Woman

Amsterdam
An infamous city with an uncompromising beauty and characteristics.
Picturesque canals,
touching history
and mesmerising architecture.
Her extraordinary beauty and her seductive characteristics-
Resemblance of a quirky, confident yet humble woman uncanny.
Woman.
While entrapped in Amsterdam’s beauty,
the very same word kept circling my mind.
Woman.
A visit to Anne Frank’s secret annexe of 2 years
entrenched me with the feeling that
The most powerful weapon for a woman is her Voice
A walk down the lane where her body does all the talking
Made me think that her body perhaps is more acknowledged than her voice.
It may (or may not) be her Choice that led her go behind the glass doors
A choice that young Anne frank certainly did not have.
But as I walked and locked eyes with the young women behind the glass doors
sharing a half smile, longing for one in return
and mentally offering apologies for being on the other side,
watching them like animals behind cages,
I also wondered,
As a woman,
would it be my voice or my choice of selfie that would be more appealing to one’s eyes.

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Can ‘Saibol’ fix the Kerala floods?

T & C-1

The resilience I’m blessed with or the deep appreciation I have for nature and its beauty probably stems from the first 10 years I spent in the most amazing place called Alappuzha. With her seductive backwaters, lagoons and canals, and plenty of other picturesque features no wonder Lord Curzon called Alappuzha the “Venice of the East”.

Our family, belonging to a middle-class Christian family, was settled in a place called ‘Chungom’. Our house overlooked our paddy fields and canals. I proudly bear the scars of my childhood – from climbing trees and falling repeatedly, running the fields bare-feet with friends during summer,and by getting stomped on by a vast amount of people during ‘Mullakkal Chireppu’ (local carnival) . My fathers pure passion for ‘vallam kali’ (Nehru Trophy Boat Race) and competing in the Nehru Trophy as a captain of their boat for one too many years also meant that Nehru trophy, ‘kuttanadan punchayille’ song, the competitiveness and the innate resilience from constantly losing the first place (Sorry daddy!) are all well inherited by me and my sisters.

There was one other thing that was a constant companion during these 10 years- ‘Saibol cream’. House built near acres of paddy fields meant that, during monsoon seasons fields flooded, and in no time, the water would be inside our houses. Us kids loved it- swimming and “trying” to catch fish, why would we mind it?!.

Even though we ‘loved’ it, every morning when you had to get out of bed or go to the bathroom, it took sheer amount of will power and a good couple of minutes before putting the feet down in the cold water. And at night, it itched like there’s no tomorrow.

We grew up with our Ammachi (grandmother) during these years. Shed be walking in the water all day running the house and at night, her toes would be itchy with all the bacteria and she would rub ‘Saibol’ in between her toes.

I experienced this for 10 years..my Ammachi may be for over 60 years after marrying into a family from Alappuzha in her early 20’s. She was accustomed to floods and water and stayed fearless…till this monsoon season. After fleeing her house, going to her oldest daughters and then to her youngest (due to her oldest daughters house being also flooded), at the age of 88, I heard fear in my Ammachis voice for the first time and I could do absolutely nothing about it.

My family house was rebuilt 10 years ago so high from the ground that they never had water inside the house for over a decade. Water still went inside. It was over knee high of my uncle who is 6 ft high. He had to abandon the house, sell all their much beloved animals who were their family members and take rescue.

Now the mentioning of the class again, this is a middle class family who were able to have their house built appropriately according to the area. Now, for those who were unable to afford that..I will leave it up to you to imagine where their house is now apart from pointing out the obvious that ‘Kuttanadu’, a part of Alappuzha, rich with culture, characteristics and Love is pretty much gone. If you were to visit a house is Kuttanadu or Alappuzha..you wouldn’t have gone back home without a full stomach and may be some ‘tharavu curry’ to take back with you.

And if you know anything about a Kerala curry, you know that its a perfect blend and balance of spices and ingredients that just makes the most amazing curry- an imbalance of any one ingredient can cause trouble for instance, chilli or salt.

In the past few days, people have been extremely kind, generous and helpful in Kerala and outside Kerala. Regardless of cultural, geographical, relihious or scoial boundaries, people came together, like a perfect mix. From a kind Sikh individual from Perth, Australia who raised £1000 to School and University students who have given up whatever little they had in order to save Kerala, I have enough to restore my faith in humanity.

And the next time you eat a tharavu curry from Alappuzha (and I any other delicious kerala curry as I dont eat duck), I hope you and I both be reminded of how all the perfect incredients came together and made a good curry during this crisis (if you know, you know).

One thing people of Kuttanadu, Alappuzha and Kerala are good at is working hard. Like them, I along with my fellow British Malayali youth, we will commit to raising even more funds, to help rebuild our homeland, Kerala, as I think ‘Saibol’ cream is just not going to be enough to able to fix the damages of this flood.

https://www.gofundme.com/sy6kg-kerala-flood-relief-fund

Fighting social injustice in my dream

I struggled a little bit to get out of bed this morning. Why you ask? Oh its just because I was up saving lives in my dreams last night.

Dreams are a funny lil thang. They offer you entertainment, moral lessons, creepy feelings and sometimes leave you with feeling rather bewildered. This certainly was the case for me this morning with my dream from last night.

So…….. Myself, my 2 sisters, and someone else (might have been my cousin) were at a family/family friends’ house party that was right beside our house. We were all high school children and had an exam the next day (😐). In the tiny room that we were hanging out there was another girl who was of a similar age to us. She dressed differently and looked different from us. She had a scarf over head with some jewellery covering her forehead. One of my crew members got talking to her and learnt that she was from some part of Africa. The girl was taken away from her home and was forced to become someones bride. Her ‘prospective groom’ was somewhere in the house, a face that she might have never seen before and a man probably born atleat 15 or 20 years before she did.

When I got up to leave the house party and go back to my house (to do the revision I am sure :/), one of my crew members asked me ‘why dont you take ‘her’ with you as well?’

Nothing was said. We thought of well devised plans to sneak her out of the house through the back way without any adults seeing us. And we did. With great difficulty ofcourse (mainly because of her anklets that were really noisy). We gave her a big tub of celebrations for the road (that definitely would be plenty to last till Africa!). This took all night apparently and we ended up getting back home at 8ish the next morning (missing the exam ofcourse!).

We look over to the house next to us where the party was held and see that the celebrations lid was lying on the ground. We go into the house, and see our father standing in the hall way. I say to him that the exam was hard and walk away. He suspects nothing. Next thing I know, my middle sister who is not as talented as i am in lying or being sneaky says to him that she heard his friends new child bride got away with a tub of celebrations last night! 😑. He looks bewildered.

We go to our room. And i say we need to come up with our responses to this and learn the same thing so we wont say anything different to the adults.

Fast forward to the climax (or slow forward); its the 16th century where me and my sisters were dressed in white and head all shaven traveling in a vehicle to the house where the party was held. We were being punished because we were women who did something horrible?! 😑

They open the door and let us in. We see the girl we tried to rescue standing there. She got caught half way. They lock the door behind us. She smiles at us. And l smile back thinking dyamnnn we gonna have a goòd time here!!!.

Conclusion:

1. Child marriage, exams, illtreatment towards women- Not acceptable to Archana Mathew.

2. Archana Mathew’s dreams should be made into movies and nominated for Oscar.

The End.

For real.

Lets put the world back together, piece by piece

In the days that are filled with pain,
In the world that is filled with negativity,
Lest we forget,
Evil cant fight evil
Evil wont fight evil

Lets put the world back together,
Piece by piece

Spread a little positivity
Smile at someone,
Wave at a stranger,
Feed the homeless, or give a fiver
Open the door for elderly,
Help a mother with her shopping bags
Do your bit.

Lets put the world back together,
Piece by piece.

Happy 21st Baby girl

 

When she was born, I don’t remember how she looked like
Nor do I remember the first time I saw her,
or the first time I held her in my arms.
I do however remember the first word (or one of the first words) she said,
And how chubby she looked.

Living miles apart from each other,
She was a holiday treat for us older sisters.
She walked funny and talked funny
But then again, what was I to know, I was only 5

Fast forward three years, she came to live with us.
A crying baby who missed the grandmother who looked after her all those years.
Since then, she became my possession, a personal project.
And my little person.

Ammachi carried her everywhere and fed her things
I didn’t mind at all.
After school, we rushed home to see her playing in the front garden.
It was an unusual but soon becoming a pleasing sight for us older sisters.

Soon enough, she started going to school.
To our school.
A tiny body in a tiny  cream blouse and a brown coloured frilled frock
With side parted hair and rather short fringe,
She was a fragile little thing lost in Carmel Academy’s school uniform.

Being always subjected to change, and having no one she can trust,
She cried.
Every time she felt scared.

It was 4 pm, and I wasn’t done with my exam
I went up to my teacher to ask her permission to go out for 5 minutes
Luckily, she allowed

I got out of the exam hall to find her
And I did.
Waiting under the big mango tree, weeping.
She looked so weak and fragile,
The 8 year old me felt crumbled
And the sight never faded in my mind till this day.

Birthdays, anniversaries and other  occassions, we celebrated them all.
Hide and seeks, House, and other myriad games, we played them all.
I grew up, Anji grew up, and she grew up with us.
Life kept on bringing us and her changes, a lot and lot of changes.

One of these changes left us in Belfast one fine morning.
She started going to the nearby primary school, St Josephs.
Mummy was so worried about  her that she went to the school at lunch time to check up on her.
She’d already made her first friend, and apparently shared her lunch with her new friend?

Fast forward few years, She joined us in our high school
Again, side parted hair, with no fringe this time, thank goodness
In a grey jumper, tie, blazer, skirt and tights,
A nerdy little first year Indian kid I saw

Being a green blazer myself, a so called ‘cool’ 6th year,
I avoided her every time she walked past me with her friends
and enthusiastically waved at me.

Then one day, I hear her speak at the school assembly
About how Christmas used to be in India

And saw her holding up an umbrella for a short guy,
from my health and social care class.

Again, time kept moving forward.
And it took me to  Scotland for Uni
And Anji to Liverpool
We came back home with plus ones.

Life hasn’t always been mild on her
It brought changes after changes into her life
But she didn’t crumble
In fact,
The fragile girl with the awful side fringe kept toughening up
Without anyone else beside her.

And today, she stands as a strong, independent woman,
With a mind that does not waver easily, annoying for some, especially me.
A family that is well proud of her
A best friend who dots her
Brother in-laws who fight for her attention and approval.

All these years, all these events and all these changes,
Left her to become an amazing young adult
However,
She is still  my possession and my personal project.

And forever my little person.

Happy 21st baby

Time and change

Before you know, it will be time to say good bye to 2016. How are the years flying, I still have no idea! Whilst every hour, every month and year is slipping away from your grip without your consent, I refused to believe that a part of me is leaving with time. Truth is though, whether I admit it or not, I’m getting old . So is everything and everyone else around me. We are changing, physically and emotionally, everyday.

My sisters have grown up and entering different phases in their lives;my parents are getting old even if i refuse to acknowledge any signs; my other-half is growing into a family man, my friends are getting married,having babies, getting separated  or moving away; and my grand parents, well i’m just grateful for every extra day that they get to see!

Change is inevitable! And it scares me, like everyone else!  Whilst I’m still stuck in the past, thinking of the ‘good-old’ times, time is moving forward and it is bringing in loads and loads of changes in everyone and everything. I’ve got two choices: a, be stuck in the past and be bitter about change; b, move forward with time.

I choose the latter, not with a lot of enthusiasm but with pain. I will move forward, taking my memories along with me and not losing track of the things that I were. I will also be reminded of the story of the eagle that transformed itself rather painfully when time plays it tricks on me.

Inspiration

Inspiration. An unusual guest to come by and knock on my door. I went to bed last night hoping and dreaming of a productive day today, and setting myself agendas. All plans were destroyed when I opened my eyes this morning at 09:53. I lied in bed for another half an hour scrolling through Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat over and over again. I hopelessly look up inspirational movies in the hope that some movie would get me going. Did not work. I type in ‘inspirational videos’ on youtube. Something comes up, I indulge in it for 3 minutes, some guy talking about setting himself a 5 million target and achieving it in 5 years. Inspirational. Well done him. But what I want now is to get out bed, something worth more than 5 million dollars. And thats when it hits me. The inspiration I’m seeking for all long is right here, lying in bed, looking for inspiration. Ironic.

I immediately get up, have some breakfast, get changed and get my cycle out. I go for 30 mins cycling in the near by scenic route.

On my way, I see an older couple on their walk, two young girls sitting on a bench who seem to be in a deep conversation, a family with 3 young children and a dog, a man on his walk. I look around, see the lake, the trees, the leaves that have fallen, and I think to myself: the inspiration I always look for does not lie within YouTube or any movies. That inspiration is me, in me. The inspiration that gets me out of bed, and gets me to see the real beauty of the nature and of human beings.

Seeing that inspiration, believing in that inspiration and choosing that inspiration is difficult. Extremely difficult. But I hope when I look up inspirational videos or movies next time, I think of this experience and choose to see and believe the inspiration that I have within me.

Life’s little moments.

Talking to a friend made me realise that I’ve been soooooooo busy recently. So busy that I forget to write down the little moments of life, remember these moments later on, celebrate and cherish them. You get so copped up with life that you don’t have enough hours in the day to read a book that you like, do a self-less good deed once a month or to tell your loved one why you appreciate them being in your life. Laziness, refusal to be out of your comfort zone or just plain inability to appreciate or celebrate life’s little moments all could be the reason.

But I refuse to be like this.

Ima start enjoying life’s little moments again and celebrate them cause, quite frankly, life is amazing!

Here’s to life and to the friend who reminded me of this!

 

My perfect veil

The wedding preparations are ongoing!

One day, I’m excited as hell about the wedding celebrations, the marriage life, the ‘always and always’s, the responsibilities etc.

Next day, I can’t be bothered with all the commotion and pain that comes with it. Too much hassle.

On the third day, I am scared as hell and unsure about spending THE REST OF MY LIFE with a man!!! I like my feministic approach to things. What if marrying a man kills my feministic spirits? Gee that’s a no no!

On the fourth day, I can’t believe I’m giving up ‘everything’ for marriage. Do I not want to travel? I definitely should’ve got a flat. Oh and that masters? Damn, I haven’t done everything I wanted to do before getting married. Because of course, it would be impossible to do all this once I’m married.

On the fifth day I like my ‘single’ stress free life and I like my mammy. I can never be the silly and immature daughter I’m just now. I can’t share dirty jokes with my sisters. Why? Because I’m going to be a..wait for it..WIFE!!

On the sixth day, is he the ‘right’ one? We seem to be fighting a lot. What if things are not going to be the same after we marry? Am I in a for a ‘trap’? Is he definitely my type? How can I test him to see that he will definitely stick around?

On the seventh day, God created woman, the most complex being on earth. Back to day one and the vicious cycle starts again.

I’m complex and a handful, I put my hand up. BUT, I am also someone who can appreciate things and not take things for granted. My veil made me realise that.

I ordered this veil online. It looked PERFECT on the website so it was perfect. The veil arrived and I opened it up with a lot of anticipation and excitement.

Oh!

Thought it was going to be like a feather!. Its…. Its stiff. It’s way too rough. And too long. No. I don’t like it. It’s not ‘me’.

Its not ‘perfect’!

Tried to look at it again the next day and the next day and the next day. Nothing changed. So I do what every other girl would do. Went and ordered a ‘soft’ veil.

The ‘soft’ veil arrives. Way too short. Devastated. Why can’t anything work out in my favour?!

My best friend trips to help me out. She says I can wear her beautiful Kim Kardashian veil. Say what??? “but remember, its heavy with all the work. You have to wear what feels right for you’

Devastated!

Two weeks later, I pick up the tab again to order another one. I took the first veil out to compare the length with the second one. I hung them up on my door. I fixate on the first veil. Suddenly, a thought occurred to me. It’s kinda..perfect? Its long, like I always wanted it. It’s got simple but clean work on it, which is my type. And it is …me?.

Boom!

Text to sisters: ‘changed my mind, I’m wearing the first veil’

Text from sister: ‘mmm..i thought the first one wasn’t good?’

Text to sister: think it just occurred to me that its perfect. Might change my mind though. Lol

Text from sister: but it was like a stiff net tho right?

Text to sister: kinda is. Watch out for a new blog entry.

Moral of the story: No veils are perfect, no matter what. If you merely ‘look’ at the veil, you merely find faults with the veil. It might scare you that this veil is not good enough for the big day. BUT if you ‘see’ the veil, you will see what’s good with it and what’s bad with it. If the good things help you forget the bad things about it, that means that’s your veil. Your perfect veil.

Long story short, I found my perfect veil!

(Gooddd life without analogies would be hard!)