Friday, 19 June 2015

Home and its Quirks!

For many, our home is the place that we 'stay' for most part of the lives. We may be a travel loving person and would want to visit new places. Or we would be staying in a hostel in a faraway place. Whatever corner of the world we may be, we always want to come back to our homes at some point of time. And that is why we have a special word - Live and not Stay. It is a part of our life and vice versa. It is the one place where we can be ourselves. Every home has its own quirks. By quirks, I mean everything from the exterior and the interior, the organisation inside to the intensity of relationships and bonds between family members. It also includes the multitude of sounds and odours found in each home. 

Some of the favourite, unique smells that are present in my home alone come from mainly two places - the kitchen and the pooja room. The smell of coffee, the smell of butter while making Paneer butter masala and the seemingly ever present fragrance of the incense sticks. During festival days like Pongal and Diwali, my home is filled with all sorts of fragrances.

Ofcourse there are bad smells too. When I was at school, I used to remove my shoes, socks and uniform and not throw them in the laundry place. Instead, each would be thrown in different corners of my room. As a result, there was always that subtle 'sock' smell in my room. But that habit vanished by the time I completed school.

The monsoon is one season when DAMP is the main colour of the house. There is dampness everywhere and it is usually in a bad sense. Our clothes cannot be hung to dry outside, obviously. Therefore, the problem starts when we tend to dry it under the fan inside the house. However long we put it to dry, there is still that slight dampness in it which brings a bad odour. It is only a matter of time before the entire house catches it.

We, being a non vegetarian family, cook and have non vegetarian food for atmost twelve days in a month. Bad odour is temporary only while cleaning (during preparation) and vanishes as soon the garbage is disposed off after lunch. However there was this one occasion which turned out to be pretty awkward and embarrassing to me. Though I am a non vegetarian, I don't like ... indulge in it. Never a hardcore. Moreover I have become more of an eggetarian now. The thing is there are some dishes in NV that I absolutely abhor - like mutton thala curry, moolai, kaadai, nethili karuvaadu etc. I prefer not to translate these. I would react in a way similar to how vegetarians react when they hear of chicken and fish fry. How are they eating this !?!?!?

Twice or thrice a year, my mother cooks this supposedly delicious dish called karuvaadu. Karuvaadu is dry and salted fish. Large amounts of salt are present in it which makes it very tasty and ofcourse bad for the health. Usually a kozhambu (toned down gravy) is made. The off putting thing is the unbearable stink it leaves while buying, cleaning, cooking and eating. It is as if this species of fish lives and breeds in the sewage. And it is not even mild. A stink that reaches places. We had finished lunch and everyone was getting ready for the afternoon siesta. I was already on the verge to sleep.

It was during this occasion that my vegetarian friend decided to come to my house, ringing the doorbell. Grumbling to myself, I opened the door. My friend's facial expression instantly changed from his trademark grin to one that looked like he was choking and flinching in pain. It took me several moments in my somnolent state to realise why he was acting weird.

Oh, the poor soul! Since I had been inside the house from the beginning, the stink must have lost on my olfactory organs. For an outside person, it would have been an assault.  Quickly burying my snort of laughter, I told him, "It is better if we talked outside", grabbing his hand and hurried him beyond the main grill gate.

As I was watching him closely regaining his composure, he looked questioningly in mild shock.

"We had karuvaadu for lunch today. That's how it smells"

"What a Karuvaad!", my friend gasped.

Immediately, I started laughing. Taking a moment to catch what he had just said, he too joined in the laughter.

I am familiar with Ambi pur air fresheners from the ones that are used in our cars. I always liked the smell of it and when it combined with the air conditioner the experience was bliss. So, I think ambi pur air effects would do a really good job in annihilating the bad smells that are present in our homes, thereby avoiding such embarrassing experiences.

I am blogging for #SmellyToSmiley activity at in association with Ambi Pur

P.S: What a Karuvaad is a very popular Tamil number sung by National award winner cum actor Dhanush and composed by 'Kolaveri' Anirudh.

Monday, 8 June 2015

The Paralytic Dimension!

Trying to get some sleep,
Sunk in his myriad thoughts deep,
Mind hopping between thoughts that bother,
Re-imagining past, failed scenarios of the better.

But it did him no good.
Except only silently, in vain, brood.
Staring listlessly at the wall,
He was in a free fall

Ready for the plunge into that familiar ocean,
That magically appears at the right occasion.
Only today, something strange happened.
A terrifying reality hard to mend.

The water came only upto the neck
And that was the start of a real heck.
Body paralysed completely under the water,
And mind paralysed with fear beyond measure.

Squinting around in the semi-darkeness,
He found the wall motionless.
The fan spinning like before.
But he felt not himself anymore.

The seemingly familiar atmosphere
Now turned out to be highly queer.
It was like hot vacuum filled the room.
Fighting for breath, he sensed doom.

A sound of heavy, rasping fell in the ear.
In the shadows, someone stood near.
Lethal fright crept inside.
For he couldn't even move a limb aside.

He shouted for help with all his might 
But, to his horror, rendered voiceless that night.
Was this some kind of cruel dream?
Mind-'fogged', he was unable to deem.

Closing his eyes to bring calm,
He began chant-mouthing a psalm.
When he opened them again, his face ashen, 
The sun had completely risen.


After a very very long time, I am posting something in this blog. This is a poem about Sleep Paralysis, where the person on the verge of sleep is paralysed completely not able to move even an inch. The person tends to hallucinate and imagine things and it is all a blurry affair, a frightening one at that. Common reasons include anxiety, fatique and overuse of some particular drugs. 

I myself have experienced sleep paralysis twice in my life. I began to draw conclusions that I was being possessed of sorts for the night. Until I discussed it with my friends. It is not so very uncommon after all. 


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