Saturday, November 21, 2015

Culture, Sanskar...?

I always use to wonder what "our culture" or Sanskar meant 
I have scant regard for orthodox beliefs so I never really dwelled.

It suddenly occured to me yesterday.

We light the diya in the house every morning and then again in the evening around 6:00. When we do that we put on all the lights in the house.
This is culture, how can I not do that. Not doing that would mean life is not normal at the moment.

My mom use to eat  eggs or non-vegetarian food only on Wednesdays and Sundays. She regarded every other day as dedicated to a God. I was not like that but now I am more comfortable doing that. 
Instinctively it limits the intake of those foods but at the same time makes sure I have some if I wanted to.

We never step on paper. We don't eat beef because rightly we consider the cow as a mother.

This and many others keep me in check and I hope my daughter also inherits the respect for these beliefs.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

I like Chipotle but...

I enjoyed eating at Chipotle immensely until I realised the people behind it are the same people churning out McDonalds Fast Food.
At Chipotle they make promises of "Naturally raised animals" without antibiotics, not preservatives and all that entails.Whereas in McDonalds it is all about more food at the least possible cost and they keep slashing their prices every other day. We know what that means.

How can the same company stand for two diametrically opposite things?
Catering to the rich and the not so rich with different marketing jargons, sadly it is all about the money.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Jeya and the hills(My first story)

Jeya & the hills

by Aarthi G.


Vinay, who never fails to light my way

              Jeya loved going to Madurai. Why she loved it, she didn’t know. In fact she didn’t know that the warm feeling that engulfed her, as the train crossed the Vaigai river and the station sign reading “Madurai” in three different languages came slowly into view, was love. There were always cousins awaiting her family’s arrival at the railway station. She didn’t know how blessed she was to have people come and receive until many years later.

              Jeya lived with her Amma, Appa and her brother babu in Bombay and every summer she looked forward to their visit to Madurai. Although she missed her Bombay friends and the aimless frolicking, Madurai was always like a treasure box and it thrilled her to open it every single time. The Madurai visit normally meant visiting every relative for a day or for a longer stay of about a week. But the base was always with Bamba and Baba, her appa's elder brother and wife, the two people she loved most after her parents. One of the must-dos during her stay was a week-long visit to Mama’s house on the outskirts of Madurai. Thirunagar bus stop no.5, that’s how she remembered it and everyone got down with glee at stop no.5.

            Mama’s sons and their only daughter were all grown up so it was not them that made the visit so much fun but it was the joy of all cousins visiting mama’s house together. The elders would cook together and later settle down for a nap or ready themselves for a game of Ludo. Oh yes money was always involved! Meanwhile Jeya and her cousins would ready themselves for another visit to the “hills”.

              Just beyond the last house on the street was the start of the gentle slopes of the hills. Every visit to the hills was a happy run among the huge rocks that made up the hills, a pit stop at a small ancient temple and finally reaching the top from where you could see the tiny villages on the other side. It was like discovering something wonderful every time. Jeya and gang would make two bottles of cold sugar sweet orange Trinka, a few pouches of oily potato chips to go along and a few other knick knacks bought at the corner shop at the bus stop which all added to the excitement. Thus went the summer holidays.

              A few years went by and cousins started thinning out. A few got married, others moved to far off places for jobs and their visits didn’t often coincide with Jeya’s visit. This lessened Jeya’s visit to the hills too; alone, the hills were not as green and she started to sense the villages on the other side crouching up the hill.

              Now Jeya is married and lives in a distant country. Somehow living in another country made her realize how much she belonged to the tiny town of Madurai, to Thirunagar bus stop no. 5 and to the hills. She promised herself the next time she traveled to India, she would visit the hills again.

            This time Mama and Mami were alone, son’s and daughter in their respective homes and no cousins to tag along, Jeya was all set to make it alone this time. The walk to the hill was paved with concrete road and not the dirt road which had always been inviting. This somehow did not bode very well. That road cut right across the hill; the hills were gone. Civilization had taken over. Homes, grocery stores, slaughter houses were built and people of the new village walked about.

            It broke her heart to see that; "Oh well", she thought “that’s what human’s do isn’t it? We take new land, build on it, live on it and then some more...”. She returned with sadness,she now only had the happy memories of it in her heart. The Hills had flattened.




Sunday, February 27, 2011

To Gym or not to Gym

I have been going to a gym or doing some form of workout since the last 6 years or so. Tennis, running, yoga, sometimes a spinning class or even zumba, all come under the gamut of my workout.
Sometimes I wonder why I do it, ofcourse staying healthy is part of the reason but I still wonder what this is all about.
In many ways I have become, for want of a better word, addicted to it.
If I do not visit the gym I start itching to go again.
Many days revolve around going to the gym, making time for it, not letting myself of the hook until I get there.
Unable to put in sometime in workout can get me in an unhappy state of mind and vice versa.
So yes I do have many questions but until I get the answers I guess I will keep at it :)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

What's in a Name?

I like my name spelt 'Aarthi'. May be because I was originally christened with those letters, not too short and neither too long. Just perfect with the 'thi' balancing the double 'Aa's.
I am from the southern part of India; the culture, art, design somehow manifest my name as an intricate 'Aarthi'. But my name makes a long journey.As it starts traveling north and then to the west, it loses its intricacy and becomes a bold 'Aarthy' and sometimes 'Aarathy'. In Bombay where I spent greater part of my childhood it loses its softness and becomes 'Aarti'. As it moves further north or if it falls into a lazy person's hand it becomes a short 'Arti'
If it so happens that such a person moves altogether to a western country the name further confounds the localite and becomes an artistic 'Artie'. Although my name has taken different hues and forms, I do seem to like the final 'Artie'. Oh well its only after my actual 'Aarthi' :)

Friday, October 29, 2010

English August- A book review

English August written by Upmanyu Chatterjee, another English book by a Bengali Author. It very much lived up to the standards I have come to expect of Bengali writers.
This book gives a scoop into how villages work, how the so called government servants, IAS officers run the rural areas. Perfect for city bred,English speaking youth who have no clue of what and how of a village.
Agasthya Sen aka English August is our window into this world of bureaucracy. I cannot simply say this book is humorous which it is but because laughter comes in from unexpected quarters and sometimes it is so sudden that I was laughing out loud not just at the situation but also an the ingenuity of the author. This book is a class of its own. The author uses words plucked from remote parts of the dictionary yet the result is beautiful prose not just a jumble of words. Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of the famed "Eat Pray Love" extols the beauty of Italian language. Upon reading English August, even English seems to have a whole new dimension.
I look forward to re-reading this book in future, perhaps when life demands some spontaneity and mirth.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

The Case of Dissappearing Balconies in Mumbai


Balcony is a small portion in your apartment home open to the outside world.Balcony without question had been a integral part of apartments in any high rise building in Mumbai.
It started as a small trend some 15 years ago to "take-in" this balcony to add to the living room space, a sign of the upper middle class who owned the apartments and could afford the remodelling costs.
Unfortunately what started as a novel idea has now become a norm in any new construction. Builders reason that if a balcony is constructed anyway it would be taken-in in a few years so let us do it for you. There is a catch though, the room size has actually stayed the same, only now there is no balcony to take-in!
Balcony was a place to bask in the sun after a long head bath, say hi to the neighbour across the street. It also provided a secretive place to talk to your boyfriend, sometimes take a little walk; as oasis when life became stressful.
An ever burgeoning Mumbai population combined with a sharp increase in real estate prices is taking away this little comfort zone from us.