Getting Ready – EARLY!!

Before everything else, getting ready is the secret to success. – Henry Ford

The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining. – John F Kennedy

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” Abe Lincoln

…and so on..

Lots of people and it seems , very successful people have given their slant on being prepared.

Well, here is mine:

Being prepared days before an event –  IT FEELS GREAT!!!

I  could add bells and ribbons and balloons. It feels so good.

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The event that found me prepared days before was the Annual Mission Sale at Ooty. A small local event , attended by locals only ..since they don’t advertise. We had a lot of books from our library to sell .

I had sorted out the books over a week, Left to my basic ‘things-will-happen’ instincts, I would have packed them the night before. But, my maid was going on leave. And then, who would lug the boxes up the stairs?

So, I was driven to pack the boxes a week before the date! This for a person who packs the night before travel.

Preparation really feels great. And may the feeling last long enough to to get the worm to turn and turn and keep moving !

P.S: Yes, we sold a lot of books!


Fourth for this Week

It had to be the Pudumund Marlimund Road today.  We lived on this road long ago but never ventured too far down the road. Of course it had grown and changed. Lots of small houses around Forest Gate , each with its set of drums and basins and tubs kept ready to catch the water tanker . The road stretched and curved  beyond the fork to Anikorai into more pastoral reaches.

Houses became more  scattered. While the presence of large bungalows with glimpses of colourful gardens added grace. Suddenly at one corner  opposite Adyar House was the brightly painted  police station of Pudumund. At the side were a dozen bashed and broken up cars , swept up from Ooty’s roads.


Somewhere there had to be the Marlimund lake, for which the road was named. Probably dry and swampy. Still I had to see it. And discover it I did. A beautiful sweep of water near the small dam. At the back, where waters must have collected from springs and rain, cows grazed peacefully on the green cover. Even the pipe drawing water from the reservoir stood 2 feet above the water level.

Lets hope and pray and believe in the good monsoon,  predicted.

Third Day

‘Go around the lake ma’, suggested my daughter. Right around being rather ambitious for me I thought I would walk on the less crowded , far side of the lake.

Starting a little further down from the Arboretum which the tourist vans seem to have discovered, I walked down the road, which ran parallel to the railway tracks for a short while.  Quiet prevailed as I passed West Mere, where we’d stayed as children; host to a hundred memories, looking rather forgotten now.

Further on was the Deer Park, barred and barbed , allowing no one to get past the bramble and undergrowth. Disturbing a young couple looking for quiet, I had to hurry on with glimpses of the lake through trees and wire. Finally there was the second Boat house with colour and sound .

Time to turn back.


Second Day

Zoning in on a quiet,  level road to walk on Day 2, wasn’t too difficult. The road from Fernhill to Avalanche via Kundah has always been a  favorite. Smooth to drive on, tracts of cultivated land lining one side, passing through numerous small villages; this road leads to many interesting spots.

But since I was going to walk, it was doubtful whether I would reach even one.

Passing the bend at Cairn Hill, I met some monkeys  sipping water from a small muddy pool near the road left behind from the rains. They eyed me warily while they pushed each other aside for their turn.


Later, I met some cows grazing happily at the side of the road. Besides us, there were no other pedestrians on the road, it being more of a highway. On one side were verdant green tea fields and on the other, fields being freshly sown for the next crop.


Further on was a carrot washing shed. Always delightful to watch the carrots go in muddy and come out a fresh orange. Why dont’ they do it for radish or potatoes ??


30 minutes later, I was gazing on the slopes of Mullikorai., a prosperous looking hamlet. A stream flowed through the valley below cutting through fields of cabbage and carrot. The school was freshly painted and gleamed in the evening sunshine.


The charm of small houses always attracts the eye. Brightly painted, the areas outside swept clean and tamped down,  the bare sparseness speaks of simple living and one imagines, contentment.



On my way back as I crossed the Bhavanieaswari temple;  I watched a mother sitting outside the house attached to the temple, in sweet ease with her children . How many mothers Ive heard , wishing to live again  those  simple, busy days  when their children were young and life less complicated , although life’s material riches are now more in abundance.



Stepping out

I was looking forward to May as a time of rest and being at home and pottering around but all that is getting a bit too restful . My friends are busy with visiting children or visiting their kids. The town is too crowded to drive and park and do anything much. I’ve been doing a bit too much work in the  garden with not so good consequences for my back although the garden is looking rather colorful .  So Im finding it rather painful to walk on slopes. And I’m not sure that stoicism in this case is a good thing. So haven’t been walking much either. All that is my sad story. 
Then today there was a friend setting off to the hills in the Northeast. 
And after getting over the wave of envy and resentment that washes over one when someone else seems to be doing something adventurous which we wish we had the gumption to organise ;  I thought -I am living in the damn hills after all!  So why dont I use this time to explore .
I  took the car out to the Lovedale road, parked and walked along for an hour. I got my walk on level ground on a nice well tarred road which contrasts with our pot hole ridden one ; a new place to explore, velvety green tea fields on one side, tall trees on another, vistas of train track and tunnels.
Most of all there was the joy of stepping out of my usual ruts . It takes a little leap to do something new, to go somewhere new… and to do it alone. And the happiness in overcoming inner resistance to actually do something a little difficult is one of life’s greatest pleasures.
 Somewhere new I promised myself every day of this week.
In the rush of leaving I had left my phone behind, so there was no stopping to take photographs. Another time!

Finding Fanny

Books on writing tell you to develop your characters. Think about how they will behave, think of what they will do and the storyline will grow from there.

Finding Fanny puts together a bunch of characters,  each with a little hidden story inside  and some quirks of character that make them interesting enough to be followed on screen for a couple of hours and lets the story develop slowly  around them.

The story line is simple. Ferdinand  or Fernando,  played by Naseerudin Shah, is a postmaster in a ramshackle little village. His long ago letter, proposing marriage to his juvenile hearthrob,  Fanny ,is returned  undelivered,  after 40 years. The sight of the letter first produces grief for the 40 years spent thinking he has been rejected  and then, hope arises, that maybe, maybe, Fanny  could still be open to his proposal.

Abetted by the sweet, unfortunate young widow, Angelina, (Deepika Padukone) he decides to set off to look for Fanny and propose again. He needs a car for the journey. His eyes fall on an old car which is being fixed by Savio De Gama (Arjun Kapoor), a brooding young man, just returned from Bombay.  Savio is persuaded by Angelina to act as driver. Rosy , Angelina’s  mother in law, played wonderfully by a well padded Dimple Kapadia, comes along to protect her.  Don Pedro, ( Pankaj Kapoor) as owner of the car , exercises his right to join them , secretly hoping that his obsession to paint the buxom Rosy will find fulfillment. The final passenger is Rosy’s white cat, seated on Fernando’s lap who is to meet her sudden end.

They set forth on an adventure which grows into a story about going forth to seek love.  The misunderstandings  that arise from bottling up feelings.  When this bunch of sad, ordinary , rather bored people get out of their ruts; things start changing in their lives.

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The nuances of each character are brought out by the strong actors.  There are little human sequences throughout that surprise and delight. Deepika going among the chickens and  unsqueamishly  chopping up one for dinner.  Savio looking hungrily at her.  A little kid giving the finger. The artist chasing Rosy unceasingly only to finally surprise her. Ferdinand setting off in search of petrol reluctantly hoping someone else will volunteer to go with him but knowing he must go because this is His adventure. He goes and comes back and sees that the other people are merely coming with him. But he has to make his journey .

The movie is set in Goa, where people have the license to be mad and overboard and do whatever they wish to and live life in excess – we think , we who do not live there.  The landscape of Goa is  lovingly portrayed, golden and green and serene. The music is fresh and different. Above all, there is a streak of the absurd throughout the movie that lifts it above boring.

The story ends with their discoveries about each other, shocks and rearrangement  of thoughts which have been around for a long time in their minds.   And they start anew on different journeys with happiness.  A movie with charm.

I got to see this movie with a group of women from my fitness class. Opinions were strongly divided about the merits of the movie. Too long, dragging, were some of the comments. Some people were disappointed because it was about a bunch of ordinary people with no special heroic tendencies. But overall, everyone   enjoyed the camaraderie of going out with a group of friends, the lovely visual feeling that still lingers with a very different journey of a few hours.

Bigger and more! In the US of A

My first  trip to the US of A. It has  been more a family trip rather than looking at any of the remarkable sights  in this country.

And that has been an educational experience too.

WP_20140726_004We have been catching up with cousins we spent our growing years with, but grew away from, after they moved here. When they come to India on whirlwind tours, interaction extends to a phone call or a hello at family functions. But when you stay with a person at their home, you really get to interact and learn about that person. How much each of us have changed and grown, early impressions have to be wiped away, lingering little ideas of malcontent vanish, and there is a deepening of old bonds which have frayed a lot  with time.

Dallas was all wide roads, amazing arcs of highways, broad tree lined streets, the manicured lawns of residential DSC00169communities, large homes and larger homes, and a feeling of widespread prosperity. There isn’t an air of busy commerce at the shops which seem to be housed in leisurely large plots. The small  temple housed at the end of a row of shops was a different experience.

DSC00225We visited the John F Kennedy Memorial. Being of the generation which still remembers the glamor surrounding him, it was interesting. The Aquarium is a huge place going up several storeys  and laid out to entrance and pull you in further and higher.  A forest with creepers, falling water and lovely orange flamingoes! And penguins and parakeets. Anemones and jelly fish. It was a long vista of endless delights.

the spot where Kennedy was shot is a major tourist attraction 

Another must do is going up  the Reunion Tower to look at the skyline at night, a pretty sight. We happened to encounter the Mary Kay convention going on at the same time, a host of pretty ladies.

The way people here pack a lot of things into their lives  and work hard all the time is an eye opener. No one thinks twice about getting out their cars to go buy a gallon of milk. Nor do women turn and ask their husbands to get it. They just get into their massive cars and whiz off. Of course driving and parking does seem simpler than in India; still the energy hardly seems to flag.

Our trip to Dallas ended with a  party. In an afternoon, the backyard put on a pretty face   with  hired tables and chairs, smart table cloths , candles, party stuff from party stores, glitter and glamour . Catered food helped. The party brought more rarely seen relatives and created a great weekend of talk, food and fun .


Flower show!

When I woke up this morning, it was with the thought that I shouldn’t be wimpy and let the idea of crowds and traffic jams keep me away from a show which thousands of people come to attend. I thought I would  go right away, by scooter, avoid the crowds, have a quick look  and be back to cook breakfast.  And then my husband, said he would come too! Getting him to do anything or go anywhere is like pushing an elephant, so this was a shocker!

This year’s theme seems to be roses. Large frameworks in are covered with flowers and as the years go by, the focus has shifted more and more to the man made constructions rather than the flowers themselves.



















but the individual flowers are always more interesting




The fruit section has decreased drastically in size, maybe because there is a separate Fruit show at Coonoor.  This year the display was solely fruits that grow in the Nilgiris.  The man in charge, gave a detailed explanation about each fruit and even some to taste! 🙂

And it seems to have been a good decision to go in the morning.  It has been pouring here ever since  11 o’clock!