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One thing that never fails to move me is rain. And it has been raining – there have been all kinds of rain, from pouring bucketsful to a light misting rain that nevertheless manages to drench in a few minutes. What rain does to me is bring back an exact emotion, and when I think back to the most powerful memories it brings back, I can easily pinpoint two very powerful ones out of the uncountable numbers it seems to dig up.

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This is really the first time I’m in a “thon” of any sort.

While a marathon of any sort is really not my cup of tea, one would have thought the same of Sriram, who, quite surprisingly, trained for and ran the Mumbai marathon this year.

While I was in college, a few of us decided to have a quizathon. You see, we were quiz mad then. And what better thing for us than to have fifty rounds of quizzing. The usual quiz was only ten or twelve rounds. Some were even as short as eight rounds. We planned for a fifty-round quiz, with five audio and five video rounds. We had the questions, we had the venue planned out and even how we would go about the whole thing. The only things we didn’t have were money and sponsors. read more

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Bandy to the Shandy

Vidya and I were talking about the word ‘shandy’ this morning. Unfortunately, does not have the definition we were talking about. Apart from the beer and lemonade drink, it also means a periodic village market, usually held once a week, that is the mainstay of the rural economy.

I remember the Singanallur sandhai (the Tamil word for a shandy, from which presumably the English version arose) very well. Shandy day was Sunday, and as residents of Singanallur, it meant an exciting trip to the shandy ground, where farmers would sell their wares. Makeshift shops with vendors of every description selling vegetables, peanuts, corn-on-the-cob, spices, meat, fish, dry fish – the list is simply too long to keep going on – would produce an indescribably intricate maze of colours, flavours, aromas, stinks and stenches navigating through which was the ultimate thrill for us as children. There were also innumerable locksmiths (who sold new locks, as well as cut keys for old ones), cobblers (who would repair torn chappals or make a new pair for you), balloon sellers (who would twist their long colourful balloons into different shapes for a few rupees, and who were never, ever patronized by our parents!) and the one-string violinists, who would play such lovely tunes on their own instruments, and yet, when we got the same instruments, not a sound could we coax out of them! read more

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Back to school!

Okay, here’s me standing on Karthik’s shoulders.

He is talking about the (un?)grammatical excesses committed by one Mr. L, who asked us to “Look your own eye.” Let me put Karthik out of his misery(?) – what he actually said (or was trying to say) was “Look your own height,” which meant look straight ahead, not up or down 🙂

Of course, cutting one’s haircut is still a standing joke among old schoolmates.

“Take up front,” I think, was a warning Mr. L gave before whacking one on the backside with his cane. The reason for this, I now think, is not because of concern for the damage the cane might cause to the hands, but rather for the damage that might be caused to the cane if it came into contact with the bones of the wrist. A splintered cane meant it had to be replaced, and more importantly, no more caning that day. Of course, if you wore baggy trousers and bent backward as the blow (or “cut” as the teachers used to call it) was administered, you could take a great deal of the sting off it. read more

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Boiled Corn

Corn on the Cob

On Friday evening, we had boiled corn on the cob! Somehow, it reminds me of the rainy days of my boyhood, and the anticipation of the rain stopping so that we could go out and play. Maybe feeding us boiling corn (or groundnuts, both of which we – my father, my brother and I – were maniacally fond of!) was my mother’s way of keeping us occupied indoors while the rains poured their bounty. Sigh! Nostalgia!

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