For all my new friends who have recently started following this blog.....please start at the very is a good place to start to get the full impact of this fascinating tale.

Friday, 23 December 2011


Destiny sat on her stellar throne
  in the furthest realms of the sky
    gazing into her crystal ball.
Sometimes with delight, sometimes with compassion
  she watched reckless mortals
    living lives and playing games
      with events over which they had no control.
Destiny saw a woman lean gently towards a man
  whispering to him that she loved him -
    saw the man react with surprise -
      he had never thought of her that way.
Destiny stretched pale, cold fingers
  into the silence of the night
    wishing she could deflect
      what she herself had written.
She saw the man look at the woman suddenly aware
  caught up in the web she tenderly wove around him
    loving her as he had never loved before.
Yet she belonged to another
  and they had no right
    to fantasise the way they did.
Reality became a nightmare
  as they loved with frenetic intensity
    on a path of self destruction
      they were much to blind to see.
Destiny kept vigil as they struggled to survive
  broken and tormented - paying a price too high -
    bound together always - never wanting to be free
Trying to accept that it was their Destiny.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Random Thoughts

Sick and Sin will be a tad neglected in the next few weeks because of the busy holiday season, but I will keep posting something or the other for those of my addicted followers who complain when I get tardy!
For many years I had a book by by bed which I entitled Random Thoughts. I am sharing a few of them, accompanied by my favourite fantasy art.

The amazing clarity with which memories can take me by surprise never fails to astound me. A certain piece of music, a familiar phrase, the way someone in a crowded room laughs, can take my breath away and summon back forgotten emotions. The remembrrance of a special meeting - I can recall each word that was spoken, every fleeting expression and nuance in a face that is now familiar and beloved.

The surge of pure wonder at the moment of my daughter's birth - the tears that came unbidden - the marvel of holding a new life in my arms, kissing tiny feet that had never touched the ground.

The warmth at a gesture of love from a friend, the gratitude of a comforting hug when one is saddened by the callous vagaries of fate, the laughter shared with familiar confidantes - the purity of these memories can never be forgotten.

I find I have the ability to make unpleasant memories blur away and only treasure those which comfort, warm and stimulate me.

I compare my loss to the amputation of a familiar limb. One gets used to functioning without it but not a single day passes when one is not reminded of that loss in some small way or another. 

Friday, 9 December 2011

Memories - The Ugly

Eva wins first prize!
 Trouble began in 1971 when I was twelve years old. My little sister Juliet joined Ramnee. She was an extremely sensitive child and could not adjust to life in the boarding. She cried continuously and would run away from her class just to seek me out, then would cling to me weeping piteously. Nothing I could say or do would matter to her, and I had no idea how to handle the situation. The seniors seemed to find this whole scenario most amusing and would tease my sister incessantly, calling her mean names, which would set her off howling again. It infuriated me to witness this and I began to pick defiant fights with these girls, so earned the reputation of being rude and 'too big for my boots'. The more they teased my little sis, the angrier I became, which became a vicious cycle of taunting, tears and taking up for her. Julie's class teacher, Miss Carvalho, once slapped her as I happened to be passing by. I stormed up and demanded to know what the little girl had done to merit being hit. Miss Carvalho glared at me and said to stop behaving like a 'walking peacock', whatever that meant and I was reported for being cheeky.
The next problem I had was encouraging the young 'maali' boy ! There was a  gardener who would cheekily grin whenever he saw me and I unhesitatingly beamed back. I would nudge friends and tell them to notice how he smiled, and then we would scuttle off in a flurry of giggles. Someone took it upon themselves to complain to the Principal, Sister Bernard, that I was flirting with the scruffy looking chap, and I was hauled over the coals for being a bad influence, with the devil putting evil thoughts into my head. I actually had no idea what the big deal was, but felt miserably guilty for whatever it was I was supposed to have done. 
The rebellious streak grew worse. Someone told me F&*% was a bad word, but in those days no one really knew what it meant. I sat in class one day, scrawling the word all over a blank page of my exercise book. When the nun in charge saw what I was writing, there was another uproar for my ungodly behaviour. Girls were told not to talk to me since I was evil spawn and they would all burn in hell for associating with me.It was much later that I realised the connotations of the F word but then I was just twelve and not as worldly wise as the children of today.
The last straw came when I asked one of the day scholars to bring me some cigarettes. I puffed bravely on one in the bathing room and then sprinkled talcum powder all over to mask the smell. I had no idea the stink would linger so strongly and half an hour later I was summoned again and stared at in wordless horror for the unspeakable atrocity I had committed.
Two days later I was called to the Principal's office and was shocked to find my mother there, all pale faced and shaky. My bags had been packed and I was told I was being expelled! I could not believe what I was hearing and there was no reaction that I could give, so numb was I by the whole turn of events.
A couple of months later we received a letter from the school saying they would be happy to take me back since they felt I had been taught a lesson.The inside story was that there was some internal political trouble between Sister Dominica and Sister Bernard over the Principalship, and I was made the scapegoat because of my family's closeness to the former.
 The very idea of going back made me so hysterical that my parents reluctantly agreed to let me give my board exams privately. My days in Ramnee came to an abrupt and unforeseen end and I have never been back to Nainital in all these years.
The Mikado - Annual Day Play

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Memories -The Good,The Bad

Margaret, Veronica, Loreta, Eva, Cacun, Louisa

So many memories of forty years ago seem to be related to food.
We struggled to save our tuck and then would sneak off to the loos in the dorms for a midnight feast.It was not the most sanitary place for a party, but the fear of being caught just added to the whispered thrill of the occasion. A teaspoon of Feradol in the lunch I loved swirling the malt around a spoon and then savouring it lick by lick - there was a certain art to the whole ceremony.  I recall the luscious meringues we got as a treat at the end of the year, for being part of the church choir. The candy man with his tin trunk filled with delicious goodies....butter biscuits, bright pink and white coconut sweets and peppermint sticks. The tuck shop, where the pocket money in those days was twenty five or fifty paisa, and if one was very rich one whole rupee. I loved GG's, which were hard, stick jaw like squares of caramel, which were ideal for pulling out loose teeth. One just had to bite hard into the toffee and the offending tooth would be left behind in the goo when one opened ones mouth.

Gross looking yummy 'churan'

Sports holidays were preceded by weeks of practise for races, pyramids and the PT display and were times of competitive fun. For me, the vacations meant horse riding and I spent those ten days galloping  up hill and down dale and there was nothing more I wanted from life. Except maybe suck on some 'Ziffy' tablets and eat the gross looking but yummy 'churan' we could buy on the Flats! The five day October break came just after our Annual Day concert, and that was also a time of hours of rehearsals and costume fittings, nerves and drama.
Back tracking down memory lane can immediately bring  a prickly feeling of nostalgia. Singing The Bells of Saint Mary's, our school anthem, always stirred me to the bone. The girls in the choir carolling Silent Night was something else that I remember giving me goose bumps.My recollection of  other than those in my batch is not particularly good but the beautifully melodious voice of Cacun Nathan still rings in my ears.
The  halls and corridors of Ramnee each had their resident ghosts and accompanying supernatural tales.
The toilets adjoining the dorms were supposedly frequented by a young lass, who had appeared to some terrified girls in a shimmery haze, floating a foot above the ground. If one had to go for a pee in the dead of night, it was customary to wake up the closest sleeping figure and whisper "Come with me to the loo". This request was never turned down and we would stumble sleepily past rows of cupboards, whose locks rattled eerily in passing, because of the vibration of ones steps on the wooden floors. I had a bed next to a window and I really did observe the shadow of a nun on the wall once - I sat up and looked around but saw no one so covered my head with the quilt and had a story to tell the next morning. It must have been Sister Beata prowling around, checking up on us, but I never noticed her and it made an exciting story!
The infirmary was inhabited by a wraith like mother and her two daughters, who some claimed to have seen wandering past the beds of sick girls who were admitted.
The graveyard was a serene and beautiful spot where strange things were supposed to happen. The gates leading to it were normally kept locked,  but on some occasions we would sneak in and put our ears to the tomb stones, since it was rumoured that one could hear uncanny murmuring if one listened carefully enough.
The music rooms were haunted by a 'sardarji' it was said and on one occasion when I was hammering away at a particularly tough piece, I heard a sniff behind me and turned around to see an old 'sardar' gazing at me with a smile. My first reaction was to throw my music book at him and the second was to run screeching to the adjoining room yelling 'Ghost, Ghost!'. It was Sister Cecelia, who calmed me down with great difficulty, and then introduced me to a very flustered and nervous Mr Virdi, who turned out to be the piano tuner!
Off course none of these spectral tales were true, but I recall the spooky sensation of sitting around wide eyed, listening to ghastly stories and narrow escapades of the few who claimed to have seen some other worldly apparitions. Back in the day there was never any doubt in my mind that every word was true, which only added to the mystique of Ramnee.

First Communion - Margie, Me, Cacun, Lulu, Veronica and Lotta