Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Weekend Waralaaru

Weekends nowadays, more or less mean that I get to wake up at 9-ish, gym, swim and perhaps a movie or two on the dvd/cable. It was not always like this. I make an effort here to see what an average weekend looked like before I came over to this part of the world.

Stage 1 - Kanchipuram - Till Age 4 {Before this we were in Delhi of which I remember zilch}

Weekends were idyllic. I did not get to study LKG and my UKG was sporadic due to my frail health. So weekends were not much different from weekdays. The fact that we lived right behind this place meant saturdays were majorly spent in playing near in the mandapams and waiting to get the viniyogam of prasadam. And more often than not, we used to have a practice of attending the maadyanika poojai conducted by Click. Some weekends also included a trip to the banks of the Varaga Nadhi. Also my favorite temple in this town of temples is the Veeraanchaneyar temple right opposite the Sankara Mutt on Salai St.

Stage 2 - Ranipet - Till age 7

This place was cool - it was like 30 kilometres from Vellore and about 100 odd from Chennai. The town itself had a perennial leather factory smell. Weekends usually involved the Hari - Sivan fights. My dad and his family are confused smarthas - they are wannabe Iyengars and feel bad that they have to do with horizontal stripes rather than the much coveted vertical ones. And I suspect that one of the reasons why my paternal grandmother okayed my mother was because her name was Sudha and it went along with theme of my dad's name - Lakshminarasimhan - both of them being Iyengar names of the highest order. So my dad and mom used to argue about Hari - Sivan and their families (primarily because they were hunting for a name for my sister - She ultimately got named Aparna - okay to both sides because of its proximity to both Vishnu and Shiva}. This was primarily in our last year of stay at R.. Prior to that, when my mom was fit enough to make motorbike trips, our weekends included trips to Vellore - where there used to be an awesome restaurant - run by a Sardar who'd originally come to Vellore to get himself treated. The name slips my mind, but the food was kick-ass. And most of those weekends were also accompanied by movies at Vellore - I remember that Thalapathy was the last movie I saw in Vellore before my makkal made the final shift to Madras.

Stage 3 - Madras - The Early Years - 1992-1998

Weekends were usually spent in doing some odd job or the other. However much I loved being in PSBB and all that, the school teachers had us doing weird stuff during weekends. One weekend was spent in growing poonjakaalan on bread, the other was spent in growing mustard chedi in a coconut shell and then buying chumki's to decorate a camel and all that stuff. If not doing this kinda work, I was more or less on my cycle - road racing with neigbors, seeing Turning Point, followed by SpiderMan on DD-2 (DD Metro), Young World, Hardy Boys/Three Investigators books from the school library. Saturdays used to be the days when I used to have that absolutely amazing oil bath. My mom in her hurry to go to office used to wake me up and then the next half hour was bliss. The oil rubbing process is very sleep inducing, more so, if you were just woken up from sleep. After this heavenly ritual, what followed was a bath in the kinathadi (the well-place) where I had to draw water from the well and take bath. I liked the drawing water process and the ice-cold water simply was fantastic. By the time I had this protracted bath process, my parents would have left for work. Catching up on STAR Sports/Cartoon Network with urulai-kizhangukari and vengaya sambar and then a kumbakarnan sevai till 3pm would mean the major fun part of saturday - being alone (discounting my sister who was too young to hamper my fun) was over as my parents had this half a day thing on saturdays and so saturday evenings were the usual shopping days - Pondy Bazar, Luz, Mylapore, T. Nagar and all those good old tambrahm places were visited in an order where more time was spent in walking to the parking lot to get the cars (most of those shopping places did not have car parks way back then) and some hajaar shopping - velli kudam, pattu pavadai and all that nonsense.

Stage 4 - Madras - 1999-2001

A major change in life. My dad was transferred out of Madras and he didn't want to take us along. Weekends were of two kinds - weekends when appa was home and weekends when appa was not at home. Either ways, saturdays were fun - my mom got to work in a monday holiday branch, which meant she was away the whole of saturday - so major thirutu-th-thanams were planned - with and without the connivance of my sister. Playing cricket with my thangachi on the comp on saturdays was a ritual and it was followed by major vambu sessions with 2 of my close friends then, over the phone. IIT classes were a big time stealer - they used to occupy saturady evenings and most of sunday morning. When dad was around, Sundays were drab - clean room, help him water that huge garden, vacuum the ottadai, wash car and all that good stuff. When dad was not around, SUN TV's sunday morning specials were on - thirai vimarsanam with James Vasanthan (yeah, the same dude who composed this) and then the 11am film. Amma used to be back from work at 1pm after which an elaborate cooking procedure would start where I'd be helping her with food - it sounds funny - but I really loved the cooking-vambu sessions with her. This was followed by the evening padam on Sun TV, a trip to the local koil and all that.

Stage 5 - 2001-2005

Appa's absence over weekends increased. Saturdays were spent in underhand dealings on various kinds - some of which had my sister's blessings while most did not. Starting with prank emails (which asked your friends to list their 'crush' and emailed the list back to you) to helping makkal at college to compose letters telling their unrequited love and all that mush stuff, the Nattamai kinda movies on KTV and Sun TV on saturdays afternoons, Dexter's Lab (till the time when the blasted Govt. introduced Set-top box), saturdays passed off in a blur. My only veetuku-useful kinda activity on saturdays were the dropping amma at office ritual. The morning were done with a cheerful frame of mind as it meant the start to all my illegal activities while the evening trip back usually involved vambu sessions with my mom's colleagues at work where I used to do the perfect maama-maami talk. I was also the over kadavul nambikkai person back then which meant I made a early morning trip to the Yoga-Nrisimhar temple at Velachery on saturdays with madi vastrams and all that. Gym-ing was a brief addiction where in I went and got into some kinda of decent shape with the V torso, flat abs and an 18 inch arms. Sundays with appa around meant the usual routine of cleaning house, washing my bike, helping my thangachi with her math work and all that. Sunday evenings were great fun - CAT classes at Adyar. Somehow the institute where I went did some survey and decided that my batch required more verbal classes than math/logical, which meant that I was the King - my RC skills are kinda good and so when people used to struggle to complete 2 passages and questions, I would have finished all 3 and would have turned in my scripts. This made makkal in class think of me as a BLACKI (Bangalore, Lucknow, Ahmedabad, Calcutta, Kozhikode and Indore) probable and it felt good when you were considered to be the favorite horse in a race :D

Stage 6 - 2005 (Aug - Dec)

Early part of US life - Saturday mornings were spent at school - in the MEMS lab or research lab - doing arbit orkuting or some journal readings. Saturday evening was mostly spent with TBS. This was the most weirdest part of life. I did not have a phone during this phase, no car or any other mode of transportation and not many friends too. Sundays were mostly assignment days and obviously NFL.

Stage 7 - 2006 - 2007

Met up with my saviours here in US - the 3 S as I call them - my entire life changed. Saturday mornings were still school - lab - phone call mode. But saturday evenings meant eat-outs, movies (theatre or DVD) and super duper fun at their house. (in fact during this phase, I spent more time at their house than mine - including sleep). Sundays were kovil days. My bhakthi phase was over since some time and my predominant reason for going to the temple was the food.

Stage 8 - 2000 Dec - Now

Weekends are spent mostly at home - TV and laptop are saviors. I'm the living example of a couch potato except for the 4 hours on saturday and sunday morning when I go to the gym, go for my swim/run and do my sandhiyavandhanam. If my mom was around she would have seriously started doubting whether I still have my spinal cord intact or not.


sowraja said...

Good narration! I came across your blog when I was googling about advaitam and spiritualism. If you are still interested, look into the site of Arsha Vidya Gurukulam. They have very good lectures posted in their satsang web site.

Suhasni said...

Quite a transformation! I am very reminded of almost the exact patterns that I saw in my cousins (male). I guess it is quite tambraminish (male trend). Now I am thinking of a typical girl side to this :-)