November 28, 2004


People…This is a poem I’ve written to send for a competition.Please send me your comments asap…be critical.Lemme tell you the truth.It was not a poem I wrote naturally.The topic was given and I had to write based on that- Violence against women.So ppl,keep that in mind also! J

She slowly opened her eyes and beheld the world,
Oh! How splendid and bright it is to be alive!
Her father had not wanted the girl,
Her mother had thought the same.
And together they had tried to wipe,
From life’s pages, her name.

But, oh, the poor girl did survive,
As a crippled lame thing,
Escaping death by a whisker,
A heavenly blessing?

She grew up amidst dislike and hate,
She remained unloved, unwanted.
A lonely heart amidst her kin,
A limping servant maid.

“Your birth brought us no joy,
Let your parting, a lakh, pay,”
Her father had fixed a sixty year old groom,
The girl refused, ran away from ‘home’.

A gang of men waylaid her,
She tried to save herself.
Once more the heavens helped,
A bus stopped to take her to town.

There she worked, she earned, she found her lucky dame,
Ability in her disability, won herself a name.
The girl prospered as heavens smiled again,
An honest co-worker married her and wiped away her pain.

But wouldn’t her life been better,
Had there been love, kindness and joy?
Oh mankind, give woman a right to her life,
Give her an identity other than mother, child and wife!

November 25, 2004

Why do I write?

Now that I think of it, yeah…why do I write? I’ve just heard someone call me ‘weird’ because I’m such a compulsive scribbler that I write even on the rickety long journeys to college.
Ah yes…why AM I obsessed with writing? Why should I? For whom? Am I achieving something by it or is somebody else gaining anything? Where’s the purpose?
Oh…for that matter, why should anybody write? To communicate information, yes.But then why do we pen down our expressions, feelings and emotions? To give them a vent, what else, you might ask. But there is something more, I feel.
Before you decide to pounce on me and yell, “Hey Sandhya wassup with you? Why this philosophical and questioning stand?” here I begin to answer my own questions…
Maybe we write because there is some sort of a duty to leave memories behind us. It is not just expressing but expressing with a purpose so that years later your posterity could look through those leaves and see and feel you alive, for maybe fleeing moments!
So one could say that people write to live beyond their years.To live again and again and again-everytime somebody reads you. They hear your pleas, revel in your pleasures-they FIND and REDISCOVER you.
You write to keep you balanced. Or let me put it this way-I write to be stable. If I don’t write out, I’m all excited, frantic, impulsive and so untamed and wild. Something surges deep within me-a passion to let out an uncivilized part of me. Letting it out on paper makes me calm and also seems to be a better option!
Why else do we write? To richen somebody with something beautiful that you could capture through the right words but which the- after some mighty struggle, couldn’t, and were dying to express. You help others by writing.
Writing is magic-with the right words! You actually charm the reader, intoxicate them and put them in a trance. They are hypnotized by its power that they blindly follow it.
Ah…we write to be ourselves. Some people NEED to write because it is their basic need. Like…we need to eat, we need to sleep and so, we need to write. Just that. No other reasons why!
I know I really haven’t conveyed anything now, but then I needed to write something. But well…why?

November 22, 2004

Of Journalism and Journalists…

I am writing this mainly because of what I discovered lately.
This is in actuality, an ode to that bunch of people who convey, communicate and express themselves on paper(newspapers/magazines) and in the process become so essential a part of our lives.
The newspaper forms a very important part of my daily life-so much so that, after my spectacles, that is the thing I reach out for(yes…even before brushing my teeth).I really like reading the paper not because it helps us know what’s actually happening around us, but mainly because it acts as a forum for talented people to express themselves.
“No man can live isolated and he needs to have healthy relationships with his society for his survival and happiness”
We just read the news and leave it there ,but think of the work that has gone behind the accumulation of the news,arrangement,content,style,clarity and why even to coin the eye-catching title and decide on the placement of the story on paper!It’s an enormous responsibility to be a journalist.Do we ever bother to think of those people who convey news,interesting titbits,juicy gossip,fun happenings?
Leave alone reporting ,read the many articles where people communicate their thoughts,opinions and emotions. When one of them read similar to what you actually have been thinking/feeling recently, oh the happiness that arises just can’t be put to words. Also some articles are written just like how you like,or how you wanted to write-again the thrill is beyond description.But do we ever really go tell the journalist, “Hey I thought like you too about this and that.I really like your stuff!” When they take pains to communicate,shouldn’t we bother to go tell them how much of a difference their work makes to us?
Living in a world where filmstars,sports heroes and politicians are given demi-god status, (or god status-considering the ‘star’ temples arising these days) shouldn’t the journalists who give us the basic social news-a prime necessity for human survival be given importance too?
They are humans too and would like people to respond,communicate and tell them where they go right and where they go wrong.Imagine having a conversation for long with a person who would just sit mute and expressionless?Wouldn’t you get tired?So just imagine what a selfless group of people the journalists are-they keep talking to us and we never tell them if they are interesting,boring,irritating or funny!
Shouldn’t we then begin to tell them?Why do we have to keep expecting people to come and appreciate us for our trendy clothes and new hair-style when we don’t even bother to thank the people who actually give us a link to the external world?
I guess it is high time we go and reach out to journalist.You could always mail them through their newspaper/magazine offices.What’s wrong?Don’t we always like to be praised?Why not for a change give some and see?You see the sweet words said are more sweeter than those received!
And let me begin thanking and yes…you all better follow suit!You could actually add your thanksgiving here…

THE HINDU (newspaper)
Sudhish Kamath-for all his khewl and awesome writing,for his play with words.For all that he’s writing and will write!
Nirmal Shekar-for his poetry-in-prose ‘comments’,excellent style
Shonali Muthalaly-amazing descriptions,unimaginable vocabulary,adjectives!!!
Ramya Kannan-for that soul-stirring piece on ‘The Kumbakonam Tragedy’
V.Gangadhar-for his simple and brilliant writing.
Pradeep Sebastian-for loving books the very way I do and describing them beautifully.
Karthik Subramaniam,Prince Frederick,Shalini Umachandran,Prasanna Sreenivasan(the previous two especially for their article on fake bands!),T.Krithika Reddy,S.R.Ashok Kumar,S.Manikandan(for his story with Sudhish Kamath on the Stephanie case),Akhila Seetharaman-for all the great stuff you write
Marien Mathews-for all the interesting food reviews
Gowri Ramnarayan-for all her stuff
Shashi Tharoor-for that article about a very cold American winter where his friend gave some food to a starving homeless person on Christmas eve.
Sreedhar Pillai-for ALL that he writes about films.
Chitra Mahesh and Malathi Rangarajan-for their reviews.

Gokulam(I grew up reading it!)
Anuradha Khati Rajeevan-For her ‘Undir’ stories
J.vasanthan-The Jayabalan stories

Tantri the mantra
Shikari Shamboo
Ramu and Shyamu

Vijay Lokapally

And all those not mentioned here due to lack of time,I’ll continue in my Part II.

November 21, 2004


Sudden footfalls inspire,
The cold wind to chill the bones.
Was that the sound of spirits?
Walking out of graves to roam?

Eerie silence suddenly prevails,
The rustle of the leaves echoes.
Leaving no hope for calm,
Fear in the mind it sows.

The cobwebby stones emerged,
With an elegy to sing in praise,
The long dead man rests,
Unknown of how much he is loved.

Maybe sometimes he does come out!
To see those faces stained with tears,
And weep alongside and mourn-
He for them and they for their dear.

Out ahead looms,
The graves of all ‘dead’ souls.
Dead are they really?
A sudden doubt rolls…

~The Dreamy Dryad

November 18, 2004


I have just had a soul-wash!I’ve got backsomething essential I had lost in the last 8months.Hunter…Orion…Ifound you again.
Ever since I learnt about the universe in my tenth,I’ve been having trysts with Orion.I have talks about faeryland with it,pray to it,wave it a hi and do all sorts of crazy(yes) but sweet things.
Eight months back one fine day…er night, I couldn’t find it.The skies have seemed empty from then.But today I found it in those skies and I’ve got the piece of soul that it took away fromme back.
Ah…I feelcharged,refreshed and altogether so blithe!!!
Love you dear Orion!

November 15, 2004


~ Dedicated to all the children who lost their lives in the Kumbakonam tragedy.
*This poetry was inspired by an article written by Ramya Kannan in The Hindu

The dazzle and shine of the sunlight,
Woke her up on Friday morning bright.

A bath, a prayer, a quick book-check,
Powder on the face and beads around the neck.
Heavy bag across the shoulder where pig tails danced,
Out to her school- she ran, she pranced.

Eyes abrim with hope for that one word of praise,
For all the work done the past two days.
A joy for the morning, a joy for the day ahead,
A joy that was visible in her very tread!
The big eyes danced in hopeful light,
That she’ll stand victor and show the world her might!

She squeezed through the school door,
Where a huge crowd did throng.
Her greets to her dear friends
Drowned by the school dong.

Soon began the roll-call, soon began the class,
Soon did they recite their Tamil lines in a mass.
And suddenly that big spark did emerge,
Embracing the thatched roofs, on, it did surge.
Panic here, panic there and all ran about,
With ‘Help! Help!’ ‘Save me’ and a million other shouts.

Oh hours later all of them lay in silence,
The big-eyed girl, among them, her face-rigid and tense.
Her unburnt eyes were wide and in them could be read,
Pain, disappointment, panic and dread!

Oh dear girl! Your dreams are no more!
You’ll no more see victory, no more see a dawn!

November 14, 2004


You can find everything from tattoos to T-scales, posters to pliers, inspiring quote to inquisitive ants, mount boards to mosquitoes! You’ve trespassed into Sandy’s Space-a zone or rather…table where confusion, extreme creativity and total chaos reign supreme! Take your seat…or wait let me just push away those pins and cutters!
Yeah…my table is MY SPACE, MY RECOGNITION,MY DOMAIN,MY NICHE,MY IDENTITY…oh I could go on! It’s ultimately MINE and MINE ALONE and with one inexpressible possessiveness do I dominate my study table.
Its one space crammed between my father’s electronics cupboard to its right and the tiny computer table to its left in a small,already messy room!
Ah let me start with the room itself!This room is the first one that branches out from the hall.This room and my grandfather have a love-hate relationship.Too many things are tightly fit into this room-two study tables,a computer table,dressing table,a sofa ,3 cupboards,a paper trolley,a moda and a chair.Hah imagine themsquashed in a small room.Hence the hate.And …this roomis where there is peace in the noon for cosy naps…hence my grandfather’s love for it!
Now you know where it is.Let me tell you how I’VE DECORATED IT.
Sandhya loves to showcase her trademark style.”Ahem…what is it?”you might enquire.Well…she likes her space to be crowded with her stuff.You see,born in a place with close proximity to railway station crowds and busy shopping locales,crowd runs in her blood.With such ‘inspirations’,can Sandy be crowd free?
So she…I mean I have stuck a million stuff on my table,abovemy table and to the left of my tableon my father’s cupboard.Rahul Dravid,Madhavan and Tendulkar blow ups,my XII standard group photo(ah…memories!),a calendar with roses and ribbons tied atevery possible space with two childhood snaps pinned,a letter from a friend in Singapore,a Zaheer- in- mid- air- and –out- to- bowl- a -yorker photo,aHarry Potter snap,more Dravid,a parrot stick -on -the –wall(a gift of a dear teacher’s Christmas party),more Madhavan,beautiful verses(especially of L.M.Montgomery) and finally embroidery hoops,tuck-in-all junk boxes,rag bag and a pen holder all hung on one poor single fancy hook.Sigh!
But that’s not the end.An old greeting from ‘The Angel of Armida’(which happens to be the nom-de-plume of my dear sister Swetha) to ‘The Dreamy Dryad’(hey…thatz me!)is stuck on the table along with one kolam(crazy I agree.But I REALLY liked the kolam).
Now shift gears.Look down.Horror of horrors…it is a mass of meaningless stuff.Chart holders,A2 size sheets,colour papers,kathi-kabada(with what else can you cut monsterous boards that just wont obey you?),pencils of every possible type-B,HB,2H…,erasers of every brand,tubes of fevicol,fevikwik,glues and gums(some without caps,dying a horrible death),sheets of poems and sketches,an old greeting card,a Sudhish Kamath article(generally it will be one of the Campus Notes) fluttering below yet another pen holder,a painting,designs done at 2 in the night that make no sense ,chocolate wrappers,tatoos got for BOOMER,twigs from my favourite tree-‘Old lady with green fingers’(yes…thatz how I call that tree),sand frommy school,sometimes my huge stuffed dog ‘Bobby’,a printout of the world’s most best article titled ‘To-my-air-conditioner,with love’carefully put into a transparent file for hurried and happy readings,cube models,cellophane tapes,a novel or two,my dictionary,thesaurus,calculator,t-scale(and that happens to be one enormous ‘T’ shaped thing architecture students and architects use for drafting),set squares,compass,conch shells,pista shells,old gift wrappers-a memoir of real HAPPY birthdays,letters written by thevery few friends whoactually write back and a zillion things more.
Yes my desk actually does whine and moan and complain and creak!But…I love this confusion.My parents hate it.I love it because it is so like me-clinging to the sweet trifles that make my life that I find even the most smallest scrap of paper too dearto throw off.I am one hoarder of stuff-anything I like,I save it,collect it,keep it.I relive my golden moments,I treasure my dreams,I rejoice everytime they come true.I celebrate life.My table is a celebration too.Of life-my life-the architect and thewriter in me surfacing at different times.It has variety,confusion,brilliance(ahem…I know I shouldn’t boast…but still you see…ok…I’ll give up!),creativity,nonsense,disorderliness,priceless treasures and worthless things.
It is a mad corner,alright,but there is “a method in its madness”.It showcases my crazy yet joyful ,celebrational,laughing,enjoying self that reacts deeply to joy and sorrow,that takes happiness with a dizzying high and sadness with a terrifying low.A portrayal of the “stubborn,disobedient,disorganized,muddled,scrambled,jumbled,addled,crazy…”(I quote my family) yet unique(ha!)person that happens to be me!
My table is a place to snooze and a placeto write my views,where my mind works and where it doesn’t.I’ve laughed,cried,dreamt,grieved and done everything I possibly could do.Its my world- something too dear for anybody to pilfer.That would be sacriligeous.I am the only onbe who can find a pin from the mess.And yes…the only one who lost it there again!But still… it is MINE-MY SPACE,MY IDENTITY, MY WORLD,MYSELF.
I love you my dear
darling study table!

November 11, 2004

Lemme tell u the most amazing news on earth...I went to watch the fourth day's play of the Test Match between India and Australia at the Chepauk Stadium yesterday(Oct 17)!!!
It was so damn good to see the match live.We waved banners and yelled like real maniacs letout from the asylum!Here's my whole story...
My cousin,my sister-Swetha,my father and I reached the stadium at 8 am on Sunday morning.And...what did we see there?Oh...A crowd that would give the ppl at Ranganathan street a run for their money had assembled there!Seriously,I thought that we definitely wouldn't get a ticket.
We joined the Rs.200 queue for the IOB stand.The Rs.150 queue moved real fast and I got pretty bugged standing there with the heat getting on my nerves and the queue remaining static!
Then this guy distributing free caps came and he informed us that there was a separate queue for ladies up in the front.So my sister and I immediately left to verify.We were let in and we were soon joined by the other two.We,after abt 20 minutes,got our tickets.I GOT THE TICKETS!!!
If you want to know how passionate people here are,about cricket,let me do the honours.An old man who had just undergone a cataract surgery was there buying the tickets before us.Then there was this patti who was so so shrewd.She kept talking to ppl and slowly slid to the front to get the tickets.The REALLY cunning woman!Also there was this guy with one hand fractured and dangling on a sling!My mother chips in that she saw on TV some ppl with year old babies!Look at that!!!We then moved in and were checked by metal detectors.
I just can't describe the feeling that overcame me when I first viewed the cricket pitch.But let me just try!It was an oval expanse of pleasant green grass cropped carefully,with a bald stripat the centre for the pitch.Nets had been put up and Brett Lee,Gilchrist,Sourav and Agarkar were practising.
Soon the nets were dismantledand the players returned to the dressing room.At 9:30,David Shepherd and Rudi Koertzen walked in amidst tumultous applause.
The Indian Cricket team then trotted in Spotless whites with Aussies Damien Martyn and Jason Gillespie.
I spotted Dravid almost immediately.He walked in along with Birthday boy Kumble.But once the first over began I couldn't see him.He was in first slip and was hidden by the pillar blocking that lone strip of my view.
I saw the whole of the Indian and Aus team.Tho the fact remains that an Indian team without Tendulkar did look incomplete!!!HE IS AN ULTIMATE CRICKETER!!!No denying that!
In the pavillion were seen John Wright,John Buchanan,our statistics analyst-Mr.Ramakrishnan and Andrew Leipus(I think it was him!)
The first half was kinda slow and we spent all our time waving posters like "Gillespie Flee","Itz Jumboz Day-Happy Birthday!","JAMMY" etc.
The second half tho(post-lunch) was damn good,tho!Wickets fell and the crowd increased.We yelled,shrieked,waved and did everything a nutty,cricket-crazy cictizen ought to do!The whole stadium did that huge wave-like thing.We joined them.,Boy-oh-boy that was smashing!!!
Shepherd followed a custom the whole day.Whenever he had to stand at square-leg,he used to turn around,look atour stand,keep his hands on the hips and stare atus.We would shrik.Rudi did it too along with a bow and a wave of his hat!Sweet umpies!
Sehwag IS a darling!When he fielded in front of our stand he waved to us,clapped along with us,encouraged us to yell more and the like.Chweet guy,we cheered him madly when he came to bat later!
Laxman too was a dear.He waved and did a 'Namaskar' to us!Harbhajan also waved to our stand.
I was really lucky to be in the IOB stand.It was the most yell-your-lungs-out kind of stand and the most friendly and cheering one.All the cricketers and Umpires were friendly with OUR STAND ALONE!!!
Dravid was overparticular in arragingthe helmets.When there were three of them,he arranged them in the decreasing order of height(Parthiv's -smallest.Kaif-mid-size,Aakash Chopra/Laxman/Yuvi-large).When there wereonly two then he'd keep it face-to-faceas if they were talking to each other.
It was really one of the most thrilliest thing that has ever happened to me in my life!I am so happy.

November 10, 2004


The world is drenched in a festive mood.It is lighted with a million gems showering from the skyHearts pulsate with the music that resonates around.
Deepavali-a time of joy and colour,fun and music,prayer and thanksgiving.A time to look back and view the past year’s magic in a new light under the coloured lights that erupt from the sky!
In such a celebration of life itself.I would like to express the million moments of pleasure that enveloped my life in a gloss the past year and thank every person that has made the difference.
Last Deepavali to this one-Sandhya has come a long way-from a school-goer to a colleger and surprisingly,matured a teeny-weeny bit with the twelve months of experience.
You might think that I should have blogged this for the New Year but the thing is,when an idea ‘seizes’ me.I need to get it out of my system.So all you people out there-grin and bear it!
The last year has been such a jolly mix of trouble and happiness,trials and triumphs,dreams and fulfilment!
It all began with the dread of the board exams-that ultimate sealer of your fate.It hung over me like a sharp edged dagger till March,the 19th!
Endless cramming and forgetting of definitions,experiments,C++Programs,mathematics equations,poetries,etc.Phew!Time seems to have gone off in a whiz now!And then finally…the dreaded exams came.Writing it,discussing after the exam,despair,disappointment,exultation,expectation!
Oh…such a turmoil of emotions that bubbled through the self!Enough to have driven me mad(as if I wasn’t already!)Trying times…yes!
And once they got over-releif as I’ve never experienced before.Such tension had preceded the exams that once they did get over,there was a strange sort of emptiness and…FREEDOM!
Freedom to breathe on your own without smelling the stench of Chemistry and Maths,freedom to express yourself without being crippled by Physics and freedom to live your way without having to read liked Computer Science.
Freedom to dwell with just my thoughts,my wishes and my dreams with nothing to spoil their allurement!
Six months followed-of well deserved bliss with just exam results and four entrances(Vis Com-Loyola,Journalism-MOP,AIEEE-Arch,TN ATA) as brief tension times.
I had the TIME of my life!I wrote…wrote like I’ve never done before-stories,poetries,creative sketches,diary entries-with new found enthusiasm and tension free mind.The spirit that had been suppressed for two years due to incessant demands of high school life,had been liberated!
Movies,music,fun,friends,joy,sweet little nothings and books…oh BOOKS!!!
Haven’t I CRAVED to read them?L.M.Montgomery… oh…I read so many of her creations and only then…yes…only then did the soul come out of its prison.
People…people I care for…I had time at last to spend with them after two years of nerve-wrecking business.
Chennai Poets’ Circle –a not so famous organisation but one of the most best and most encouraging one!I becme a member of this superb organization.Hats of to them and…me!
College next.Me-a COLLEGER???Impossible to think of in the beginning!Me-who’s not really all that respectable,matured,prim or proper enough to go to college,actually going there!Oh I shamelessly accept that I felt ridiculous at the thought.But go I did and two months later…now,college has proved that I’m more responsible than I perceived I was.Great,Sandy!
The year proved to be an year of dreams!Boards-a decent 90.6%(CBSE,yaar!) after topping in Computer Science(hey…I got a 98!).Got the course of my choice-architecture.Got a few of my articles published coz I dream of becoming a journalist.
Oh then…I joined the L.M.MontgomeryInstitute’s mailing list.It might sound too simple to be called a dream but to those of you who have read her works and love it,YOU KNOW what it means.(hey…on’t I sound like Paul Irving with the YOU KNOW?)
I’ve been a regular reader of The Hindu and I admire a few journalists-Nirmal Shekar(for his poetry-in-prose writing),Shonali Muthalaly(she could teach the world ‘adjectives’),V.Gangadhar(for his simplistic yet superb writing),Pradeep Sebastian(books…ah he is king in their descriptions),Prince Frederick,Shalini Umachandran,Prasanna Sreenivasan(awesome writers of practically anything!),Ramya Kannan(who can forget her write-up on the Kumbakonam Tragedy?It brought tears to my eyes!) and…to top ‘em all…SUDHISH KAMATH!
If ever there was a creative genius in words-its him!He juggles them,plays music with them,transforms them and oh…words betray me when it comes to describing the ‘punch’or ‘spice’ he packs in his writing.He’s khewl with a huge K!And…he’s now my friend!
Imagine your favourite journalist becoming your friend…that’s the most amazing thing that could happen.Someone whom you’ve been looking upto as a ‘guru(he he Sud!) is now your friend,ritic and guide!I’m lucky.
Cricket…oh,that splendid game!Oct 17 saw me watching the fourth day’s play of the second test between India and Australia in the TVS Cup Series in Chennai.Thrilled is too light a word to describe my emotions!
Made one of the editors of the college magazine-dream fulfilled. ;)
Oct 30-met my cousin Shreeram anna for the first time after an year’s e-mail correspondence.He’s the most versatile,encouraging and funny person I’ve ever met in life!
He writes amazingly(16 of his stories have been published in the Australian “Indian Link”.He’s published two novels-Pride and Code E-2012),sings REAL well(both in male and female voices.catch him singing ‘Bolo Shiv Shankar’-nothing was so perfect!) and he’s a mimic cum comedienne!There’s not a dull moment when he’s around!I count meeting him as one of the most splendid moments of my 17 years of existence.
There then have been those moments of tranquility- stolen from Paradise’s cup!My daily walks in my terrace in those 6 months(Antha aaru mathangal-hey nice movie title!) alone…with nothing but nature as a playmate!If you watch the sunset everyday in all its ripening golds and bloody reds-you’ll feel peace in you,as you’ve never felt before.Its an exhilarating experience;a time for retrospection,a lovely time to regain yourself!Such sunsets did I see that I found my hoard of joy in them.
Many more joyouus seconds,merry minutes,unforgettable hours and treasurable days have filled the past year and I with one ‘appy -‘appy heart declare that even a millionaire would envy me of my past year!Ha ha am I not proud I’m me?
This year’s thanksgiving…
My family…for bearing with infinite patience all my chatter,banter and drivelespecially during antha aaru maathangal and for all the support they gave during my dreaded exams.
My friends…for being what they are-my dearest!Especially Pratyusha…you are the best on all the worlds in the universe.
Special thanks to…
Shreeram anna…you are the dearest brother I have.So concerned,encouraging,funny,talented and sweet.All your books will be a hit and I command that you write more than just 5 books.You are awesome anna and Oct 31 was one of the most unforgettable days!
Sudhish Kamath…for all your encouragement,words are not enough to thank you. And to think you wrote an article about me-“To my air-conditioner,with love”.Oh Suderman…I am forever your air-conditioner coz you DESERVE it-no not just one air-conditioner,but a million more.Wait till your movie releases and you’ll be a victor-coz isn’t your movie gonna be a block-buster?I will make sure it is with my prayers!Thankee again…
Elizabeth Louis...and the l..M.Montgomery Institute…for all that you’ve done for the world’s best author.
Mr.Jagdish…for his support,encouragement and guidance in the CPC.Thanks a zillion sir!
All others I didn’t mention but have been simply great…yeah I just said it…you’ve been simply great!
Dreams dreamt and fulfilled the past year.More dreams arising to bloom true.Sunshine and smiles unfurl in my day and with wishes for infinite joy to every patient reader who actually read the whole sef-absorbed entry to the very end,I sign off,saying,
“Happy Deepavali!”
“Light,shine into the soul,
As you dazzle outside
Sweep off the cobwebs
Them that gnaw at my spirit.

Exhilarate,emanate and express
That ultimate feeling called bliss
Joy be to the world this lighted night
Let every life be filled with happiness bright!”

November 04, 2004


There is so much in a sigh! The deep feelings that simmer in happiness-their only let out is in a sigh. That moment you clinch glory and come face-to-face with ‘Ultimate Bliss’-oh- such feelings of supreme happiness are expressible only through a sigh of delight!
The dejections, the despair, the deep-rooted sorrow and the dark hours of grief- how can one give vent to such pangs of pain if not through a sigh? A sigh is poetry in motion and so shall it remain for all those who know how great it is (which unfortunately are very few!)
There is sheer delight in sighing for sighing’s sake! Well no…I’m posing no enigma requiring intense scientific research! A sigh is an exhilarating, out-of-the-world experience. The deep gush of air that rush out of the nostrils in a whirl- that is what I call ‘heavenly’.
Well, not many people would agree that sighing is god’s most supreme gift of expression to mankind-for one-my family (and so I suspect, do all families of the’Sighers’ Club!). ‘Unnecessary inclusion’, ‘Unnatural exhaustion’, and ‘Unprecedented nonsense’- all the ‘un-’ words roll out! Oh, but not all can know the joy and pain in just a sigh, can they?
There is so much in sighing- so much ecstasy captured, sadness drowned and beauty trapped! But the anti-sighing committee WILL object to these. Sad, it is, to be a sigher today! One cannot have but two sides to a coin, can one?
…Oh! There I go again!


~a story by Sandhya Ramachandran

It was an autumn morning. The sun slowly spread its golden beams to herald yet another dawn. The birds chirped away in the sweet ecstasy of dayspring. The air ripened in the aroma of pines and maples. Drenched in this play of light and smells stood ‘Orchis’- the stately home of the Sealanders.
The cobbled path to ‘Orchis’ was adorned with maple leaves of the ‘reddest’ of hues. A tiny iron gate opened from the back of ‘Orchis’ to reveal a stretch of pine trees, which formed an archway.
Draped in faint yellow paint, ‘Orchis’ stood majestically and yet had such a welcome air about it. Its cobbled path was worn out and its huge gates were forever wide open- as open as the hearts of its inmates.
Bryan Sealander was the proud owner of Orchis. The son of a postman, he underwent many a trials before becoming what he was now- a renowned business tycoon and that too at the age of forty-two!
He had a dear little lady for a wife- Cynthia Sealander. Her light brown eyes revealed her soft, patient and loving nature. The poor were always welcome into her home and she helped more than she talked.
Then… There was also Craig, their only son… Presently studying in a good college. He would do anything for everyone’s joy. Totally selfless, he was a ‘hit’ amongst his friends and teachers and totally devoted to his parents. Adventurous, playful and yet caring and concerned- that summed up the lanky handsome teenager.
Suppertime at ‘Orchis’ was a pleasant affair. The three Sealanders and all the housekeepers discussed what Southey called ‘the days that are no more’. And today was no different.
The cook was complaining about ‘that pesky cat that keeps loitering in the kitchen’. The gardener needed a rake. But there was something absent or… someone rather! Craig was not there!
‘Cynthia, where is Craig?,’ enquired Mr.Sealander.
‘Must be in his room. I’ll go get him,’ replied Mrs.Sealander and rose to go.
‘No wait! Let me go,’ he said.
He got up and went towards Craig’s room. The door was open and he could hear Craig speak over the telephone, ‘No… Mark! It won’t do. It just won’t! Listen, I need at least two more phials. The amount of cocaine you gave last time was not enough have just one phial left now. Ok Mark…Yeah…’ He paused and then continued, ‘No… money won’t be a problem! Tomorrow? Fine! See ya!’. And he hung up. He turned around and found his father looking intently at him.
‘Oh… Hello Dad! Had to attend a call. I am coming right away!,’ Craig tried to cover up.
‘Give me the phial!,’ Mr.Sealander said firmly.
Craig appeared to look puzzled. ‘What…phial dad?,’ he asked.
‘No Dad, I don’t…,’ Craig protested.
‘I heard you Craig. Give it!’
‘Dad, no… I won’t do it again dad…Sorry!’
‘Give it! Now!,’ Mr.Sealander was firm.
Craig took out the phial of cocaine from his draw and gave it to Mr.Sealander. Mr.Sealander threw the bottle out of the window. It broke into a million pieces.
‘Craig, come for your supper now. After upper you and I are going for a walk. Is that clear?,’ asked Mr.Sealander very composedly.
‘Ye…s Dad,’ replied Craig.
They had their supper and everybody else ate their supper in total oblivion of what had happened between Craig and Mr.Sealander.
‘Craig, come with me. I want to show you something. Let’s go for a walk,’ said Mr.Sealander.
They set off through the little gate into the shadow of the pines. The smell of the pines was wafting in the air and yet that drench of beauty was to stand testimony to a scene of confrontation! It was a disgusting moment… a moment which nobody likes to face for fear to look at the ‘real us’! The ‘us’ that others perceive, the one so full of all the bad things the world has! But now Craig had his moment. He was jittery and really tensed but nothing could be done about it. ‘Oh! How awkward and depressing,’ he felt.
There was a silence in the air only to be troubled by the soft rustling of leaves or the distant call of the nightingale. And suddenly Mr.Sealander began,
‘It’s long since I told you a story. Right, Craig? Almost five years! Well, I guess it is time now. I am going to tell you the story of a boy almost your age. Well, let me call him… Mike Fillmore. Mike was an orphan. His mother had died during his birth and his father when he was stepping into his teens. He had only an old grandmother to call his own.
Mike was a popular boy. Too popular, in fact. He hogged the limelight. He was everybody’s pet and a nice down-to-earth boy. Mike had many friends. His closest was a… well Lynda Marwick. Lynda and Mike were to be married as soon as college got over. Lynda was beautiful, good and loving and Mike adored her.
Mike had another friend- Jim. Jim was rash and adventurous and Lynda hated him. But that didn’t stop Mike from being chums with Jim. He personally found Jim a ‘great guy to be with’.
It was their last year in college. It was one of those evenings when Mike and Jim hung out with Jim’s friends. There was one amongst Jim’s friends who was daring Jim to do something.
‘Hey chap; you just can’t do it, huh? Yeah, you can’t and won’t! I dare you to do it, but I know you won’t!,’ he said and laughed aloud.
‘What weird ideas that swollen head of yours has! I tell you I’ll do it!,’ said Jim.
‘Inject this! It’s heroin! Try it. Bet you can’t!,’ he said and laughed again.
‘He… roin?,’ gulped Jim.
‘Said you can’t kid? Knew you’d be afraid,’ he teased.
‘I will take it. Give it to me,’ Jim mustered courage and said.
‘Jim no…Don’t,’ gasped Mike.
‘Hey you! Mind your business. Just because you don’t have enough guts, don’t try to stop him. You… are a spineless fool! Get away. I bet you’d never try,’ Jim’s friend tempted Mike.
Mike was quiet.
‘Look at the dog. It is lying down and low. No bark to call it’s own. Oh dear! How so soft of our dear Popular Mikey! Dear Mike! Sweet Mike! Doesn’t have guts! No Courage! Poor poor Mikey!,’ the friends jeered and laughed.
‘Mike1 Let’s do it! It’s just once and it will shut them up,’ said Jim.
‘Yes… Let us,’ gave in Mike.
And that… was just the beginning. The poor kids did not know the habit was ‘catching’. Once your resistance to temptation fails, it fails once again and so on. It continued… the habit. ‘Just this once’, ‘One Last Time’ and Mike was ‘hooked’ or ‘addicted’, you could say! He grew weak.
One day as Lynda was passing by the games room, she heard Jim telling one of his friends, ‘Mike the popular! Huh? We succeeded in our little plot to trap that guy! Now he too is one of our best clients! Next is that Crawford thing! Soon we’ll be BIG time dealers! ‘The Heroin Heroes’- we’d be! Hey, that’s cool man!’
Lynda was drenched in a cold sweat. Her Mike had let her down terribly! She ran in an effort to save him before he was so totally lost! She ran like she had never in her life had- dashing into people, not bothering to apologise and running again. The Marwick sense in her wanted her to stop… stop her dear Mike from falling prey to the trap any more. But her inherent pride also wanted her to stop… to stop from reaching out to a weak, mean creature who had so far lived an illusionary life of hollow ideals and who had no mind to call his own! But her love for him overcame these thoughts. She wanted to help HER Mike. She ran… tears streaming down her soft pink cheeks.
And there… near the library, he was standing as if all was normal!
‘Mike…Could you… come he... re for… just a moment?,’ stammered Lynda. They went to a secluded corner.
‘What’s the matter, Lynda dear?,’ Mike asked full of concern to see her so upset and disturbed.
‘Mike… why did you do this?,’ she cried.
‘Do what?’
‘Ly…Lynda. How did you…?’
‘You’ve let me down terribly, Mike. Let all of us down. You have no heart? No mind? Don’t you ever think? Why didn’t you think of all of us, Mike? Why didn’t you think of ME? The whole college believes you are a fine, young lad- dependable and strong but… oh you are a weak-minded, corrupted, directionless fool. Oh…how I hate you!,’ she cried.
‘Lynda… look… I didn’t know! Didn’t think this way! I’m sorry. Really sorry. I never. Never Thought, Lynda. No I won’t do it again. Lynda look at me. Please Lynda, forgive me! Oh Lynda please!’, he pleaded hysterically.
The next day one could hear police sirens screaming in the college. Two police jeeps screeched to a halt within its gates. The college Principal came out to have a look. The whole college was out in the open.
‘Edward Miller- Special Agent, Drugs Control Squad, FBI,’ one tall imposing policeman announced.
‘Neil Mason- Principal. What can I do for you, sir?’
‘Mike Fillmore of your college has informed that he has been a drug addict supplied with drugs by Jim Taylor, Jack Hill and Roger Ludwig and well… there are more!’
‘What? Mike! Mike Fillmore- a drug addict? Sorry inspector, but there must be some mistake somewhere…I can’t believe HE did such a thing…’ Neil Mason tried to explain.
‘No Mr. Mason. No doubts whatsoever! It is a fact he himself consents. He is here. I would like to arrest the rest,’ Mr. Edward informed.
Mike came out of the police van. Lynda was crying. The whole college was looking at him with contempt.
‘Mike. You…? Mike, the popular, responsible and good? You have stooped so low? My god! And you Jim, Jack and Roger- why have you been so mean and horrible? You have betrayed the trust we all had on you.’ Mr. Mason was dejected. ‘Take them away,’ he said.
‘Mike. Don’t worry. You will be tried for having been quiet about this for so long. You haven’t committed any crime. So they will let you off lightly. Father said he would arrange for a lawyer. Just remember your promise- don’t touch that wretched thing again. I am always there for you, Mike. Always!’ Lynda comforted.
‘Yes, Lynda. I promise,’ replied Mike- a mist of tears clouding his eyes.
It was long- the trial. The jury decided for Mike- a year’s imprisonment for ‘not having reported the drug suppliers in the college before and indirectly helping others become addicted to drugs’ and suggested rehabilitation. Jim, Jack, Roger and others were dealt with severely as they were found to have spread this not only within their campus but outside too. A huge Drug ring was busted.
Mike lost his friends. His grandmother and Lynda were the only support he had. Lynda and her family stood through all the trying times. His whole college including his teachers shunned him. It took him a year to get rid of heroin. Two years of his youth and a million happiness was lost to the menacing drug.
He never gave up his fight against drugs and his strength revived. In the meantime, his grandmother passed away, but only after seeing her grandson become the same man he had been two years back.
He worked very hard to catch up with the one year of education he had lost. Day and night he studied. He applied for the scholarship offered by the government for pursuing studies abroad and he got it. He went abroad, studied hard and returned a totally new Mike. One- adept in business, confident in his actions, strong and tough in the mind, faithful and helpful to all! He married his dear Lynda. He worked hard to establish a business empire and proved to the world that he has the strength of mind to emerge unscathed from his pitfalls.
The very world that jeered at him, mocked at him and isolated him from its affairs, now welcomed, lauded and supported him. He won back everybody’s faith. He was the star again. But it was a painful comeback for Mike. He had lost so much in his lane to victory. His grandmother was not there to see him at the top of the world again. He only had Lynda for comfort. He never looked back without regret but he converted that very regret into a reminder- a reminder to never stoop, to never bend to lift the dust laden! He wished he had had a life that did not have any incident that would stand out as a dark gash, a deep wound and a scar that would remain to haunt him. Nevertheless the cut was there and so was the permanent pain. He had learnt a lesson and in a very hard way too. But well… who doesn’t learn it that way! Mike rose high and is now as famous as he ever was… maybe more! He is successful and happy and is presently walking in his pine grove with his dear son who has repeated his father’s mistake!,’ ended Mr.Sealander.
‘Dad! You… were Mike? I don’t believe it! Mom was Lynda? God! You have suffered a hell lot!,’ exclaimed Craig with utmost surprise and he shuddered.
‘Do you want to loose all that you’ve got? Do you want to be trampled upon by those scheming ‘friends’ of yours? Think, son! In everybody’s life a time comes when one has two roads to choose from. Both look the same and one feels what waits in the end is happiness and joy either way!
But we are deceived! One way leads us to where the Evil Doer resides and the way, though it might appear blooming, has a million thorns hidden! The air seems fresh when we enter. It is so because not many have chosen that path! There are evil vines in the middle in which, once we get entangled, it is too hard to ever go back. I took this road but realizing my folly, turned back before being caught by the vines!
The other road looks thorny but they are the flowers in disguise- to fool you, test you and see if you are made of the stuff that this road demands you to have! The air might smell stale. It is stale because many great people have traversed the path. Millions have thronged its lanes. Each step springs out a surprise. Each moment lands you in a heap of treasures. There are thorns strewn in between but they are only to challenge you for a battle to prove your might. This road is not as thorny as the other! And it is this road that I want YOU to take my son! I took this road once I turned back from the other repenting my mistake and I’ve been in this lane of joy ever since. So have all others you know- my grandmother, your mother, why… even the gardener and the cook! So should you! Will you my son?,’ asked Mr.Sealander.
‘Yes dad! I WILL!,’ replied Craig and he meant it.
And on walked the father and son, with their arms interlinked and talking so gaily that their past was buried and all that lay was that elusive part of time, christened Future that had loads in store- loads of good. And… a pinch of bad and that made her spicy and nice. This they knew and with eyes abrim with hope, the two walked on…

Random Ramblings

Grey dreams are spun by the sky and a heavenly light enlightens mankind in a silent-sweet way.A slow lulling breeze evokes to the mind,the pleasantries of the past.A distant gleam of gold across the western sky is the only remnant of the sunset!
The sky is a dark velvetty carpet spread for the troop of stars.The benign moon and her silvery grace will soon splutter across the sky,the silvery moonbeams; and the stars will arise to guard her on their night vigil.
The world will soon be aglow in the mist of silver.It will revel in its pleasure and remember once more-the sweet little nothings of the past that has spread across life,a soft glow of perinneal joy.The world will renenw its silent promise to God to keep trust in Him and on Life.
“Joy be to the world.
Joy be to Man.”

November 02, 2004


The two letters conjure up an image of an old, out-of-date, dull something that makes you pause awhile…just awhile and then shift over your thoughts to SUNny,STARry and yuMmy options.
Yes…DD is old,greying and with no ideas of freshening itself!!! 

Welcome to the world bereft of colour-Welcome to DD!!! 

Being a DD viewer from when I was a toddler,there can be no one better to give a verdict on the channel than me!For all those DD fans-this is not for you b’coz this is a screaming,insulting and exasperated outburst of a 17 year old veteran DD-watcher. 

Let me begin with the serials.When in my ninth …which happens to be 4 years back,there was this serial called Aarohan with Pallavi Joshi as the leading lady.An excellent and surprisingly short serial(ran for about 13 episodes),the serial became my instant favourite.My grandmother who happened to pass by when I was watching the serial remarked, “Oh…they are showing it again?” 

DD retelecasted Aarohan for the fifth time this May and me-the jobless,collegeless girl watched it faithfully-coz there was nothing better to watch! 

Again in my ninth…I watched Sharukh’s Circus and my grandmother commented ditto!Again…this May DD telecasted Circus.Again…Again…Again!!!Am I getting repetitive?Ah well that’s what happens when you watch DD and DD alone!!! 

Avvai Shanmughi…the Kamal Hassan version of Mrs.Doubtfire was a great grosser in the box-office.Surprisingly within an year or so of its release,DD showed it.Man…wasn’t I thrilled?Good ol’ DD is getting better,we tribe rejoiced!But oh…in this world of gross uncertainities,too much happiness ain’t good for anyone!Anbae Sivam,Hey Ram,Virumaandi,Panchathanthiram,Pammal K Sambandham,Aalavandhaan and Vasool Raja MBBS later…DD showed Avvai Shanmughi for the nth time(I lost track!) this Sunday and my dear darling sister watched…coz…again…there was nothing better! 

This May part of the DD National woke up and decided to rope in some able people to make serials…Hindi serials!Ah…how I long for them?In came Meher,Kayamat(K-coz its Ekta Kapoor’s!),Miss.India etc.The serials were the same old fighting,making up,trials,tribulations,joy,laughter(or…giggles?) and lots of tears but this was new…YES NEW!!! 

The Gods above became jealous now at my bliss and employed DD Podhigai(namma local Chennai wing!) to shatter my inexplicable joy.Podhigai began to telecast its Tamil programmes in DD Podigai AND DD National at the same time!Senseless,but sadly true!Exit…Meher,Kayamat,Miss.India and happiness! 

Now that I have begun,let me finish…yes finish off Podhigai.They start showing a serial…ah relief to my mother and grandmother during their noontime hours,I thought.Oh again the evil eye descends…stop the serial mid-way. “My god…we’ll never know what happened to Devi in this serial –whether she’ll marry Ramu or not?”my poor family members worry. 

CRICKET MATCHES….they show it alright.But first balls and last balls,century celebrations and hugs and huddles are all cut…RUTHLESSLY unthinking of the average cricket fans’ craving for sports’ greatest moments! 

The only good thing about DD is its unbiased news,Sumanth Raman's Sports Quiz,Mark Lynn’s voice,Elizabeth Jane’s smart looks and the Friday-Saturday movies. 

Oh…but the plight of the DD viewer has improved ever since a few sensible programmes have been introduced in Podhigai.But sensible stuff are not what I want. 



Techno savvy, self-conscious, career oriented- that is modern youth for you.
Motivating, helping and aiding- those are the parents of today.
Do things seem too good to be true? Look again…
“Spaghetti Straps” “Sari”
“Pizzas” “Pakoras”
“Discos” “Dandiya”
There begins the Mahabharatha-Part II (Doordarshan, take heed!). Generation Gap- a reality that strikes one on the face.
“Old Order Changeth to the new”. Or…does it???Steeped in superstition, the chachis, dadis, thathas and mamas refuse to accept how much of change has washed the shores of life. Tradition- the only obsession with the old people (other than devouring Ekta Kapoor’s saas-bahu kathas. If you were wondering when between those endless kathas they find time, then remember there are things called breaks-long breaks).
“It’s the hip-hop era. Time to be khewl (hey you English geniuses- this is how you spell it now!). Time to be rockin’, jivin’ and enjoyin’,”the youth feel.
“Oh, keep omitting the ‘g’s, if you please! But DO respect our culture,” the oldies reply.
Infinite rings appear on the ears (while the ears perform the disappearing act!), bandannas are looped around the heads, tatoos on the gym-trained muscular arms and on goodness knows where else, scarves tied fashionably over the tattered fading jeans (as the scarves seem to serve no other purpose. Oh where is winter-only hot hotter and hottest!)
and every youngster possesses a flashing cell that blares this-morning-released song as a ring tone to announce ‘Mr. Sitting to the right’s SMS!
“Old is Gold-yes…even now! This slips out of their brains. New fashion, latest gadgets, ishtylish food, makeovers oh the words they use to describe ‘their kinda stuff’- obnoxious is the word!” the parents yell off.
All the youth want is change and variety every other hour. All is new and also heavy on the purse! Gen. Now forgets that experience does teach over the graying years (and balding around the ears!?!).
Generation gap-whatever one says- does exist and will do until everyone stops to think that they are the only ones right, round here. Give and take respect and love- easy to preach but, as always, difficult to practice (then why preach at all, you might ask. But…well…you know…oh forget it!). After all life without arguments is definitely dull and boring.
“Pencil Heels” “Chappals”
“Reggae and rock” “Ghazals”
“DVD’s” “Cassettes”
Ah well…the argument continues…

© Dryad's Peak
Maira Gall