Sunday, October 30, 2011

Watching my story come to life.

The award ceremony was great!  I received the certificate and cheque, but the highlight of the programme, for me at least, was the stunning show that the kids from the Parikrma foundation put up.

They started by announcing, "We are going to perform The Story Lady written by Shruthi Rao akka." :)

They were wonderful.  Such happy, bright, enthusiastic children!  It was a fun and imaginative take on my story.  They were true to the story, but adapted it beautifully for the stage.  The props, the costumes, the background music, the songs ... They had everything!  And such a spirited performance, really!

I stood there, immersed in the show, but at one point, I experienced this surreal moment, where I seemed to step back and look at the scene in front of me with a sense of wonder.

These 20-30 children, and their 6-7 teachers have probably spent weeks preparing for this.  They prepared the screenplay, wrote the script, composed songs, set it to tune.  They designed props and elaborate costumes, they cut and pasted and sketched and painted and got it all ready.  They rehearsed the play, they learned their lines, and then they travelled all the way from Hebbal in a big yellow bus to come here and perform.  And here was an illustrious audience, enjoying it, laughing and clapping.

And all this is happening because of a small story written by little ol' me!

It was truly awe-inspiring.  Overwhelming.  I became all emotional and teary-eyed at this point during the show.... The feeling that all this is so much bigger than I am.... not sure if I am making any sense,  but I can't name the feeling myself. I wonder how playwrights feel, and people who have their books turned into movies!  I wonder how J K Rowling feels!

Later, one of the kids came to me and said, "Shruthi Rao akka, your story, akka, very nice akka.  I liked it soooo much, akka!"

Thank you, little Chalapati.  You made my day :)

It was truly a wonderful day because of my family who was with me, S, Puttachi, my parents, aunts, uncles, cousins - so many of them had made it.  And my friends and blog friends who braved the rain to be there.... Thank you so much.

Another lovely thing is that my good friends had won the first and second prizes in the short story for aduts category,  so it was lovely to share the stage with them.  And another great thing was meeting Shashi Deshpande, who wasn't a judge for my category, but who enjoyed the show, and complimented me on the story idea.

A wonderful experience for me.  I'm grateful to Annie Chandy of Unisun, and to Reliance TimeOut.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Happy Birthday, Peevee!

My little sister turns... cough, cough... turns a year older today. This is a card that Puttachi made for S and me two months in advance, and I'm borrowing it to wish Peevee.

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No, I don't know what all this is supposed to represent.
And no, don't even dare ask me what is written. Hapee Bart-A of course.

Happy Birthday, Peevee!  :)

Sunday, October 23, 2011


This is the invitation to the programme where I'll receive my award for the competition I told you about.

I am doubly excited because the kids from Parikrma Foundation are going to perform my prize-winning story. :)

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Analyst

Puttachi is a great one for finding loopholes in mythological stories and fairy tales.  Much of our storytelling session involves my trying to explain some things that cannot be explained. 

Yesterday, I was telling her the story of Rapunzel.

Me: ... So the witch took the baby away, put her in a room on a tall tower that had no steps or ladder.  Rapunzel's hair grew very long, And whenever the witch wanted to get into the tower, she called out "Rapunzel, Rapunzel let down your hair."  And she climbed up the hair like it were a rope.

  Amma, how did the witch go in and out when Rapunzel was a baby?  Did Rapunzel have long hair even then?  And how did she understand what the witch wanted?  And how did such a small baby crawl up to the window and let down her hair?  How, Amma?

Me:  Well, until Rapunzel's hair grew long enough, perhaps the witch flew in and out on her broom.

She: Then why did she stop using the broom later?  Wouldn't it have been easier that way?

Me:  You're right.  Why do you think she stopped using the broom?

(thinks) perhaps it broke, or she lost it, or it stopped working.

Me: Yeah, perhaps.

And I continue with the story, and finish it.  But unknown to me, all this is still running in her head.  Hours later, I put her to bed, and come away, and all is silent, and I think she has fallen asleep.  Just then I hear a frantic call.

She: Amma, Amma, AMMMMAAAA!!

Me:  What?  What???

She:  I thought of another reason the witch might have stopped using her broom.....


Speaking about analytical minds, here's another funny thing that happened a couple of weeks ago.  I still have many tapes, as in cassettes, you know, from the last century?  And I even have a player to play them.

I am trying to play a cassette, it is not running.

Me:  (Fiddling with it and mumbling to myself)

Puttachi:  (who wants to be in on every aspect of my life, whether or not it concerns her) What, what, what, what?

Me:  (still trying to make it work) Can't play this cassette... I wonder.... what is happening... is the cassette not okay?  Or is it the audio system... I wonder....

She:  Amma, I have an idea.  Try and play another cassette.  If that cassette also doesn't work, it will mean that the audio system is not okay.  If that cassette works, it will mean that this cassette is not okay.

I find it very interesting that much of her waking time is spent in outrageously imaginative fantasies and play-acting, but when presented with some facts, she wants them all to make complete sense, all the ends tied up. I would've thought these two characteristics were far removed from one another, and wouldn't really go together.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Two roads ....

I read a couple of discussions in the past one or two months about whether a woman is happier being a mother. 

I think this is quite like Frost's two roads diverging in the wood.  You choose one and that makes all the difference. 

Five years ago, if someone had announced that Shruthi is going to be this patient, dedicated mother, who would find tremendous happiness in her child, and would be more than content to chuck a well-paying job to stay at home to nurture her child, and explore other avenues, I would have been the first one to laugh, and I'm sure  95% of the people who knew me would have laughed with me.

But nobody is laughing any more.  And this I got to know only after I had my child.  

What if I had chosen not to have a child?
- Perhaps I would have continued in that same dull job and gotten my brains fried.
- Perhaps I would have discovered that I liked the job after all.
- Perhaps I would have progressed to a people-management role and discovered that it was my forte, and perhaps I would be this top-notch executive by now.
- Perhaps I would have realized that that field is not for me and chucked it anyway to do something else.
- Perhaps I would have found my (once-upon-a-time) dream job that involved travelling all around the world.
- Perhaps I would have been very very sad.
- Perhaps I would have been happier than I am now.


But who can say? The fact is that I chose this road, for reasons I don't remember quite clearly.  And the fact is that I have found happiness and contentment here.

Same with any decision in your life.  This field of education, that field.  This job, that job.  Marrying, not marrying.  Having one child, having multiple children.  I mean, what do you know?  How can you say ahead of time, that Option 1 will be better than Option 2?  Even after you've married Guy X, how can you be sure that you would've been happier with Guy Y?

Perhaps it is all about standing up for yourself, making yourself comfortable, and finding happiness in whatever you are doing, wherever you are. 

So no, I don't think there are no answers to the question - What are the right choices that lead to a person's happiness.

What do you think?

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Thank you, Steve

I'm not sure if there's a term for people like me - not a technophobe, not a technophile, but more of a techno-okwhatever. Gadgets got smarter, but with every new advancement, my ability to get jaw-droppingly amazed only got dulled.

Until the iPad happened to me.

A more elegant, breathtaking device I've never seen. And very late, but very enthusiastically, I joined the legion of Steve Jobs fans.

Thank you, Steve Jobs.
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