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.