Well folks, you have read two instalments of guest posts in the random ramblings series by my sister Sudha Somanathan. Thanks to you readers the posts have been phenomenally successful and I am sure all of you agree with me that Sudha possesses great writing skills and ought to take up writing on a more serious note. I would also like to let you know that after this post we will be taking a brief hiatus and shall resume the series after some time. So here we go with Random Ramblings #9, #10, #11 and #12. Do read and enjoy…
Random rambling #9
I love Chennai and I love London. I have spent an almost equal number of years in both! I don’t officially live in London but back home, London is synonymous with UK and that’s why I refer to them in the same sentence.
The two cities don’t have much in common but by some quirk of fate, have become an equally integral part of my life. London is beautiful, Chennai is also beautiful (mostly:), the first one- I was born and brought up in while the second is where I have set up home, gave form and shape to my career and not incorrect to say where I grew as an adult; both are bustling cities and give me a buzz every time!
But if I was to think of just one special thing about each: Chennai is the home of my family bonds and where I learnt to love and give.. London has also given me all these but has also taught me to be kinder to myself; to accept the foibles of being human and that nobody and no bond is perfect! No pressure!
Random rambling #10
It has to be about women’s day, of course! My 13-year-old son asked me – “why do you need a women’s day?” Pat came the explanation about how women have been oppressed and suppressed blah blah blah.. how they can’t express blah blah.. how their dreams often blah blah blah, amidst a few other injustices said with much angst and emotion, by my daughter and myself! Little guy had had enough!!! He then said there should be a men’s day too (I did ponder for a second about the trauma the young mind had faced so early).
So I quickly checked with Alexa and she confirmed 19th Nov every year celebrates the other half of the population. When we look at the purpose of each, women’s day is to celebrate women’s achievements in various fields blah blah, and men’s day is to celebrate their role in family and society and then there’s also a mention of forgiveness and healing!!! (I wonder why )
Gender equality is a work in progress of course and we have to keep goals simple: so it’s not just about putting the garbage out every week or loading the dishwasher or about attending the parent’s evening (without a reminder from mum) but cleaning the cooker extractor hood needs to be added to the list too, as I learnt today!!!
Random rambling #11
Covid times! Little did we know 2020 was going to bring on the biggest challenge humanity has faced in recent times. While the scientific community and the myriad experts battle on to protect mankind, and we try to grapple with the roller coaster of thoughts and emotions, we have all also come to realize how dependent we are on each other and how interconnected our lives are. Every cloud does have a silver lining and as we stay indoors we are forced to discover our own creativity, pollute towns and cities and probably the whole planet less, forge stronger bonds with our loving families (or not ), tick off that ever present chore of decluttering, get more tech savvy and share some laughs on our ‘zoom’ parties and above all pause and think about needs vs wants. Perhaps, the most important fallout will of course be our growth into kinder and more generous people…if we sent just that one message enquiring about a dear friend or made the one call to support a friend or bought that one item from the supermarket for somebody (as a dear friend did for me), we will come out winners for sure. And if you are a believer, don’t forget to say a prayer, for ‘more things are wrought by prayers than the world dreams of’- as my wonderful head teacher used to remind us often!
Random Rambling #12
You might have heard of cappuccino, expresso or even a macchiato but you are not a true coffee connoisseur till you know about ‘1st decoction and 2nd decoction’! This is an oft repeated term, and coffee is not just a beverage, in many Tamil families. 1st decoction refers to the purest brew carrying maximum punch and reserved for the select few. Mum and dad who wake up the earliest would be the lucky ones almost every day while rest of family gets a mixture of the 1st and 2nd. Now if you are a visitor, quality of your brew would depend exclusively on if you had knowingly or unknowingly annoyed the lady of the house! So whilst you will be greeted with the ever loving “coffee saapidarela”- you could be given a fresh brew or a 2nd or God forbid even a 3rd decoction coffee, depending on the gravity of the situation!!
Coffee was also a snack especially on Sundays, as elaborate lunches with ‘Avial’ or ‘pitlai’ could be delayed. I remember amma tempting me with a ‘oru vaai kaapi’ or a ‘chinna second dose’ as if it is some magical potion.
And if you have not guessed already, the unassuming piece of utensil is the filter which has been giving us this elixir of life, faithfully and constantly!