Thursday, March 29, 2007

Forbidden Times

When is the best time to write? When you are totally free and have nothing to do? I never get any ideas then. What do you do when you are in the middle of your end term exams and have this itching urge to write.. something.. anything at all? You write :)
There have been countless times when i have been in the middle of something important and got this really great idea to write about. I usually shove it to the back of my mind with a note for 'later'. Somehow later never happens because the idea disappears by then.
Obviously i am not doing that today. No great idea struck. But I am on a resolution now to do the things i want to do and not what i really ought to do. And here i am.

(Written in the fond hope that my dad does not see this and start getting sleepless nites :)) )

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Green Green Grass of Home

It’s been a long long time since I went home. Ten months to be exact. And I will be going back finally in April. Green grass, forested hills, pretty streams, flowers bursting with life, tea estates, cold misty mornings, acres of gardens. These are the images that Ooty typically conjures up.

Ooty to me is home. A small town where most of the people know each other. Where I am always assured of hot tea and warm genuine people, wherever I go. Where the postman sees my father’s name on a letter and delivers it straight, without looking at the address. Where I can leave the keys in the scooter while going into a shop and be assured that it will still be there when I come back.

A sleepy town that really only wakes up during the season and gets really dirty when the hordes of tourists descend upon it. Tourists complain that it gets dirtier with the year and still come back the next. A town where the only sure fire way to make money is to open a bakery. But the best chocolates are still from KingStar.

A town where the primary mode of transportation is walking because there are only two town buses (there are more now) which never go where you want to. Most of the roads are either narrow or too crowded which makes driving a pain. There are too many slopes, making cycling impossible. I only learned to cycle in the eighth standard in Coimbatore during my holidays. Which leaves us with walking (except for horse riding of course).

This is the Scotland of the East, where the English still seem to live on. Most of the pretty, snooty houses (and the not so snooty ones) are old and British. Local legend has it that they were bequeathed by their English owners, who left the country after independence, to their gardeners or milk men who are the present snooty owners. The Nilgiri Library, one of my favourite haunts, seems to still live and breathe in a different time. The rows and rows of well thumbed, leather bound books , the huge reading room with its well-worn carpet and sagging couches, the deer and bison heads on the walls, the wizened clerks and librarian, the benches outside, the silence even, seem to sigh for days gone by.

Some of the most eccentric and erudite people live here. A dentist who is a renowned naturalist and studies the toda tribe in his spare time, being the only non-toda to speak the language. A supreme court lawyer who is also an environmentalist and runs a school based on the principles of J.Krishnamoorthy. A scientist who was the former head of the Atomic Commission. One of India's most famous photographers who has opened an institute there now. All of them are stalwarts of the town.

It's the people who make a place what they are. And Ooty has some of the nicest people i have ever known. The Ooty i know is not visible through a tourist's eye. It's the place i love and wouldn't want to ever change.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Old Friends

“Time it was and what a time it was,

It was a time of innocence

A time of confidences

Long ago it must be

I have a photograph

Preserve your memories

They’re all that’s left you see”

Was just listening to the song by Simon and Garfunkel the whole of yesterday and it made me want to call up and talk to all of mine. It’s been quite some time since I last did. Somehow I am not very good at keeping in touch, but there’s always an instant feeling of comfort, no matter how long the gap has been.

Phone conversations are always a little rushed. It is difficult to fit in months of happenings into a 5 minute call, and often we may not really know what to say. But when we meet in person it seems like old times are back again. We spend all our time pulling each other’s legs, talking about past atrocities, teachers, classes, classmates, silly fights, people we hated, gossip. The present and future are there too but they somehow don’t seem that important.

We grow up and mature. Things happen in our lives. Change. We spend so much time apart. And yet the distance dissolves in an instant. I haven’t really had a lot of friends through school or college, but those that I have are ‘lifetime’ friends. I know they will always be a part of my life, no matter how far apart we are, how sporadically we meet or talk or how different our lives turn out to be.

“And that has made all the difference”