Vani’s Musings

Archive for the ‘Personal’ Category

I write this with a heavy heart……….I am unable to stop the tears from streaming down my face, but I have to do it to come to terms with my loss.

Person with the greatest will power I have ever come across, A born fighter, a dynamic personality, his amazing memory, his love for travel, his enthusiasm…… who was able to be a 3 year old with a 3 year old, a 30 year old with a 30 year old and 60 year old with one of that age……………

How can I describe this dear uncle of mine? He was all of this and much more that I cannot find words………

His never-say-die attitude was his biggest strength……anyone speaking to him would never get an inkling of the deadly disease he battled…..he never ever once cribbed that he was suffering, I never heard him pity himself that he was unwell……

Each time I went to his house, the first thing I would do after saying hi was to run to his room, dig under his pillow to find his diary…………it was my source of news from the time of my previous visit ……… was just not a record of his day to day activities…… would be filled with snippets of philosophy, jokes, and anything he found out of the ordinary…………

I found that diary today, lying orphaned, without its owner…….the last entry in that diary is on the 1st of September 2009………I was tempted for a moment this morning to scream “maama, why havent u updated your diary?” and then suddenly I peeped out and saw his mortal remains lying in the hall, and realised that that diary would never ever be updated again………..

He just left us suddenly and went away to his maker…… leaving us with a huge void and memories to last for ever…..

I will  miss you, N Maama, rest in peace.


Another of the “this happened to me” posts. This is one such incident that makes my mom endlessly angry even today, because of the harrowing time she faced, all thanks to me.

 I was around 4 years old at the time and used to be curious about anything I saw. My grandmother was ill most of the time and she had a huge collection of different medicines near her bed. And that was my favorite hunting ground at the time.


The routine went like this. Everyday, I used to finish playschool and immediately run to ajji for my afternoon nap. My mom says that I was a docile kid and generally dint trouble her to put me to sleep.


 One afternoon, ajji made several attempts to put me to sleep, but failed. Since she was tired, she dozed and that was my opportunity to put my searching skills to test.

I was particularly curious of all the different colored liquids in Ajji’s medicine bottles and so I went on tasting one after another.


I dint like the taste of the first couple I tried, but the third one interested me and I poured the entire bottle down my throat. It was a harmless cough mixture that ajji used to consume. I was playing for a little while and then the medicine started to take effect and then I got knocked off and slept. Ajji, meanwhile woke up and saw that I was sleeping, almost dead to the world, and so felt that I must have got exhausted and slept. Initially she did not find anything amiss, but soon she found that the cough mixture was empty, even though she had opened a new bottle just the previous evening. Immediately she realized that there was some connection between my sleep and the missing cough mixture. She understood that I had consumed the entire bottle and was shocked for a moment. She recovered soon enough and called my mom who took me in the same sleepy knocked off stage to the doctor who assured her that it was common for kids of that age to do something like this and I would be all right soon enough. I woke up, feeling terrible and not aware of what havoc I had unleashed.


The relief Ajji and my mother experienced is something that cannot be bound in words.


It was from then on that all medicines were kept away from me, and even today, it is an unwritten rule at home that I inform someone about any medicine I consume.


Have any of u faced similar situations? Do write in.

Life’s taken an about face. Life changes radically, so I was told, but did not take it seriously. But yes, the winds of change have blown in my life too, and I enter a new phase of life with the good wishes and blessings of my near and dear ones.

Hope to keep the writing streak on more often  henceforth.

What does one do when one faces a dull boring weekend? Especially for someone like me who works six days, the prospect of spending two days at home seems dreadful, since I like the every day challenges at work. I think I am a bit weird, because everyone else loves to have two days off, whereas I crib that I don’t have anything to do during the weekend, especially on Sunday evenings.


After suffering so, I decided to do something about it, and last Friday evening, my colleague M and I decided that we would head off by ourselves on Saturday to some place out of Bangalore and spend some time away from the jarring routine.


We had to attend a colleague’s wedding at Channapatna last week and due to some unavoidable circumstances, both of us pulled out at the last minute. Our main agenda behind going to Channapatna was to visit the Aprameya Temple at MaLur, which is around 5 KMs from Channapatna. We decided that we would head there this week to make up for missing out last week.


We took a bus from the Satellite Bus Station on Mysore Road and reached Channapatna in an hour’s time. We spent quite some time at the temple and the temple authorities also served lunch. Post Lunch we had a little time to explore the town, and after we reached the Bus Stand, we set off on a small walk to the town center. Channapatna is a small sleepy town with little activity, but Saturday being the weekly market day, there was a buzz in the market place with all sorts of little shops selling all sorts of things. Mom had given me a basket to buy veggies there, what with the cost of veggies skyrocketing in Bangalore. Me did a little veggie shopping while M cribbed that she couldn’t shop enough because she didn’t have a bag big enough to hold all the sundry things she purchased.


After filling our bags with enough stuff we decided to head homeward and a casual enquiry with the locals revealed that there was a train to Bangalore in the next half hour. Since I am utterly crazy about train journeys, M gave in and we decided to get back to Bangalore by train. We found that the train fare was lesser than the bus fare and the journey would be twice as comfortable as by bus.


The railway station was typically the “Malgudi” sort, a little station with hardly any movement inside. The station master was a friendly chap who told us about the various trains that passed by and he also spoke about the current track change that was going on. The workers who were doing the track rectification were a merry gang. They sang folk songs and made the heaviest and toughest of jobs look like child play.


We had a good time watching the men at work, going about their job with a smile and with perfect co-ordination, since many lives depend on the way they would lay the tracks. The weather was perfect, the setting serene and the mood, peaceful.


But then as they say, all good things have to come to an end, and so did this sojourn with the shrill shriek of the train’s horn. It was fairly empty and joy of getting into the train caught up. I am always excited to get on a train, and this time was no different. It was a good journey and we feasted

on  Maddur Vadas and Coffee on the way.


We reached Bangalore in an hour and then headed home, filled with a sense of peace and carrying memories to last for a long long time, ready for the challenges that lay in store.






This was one visit I had been avoiding for the last six months…….I had dreaded visiting Sanjaynagar ever since we decided to permanently move from there, because of the utter grief I had experienced when we had taken the plunge to move. We had lived there for a quarter of a century and it was a part of our identity. I felt that a little bit of me had stayed back, while the remaining had moved on, saying, “This phase of life is over, it’s time to start afresh”.  I had been successful in not going there at all for all this time.


But then, it was time for me to actually face my demons, because a very dear friend of mine, R, who lives in the US, had come home to India, and yes, she too lived in Sanjaynagar before she got married and relocated there. R was quite concerned actually, knowing me, and wanted to know if she could come over to where I am, but I decided that I needed to make that particular journey and told her I’d go over to see her.


On one hand, I was very anxious to meet R whom I had not seen for the past couple of years, and the mail exchanges between us had become almost nil, but on the other, my mind started making excuses about why I must not go there, like R being not at home when I visited, the now on now off rains, all were making me think if I should actually go at all, if I could postpone it for some more time and things like that. It was Amma’s insistence and the thought that R was leaving in a week that gave me the courage to go there.


Through the whole journey, I saw myself trying to see if anything had changed, and was looking for some familiar thing or face, and yes, all of it was so familiar, I was feeling like I had not moved out of there at all. But I’m still not able to go anywhere near my old house. That’s something that will take a little more time, I feel. I had a good time with R, and everything was fine till the time I had to get back here, and it was then that the whole grieving process began to show up again. I had to come back home, and as the rickshaw started moving away from the area that was so familiar that it was actually me, I felt torn yet again, and the hurt and pain I had experienced six months ago came back, though less intensively. But I’m still wondering if six months away from a place is not enough for us to go back there without attaching any emotional significance to it. Why did I have to feel so disturbed about a short visit, though I very well knew that my life there was over? I’m clueless.





During one of my people-observation phases, I came across a peculiar habit of persons around me. It sort of showcases the culture of the people, and how in a single question, there is a wealth of concern about your well-being and contentment.


It goes like this. Each morning, as I enter the office premises, I am greeted by colleagues and sub-staff who usually ask me the same question each day, “Thindi Aaytha?”  Meaning “Did you have breakfast?” And it’s not just for me; each person is singularly asked the same question. I was intrigued about this, and it was just not breakfast, but any mealtime.

In the beginning, I felt that all these people were obsessed with food. After a while, I realized that it was their way of asking if the person they were speaking to was happy, and everything was alright in his/her world. The equation goes something like this; a hungry person usually looks like he’s upset, whereas, food signifies contentment. If a person has had food, he’s generally happy and considering that we work in a very stressful environment and tend to absorb others’ stress too, it becomes essential for each of us to be content.


Most stop at the “had your breakfast?” question and are happy receiving a nod. Yet others, who are now close, go on to ask what I had for breakfast. They wait for an answer from me and generally supply information about their own food. Initially I was unprepared for these sorts of questions because I felt they had nothing to do with what I ate; Nowadays, I’m used to it and don’t get ruffled up when people do ask me this.


Usually no comments are passed when one mentions stuff like Idlis or Dosas or Pongal, but mention “Uppittu” and you can see myriad expressions on people’s faces.

Usually a mention of “Uppittu” leads to comments like “Oh! Concrete!” “Oil Bath”! “Stupid”! etc. And usually Uppittu is the most often repeated breakfast item in most of the houses, basically because it is filling and easy to prepare.

Uppittu has many forms, like Neeru-Uppittu, Uduru-Uppittu etc, and can be prepared in different ways, without vegetables, with just onions, with or without vegetables, giving it a different name like “Khaara Bhaat”.

Uppittu’s cousins, the Avalakki Uppittu and Shaavige Uppittu do not get the same criticism as Uppittu does, but are not as popular with the masses either, though they also enjoy a prominent place on the breakfast table.

Uppittu, though a mass delicacy, enjoys an important place on the South Indian Table, as it is served as an evening snack at many weddings, and is the breakfast item at many small family occasions too.

In spite of everything, Uppittu still gets a wrinkled nose when mentioned. I have seen very few who actually relish Uppittu. And to pass derogatory remarks, many of my male colleagues feel their mothers / wives are being lazy and so serve them Uppittu for breakfast.


Since I do not associate any positive or negative feeling towards Uppittu, I’d like to know; Does Uppittu deserve all the bad credit it unfortunately gets? Is it so bad to eat or serve Uppittu? Answers? Anyone?



It is said often, that Ignorance is bliss. While it pays to be wise about many things in the world, it’s also equally true that half knowledge is dangerous.


I was watching a quiz show on one of the Kannada Channels on TV, and one of the questions involved completing a proverb. It went something like this “ A person with half knowledge makes a great noise about himself.”


I recollect an incident where such half knowledge made me worry about myself needlessly and give more attention to myself than necessary. It’s quite an embarrassment in hindsight; but I wish to still share it.


It was 2 years ago, around the time of Krishna Janmashtami, that I suddenly started experiencing a curious burning sensation in my palms.


I ignored it for quite a while, thinking that I was probably hallucinating about the whole thing, but it refused to go away, and only got worse day by day, ultimately one such time came when I could not ignore it any longer. I was unsure about seeing a doctor for this, and felt that since I had the Internet at my command, I would try to find out more about what was causing this peculiar problem. And so, I googled this. I came across several sites that gave me lot of possible reasons for this, and the most common feature or explanation on most of the sites was that this could be a symptom of Diabetes. Genetically I am a high-risk candidate for this condition and so I felt that probably Diabetes was making a presence in my life too.


I needed to find out if Diabetes had set in, and for that I needed to take a blood test. Again, I didn’t get the courage to see a doctor to get a requisition for a blood test. I was starting to worry about how I’d tell my parents if I really was diabetic and how I’d manage with it the rest of my life.


It took me another week or so to get the courage to go ahead and take the test.

We have a glucometer at home that is used by my mom and uncle to check their blood sugar levels from time to time, and I decided that I’d take the blood test at home.


It was the day before Janmashtami, and all the elders were in the kitchen preparing for the festival, and so I felt it was the right time for me to face the demon. I took the test and waited for a whole agonizing minute for the result to show up. Believe me, that was the longest minute of my life.


The result came; my random blood sugar level was some 69 or 70. Now I was again not sure whether this was an ok value. I then took a very fast decision to call dad’s cousin who is a doctor at NIMHANS, to check if everything was all right.


The first thing she told me when I told her the whole story was, “There’s nothing wrong with you physically; mentally I’m not sure, you can drop in anytime to verify.”

Then she went on to assure me that what I experienced was caused more often by simple calcium deficiency than anything else and that I had to drink a glass of milk every day to bring up the calcium.


The relief I experienced at this is something I cannot describe in words. But the only good thing about the whole episode was that it made me aware of what I was eating, how I needed to change my lifestyle and how I was wrongly analyzing information.


Have any of you experienced anything like this? Do write in.