Noël!

A long time ago, in a stuffy hot classroom with minuscule chairs, a little girl in pigtails made a painting about her favourite season: summer. Watermelons, floral umbrellas, soda, the works! The heat of the sun was a soother, contrary to what her little bench mates thought. Perhaps the thought of the month long vacations attracted her, for no one loved lazing around better than her!
How much the girl has changed over the years! Today, if I am asked about my favourite time of the year, I would reply, without a second thought, Winter. The reasons are many,
I am a winter baby.
I can wear trendy woollens.
My skin stays in top shape.
I do not sweat a lot, while in summer I am practically drenched!
It is the time for hot pongal, peppered with a few gleaming cashew nuts peering out of curry leaved canopies.
It is the season when I wear my wedding silks with aplomb, who cares if I look twenty years older!

The reasons above, are just that, reasons. In other words, they are not THE reason, you understand? Why I truly, really just LOVE the winter and the month of December, is because of Christmas and Margazhi. I find it overwhelmingly beautiful that the festivities for Christmas and the holy month of prayer and love, Margazhi, both begin at around the same time. My childhood and adolescence are filled with sweet memories of listening to the Tiruppavai on the radio, with the waft of ghee spreading though the crisp coldness of the weather, hours at school and college preparing for competitions like crib making and collages and returning home to attend the special concerts organized at the local temple. Each day was just more beautiful than the one before. Even the exams in January could not deter me from the euphoria I felt.
And that is why, even today, listening to the Tiruppavai or feeling the winter air against the face, can evoke only one reaction : Pure bliss.
I look forward to the music, the exhilaration and the joyous spirit that only winter can bring.
Carols and Tiruppavai.
Cake and Pongal.
Baby Jesus and Krishna.
Gowns and Pattu Pavadais.
English plays and veenai concerts.
Notes and Swaras.
New beginnings and auspicious endings.
Love and Joy!

I cannot wait any longer. Bring on December, real fast! 🙂

Zut!

This morning I discovered my first(few!) gray hairs. For a minute I just stared at the mirror, disbelieving. Until yesterday, there I was, a young thing with a head full of black hair and zup! Va va voom, here sprout my seeds of wisdom! How do you react in a case like this?
Feel proud that Nature has decide to teach you a few lessons in advance?
Or blindly jump on to the bandwagon that millions of women all over the world are in, the one that chases perfection relentlessly in vain?
It is a strange state of mind. Lost, perplexed and age-defying. Hehe, you know what I mean!
As I passed through the day, flashes of a head full of white hair appear in front of my eyes, making my students wonder if their dear madame is exhibiting signs of clairvoyance. Suddenly I recognize how young my students are.. and it wasn’t a great feeling. I felt enormous love, sadness and self-pity, all at the same time. It is true that the graying might stop with these few strands, for the moment and life will continue as before. Or I might decide to be extra stringent about my henna sessions and scrape a way out of this “Gris”ery.
Yet, as my logical mind searches for a cause that resulted in this, I can only think of stress.
Stress that helps us do extraordinarily well at work.
Stress that helps us show off at family gatherings-“Oh, I have been very busy of late. No time to even take a breather.”
Stress that keeps our adrenaline pumping, making us feel alive. Sadly, those may probably be the only instances where we feel alive.
What is so alluring about this high that we get, that put everything else on second gear? Our bodies, our souls, our very lives?
I am known to over-react, so you’d be wise to take my words with a pinch of salt, but I think we would be better off if we did not work up late.
Or worry about who likes us or not.
There’s absolutely no need to work ourselves up over work or family. Ultimately, our bodies bear the brunt of it all, and without our bodies we are nothing. (We are not saints or gods, who have transcended their bodies, are we?)
Just keep asking yourself this question over and over again,
Is it worth it?

Writing…


A few weeks ago, I attended a workshop on Writing Skills at the Alliance Française. It was aimed to improve our skills in French, but I am surprised at how it has freed up my mind, and the surge of ideas that I now have.
We have all been there. We, as in, those who love writing. People whose childhood memories include a secluded corner of the terrace, a tree or a pet for company, paper and pencil.
Who as little children, believed that books were indeed the best presents available and painstakingly ‘made’books, filling every page with our own poems, our reflections about the world around us, translating the language of our inner selves into comprehensible text.
All was well until the day we met every writer’s nightmare : Block. Try as we might, the words would just not get written. Nights of frustration, days full of futile observations, our journals empty of jots. It’s scary. Whether or not I get published, writing is a cathartic process for me. I need it just like I need my everyday cup of coffee, or even my daily shower, on a more mundane note. I have lived as a shadow of the real me, just because I couldn’t write. Maybe there is a right moment for things to happen.
Like this workshop I attended. Let me summarize the activities we did.
* An uncensored first draft-just write, continuously for fifteen minutes on anything that you like. Some of us created marvels just by writing on how we could think of nothing to write about!
* Make a poem with the key points of what you’ve just written in this form:
W
WW
WWW
WWWW
W, where W is a word.
* Rewrite your story/text with this poem as base. You’ll see a remarkable difference in the quality of your writing. Trust me on this!
* Pick random pictures and write a story of this format :
A hero-Describe him.
His first problem.
His second problem
A crisis in his life.
Someone who comes to his aid.
All’s well.
The first draft of this activity purges out all the clichĂ©s in your head and you’ll see how awesome the second draft is!You can write a ‘diamond’poem to sum up your story,
M
MM
MMM
MM
M
So there! If you follow them sincerely, you’ll find your passion for writing come back. Promise. It did for me.Now I just can’t seem to stop writing! 🙂

Love!


On gray clouds
lie my thoughts, written in crayon;
Wax and colour, on cotton paper.

Pink and blue
run my dreams, trembling kites
against the dewy breeze.

My feet fly
my soul leaps, the world’s mine
I am all girl.

Raindrops and snow
sun and dew, give me
ephemeral hugs of love.

I cannot die
for eyes as exuberant as mine
Cannot but see and see.