaadu. Few hands lift the kudam off my head. I move out of the place finding a way through their legs. They move keeping the kudam in the air. Selvikka moves in. The line moves.

I have got a break now. “Chithi, Can I go and see the whole line and come back”? “No, what are you nuts? You can’t go anywhere”. “I will be back in a flaaASH”.. I have vanished from their eyes like a flash indeed. I know how to negotiate the crowd. I am in front of the procession, I mean karakam is first for the maavilakku line, but preceding karakam there are some entertainments. Here is where all the fun is.

Someone is playing silambu. I stop there for a couple of minutes.. run, run, there is this guy spitting fire out of his mouth and playing similar to silambu but he uses theeppandham, a stick with kerosene dipped cloths tied at both the ends and are lit, flame, whoo. Scary. run, run… someone is carrying agnichatty. A pot with oil light inside, carried on hands/palms. Hope that neem leaves cushion keeps the heat off their hands. The difficult part of carrying agnichatty is he/she should get saami, otherwise everyone will tell that he/she didn’t fast well (during the whole panguni month). I suppose shaking like that helps them to keep the heat off their hands. run.. run… I am running short of time. “Eeh, what are you doing here”? Karuvayan chiththappa has spotted me. “Aren’t you supposed to carry maavilakku”, “Yes, I have got a break. Selvikkaa is carrying now”. “I know. They have sent me to look for you and bring you back”. We go and collect oil from the sponsors and go back to our group. The maavilakku comes back to me. It is slow-walking time again..

During another break, I got to see aayiranganpaanai. It is carried on the head as well, like maavilakku. It is a clay pot with so many flowery holes in it. The oil light kept inside the pot glows through the holes and looks very beautiful there are few of those in the line. Filling oil in this kind of pot is little tricky. They generally come out of the line, fill up and go back and join the line. The crowd makes it little more difficult, but, hey, they are not strangers for such a crowd. They manage.

It was a very long slow walk. Tiring. Do I complain. Nah. I will do it again, any time. The whole town came and watched the maavilakku. Many walked with us. Some stayed at the front end of their lanes and watched us when we walked past them. Some were hanging from their terraces. Some on the street lights. Parked bullocks carts were working hard. I would say that it is the best idea to stay in one place and watch, if you want to catch up with the whole thing. Silambu will go past you, theeppantham will go past you…. But, but, you can’t get a good look, as it is sooo crowded , you just can’t see anything. Senthil gets to see all the fun. He runs, runs, runs and runs. He is a free bird during these days. I will have to ask him if I have missed anything else.

We are home. Mother is busy taking the rice paste off kudam. Tomorrow we will get paniyaaram (not from the maavilakku rice paste) as there is always too much rice ground in excess off maavilakku, and it is always paniyaaram day after maavilakku. I love paniyaaram.

Friday, March 17, 2006

The foundation - II

Compettion went well the other day. I don’t know who won the competition. Was it me, all those aachchi’s stories reminding to be “fair” all the time, giving each girl her fair turn (boys suck, they don’t know any answer btw), and getting bad name from each girl when the turn goes away from each girl? Was it Anandi, no, no, she doesn’t give a damn about being “fair”.. Was it every one of us, screaming and jumping for every question asked and answered. “Asking” part is always more enjoyable than the “answering” part. I always think deciding on what to ask needs more brain than to answer those questions. I enjoy “asking” part. I enjoy “why this question”, more than “this is the answer”. I would say, the biggest winner is our teacher. The other day she taught us how to learn this new language, English. Simple, she started from a, aa, e, ee, u, uu… same as Tamil. Simple. Today we have spelling test. Ambiga teacher will tell a word. We all will write it. And then it will be assessed.

Klerk…. Teacher says the word loud... we all start figuring out the spelling. I write, clerck? Klerk? Clark? I believe it has to be klark. See, k is for k, l for l, a for a, r for r, k for k. so, it has to be Klark. You can see that table showing each English equivalent of Tamil letters on the board. She has left it on for our reference. She always tells that we should never mug up. Also, she always writes some reference material on the board whenever there is a test. We have to work out the answer, she tells. See, k for k, l for l, a....

Yaay, klark is correct, even though the actual English word is “clerk”. Because, it is not the "correct" spelling that is correct, it is your explanation that gets you "correct". Girls who have written "clerk", but couldn't explain why and how it is "clerk", got "wrong", but I got "correct". Honestly, I don't know the actual word. I just wrote from the reference. My maama is a clerk in a bank, I do know the word, but don't know its spelling. You see, it is k for k, l for l, a for a... Yaaay, I got all correct and I am her favourite girl. Don't believe her when she complaints to my chithi that I cry if she gives me a 99½ out of 100, and ask her (ambiga teacher) to explain how did she come up with that minus½. She is the one told me that it is the explanation that counts. She is secretly pleased about me questioning her like that. I know. I know. (Grinning ear to ear.)

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Help, Maavilakku

I am looking for a good picci for my next maavilakku post. Maavu (rice paste) is pasted onto the surface of the kudam (ellipse and those badly drawn black lines), on which akal vilakku (kuzhiyanchatti) is fixed, then oil is filled, thread is placed and lighted. Also, top of the kuththuvilakku is placed on the mouth of the kudam, again using maavu (rice paste) to fix it. oil (ground nut oil) is filled and threads are used to light it as well. If someone can send me a picci, that will be great. thanks.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Pangunip pongal - Mulappaari

Part6-Maavilakku-2 Part5-Maavilakku-1 Part3-The games Part2-The Shops Part1-The Announcement

I like watching servaar thaththa taking karakam. No, no, it is not the karakam you think. Karakam is the one that leads mulappaari, maavilakku or any such procession for that matter. It is like a small ther (chariot) without the pulling things, carried on head. Kudam (a type of pot used to carry water from well/river), with a full coconut kept/tied on the mouth of the kudam, decorated lavishly using jasmine flowers. Jasmine flower decoration covers the kudam completely that you cannot see the kudam at all. some stickes are tied and covered with jasmine as well. It is so beautiful. Only jasmine is allowed to be used in a karakam that leads mulappaari or maavilakku. The other karakam you know is different, the one that entertains, doesn’t it? (We will have that tonight for entertainment.) Servaar thaththa family is the only family entitled to carry karakam. After thatha’s time, Dayalan maama will carry karakam. But I don’t know how it will suit Dayalan maama. For me Karakam means it is always servaar thaththa. I can’t imagine anybodylese carrying karakam.

Mulappaari is a bunch of millet plants of nine varieties, sown in a bamboo baskets/pots, and grown for a month in a dark room (that’s why they are pale yellowish) in our temple. They sow it in the beginning of the panguni month. Girls who will be carrying the mulappaari pots identify their pots once it is sown. They water their pots every day. Some people prefer to sow themselves but, temple also prepares some pots for people who might want to join at the last minute. Puussari (the priest) waters those pots. Whether it is temple pot or privately sown, it has to kept in the temple. Today girls go to temple to collect these pots and carry them on their heads and wait in a line there. Kottu from the temple comes to servaar thaaththa’s house to invite him to lead the procession. Thaththa does a puusai in his house. The puusari from temple holds the karakam in his hands and waits for him. Thaaththa gets saami and starts shaking (he is supposed to. I always wondered what will he do if he didn’t get saami one day, will he just shake still?). He comes out of his house. Puusaari gives karakam to him and places it on his head. Thaaththa takes it by kneeling down. Kottu goes faster to mark the moment. Then they walk. We all go following him. Mulappaari girls waiting in a line join him when he reaches the temple. It is generally a dull procession compared to maavilakku. First of all this is started around 3pm and finished (the plant pots are disposed in the temple pond) before the sunset. No any entertaining things in front of the procession. There is no any fun watching the plants being carried by these girls on their heads. I don’t know why girls go excited to carry these plants. They always do. They always go crazy when they go to choose their pots when it is sown. They go very excited when they carry this on their heads. May be it is the procession thing that excites them. The whole town comes to watch them carrying these plant pots. They get to flaunt their new clothes. In maavilakku procession, as it is done after the sunset, your clothes are not that noticeable. Glowing maavilakku attracts everyone’s eyes makes you and your new clothe even less noticeable. But, it (maavilakku) is still my favourite. I will have to wait until tomorrow to carry my maavilaaku. Yes, I am going to carry one this year. Either mulappaari or maavilakku, if you want to carry, you should do so for a three consecutive years. You cannot break it. If you do, you have to start again and complete the three years. You have to pray that nothing bad happens in your house during these three years. For example if anyone dies in any of your immediate relative family, you should not participate in any of the temple activities for a one whole year. That will forbid you from carrying a mulappaari or maavilakku in that year. Your continuity will be broken that year. You have to start again and do for next three years, and again you have to pray nothing goes wrong… kind of vicious cycle, ha. Good for the temple. They will get a good turn up every year. Not that they do not get volunteers, but this kind of rule keeps the people turning up by default. There, thaththa has come out of his poosai. I have to go. I love watching him take karakam. Thaaththa takes the karakam. Kottu is going faster. It does give me a shiver, that fast kottu. It marks the moment. The karakam has started. The mulappaari has started. This marks the starting of the pangunipongal officially. Close your eyes. Hold your palms together, bring them in front your face. Pray.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Blog-a-thon 2006

Prescript: A pretty lengthy post. I promise I will make it worth your time. Thanks.

All same, two eyes, two hands, two legs, perhaps a better brain, unfortunately an additional pair of breasts.

I feel very proud about how I have come so far. Every time I feel that whatever I was so happy about until then have become just nothing in comparison to whatever I was happy about at that point of time. Where should I start? It goes a long way back. I have to start at some point. As this is all about my job, let me start from the day I joined here. Well, how can I not include how did I get this job. It was miracle in itself. It was my celebration day. I still can’t believe that I got this job. G told me that now she can believe that she can get a job too, if not today, oneday, she says. It was the day we all got some hope in our lives. Everyone in my class was happy, not just for me, for themselves too. It gave them hope. S was worried about me. He said it was not good for me to go that far. He said men are not that good. What does he know. Being ugly helps me. I laughed and told him that I can go anywhere anytime. I am not scared about men. Before he said anything, I stopped him. “No, it is not what you think. I am not talking about my will power, women liberation whatever nonsense I usually talk. I am not scared, because, I don’t think anyone would want to rape me. That is the advantage of being ugly”. I laughed. Ph took efforts to come and see me, especially to advise me, rather put some sense into my head that I should not make a mistake of accepting this job. what? it is the best place in the country. No. 1 organisation in the country. How could he be so narrow minded to tell me that I should not go that far? Ri was supportive. He came with me wherever I went. He wanted to spend his time for the last time with me as we don’t know we are going to meet ever again. OK, ok, let come back to track. Forigve me if I go offtrack, sidetrack and all tracks other than the main track. I am just on the top of the world. Will tell you all about it.

I have to get ready. I took the sandal colour salwar kurtha. I think it will suit me. It will go with my washed hair looking pure and fresh. I can’t stop thinking about what RS told. He is one of the big cheeses in our HQ you know. I was stunned and speechless when he said “P..., mm, it rings a bell”, when I introduced myself to him, “Sir, I am P, workin..”. Wow. Wow, means a big wow you stupid. He is a bigcheese. He knows my name? wow. It rings a bell? Wow. I still remember the day I first met RC. I didn’t know who he was at that time. It was a conference. It was in my hometown, well kind of, it was in my college, where I studied. So, I started helping my friends in the reception. I didn’t look/feel like a delegate. It was just a year ago I was a student here. Nothing looks/feels different. I still feel like a student. People are same. RN Sir came running asking me to sing a song in Sanskrit to start the conference, as the player didn’t work. I don’t know any Sanskrit. I sang Maasil veenaiyum. This is what brought RC to me. He came looking for me during tea time. He introduced himself. He was surprised that I was working and not a student anymore. A self absorbed a** I am, I was all proud and started telling my stories, didn’t ask who he was. He is head of a division in A-branch. Wow. He asks for me whenever he comes to our office. We go for lunch together. He prefers spending time with me rather than with big heads whenever he is in our office. He doesn’t like silly politics. He is a gem of a person. I got to know him a lot during our lunch hours. I am very proud. Not because he is big cheese, well that too, but mainly because he is a great human being. And he prefers to be with me. Wow.

I am asked to co-ordinate the presentations Director is going to do in our institute. It means that I will be his assistant whilst he is here. Director has remarked a few times that I am very good. “Sharp” is the word he used. Wow. All marks and ranks I have got before in my entire life go simply nothing in comparison to his remarks. He asked me to read those articles and explain them to him the next day, as he doesn’t have time to read them himself. He trusts my understanding abilities to that level? Wow. I did brief him about those articles in the morning when he was taking breakfast. He is so active and workaholic. It was yesterday. Yesterday went so busy. I was involved in few meetings as well. It felt so great to participate in the discussions. I did get a few appreciations for my inputs. Lifetime opportunities. Should be very sharp and crisp in these occasions you know. I made most of it, I believe. It is not just the appreciation you get is important. The experience itself is so great, so great. Observing others points, remembering everyone’s agenda, well the secret ones as well, remembering the politics and playing by it and playing so safe so sharp and so crisp… It is an experience you can not get by paying and doing a course. Wow.

Well, I am getting late. I should stop this day dreaming habit. That is one thing I should do immediately if I want to take this experience any further, and make anything useful out of it. I should grow better. I should develop those qualities. I should become thick skinned, observant, and what not. I am not greedy, but who knows, I might become a big cheese myself one day? Why not? Stop, stop for godsake. Where is that comb. Urghhh.. that key!. “Aunty, could you please use your key to lock my room? Thanks”. Leaving a key with the house owner, who lives just by the other side of the house, comes very handy you know.

Haaaa. It was a long day too. Very busy. Very busy. Running all over the place, when projector was not working when the coffee didn’t come in time, when Director wanted few books (your selection of books are so sweet, sugar. I have not seen this book before. Who is the author? Can I take it? Oh, do you use this normally. Wow that explains where you got your brainy answers from). Anyway, it went well, as the Englishmen say. :-) It did go well. It was good in fact, it felt so good. I have to go back. Director has asked me to come for another discussion. He is staying here tonight. He doesn’t waste time. He is going to discuss about that project until, well, he sleeps I suppose. RJ is coming too. RJ is everyone’s pet. He is loaded with this type of work by all these bigheads. It is coming to me now. RJ doesn’t do subject oriented discussions. He has forgotten all about it. He left college ten years ago. (He studied in my collge too). He is long absorbed into administration these days. I don’t know anything about administration. It is an art by itself. I have to learn that. I have a lot to learn. RJ is very good. I have to learn those things from him. Now I have to go. It is getting late. Director does things very quick. I have to go.

“Come in”. I smile. “Sit down”. I take the chair and sit down. “No, no, come here. Sit here. We are going to read that book. I want you to read that book for me. I want you to explain as you go along. I want you to show the book as well. It has some good pictures that go with the explanations. I want to see them; I am a physicist you know. I am a scientist”. He laughs. “Wait, should we use the laptop to work in the mean time as well? Ya, we should. You know what P, I am not as techi as you young brains are. I am an old man. I have asked RJ to come and teach me computer. He will be coming now”. I start the system. I start the software. I open a worddoc to type. “wait wait, what are you doin? Slow, slow. I want to learn. Didn’t I say I want to learn. What did you do?”, “Sir it was ctrl, and C to copy and ctrl and V to paste”.. what, ctrl, and C… no sir, press ctrl, I mean that button, yes, yes, that one. Don’t leave. Press the button C. yes this is to copy. Where did it copy? It hasn’t copied yet sir. Why? We haven’t selected anything sir. You said ctrl and C copies. Yes, sir, but we have to select it using our mouse sir… you young people, go slow, go step by step, tell me what is the first thing I have to do. Do not tell me something and then ask me to go back and forth… ok sir. Use your mouse, select the text…. Knock knock…. RJ comes in. Ah, you don’t need me anymore. You have P. No no. come in. sit. She is teaching me to select, copy and what is next? Paste sir. Where? Wherever you want sir. Where do I want? I don’t know sir…you should know. He smiles. RJ laughs. I smile too.
RJ leaves after some discussion. It was something politics. I don’t understand much of it. Anyway. We have to finish this document today. I have to walk home and come back in the morning. There will be the article briefing session in the morning during his breakfast time…He is grinnig differently. Did he ask anything I didn’t notice? I should stop this day dreaming slipping into my own thought process thingy.. Why is he grinning? He is holding my hand.. Doesn’t look like it is to do with the mouse. He is holding my hand close to by elbow. We are sitting far away from the system. I am sitting in front of his desk. We have moved away to the desk a long time ago. He is sitting opposite to me. I am holding the book. I am having papers and papers all around me I have been using to explain things to him. He found sitting opposite to each other convenient as we needed to look at each other during our discussions. He is holding my hand and grinning at me. Did he put an argument which I didn’t get? Why is he grinning at me? “I am very influential you know”. I know. He is THE Director. He is THE BOSS. The tube light inside me eventually lit and lit bright. I start shaking. My hearbeat goes faster. Still confused. He advances his hand. I freeze. Damn freeze.

Walk back home was very cold. “Sharp” is the word he used. My sharp brain worked eventually. My polite “I will ask RJ to come hereafterwards Sir” taking his hands off me putting in its place feels like something I did in one of my day-dreams. It was a cold walk back home.
PS: give me a title please.
PPS: this did not get lost in silence. there is a big story after this episode.
PPS: RS and RC did not do anything ever wrong. They are good men. Just wanted to give a glimpse of good men as well in the post. They were/are indeed good men. Great human beings. I still adore RC.