September 21, 2010

Licensed Memories!

Driving like all other skills needs regular practising. Once you lose touch, it takes a while to get back on track. Last Saturday evening, my dear hubby offered to refresh my driving skills after which I realised that I needed to start from scratch! Though I have the Indian driving license, it turned out out to be just for namesake..;( Partly because since I didn't drive car after I passed the test (which is after I passed out of college and started working), so I hardly drove and also our college driving instructor ("Anna" as we call) was too naive to help me passing the driving test without much driving actually!!! I bet ya getting license here in Australia is real hard. One needs to get L, pass the test and then drive with P for 3 years, have a clean record before getting the full license!

We bought our own car last weekend (Toyota Camry - Sedan) and from now on the real ordeal starts. My lovable hubby has agreed to teach me driving during the evening. So hopefully I should be able to drive soon.

That evening when I was trying to drive after a LONG time, I was reminded of those days when we girls in final year in college enrolled for driving class in the mechanical dept in our own institute. Apart from getting good campus placement, we wanted to achieve something more! Our college is fundoo ya..has a driving school too unlike other colleges. "Jia ho NITT" and best part is they made sure most of us got our license!!! They had quite a few batches during both morning and evening. Morning means eeeeaaaarrrrlllllyyyy around 4-5 since there used to be 2-3 sessions then and each needed around 30-45 minutes. So we girls according to the slots available enrolled for both morning and evening sessions. If it were the morning session, we girls made sure that the rest of the goup got up early and were in time for the class. It used to be pitch dark outside then and also cold (talk about climate in Trichy).

Opalites correct me if I am wrong, the practising route started from the sports club or civil dept - left at library - along the other entrance road along SC/Compsci - till the boys hostel intersection - left at Pearl (not sure though, but some boys hostel) - drive till other end - left again at Chemical eng dept - straight to the Mech dept - practise reverse gear near the T.P building/Meta dept. We drove Maruti 800 (white colour, manual car) and a jeep. Many among us felt driving Maruti was easier but I personally felt the jeep was easier. Anyway apart from the car, we were taught to drive 2 wheeler too. We practised on a old Luna like moped on the sports ground near the main entrance.

The driving sessions used to be quite fun. I must admit that the Annas were quite patient and instructed us every time we stopped the car while leaving the clutch or speeded when we were not supposed to! While driving near the boys hostel, the guys walking on the corridor or playing cricket on the backyard would yell out our names. We used to get bit nervous during that part of the drive. We didn't want to drive to the ditch with the guys watching us (insulting ya!!)

With many days of such training, we girls (around 10) appeared for the license test at the RTO, Trichy with our beloved Anna. The RTO office is situated in the outskirts of the city. After finishing the paper work and paying the fee, we proceeded to the actually driving track which was further from the RTO. We girls formed small groups and hopped on to the jeep which we were supposed to drive. The procedure was like each of us took turns are drive the jeep a short distance with the Brake Inspector sitting beside us, Anna and other girls sitting behind. The Brake Inspector must have been in his BEST mood that day, because he let Anna prompt us while changing gears (manual jeep again), applying brake or speeding. Come on ya, we were tensed, don't think we were so dumb! We kept our fingers, toes and everything possible crossed till all our girls did a decent show. Thankfully I was just asked to drive around few turns and not asked to take reverse in which I suck!!!

After we girls test drove, we were asked to wait under shade for a while. Meanwhile Anna collected Rs.100 from each of us and drove the jeep with the Brake Inspector alone leaving us behind under the tree. We all had butterflies in our stomach. Atleast all these days practise should be worth it. GOK what happened, but Anna came smiling saying "You all got your license!" What more could we ask for then! You won't believe but Anna said that he was not so scared before for any other group for getting their license. May be the Rs.100 helped in sanctioning our license! We had to wait for long to get our photos taken and license made. WHATEVER..we all got our license for next 10 years! Yuppy..;-)

On the way back to the college, Anna was kind enough to take photocopies of the license and make duplicate license for general purpose. After returning to the college, we stopped at the Mechanical dept and you won't believe, we all took photos with our Anna for we were so happy that we got our LICENSE!

Hopefully I pass the test here and get the Aussie license too. Watch out for this space for more of my driving adventures!

Have a great week ahead :-)

P.S: Anna: Elder brother

September 2, 2010

Sweet Memories of Gokulashtami

அப்பம், வடை, வெண்ணை, முறுக்கு, சீடை,தேரட்டிபால், பாயசம்...Yes it's about my memories associated with Gokulashtami. It's the festival celebrating the birth of Lord Krishna. This was not a holiday during school days. But conveniently it is celebrated in the evening.

Amma is an expert in cooking and needless to say she makes numerous sweets and savouries during such occasions. She usually makes appam, ulundu vadai, seedai (uppu and vellam), murukku, payasam, uppu avil, vellam avil, therattipal (yeah the list is long!). Being a school teacher, she used to come home a bit early on this day and start preparing the dishes. When I get back from school the whole house would be filled with aroma of butter...Ummmm yumm! Akka and I used to lend our hands in preparing for the pooja. The job I liked the best was to keep footprints of Lord Krishna from our house entrance till the pooja room. This is made mixing crushed rice with water. At homes where there are small kids, people would make the kid to step on the rice mixture and walk on the floor. These footprints symbolises baby Krishna entering the devotee's house. They also dress up their children like baby Krishna.

The next part was to make the idol of baby Krishna out of clay. Usually it is made in a crawling posture. Amma did this since I didn't have much skills to do that. The clay idol was then decorated with peacock feather and kept in a small craddle stand.

Tulsi leaves are very special offering to Lord Krishna and so are used to do the prayers. Since we have a huge garden at home, we had abundant flowers and leaves to offer. We chantted Vishnu Sahasranamam praying God and offered all the dishes. Once the pooja was done, came the best part..eating the sweets and savouries..he he..;-) This way we used to have fun celebrating Gokulashtami every year.

On Right: My parents were so thoughful to send me the photos of Gokulashtami they celebrated yesterday. Felt so nostalgic...
Many thanks to them..:-)

While I was preparing for the pooja here yesterday, I was reminded of those days at home with parents and sister. After getting guidance from Amma I tried making vadai and appam. Vadai dough was a bit watery so could not make hole in the centre, but appam was a success! Anyway both tasted good...:-) My hubby and I prayed God and offered all the dishes.

Those leaving away from your parents shall very well understand the homesickness especially during occasions or festivals. Nevertheless the technologies nowadays help you overcome that.
(To the technocrats in India, please for God sake don't ban SKYPE too!!!)

I hope you readers also celebrated Gokulashtami and had fun with your family.

P.S: appam, ulundu vadai, seedai (uppu and vellam), murukku, payasam, uppu avil, vellam avil, therattipal: Hard to explain each of them but they are sweets and savouries
Pooja: Prayer
Amma: Mother
Akka: Elder sister
Vishnu Sahasranamam : Holy mantra