Tuesday, August 31, 2010


i have trouble sleeping in the nights and maybe it's my thyroid.Though i am on medication it has not helped me sleep any better.Maybe i am anxious about a lot many things which is beyond my control.i went to the kitchen at midnight to have a glass of water and maybe to make myself a cup of tea.
uff... looking at the kitchen gave me another set of anxiety.
i have to move shortly into another town where my husband has just joined on a new post on promotion transfer and the thought of all that packing gives me the jitters.Yeah there are movers and packers to do the jobs for you but come to think of how deeply i am rooted to this place i felt like crying out aloud and wanting some miracle to happen.
Something like another order coming from the higher authorities giving him an option in this city itself.

And wrapping the kitchen is going to be very difficult i guess.What should i do with all the oil in the oil can...all those porcelain jars with pickles... and all that non perishable food items...if they have to be packed...or just given away.
i move like a ghost into the dark rooms, all the four rooms and take in every single item that has got to be packed and i think maybe i should give everything away.
The problem is that i have no experience whatsoever of any shifting of any sort.My husband came to Chennai which was his first posting and we have stayed put ever since just as some would say with a stroke of good luck.Of course his is a transferable post where one is required to move every 3-5 years but we were just plain lucky.All the movements that took place was within the city in the various departments.Now i feel i am rooted here.This is going to be my very first shifting and a real tough one i guess not only for my lack of experience but also for my sense of belonging here in this city.
Lucky! my foot!

Don't know why or what is the connection here that it's something past midnight and i am reminded of that poem by Gieve Patel, 'On Killing A Tree'

It takes much time to kill a tree,
Not a simple jab of knife
Will do it.
It has grown
Slowly consuming the earth,
Rising out of it, feeding
Upon it's crust, absorbing
Years of sunlight, air,water,
And out of it's leprous hide
Sprouting leaves.
So hack and chop
But this alone won't do it
Not so much pain will do it.
The bleeding bark will heal
And from close to the ground
Will rise curled green twigs,
Miniature boughs
Which if unchecked will expand again
To former size.
The root is to be pulled out
Out of the anchoring earth;
It is to be roped, tied,
And pulled out-snapped out
Or pulled out entirely,
Out from the earth-cave,
And the strenghth of the tree exposed,
The source, white and wet,
The most sensitive, hidden
For years inside the earth.
Then the matter
Of scorching and choking
In sun and air,
Browning, hardening,
Twisting, withering,
And then it is done.

Or maybe the poem was so fresh because quite recently i had revised the poem with my niece who had this poem in her ICSE syllabus and together we dug out various connotations of this poem.But i alone know that that is not it.i am thinking about the tree because...

i just feel like a tree rooted to this place. Have sprouted, absorbed and was well fed rather nourished for years.My family found all that is best here and they in turn got rooted here.i feel like an old tree with it's family all growing side by side and now this transfer feels like a hack of knife.People around me congratulate me for the much delayed promotion but i feel depressed. i feel guilty for feeling depressed cause as a wife i should be jubiliant and very happy for his promotion the aftermath of which should be this change. Change which has come after 21 years.
Was i lucky or rather unlucky for not knowing what change is like.What all goes into moving from one place into another.People tell me that change is for the good.You grow in many more ways.New surroundings, new people, their cultures and traditions not only amaze and entertain but also educate in so many ways.
So i am told but still i am unmoved.Rather i don't feel like knowing anymore.
 i feel like a tree which is being shaken rudely from it's comfortable ground.The transfer feels like a rope tied which is snapping my roots one by one.

Still sitting in the balcony in the dark and watching the dark silhouettes of the huge trees in front and i get another recall... that story i saw long ago on TV.The programme on TV ' Ek Kahani ' was anchored by Manju Singh (of Bharat Ek Khoj fame and who also acted as a sister to Amol Palekar in the original Golmaal) and it featured great stories by great Indian writers but stories which were never read before or heard before.Every week there used to be this new story and this one was a translated version of a Dogri tale perhaps, i forget exactly but it was a tale of the hills.
There was a young beautiful girl who was loved and cared for by her family and when she came of age the family got her happily married to a young man who was into business but in another town.The new bride was welcomed into her new home and as was the custom she was given a gold nose ring to wear by her mother-in -law.The daughter in law should wear the nose ring given by the husband's family.This was something akin to the Mangalsutra that married women in many parts of India wear as per custom and tradition.Now the family was a happy family as the new bride soon took over her responsibilities and everything went smoothly.Within a year the bride also delivered a bonny son and since it was customary her nose ring was replaced by a slightly heavier one.She was an auspicious bride and her husband flourished in his business.As he progressed into his wealthy pursuits the poor bride had to bear the discomfort of wearing a still heavier nose ring.When it started to get painful she started fearing her husband's progress.She withered as the husband  grew wealthy as he was successful in all his pursuits. He diversified his business and got success in his new venture too.But when he came home with news of his new accomplishment the poor wife with one baby tucked under her arm and another pulling at her saree started weeping silently.A face covered with a saree pallu with tears falling down mercilessly and she finding it difficult to even wipe her runny nose because by now the nose ring was a large one and just too painful for her to bear.
The story ended with Manju Singh giving her commentary on rudimentary and painful customs and the discomforts of a girl which went unheeded even by her husband from whom she has borne two beautiful boys.

My guilt at not being happy about my husband's promotion feels something similar.It feels painful.At least for now.

Lying on my bed and still thinking about how difficult and painful it would be for a tree i ask myself if i am blessed to be a human and that i am not a tree.
For one thing transfer is more like a transplantation of sorts.Maybe if i were a tree the transplantation might have stunted me if not killed me because it is the matter of soil and climatic conditions.Now in that new place  i might sprout new leaves and grow miniature boughs which perhaps will expand if left unchecked so i guess i am better placed. i guess then i should stop feeling apprehensive about this change and stop fearing what new adjustments have to be made because i am not a tree but the most resilient of all beings.
And i must count my blessings that unlike the poor girl of the hills i do not have to wear a painful and uncomfortable ornament that should proclaim my husband's fortune and success.
Before i close my eyes for a sound sleep to sneak it's way maybe i should say a prayer.
Not for myself but for the trees that are being uprooted to make way for human settlements.


  1. hang in there .... I can understand totally, I have been raised all my life there . We know how special Chennai is and yeah even I sometimes have an occasional impulse of weaping when I heard no more I would be flying back to my home "Chennai".

  2. @Aakaash oh! Sonna wish you were there and together we could have whined and cried a river.Dil halka ho jaata and with you by my side things would seem so much easier.
    Namma Chennai will wait for us and who knows maybe soon we will be back.:)

  3. I can understand how it feels to be uprooted after all these years. But don't worry. Once you move, it'll be a new beginning. Will take some time to adjust but I am sure you'll do fine. Stay optimistic - everything happens for a good reason. Good luck with your move. And congrats to your hubby on his promotion.

  4. Shivani!! This is an opportunity which has come your way after 21 years. Take it with all the vigor and strength you have in you to build a better home elsewhere. Change is a good thing to happen and it is just a matter of time that you will appreciate the brand new place and its environment. The place you have been living in will have lots of senti stuff to keep you grounded but is it really what you want? Grow up girl and move on. The good lord has better things awaiting you. Trust me.
    One more thing…
    Pass my congratulations to your hubby & here’s wishing you both the best in life.

  5. @Tandarin thank you so much and this also from my husband.
    Yeah this place has lots of senti stuff to keep me grounded but now i have to move on.
    Definitely i trust every word and all the good things you've just said.
    Thanks again from both of us :)

  6. @Peeti thank you friend for all ur words and once again taking time out to listen to my side of the story.
    i do trust what you and Tandarin have to say about the Lord's plans.i am a believer and i am sure there is a good purpose to all this.
    It's just that right now i feel torn but sure this too shall pass...
    Lali conveys Thanks too and also extends his good wishes for you and family.:)

  7. Hello Shivani.

    This is Raj here. Atlast I could get to your blog and read the latest posting on the posting of your husband outside chennai. Jaya was mentioning about it some time back.

  8. @Raj Thank You so much for making time to read my post.i hope you did not find my whining a bit boring for your taste.
    But will wish to see more of you and Jaya here.:)

  9. Hi Shivani.

    Finally i got an opppurtunity to go through your blog. The Gun tech was very imaginative and thougtful and apt for todays environment we are in. How I Wish you succeed in making your thought a reality.

    Dont worry the roots of yours cannot be uprooted so easily. Jaya too felt initially the same when she joined me at Kolkata. But trust me she enjoyed every bit for the past 4 years and we are back again to Chennai now.She is thrilled to be among her friends. So Chill. I am sure you will come back soon. Convey my congrats to your husband on the promotion and new city posting.

    Good luck


  10. @Raj and Jaya thanks a lot folks for these words which give me lots of hope about finding the new place good enough to really love it the way i loved Chennai.
    i wish just like you two i might soon be back to where i belong.:)

  11. Congrtulations !! on the promotion and hence the move! I understnd you being emotional coz you've been here for a very long time and henc ethe attachment- but remember my friend nothing stays forever- accept the change and move on. The new place may have the same or better to offer and learn. Good luck with the packing- that is a big job.

  12. @Mini welcome and thanks a lot for reading through my posts.Thanks also for ur good wishes and yes i shall look forward to the new and better...yeah it's the packing that is really giving me the fright but shall brave it too.:)

  13. baby where ever ul go that will become a paradise. conratulation for the promotion.celebrate every moment.may all b good and u come to chennai again.

  14. @Gauri...once again u r getting me high...in fact after these days of cribbing i am finally settling down to looking forward to new place...new arrangements...new surroundings and new people.
    Thanks for taking time out and getting me pepped up darlingy...:)

  15. Nice post Shivani. I can totally relate to your feeling. Even three years at a place makes you feel connected. Your 21 year association with Chennai is a long time. But with a few movements from one place to another behind me, I can say that once you land up at the new place everything works out finally.

  16. @Anita Praveen thank you dear for making time out from your busy schedule to stop by and listen to me cribbing away.
    Yeah you are right and i hope it should work the same for me too.
    Will wait for more from you on my rants...that is whenever you find easy time...no pressures though.
    Makes me happy to see my friends on my blog page.:)


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