Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Roots - the Marikar connection - 1

Yesterday i received the updated geneology of my maternal side of the family. The geneology is hosted at the following url: http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~lkawgw/gen251.html

We come from a family group called the Marikars who have moorish ancestry. Our particular line comes from Ceylon and Morocco. Here's an excerpt of our family history describing my great-grandfather, TCH Marikar (my grandmother, Safar Marikar was the youngest child of TCH Marikar).
TCH Marikar
Herewith a short sketch of our esteemed, illustrious and colourful grandfather. Adventurous and romantic, perhaps, would describe him better.

He was born in Kandy, Ceylon in 1852. He belonged to an aristocratic family of ancestral landlords. In a family of eight, he was the second son of Thambi Cannu Marikar. He took his initials from his father’s name and was known as T.C.H.Marikar.
TCH's First Wife
He was a sportsman and an athlete, his favourite game being football. Once while he was playing, the ball went into the school ground next door. It was when he went to pick it up that he met his future wife who was a teacher there. * She was a padre’s daughter. They got married with much opposition from the powerful Marikars and the Christian community. Her married name was Ayesha. She was said to be of attractive features, gentle, soft-spoken and very intelligent. She was well versed in the Bible and in the Quran. She bore him six children.

Trade and the spirit of adventure brought appa (T.C.H.) to India. With his business acumen, he successfully built up his trade between India and Ceylon. He came to South India and established himself in the then States of Travancore and Cochin (Kerala) and parts of Madras Presidency (Tamil Nadu). Travelling between India and Ceylon could not have been easy sailing in the eighties. He owned 26 dhows and did regular trips. In Travancore, he was attracted to Mundakayam and Peermadu. Perhaps, it was the scenic beauty and climate of these places and their similarity to Ceylon that attracted him.
TCH's Second Wife
He started his business in Kottayam where he had a supermarket of sorts. He used to go to the mosque on horseback and that is when he fell in love with the Syrian Christian lady, who was renowned for her beauty and specially her long & flowing tresses. She used to watch him from the threshold of her house. One day, he carried her away on his horse. This lady, Kunjamma, was already married and had a child too, but nothing prevented the progress and fulfillment of their great romance. They married to the utter dismay, anger and embarrassment of the Syrian Christian, ‘Chowkaparambil family’, to which she belonged. Kunjamma’s married name became Mariambi. They stayed in Kottayam for some time and later settled down in Rich Grove estate in Mundakkayam.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Project 2 - My Daughter's Tadika - Prelude

I remember my father's entrepreneurial spirit. He was a building contractor. He made a lot of money in his lifetime and he lost a lot of money too. We went thru the financial ups and downs. So much so, i guess all his children were initially afraid to venture into business. At some time or other, most of my siblings ventured into some business or other. But you can't really venture into business unless you are in it full time. We found that out the hard way. We lost a lot of money for that lesson. Many years ago, when i had failed my HSC exam for the second time ( i was busy trying to run a greeting card business while studying) , my father pulled me aside and said, "follow me, i will teach you the building business". But i was stubborn and refused his offer because i felt i could not or should not run from a defeat. I sat for and passed the HSC exam the following year because i really worked on it. But sometimes i wonder, if i had taken my father's advice, would my life have been different? for the better or worse?

Anyway, sometime in 2000, after reading "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" by Robert Kiyosaki, i became convinced that i had been going down a path that will not and cannot make me rich (legally). I was moving from job to job, and each one was paying higher than the last but then, I saw for the first time how deluded and complacent we had become in our middle-class thinking. I was carrying bigger and bigger buckets thinking i was doing better. My life was going down the path of a highly paid slave. I had forgotten to dream. So i started with a dream i had for most of my life -- of runing a kindergarten. My first-born, Farah, has the profile of being a entreprenuer so I am opening up the path for her. It will now depend on her to make a go of this business. So far, it looks good.

ps. the picture above of nemo is a mural in the kindergarten

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Project 1 - My Shah Alam Garden

Here with a Loaf of Bread beneath the Bough,
A Flask of Wine, a Book of Verse - and Thou
Beside me singing in the Wilderness -
And Wilderness is Paradise enow.

Omar Khayyam

First, i need to create that place with a bough. Got lots of bread. Can't drink wine but tea will do. Books? Nooo Problem. And can teach the wife to sing.... eventually. or hum or whistle (you know how to whistle don't you? You just purse you lips and blow - Bogart & Bacall in "To Have and To Have Not") . I am taking heart that paradise wasn't created in a day. You just need to be optimistic.

We need these quiet spaces in our lives amidst the hurry-burry of life. To see fish swim, the sound of water, the sight of plants and flowers, the smell of earth and to bring all these elements together into harmony. Got a picture of this in my head. But now i need to take it out and make it a reality. Wish me luck.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

My House in Klang

My first house. Like all things that come first, it occupies a place in your heart because ... it was there first. Like your first day in school, your first love ..... This was the house that 5 of my 6 children were born in. There is a history in this house. The fire in the house, the cobra near the sliding door, the attempted break-in, the instances my children fell down and required stitches to their wounds .... you know what i mean. What i remember most of this house was the big round dining table where we all could sit together as a family and eat and talk. We now have a rectangle dining table which i think is a mistake. King Arthur got it right. For fellowship, nothing beats a round table. When i look back, i think living here at this house was like living in a kampung. We didn't have many neighbours - there were 2 other houses on this road and one was a kindergarten and the other was hardly occupied by the owner. So the children grew up relying on their siblings for companionship and fun. I think also as parents we were also very protective. After the boy Soon Sheng disappeared one day after school, parents across the Klang Valley became paranoid. Incidentally, Soon Sheng went to my son's school in Taman Rashna and they were both in Standard Two when he disappeared one drizzly Friday evening. So the wife took on the brunt of ferrying the children to school, their taekwando classes etc. We finally decided to move out of the house because i wanted a smaller house in Shah Alam.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A Quote

"If you don't like something change it, if you can't change it, change the way you think about it." Mary Engelbreit