Roots en route

Tangy Tuesday PicksNo matter where we were born, geographically speaking, be it anywhere in this world, the only determining factor of what we are, is our genes. Apart from those genes, we comprise of millions of customs and rituals which were being followed, down the years by our ancestors and passed on to the descendants, and on each transfer somewhat of it was losing. Yes, through each generation aren’t we losing out on those practices exceptional and some not, by reasoning or science, laziness or lack of enthusiasm, lack of peripheral physical or mental? Today how many of us feel it is an imperative to keep the customs and traditions of our family alive? How many of us still have the sense of belonging, the kinship.

In this modern cosmopolitan mechanism, we tend to overlook or even forget those customs, those which were once an integral part of us and fail to pass it on completely since our children are in contemporary settings with largely heterogeneous society, where the mixed religion/caste/race background marriages is becoming more and more common. Parents in such cases prefer not to impose and overburden their children with all the customs from both sides.

I was only born in Kerala but I spent all my life in Delhi, till four years back when I moved to Germany. I must have visited my birthplace around 15 or 16 times in all, being kids we had no choice then, short of being dragged or handcuffed, me and my brother acquiesced each time. It took really long until we grew up to understand what it meant to have bathed in the nearby stream, spread out on paarapuratthu (rocks) waited for our goats to finish grazing, watched my grandmother fetch water from the well, running towards the backyard where the aroma of chicken being prepared filling the entire village, the walks and the thrill to reach the local movie theatre (of course thatched roof) through the paadams (paddy fields), savouring of pazham pori (banana fritters), dosa with chamandhi (chutney), kaapi (coffee) in local chaya-kada (teashop), finding film posters of Mohanlal, Mammutty, the superheroes everywhere, the hours and hours of bus-rides from paternal to maternal homes, the pamperings from relatives, hogging onto chakka, maanga, roasted cashews etc, lighting up the villakku at the dusk and waking up when radio played unfailingly Vande Mataram every morning at 6 am.

My parents followed all the Hindu traditions, customs and festivals, how deeply religiously cannot be measured, but they did so eventhough they lived in Delhi (thanks to temples and large population of Keralites) since they were in their twenties or even before, and we as children have almost entirely absorbed and imbibed all that we saw and heard. Onam, Vishu, Mahashivaratri amongst festivals, Chorunnu, Vidhyarambham, Iruvathattu (naming of baby on 28th day) amongst ceremonies are the prominent ones. I now feel it’s my moral duty to pass all these on to my children, who speak German as first language, English as second, Hindi, Malayalam, Tamil yet to follow (not burdening extra languages at this juncture when my daughter has just turned 3). Should I say even the languages/mother tongue is also losing out (I am not perfect in Malayalam, my husband is not good in Tamil :(). The tradition of buying malayalam calendar is definitely over as eventhough I could read somewhat but certainly never could understand the translation of months, zodiacs etc. I am glad as of now and so far so, I have been able to celebrate all the abovesaid festivals and ceremonies along with my children despite the non-availability of all the puja items out here. And I am sure when grow up, they too will realize the beauty, purity and significance of these rituals, their genes and instincts won’t fail them either.

First time I watched Chendavaadyam in a temple, I stood their unmoved obeying the deafening beats of the drums till the end, why and how was I relating to it is inexplicable. Howsoever modern or displaced your identity might have become, your five senses will never desert you. Smell will tingle your neurons, language will resound to reach your heart, the taste buds will perceive it, and sight will finally testify and shout out loud that you belong here.

Bizarre footwears

Just finished designing website for a shoe store. It was a new subject, haven’t designed a shoe website in 9 years of web designing. Call it whatever, I mostly go about to search for that correct dummy picture on the web even though i know it cannot be used for the final design, but for that perfect presentation, i can spend even hours to find one. So while searching some, I came across certain crazy shoes which triggered my search for even more and crazier ones. I really enjoyed watching them so downloaded a few only to share it with you all. So here i go, just sit back and get stunned. Do let me know which you think is the craziest. You may click on the thumbnails to see enlarged version.

If you still think you couldn’t have enough of these, then go to here.

Photo credits:,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Over a stream

Any travel break is welcome especially when the whole year one spends at home, mostly on bed, dragging rather than walking, struggling to keep up with a 3 yr olds incessant demands, wailing away almost every night and many more such combats with a son in the tummy who is hell bent to prove he will be a sure-shot footballer someday. Though we had PhantasiaLand break some couple of months back but it already seems ages now. Although a long holiday is soon nearing (yay! Goa calling) during Christmas and New Year, we still like to savor on short trips too. So we book Hotel Zugbrücke, a four star known for wellness and sports, 180 kms away from our place near Koblenz.

Every year our staff gets surprise gifts from us for Christmas, last year we took all of them along with their families to Hotel Mercator which is just in our town, for one whole day stay, food, drinks, wellness all inclusive. It was great fun and we all enjoyed to the core. So this time over, we planned it differently with different gifts for all like cameras, iphones etc. But Christoph and family gets to spend with us on this surprise weekend trip.

We met at 9.00am at Janses Mattes restaurant situated at a main crossing, thats mostly a meeting point for any road journey for people around here. They were supposed to follow us (not blindfolded) along through the beautiful scenic landscapes which is spread all over germany with the onset of autumn. For them the journey seemed unending as Raj had told them that we were to drive just about 80 kms so the surprise already had begun as they drove for 100 km extra. And we finally reach our destination by 11.00am.

Hotel Zugbrück is one of its kind specially for table tennis lovers, has a bowling alley, a disco, wellness with sauna, swimming pool, whirlpool, babysitting facility, a large kids playroom too. It is such a wonder that this small hilly area produces world class table-tennis players like Lucjan Blaszczyk, Tomas Pavelka, Patrick Baum and Matiss Burgis. So our surprise destination was duly acknowledged by all, kids were already jumping, dying to do so, more into the swimming pool.

Hotel Zugbrücke

Hotel Zugbrücke with Christoph and family in the foreground

We first wanted to have lunch so we proceeded to the restaurant which was connected to the hotel by a channel or sort of bridge. And the buffet had just begun. We opted for the window corner from where we could see a stream passing, the bridge that we crossed was just above that. This explains the name of the hotel Zugbrücke (zug is a train and brücke means bridge).

View from the restaurant

View from the restaurant where the stream is flowing

After lunch we took a short rest and then spent good three hours in the swimming pool area. Kids were having a ball of a time screaming and splashing away. Cappucino was welcome at this point. Now the idea of having the whirlpool out in the open only added to the charm of the wholesome experience with cold mist almost enveloping and the tall trees overlooking you while a glass of champagne just complimented the hot water massages. We just ran out of time for tennis as bowling was booked for 6.30 pm which was absolute fun after 12 yrs approximately. Wondering how much we lose out on smaller joys when we think nothing but work, work and work all our life. With kids we are now reliving those forgotten golden days.

It was time for dinner now. I loved all in the elaborate menu which consisted of onion soup, variety of salads, pork and deer was main course food, knödel, grilled champignons, zucchini, aubergine, rosemarine potatoes, paprika and fettucini, thunfish with teriyaki sauce and many many more. I am not even getting to the dessert area, besides I am still dieting. As the kids were tired and sleepy they had to be put to bed, so I say goodnight to all. I also slept as early as 10.30pm and Raj came back to room at 1.00am.

Got up at 7 in the morning, it was drizzling outside and no one wanted to wake up. We definitely wanted to stay for the Sunday as well, but cannot. At 9am we had to meet for breakfast and then by 11am we aimed at checking out, as a short and sweet, well spent holiday came to an end, kids were seemingly upset. So next time it will be a at least good three days for us, promise :).

PS: Christoph and family however wanted to spend sometime more around the hill top, trekking upto the castle.

Secret no more

Something to ponder. Did we ever think of what will happen to all our emails or our accounts in all the social networking sites, once we are DEAD? Well! read quite an informative article today in HT. Read directly here or below.

What happens to your email when you die?

Saving that parting e-mail from your first love in your inbox? Well, chances are, after you pass away, your spouse and the entire family will know about the long held secret.

This is because web email services like Hotmail and Gmail do not let users specify what should happen to their messages when they die.

In fact, email services owned by Internet giants like Google and Microsoft have a policy of keeping your data after you die and letting your next of kin or the executor of your estate access it. These services can hold tens of thousands of messages.

Accounts with Google’s Gmail can hold up to 7GB – or roughly 70,000 emails with a small to medium picture attached to each and they archive the messages you”ve written as well as received.

When it comes to deleting the data, Microsoft’s Hotmail will remove an account if it is inactive for 270 days, while Gmail leaves the responsibility to the next of kin.

Of the top three providers, only Yahoo! refuses to supply emails to anyone after the user has died. The user’s next of kin can ask for the account to be closed, but cannot gain access to it.

A Yahoo! spokesperson said the only exception to this rule would be if the user specified otherwise in their will.

Meanwhile, social-networking site Facebook has recently published a feature called memorialisation that lets the family of deceased users keep their profile page online as a virtual tribute.

MySpace, on the other hand, says it addresses the issue of family access to sensitive data on a case by case basis.

A spokesperson for MySpace could not rule out letting a user’s next of kin log into their profile – potentially giving them access to private messages.

So password protected secrets will no more be, once you are no more. Those who are secretly nurturing secrets, beware, those revelations can only ruin your prospects of respect, after you are gone. Or any untold mysteries unfolding can only cause hurt to your beloved who is already in grief of your loss so spare the additional trauma. Life is unforeseeable, death might just cheat you and straighten out all your cheatings.

As for me I have nothing to hide. All my past, present and future is and will not be a stranger to my husband. In fact he even knows what passwords i use and is free to rummage even when i am alive. 🙂

Your heart outside you

Undoubtedly, the most fulfilling experience of my life is motherhood, though it came late but i’m glad and feel immensely honoured that it did come. I find my kids as an extension of me or they are me myself. We are not separate. And i cannot live without or see myself away from them howsoever. Now, something that I fail to fathom eversince is why and how can some parents stay away from their kids and send them to boarding schools? How are they able to bring themselves to do this to their own child who needs them each minute of the day and also when they are asleep. Our child has ONLY US to look upto. How can we part with them? God sent these angels to us to shower all our love to them, isn’t it?

My question to all those parents who send their kids to boarding schools – Is it worth all the sacrifice and loss of being together with your child during those precious, never-to-return childhood days?

Their explanation probably: Well! we feel it is just convenient, cos we don’t have to drive them to and from the school, don’t have to cook for them, don’t have to do their laundry, cut their nails, take them to barber, take them to playgrounds, take them for shopping, teach them traditional values of the family, celebrate festivals together, read bed time stories, see them growing, answer their querries, take care of when they are suffering in sickness. Also because we are too busy and have too much money and we are selfish, heartless, we can be blind to what exactly is going with our child out there. We can further hide behind these words – they will learn to take care of themselves, will get discliplined, responsible, mature, self independent, develop interests in sports and extra curricular activities.

Isn’t doing all these a privilege of each parent. To me it is an experience which is unparalleled. Not only does it strengthen your relationship with your child, it is an adventurous learning journey for the parent too – of patience, of grit, of sacrifice, of selflessness, of humility, of management, and reliving your own childhood. There is nothing that cannot be taught by parents.

Aren’t you doing this to them as they are wholly innocent & helpless? They are still in such tender age where they cannot even protest, they don’t know what lies ahead – A life devoid of parents love, caressing, hugs, kisses and warmth even if it is for just few years, that time is lost forever, the time when kids build that special bonding & trust with you which should’nt in any circumstance be robbed away from them.

From all our experiences, don’t we know that life is already a tough battle, with God knows what all kinds of people they will encounter, what all situations they have to confront, so why can’t we simply pour all our love and be with them so much more specially in those building years to ease it out just a bit from our side for them, from the otherwise cruel world and give a marvelous beginning. And… continue till we rest in peace.

Will end with something profound which i think – Nobody on this earth loves you more than your own parents.

Found some quotes would love to share with you:

You have a lifetime to work, but children are only young once.  ~Polish Proverb
Your children vividly remember every unkind thing you ever did to them, plus a few you really didn’t.  ~Mignon McLaughlin
In bringing up children, spend on them half as much money and twice as much time.  ~Unknown

PS: I will try to understand those parents who has genuine genuine disability to take care of their kids.

PPS: Would like to dedicate two songs of my choice especially to all the mothers in this world. Song 1 is apt to the topic I touched. Song 2 is which touches me the most.

Song 1 from movie Taare Zameen Par (2007), experience.

Song 2 from movie Daadi Maa (1966), just dive in.