Mom

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Contrary to the fact of me being her child, she is someone whom I have seen growing up. As a mother, as a human being. My first role model.

There are times, when I look at her, wondering how she never gets tired of us (and we are quite a handful, in varying age groups). I have asked her numerous times, how she does this raising up thing so effortlessly, with so much patience. “I will never get tired of this. I love it. Being a mother.” She replies with a smile.

I have seen her endure and battle odds. I have seen her breaking down. I have seen her being there for us. I have seen her sacrifice things. And each and every time, I realize I can never do what she has done when my time comes. I can never do better than her. Because she is a woman, who I feel, has never had the happiness of enjoying the little things in life, never been made feel special, yet has showered us with love and taught us the same, making us feel special all along.

Mamma, I hope this makes you feel special.
Mamma, you are an inevitable part of our lives. There are still days when I start crying in the middle of the night because I miss you.
We love you, Mamma.
You are our first love.

P.S. She looks so much more beautiful than this.
#BecauseSheMeansTheWorldAndMoreToUs
#AlhamdulillahForParents
#FirstAttemptAtVerticalLinePortraits

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The Bambolim Anganwadi

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The innocent smiles, the curious eyes, the instant friendliness and the connection. The Bambolim Anganwadi, sits in the shade of a tree, alone, transforming the whole space, with its red walls, and solid form. The air is thick with laughter and happiness, warming your heart to no extent. The children running and playing around, reading out from the walls full of charts, tending to their little backyard garden, or just looking at you with those curious eyes, and then the lips blossom into a sweet smile, accepting you.

The warmth of their smile, I felt like I had already achieved enough for the day.

It’s beautiful how they accept everything so easily, without any apprehension, with all its innocence.

I felt so welcome.

In a land, foreign to me.

KochiKadhakal

The city, known as the Queen of the Arabian Sea, a crossroad for people with a little or a lot in the district of Ernakulam in Kerala, is a host to many wonders. With tourists swarming its streets to natives rushing to work, it’s an experience to behold.

This post is just a compilation of scribbles and lines that are so close to my heart. A manifestation of my memories. Held so dear.

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FORT KOCHI
The true essence of the place called Cochin lies totally in the streets of Fort Kochi and Mattanchery. Each and every element around has a story to tell. Be it the buildings, the trees, the people or the stones. And the most prominent of it is the history of a bloody Fort Kochi.

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FORT KOCHI BEACH
Beaches all in all are peaceful.  At times, I wonder why are these places so calm and serene even when its crowded. Fort Kochi beach is a lot of plant residues, people, yet so peacefull, with the waters rocking on the banks.

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FERRIES
A trip to Fort Kochi or Mattanchery is never complete without the ferries. Ferries are a totally different experience. With standing in long queues, paying 4 rupees for a ticket, waiting for the guards to open the chains, so that one could sprint across to get on the ferry to catch a window seat. The smell, the wind breezing around, the rumbling sounds, the rippling waters and the big ships, this is when we simply stare out and just breathe.

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MAHARAJAS
Though the Arts college is the one known famously as Maharajas, The Govt. Law College also shares the glory of the name. Sneaking in, to this place which was always a dream, I fell in love. I needed a breath to take it all in. The age old architecture, the ever present trees, the noisy courtyards and corridors, the wooden staircases, the broken walls and the classrooms that carry the hearts of students on its walls, these colleges are a feeling. A first hand experience of the power of architecture through the ambience .

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MATTANCHERY
The streets of Mattancherry are not that frequently visited by the numerous tourists that visit Kochi. Mattanchery has its own share of sights, the Jewish Synagogue, the Jew street, the Dutch Palace, the Gujrati Street being a few. With its warehouse turned endeavors, empty roads, walls decorated with art, the charm lurks around each and every corner , even in the broken window frames.

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CAFES & EATERIES
Kochi is incomplete without its share of eateries and cafes. A perfect host to foodies, the restaurants and cafes were a beautiful in itself with their hanging lights, deep art works, hidden charms and the clattering of spoons. Each and every cafe has a story to tell, a scene to portray, a character to meet, a memory to be made. Where laughs could be heard over a coffee or cake so expensive, or so cheap.

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MATTANCHERY MUD CHURCH
A recent addition to the essence of Mattanchery, is architect Vinu Daniel’s masterpiece of a church. In its primitivity lies its beauty. The single halled church welcomes with a whole heartedness, the verandahs waiting for the sound of your footsteps, the stained glasses glittering around. The feeling of sacredness, inspite of all this still intact.

KADAVANTRA
The first time I came to Kadavantra, it intimidated me. A junction with four buildings in each corner, representative of different styles and periods was our icon for this part of the city. It was the best host I could have, with its friendly residents, who never failed to ask about my day when I passed by their homes after work, the lanes lit and clear for me to walk at 8, with its perfect position, nearly equidistant from the ‘modern’ and the ‘charming’ sectors of the city. This place gave me the people and the experiences that makes Kochi special.

Kochi taught me to live in the moment again. To be myself again. To love me again.

Kochi moves me into tears with the sheer memory of the beautiful moments spent in its depths.

I will be forever indebted.

 

The thing about art

Each and every piece of art has its own soul and character. If we understand any aspect of that character is another matter. But, what one must realize is that, no art is just nothing, no art can be judged.
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A random artwork in Fort Kochi.
Art is just a manifestation of our heart.
Be it yours or the artist’s.
What you see in their is a reaction.
A manifestation.
I have seen artworks that have been termed downright childishness, downright real, downright abstract, downright simple.
If a person, draws a sketch, that’s art.
If a person, paints a scene from the real world, that’s art.
If a person, paints his mind, that’s art.
Art doesn’t have to be what you think. When the art itself tends to dissolve boundaries why are we hell bent on creating and compartmentalising them?

Just food things.

the Phase of departure in parts

Part 2

Sitting at our table in Zaatar at Panampilly, we sat simply looking at each other, the weight of this being the last dinner heavy on us. Even when Ayushi left, it was Zaatar. We had nothing to talk suddenly. We checked out the others, the foreigners, the chefs for whom we were an entertainment session through their see through glass partition and vise versa. Then the food was served and we had our whole fill, back with our bickering.

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When we walked back after dinner talking this and that, we wanted to grab our ever favorite Choco Lava Cake from our go-to cafe, Carrots. That wish was not fulfilled since they didn’t open up after the harthal, for the day.

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This Choco Lava Cake is just full of chocolate sauce with a little sponge up and the sides, with a coffee swirl on top.   I remember the first day we tried this, when me and my friend was broke and this was the only option. Since then, it has been an absolute favorite.

Food has this special power on people. It strengthens the bond somehow. When we go out for food, order together, share it, fight over it, conversations always on the go, it weaves our hearts through and through.

When I chose Kochi for my first term of internship, I remember some preparations that I had done to familiarize the city and find the pockets of happiness (food outlets) if times of distress were to shower on me.

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I joined the Foodies club on facebook. Researched and zeroed in on Panampilly nagar, delighted to know that it was close to my place. That place has too many good outlets. Be it any cuisine. It has anything and everything. Shiffu’s momos was our snacking corner, Pandhal; our cheese cake place, The Burger Junction; our office treat area because it was too much for our pockets, Arya’s; our dosa guys, Gokul; Aayushi’s one and only home, Zaatar; our grill hut and many many more. There were always too many to try out and we were not always ready for new things. There was Lil America, Thakkaram(for me), Primate, Donut factory, Ming’s wok (because we had another Chinese favorite) etc.

Then, there was Punjabi Dhaba. Menaka or boat jetty was equal to PD. Behind Penta Menaka, through a narrow lane, near the Broadway Hotel, is out dear old   Dhaba. Quite a shady place, but then you familiarize with it.

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If Apurva and Aayushi missed home, it was PD. If we wanted something comparatively cheap, it was PD. And if it was Punjabi Dhaba, then it was always Aloo Paratha and Sweet Lassi. Always.

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The Lassi though, a bit costly for 35rs a glass, was too refreshing. It was sure to help us beat the heat. The Aloo Paratha, with or without butter, melts into your mouth, the cut onions and chili as faithful sides.

Our faithful home, Kadavantra had its own share of places too. The Masafi; the biriyani people, Ambiswamy’s; our last resort, the numerous bhaji bhaiyyas and last but not the least, our Chinese favorite, The New Dragon.

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Gunamo mecham, vilayo thucham (Great Quality, Low Rate) place. It’s executive lunch (or dinner), with a variety of options for a soup, starters (Chilli Potatoes are mind blowing), Chinese paratha, Noodles/Fried Rice, a gravy and a lime juice. Quite a lot ain’t it? Yeah, we used to have one lunch for two people, two for three and three for four.  When we were that hungry, and wanted lots of food, this was our place.

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Now coming to our Pasta place, Carrots again. Red or white. Lots of chicken. Lots of pepper. Ah! Delicious.

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Subways are for Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. Those are the chicken sub days. Roasted chicken, chicken tikka, chicken sheekh (chicken kofta when they felt like it in Centre Square Mall Subway). Subways are yum and fulfilling. With all its veggies and sauces (lots of sweet onion and mayo that is) and the perfect chicken. Haaaaah. Subways can never fail to put a smile on my face. It’s my comfort food. My happy food.

Last but not the least, when the going gets tough in hostel and we were too lazy or late to go out, we have MasterChef to our rescue. They always delivered so we never knew where the place was until one day, when we were coming back after our stroll in Panampilly, I saw a little cart with a board. The MasterChef. I stood there with my mouth open. All this while, we were having noodles from a food cart? Anyway, they were always good. Yum and cheap.

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There were also days when some choices failed us. Top in the list of failures is Chicking. Noushee had this craving for Chicking since their offers came out and we chose to go on a Thursday. Four people, according to us could easily share 6 pieces of grilled chicken, 6 pieces of chicken lollipop, 2 delite burgers and fries. What do we say? Man proposes and God disposes. And that day, we went hungry even after paying for a whooping 600rs dinner (with the dump tax).

The little experiences shared our food, the laughs, the memories, the tastes. So much to cherish.

So much love in a bite.

Bits & Pieces

The sound of the heavy rain filled my ears. It was raining beautifully outside. You know those rains, where you would gladly go and stand still, let your soul soak in the driving drops and let the rain wash away the pain and the baggage. But here I am laying on my bed, listening to its music with a million thoughts in my head.

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I have this emotional attachment with everything. Be it the little inanimate things or humans that I smile at when I walk to my office. Be it the guy at the cafe which we hang out every once and then, a little too often or the little boy who is neat and ready to play on my way back to hostel. Be it the masjid that I go to cry and pray or the lady who lets me pass through her backyard everyday. Be it the familiar roads and sights that at times I talk to or the elderly gang looking after their grandsons playing and discussing mundane things. Be it the colleague who left too soon or the strokes of my artist girl who flew away. Be it the beauty of paintings in an art gallery or the charm of Fort Kochi. Be it the magic with the fingers or the divine taste of that little chocolate lava cake which is my absolute favorite. Be it in the longing for home or the laughing moments shared with my better parts here. Be it the flooding memories of school when I see school students or missing the warmth of my best friend when I want to cry uncontrollably. Be it the weird equation with my fellow colleagues or the peace that I have at times in Kochi. Be it the voice of my mom over the phone or my obsession with pasta and fries. Be it convincing myself about my own goodness over the misdeeds or the wandering minds and thoughts when something doesn’t work out. Be it that bubble of happiness when the boy who smiles at me everyday while waiting for his school bus, waves at me while traveling past me some random night or that sigh of relief when I reach back home. Be it the little lift that I got from a lady who apparently knew me or that feeling of getting your siblings something. Be it the little twinkling stars shining at me or having food out every other night.

Each and every moment is too precious. Everyday I live down a day that is never going to happen again in my life. Each and every person, I share with them a piece of my soul, starting with my smile. And when they walk away or I leave, I let them have it even when it hurts a lot. They ask me why do I take everything to heart and I don’t have an answer. Is it because I love everything too much? Or is it because I want everything and everyone to stay? What would have life been like, if each and everyday was just the same? I know, boring.

But everyday this multitude of feelings and emotions,  sights and experiences, senses and complexities. Isn’t it a little too much for our little heart to bear and poor brain to process?

I will just have to let it all go, ain’t it? Everything will change in a month’s time and I will be again back to square one, in an alien place, surrounded by unknown faces and an equally intriguing culture.

When will I stop, feeling everything a little too much? Thinking about everything a little too deeply? Letting everything affect a little too seriously? Trying to catch it all in those pages of my little diary, in the form of elements so significant to the events? When will I learn to let go, completely?

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I can embrace easily.

It is to let go that’s hard.

 

Because in the end, I walk away with a little less of me, every single time.