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Archive for October, 2009

Here’s a little ode to my alma mater, keeping in tune with the nostalgia-flooded posts that I’ve been coming up with of late. It’s been over four years since I passed out, and the visits to my school (despite living just a couple of hours away) have been thinning down. I’d read Amrutha write about how Chennai had changed over the years, and my primary school memories were rekindled.

Yes yes, we all wish we went back to those toddler days of primary schools, when all we had to worry about was passing the next tamizh tervu (Tamil test) or finishing that Hydrilla experiment without breaking the glassware borrowed from the Quest lab or the School day rehersals. No career driven plans, no worries on earning, no issues on being single, no need to drive anything but the bicycle with side wheels ensuring I don’t fall, no need to blog! 😛

And I’m dedicating this post to a particular aspect of my school days – music! Vidya Mandir was one of the finest schools in the city (no this isn’t open to debate, and any libels in the comment section will be deleted: a warning to P.S. products), and a considerable amount of importance was given to extracurricular activities. In the undying words of K.S.R.,

Vidya mandir students are allowed to grow. PS students are made to grow. DAV paththi sollave venam.

Now, coming back to praising extracurriculars, learning music – both Indian and Western was an integral part of our school-life. The Indian music classes were invariably praises to several Hindu Gods on the likes of Muruga muruga thirumaal maruga neatly printed on a book titled Gaanamanjari, and were never enjoyed as much as the Western music classes were.

No, we didn’t have rock bands playing or Bryan Adams singing, but what we had was priceless – a nice big piano and a dedicated teacher whose name was Meena miss (often confused by parents with another teacher with the same name, but the kids knew who’s who). There were so many songs I still remember: some Christmas carols, some romantic, some just plain funny! The class was invariably split gender-wise (almost was an unsaid rule – we just never interacted until we came of a certain age, if I might put it that way), and the girls usually almost always were annoyed with the boys singing Oh my darling, oh my darling, oh my darling, Clementine (varying the extended e at the end of Clementine making it sound more like a donkey’s bray). Another favourite was the Twelve days of Christmas, counting down to a partridge on a pear tree.

Hole in my bucket

And the hole in my bucket in the title is with reference to this infinite-loop song, which usually involved the whole class being split into two – the boys playing Henry in chorus, and the girls becoming Liza. I still remember one instance when we sang it twice in series, almost like film buffs screaming “once more, once more” on seeing their favourite numbers. And here’s the lyrics for those of you who have been in that room and sung that song:

There’s a hole in my bucket, dear Liza, dear Liza,
There’s a hole in my bucket, dear Liza, a hole.
Then fix it, dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry,
Then fix it, dear Henry, dear Henry, fix it.
With what shall I fix it, dear Liza, dear Liza?
With what shall I fix it, dear Liza, with what?
With some straw, dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry,
With some straw, dear Henry, dear Henry, some straw.
The straw is too long, dear Liza, dear Liza,
The straw is too long, dear Liza, too long,
Then cut it, dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry,
Then cut it, dear Henry, dear Henry, cut it.
With what shall I cut it, dear Liza, dear Liza?
With what shall I cut it, dear Liza, with what?
With an axe, dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry,
With an axe, dear Henry, dear Henry, an axe.
The axe is too dull, dear Liza, dear Liza,
The axe is too dull, dear Liza, too dull.
Then whet it, dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry,
Then whet it, dear Henry, dear Henry, whet it.
With what shall I whet it, dear Liza, dear Liza?
With what shall I whet it, dear Liza, with what?
With a stone, dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry,
With a stone, dear Henry, dear Henry, a stone.
The stone is too dry, dear Liza, dear Liza,
The stone is too dry, dear Liza, too dry.
Then moisten it, dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry,
Then moisten it, dear Henry, dear Henry, moisten it.
With what shall I moisten, dear Liza, dear Liza?
With what shall I moisten, dear Liza, with what?
Try water, dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry,
Try water, dear Henry, dear Henry, try water.
From where shall I get it, dear Liza, dear Liza?
From where shall I get it, dear Liza, from where?
From the well, dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry,
From the well, dear Henry, dear Henry, the well.
In what shall I fetch it, dear Liza, dear Liza?
In what shall I fetch it, dear Liza, in what?
In a bucket dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry,
In a bucket dear Henry, dear Henry, in a bucket.
There’s a hole in my bucket, dear Liza, dear Liza,
There’s a hole in my bucket, dear Liza, a hole.

*Book picture courtesy Boyds Mills Press.

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Alternate title (as suggested by Nick): Ode to pattasu! 😀

This year, Deepavali (a.k.a. Diwali) was all too peaceful. Not a single matchstick lit, not a film watched in full on TV. Well I did watch the fast and the furious on HBO of course, but that has absolutely no relevance to theIndhia tholaikatchigalil mudal murayaaga, thirayarangugalukkae varaada dumeel thiraippadam .. kaanathavaradeergal (first time in Indian televisions, a film that hasn’t even made it to the theatres, don’t miss it!) that we usually see on TV. Most of yesterday went into reading/commenting on this post by Krish Ashok, and a visit to a temple in the afternoon. This morning, I flipped through my reader again, saw hawkeye’s Deepavali in Madras and nostalgia poured in!

Gone were those days when I used to bother Appa asking when he’d buy (let alone take me to buy) firecrackers for me (roughly two weeks before deepavali began). I used to do my homework right: collect the price sheet from every local shop, tallying who was cheaper, so that I could fit all that I wanted within the budget (which was usually about INR 500-700 – yes, we never had luxurious deepavalis). I used to take all those threats seriously when dad warned me, “if you don’t fare well in the upcoming tests, nopattasu for you this year.” Finally, we used to go over to the nearest TUCS shop (until Subhiksha came into existence of course) and buy till I’m partly satisfied (Appa just always knew how to negotiate with me – I want five, he starts at three, and stays at three). Once my precious was home, I used to sit and adore it until Appa finally decided to split it between my sisters and I, so that we would have no further discrepancies and all’s fair and square. Being the youngest at home (and the only boy) was always an advantage, all that bursts was almost always unconditionally given away to me (even my sisters’ shares).

Deepavali planning and execution used to be with this kid Kaushik, who used to live downstairs. His dad used to buy crackers from town a couple of days before Deepavali (always heard that you could get crackers there dirt cheap). We used to sit and discuss for weeks as to what all we wish to buy, as to how we would finish it up. I’d make sure I witness how the crackers are being distributed – usually fetched me a little bijli packet that would last a good three days. We used to meet up every evening bursting one after the other, trying to burst two together, trying to burst them without killifying the thiri, and when daddy dear wasn’t in the neighbourhood, we’d toss a couple of them to watch them explode mid-air.

On Deepavali day, the day used to dawn early – by four thirty I’d be at my bathed best, all set to start blasting! Appa, being the eldest one at home, used to start with a red-fort, and then I’d go mad with all the tiny stuff that I had –busvaanam, changu chakrams, stones (ever heard of them? tiny things that go on glowing), saatai, and so on. Once it dawns, I used to go home and hog all the amazing food mommy dear’s made, and then go off to visit all my relatives to start my Deepavali collection. Generous 100 rupee notes, all for one namaskaaram and a chamathu payyan expression were always worth the additional ordeal! And in the evening, an additional session in between movie breaks used to go on, and I used to save some up for Kaarthigai – which used to follow up a month later. A couple of years in the middle, I even saved some firecrackers so that I could use them up for New year – yes I was this meticulous kid who used to save stuff up for the future (note the was – mom thinks I’ve done a volte face of late).

And I always used to be particular about getting Standard fireworks. I always thought that the brand spoke for itself, despite seeing this kid go on tv, “Ayyan pattasugal vaangittaene. Ayyan pattasugal, pada pada pada pada, surr zoom, buss, damaal. Deepavali nalla venuma? Ayyan pattasugal vaangunga!”(I’ve bought Ayyan brand firecrackers, and they make all these sounds denoting firecrackers, concluding with a “buy them to celebrate Deepavali”)Appa really didn’t care, “as long as they burst, why do you care what brand name they are? Plus, kaasa kari aakaradunnu mudivu pannitae – kammiya pannaen!

Now it’s all filled with these Chinese-like firework show! Things flying into the sky. I still remember those days when a box of 7-shots was treasured and we used to go counting the seven, and go outraged when there were only six at times. And Deepavali in Chennai has become all skyward – it’s there everywhere, so the need to buy these is lost too. And with the advent of these ones, a lot of old-time favourites have now become extinct. Here’s a little nostalgic run down to all those favourite ones I used to go on bursting all day:

  • Lakshmi vedi. Classic one – the sound would easily scare me almost every time it burst.
  • Kuruvi vedi. Sort of like Lakshmi‘s little sister. Could still be attempted to be thrown.
  • Bijili. 2 packets of these is what used to make the wait up to Deepavali bearable. You can go on for hours if you have one or two friends for company.
  • Double shot. Ah, the good ‘ol burst once at ground level, the second one tosses up and then bursts in mid-air.
  • Atom/hydrogen bombs. The long wicks made sure that the wait was scarier than the sound it generated while bursting. Plus, we used to put a coconut shell over it and watch it soar a good 30ft into the air when the thing burst!
  • Oosi vedi. These were tiny, harmless things. Just cute things that you can see burst.
  • Vengaaya vedi. Whack it against a wall and you’d see it burst.
  • Roll cape. Came with a gun usually, but when we had more shells, we used stones to make them burst. At times, even rubbing it against the wall was fabulous.
  • Snake. This disgusting thing that sent out so much of smoke was usually part of the ending wrapper burning ceremony, when we used to pile up all junk, throw a couple of these ‘tablets’ and set ablaze – it used to send out black tentacle-like things.

No kid bursts any of these these days. Wish I had the company to burst at least some of them! Till then, a little toast to all those wonderful days when I was younger still! Happy Deepavali to all of you! 😀

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Inspired from Manasi’s (her’s from here).

Simple logic: title says it all!

Theme: things related to Singaara Chennai.

Reliance opens new iStore. So sterile!

Naidu hall: the family store. Really?

Sterling joins College: Haddows is born.

Rajini film release. 1st week house-full.

Sathyam cinemas: expensive, but worth it!

“Mylapore to Airport auto.” “Rs. 500.” Walk.

Chennai metro underway. 100ft road halved.

Kapali temple Therottam festival. Colourful joy!

House without mummy. Full bottle thanni.

Swine flu in Pune. Chennai-ites masked!

ARR concert. Off city. Still rocks!

FB chat with Nick. Better theme:

What else, but full-time college bitching?

Four years in Hellore. Leeds. Yay! (dedicated to Nick)

Four gone. Two more again? WTF?! (my sad plight)

New ProCs. New reforms. Still sucks.

Convocation day. Party hangover pending. Whaaaa?!

Mid-night walks, random spots, missing dots. (?!)

Open ticket. Two hour travel. Home! 😀

New IRCTC eat-out in Katpadi. Yum!

Feel free to add more lines.

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