Monday, May 17, 2010

Heart or Mind?


A couple of months since I have rambled on this web platter! Hope ‘All is well’ with you guys.

Last month, me and MG were on a vacation to India. ‘Vacation’ would be the wrong term considering our tight schedule and time crunch - SIL’s wedding, scorching heat, shopping, draping heavy silk sarees around, visits to near and dear ones, visa stamping, sugar levels shooting up after being pampered with an array of desserts, lots of talking to do with very less time. Sigh..I was almost running out of juice. But, how could I not muster up all my energy when kind faces with love gleaming in their eyes were all super happy about our presence? In the midst of all these, trust me, Dad’s hugs and Mama’s nurturing does a lot of magic!

Alrighty, now it’s time to go to Chennai. Why Chennai? Gosh, our visa had to be stamped there. God bless the Chennai residents to face the rising temperatures which could literally burn you out and make you look like a burnt carcass. It wasn’t even summer and it was almost hitting 100F (37° C) already. Ugh! I wonder how summer feels like in Chennai.

We set out to take an auto-rickshaw from our guest house to the American Consulate which was less than 3 kms away. Auto fares in Chennai are mind-blowingly exorbitant and ruthless auto drivers demand anywhere between Rs. 80 to Rs. 100 in place of Rs. 30 or straight away refuse to come, leaving us high and dry. Their auto meters just add an aesthetic value to their 3 wheeled carriage and never gets the privilege to roll digits. I realized, how mean I was all these years to complain about my fellow Bangalorean auto drivers, who are at least sincere enough to turn on meters. Meters showing a few extra bucks, refusals to port us now and then, are at least, pardonable compared to the unruly Chennai Auto drivers.

After some bargaining in my broken Tamil, we finally made our way to the consulate. There we were, at 8:00 a.m. in the morning, sweating like pigs in a serpentine queue along with lots of fellow-desis, who were there to get a gate-pass to realize their American dreams. The consulate looked nothing less than a gate to hell/ heaven where security officers looked like Dwarapalakas( guardians at the gate) waiting to check us from top to toe. After clearing the security test, we were escorted by a lady to the waiting chamber. In these anxious moments, with the prospects of visa getting rejected, Mr. Consular looked like Chitragupta(Hindu God who decides whether one has to go to hell or heaven upon death depending on one’s deeds on earth) whose seal was eagerly awaited. Mr. Chitragupta errr, the Consular granted our visa and we both sighed a sigh of relief.

On our way back, we boarded an auto abruptly. Here’s a conversation between us and the auto-driver:

Auto-driver(enquires in English with a tamil accent): “Madam, sir, visa done?”

Us: “Huh? Oh, done, done”

AD: “Congrats!” (Turns a 30 degree turn and shakes MG’s hands with a 1000 watt smile and escapes a close hit to the car in the front)

MG: “Eh,eh car.. Thank you!”

AD: “You, North India?”

Us: “No, Bangalore”

AD: “Oh, ok ok. What visa? L1 or H1?”

Us: Startled by the knowledge of Auto driver we answer, “L1” looking at each other’s faces

AD: “H1, 5 rejections today Ma’am”

Me: “Amava?” (Is it? in tamil)

AD: “Oh, you speak tamil?”

Me(smiles): “Hmm, konchu konchu” ( a little bit)

AD: “First time US?”

Us: “No, 2nd time”

AD: “US nalla irka ma?” ( How is US madam?)

US: “Hmm, Romba nalla irku” (Very nice)

We were very happy with the fact that he had some General Knowledge and excellent communication skills.

MG: Alighting the auto, enquires, “How much is the fare?”

AD: “70 sir. But, everyone coming from America giving in dollars Sir. Give 8, 10$ sir. What sir, madam, your visa done. All happy happy. Eat hotel. Give dollars”.

At this juncture, “Do you think we should have budged and paid in dollars for his excellent personal skills OR the actual fare?”

Kind or Fair ?

We chose the latter.

Have a great week ahead.

Adios amigos!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Early Intervention

I stepped out of the corporate world on my own accord, for various reasons, to enter a noble profession - "Teaching". I ventured out as a preschool teacher in one of the acclaimed preschool chains in India. On the first day of the academic year, this child instantly caught my attention.

"Ram" (name changed) was running about in countless continuous circles on his toes at a high pace without losing balance, fearless of falling! He would stop now and then and watch the colorfully painted walls and continue to run, heedless of the world around him. Initially, I presumed he was playful and didn't want to be disturbed from what he was enjoying the most. I let him be, as my first duty as a preschool teacher was to make the kids feel at home

As days passed by, I sensed something was wrong with Ram as he neither used to respond to the commands, nor did he show any signs to know what was going on around him. It was very difficult to establish an eye-contact with him as he would never care of others existence in the classroom. His display of social skills was absolutely nil and he preferred to be left alone, despite my persistent efforts to involve him in all the group activities. While, the other children were interactive on the topics covered in the curriculum and also enjoyed playing with various toys designed to build and strengthen their motor skills, this child took pleasure in doing a repetitive activity - twirl every object that he caught hold of. He wouldn't even spare a paper bin! There were times when he used to cry and shriek out inconsolably. There were good times as well, when he used to laugh gleefully to himself. Needless to say, these behaviors kept me and the other staff puzzled!

After few months, he communicated his needs to me by pulling my little finger and guiding me to get things he wanted. The curiosity to know the condition he was in drove me to find out more about the challenges that children face. I arrived to a conclusion that he was an autistic child, as all the above symptoms (bold faced) are associated with a neurodevelopment disorder called "Autism". Clues to everyone reading this blog, to detect autism in a baby, are non-responsive behavior and no eye contact whatsoever.

While I was waiting to inform his parents about the challenges he was facing in a periodic Parent Teacher meeting, I got a call from his parent informing about the therapy he was undergoing and seeking my help to abstain from twirling things. I was glad that he got an early intervention and I did my best to help him concentrate.

One fine day, Ram giggled over a rhyme for the very first time. The treatment and perhaps, my sustained effort to help him concentrate was bearing its fruits. Music became the bonding factor between us. I started reciting that rhyme everyday along with the other kids to see a hearty giggle on his face. His habit of twirling things still continued, but was lesser. Other kids in his class behaved like responsible adults when it came to encouraging Ram in class activities. To my wonder, Ram started participating in forming circles ,only with some encouragement. His eye contact got better. The boy who never used to come to me earlier approached me one day and ran his fingers on my face with a wide smile and started clinging on to me. Perhaps, he had considered me as one of his fondest care takers. I was ecstatic! It was that moment in life which made me proud of adopting this profession.

In retrospect, I genuinely feel that I could have helped him better if I was specially trained to handle autism. I also think that children with some special needs have to be enrolled into schools that are meant for them where there are specially-trained professionals to nurture them according to what their condition demands. This could shape the children to become one with the mainstream society. I have read that children with autism need individual attention and an environment apt for them. This is a difficult task in a regular school classroom, as sustained attention on a single student may not be feasible.

Early Intervention helps. Don't be embarrassed about your child's condition. Get the child help and make a difference to a life.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Personal Touch

"Knock- Knock" is what I said to hibernated "me" on a pleasant winter day. It was time to get out of the slumber and write something to my heart's content.

Hmm, some of you would be interested to know that recently, I had an urge to pamper myself with some good girly jewelry. Considering, how less interested I was in gold, I started surfing the net for some precious stone ones.

"Whoa!!! Hang on" I said, to myself as this website grabbed my attention. Being a huge fan of National Geographic Channel since my growing up days, a small logo of it on the webpage instantly made me scroll through it.

By now, all of you reading through this post must have gone restless to know about the website - I am yet to mention.

Ta ta da! Here it is -

Yes, A site that claims to be uniting 2000 artists around the globe and showcasing their talents. Initially, like most ladies, I was impressed with the diversity they had to offer on a single web platter - From ravishing jewelry to unique masks, from knick-knacks to paintings. They had it all! Furthermore, I caught up with videos promoting exceptionally talented local artists from various parts of the world. Here's one of those videos you may like to watch:

What an initiative of putting them in the limelight hitherto which the world wouldn't have got a clue of their existence!

It must have been apparent to you by now that I couldn't desist from ordering a pretty set for myself crafted by artists in Thailand.

As the shipment arrived, apart from the set, I was delighted to see this -

A hand written note on the rear of the post card and a picture showcasing Thailand's culture on the front. Now, this is what I call, "Personal Touch". A small description about the artist also came along wrapped in a gift box made of mulberry tree's bark. I would say the postcard with a handwritten message is the most amazing gift I have ever got from a stranger.

Here are the pictures of my choker,bracelet and earrings-

Choker, earrings designed by Anusara and bracelet designed by Busarin

Talent promotion, A pretty picture, hand written note, eco-friendly box. Perfect, Isn't it?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

An Early Winter Walk

On a gloomy evening, with my boots on
I walk as the chill air gushes through my nostrils
Leaving behind a quaint yet contended feeling

Speeding cars go past, to which I am heedless
Blind, for a change, to look at the fashionably clad
I stroll like an aloof soul wandering in the woods
Gazing at the bald trees which seem brave-hearted

Crows flock to the trees
Perhaps, to mourn over a rich foliage that has ceased to exist
An old woman rakes the leaves
As though it was never a pleasing treat
To be upbeat someday is all that the trees hope
Oh, what a way to cope!

While, I smile a smile of sarcassm
Over the nature's mannerism
I am brought back to my senses with a greet by a stranger
To whom I must have looked really queer :-)

Monday, October 5, 2009

ಜೋಗ ಜಲಪಾತ

(ನನ್ನ ೧೩ನೇ ವಯಸಿನಲ್ಲಿ ಬರೆದ ನನ್ನ ಪ್ರಥಮ ಕವಿತೆ)

ಓ ಜೋಗ ಜಲಪಾತವೇ
ಮಂಜು ಕವಿದಿರುವ ದೃಷ್ಟಿಯೆ
ಕಣ್ಣು ಸಾಲದ ಸೃಷ್ಟಿಯೆ
ಜ್ಯೋತಿಯನೀಯುವ ಜಲಪಾತವೆ

ಅದೋ ನೋಡಲ್ಲಿ ಬರುವುದು ಮುಗಿಲೆತ್ತರದಿ
ರಾಜ, ರೋರರ್, ರಾಕೆಟ್, ಲೇಡೀ
ಹರಿಯುತ್ತಾ ವೈಭವದಿ

ಬಂಡೆಗಳ ಮೇಲ್ ಹರಿದು
ಜನ ಜನರ ಮನ ಸೆಳೆದು
ಕಂಗಳಿಗೆ ತಂಪೆರೆದು
ಹರಿಯುವೆ ನೀ ಜಲಪಾತವೆ

"ಜಲಪಾತ, ಜಲಪಾತ", ಎಂದು
ಕುಪ್ಪಳಿಸುವ ಮಕ್ಕಳಿಗೆ ಎಂದಿಗೂ
ತರುವೆ ನೀ ಖುಷಿಯನ್ನು
ಓ ಜೋಗ ಜಲಪಾತವೆ

ಅವಳ ಕಣ್ಣು

ನಿಂತಿತು ನನ್ನ ಮೊಟರ್ ಗಾಡಿ ರಾಮಾನಗರದಲ್ಲಿ
ಜಡಾಯಿಸಿ ಬಂದು ಹೋಟೇಲಿನಲಿ
ಕುಳಿತೆ ಪುನಃ ಗಾಡಿಯಲಿ

ಬಂದಿತೋ ಒಂದು ಸಂಘವೇ ಅಲ್ಲಿ
ಆಡಗಿದ್ದಳು ಅವಳು ಆ ಹಿಂಡಲ್ಲಿ
ಕೆಂಜರು ಕೂದಲಿನ ಕೆಂಬಣ್ಣದ ಹುಡುಗಿ
ನೋಡುತಿದ್ದಳು ನಮ್ಮನ್ನು ಕಣ್ ಮಿಟುಕಿ ಮಿಟುಕಿ
ನನ್ನ ಕಣ್ ನೆಟ್ಟಿತು ಅವಳ ಕಣ್ಣಲಿ
ಮನಸ್ಸು ಹೋಯಿತಾವುದೋ ಹಾದಿಯಲಿ

ಆ ಕಣ್ಣಂಚಿನಲಿ ಕಂಡೆ ನೋವಲ್ಲಿ ಸುಖವ
ಬಹುಷಹ ಅರಿಯದೇ ಇದ್ದಳೇನೋ ಅವಳು ತಾ ಮಾಡುವ ಕಾರ್ಯವ
"ದೂರಮಾಡ್ಯಾಳೇ ಎಂದಾದರು ಈ ಹೀನಾಯ ಕಾಯಕವ?",
ಎಂದು ಪ್ರಶ್ನಿಸಿದೆ ನಾ ಮನವ
ಇಷ್ಟರಲಿ, ನಾ ನೋಡುವುದ ನೋಡಿ
ಕಣ್ಣು ತಗ್ಗಿಸಿದಳು ಬಿಂಕದಲಿ ಮುಗುಳ್ನಗೆಯ ಭೀರಿ
ನಾ ಕೇಳುವುದಿಷ್ಟೇ ಭಗವಂತನಲಿ
ಎಳೆಬಾಲೆಗ್ಯಾಕೆ ಕೈ ಚಾಚುವ ಕಾಲ ಬೀದಿಯಲಿ?

ಒಳ್ಳೆಯ ಕಾಲ ಬರಲಿ ಅವಳಿಗೆ
ಕೈವೊಡ್ಡಿ ಬರದಿರಲಿ ಇನ್ನೆಂದೂ ಬೀದಿಗೆ
ಎಂದು ಹಾರೈಸುತ ಸಾಗಿದೆ ನಾ ಮುಂದೆ
ಮರೆಯಲಾರೆ ನಿನ್ನ ಕಂಗಳನೆಂದಿಗೂ ಅಂದುಕೊಂಡೆ

Wish I had my camera handy then to capture her eyes

ಅಂತಿಮ ನಮನ

ಎನ್ನ ಕಣ್ಣು ತುಂಬಿ ಬರುತಿಹುದು
ಮನ ರೊಧಿಸುತಿಹುದು
ಕೈ ನಡುಗುತಿಹುದು
"ಅಜ್ಜಿ", ನಿನಗೆ ನಮಿಸುವಾಗ ಈ ಅಂತಿಮ ನಮನ
ಸುಂದರ ಮೊಗದೊಳ್ ಮಿನುಗುತ್ತಿದ್ಧ ಆ ಮುಗುಳ್ ನಗೆ
ಮಮಕಾರ ತುಂಬಿದ್ದ ವಿಶಾಲ ಹೃದಯ
ಕಪಟವೇನೆಂದರಿಯದ ನಿರ್ಮಲ ಚಿತ್ತ
ನಯವಾದ ನಿನ್ನ ಸ್ಪರ್ಶ
ಎಲ್ಲೋ ಮಾಯವಾಯಿತು ಎಲ್ಲೆಂದರಿಯೆ

ಹೇಗೆ ಮಾಸೀತು ಹೇಳು ನಿನ್ನ ಆತಿಥ್ಯದ ಸೊಗಸು
ಬೆನ್ನು ಬಾಗಿ ಮನೆಮಂದಿಗೆ "ಆಯ್ದು ಆಯ್ದು" ಬಡಿಸುತ್ತಿದ್ದ ಸಿಹಿ ತಿನಿಸು
ಮತ್ತೆ ನೆನಪಿಗೆ ಬಂತು ಇಂದು
ನೀ ಮುಂಜಾನೆ ಬೆಣ್ಣೆ ತೆಗೆಯುತ್ತಿದ್ದದ್ಧು ಕಡಗೊಲು ಹಿಡಿದು
"ಹ ಹ" ಗುಡುತ್ತ ಬಟ್ಟೆ ತೊಳೆಯುತ್ತಿದ್ದಾಗ ನಾ ಬಂದು ನಕ್ಕಿದ್ದು

ಐವರು ಗಂಡು ಮೂರು ಹೆಣ್ಹೆತ್ತರೂ
ಪಕ್ಷಪಾತಿಯಾಗದೆ ಸಲಹಿದೆ ನೀನು
ಎನ್ನ ಹುಡುಗಾಟ್ಟಕ್ಕೆ ಅಂದು ಗೋವಿಂದಜ್ಜ ಕುಪಿತನಾದಾಗ
ಎನ್ನ ಪರವಹಿಸಿಕೊಂಡು ಬಂದದ್ದು
ವ್ಯಾಮೋಹ ಮೂರುತಿ, ಪ್ರೀತಿ ದೇವತೆ ನೀನಿದ್ದದ್ದು ಕನಸೇ?

ಮರೆವು ಆವರಿಸಿಕೂಂಡಿದ್ದ ಆ ದಿನಗಳಲ್ಲೊಮ್ಮೆ
ನಾನ್ಯಾರೆಂದು ಕೇಳಿದಾಗ
"ಎನ್ನ ಮನೆ ಮಗಳೇ ನೀನು" ಎಂದು ಹೇಳಿದ ಎನ್ನ ಅಮ್ಮನ ಅಮ್ಮ
ಕಾಣ ಬಯಸಿದರೂ ಕಾಣಲಾರೆ ಇನ್ನೆಂದೂ ನಿನ್ನ ಕಮಲಮ್ಮ

ಹುಟ್ಟುಹಬ್ಬದ ದಿನದಂದೇ ಹರಿಪಾದ ಸೇರಿದ ಪುಣ್ಯವಂತೆ
ಸ್ವರ್ಗವಲ್ಲದೇ ಇನ್ನಾವ ಜಾಗ ಅರ್ಹ ನಿನಗೆ
ಕಟ್ಟಿ ಹಾಕಿದ ಭಗವಂತ ಎನ್ನ ಪರದೇಶಕ್ಕೆ
ಬಾರದೇ ಹೋದೆ ನಿನ್ನ ಕೊನೆಯ ದರುಶನಕೆ

ಎಲ್ಲರ ನೆಚ್ಚಿನ ಕಮಲಮ್ಮ
ಇನ್ನುಳಿದೆ ನೀ ನೆನಪಾಗಿ ಮನಸ್ಸೊಳಗೆಮ್ಮ

ಇಂತಿ ನಿನ್ನ ಮೊಮ್ಮಗಳು,