26 January 2005

Can Lah!

X: makkan?
Y: can
X: Orchard Road can?
Y: can lah!

This is one of the typical conversations that you would hear in Singapore. "Can" is a very popular word in Singapore and freely used for any affirmation. It would mean "yes", "ok", "will do" and of course "can". You can survive with just these two words. The "Can Lah" makes you a local :)

It props up in almost all the conversations that you have. There have been quite a few incidents when I've been totally confused with what the others were replying. I used to wonder why they don't reply with a straight forward "yes" or "no". It was only much later that I came to know that sometimes they used to be confused with my straightforward "yes" and "no". It was much easier to use "can".

You can see the difference in me when you look at one of my conversations with a taxi driver:

Me: Suntec can?
TD: can
(I get in)
TD: AYE can?
Me: can

This gets translated to
Me: Would the taxi come to Suntec?
TD: yes, get in
TD: Can we go via the AYE?
Me: yes we can.

So if your are planning to come to Singapore learn the art of using "Can Lah".

PS: Lah can be used at the end of any statement!!

25 January 2005


Today is Thaipusam. A festival of great importance for hindus in Singapore and Malaysia...note I've not mentioned India. Yes, until I came to Singapore, I had not known much about Thaipusam. We didn't have any special pooja's or fasting on this day back home. Infact most of the time this day would just be another day on the calendar.

But in Singapore its quite different. Thaipusam is an important festival for the Hindus here. On this day, people carry kavadi and karagam attached to their body, while some have the Vel pierced through their tongue and cheeks. The procession is 4 kms long, stretching from Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple in Serangoon Road to the Sri Thandayuthapani temple in Tank Road. This festival might seem strange to Westeners and other communities and so manages to be a crowd puller. Large number of tourists border the road where the procession is held trying to catch the various forms of worship in their camera.

Now coming to some details on what is Thaipusam.
Thaipusam is celebrated on the full moon day of the 10th month (thai) of the Tamil Calendar. It is celebrated in the honor of Lord Muruga the second son of Lord Shiva. Devotees maintain month long fast to get ready for the penance. On the day of thaipusam, the devotees fast and get ready for the Kavadi and the piercing. This is done to fulfill a vow for a granted favour or as part of the eradication of sins done before.

PS: We too have started having a special pooja on the Thaipusam day nowadays.

24 January 2005

The trip this year

We had a very hectic trip this year to India. Thinking back to what we actually did,

31st Dec. Daughter Samyu's birthday -- reached Trichy on 31st morning and went straight to our village after picking up my parents...Samyu was excited on seeing us and wouldn't go to anyone else. We went to a nearby temple and there was a special pooja. Then it was time to decorate the house and slowly people started coming...my God..Think my MIL thought this was some type of a family function....She had invited so many relatives (some second and third cousins) Finally it was so crowded that the men had to stay out and the ladies in the house. To top it all the current failed twice during the party and each time for nearly 30 mins!!! But overall Samyu was a very good girl and cut the cake. She also accepted the gifts eagerly (more like grabbing)...it was fun to watch.

1st Jan, was just another day since they don't celebrate it in my MIL's place.

2nd Jan, we started in the morning and went to a temple in the middle of paddy fields...Had a nice experience...More like a picnic. Then went to Samyapuram temple for my nephew's mottai (shearing of the hair). Samyu started moving freely with everyone after this trip.

3rd Jan we went to our kuzha theivam temple to put mottai for Samyu...Everyone was stunned to see Samyu sitting silently during the mottai..infact she was turning her head as per the instructions of the barber...we were all expecting her to bawl.

5. 4th Jan there was a special viratham (fast) in my MIL's house as part of the mottai.

6. 5th Jan, came to my mom's house. My close friend D visited me in the morning with her son. Kid looks big and so cute. He literally runs everywhere as he has just learnt to walk!! He and Samyu didn't play with each other...they were more concerned with doing things alone...think they are too small to know how to play together. D's son came to all of us, but Samyu went only to D's father and hubby. She's already favoring guys!! Had a nice time and took lots of video and photos.

6th Jan, went on a visiting spree to my cousin, sister and aunt's house.

7th Jan, went to hubby's aunt's house which is also in Trichy. BIL and his family joined us there. We had dinner there and returned home.

9. 8th Jan, morning had been window shopping and got some items from Poompuhar (the govt handicraft shop). then in the evening went to RockFort temple. After which we went out for dinner with my SIL and her extended family. Returned home pretty late.

9th Jan, went to some temples in Kumbakonam (oh my God....was this a pilgrimage trip?) and on the return visited one of my Aunties.

10th Jan, my hubby had to take his mother to Salem for some treatment...my MIL has become the abode of all known problems....we tease her saying that she partonizes all the illnesses like she patronizes us!!! So me and Samyu were free to do whatever we wanted. I left Samyu with my mom and went shopping with my sis.

11th Jan, again shopping.

12th Jan, h was back and so we went to get the tickets. They told that the rates would come down the next day and asked us to buy the tickets the next day. So, we gave the details to my sister and asked her to collect the tickets and we left for our village.

13th Jan, It was Boggi Pongal and so all of us had got up early and there was a small prayer at home. My parents came around 11.30 with the pongal seer for Samyu (it is customary to give pongal pot for baby's first pongal, where by they prepare pongal in that pot and the granny's feed the baby the first pongal). Think my MIL was in an entertaining mood this time as she had again invited the whole crowd for pongal. Luckily since all of them had to keep pongal in their respective homes, they just visited us as and when they had time and left immediately. Hence it was not crowded at any particular time.

14th Jan, on pongal day, nothing special except that pongal was prepared and everyone fed Samyu her first pongal (actually she had eaten sakarai pongal n number of times before and she likes it very much :) so its not her first pongal!!)

15th Jan, mattu pongal was fantastic here. We all got into two cars and went to the fields since the cows were there. While my mom and my co-sister's mom were busy keeping pongal (it was kept in the typical pongal fashion, in front of the mattu patti, in a vengala paanai kept on top of three stones that served as the stove!) we were busy decorating the cows...Samyu wanted to ride the cows while nephew was frightened even to touch the ones without horns. Then all of us went around the fields and then had coconut water (elaneer). By that time the pongal was ready and FIL and my father had made all the pooja things ready. The pooja was completed and the cows feed with pongal. Then we all returned home....some went in the car, while we walked back...the sun had gone down and it was fun walking, chatting with cousins while eating sugarcane.

16th Jan, busy with packing and then left for Singapore...

Now back in Singapore :((

oh..for those hectic but wonderful days in Trichy

all in all I didnt have time to sit and talk with my mom and sis even for a day :(( My mil and mom were complaining that we were returning back just when didn'ttt had started playing with them :((

21 January 2005

Too busy

Guess what? I've been extremely busy the past two days reading new blogs...I'm almost addicted to blogs. Its so interesting to read than write :))

Most of the posts bought back found memories of my childhood, my friends and families. There is this urge in me now to write about my childhood days...hopefully I get down to blogging about it in the next few days :))

20 January 2005

Tsunami brings ...

The first time I heard about Tsunami's I was awed. When I saw it, I was horrified. When I saw the destructions, I was shocked. Then I was angry with God for doing this. Followed by joy when I saw the number of kind hearted people ready to help in whatever way they could. It was pride that filled me when I noted that our Government was one of the first to send help to other affected countries.

Over the days when I read about the relief work and how it was not organized and many getting surplus while others starved. Was ashamed when I read about greedy politicians and others trying to gain from the relief work. So it was a bit of surprise when I noted in Rediff about the relief work done by the TamilNadu CM, Miss.Jayalalitha. Check this

18 January 2005


Its pretty late to be wishing all a Happy New Year, but I had been on a vacation the past few weeks and couldn't blog.

Had been to India the past 2 weeks. But somehow this visit was laced with sorrow...althou hundreds of feet inland and no known person directly impacted, the tsunami has certainly left its mark. almost all whom I met and spoke to were moved by the plight of the survivors. The New year celebrations were muted and there was talk about the aids for affected people everywhere. A small consolation.

Then, coming to our whirlwind trip, we had our daughter's first birthday celebrations, followed by visits to quite a few temples. Was able to do a bit of shopping and then celebrated pongal at my in-laws place. Samyu enjoyed the mattu pongal as she got to see cows at close and able to touch them too!!!

Now we are back to routine...sigh!!