That was the first computer program we had to write in BASIC, PASCAL, COBOL and C in the first year of the graduation. It seems Byron S. Gottfried was determined to make every Computer Science graduate to wish the world. Noble soul!
Later on, when I could actually lay my hands on the sales figure of the book over the years as a publisher, my doubts were cleared. He indeed made millions say ‘Hello World!’.
This is what happens when you start writing without having anything on your mind. I haven’t written anything for almost two months now. And this morning I was like itching to pick up the laptop and go sit on the terrace and scribble some gibberish. Alas! The humid weather and not a single leaf moving made me opt against it.
But here I am. Finally sitting with a blank document, struggling to write something. And then it came. Muse, of course!
Had the most beautiful fifteen day vacation in my life with all my loved ones in one place. And guess what by the end of it, Mom’s pension too got through. Nine months! The relief on her face is therapy to all of us.
Saw the pic above. That’s a regular practice in many of Kerala houses till today. Evening prayers. Reciting Namah Shivaya, Ramayana or other shlokas with elders in the family. The Nilavilakku is integral to several rituals and ceremonies in Hindu families in Kerala. As the sun rises, young girls of the family bring the lighted lamps to the verandah of the house, continued with evening prayers.
The last time I remember having this kind of evening was when both Muthachan (maternal grandfather) and Ammamma (maternal grandmother) were alive. In 1990. Ammamma, Amma or Mema (maternal aunt) would light the Nilavillakku (Nilam in the Malayalam/Tamil language means tall and vilakku means lamp), show it to the Thulasithara (the holy place in the courtyard where Basil is grown and worshipped) and the Paambum Kaavu (Abode of Snakes, is a traditional natural sacred space seen near traditional homes in Kerala) while slowly chanting Deepam, Deepam, Deepam and then put the lamp in front of the Mahalakshmi photo that was worshipped with special pooja on the first Friday of every Malayalam month. We were then made to recite Namah Shivaya. Mema would then feed us along with a story or two. Walking with her in the courtyard with just the moonlight to accompany us seems to be one of the most beautiful memories of my childhood. I was so attached to Mema that when she finally got married at the age of thirty, I created such a scene on the eve of her wedding. I was eleven then. That was not all. I bit into her husband’s hand a day after their wedding and prayed that it gets infected. I guess her wedding and subsequent change of residence meant another blow to my little heart which was already bleeding due to Dad’s foreign assignment. It felt like I lost her forever. I still love her, but that warmth has been lost somewhere in those fading lanes of my childhood.
A big thanks to Girija Aunty at the home stay for helping revive those beautiful childhood memories. By the way, she happens to be the namesake of my beloved Mema. Love you lots, Girija Mema!
Stay tuned to more such updates from my recent travel on this space.