Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Old anecdote from college hostel

Ever since I started my blog at infy long ago, I had wanted to jot down small anecdotes of different people I had met in different stages of my life and one person who I always wanted to write about before she disappeared from my memory forever was our engineering college hostel and its warden (Nighty Thalla).

Hajira Bivi was one person who you couldn't forget easily. She was almost always dressed in a night gown with a shawl covering her part of her hair..and falling lazily around her rake thin shoulders, haunting the stairs and corridors of the hostel with a sour expression most of the time.The name was coined by would be romeos stalking the hostel who invariably got her at her angriest sour faced expressions.

In all the time that I studied for engineering , Cochin University never had hostels for BTech students , and we were all left to the mercy of private hostel owners who charged exorbitant rates for jam packed rooms and meager meals.But with its apartment converted structure and sweet talking owner, the suburban hostel had seemed like one of the better evils of the lot at first glance.

The initial honey moon period soon ran out and soon I began to find that vegetarian food just meant no non vegetarian (albeit the occasional bug in the food) and not necessarily any of nutritious stuff that we were supposed to get. Hajira warden who was super sweet initially started finding fault with us for no reason and soon , she would start stalking the staircases at night to catch people who were awake late night and report them to the hostel owner. Soon , we found that people who got along well with her seldom got reported while people who got her ire , got reported for minor matters like reaching 2 mins late after the 6:00 PM curfew. At 6:00 PM , she would wait at the hostel gates to see who were late and woe betide anyone who got caught.

During this time , somehow she started telling a few of us about herself, how this job was the only way she could support her family and this endeared her to us in-spite of all her faults. After all those were part of her job.But then some strange things began to happen. Things began to disappear. Small things like audio cassette tapes at first, but then things like watches , even money.These missing things were seldom heard of afterwards , until some one saw all of them in a bag in her room. Sometimes, long after something disappeared, she would return the things to its rightful owner citing that she found it somewhere. Many of the hostelites secretly thought that she might be a kleptomaniac who takes things and then returns them  after months.But she was sweet in many ways , and on one occasion , even let me and three of my friends in at 6:30 pm when we had a true emergency.

Soon afterwards, she was removed from her warden post supposedly for some misappropriation and we had a new dragon of a warden. We thought that was the last that we would hear about her , but that was not the case.During that time, yours truly and some of her friends decided to move into a rented house and almost paid the advance , but for some reason, the house owners backed off from giving us the apartment at the last minute. Later we found that a character assassination had been made and by none other than our Nighty Thalla..which prevented the house owners from renting it to us. She was very much there in the neighborhood and was hoping that we would join the new hostel that she had just started .

Then the story of the egg black magic or "Motta matnthravadam" happened. and it seemed to me at that time one of the funniest stories of the time. One evening , our new warden came running to our room and said , "You know , I 've known it all along. This place is jinxed". We thought she was being a bit too silly , but were eager to hear the story. "I went to the church priest and he confirmed ." She continued. It seemed that the from the day she joined for the new post , she was having a head ache and illnesses. When she finally had it checked by a priest, he told her that she had been a victim of ,hmm what else other than "motta manthravadam" by the old warden.. The idea of our Biwi casting a spell on the new warden was so funny that it was the topic of hostel dinners for weeks.But black magic or not , she could do nothing much to influence many people to join her hostel and soon I heard that she had left for her home town permanently.

Some times, I have wondered what became of her, and though we have cursed her a good many times while we were at the hostel, in my heart of hearts , I wish her well.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Snowy Dreams..

When I was a child, I had  always wanted to see snow. It was an elusive dream for me.White snow covered himalayan valleys and swiss alps were scenic views seen only in the hindi movie songs.When my cousins had gone to Shimla or darjeeling and recounted having taken snow in their hands, I could only look on with pure green envy. Once , my parents had planned a Shimla trip too in a december, but for some reason , it never materiaized and we went to calcutta instead, and that year, due to some climatic variations , we could not travel to darjeeling. Thus my snow hopes were dashed yet again.

Later , when I got married , my husband was working in Albany ,NY and I visited the place in october.This time , I was sure that I could experience 2 seasons that I had hitherto never seen in the tropical cities of kerala-Fall and Winter-colors and snow..The fall colors were superb that year , but alas , my husband's company snowstormed my snow dreams as they sent us back to bangalore 1 week before the first snow of the season.

Several different stints of onsite and offshore later , now, I find myself staring with utter displeasure out of an office in minneapolis into the snow covered pavements. I have to walk to the bus station in that snow(!!) and wait for my husband at a snow covered bus stop(!!). I would probably have jumped with joy at the prospect of going out last winter when I saw snow for the first time. But as they say , familiarity breeds contempt and not a  day now passes when we don't complain , how difficult it is to go out in the snow and how we wish we could have the tropical warmth of kerala for a day...

Monday, November 15, 2010


കരിമിഴിയില്‍ കൌതുകവും
കൈവിരലില്‍ കുസൃതികളും
കളമൊഴിയില്‍  കൊഞ്ചി വരും
കളിപ്പാവ  കുഞ്ഞു വാവ

പൂവിതളാം  നിന്‍  കവിളില്‍
ഇള  മഞ്ഞിന്‍  തുള്ളികളോ
ചിരി മാഞ്ഞൊരു  ചെന്ചോടിയില്‍
 അലിവോലും  ഗദ്ഗദമോ
 നീ  നിനയ്‌ക്കും  വിഭവങ്ങള്‍
നിനക്കുണ്ണാന്‍    സ്വാദ് ആയി      
ഉറങ്ങാനായി  താരാട്ടും
നിന്‍  പാവകുട്ടികളും   

എല്ലാം    ഞാന്‍  കൊണ്ട്  തരാം
നിന്‍  കൂടെ  കൂട്ടിരിക്കാം
മുഖ  പുഷ്പം  വിടരനായി
നെഞ്ജോരം  ഒമാനിക്കാം
കണ്ണാ നിന്‍  പുഞ്ചിരിയോ
 പൂക്കനിയെന്‍  ഇട  നെഞ്ചില്‍
എന്നും  നീ  ചിരി   ചൊരിയൂ
എന്‍  ഹൃദയത്തിന്‍  വിഷുക്കണിയായി    

എന്റെ ആദ്യത്തെ മലയാളം ബ്ലോഗ്‌

ട്രാന്‍സ്ലിററരെഷേന്‍ എങ്ങനെ വര്‍ക്ക്‌ ചെയ്യുമെന്ന് കാണാന്‍ നല്ല രസം ഉണ്ട് .മലയാളത്തില്‍ എഴുതാന്‍ ഇത്ര എളുപ്പമായിരിക്കും എന്ന്  ഒരിക്കലും കരുതിയില്ല  .ഇനി എന്റെ ജൌര്‍നലില്‍  മലയാളവും കാണാം.ഇപ്പൊ ടെക്കനിക്ക് പിടി കിട്ടി വരുന്നു. 

Monday, November 8, 2010

A free monday afternoon

After hours of fruitless searching for good deals on laptops and multitudes of attempts at writing prose blogs on a lazy november afternoon, I finally came to the conclusion that I am no good at writing the mundane daily details into blogs that some people so effortlessly seem to do.. and that too on a daily basis. Finally did what I like best , read a book. (Prisoner of birth by Jeffrey Archer). It was his usual hallmark style with twists and turns and if you have read more than  3 or 4 books of his, alas, very much predictable. But it is an enjoyable book nevertheless and the premise is interesting unlike Sons of Fortune which was akin to reading a bolly wood movie story of twins separated at birth.