Going through old albums

Spent the afternoon going thro’ old albums. It brought me mixed feelings: some happy some not so, but they are all proof of days, nay, years gone by.

Came across a photograph of my mother’s family taken maybe more than ninety years ago. Amma was one of 10 children and her mother was one of 10 or more children.

Velvet sari blouses were in fashion in the early part of the 20th century and my grandma said to me that she had a deep blue velvet worked with gold thread around the neck and at the sleeves. She added that she would have worn it on numerous occasions, but that she gave up wearing silk saris and velvet blouses after my grandpa’s demise.

From then on she wore only white cotton saris, with or without borders in sober colours, and white voile blouses. She would wash and starch the sari herself.  When fully dry, she would fold it neatly and leave it  underneath her pillow to straighten out creases. The next day she would put it away in her camphor box.





Recently I happened to watch a quiz programme for school kids on an Australian Channel. Certain they wouldn’t have watched it, I tested it on five of my  grandchildren, aged 10 -14. The other three, aged 3 to 9 are in Boston and my husband and I hope to visit them shortly.

“Listen carefully children. I am in water, but not in river. I am in air, but not in the sky. I am in land but not in forests. What am I?”

The kids were quite smart, as was evidenced by their replies. “The river has gone dry,” said Vignesh. “That’s why there’s no water in the river.”

“Oh, yeah?” I said, curling my lips. “Try again.”

“I’m sure that forest is full of rocks.” said Venyaa, doing homework on her iPad.

“The air is closeted in a balloon,” said Annika, eating her lunch as also reading a book.

“Please give us a clue, Ammamma,” said Lakshman, a.k.a. Lucky. He was playing tennis on the Wii with Vignesh.

“Okay. I am somewhere near the centre of gravity  but right in the middle of the Equator.”

There was complete silence for a moment.

“Please be serious, Ammamma!” broke in Vaani, impatiently. “I need to complete my project and have no time to waste.”

“Okay. This is the final clue. I am in Vaani, Venyaa and Annika, but not in Vignesh and Lucky.”

Vignesh grumbled, “So, only girls have them!”

Lucky said, “Some silly fairy stuff!”

But the girls called out in one voice, “The letter A!”




Art and creative writing.

The late Federico Fellini, an Italian film director, said, “All art is autobiographical; the pearl is the oyster’s autobiography.”

It doesn’t necessarily follow that a piece of  creative writing  is autobiographical even if one were to argue it is the sole creation of the writer, same as the pearl is the sole creation of the oyster. Fellini certainly couldn’t have meant autobiographical in that sense.

If two people were to paint the same view from the same window, each would produce a distinct perspective. Their mix of colours, their brush strokes would be entirely different.  An artist’s work is like his signature, his finger print. Unique.

My sister Ranji is an artist. At the art school she attended in Colombo, the Mona Lisa was an all time favourite with the budding artists. And at every art exhibition the school conducted, there would be four or five reproductions of the Mona Lisa, each piece different in texture but a close reproduction of the original.


My writing career and Windows 7 arrived somewhat simultaneously. I edit my piece daily, sometimes weekly and still have after thoughts. On one occasion I wished to change the word ‘den’ because it reminded me of a lion’s cage. But the word appeared  in more than a dozen places. What better way than to seek Ctrl H to help me Find and Replace all.

Immediately after making the changes I saved my draft and the copy before I logged off. When I next opened the file I was horrified to find it in a total mess. The word ‘suddenly’ appeared as ‘sudcottagely,’ and ‘independent’ as ‘indepencottaget’ just to mention a few.









Hello world!

உங்களுக்கும் உங்கள் அன்பிற்குரியவர் அனைவருக்கும் பொங்கல் நாள் நல் வாழ்த்துக்கள்.


Happy Pongal

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