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Snowwhite or Cindrella??!!

November 21, 2014

I think I can safely make this list:

Boys like girls of

Cindrella meets Snowwhite demeanour

Rapunzel meets Red Riding Hood demeanour

Barbie Doll meets Alice in Wonderland demeanour….

And so on….

But reality turned out to be converse in my life, full of comedy of errors in teenage. We have all had our share of faithful followers, gurus (i mean mentors) etc. As someone who grew up overnight, the way I saw life was way too different. Fortunate to be blessed with like-minded peers.

My friends made my life a lot tolerable in my teens.  And even later. They knew where to tick me off, where to encourage me, where to share fun with me, where to lavish care and affection. My school group is a tight close-knit one until today. We are spread around the world. We girls are almost like blood sisters. Some of my friends I got back thanks to social media like Facebook after over 2 decades – still we could pick up the thread exactly wherefrom we dropped it all those years back… and it was as if we never lost touch through the intervening times… Love you Girls!

I recall these gems from my school/college days:


One of my friends wrote law entrance and managed to bag a seat. In those days we did not have fancy premium private law institutions where they only taught you corporate law so you can argue in soft cultured tones in board rooms and make millions without your collar scruffs getting dirty with sweat (and not in hot airless court rooms like it is for the lesser fortunate). My friend attended the real govt Law college, the one and only one of our times. Law college atmosphere very much went with her persona. On the surface atleast we girls appeared timid, but our law friend would give the boys a run for their money.

Blessed with a robust figure, she was always subject to personal comments from boys. In Law college one boy was getting too raw with her everyday. One fine day my friend turned to him in front of his gang of boys and said, ‘are you sure, go check out your mom’s! you will be in for surprise.’

The boy’s face she said registered such a shock as the entire group that was sitting in the parapet wall got to their feet uncertain about what to do next. Without another word, my friend, a fresher, left for her class not looking back.

The next day the boy sought her out and apologized. Her senior, he then became my friend’s best friend.



This incident happened when I was in college I think. May be it was the film ‘Dil hai ki manta nahin’ – the Aamir Khan starrer. Or perhaps it was his first film with Juhi -Qayamat se qayamat tak – not sure. We school girls got together after a long time – we had had separated in college. We booked over a dozen seats in Woodlands cinema I guess.

Behind us we saw, the entire row was taken by New College boys whose campus was near by. They had cut the classes. From the start of the picture, the boys were harassing us. They offered us popcorns, chocolates, icecreams everything. Watching picture became impossible. Clearly everyone thought he was a Romeo and the girl in the seat right in front of him was his Juliet. Nonstop whistles as well.

During the recess, my law friend walked to the boy who looked like gang leader. ‘Since you have been offering to get us icecreams, we want to be nice with you and take it. Thanks! We all want ice creams and also popcorn!’

The boy blinked and so did his friends. Those were the days when we young people literally went without pocket money. The boys were redfaced but they put on a brave front. They started scrounging for loose change as everyone of them pooled in. Finally they got us all ice creams and also the popcorn!

In return, the boys had to starve!

Unforgettable teenage experience for us girls until this day 🙂  I really felt sorry for the boys!

‘Memorize the girls’ faces. Don’t ever marry one of them!’ I heard one of them comment from behind!

Because it is usual for boys these days to buy girls everything – my son does that everytime. But in our school/college days in 1980s, boys were still backward (!) and stingy (!).

Before the film started the boys were asking us if anyone of us wanted a drop home in their bikes. Or perhaps we would like to go to beach with them?! But soon as the screens were down, they were seen scurrying out to take their bikes and disappear. We girls walked ever so slowly to the bus stop taking our time and laughing our heart out through and through.

One guy even said ‘bitches!’ I think. More and uncontrollable laugh!!



My law college friend used to be quite a phenomenon in those days. Very daring. In fact I used to fear she would land us all in soup. I wasn’t the kind who would ever talk that way to boys. If I smelt trouble anywhere, I would quit the scene, that was my style. But my friend would take the guys head on. With her I have been to the lighthouse top, walked in the lone stretches of beaches,taken the suburban until the end terminal and back many times… and all that… Adrenaline rush!

My friend would randomly choose to talk to the fishermen, to the hotel server, anyone! When we were in school, my father thought she was a bad influence on me. She is an only child to her parents. Precocious. Very impish in teenage.

Emboldened by her, I did one day speak to a guy who was in the habit of following me to the bus stop. Every morning for over 3 months he was very dutiful, punctual. He was a north Indian. One day I said, ‘daily you are following me in cycle. you are a northie, i am tamil. even if we are in Madras, we cannot get married. moreover i don’t have parents. i have to find work first. if you are still interested, come home, i will introduce you to my aunt and uncle! they will then talk to your parents! so unless you have marriage plans about me, don’t follow me. i am not for petty affairs! … Er… but i am ready to marry you!!!’

The boy nearly went into coma. He said something like he would think about it but never materialized after that within 1 km of wherever I went!

Being a typical northie, I bumped into him one day after very many years near a shop in the city. He owns a 2-wheeler spare parts showroom I saw – not a big one but a medium size one. He actually grinned at me standing outside, thinking of the olden days. There was a little boy in the shop, probably his son, younger than mine. I smiled back and that is the end of the story. That day I knew I had saved 2 lives.

But next day at home I was struck by this laughing hysteria. I was picturing myself as the man’s wife lolz. What would I do? Sit in the showroom and write his accounts books? That gave me the laughing fit for an entire day 🙂 I mean no disrespect to the guy but his community is mostly into that kind of business in the city, and this one no doubt has made it on his own still i can’t see where i would have fit in anywhere in his life. How foolish it would have been if we had had gotten together. Even for fun’s sake for a few months. And how disastrous. I actually was expecting him to open a textile shop lolz. (‘He would have daily gotten you one free salwar kameez’ – comment courtesy, who else my husband. My husband also asks me why i did not marry a librarian so he would get me a free book everyday to read.Going to hit half century but he still likes to tease me with guys! Sigh, do our men ever grow up?!) (Husband’s other tease is about me marrying my bank officer. ‘Daily you both will fight in the branch in front of staff and public!’ this is his comment.) (The thing is why do we girls have this habit of confiding with our men everything, especially our teenage escapades. We know what would be coming our way next!)


I had had told my friend about the northie guy and together we shared some hearty laugh. She said I did the right thing, ‘good you are learning!’ But she used to say we girls were toughest to fall in love. And fall in love with. I am reading, ‘The sense of an ending’ by Julian Barnes now. I am quoting from one of the characters here: ‘something in me attracts the girls who say ‘No!’ Lolz I think we were that type of girls in the place of that boy who makes this confession. We would never, my friend would say, ‘or we would the wrong type.’ She never liked a single boy in her college. Not that any of us were looked great or dressed better. We were far worse that none would really care to give us a second look. In the sense, clothes were not for us girls (which was thought to be ‘ungirlishlike.’ )Grooming was not for us either. So what were we really. No boy was good enough for us. We were weird, we kind of attracted that kind of boys equally weird like us i guess! About the boys, again it was not about looks or clothes or bikes or whatever. Its just that we liked none. Our gang was like that. Not at all cold bitches, in fact we did all dream of M& B heroes like typical teenagers, drooled over George Michael but we weren’t the Cindrellas or Snowwhites all so innocent and cute. We liked the Kabir Bedi, Shekhar Kapur types over chocolate boys. Physical attraction went with Mental Awareness. We got it all in the reverse. All of us came from very conservative families. We don’t know about other girls … some of us were made like that. Today we are all middle-class housewives. No more the girls who we were, once so wild at heart.

I remember this from my teenage. I used to go for reading to the free library in R***** Mission Mutt pretty often. In those days there used to be a quiet garden between the temple and the library. Some monks would be seen walking here and there (looking Tibetan like in saffron robes, with shaven head and all). I liked none of the boys in my age there. But I dreamt of seducing a monk in the mutt always lolz! Same in the PG course. Boys were not good enough but one of my professors was!!


Many times my husband says, ‘if you had married anyone less, your life would have been a disaster!’ I perfectly agree with him. Why were we girls so insatiable… in the sense, so restless. What did we want out of our lives. Why couldn’t we be like other normal lasses. We try, I do try. I do try buying clothes, go on shopping etc etc. But I know I am not the ‘usual affable’ one out among them. I mix with everyone but that mental distance is too difficult for me to bridge. In workplace I was aware I was called ‘the snob.’

And what were we girls looking for? ‘Not a single guy in your bank?!’ my friend would ask me hopefully after I started working. I thought about my officer. OMG. He and me in the same branch!!! ‘Arranged marriage is for toughest nuts because we don’t crack easy’ she would say. She also had an arranged marriage finally. In fact, all of us did. It was easiest way out for us girls. We failed to pick up a single guy and not a single one picked us up either. In fact we were good at chasing away prospective suitors! More than once I have actually lectured other girls against getting into love affairs. My officer one day was telling someone for the benefit of my ears, ‘mine has become the fox and the sour grapes story!’ That was months after I married. My marriage caught my department by surprise. My union GS later told me, my officer was about to propose to me. He was exactly my husband’s age.

My legal counsel, when he gifted me a book, told me about the resilient girl who fought cancer in her v….a. In fact it is that book that he presented me with. He said, I fought an emotional battle in life, the girl fought a physical battle. Both had won. But when he used the ‘v’ word to my face when we were alone, I was stunned. This happened some 7-8 years back. I think i had not yet hit 40 then. He’s the same age as my husband., married with a sweet family. (Looks like i have something going with 65 born). Age has however given me some maturity. I could so pull over a mask over my face and stay still without a reaction, without batting my eyelid. It was as if we were everyday having this kind of conversation. I let the moment pass. We need to be friends.

I thought of my law friend then. What would her reaction be? Pretty much the same, it struck me. How much life has sobered my friend in last 20 years. Marriage works different ways for different women. We all have to get tamed sometime.

After the conversation and after I came home, I started looking at K.Balachander’s pictures with a lot more clarity and understanding – for one thing. There are a lot of re-runs in the tv anyway of the black & white era stories.

I like these, my all time favourites:

Sila nerangalil sila manithargal (some men at some times)

Oru nadigai naadagam paarkiraal (a star watches a show)

Aval appadi thaan (she is like that)

Avargal (them)

Nizhal nijamaagiradhu (mirage/illusion/shadow becomes reality)

Arangetram (debut (stage performance))

Aval oru thodarkadhai (she is a (never-ending) tale)

Apoorva Raagangal (strange or/rare raags/tunes)

Varumaiyin niram sivappu (the colour of poverty is red) (1980)

Agni Saakshi (the fire as the witness) (early 1980s)

Thanneer Thanneer (water, water) (mid 1980s)

Achamillai Achamillai (no fear no fear) (mid 80s)

Kalyana Agathigal (the married refugees or orphans) (mid 80s)

Sindhu Bhairavi (mid 1980s)

Manithil urudhi vendum (the mind must be strong) (late 1980s)

Kalki (1990s)

Poi (lie) (2000s)


Note: Except the last 7, the rest are all b&w magic. The first 2 are Jayakanthan’s novels made into pictures. ‘Aval appadithaan’ is a Rudhraiya story. Tamil Cinema’s Timeless Classics.

KB’s women seem to define for me the kind of girls we were perhaps in the eighties. In essence, in a way. Not typical one hundred percent. I have to give concession for the innocence that goes with age. Appearances can rather be deceptive. KB girls were way too ahead of their times (1970s). Even by today’s standards they are far ahead. I am the generation inspired by KB’s heroines. There is something about the characters I can identify with. May be it is the strong unflinching conviction about whatever you intrinsically and intuitively believe in… I don’t know. Or it is that rebellious streak…

Today I gulp down everything and move on, that is life.Years have mellowed us girls and I am no exception. We are dutiful wives now and responsible mothers … and each and everyone of us girls has raised great kids… whereas once upon a time in my life I thought domesticity was never for me…  Life is full of surprises at every turn… and sometimes we surprise ourselves!



My one and only army connection was online!

Except when the IPKF were passing through Madras to Sri Lanka when Rajiv Gandhi was our prime minister, I have not seen Army personnel anywhere in my city. You cannot spot services guys anywhere else in India except where they belong – in their barracks. I know there is OTA in my city but I live miles from it. Not even those living closer bother to take a look. Army line/life is not something we find interesting – atleast down south.

I used to play online chess with an army officer for over an year. He was from Delhi. We played over 100 games, one  a day on average at one point of time – may be 3-4 years back. He was the same age as me. And when I told him that, typically like a male Indian, he asked me my board exam scores! And that of my husband’s! He had secured a 97.5% in MPC in 12th boards CBSE  – same batch as me. But instead of trying for IIT he wrote his NDAentrance and got into services. He did his honours degree in the NDA. ‘I don’t even own an apartment in Delhi,my hometown. Armed servcies pay poor!’ he would lament, ‘and look at your husband, minting money in middle-east, so selfish, being an averager!’

I did feel bad for him really. I didn’t find any logic in his aversion to my husband. Even without knowing him, he hated him! I won over 95% of the matches we played. And everytime I checkmated him he would say, ‘woman on top. good to be f****d by you!’

Alarmed the first time he said that (in the small message window in the game screen), i quit the next game. Then he inboxed me saying that it was just a figure of speech. It was the way with him. It was not meant to degrade me or hurt my self-respect. He said sorry.

So I returned to my games. The ‘woman on top’ congratulatory comment continued for many more games but by the time I got used to his lingo. Yes he meant no offence.

I was winning every game so I got careless and lost a game with a stupid move – never expected it. Then he said, ‘finally I am on top, and this is how it must be!’

Again a quarrel and I quit. Then again he inboxed me saying that was a joke. He maintained he meant no offence. But now I was totally fed up. I said, ‘you have a daughter, I have a son. Think of me as your future samdhi. What in case I ask your daughter for my son. Give me that respect. Will you say no only because you are a northie and i am a tamil?’

He sent me a reply, ‘you definitely know how to turn off a man. you as my samdhi??!! but yes, my daughter will be safe and happy with you I know. how would i ever say no. which means i cannot use the ‘f’ word with you?!’

We played a few more games after that -and with a lot of effort he avoided using the word! ‘Give every woman that respect I said. Change your vocabs. You have a daughter. Think of her when you speak to me.’

Finally my flirty friend relented. ‘You are a party pooper!’ said he. By then it was becoming too much of one-way street. I had won over 150 games – he played very poor chess. We stopped playing on mutual agreement and parted as friends. I said, ‘may be i have reformed you?!’

He is not my FB buddy but we are following up on each other. His daughter is a teenage girl. ‘One day if we ever meet and start playing again and if the situation is right, may be even after 10 years, who knows i may ask for your daughter? so raise her well’ I said.

‘You are an expert in deflating a guy’ said he. Lolz. ‘But yes, even if you forget, and if we meet online ever, I will ask you about your son!’

All India Integration online 🙂 The best way to tackle a flirty guy is to ask therefore if he has an eligible daughter and try match-making with your son! But what I felt with this army guy was, how much inspite of his brawny language, he was basically such a family man and how he still wanted a good life for his daughter. How so much he loved her. And he really seemed to care about my son. And how much he understood me through the games, how much he respected us as family. He is now promoted to a higher level.

So behind all that tough exterior lies a very soft heart – is all I can say. The man who was so verbal in over 100 games we played totally succumbed when I bowled him out with this ‘samdhi’ term. Daughters are men’s weakest points. Pity I did not zero in on that a bit early.



After nearly 25 years since we finished our board 12 exams and started university/college, I found a long lost friend online thanks to the social media. It was she in fact who discovered me after a lot of digging up – because our surnames are changed now. Moreover I use a shorter version of my first name unofficially. Same with her.

In our school days, we used to walk through a street to our school. We were a group of girls. Including my law friend ofcourse. Usually all Madarasi guys sport thick mush. But in this street was this one particular guy who used to be clean shaven. He looked very fair, a rarity in my city. We promptly named him ‘CS’ – short for ‘clean shave.’ We girls had such a crush on him. Daily on my way to school he would be standing outside his house with his cycle (cycle was like Mercedes Benz for us in those days) getting ready to go to his college. I believe he was attending Vivekananda – Mathematics. (In fact when I joined Maths for degree I was thinking of him lolz). But the problem was, some 6 of us girls were half in love with him! And this guy had this habit of staring at everyone! We did not know who he fancied!

lolz – After I joined my bank I totally forgot about him. I was seeing him (in the sense me secretly and not staring openly like him) even in my college days. Then he moved i think and that was the end of the road.

After 25 years my friend who managed to track me down asked for my phone no. Within a minute she was on my landline shrieking! And the first question she asked me after some 25 years was, ‘How is CS???!!!’

Not whether I was married, had kids or anything of the sort. But CS! As if I was carrying on with him in the clandestine all these years. Really wanted to bang her in the head but both of us ended up laughing and laughing and laughing for 20-30  minutes after that!

Such a sweet memory from teenage. CS was from my next street in Mylapore so all the girls automatically assume I have him radio-collared up and keep tab on him to this day!

We girls were very uptight to the outsiders, but on the insides we were so… emotional? hot?! lolz I can’t find the right word. My friend has a daughter in marriageable age. In fact she is looking for a groom for her daughter right now. But even now in ‘Whatsapp’ etc she is asking me whether there is any news on CS hahaha! To everyone’s disappointment, sincerely I have NO IDEA!


Meanwhile I may be 40+ but I am on look out for this casanova-meets-tarzan demeanour guy for sometime now… Sounds like my dream guy really. I mean we all have crushes on cricket heroes, movie stars like that. But who do we really like. Like for a man, I am asking. Because I know I am good at repelling, intimidating men generally. But this casanova-tarzan rolled into one seems like an exciting prospect, worth chasing!

‘Hey girls! How do you like a casanova-meets-tarzan type guy?!’ not even I had finished asking in our group chat and a chum responded, ‘show me, i am ready to elope with him!’ This girl has a daughter in university and a boy in class 12!

LOLZ!!! Spirit of my girls! We’ll put teenage gals to shame! Adrenaline rush, rush, rushing!!!

As my Doha date fast approaches, I am getting all A+++ rating jokes from my girls for days now, Atta Girls!

Who says we are in our 40s?! The other day 3 of us were waiting for an auto. There was a guy locking his car with his remote – may be even younger to us. One of my friends nudged me to look at him. All 3 of us were slyly looking at him in a minute! ‘What is our age?!’ reminded the third girl. We have to keep that in mind lolz!!!




From → Bharatiya Naari

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