Thursday, December 24, 2015

Of dogs- well trained and otherwise

Sonny Boy is in Cochin for part of the Xmas hols.
An uncle there has a dog, Micky.
Ever since Trin left us, he's been happy to be with any dog that he comes across, and yesterday, he'd spent the day at Micky's house.
He just called me, and told me that I would be very unhappy if I saw Micky. Apparently, if you asked Micky to come, she would come, if you asked her to go, she would go, she would sit, roll over, and all that, at one's behest. Seemed to me to be a well trained dog. So I asked why I would be unhappy with that.
But Amma, dogs should not be so obedient! they should be naughty.
Speaks volumes for darling Trinity's obedience. :-D
Also- by now he's read Marley and Me ( the abridged version, not the full one, didn't want him to read the original one, I could barely complete it myself without tears trickling out of my eyes, and that was before Trin passed away) and he's entirely convinced a dog should be footloose and fancy free.
All we need now is the pitpat of little paws to enter our lives and enrich it once again.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Of sambar and varutharacha curry

And its back to square one. The cooking, I mean.

The first cook we had was good. Her chicken curry was delicious!! But she was unreliable. And would take leave often. She also skipped work for an entire week that I was away from home. Without any notice whatsoever. A hassled, irate husband told me to send her packing. Well, she had to come before I could send her packing, but what I did do, was to get another one.

This new one didn't have a mobile where we could call, but was punctual to the dot every day.Only thing was - she was a cook who couldn't cook. She made decent chappatties, which was what she made the first 2 weeks, but that was the most she could do. She couldn't make north indian (aloo capsicum), she couldn't make south indian ( morukari - similar to north indian kadi) . She had to be literally shown everything else. I asked her to make potato masala curry once-
"I want potato curry made with coconut.  Like the moru kari I showed you. .  but you have to saute it first. You know?"
"I know," she nodded.
Having had prior experience of her happy nods, I proceeded to tell her in detail what all I wanted in the coconut paste.. And I laid out all the ingredients to be sauteed- onion, red chilly, cumin, pepper, chilly, curry leaves, even the requisite amount of grated coconut.
And off I went, to facebook in peace.
I wish I had taken a picture of that curry.
Madame 'chef' sauteed it to perfection yes,  but didn't grind it!! The curry was full of grated, sauteed coconut and other stuff. Husband told me - "You and your varutharacha curry! She's a kannadiga, she doesn't know all that, ask her to make normal stuff."

I was traveling again, so I asked her to make sambar. I couldn't think any more normal that that for a south Indian. This was around the time the price of dal was shooting up. What can I say? She made sure that the husband  knew that she hadn't wasted any dal. He kept it carefully in the fridge for me to see when I returned a couple of days back. I could count alll the innumerable dals in the sambar, which lay separately along with the ladies finger and drumstick and onions and tomatoes.
He looked at me miserably. I didn't know whether to laugh or to commiserate. That was the straw that broke the camel's back.

So for now, its back to me and my 'divine' cooking.  And the husband is being very helpful, extra so!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Suffrage and doubts

Sonny Boy, now in 6th standard, was reading his Civic lesson. . .

. . . and was reading that if people were not happy with their elected representatives they could change them.
"Good!" And then he did a double take- "but what's the use?? You can only change them after 5 years, right?"
Right, my son, right. Which is why you need to be extra careful WHO you vote into power.

. . . .and then he asked me- did you vote as you soon as you became legal?
Of course,  Sonny boy, I voted in the very next election after I turned 18.

. . . .and then he asked- "did Ammamma also vote?"
I looked at him smoulderingly for wasting time with inane questions.
"No, really, because it says here that in the late 19th and early 20th century, focus was on giving voting rights to women."
 I grinned and said- Your Ammamma's not as much of a dinosaur as all that. She definitely used to vote. . . for very many elections.

Unsatisfied with the answer, he went to ask my Mom if HER mother was allowed to vote. He's bent on having at least some woman in the family who fought for suffrage.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Back to writing for the sheer love of it, just like that. . .

I've missed this space so. But inspite of that, hadn't feel like visiting either. It had changed, and there were too many good memories associated with what this space used to be.

Number one would be of course, the friends I made for life. All those girls I met in the virtual world, who then turned friends in the real world too, some of whom know and understand me better than family. Not all of them might be back in this space. But somehow, that's ok. And I'm back here. Like how I started. Just to air my thoughts. And I hope I like it enough to stay, or at least, drop in more frequently.

So many changes, so few things that've stayed the way they were.

I'm at my busiest at work. Two consecutive years of being a stellar performer, and then one year of being not-so-good. Makes me realise the value behind Avis' line- "we try harder" . I've also done things I didn't ever think I'd do. Go parasailing, white water rafting, build a team, fire a team member.. . . Its tougher being a boss, than being an employee. Its also when I've realised the value if having had bad bosses. BECAUSE I've had bad bosses, I consciously try to be at least better than them. But its still difficult to make people toe the line, when they're so obviously not cut out for it.

I've also been trying to make peace with the fact that I'll never have enough time for my son. That I'm a far far throw from the Mom I dreamt I'd be. That I'm not a fun mother, cos half the time, I'm too tired to be fun. Cos there's housework to be done. And cooking. And clothes to be folded. And newspapers and books and toys to be put away. Which doesn't in the least bother the other two humans in the house. Grrr.

That reminds me of the other huge change. Trinity is no more a part of our daily lives. Its a loss I try to come to terms with every time I see a dog, a wagging tail, friendly doggy eyes, a wet nose. Sigh. I so hope I get us another furbaby, but I don't know. Life is so uncertain. I barely have time for my son. And the husband takes responsibility for the son, but has categorically told me a dog is MY responsibility. Mean man.

And now, there seem to be some more changes down the line. Which is when I realise that little as it has been , the us-time has been there. And I miss them. Miss having the Acha around to yell at for everything. :-) Miss being able to entrust Sonny boy's homework to him while I potter about in the kitchen. This year, ( After the time we kept a maid for a week while I was pregnant) we've kept a cook for the first time ever. I don't like her food. And I don't like her in my kitchen. But it does save me some time. So I'm learning to lump it.

More later.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Madras memories. . .

Yesterday, I was awaiting a client, watching TV at their office reception when I got to know that there was a Madras Day, which was being celebrated yesterday. Apparently it's celebrated on 22nd Aug, every year, and has been prevalent from 2004 and more actively, 2008. . I'd never heard of it till yesterday tho'.

But it brought back memories. . . .

Going back to those mad, glad days of MBA, Madras was where the Acha, another friend and myself had gotten our summer projects.. .  I had to do concept testing among specialist doctors, for a dietary fibre supplement that was being launched. The Acha had industrial vaccuum cleaners as his product and he had to cover hospitals, among other establishments, as part of his research. The other friend, D, was doing hers in an IT company, but she started earlier than the 2 of us, and so finished her assigned project at about the time the Acha and I started. To say that the 3 of us had a lovely time would be an understatement.

D and I were staying with our respective cousins, at Velachery and Kodambakkam, and the Acha was staying at the World University Service Centre, Chetpet.  Either before, during or after our respective sojourns for the day, we'd  meet up and sometimes, the Acha and I got to club our journeys, as hospitals formed common ground for both of our surveys.
Having spent all my school holidays in Tamil Nadu, I could speak Tamil pretty well, but couldn't read. The Acha being a pretty resourceful fellow, learnt to read and speak Tamil enough to understand/make himself understood in the 1 month that we were there. While Madras had a very admirable and  reliable system of bus numbers, there still were some places where we needed to know the destination written on the bus boards. Once we had to go to some industrial park near Aadambakkam, and the Acha scoffed at me when I expressed my reservations over how we'd get there. He said all we needed was to get on an Aadambakkam bus. Since it was wayyy too far, we agreed to go together. We waited patiently, but the Aadambakkam bus just wasn't coming, and we were getting late. Finally there lumbered up a bus.
The Acha looked up at the board, and read-
"Aa Aaa,. . " The 2 of us got up from our seat at the bus stop.
"Aaa  da. . ."  We went eagerly to towards the bus.
"Aaa dam ba. . ." I looked at him irritatedly. "Read FAST, the bus is about to go!!"
"Yeah, wait!! Aadam ba kka..  .   AadambaKKAM!!! come on. .. !! its our bus!"
But the bus had its own idea of whose it was, and had gone its way, leaving me convulsed in laughter at the Tamil reading efforts of the Acha.

The Acha had some other experiences too.
Once we were at Kilpauk Medical College, and the Acha finished his vaccuum cleaner questionnaire with the Hospital Admin guy pretty fast. But me- I had to visit at least some 5 specialists, and await my turn with the patients and sometimes I'd feel sorry to see some of them pretty unwell. I did manage to get in before the medical reps tho'. My last stop was at the Gynaecology Wing. The Acha was asked to wait for me outside Gynaec OPD, but it also happened to connect to the Labour Room from another side. And while he was waiting for me, the Acha was confronted with women in various stages of labour,  in various states of undress, with multiple moans and groans, walking about between their contractions!!! After that, he flatly refused to come with me to the Gynaec Dept of hospitals.
So hospitals were out, but there still were some specialists who consulted from home.
There was this lady doc who was supposedly famous, and much in demand, and of course she was there in my list of doctors to be met. It was at the fag end of the day, and it so happened that once again, only the Acha was with me. This was soon after the Kilpauk incident and the Acha said that he was NOT coming inside with me to the waiting area.  I agreed, said I'd be back soon; and he waited outside on the road, while I went inside the gates of the house. The compounder gave me a smile. I smiled back at him warmly, I needed to get in ahead of any other waiting patients if possible, right? Thankfully, there were not many, and I requested the compounder if I could go in, as I'd not be taking much time, and had only a few questions to ask the doc.  He smiled and agreed, and I went in , had a good chat with the doc, and came out happy with my visit.
Not so, the Acha. Apparently, the compounder assumed that I was pregnant, and moreover, that the Acha was the father, as he was pacing restlessly up and down outside the gate. He'd gone out and asked the Acha to come in and have a seat, when the Acha declined politely. At which the compounder smiled reassuringly, and asked if it was the first one or something to that effect, and asked the non-smoking Acha if he wanted a cigarette. Coming out beaming, to greet a harried-looking Acha, I bid a warm goodbye to the friendly compounder, albeit the Acha's goodbye was rather strained.
I collapsed in gales of laughter when the Acha related the incident to to me.
Years later, when I was really pregnant and we were waiting to see my gynaec, we were to laugh over this memory, but at the time, I had no inkling that this guy would turn out to be the father of my child.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Sharing the Language of Love indeed!

Some months back, I'd participated in a Google Hangout to support Johnson's Baby's 'Share the Language of Love' campaign. Couple of weeks back, I got a totally unexpected call. And earlier this week, the pleasantest surprise met me at home. . .


I loved that it wasn't an impersonal courier, but hand delivered. I beamed delightedly at the delivery person, as I thanked him, and he beamed right back at me.
Being evening, Sonny boy was also home, and after the man left, he opened it. What wafted out first was that familiar, ever so  loved fragrance. It brought back memories of baby cuddles and snuggles,  and warm, soft baby skin, and all things baby. Mmmmmmmm. . ..  It made me wish I had a baby again. . . almost!

Sonny boy laid claim to the mug and the pen and the notebook. All the rest, he magnanimously allowed me to keep.
Thank you ever so much, Johnson's Baby! Its a most thoughtfully put together hamper.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

From Sarjapur Road to HSR Layout.

So, end April, we moved- from a spacious 3 bedroom  in a sprawling apartment complex with all amenities; to a cosy 2 bedroom house in a peaceful layout. This, because we invested in another apartment- which hopefully will be ready to welcome us in Dec- and we needed to balance the EMI and rent with  the monies being deposited in the bank at the month end. We had been in the earlier apartment for over 6 years, and initially, all 3 of us, especially Sonny Boy, had some trouble adjusting, but a house has its delights.  

In this house, we don’t have a swimming pool, or a clubhouse, or a badminton court, or a big play area. But the first day itself, neighbouring kids came in search of my son. There were no small groups, just one large group, which welcomed Sonny boy into their midst.  The road is their playground. Cricket is the all time favourite, but football was all the rage  during World Cup season. Here, Sonny boy learns to tackle traffic on roads while he cycles.

Here, we don’t have a long paved pathway for morning and evening walks, but instead, the criss-crossing roads in the layout are wide, with shade giving trees on both sides, and peaceful dogs snoozing outside houses next to each other.  From provisions, to veggies, to momos, to curries, to dosa batter, small shops a walk away, sell anything you could think of, at economical prices.  The nearest little petty shop 2 min away, is only about the size of 2 aisles in the supermarket opposite our earlier apartment. But the lady/husband/neighbour there has everything at their fingertips. 
Tarkaaaari, paypaaar, sopppuuuu, hoovuuuu- I can hear all the local vendors going past, and can run down if I’m interested.  There even is an ice cream man ringing his bell invitingly as he passes by in the late mornings.. which brought back memories of my childhood summers. The only thing missing was the nelakadala man.

Maids cost a fraction of what they used to at the earlier complex. Neither do they dictate terms as to what will be done and what will not.

For more than a decade, we’d forgotten what it was like to have un-water-stained bathrooms, and taps and buckets.  With Cauvery water, we welcomed back clean bathrooms, and unspotty vessels.  Unsticky hair and clean white clothes. (as clean as can be expected of a 10 year old boy). Water ran in taps 24/7.
For more than a decade, we’d also forgotten what it was to not have electricity at times. Here the first time power went, we had to search out 10 year old candles. It reminded me of power cut times back in Kerala that we kids would look forward to.  We’d sit out on the verandah steps, enjoying the night breeze, swatting away the ubiquitous mosquitoes, chatting, playing word building, or making shadows on the walls. In this house, we don’t have a verandah to sit on, and the doors and windows have meshes, so thankfully very less mosquitoes, but once in a while, we do have a cande lit dinner.

We have 2 neighbours- one downstairs, and one next door. The downstairs family is nice- a family of 5- a couple, 2 kids( boys) , and the MIL-, but can’t say that about  our next door neighbours- a young couple. I have never seen such anti-social people! They have a particular antipathy towards the downstairs family the reason for which I’m unable to fathom. They complain that the kids make noise but in the 5 months we’ve been here, I’ve never felt it so. Our common maid told me that they complained to the downstairs lady, of the noise her mixie made, and also of the din her cooker whistle made in the morning! The house has a spacious car park, where all 3 families can park their cars and bikes. But, in the evenings, the next door man takes his car outside the car park and parks it on the road,  to prevent kids playing outside our house. That’s how nasty they can be. So far, we’ve not had any run-ins with them ourselves.

The only thing I miss here, is the click of paws on the floor. Sigh!