Saturday, December 26, 2009

On Problematic Parents

Dear readers
Wish you all a happy new year!
With this post I complete the snippets from her diary for 2005. I found some of them extremely tough to read and accept- and some of them gave me great happiness. For me it has been a wonderful way to find solace and support every now and then. I now plan to go to the diary of 2006
Before I do that could you please comment on what this is doing for you and offer your suggestion on how it can be done better.
Thanking you all in advance for you views

2nd December 2005
On Problematic Parents
Jeez! I used tot think that my friend S was an exception to the rule…one of the few people who suffered who had REAL problems and troubles from her parents as against my illusory ones. But slowly I learnt that most people have troubles with their parents.
I am really lucky to have the parents I do… and yet even with such nice supportive helpful parents ….who if nothing else does not TRAUMATISE me…I manage to find fault with them and magnify their smallest defects into gargantuan proportions. I dunno. Just look at all the others. They have so many problems and yet they strive to solve them and better their lives. I have everything smooth and easy and yet I tell myself, “Oh life is TOUGH!” Learned helplessness. I wan to be helpless so I can shirk responsibility. I am 19 and behave like at max -12 years old.
Anyways talking about others problems…
No need to go back to middle school and my friend and her Chaachi...dont know much about it.
One friend’s mother ill-treats her –comparing her to her brother, neglecting her, suspecting her, making her feel unloved, all this happening in an INTENSE manner. Her dada didn’t care…too involved in the office.
Another case. Loving mother away from home, dad not understanding, nothing in common, doesn’t speak to her. She wants to go away from home, tries to escape constantly.
And with another friend, closed environment, narrow thoughts, overly conservative, involving her in all the family fights and problems. She has to conform to the conservative norms at home while she comes to school and college.

Oof, it’s horrid and I crib!

Saturday, December 19, 2009


20th November 2005

On Becoming Feminine
That HORRID worry, that awful realisation, that I am so much like those petite, feminine, motherly, obsessed women…that part of femaleness that I so detest-that cranky fussy obsession that “I am such a good homemaker”
The obsession with people around, that frustration of not having actualised one’s potential, the uncertainty, and therefore the outward “I know everything-what’s right for everyone” attitude. JEEZ, I possess all these traits that I’ve detested in the “pushy mothers”.
God I’m scared I might just be that. …I must prevent such a CALAMITY from EVER striking me. Please make me a sensible, balanced, THICK-SKINNED practical, intelligent, sociable interested and interesting person. PLEASE GIVE ME THE SENSE NOT TO UNNECESSARILY SACRIFICE ANYTHING FOR OTHERS AND BELIEVE MYSELF TO BE HOLIER THAN THOU. I see the roots of those traits in me, Heck! I shall uproot them now itself- verroodu azhtthiduven! (written in Tamizh)☺

22nd November,
On Trust
Caring about others, feeling for others –showing genuine concern and empathy-it is not an easy thing. For being warm AND helpful a comfort one needs within oneself –that self assurance that sense of worth within one’s self which enables one to see things external-things including people- as worthwhile. Caring for one’s self enough so as to be able to care for others. Trusting one’s self enough to trust others. That is important. Can one impose trust? I guess it has to come from within you. Was that what Vanita teacher (in school) was speaking about all those years ago when I switched off my attention? Peutetre (perhaps). That self assurance that confidence coming out of trust –a true confidence ,not something put on-is what makes some people so magnetic-like Navika, Pratima, Anupa,Amma-they have that in them that basic security, its really cool!

8th December 2005
A Balanced Responsible Adult
Who would want to be a balanced responsible adult…it almost seems like a bad word to me. It seems great to be angry, sad, a depressed teenager, a traumatised child, a free child, a rebellious adolescent…anything but a balanced responsible adult. But I dunno, maybe even if it is boring I should try it out.
How boring! And it is not JUST boring…to be responsible is a bloody nuisance. Why should one be responsible? Why should one care? Why should one take the blame? Its crazy. Actually its anything but’s crazy only because it is so sane. But when I or anybody else (especially the later) tells me I ‘must’ do something I just WONT. Though I know I must be a responsible and balanced adult I probably wont. But that also means I probably will!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Travels, Self esteem and Imagination

October 23rd 2005
Holidays and travels (continued)
Early next morning we left for Thiruvidaimarudur (TDR) by car. We went through a lot of places.Poompuhar, Puducheri, Tranquebar, Karaikkal and ate some stuff at Muhtupillai’s bakery.
Thirumaichur –where an Iyengar women (known to a cousin) donated a “golusu” (anklets) to the Goddess Lalithambikai after a dream. When she was in the U S. the Goddess appeared in her dream saying she had everything but needed a golusu. When she actually made the anklets and came to Thirumaichur to offer it, she found there was actually a gap in the idol and she could put on the ornament.
Strange! Why did this Goddess choose a not so devout Vaishnava woman who hadn’t even heard of Thirumaichur ever before! Shiva’s wife chose a Vaishnava woman to extract jewels from-funny.
Anyways we went to one more temple and then to Pattiswaram to light a certain number of lamps and do an abishekam. We also did Annadaanam –Idly and chai daanam to the beggars outside.
In Poompuhar we actually saw the Cauvery with so much water. The museum and stuff was too good and it was great to be on a beach and collect shells.
The driver was called James. I kept thinking “James, coming bloody soon”! The impact of movies on aam person’s dimamkh!
(I am not sure which movie this refers to-LI)
We had dinner on the way and reached TDR by night fall.
Then two days in TDR…there was water in the river...bathed twice with Maami. She cooked all the meals everything right from tea and coffee. That was an AMAZING arrangement. AWESOME food.
(She hasn’t written any more about the trip LI)

October 27th 2005
On self esteem and imagination
That reminds me of my ASTONISHINGLY low score in self concept test in Psychology practical. I got 132 while 176 was the average for women and 179 for men. And guess what, I felt PROUD. I felt WORTHY. I felt like I had more quality. I dunno, it’s a weird thing, how one prides oneself in underestimating oneself. It feels great in a twisted way.

Yet I have the desire to write stories. But not the sustained interest to make one single coherent tale! Or the confidence or the self esteem.
Talking about imagination it, comes at weird times at the slightest provocation. was sitting on the veranda and enjoying the CRAZY wind … saw the purplish tinge behind the leaves and thought of the purple skies pouring rain and raging seas, the fisherman trying to save his life. The image just comes … it a simple thought grown complex as one writes it. I hope I get many more such images and I hope I get stories and write them.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Holidays and travel

23rd October 2005
Holidays and Travel
It’s great to write again. Was off for 15 days-Madras, TDR, Mysore and Bangalore. Was great. Came back on 20th… There’s loads of stuff to write about.
First Madras. On the train to Madras there was this really old couple and the man kept talking to (Muthu) Thatha. Then Thatha shocked him a little. He was all excited about speaking to Thatha and there was this fat fair lady on the waiting list who totally took advantage of the old man’s chivalry. His wife kept asking him to eat. So he screamed “No way...I’m not hungry” or an equivalent. And the fat fair lady said quickly (before he could change his mind) “Ok, I’ll eat it if it’s going waste” .Guy doesn’t know what to do .Says “Good, that’s a very good attitude”. “Yemi muhamattam lekonda thintarante chaala manchigundi” (written in Telugu) i.e. When people eat without any fuss it feels very good.
In Madras went to Balram Thatha’s house. (Her aunt Mathangi’s father’s house). B Thatha was real glad I returned his John Grisham and said I was the first person to return a book borrowed from him. He had an eye operation that evening.
Then we went to (thatha’s cousin) Thambu mama’s house. It was real nice meeting him after ALL THESE YEARS. He’s just the same. Moham Athai was really nice too.
Then on to Lakshmi mami’s. As we entered we saw Sumi Akka enter with a ‘ching chong’ girl. So I had the honour of meeting Kunya. So Lakshmi mami was like “Kunya, Sukanya, how nice!” This cute little girl is from Arunachal, a tribal, studying VIth standard in Kalakshetra on full scholarship. She has four sisters and a brother, speaks and understands Tamizh PERFECTLY and has an immense affinity for vambu and kurumbu (gossip and mischief). “Vambaaa…?” I’ll never forget that!
Loves Chandramukhi and imitates Jyothika’s huge eyed expression so well in her kutti (small) ching chong eyes. Speaks “proper Chennai Yenglish”. Has watched all the latest Tamil movies sings and dances beautifully, suffers from travel sickness and can’t go home for short holidays. Being a family friend of Vibhu’s she stays with them for short holidays.
Believe Sumi akka’s servant on first seeing Kunya came to Sumi and asked
“Amma, is it our Samyu?” (Samyu is Sumi’s daughter).
“Why do you ask?”
“No, I just wondered how she went there so dark and came back so fair!” (Karuppaa poi veluppaa vandidichey?) Boy, did we laugh, it was so funny…the idea that Rishi Valley could actually be one fairness camp where they’d paint children white and send them back home. Lots of aratti, pethal (silly chatter) and giggles that day.
Went to Kapali temple. The golu bommai (dolls for dasserah) stalls were truly awesome. I’ve never seem so many in one place.
(To be continued)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

on sisterhood

1st September 2005
I am not the ideal sister for Akku. Since she is going to leave in three days I try to be helpful and make up for it… It’s really sad that she is going to leave so soon. I know I’ll miss her. She is suddenly so sweet and nice and I think she is nice and SHE IS but I can’t take the nastiness-after the sweetness. If she were uniformly sweet or nasty or moderate my life would be so much simpler!
My life has always depended on Akku.-she has had such an influence on me for as long as I can remember that its going to be tough with her so far off. I feel this sense of loss this void...

8th September 2005
When Akku cried on the phone yesterday -she didn’t cry, cry but her voice faltered I tried to laugh her out of it. Amma felt so much when Akku left... Me, yes I did, but not so much as Amma.

12th September 2005
Akku left me so many material things…so much material gain but it only saddens me. I miss her badly. She’ll now be on her flight from Dubai to New York. Hope she is ok. Poor thing. Its14 hours, I really miss her.

18th September
It’ll be Sunday morning in Cincinnati.
The first morning Akku’ll wake up in her Cincinnati flat there! Cool! Tomorrow she’ll go to University. I really am glad.

28th October 2005
God! Amma is being awful to me…I dunno she’s just so bored of me and all...just because she is angry with Appa.
Yesterday I had this image of a girl whose parents had fought and loathed the sight of each other and consequently loathed the sight of the girl for she was a representative of the ‘other’ –each took refuge in their ‘porandahams’-their patents’ houses and this girl is left alone with no 'porandaham' to go to...homeless...for each parent loathed her, thinking her to represent the other. Actually it was just a small simple thought…an exaggeration of my probably impending (perhaps...actually NOT impending) state...just like the conversation this girl had with her mom as to where she’d go…and I thought for the girl. What would she do? Whom could she turn to? The mother would ask her to marry, but whom could she trust she’d lost faith in marriages watching parents’ “marital bliss”.
Were, just a bit of imagination…vague unconnected situations, probabilities, possibilities, events which never were people inexistent…they come once in a while. I think “Hey, that’d make a good story. Maybe I should develop that.” But I never write about these things. They’re lost forever...unwritten.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

more poems

Friday 26th August 2005
Finally finished “Sybil” … what can I say? It was wonderful, I feel I read it even when I thought of it in gaps I felt loads of things. I felt like Peggy Lou. I understood her and Vicky and ‘others’. It was a great book though I dunno about the psychoanalysis part…the emphasis was so truly the psychoanalytic perspective…narrow repression, anxiety, guilt, primal scene …but it did work in this case and it was true. It was great in spite of its American-ness-I mean the author, I didn’t like her. I don’t know why. But Sybil and the others, I felt like one of them –especially Peggy Lou (angry)!

More poems
(Undated in separate scarps of paper-the writing looks earlier than 2005)

Write write write
i must
i want to write
i wish to write
great poems, epics, great stories great songs
happy nice wonderful and long
for oh so long
was it all along?
I wanted to write
I do tonight
Perhaps one night I just might.

The stories of millions wiped out forever
The past, lost
Drowned buried deep
Never to be retrieved
Their lives once real
Once lived
Now so far away so pointless so meaningless
Like mine will be one day.
In a few years or months or minutes or seconds
This paper will be lost or crumpled
Or cut or lost
It’ll mingle with the earth
From whence it came
Just like I will
With my life
My story
Just like zillions of others
Lost forever.

Saturday, November 14, 2009


17th August 2005-
Nationalism and Language
(In Hindi ) Saw the movie “Mangal Pandey –The Rising” today. Kaaphi teekh taakh tha! Not wonderful and all but history reconstructed. I haven’t got inspired to write in Hindi seeing the film-it wasn’t that touching or anything. But of late I have been realising the need to use some of our own languages! Truth to tell, I’m not so crazy about all these foreign languages. English has become part of us and we can’t live without it. But why other foreign languages-French? Can hardly say this now just before my French exam…
(In Tamizh) I’m afraid Hindi is the only Indian language I can use to a certain extent. I cannot write what I wan to say even in my mother tongue, Tamizh…

Sensitivity to Others
(In English) My actual purpose of writing was different. Today there was beggar outside and I was sitting in the car and eating chips. Since a chip was readily available, I just showed it to him. He didn’t seem to mind and put forward his tin-he didn’t have palms-and I put it in. Just that ONE chip and I didn’t feel bad about it-it seemed the natural thing to do…. The beggar didn’t seem to mind either….I didn’t observe his face expression or even his face properly.

Immediately Akku said “Chee, How can you do that, Suku? That’s like insulting him.”
That time I did it WITHOUT feeling I was in the wrong. My first response was to argue –to say he didn’t mind. Only much later did it strike me that I didn’t even give the entire packet. I brushed it off my mind. I’m sure I can even now….but what about for him?
I lie here comfortably with two pillows and a full belly talking of my guilt-mild though it may be and soon I’d forget the beggar and the incident.
But what about him-out in the cold, the rain, and the urine drenched footpaths, with barely enough clothes, with no fingers, a rod and a bowl. What about him? How horrid it must be everyday to take little bits of money-50p or 1re from grudging people. And some idiotic bourgeoise kid sitting in a car and munching far more than she NEEDS to...a bloody selfish thoughtless kid had the audacity to him a chip. A CHIP and went off munching, munching, munching. It is unfair, so UNFAIR. I would have cursed her punished her if and only if she were not me. Save me from the consequences of my actions! Yes I feel bad, but so what? What will the beggar get?
And why did that autowallah thank me? I DO NOT DESRVE THANKS. Savaari karne ke liye he said when I asked him, kyaa hua jyaada paisa de diya kya…is it just customer service spreading to auto wallahs? Could he read my mind? Did I pay him extra? I don’t know and I don’t know if I ever shall. I have too much and yet I want more.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

nizami zamana

post 24, Wednesday July 27th 2005
Ha! It really makes me LAUGH to think of it all. Psychology Ma’am thinks I think a LOT TOO MUCH of myself.
There were 5 or 6 of us and she asked us to conduct an experiment on logical reasoning on ourselves. So anyways I got a pretty good score and all 57/60 or something since the experiment itself was pretty simple. So I looked up the manual and 55 was 95 percentile and the subject (i.e. person tested) was “intellectually superior”. So I found it quite a jolly thing to be. COOL! ME! Intellectually superior? IMPOSSIBLE!!! No One else got that score in my class, so Ma’am wasn’t overly pleased and had to say “Congratulations”, and give me a disapproving smile. BOY was it funny.
Then she told me to write the discussion and I made a weirdo attempt. So she told me how it was wrong and corrected it. That was pretty normal and she told me how to write a discussion properly.
The phone rang –and I hope it isn’t for me. Someone has picked it up and would have yelled for me if it was for me. Therefore I deduce it is not for me since I’m psychologically tested to be “intellectually superior” HA, HA, HA!
So, to continue, I was all happy especially since I knew she wasn’t too pleased and well, I couldn’t hide my glee. She had to put me in my place and she said “Maybe in this you are good, but you won’t have such a high score in say verbal ability”. This statement was basically to illustrate why I had to add the words “in logical reasoning”. DAMN FUNNY…

And she turned to ‘A’, her new found favourite and asked if he does SUDOKU.. I didn’t know that it was addressed to him, so I just said “Yeah, SUDOKU that’s fun, I used to do it for 2 or 3 weeks after it came but I stopped –got too monotonous. I like it. It’s easy,” or something to that effect since Amma and all consider me such a natural expert- Sukudoo does Sudoku! ‘A’ didnt seem to have heard of any such thing. She glares at me and I continue with my work.

So anyways it looks today’s the day for bitching about this Ma’am or something. Let me go on. A few days ago she was just making general conversation with three of us. ‘A’ her favourite, J and me. She asked us what we wanted to do in future. J declared he would do MA in child psychology. She said, “You can’ t do MA ,there’s only P G diploma in Child Psychology”. THE HUNBLE SELF “In Osmania University”. They both seemed to have understood that already.
Anyway ‘A’ s turn next. “I dunno” and my turn “I dunno”. She gives up on me and delivers along speech full of concern to ‘A’, “But you must know what you are interested in...What do you want to become?” ‘A’ says he is interested in films.
“Making or Acting?”
“Don’t want to do acting?”
She seems to think he’s highly handsome and would make a better actor. That’s just my deduction born out of my reasoning abilities. She tells him about some film school or something and turns to me…all interest in students lost by then…
“So when will you decide?”
“Soon enough Ma’am”
“Will you decide or your mother decide”
Boy, she’d touched the wound with a pointed needle! The ultimate insult…
Loud voiced me” “I will”, with an egoistic, narcissistic emphasis on the I.
And she goes on about something else… I just go on yeah yeahing and class terminates. End of episode.
She is probably right about my verbal ability thing. The emails I write to my friends are RIDICULOUSLY BORING, DRAB AND TOTALLY DEVOID OF HUMOUR –vitreous aqueous or any other kind.
And my (Alliance) French Ma’am tells me I have the potential to get a ‘tres bien’ or ‘bien’ in the diploma exam. It takes work to make potential kinetic.

Friday, October 30, 2009

international summer school pune july 2005

15th July 2005
It’s been two days since I came back from the international summer school, Pune. It was really really cool.
Actually I guess I’ll write later about it –the weather the food the sessions, the movies, the jokes, the people, the learning, and also about Bhaja caves. I guess I’ll write about all that sometime. Anyway my uncle and aunt (Mangal and Neena) came. It was real nice. Mangal mama gave me a digital camera –a really cool fundoo one. YES ME of all people….Must read up some of those handouts I so greedily got from the summer school from Jaya. It was really nice and yesterday when I was bored and all, I did miss it. It was always so packed –breakfast, theme workshops, voices, lunch, skill workshop, presentations movies dinner and some cultural stuff like Dandya, rock, open nite, where participants performed. That closed around 12 midnight and people sat and chatted in their common rooms all night. I used to escape the cultural stuff .sometimes I sat thru it for awhile and then Akku and I’d go off to sleep though Renu kept telling us to stay a while longer. I loved the library at the Mahindra college –and what a view from the ‘mountain’ as Akku and I called it. So NICE!

16th July 2005
Never, never should I lose my little people of Warli. Already my recollection of them is vague. This new found 400year old art tradition seems to have overpowered them. I CANT LET THIS HAPPEN TO THEM. For it’s really happening to me.
The thought of the future depresses me . It angers me, irritates me. Why cant I be a happy kid living in a jungle doing as I please? Why must I go to college, do a PG, do whatever else higher studies, get a job, get married, have children, become older ,work, work work, work, act mature, be social, ,like people, act, act, think so much, live live and go on with a routine grow old lose my job, relations, get bored, lose my health and die? WHY? I don’t want any of it!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

on birthday events

I have pulled out her notings on oct 21 her birthday whenever they were available. its become longer than usual -but o know that will be ok with the readers!

October 22nd 2001
Yesterday was my birthday. Amma came back yesterday morning. Akku and I made stuffed tomato yesterday-was good. We kept kolu yesterday- it was fun. Keerthi (amma’s friend Vara aunties daughter) and I made a park for the kolu the whole morning…and for my b-day lots of people called Pati, Thatha, Divya, Neha, Seva,Melody etc.

October 21st 2002
Have completed 16 years. Early in the morning amma woke me up with a happy b-day and Akku who was sleeping also wishes me. Then got ready for the tuition and Akku gave me this t-shirt on which she had painted : me sleeping, me brushing my teeth, me having a LARGE cup of tea, and there or for pictures of me lying down and reading a story book with Timetable written next to it.
Seva said she’d forgotten to get my gift and Suma acted like she forgot it was my birthday. Then surprise.Suma got me a bracelet and Seva a bracelet and a clip. Suma’d made this lovely greeting card so painstakingly.
During bio pracs we had to dissect a cockroach which was disgusting. Some people couldn’t believe I was just sixteen. They would be 18 soon!
Many phone calls-pati thatha from Dubai, mangal mama from Singapore, vidarshana, Aarti.
After Amma came we went tot eh Sarawati temple in the University. Was pleasant. We were the last people to go there . Nice .no crowd. Pleasant. Good we went there (and not Skandagiri)

(and I can’t resist adding this.. seems to have been triggered by 21st)October 24th 2002
Gosh! Guess what ? I have a fan club…called the Gowri Iyer fan club. Formed by Fareena, Jaideep and the great self. Fareena president, Jaideep vice president, and the great self chairperson-cum- object.
The whole thing was so dumb. Couple of days ago Fareena started calling me cute and all. It was weird and embarrassing coz I know that I’m as far away from being cute as anybody. Even yesterday when we were walking to art class, Fareena called me cute again and I said that people probably called others they found really dumb ‘cute’. Jaideep who was listening joined in and said I wasn’t dumb I was innocent. This stunned me. I still dunno why I was innocent. The conversation went on with everybody praising me (except Amina). At first I was too stunned to speak and then said “basically Gowri is a very nice person” and Jaideep added “who likes being praised”. We all more or less agreed on this –but Fareena went on to say how she’d form the fan club and J added he’d be VP … this was so strange and funny I wanted to write about it yesterday itself. But today there was more of it. Jaideep publicised the fact hat he was VP of Gowri Iyer Fan Club and Meghna and Tanya joined and they are now lady Tanya and Lady Meghna.!! Must be Fareena’s idea of a joke.

October 22nd 2003
Been waiting to write in you for a….ges! Hardly get a private moment. Bunked college because of rain. Most of the day I was lying upstairs and reading “In an antique land” –Akku gave it to me yesterday for my birthday.

October 20th 2004
Gosh! I hate this goddam fuss everyone is making about my bloody birthday. Everyone’s born. Everyone turns 18. Why don’t they at least fuss secretly….I HATE IT. Where is the element of surprise in the whole thing? Why so much whispering about the clothes and so much openness about the rest. It’s enervating.
In a day I’ll be an adult-hardworking enthusiastic and responsible –determining my own destiny and that of others-always in the right, intelligent, courteous, sociable, friendly, yet superior, and amazing in all respects with out any confusions or dilemmas whatsoever.
Or WILL I ? I dunno-I don’t think so.
This is my last day as an adolescent . guess I never had adolescence. I haven’t really rebelled or been a make up/shopping /disco freak. I haven’t had nay crushes or guys in life. So have I had adolescence? I don’t seem to have done what adolescents are supposed to do. But when I look at it I have changed. HPS changed me and so did Nizams….guess that’s it. When, I’m starting to try and turn adolescent, its time for me to become an adult. Frankly life is difficult.

October 23rd 2005 just mentions her birthday in passing. No details of it.

October 18th 2006
There’s this weirdo sense of elation. It’s pure joy. It’s diluting itself as I try to analyse it. It just feels so nice to be packing to go home. And there’s nothing like a good argument amicably settled. It gives me so much pleasure-like the one I had with Poo just now or the one I had with Judith this morning.

No entries around 21st October 2007!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


please see the website corrections suggestions for changes are welcome

Saturday, October 17, 2009


2ND June 2008
During my stay at Kothra and Kunda, I got to observe and internalize for the first time extreme forms of discrimination based on caste, religion and gender. I interacted with people who had internalized such forms of discrimination so completely that they thought it was the only way, that it was the right way (dharma) or they were resigned to it and thought it was destiny (karma).
I saw ‘tribal’ people who were staunch believers in and advocates of the hindu dharma, so much so that there were some who were actively involved in the activities of the VHP and were proud of having chased away a muslim family from their village. These believers in Hinduism, known as Bhagats, consider themselves superior to non-bhagats and do not eat or drink in non-bhagat households unless the ritually purify the water and give it to them in copper utensils. It brought to light the fact that casteism is practiced to a great extent in these supposedly ‘tribal’ villages. It destroyed my preconceived notions of ‘tribe’ as harmonious, integrated, egalitarian groups who shared a special relationship with nature.
Perhaps these ‘tribalisms’ are mere colonial constructs as Stuart Corbridge and other scholars suggest. Or perhaps these tribals have been so influenced by mainstream hindu ideology and ways of life, that they have lost much of their ‘tribalism’.
I also got to see man-animal relationships and adult-children relationships, that I didn’t expect. People in these villages did not attribute a very special place to forests, nature and animals as I had expected. They said the forests were too degraded and that they hardly got anything from the forests. The relationship with animals seemed more commercial (for their livelihoods) than emotional. Children were not fussed over and were left to their own devices, to take care of themselves. They also help in household work and other labour.
I learnt of the way in which people need to use a multiplicity of livelihoods in order to sustain themselves atleast to susbsist. I also learnt of the hard physical labour that is an inevitable part of their lives.
My experience in these villages was really amazing. I enjoyed the clean air, the tasty food made from garden fresh vegetables and the experience of sleeping under the stars.


‘The legend of Ramulamma’ (by Prof Vithal Rajan)is one of the best works I have ever read- possibly the best.
It is a work of pure brilliance about Ramulamma, an old Dalit dai (mid-wife) who has her own ingenious, quiet and subtle ways of dealing with the social realities of caste, untouchability, oppression and exploitation that so characterize rural India.
It brings out a refreshingly new way of looking at exploitation and oppression. It is neither the remedial perspective of a sympathetic, charitable outsider from above who believes in uplifting ‘harijans’ by providing them with a few facilities and civilizing (or cleaning) ‘them’ to render them touchable, or a radical, revolutionary ‘dalit’ perspective that believes in violently opposing and annihilating caste.
It is the perspective from below, where the person below does not see herself as down-trodden, but uses her intelligence and her wits to bring justice to her people in her own small, simple ways without making a show of it.
Besides being a brilliant read, capturing one’s attention and interest from cover to cover, it leaves one with a sense of hope, assuring one that situations are never hopeless and need not always be battled head on, but can be dealt with, with subtlety and finesse.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Saturday, October 10, 2009

post 13-art and aesthetics

Feb 08, 2005
I was really surprised to find that EVERYONE unknowingly liked my card the best. It felt good. Got my marks (very good marks) but some how felt no joy of glory.

July 02, 2005
In French
I’m not such a bad artist as I imagine.
Today I found some of my old pieces; scraps that I’d practiced before my class 12 exam. They are not too bad. I like my compositions which reflect what is typically on the road. It’s very realistic, but for some people who are much exaggerated-their idiosyncrasies and their appearances. I like them too.
But at that time…why did I consider my art so bad, so ugly? I do not know-- my marks perhaps. Also the attitude in that school? That my art was very different from others’, I never had the confidence to accept it.
No, some I loved. I liked my ideas, but the effects were never as I had imagined. It was never perfect and I found it difficult to accept such imperfection-the difference between my imagination and the output.
Perhaps it was also the great admiration I had for the other artists- those I considered better than me. No ‘perhaps’. It is certain.
I adored whatever Akku or Tanya drew. And I wished to paint or draw or shade exactly like at least one of them. But I could never do that. That's a pity. It was the end of art for me till my famous poster “La Terre Est Peu Belle, Si On N’utilise Pas La Poubelle”. And after that there was no longer any art in my life. It’s finished, over!

June 22 2005
There are so many things I need to write about! About the AIR meeting, about how repulsive I found the girls and the teachers from another college, with their fake foreign accents! How good I feel that I do not have a mother like A and am therefore not like him. About another friend’s talk in the bus about her family and the war with the rest of their clan-those petty politics –a different socio-economic class! The thought doesn’t escape me but I feel guilty that I’m discriminating-like a capitalist. Then the long conversation I had with S-does she have psychic powers? Do spiritualism and psychic powers exist-or is it all her imagination?

…have to write about the trip too. Aihole was simply MAARVELLOUS. The amazing staircase and the rooftop and the ceiling carving and the side seat in Lad Khan were too good. Badami was also really cool. Those life size beautiful statues and the Agasthya story and tank and cave. I liked Pttadakal stories about how it was called Rakthapuri. It was truly RED. I felt it in Aihole itself, but the redness of the stone seemed to reach its Zenith in Badami/Vatapi. The red mud the red rock reminded me of TARA in Gone with the Wind. Stupid comparison I know. But it did at that time. Silly Americans with so little history and barely any culture –how they have managed to influence us….I’ve lost my own language my thoughts and writings are in a foreign tongue which has overpowered my own. I am a helpless subject. Our heritage is brought down to a low level by such demeaning comparisons-if demeaning is the word I’m looking for. Anyways I know what I mean!

2001 (post it inside her diary back cover)
My first poem (complete lies)
I oft did try
to write poetry
and failure did I meet.
But gave not up my hope
I continue to grope
But I know that one day
I shall have a poem to say
& though this be a great feat I think it will only meet
To keep trying till I succeed
In this human world of greed.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

post 12- rain and self analysis!

25th January 2005

Its pouring like mad and there’s so much wind-water on my glasses. The trees are swaying as hell –and you should hear the noise and feel the wind to know what i mean. It’s beautiful and I love it. I love such weather when im at home. But there’s probably a cyclone somewhere to add to the Tsunamis power. Probably places are getting flooded and people are getting killed. But heck1 its nice here to say the least!....Somehow don’t feel like reading what others write today. Maybe I should write. But I’ll have to get rid of my evergreen lethargy… evergreen in many ways-it’s always present and it is accompanied with envy when others prosper…the rain has subsided .Everything is washed out and clean-but the leaves don’t look as lively as when they are actually getting washed.
It’s a strange fact how the amount of stiffness, the amount of ‘virtue’/ ‘narrow mindedness’ the amount of social propriety and self consciousness has decreased tremendously from my early childhood. In my early childhood these notions and values were extremely strong and powerful. I was always very shy and even frightened of strangers. I was always HIGHLY self conscious and was constantly worried about what who would think and whether what I did was, good or bad, right or wrong, which of my classmates were good and which ones bad and even what their religions castes and languages were at times. My tendency to want to be in everyone’s good book continues but to a lesser extent. And the focus has shifted –it is no longer Maami, Appa or Amma who all have similar notions of right and wrong-but people as in individuals. Right and wrong are no longer so clearly separated. I am considerably freer. But is this freedom also a pretence to maintain the impression of being a ‘child’ as children are believed to be ‘free’ in general. Happy souls with no responsibility.

Of course children have responsibilities. At least I did as a child. May be I have become much more desensitised and can therefore bear dislikes and criticism better and can therefore be more ‘myself’ and less self conscious and more ‘free’ ‘irresponsible’ and childlike... Which again suits me and the impression I want to make.

3 February 2005
I’ve very difficult to accept that I have a solid ego problem. The fact remains that I do and that I have almost as long as I remember. But somehow the feeling is strong I do not like to accept help and hence inferiority from others-especially those close to me –especially Amma. I am glad my friend pointed it out and brought it into the open. Though I know it was only from my side. Of course that made me angry hurt and depressed at the time and it is still HORRID. And it is not just that. It really troubles me how other people misinterpreted the basic idea (eco stall) and also about how they all take prominence. I was very jealous and I showed it. I showed how I wanted to be noticed and appreciated for coming up with such a brilliant idea rather than attempting to carry it out. I frankly don’t value other peoples conceptions .Why can’t I just accept them? Why should it be MY thing? Why can’t it be OUR thing? Because I want it to be MY thing! I want their help but not their contributions.

I have to deal with it. How do I change it? Heck! Why should I? I think that feeling with some people such as Amma is so strong it can’t be changed. It was deep rooted-may be it began with the 8th class math? Am I blaming her joining school for it? Was the very opposition to her joining school because of it? I do not know for how long it existed or when it first began. Was I born with an ego problem? Even so can I not rid myself of it? I must thank my friend tomorrow. She helped me recognise this consciously. When I want so much appreciation should I not give so much appreciation to others too. I must think about a different approach to the environment issue.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

post 11-Some Nuggets

Date not clear: 2006. Some nuggets
This week I am sharing two bits I found floating around from a writing pad!
As many of you know she loved the inversion of her name and that’s how she signed. She also loved playing on the sound of words spellings and Sudoku. In Tamizh ‘pethal’ means nonsense and Suku considered herself an ace pathologist along with all her cousins.

A piece of pethology
(Found on the back cover of a writing pad)
This book belongs to me. The ‘me’ being Gowri ≠ irwog, where Gowri is my name and irwog is far from the same. How far? The exact distance is currently a matter being discussed and disputed. However the displacement is 1/∞ the distance is zero. Hence though Gowri and irwog may be =, they may also be unequal and the probabilities and possibilities stretch on in never ending elasticity. So while Gowri could be irwog, it could also not be irwog. Also while I could be sane I could also be insane.
So if Gowri =irwog when Gowri ≠ irwog, they are fictitious and so do not exist at all. So if Gowri and irwog do not exist who am I? One thing is certain, I’m not Spider man.

And A Short Story- not titled.
Barunta Khalifa sat on the roof of the pump house that summer afternoon, her hands wrapped around her knees. She loved to sit there like that all day long on top of the pump house amidst paddy fields. Now and then someone or other would stop by for a chat asking her why she sat there or telling her that it was dangerous or sometimes telling her that snakes would slither up. She enjoyed these conversations and love3d the well meaning advice even if it sometimes did irritate her. In the evenings her cousins would come and the goofy dog Ramu would trail behind them and bark excitedly and try to jump on to the roof when he saw Barunta perched on it.

They would switch on the motor and make the preparation for irrigation and jump into the pool for their evening bath. They’d ask her to leave saying they were now grown men and cousin or not her presence embarrassed them. She insisted that the pump house was hers and she’d turn the other way and enjoy the beauty of the sunset which sometimes reflected off the watery paddy fields.
She sat there watching a little kingfisher trying to fish in the little pond right in front of her. The peace, the quiet, the harmony –how nice she felt sitting on the rooftop. She had no duties no obligations, no chores, no responsibilities, no daily plans. She didn’t have to do anything. She was free to do as she pleased with her time and nobody would ask her a thing. There was a freedom here she found nowhere else. She could fly she could just jump off the roof and into the pool anytime she pleased. The thought made her want to jump. She was soon happily swimming in the pool in blissful solitude.
Then somehow she had enough of it and she decided she’d go back home. She walked through the fields. Her clothes dried against her in the scorching heat. She quietly went into the guest room where her suitcase was and began packing. That was it! How long could she go on, escaping reality? She’d have to pack up and go back home to Mumbai that overcrowded city with apace of life faster than the speed of light.
They asked her why? No explanations, nothing! They asked her to stay awhile longer. To no avail. So well, they all walked her to the station. Ramu trailed behind as usual, trying to chew her skirts. A tear filled farewell. The train rolled in. She got in. Ramu jumped in after her barking goodbye to his family. Everyone was surprised. She tried carrying him and passing him over to Zaheer bhai. It was no use. The goofy dog had made up his goofy mind that he was going with her. Nobody could change that. Somehow she was glad that she couldn’t change that.
The train rolled out of the station. More tears, more goodbyes. She looked out of the window scratching Ramu’s ears for him. A passenger came. Ramu was at his sociable best. And tried to jump on to him and lick him a warm welcome. She had a tough time controlling the goofy brute who wanted to embrace every passer by. Soon the train filled up and everyone glare at her once in awhile to show that they disapproved of the canine presence. It wasn’t too tough to ignore them. That evening she saw the sun set from her train window. She thought of her cousins shouting, fighting, screaming, jumping bathing splashing-as they did every evening forgetting Ramu, forgetting her. Probably her absence would make them feel less embarrassed, though they had exhibited no signs of embarrassment except in words.

The next morning they were in Mumbai. She got the train with her suitcase in one hand and Ramu in the other, pushing her way through the crowd.
She’d have to go back to her empty haunted flat and begin job hunting once again. Why? Why this self inflicted torture? She wondered what was wrong with her! Why had she decided to comeback to this filthy crowded hurried cluttered life instead of living happily blissfully peacefully in the pure clean beautiful countryside? Why?
A yelp shook her out of her self obsession. Poor Ramu! He was having tough time taking in the scale of the place the crowds jostling everywhere, the smoke the pollution the buildings the automobiles and the noise. The poor dog needed comforting. She tried to comfort him as best as she could and soon managed to find them a taxi. They drove home. It was Ramu's first taxi ride.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

post 10- On Her Inner World

22nd April 2005
There are many entries reflecting her moods and feelings-leaving me acutely aware of how little I knew of her inner struggles even though I imagined we were close.
Actually it still feels bad that I’m actually an airhead. The very fact that I learnt the violin for so long and yet know so little about it shocks me. Well, yes, lack of interest. But is that a reason? Yes, but why did I lack interest? Why do I still have that same feeling towards so many things I do-like the movie? Why? Why do I feel blocked , forced ,compelled? I put the blame on my parents all these years saying THEY are compelling me to learn music, violin, dance. I had the same blocked feeling towards my studies- math then more than ever, art in the 12th class. Homescience, art –these things I’d chosen against my parents will. So I couldn’t blame them-but the irritation and the blocked feeling were less and the hatred was more. The movie, I felt that blocked feeling-I was driving myself into action. There was this COMPULSION to do something even if it is something I detest, which made me detest it all the more. Why did I compel myself to do it though I thought the script was crappy?

Why did I feel guilty when I first said ‘no’? Because I felt I had to become active and do things and not miss opportunities. But no! I think I’m better off doing only what I want to do really even if I’m inactive most of the time. That’d be ideal, but I should also find ways of breaking these self-imposed boundaries and unnecessary hatred. Somehow I understand my hatred for dance, even for music and the violin and even for home science. I understand very well that feeling that irritation that frustration which I even cannot explain which nobody who has not gone through it will understand. But how do I get over it? The fact is I don’t even want to. I don’t care.

I don’t even want to be good and responsible and happy. But I want to be happy and relaxed. I don’t want to hate so many things and feel miserable. It is not because I have to be happy but I want to be happy. Am I just trying to convince myself? I HATE THAT statement which says “if you don’t get what you like you’ll have to like what you get”. It’s very practical but I HATE IT. Why, why can’t everybody just do what they want to –in my case NOTHING. Why is there so much frustration and irritation? Why is there bad behaviour? OK forget it! I’ll just have to forget it.

Today I have to study emotions motivations and conflicts. Funny thing is I’m just going through it. I’m acting very emotional because of internal conflicts and I’m not feeling motivated to study.

I wish one day I’ll be able to feel universal love and experience happiness. Why do I not have the capacity to feel affection? Even for family? Its just that I want them to feel affection for me. I want everyone in the world to like me and admire me but I don’t want to give back any affection. All I give is hatred. I don’t know why or how I have so much hatred in me. It’s been there from childhood. It’s always easier to hate than to love. It’s so much easier to cry than laugh. Its so much easier to be angry hurt and depressed than to feel joyful and happy.

Never mind.
Once a wrong choice is made
And a wrong path is taken
It can never be undone
Never be retraced
It adds to experience
And is hardly ever forgotten
Let it cause anxiety
Let it cause frustration
But it cannot be repressed
It cannot be suppressed.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

post 9 -more reading and self imnprovemnt

May 10th Tuesday 2005
Yesterday I read this book called “La Petite Fadette”- obviously in easy French! Somehow the basic concept in that is very similar to “My Cousin Rachael”. It’s about twins who are extremely close. One falls in love with a girl when he goes away from home (?) and later the other falls in love with the same girl of whom he was jealous.
Of course the way this is dealt with is totally different from “My cousin Rachael” where it is all from Philip Ashley’s point of view. It’s all in P’s mind.
Here it is more a narrative with no death or mystery. One brother ends up as a soldier and his parents guess he will never marry anyone else.
Both the books are nice and really different but kind of similar in some weird way.

May 21st Saturday 2005
Alphonse Daudet has a unique writing style, very original and interesting. I adore this writing style –Daniel Eysette (?) refers to himself as ‘the little thing’ and speaks of himself in the third person. I just loved this. Perhaps all the French authors write just as beautifully. I don’t really know because I’ve merely read some ‘easy French’ and a novel ‘Cesar” by someone whose name I now forget. That wasn’t so good though. I have other things to do besides talking to you about French stories. Pushpa isn’t here and I should attend to some household duties.

May 25th Wednesday 2008
I have to better myself. I have to study well now –learn as much as I can about as many things as I can with interest and enthusiasm from as many sources as possible. Get rid of unwanted and unreasonable egotism and try to learn genuinely and remember things. It is the only way. Maybe I SHOULD try to become a journalist now-now that I have holidays MAYBE I should try and write editorials and stuff. But before that I should start following up on current event understanding them thoroughly and ten try editorials. Ten I should type Janet bond and proceed with it. Anyways lotsa stuff to do so that one day I’ll earn enough to support myself and worth it... anyway don’t ask me worth what? I guess worth my life, myself, survival, this life. Worth my potential and then perhaps I’ll be truly happy. Dunno. Perhaps.

June 09th Thursday
We met his really interesting communist leader today. P P C joshi. Simplicity thy name is P P C Joshi! He is such a nice simple sweet unassuming person. So well read and knowledgeable with not a trace of egotism =except the inevitable- not unnecessarily is what I mean. He is like the TRUE COMMUNIST and today at dinner I said I wanna be like him and that he is my role model. So Akku goes-“How can he be your role model. You can never be like him. You wan too many things.” That’s how she is with me. Incisive. But the more cuts you get once they heal less likely you are to get hurt. I dunno if that is true or you just become mushier with blood oozing out and susceptible to more and deeper cuts without sufficient stimulus. I really don’t know but id it prefer to be the first. Guess it really depends on the material being cut. I’d like to be made of tough stuff just like Janet bond.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

post 8-on friends gals n guys

March 21 2005
I have loads of French homework which I MUST finish by tomorrow NO MATTER WHAT. Also I’m confused about tomorrow. If my friend A calls I’ll ask her to come along. But my other friend K doesn’t want to do combined studies with A. This is another bloody irritating factor. To start with I have such few friends… I wonder why they can’t just get along and simplify my life? That would be so great. But just the fact that no two friends of mine get along at the beginning unless they knew each other before they knew me is pretty surprising. This got me wondering as to how I form friendships. It seems to me that that until recently I never proactively initiated the formation of a friendship. It’s usually when the other person is nice to me that I am nice to them. Si simple! E.g. D and N in 8th std didn’t get along one bit. Then D and L. Then at HPS –S and Aa,T, M didn’t get along at first. S and T didn’t get along. S and R didn’t get along. I dunno if S got along with N or not. Before that P and A didn’t get along. And T and R didn’t get along and T and J still don’t get along.
It is pretty strange. I think except for one friend who being so sociable, seems to have no problems with anyone, all my friends seem to have problems with my other friends !

April 4th 2005
I really admire this friend of mine for her honesty. Gosh! She says her whole theory of self is based on her height. Can physical appearance totally determine what one feels about oneself? …she says it does to her. That’s pretty alien to me though. True I like some people because they look nice or not so nice. But that is definitely not the only reason. Some people look ugly to me when I don’t like them and nice to me when I begin to like them. This happened with two friends. But I’ve never experienced it the other way around.

Jan 11th 2005
Don’t know why but I’ve always had this tendency to distance myself from and to repel all those guys whom I’ve suspected of having the faintest possibility of having ac rush on me and all those guys who have tried to approach me or even be nice to me. Though one part of me wants to be liked and appreciated and admired the other more dominant part fells embarrassed and uncomfortable and wants to escape.
Why? I think it is fear? Fear of what? My family –what they’d think and feel about it and society? Only that? I think it is more intrinsic. Is it the fear of being revealed? Is it because of the risk involved or is it the fear of failure or maybe even others’ jealousy if it works? But somehow I find all the guys who like me repulsive. Pathetic. It’s pretty sad because they are quite okay until I think they like me. Yes I do want to be ‘normal’ on one side and have crushes and flirt and stuff. But somehow I don’t want to. Why should I? I guess I don’t want to be nice to guys who like me because I don’t trust myself. Maybe I’d get too attached and I’m too young for all that kinda crap. Maybe then I wouldn’t even make a career. I’m just as shallow and dumb as some other girls. Only I’m far more secretive about it. I don’t have the guts they have. I couldn’t say boo to a goose. I don’t have gumption in me. I think THAT is my basic problem. COURAGE.-you are what I need most. Please courage visit me sometime. I wish I were brave and courageous. Seriously. Gods make me brave.

April 3rd 2005
One friend really tried hard to make me fall in love with someone or other. Boy was it funny. She used to look out for all kinds of guys in that Mood Indigo trip so that they could be my bakras. She used to keep saying I was nice looking in spite of everything and I used to try to hide my embarrassment by saying ‘natural clown’ and laugh it off. Of course she was lying but I like to believe I was pretty looking and I’d like to believe loads of guys thought I was pretty looking (like she said so many times) but I do know the truth and accept it. I mean if every female were pretty and had loads of admirers there wouldn’t be any balance on earth. I know that among my friends one is the prettiest another is the hottest and most mature and I am the clumsiest. But it doesn’t matter and I really like myself. She must have really felt sorry for me and said all those things. But why so innocently-may is she was afraid I’d end up like that Lalitha Iyer friend of her mothers-not my mother of course- but another LI who didn’t marry and stuff. That’s what she told me-long back anyways!

Friday, August 28, 2009

more on pasra

28th June 2005 (continued)
Well I didn’t write yet about the place we stayed in, Pasra. The continuous rain drops, sleeping on the veranda, the orchestra snoring from inside, the roofless toilet where you get drenched because of the rain. The movie we saw “bunny’. How funny it was (so I kept saying Bunny is funny). About Sashi-how I became his fan and ardent admirer. How I intend to call him to college to speak about something or other –at least fro his balanced way of thought and speech.
Didn’t say a bout the jungle stream Padma Akku Madhu and I walked on-about the WONDERFUL tailor bird nest I found ,about the “birabbutti” (?) I found. About the root hanging-a broken branch just hung from a root naturally. About the rocks the little bit of water the mud the paw prints. It really was really great and the weather. How nice it was! All in all I’m really truly glad I went and didn’t chicken out because of this silly feeling of inferiority and insecurity.
And you know? I believe there was no French class on Saturday. So it was all gain and no loss, touch wood.
Must go to Thinksoft tomorrow also. Actually it is a great place to work in. I hope I become good enough to work there even though Amma works there. I guess I wouldn’t mind working there in spite of Amma being there and the perceived terrors of working in the same place –like in Vidyaranya where I was but a child.
I still am like a little thing. But when am I going to write those novels and those poems? If I can’t write them when I am young and free it would never be possible to write them, never. I should make good use of my free time, indeed it is an absolutely must! (This paragraph is in French)

28th June 2005
(This seems to be a narrative inspired by her trip and the many memorials we saw for ML activists killed in encounters)
Hiding behind the bush he sat. Sweat ran, gushed poured out of his back. They could spot him any moment. And no! They wouldn’t care a damn. Bang Bang! And that would be the end. Death.
Breathing unsteadily he peeped out. How many more like him were hiding behind rocks and bushes and trees trying to save themselves and shoot their enemies? People of the same land –fighting for justice and for righteousness-at least in their own eyes.
Well, he was probably shot and a structure –a red painted ‘stupa’ shaped differently erected in his memory –his epitaph destroyed by his enemies the police. Even his name had to be wiped out. Yet the people idolised him. Shaheed –dead for a cause. And nature forgot these killings, this violence-retained her tranquil beauty. The hills, the bushes, the fields-all back to their original hues- year after year. The people came, they came, they fought, they died, they went, they, rotted. But tranquil beauty remained. True, sometimes it was gorily splashed with flesh and blood and burnt. But the rain cleaned up the mess and nature took over once again and basked in the sun and bathed in the rain and shivered in winter and ignored all the pain. Inflicted unnatural pain. –oh the misguided human brain- “durmargullara”

Saturday, August 22, 2009

trip to pasara,kamaram

27th June 2005

It’ll be impossible to describe the full beauty and wonder of this trip to Warangal District-Pasara, Kamaram and Tadavai-at least in one go. So many of these trips I go to I enjoy thoroughly at the moment and then slowly over the years the details diminish. Everything fades away and the wonder and the beauty is lost.

The beauty of the ancient monuments is one thing –something which fades away faster – a pleasure not FULLY experienced by one like me but rather forced onto one self. But nature-living nature-the forest, the stream, the mountain, the animal, the village, the language-the pleasure comes naturally. Barely forced. True you do find it great, the beautiful temples, and the great sculpture- the lovely temples like the temple near Ramappa lake.

Anyways this trip lasted three days. We (= Nisha, Padma, Madhurima, Sashi, Akku, Amma and me) left on Saturday morning about 8 am or so from Secunderabad station on the Telengana Express. We then went to this NGOs office and then went to the 1000 pillared temple. It was really cool, 12th century A. D and it was a bit like the Hoysala architecture, the platform and all. There was a dancing floor in between made of darker stone, BEAUTIFUL.

The pillars in the Mandapam were really cool. There were MANY, MANY pillars but we didn’t think there’d be 1000. Thatha says its 1000 including the kutty pillars sculpted on the. As usual later invaders (Islamic) have destroyed many of the carvings and sculptures and stuff and have destroyed the beautiful Nandi’s head and tail.

Then we had lunch and went to Ramappa temple. Wow we drove and drove and we drove. We’ve reached. Off the car. Enter a compound, beautiful garden (sparse) on either side of along walk, leading to a reddish brown temple. Oh what a brown! Not quite the Pattadakal red. But a different brownish red. The carving was beautiful – different stones black have been used inside. Again the central dancing circle, intricately carved pillars and doorways asanas on the side. The whole temple seemed shaken with fallen pillars –seismic activity. Beautiful nonetheless….

After that we reached Pasara-where we stayed the next two nights.

29th June Tuesday 2005

How does one learn to balance the overall whole with the detail? The tiny little details that bring life and magic with them. I must learn to give a story briefly without concentrating on every goddam detail and hence wasting time. I must learn to make an overall basic design of the whole and THEN fill in the details. Magic before life is of no use. The necessities ought to be FOLLOWED by wonder. True I wan the wonder but what use is it without limbs, bones, blood, kidneys, livers, hearts, brains, nerves, veins, arteries, flesh?

So on the second day what happened? Every detail wasn’t important. Only the most wonderful need be mentioned.

Well we went to Kamaram the Koya village. A BEAUTIFUL village. We kept asking the women from various SHGs to describe their village. An old lady very bright and sprightly said it would be better to just go see the village. So we did…

We walked across the main street to a tank which was a spring and got water from another lake. It was green barely any water and full of leaves and plants like lotus and stuff. Then we waked past fields and fields and fields a stream and finally a check dam. Real nice has bund made of stone sediments which show different colours-pink purple yellow TRULY BEAUTIFUL. Looked like an art piece, a mural or something.

Beautiful houses –don’t know if I described them.

Spacious, clay walls, with wooden rods within. Roof made of thatch . large specious compounds, a separate cooking hut, 2-3 hens, some cattle, and most often a dog. Electricity cable TV a serene atmosphere. Place to grow vegetables and some other plants within ones compound, two or three acres of land to grow rice on, the forest 2-3 kms away –where the cattle graze, where the fires blaze –every summer they set it on fire. Secretly, so the Beedi leaf plants give off new leaves when the rains begin which they collect and sell. Lovely Kayatthu kattil (cots made of rope) can sleep on them in the compound.

Local school, anganwadi. Barber carpenter dhobi Kirana shop (REALLY SMALL) available locally. Health workers and vet visit regularly…superior people the Raasa Koyas.

(will be continued )

Saturday, August 15, 2009

everyday events

when i read what she says about the ordinary events of her day i realise how she lived each moment fully...
i notice the increase in followers and am encouraged by it. keep following and do add comments!
March 28th 2005
(Written in French-translated by me)
It is an absolutely maddening day. There was an exam but many other things to annoy me. In the morning in the ladies room a lizard fell on me. I first thought it was a wire or some such thing. I was scared when it was a big lizard. There’s a belief that this is bad luck. Perhaps that true because it was an irritating day. Full of foolishness. I gave Vinay Rs 50 for the reunion which I am not going to help with. Then it was the exam –during the exam I dropped my Style Parker pen which I adore and the nib broke. And after the exam I was sitting with the others and I felt alone. It was as if they were all part of a group I could not enter. And to get back here (home) I did not have enough money to take an auto and I had to come by bus. Then there was leakage in the gas tube. Grrrrrr…

March 31st 2005
Communities sharing a common territory often influence each other in so many ways without even realising it. Hyderabad is a PERFECT example of this. Just a few minutes ago I heard this Muslim neighbour of mine describing somebody said. “tho me bola ayyo”. “ayyo” is a very south Indian expression in Tamil Telugu and I don’t know what other languages. Ayyo is supposed to be Yuma’s wife’s name. So it is rather funny that a Muslim teenager expresses regret shock etc by calling out the name of the wife of the Hindu god of death. In the same way me Tamilian in Hyderabad find myself saying Kaiko and nakko and the like ever so often and thinking them even oftener. Jalal has to call me Gowri Amma with the ‘ow’ pronounced properly unlike all those north Indian belles who call be gauri. Gori vs gowri –that’s the difference.
I was just saying that even though Hindus and Muslims are supposed to be all antagonistic and sometimes some of the ones led more easily by politicians tend to hate each other, they are rather friendly and influence each other in many ways. To start with –of course- YEARS or CENTURIES after the Muslim invasion they were pretty friendly especially when they knew each other. The British did the kirikiri bit and induced hatred. The common Pakistani Janata they don’t hate us like we hate them. They love India Bollywood and the Indians and have a lot of curiosity about us. At least that is what recent newspaper articles reveal.

March 23rd 2005
It was nice helping out Gita auntie’s mom in French. I hope and pray she does well in her exam tomorrow. I really want her to pass and not only for myself. She’s very sweet
Yesterday she gave me loads of dry fruits, today she gave me whatever I forgot yesterday and chocolates and a bottle of a parfum. When I asked her why she, she says Gita aunty got them for me and I should contact her for further details.
She’s quite chatty and a sociable person. I wonder why she lives alone though. I am sure Gita aunty would take lovely care of her. Maybe she likes to be independent? Maybe she likes this particular flat? Don’t know and it is none of my business. But she doesn’t seem lonely or unhappy or anything.
She’s a really simple person and I admire the way she accepts facts. She's cute and in some ways even like Vanaja pati. When I was there today her other daughter (Kamini) called and she told her how I was teaching so well and all. Boy, did I feel great! She told her I was gentle and nice just like Gautam. But of course she has to say these nice things about me when I was sitting right next to her, even if she thought me a bloody pain in the ass.
She always makes these ‘just like’ comparisons. She keeps saying how Sneha is just like Kamini and stuff and she asked Sneha the other day why she didn’t bring her mummy along for the evening programme .Cute!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

on what she was reading

Suku read widely -slowly and carefully savouring each word if she liked the work. She would distinguish very clearly between good and poor writing quite early in her life. and her views were her own....

14th Jan 2005
On “Sophie’s world”
Just finished Sophie’s World. Somehow it’s kinda disappointing in that it now seems totally uncharismatic. Yes! It is an amazing work- a novel on the history of philosophy. Its ideas-contents are SOLID but its total emotional emphasis ,ethos becomes slowly devoid of charm. May be I expected too much because of so many people swearing by it. Akku, Tejaswini, Tanya…I don’t know so many people.
And not only that. When I read the beginning part when it was taboo –boy it was amazing- about Sophie and all her pets and her hideout and her letters and stuff. And the philosophy stuff was real good though I can’t remember who said what. Besides I don’t think that’s necessary. But weirdest end ..where was the mystery? It was just talk of it. What did Tejaswini find amazing in the last chapter? Beats me! And seriously!
The idea is good. Being a part of a book. Then coming out and role reversal with the author. It is an amazing idea. But the way it is written is not in the least bit appealing. Maybe I’m stuck in the aesthetic stage. But heck! Who cares? It was really a great work. it has taught me quite a few ideas. But I dint like the way Alberto dismissed some ideas-just like that and it seemed almost American in its stupidity at that point. But being Norwegian it did 3000 years of justice to western philosophy with some mentions of ‘orient’-like ‘asura’ meaning ‘god’. Which they got totally wrong-actually not quite so wrong. Maybe they were actually of the same level as ‘devas’ Dunno.
I thought wrong about how my masterpiece should be in the Sophie’s world genre. It should be better. I should be able to sustain interest and wonder. Sustainability seems to be the key issue in my life and I don think any amount of planning can achieve a thing. It just has to happen, that’s it!

Jan 17th
Been reading this book called ‘the dangling man’ by Saul somebody. It’s really REALLY nice. I never expected our college library to have such AMAZING books. It’s too good and that a guy could actually be me. It surprises me how every main character in every book I read is at least to a certain extent in certain aspects like me. That just shows how all human beings are so similar. It just shows how we are all so connected and how we are all from the same stardust. It’s pretty amazing.

28th April 2005
I wonder how Daphne Du Maurier wrote. I mean did she start at the start of a book and spontaneously come out with such wonderfully well woven tales-so connected and yet so natural and real. Just out with it or did she get a basic idea and then put parts together add a line here or delete another there-HOW? Did she just add the first part after she’d said the whole tale so that it’d seem coherent or did she start with it and try to reach it again?
Just finished reading “My Cousin Rachael”. What do I say? It is a beautiful book-she really is amazing at taking you into a mood delving into her character’s emotions. You really connect to them and they seem so real. One would have to be really imaginative to do that. When we get transported tot hat world when we read it so casually she must have literally felt part of them. I don’t have that kind of imagination. I can’t go too far from what I believe to be the facts and though at times I feel a kind of regret at my lack of imagination I’m quite glad about it on the whole. I don’t even have Philip Ashley’s or Mary Yellan or the girl in Rebecca’s or the woman in Frenchman’s Creek imagination. I cannot imagine so much from nothing. I don’t have that poetry.
But what I love most about her works are the way most of them begin in such a mysterious way and end with the mystery more or less sorted out but with a trace of confusion or enigma about them all the same.(I haven’t seen it in Jamaica Inn and the Flight of the Falcon moved me too much to notice it). Though they are complete they are not altogether clear. And they
are disturbing and quite emotionally moving. She has an amazing understanding of people and in each book one tends to connect with the narrator. Another reason I liked it. I always liked first person narratives. But I couldn’t connect with Philip Ashley-he irritated me too much. I couldn’t understand his love for Rachel –how he could tear Ambrose’s letters –how he could trust her so when she was robbing and poisoning him. It irritated me. I was glad he didn’t warn her and she died but in the end there was no proof. May be she was good. Maybe he was the ass acting foolishly and he was dead. What proof that she was poisoning him? So I shared his guilt though he hadn’t really murdered her. Again I liked connection-so unconnected at eh beginning. Her style of writing is simply amazing. ok I’m off to have a siesta.

Friday, July 31, 2009

on animals

All of us who knew Gowri Sukanya remember her paasion about animals- here is just a sample of what they meant for her. samller print in brackets indicates that it is an insertion or correction I'm making or suggesting.

January 19th 2005
I was writing all this (about her boredom and loneliness) when Maami, our cook, was about to take leave. I offered to drop her home because it was dark and cold. On the way we saw Subramani (or some such name), Maami’s dog sitting outside someone’s house. After I dropped Maami he was wagging his tail because he recognised me. So I stopped and konjified (petted) him. Now I feel so much better. The amount of affection dogs can give and the amount of affection you can give dogs (or cats or other animals ) is truly, breathtakingly, amazing. Gosh! Animals especially those which are not human are truly amazing.

23rd January 2005
I got real pissed off and shut myself up and sat alone crying. Then I made myself think about how I’d woken up a sleeping stray dog this afternoon (which was sleeping near the steps where anyone could step on it ) and made it go away so it would be safe and how many people I’d impressed by doing this .Then I felt considerably better and came out.

February 26th
Yesterday I behaved HORRIBLY in French class. I showed off so much I tried to dominate the class screamed ,SCERAMED ,SCREAMED,SCREAMED. It was a debate. But that is still no justification. Madhavi ma’m tried to induce (provoke?) me. But that is still NO JUSTIFICATION. To all those newcomers I must seem so OBNOXIOUS, such a SHOWOFF , SUCH A FIGHTER COCK. But somehow I had fun!
I felt proud of myself. Only when I realised I can no longer be the ‘baby of the class’, ‘the innocent one’, ‘the cute one’ did I feel bad. Because there are so many advantages in that . You’re forgiven. You’re not taken seriously, you’re just cute, a joke. That’s more convenient. It’s ok no matter what you do. It’s safe. That’s what I miss. Also I’m not sure that I want to be taken seriously. It’s such a responsibility.
But she couldn’t say “Animals can’t think” and get away with it COULD SHE?

Feb 28th (this was written in French)
In the last French class there was a debate in class on the theme “ should we adopt animals”. Madame Madhavi was absolutely against the theme and tried to force her ideas. She said that animals are not intelligent and that human beings are superior to animals. She said that because of certain fools who buried their animals there was no space to bury the humans somewhere in the west. She also said that there were certain people who usually insisted that we say “he” or “she” and not “it” with reference to animals.
Obviously I didn’t stay quiet. I spoke a lot –perhaps too much and it became more or less a debate between Madame Madhavi and me. Finally she had head ache. I argued that what humans do and what they say that’s not the truth. The truth is clearly visible in the face and in the actions of animals. I was quite proud of my words because I spoke quite fast and with emotion in my voice. And it was quite something that some people in the class clapped.
And when she declared that animals are needed only for those with handicaps I declared that everybody is handicapped in some way. She couldn’t respond.
Akku said that it was foolish contest, but I enjoyed it thoroughly. When Madame said that animals were not intelligent I explained how Rumpy (her old pet dog) understood what we said in Tamizh. When she declared that he had understood only because of the constant repetition, I retorted that human babies learn in the same way. Just felt rather proud of this, though it is also kind of embarrassing.

Saturday, July 25, 2009


time flies -the week went past and its already time for the next post-here are things she said about her early school days and sbsc- i'm encouraged by the various messages welcoming the first post. wonder if some of her sbsc friends are in the loop. if any of u can get in touch with dona etc it would be good!

25th January 2005
I need to pee but I don’t feel like getting up. The same lethargy the same lassitude –at least tis not out of fear like in the old days. I actually told Navika, Nihal, and Tejaswini (friends at college)about my early susu-in –the –class days in transition (UKG) and about how my fear of Das teacher actually heightened because of her kindness and her attempt to talk to me in tamil –which wasn’t brahmana tamizh which I was therefore more frightened of. So Navika was like “you did have early childhood trauma” and I laughed it off like a joke and it was funny. But now as I write it strikes me not for the first time but for the first time I this context that I did INDEED have quite a bit of childhood trauma-not unduly excessive-but adequate to have an effect on me. I’ve never been a totally happy child as long as I can remember. I’ve always had a lot of fear –of people –especially strangers –and many other kinds of things.
The question is “why?” there is no obvious reason. Could it be that it is in the nature or the genes for people to feel fear?
I always had certain fixed social values and norms as long as we lived in this house when maami was alive. Because I think it was her ideas about good and bad right and wrong which I first acquired and these were very strongly imprinted in my mind in spite of outside interactions. Appa’s ideas and maami’s were of the same kind so my earliest ideas of good and bad were extremely strong. Then in the campus I actually got to know like and accept so many non Tamil Iyer friends-Bengali (Dona) Telugu (Madhu, Sumi, Deepi the lot…). So many of these ideas got weakened in the name of ‘narrow mindedness’.

5th May 2005
Campus was really an amazing thing. You could say it was the best thing that happened to me though that sounds awfully typically gooey and mushy. For the first time I made friends, I played, I shared ideas – and people were actually willing to try them out. I was less self conscious and was COMPLETELY happy about the games we played the friends I made and the fun we had.
Our little secrets and bizarre games…chappal game, care game, escape bridge, walking barefoot in the fountain and splashing around, sitting on the wall and watching kakatiya hotel’s swimming pool, throwing my chappals in there, climbing rocks, playing fighting going home late…those were happy days.
True there were times when things weren’t all hunky dory –like music classes, fights, emotions. But I belonged. I was comfortable and had no odd shyness that blocked speech itself. True I did feel shy at first. I thought they were all very fancy children, snooty, didn’t like me etc. But later I was the eldest, they called me leader, fastest girl runner and stuff like that…when I was the slowest runner in school.
Guess what I liked best about the games in the campus was their informality, laissez –faire nature. Strange though it seems even to me I was able to create games that appealed to my heart and people were willing to play them. Guess that is the advantage of being the eldest.
Guess no one remembers these things any longer…
Chappal game so appealed to me-it still does. It makes me laugh to think of how we used to kick up our feet and throw away our slippers high and far. I don’t remember the details now but we had to kick them off really far and who ever did would win or something like that.

Giving Supriya a feather and wrapping it fundoo fashion and calling it “valmikis pen” –that appeals to me…
Prehistoric cave paintings and my black Hoopya shirt full of fabric paint, and our secret which became not so secret…
Reading “Georges Marvellous Medicine” and making grey paint with Sumi…
Some of these things seem so fantastically unreal to me now, as though there was another fuller me living life up to her hearts desire.
Does this happen to everyone? Does everyone have to sacrifice and their real pleasures to become adults?
Why? Why have the naked apes created such a situation for themselves? I still can’t get over it. Why can’t I go back in time and space? Even then, things would have changed and change will have to be accepted sooner or later. Memories are one thing and real life is another!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

babu/baby rao, crackodile ...

Will I be a Writer?

20th January 2005
I haven’t written a single thing after the Janet Bond thing in May 2004. How the heck do I consider myself likely to ever transform into an author of a book. Maybe I should work on the Janet Bond thing. It may not be that bad. But it wouldn’t be a masterpiece. It will be just another book rotting on library shelves leafed through by an unemployed person for some timepass, time waste though it may be. But what do I want? Do I want immortality or happiness in this life of mine/ do I want to make a mark or just live a satisfied life? Not very strange that I want both! AND WHO WOULDN’T? OK I’m being overly ambitious. Yes! I do want to make a MARK. I want to become a GREAT writer unlike anybody before or after me. When I’m dead I want to be remembered. But isn’t it true that great people the immortal ones suffer immensely when they are alive often go mad or wind up in suicide and more often than not know not of their greatness or rather fame? Do I want such fame? At what price? I don’t want suffering. Or is all this suffering just a cliché built on to satisfy unfulfilled ambitions like the fox’s ‘these grapes are sour’. peut etre-perhaps. But what about all my ideas on equality? Aren’t they contrary to this concept of greatness –would it not be infinitely better to accept my own insignificance and that of all others? I guess so. But that would take time. But time doesn’t exist. But to me it does and very much so.

8th April 2005
I want to be a writer. Of course there’s no use just wanting. I must start writing, doing something about it. I like some of the stuff I’ve written in certain moods but think they are pretty pathetic in other times. None of them reach the perfection I long for. My puptipoo poem and the one on people in a hurry are pretty nice. Ballad of the goodly frère now seems stupid and juvenile –at least its continuation does. Just as a joke against the original it is good, but on its own it is crap. Now it has lost its charm.
Somehow when I think of writing I think of the stuff I’ve already written. Now I feel I can never really be a novelist or even a short story writer because I can’t make interesting stories. But I do think I should continue Janet Bond. I could make it into a farce. But when I think of it like that –as a duty it doesn’t come out well. It is evident that its an effort when you try too hard to make it funny it just becomes sad coz the humour is so bad. Maybe I should just give up on stories and try poems. At least rhymes. I have a strange thing with rhyming words and their rhythm and I guess it won’t be too bad. But the fact is I don’t want to be a poet-its too highly vague -but a writer. Writers though crazy are accredited with a little more sense and it’s tougher to be a writer. Rhymes and limericks are much simpler. Maybe I write a story in one go the effort wont seem so evident. But that means I must spend time on it and people will know of it. Then what will happen to my little secret? But can you be a writer secretly? I’d like to try it out secretly and then slowly show it to Amma and some friends and thatha and then appa should know. But he’d boast and that would make me feel disgusted at my own self. But its ok maybe it won’t be too bad.

After I wrote all this in the morning I was having my food. I was just wondering why nobody wrote ‘hate’ poetry and why all of them wrote only ‘love’ poetry. So I came up with something like this

Tall dark and handsome
He thinks himself
But like a hunched ape
does he walk
And in spurts of wild noise
does he talk
thinking himself throughout
to be great.
What pride what vanity what arrogance
does he possess?
And how so?
For his talents are few
But his belief in himself
Confidence born out of a lack of sense!
All and some
d’come and agree
that he should be put in a shelf
and wound up in tape.

Actually what I came up with then was much better. I just forgot it. So I made this up, but it’s ok.

1st May 2005
Long back, got an idea for a Janet Bond book
Right shoes are stolen –MANY, not just the Governor’s diamond studded one by a group of aliens? Weirdoes? Why? Their idea of working for Human rights! Human rights forum/ Martian rights forum? Get in some profundity. Spoof-on what? Well anything at all!

Instead of the maid act and all let’s just make her call back John Hicks and insist on getting adequate info from the HQ and get equipped enough. Goes as a psychoanalyst to the governor’s house? How? Maybe like a street vendor psychoanalyst? So wears grey glasses and greys her hair a tiny bit… that in itself would be a bit weird. So any ways finds out about governor’s childhood trauma and fears. Unconscious desire to be always in the right?
Could he have stolen his own shoe? Where was he when the shoe got lost? Latitude and longitude? Could the dog have stolen his shoes? Goes as a maid in a different get up. As a pup the dog had a distinct like for leather and also attracted to all things shining. Housekeeper loses her right shoe while walking home. Some others in the neighbourhood too. J B notices a pattern to it. Every full moon evening 15 seconds before sunset. Next full moon evening she’s there and wonder of wonders her shoes lost too. Just vanishes. Phut! And she just doesn’t know how. Providence divine? J’s not so sure. Underground scanning. Overskies scanning. Cases reported at the exact opposite meridian of the planet. Latitude longitude on no-moon mornings exactly 15 seconds after sunrise. Hidden cameras surround the area. Underground, satellite, ground level, the sky the works. JB discovers that Righteous Rights Association with their space ships have stolen loads of right shoes so that they can shower them on all the major leftists at eh world leftist conference to be held soon. Things to do-check out atlas….
This blog is to keep alive the memories of Gowri Sukanya Iyer (1986-2008).
I have been dipping into her diaries, enjoying her take on life around her and reliving the precious moments she was with us.
I am sharing bits that will be (I hope) of interest to many of you. I am collecting bits on different themes rather than keeping the original sequence. I begin with her diary for 2005 and may go back and forth later. And I hope to keep up weekly posts.
She took to her diary from 2002, surely inspired by Anne Frank. They were a well kept secret – several volumes locked in her desk. It took me a while to bring myself to read them and they have grown on me. Of course she’s Suku and not Anne Frank. I begin with her dreams about writing and wanting to be known for it. And I hope she won’t mind my sharing this…
I invite all of you to share the link to this post with others who knew her. Also, it would be great if you could also share your memories around the theme in the post.