TOW ‘Nee Nenaindal’ is in English

Darbari Kanada, raga of the royals. Roots in the shruti-box of the Carnatic, branches in the gharanas of Hindustani music. A raga the color of the night sky, evoking the depths of the soul to raise in harmony with the Universe. Sarvam ekam, ekam sarvam. All is One, One is All.

Shankar Tucker makes fusion fashionable with this collaboration with Vidya and Vandana Iyer. Composed by Periasamy Thooran, elements from across oceans melt into a fluid, melodious stream which soothes the sub-conscious and lightens the spirit.


A humble attempt at a translation of ‘Nee Nenaindal’ from Tamil to English follows, with lyrics from Shankar Tucker’s page.

Nee nenaindal agadadu undo
Nirajadala nayani mahalaksmi 

Once You have determined
That it be so
Is there anything in the Universe
That cannot happen thence,
O lotus-eyed Goddess Mahalakshmi?

Manida vazhkkaiyile inba tunbam
Mari mari varuvadum un seyal andro

In man’s life is pleasure
In man’s life, pain
Turns do they take to metamorphose
All by Your will and Your doing alone

Ella perumaigalum irundalum adu
Unnadi vanangnmal nilai perumo 

Even if we have with us
All the sucesses in the world
How oh how will we retain them,
Without worshiping Your divine feet?

Unnarul parvai illadavarkku
Ulagile vazha vazhiedu amma 

And those beings on whom
Your benevolent gaze does not fall
How else can they live in this world,
O Mother of all?


Does Raag Darbari strike a chord with you? If so, you would perhaps enjoy:

Soulful Ud Jaa Bhavar sung by Manna Dey in the fifties;

Kishore da’s peppy Pag Ghungroo Bandh Meera from the movie Namak Halal;

and the eclectic A R Rahman composition for 127 hours, Acid Durbari.

Does Shankar Tucker tug at your heartstrings? Read more about him and listen to his sur-spells here.

And the mesmerizing Iyer sisters: Vidya and Vandana, heroines of the Carnatic Renaissance. If you’re reading this, please make more music! We love you! Munbe vaa en anbe vaa! (Come before me, my beloved!)

(For Ni, gypsy princess, and K, who got me hooked to Tucker’s brand of magic!)



A new moon, a new June

June and Monsoon are a match made in heaven. The Universe already seems to be celebrating!

Fireflies surround me and a cool breeze laden with the promise of rain lifts me to gaze upwards at the twinkling stars. Leaves and boughs dance in anticipation, as the flowers of summer gently wave adieu. Paradise is a state of being indeed.

June signals the beginning of a new academic year at school.. the flurry of buying flowered raincoats and in-vogue umbrellas and the subsequent umbrella press-the-button wars during break..the smell of new notebooks which, like life, could be used to write or draw anything and still be called notebooks.. fresh puddles and paper baby leaves peeking out with sunny cheer..and oh the dizzy happiness of meeting old friends and new, of reading textbooks cover-to-cover on the day you get them and forgetting everything later in the year..

June, I have always loved you!

I discovered a writer from across the world today who not only pens about but lives as part of nature and embraces the endless discovery of discovery. Kathryn Spring is indeed an inspiration and three years ago, seems to have begun a journey I am about to now. She writes, and I quote:

Now I sit alone with so much emptiness that is slowly transforming into incredible space.  In her poem “Blue Iris”, Mary Oliver writes:

my heart panics not to be, as I long to be,                                                                 the empty, waiting, pure, speechless receptacle.

Sometimes one must be empty before becoming fulfilled.  Sometimes one must wait before running breathlessly toward the answer.  I am letting go of the panic of wanting to be a certain way.  I am learning to accept that my dreams may change and the vision of my future may wobble until it comes to focus on a new light.  With these lessons I begin again, and already excitement is growing inside of me.

It just started raining. Magic is working its magic.

Birds chirp at the
dawn of a new moon,
the first in a new June,
and I begin.
I begin again..

Why ‘Ramona and Beezus’ is Terrificle!

I watched this Elizabeth Allen movie day before yesterday and loved it! Ramona and Beezus is definitely going on my all-time-favorite-movies list! I am looking forward to reading the books by Beverly Cleary too!

Here are a few of my favorite parts of the movie, come relive it with me! Why? Because there is magic in every jar!’ 😉

(Warning: Spoilers ahead!)

– Roberta dancing to the Royal Peanut Butter commercial! *giggle-twirl-giggle-look cute-giggle-shake tiny fists-giggle* 😀

– The accidental ‘delishus’ rainbow colors which dress up Hobart’s Range Rover!

– The sketches on the book in Ramona’s suitcase! Gotta love Ramona indeed..

– Beezus’ torch scare!

– Ramona’s toe puppets resulting in Roberta’s curious ‘what are you’ expression!

– Jumping through the hole! Wheee! I can fly!!!

– And in so many ways..I am Ramona and Ramona is me..

– ‘I’m not gloating! I’m bouncing!!’

– Ramona and Picky Picky in the bathtub. ‘Nobody thinks I can, but I can. I can be extraordinary!’

– After Roberta sprays Ramona with peas: ‘What a darling little sister. I wish there were ten of you!’

– I could spend hours adoring The Longest Picture in the World!

– Hobart, just before he kisses his bride, ‘And I still owe you that quarter. And I want to spend the rest of my life trying to pay it back.’

– Happy endings!

– The proper way to break a hard-boiled egg! I am going to try that someday soon!

– Hobert a la Hulk: ‘Be stronggg!’

– The cinematography which, I believe, utilizes one of my favorite types of picture coloration: sepia tone.. Love the feel and textures!

– Beezus: ‘Who could ever love someone named Beezus?!’
Ramona: ‘Jesus?’

– Music!! The more I see the less I know!

– ‘Yes!’ *excited Ramona* ‘The answer’s still no!’ *awww!*

– Live like there’s no tomorrow. This song witnessed one of the greatest changes in my life and I would want it no other way!

And now I am off to watch it..for the fourth time? 😀

(Thank you for the movie and for you, L! You’re my immortal Picky Picky!)

So many Ponies..

….so little time!

When I was a kid (kid-er), there was a itty-bitty bookshop full of random vintage books near the University Library. While the shop was open only for less than a year or so, it created some of the best memories I have. No sterile mall-like book shelves or designated play areas: just stacks and stacks of the cream of the 80s and 90s filling the heart with joy and the soul with the smell of old books!

And how I adored those books! Nothing was more pleasurable than picking them out and then taking them everywhere I went, like a long-lost best friend! I still have all those books in good condition, but they are packed away in boxes in Chennai and I miss them so!

As I mentioned, the bookshop closed too soon for my satisfaction and try as I might, I was never able to find similar kinds of books in Goa or elsewhere in India again- and mind you, I still ask for My Little Pony in every book shop I visit!! I would love to have the toys too! I used to fill out the order forms on every single book I owned but never got around to convincing my parents why sending a money order in Pounds half way across the world on a ten year old form for a itsy Pony was better than getting a baby Barbie downtown!

My Little Pony- that says it all! My Little Pony is a toy franchise in the USA which was really popular in the 80s and early 90s and apparently has been revived in the early 2000s. However, the current toys and movies have undergone changes and look too polished for my taste. I am a My Little Pony  Generation 1 person through and through!

Baby ponies, goblins, fairies, parties, cakes and pastries, moonlight and shining stars, lots of pink and blue and purple, pretty hair, magical powers, wishing wells, blue skies and blooming buttercups.. every little girl’s dream come true!

I was Googling heffalumps when I suddenly remembered my great love for My Little Pony and I found an amazing website which is a wiki for all generations of My Little Pony! I found the Gen 1 book covers and I definitely had these :

 Do you see the flowers on the purple pony and

lightning on the pink uni-pony? These were how we would tell Ponies apart, along with their distinct personalities and magic powers!

No, I didn’t have the audio books. The comics were released with the same covers and titles!

Oh I remember this one! The dwarf there conspires with his other dwarf goons to prevent the Ponies from enjoying their village fair! An apple cart topples somewhere in the tussle- but hey, I won’t give away plot details!! But doesn’t the smiling sun remind you of Teletubbies?

Oh in this adventure, the Ponies find a treasure chest full of Wishing Pearls with each Pearl granting one wish! I remember choosing my wishes and trying to fathom the concept of an infinite number of Wishing Pearls which I would wish for with the second-last Pearl- and find a way to organize the infinite supply of Wishing Pearls with the last Pearl of the first lot! Yeah, I have always loved organizing- even in my imagination!

Oh look, the sun is 😛 ! And that is Mr Potato Head! He was always so adorable! I would get some real potatoes out and play with them like one would with dolls and build intricate Mr Potato Head adventures!

I have always, always loved mermaids so I distinctly recall this one where the Earth Ponies team up with the Sea Ponies to save a mermaid in trouble! They went down sea caves with corals and beautiful greenish light. That is an oyster shell with pearls within that I believe she is holding up as a thank you to the Sea Pony!

And I want this now:

Doesn’t it seem like a charming read?!  I hope this book also has scratch-and-smell patches too, filled with the scents of roses, lavender, fresh grass, dew, strawberries, vanilla..

Ah.. Dream Land indeed!

A Walk to Remember

 Double, double toil and trouble
Fire burn and cauldron bubble

Wind of the night,
thou art
an insane shriek in the lonely dark,
creaking swings in the empty park.

Roving eyes behind
Move, now! There!
Iron chains..from where..?

A shrill scream
A bird?
Falling feathers, feel them. Wet
with blood. The Forest you’ve met.

Mossy vines coil,
Rot of meat, you taste, spit, choke.
Then bite. Crack! Your jaws just broke.

Jasmines, oh sweet solace!
closer crawl
inch by inch.. Wait, white flowers, you said?
Green fumes, come forth! I’ll wait till you’re dead.

Tale of the Smitten Kitten

Presenting the Tale of the Smitten Kitten
The best tail’s best tale ever written!
Read it hopping, read it sittin’
When you’re done, you will be Smitten!

Oooh I’m a smitten, smitten kitten
I will follow you on foot, on tram
Fly with you upon a bird’s wing
And if Mary had a little lamb
You have a smitteny kitteny thing!

A kitten which is smitten
Is a smitten, smitten kitten
A smitten which has kittens
Is a Meaow with puppet mittens!

Oooh I’m a smitten, smitten kitten
I will scare away bark-wag Leo
With my scratchy-scrowly ‘ka-chingg’
But if Itsy-Bitsy-Spider spins a ‘Hello!’
Hide your smitteny kitteny thing!

A kitten which is smitten
Is a smitten, smitten kitten
A smitten which has kittens
Is a Meaow with puppet mittens!

Oooh I’m a smitten, smitten kitten
I will play pek-a-boo all over town
With my tail bobbing like a sprung spring
Lift Red Riding Hood’s wicker basket brown
There’s your smitteny kitteny thing!

A kitten which is smitten
Is a smitten, smitten kitten
A smitten which has kittens
Is a Meaow with puppet mittens!

Oooh I’m a smitten, smitten kitten
I will love you now and timeless long
With each of my charmed nine lives
Like Gulliver, tall noble strong
Hug your smitteny kitteny thing!


A Silent Melody

Dissolve me into the spiraling mist
Like a drop of dew I will
Worship light and sparkle till
The moist earth blushes that we kissed

Catapult me into the navy skies
A hazy cloud then I shall be
Telling stories with geometry
Till lightning sparks my hurried byes

Plunge me in the ocean deep
On the seabed smug shall I lie
Secrets and shells, for oyster am I
Till a pearl you make with a moment’s peep

Build me a nest on the tallest tree
Hide me from the slicing scorn of eyes
Teach me how to fly in the darkest of skies
Till I am but a black blur in the free

Paint me on a canvas, Edelweiss-white
Color my soul with passionate rainbows
Sketch my heart with a bashful rose
Till my being is invisible or but a mite

Claim me as you would a child to
Free me in a field of butterflies
Touch my heartbeat, its fall and rise
Till silence you hear, my last song to you.