Tamizh ponnu in Amaereeka

I am sitting here in Mem Union (short for Memorial Union) near Peet’s Coffee shop on a lazy Tuesday morning. My class for today has been cancelled, because the Professor is at some conference. I am happy, you need a break from Stats classes once in a while! So here I am with a cold latte, planning on my PhD ‘move’ into a world that I always wanted to be in, but finding that the faster it approaches, the more jittery I am.

Right across me sit an old couple. These days am so much more attuned to observing old people. Don’t get me wrong, it is just that with the research that I have been doing, geriatric populations seem to be of interest, primarily maybe because they are available and excited about talking.

So, right across me. Reminds me of pattis and thathas back in India. The stereotypical ‘patti-giving-thatha filter kaapi early in the morning’ scene flashes as I see this Amaereeka patti hand over a Peet’s coffee cup to the hat-clad thatha. This patti is bent forward, not because of the Indian-patti-shyness but maybe arthritis.

Now, patti wants to add sugar to her coffee. Hands shivering, she tries to tear off a corner of the sugar sachet and pour it into her coffee. She struggles. I can’t help it, ‘Male chauvinism, hmpf!’, I think. I look away, and then back at them. They are smiling at each other, and something in me flutters – is this understanding, love or growing old together? I smile too, my eyes fixed at some non-existent point in the eatery opposite the cafe. I collect myself, I don’t want someone falling in love with my smile while his brunch slips his open mouth from hand in mid-air (blah!).

The patti and thatha leave, him tall, her bent. The patti, with a walking stick in one hand, and his in the other. Utopia, Manirathnam style or maybe James Cameron.

I return to my computer, and resume typing…


Being of Light – I woke up today and decided that I am most definitely a Being of Light. I remember all those moments of fascination at the local Planetarium in Chennai, through my childhood. The dark huge dome above me suddenly lighting up with flickers of light, taking me into realms I had dreamed about, those stars…

If anyone felt as much at home with all that artificial project light, and still sensed that a real home was elsewhere, it had to be me. Light – and all that it wraps … becomes me…


It happened to a friend –

This friend of mine walks into the DMV office, and starts filling the form for the test. After she is done, she passes it on to the guy at the counter, who looks through and notices she has missed the ‘race’ column. Looking at her passport and other docs, he fills in – Race: Alien.


I graduated with a Masters, moving on to a PhD. I always wanted to do this, and now I am (hopefully) on the way. Feels good so far.

*Pat on the back*


You hear millions of quotes and proverbs, and unwanted advice. For every day in life, there are surprises and sadness, but to equate them or evaluate magnitude, is, in my opinion, not wise. I smile because the good happened now, and the bad might be good waiting to take form. At the end of it, it won’t matter.


[more on…]

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5 Responses to Tamizh ponnu in Amaereeka

  1. Neeha says:

    Sure about P.H.D??

  2. Aparna says:

    Already i am waiting for my morning coffee.. ๐Ÿ™‚ My granny makes the best coffee in the world ๐Ÿ˜‰

  3. Vivek says:

    All i read was your blog title and the last line! ๐Ÿ˜›

  4. AparnA says:

    hey what you just changing your status in a single post ๐Ÿ˜‰ we are expecting new ones ๐Ÿ˜‰

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