Monday, March 29, 2010

coconut nightmares

Okay this time, I have something that doesn’t involve my childhood. Well technically I’m still a child so we are still in my childhood! I will narrate the chores I have had to do since my family moved to kerala. Most of the stuff I wouldn’t have dreamt of doing in my comfy home at trichy only 1 year ago. There are quite a few coconut trees in our compound. And the coconuts as we all know has a thick outer shell when they are freshly plucked from the tree- a green, mean, energy draining layer of natural fiber. (Otherwise known as coir) my first job was to rip out this outer layer, with a gizmo(sharp stick) used for this job for the past 500 odd years in kerala.. Trust me when I saw the guiness record for the most coconuts pealed with just teeth of a person, I was at a loss of words. He ripped off the 10-12 coconuts in little more than a minute. When all I managed to do with a knife, the stick and 15 minutes of all my anger and frustration (for agreeing to do the job for a lousy 10 bucks) is 2 measly coconuts. And I had to do 5 more coconuts, by that time it felt like the remaining coconuts were laughing at me.
Then fortunately I got the hang of it, I found a weak spot in the coconut which I did well to exploit. (I finally had a modus operandi) the next chore, in a few days.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

alter boy memoirs

Okay, here something that happened a few years back. It may sound like memoirs of suraj, so please bear with me. I’m going to tell you guys about my experience as an altar boy. For those of you that don’t know what an alter boy means, well they are basically like stage hands for priests (Christian of course) during a holy Mass, every sunday. We kind of say prayers, and do stuff ( I honestly have no idea about it!) . I was about 10-12 years young and my family and i used to go to our local Malayalam church in Tamil Nadu. I did my Sunday school there (only because my parents forced me to attend it) the nuns there made me an alter boy, not because I was extraordinarily pious or any thing! They needed four boys about my age to make their requirement. And with only three boys regularly attending, I was kind of a lack of choice rather than a unanimous addition!
I am not beating around the bush, I was a terrible alter boy. Well I slept at the side of the altar even with, 50 odd people looking there the whole time! Most of them wouldn’t have noticed ( busy with their own slumber, appearing to meditate… but hey, god knows the truth right?). But the nuns and my sis-eager not to leave out even the most miniscule of my mistakes wait with a crocodiles patience for me to fall asleep. After the sermon I get a routine 15 minute admonishment of nuns, and a further lifetime of repartee from my sister and “friends”.
Being a Malayalee born outside kerala, it would be safe to say my knowledge of the Malayalam prayers was less than microscopic. And to make the worse, further worse my pronunciations sounded funny even to me! So the prayers were left to be said by another guy. And there are other small chores that I was remotely aware of, so it was left to the guy standing next to me. Which leaves me standing there doing nothing, the whole time but stand, sit or kneel at the appropriate times.
Even this simple exercise of standing and sitting seemed too complicated to my poor sleepy mind back then. More than once have I sat for the sermon and slept, so when every one in the church is standing up after the sermon I would be sitting there in my catnap, in front of every one. After 5 minutes of this humiliation my fellow alter boy finally finds it apt to wake me up. There was one incident where I slept during a midnight mass before Easter. Only the funny part this time was,I was standing up when I fell asleep all of sudden and fell on the alter table. The priest asked me after the mass (he was not angry, actually I think he was amused) “you could stay awake for one hour before Easter?” (this is where it gets hard to explain to the non Christians, the bible reading that day was, where Jesus Christ took his apostles to the top of a mountain on the night before the day he was executed. The apostles slept while Jesus Christ went to pray to accept all the mankind’s sins) so I said to the priest, “father, even the apostles fell asleep and you make a big deal when I slept?” of course I was tired and not in my senses when I said it. But the priest laughed for a full 5 minutes after I said that. He would narrate that to anyone standing with him when ever he saw me ( for the next 2 years I was there!)
I have never been an alter boy since then, and I don’t intend to being one in the near future. Two years of my reminiscence as an alter boy has made me panic-stricken on my idea of an alter boy.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

my first day of school!!!!

If the reader is looking for a melodramatic story, I’m sorry to say you come to the wrong place or in this case the wrong blog! The story of my life is quite normal, with a few errors and mistakes…….okay a lot of errors and mistakes! It began quite normally in a hospital like many of the others. I’m one of those not so rare cases where the doctor who delivers the baby instead of slapping the baby, slaps himself! Yeah, another warning for the readers these cheesy jokes are the very foundation of my blogs so feel free to flee now!
                                                                 Okay here’s what I’ll share with you folks, some of the dumb situations I get myself into. They are quite hilarious to those who are not ME! To begin with, I was a really shy kid, stress on was. My mom told me about the first day at school. I was the only one not crying. My faint recollection of this is my mom dropping me off at the class and promising to sit outside the whole time.(a lie my innocent 3 year old mind believed completely) I walk into the class room where a lot of kids my age were crying for their parents. The phenomenon seemed like an epidemic only I was immune to, every now and then a new kid would walk till the threshold of the class happy, unaware of the fact that he is about to be stuck in this hell hole with his parents waving a quick good bye to him and disappearing. The moment they notice their parents are not coming back to get them, they go berserk. I was like an outcast, unable to cry, feeling a little guilt that I’m doing something wrong only I did not have the faintest idea what I did wrong! There was a heap of toys at a corner of the class completely unnoticed by the tear full eyes of my first classmates. It was the paradise of any 3 year old. Now I simply could not waste any of my time missing moms, when a heap of toys lay there begging to be played with ,now can I?
                                                    The crying finally subsided after an hour or so, I think because of the overwhelming number of kids who needed to pee (but they were totally confused by the complicated mechanism of the zipper). After the class the parents were all back to take their “educated” toddlers home. I told my mom and dad that the school place was not bad, I really thought so too, until the next day. My mom dresses me up in the uniform. That’s when I sensed something was wrong.(I guess it’s one of those things which are good the first time you try it, not so much afterwards) . Now here they were taking me to the place…. Again! The floodgates opened and with the tears came my desperate struggle to hold on to my one chance of escape……my mom. That hope died when I saw her wave to me (I was now now held in a vice like grip of two teachers). Only the previous day I was mystified as to why the kids were crying. Well at least then, I knew why!
                                                          I don’t recall any of my friends there, but I used to sit next to this Sikh kid named Pankaj. I remember his name well because once there was a terrible stench in my class……… like something crawled up in there and died (its common for kindergarten kids to shit themselves, especially with an incredibly intimidating teacher like the one we had) and the stench was traced to be originating from our bench. I knew who the culprit was so I kind of looked at him when the teacher came near. Oh how I regret that now! It seems looking to the side, is a sign of guilt in kids who shit their pants. Because the teacher caught my ear and took me to the aaya(the janitor lady) who took me to the bathroom and strip searched me for any signs of lethal weaponry. I was acquitted of “the crime.” Well I don’t recall an apology but, I still hold kind of a grudge on the kid called Pankaj.