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Sundar Narayanan's Travelog

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Entries in all part of life (177)



Went to the local video store with Jr. and the little one.

Was waiting for the traffic light to turn green, when a biker came and stopped next to us at the light. This was a big white dude in bike shorts, with tattoos all over his arms and legs, multiple earings on each ear, matted long brown hair (Bob Marley style) and a bandana over his head.

Jr. was observing him from the car seat in the back for the entireity of the traffic light cycle and when we started turning, said:

"Daddy, I don't think I have ever seen a woman with a moustache before!"

Her innocence and sincerity in believing that statement, just cracked me up. I had to grab the steering wheel with both hands to steady the vehicle.

"Kuttyma, it is a guy with long hair! Not a woman with a moustache!" I said and she goes: "No daddy, that WAS a woman with a moustache!". We argued this back and forth a few times and I just gave up.

Now we have a latest addition to the list of Santa, Tooth Fairy, Racco the bad Racoon who runs the school for misbehaving kids.....

The moustached woman!



The ties that bind!

When it comes to binding two surfaces together, there are many approaches. In fact gluing two surfaces or nailing them together would probably result in a much better bond than just using some form of rope or thread. However, when it comes to bonds that last, they always have "tying" associated with the bond.

Caveman probably used rope like material long before he came up with nails or glue! Maybe that is the historical reason ? But in retrospect, humans have associated permanent or long standing bonds with a tie.

The earliest and strongest is the umbilical tie ! Somehow even after the bond is broken physically, it leaves behind an imaginary connection that allows a mother to remote control her child, when he is 13964 Kilometers (or 8678 miles) away. A mothers ability to make a grown up child cry over a few words during a phone call, and the even more amazing ability to restore the same grown up child and make him wipe off his tears within a few minutes by calling him back, has to do more with the imaginary connection than the phone connection!

Then of course comes the tie that follows the umbilical tie. The "aranakayaru" tie! A black thread that the dad ties around a baby's waist on the day the kid is named as an attempt cast off the evil eyes! Hope this tie works as well for me as it did for my daddy!

The third tie that I can remember is the tie that initiated me into culture and religion. I am refering to the Upanayanam ceremony and the sacred thread that has been slung across my shoulder since I was thirteen! Although I have not been as faithful to all the duties and daily prayers that I agreed to perform, I still have not forgotten them. Just do them at my own terms and have come to accept it for what it is worth!

The fourth memorable tie is the tie that binds me to education and my profession! Well, I am talking about the colorful sash that my co-advisor tied around my neck during my Ph.D. graduation ceremony! Something to remember for the rest of my life. I have been studying all my life, but that moment stood for a milestone along that path. It was almost like stopping in Coalinga on a long drive from San Francisco to Los Angeles and smelling the cows, except much nicer!

The last and most important was the knot I tied around my fiance's neck to get her to be my wife! Of course she was my fiance for a total of one week before she became my wife! Cannot put my finger on it, but was it the knot, the circumstances under which it was tied, the audience at the event, the rituals ? Guess it does not really matter because somehow it gets etched deep down into your head and can still resurface from that depth real fast!

The same ties keep going over and over again, generation after generation, binding people in an inextricable way.

Ah, the ties, they do bind !


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