Thursday, December 13, 2007

sonny boy's progress in life.

It seems ages since I posted anything, I've been swamped in work- mine and not mine too. I'm starting to realise that in a big growing company you can't say "hellooo.... that's not what I was taken in for..." Am not too sure that I like the added responsibility. Or rather, I would have, if not for a sweet little boy waiting at home for his Amma who has hardly any time to play with him these days.

Sonny boy is a-growing and and a-learning and a-talking and a-goofing - big time. Sometimes I laugh so in my head thinking of all the things he gets up to..

Like for instance, last week a new grocery store opened up near our house, so we went to check it out. We made our purchases and were stading in line to pay our bill, when Hubby saw this pack of Orbit and chucked that too into our bag. At which immediately a pair of eyes opened wide and turned around to squarely face his Accha.
"Accha, you're a COW? We have a COW at home? that is for COWS!"
All the onlookers who heard laughed too, along with us.

I really do think the maker of this ad deserves an award. For when we got home, Sonny boy's dear next-door pal was waiting for him. The little eyes immediately spotted the Orbit pack and,
"Sonny boyyyy!!! this is for COWS!" and both of them laughed gleefully.
And this from two boys who haven't yet learnt their alphabet and don't know to string two letters to form a word!
Well! we may not be COWS, but chew we definitely intend to!

Its admission time folks, and we're busy doing the rounds, like any other maddened parent. The first school we went to (DPS) Sonny boy went in cheerfully enough, for his assessment/observation, holding the hand of his pretty teacher. We anxiously waved him off. After 5-10 minutes he came out even more cheerfully holding a lollipop in his hand. We eagerly asked him,
"Sonny boy, what did you in there?"
Pat came the response, with a beatific smile, "NOTHING"
I should have known. He's never voluntarily told us anything he gets up to in his playschool, why would it be any different all of a sudden? Sigh!

Yesterday we were learning about insects and how many legs they had. Do any of you erudite mothers know how many legs a flyhome has? Six! And do you know what the flyhome is? I'll wait for the responses. *smile*

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


Before I get labelled as a relic in blogdom (if I haven't already), thought I'd start getting some of the tags out of the way. I do love doing tags for the way they give you foddder for the blog. But unfortunately, I seem to be able to attempt it only WAY past the deadline- EVERY other soul having finished by now.

I remember at least two that I have pending- the quirks one from Moppet's Mom and the how-i-met-my-love-and-got-engaged one from- Dotmom? Two that I definitely intend doing, so please put up with this relic.

Well, to start with the quirks- I am just another normal person, I have my quirks. But some are quirkier than the others, as my husband would definitely affirm.

1) When I used to wear specs, I used to use them as a cover for moments of embarassment, nervousness etc. Eg. whenever I got flustered, I would automatically put up my hand and push up my specs onto my nose, re-gathering my composure in those few seconds. Very useful, but now that I wear contacts, the bridge of my nose misses the action.

2) I love buying things I do not have time to use. I have a fancy sewing machine, that I bought when I was pregnant and in my 7th month. To my credit, I DID stitch Sonny boy some pajamas and a romper from my old pajamas (I would post a pic of him wearing said cute romper if only the husband were not averse to my posting pics) I stitched myself a nightie and a couple of kurtas too to wear at home, but that is the end. It now accumulates dust in a corner and my better half's I-told-you-so looks accumulate by the day too. I have also loads of cloth that I bought to stitch, which still lies unstitched. And I keep hankering after cute handy knick kancks to keep my house organized. But the worse half gives me those looks I told you about, and my enthusiasm subsides. My microwave oven exists solely to reheat stuff, tho' when I bought it, I bought a nice recipe book. (And oh! I have plenty of other recipe books too.)

3) I get along pretty easily with people and small talk in the first meeting, and so people think I'm a garrulous soul. But come the second or third, longish meeting, and I get all tongue-tied or close to it. I simply CAN'T get stuff to go yakkitty-yak for extended stretches of time, unless its somebody I really like, when of course, there is no problem at all. This is quite a drawback in my work life.

4) I am technologically challenged. My brain goes all blank when someone tries to explain things to me about how wonderful a thing whatever is. And then, of course, the husband is the person to explain things, and then of course, my favourite past time is shouting at the husband for not explaining things better. (This could explain why I never send you dear ladies and babies cards and stuff that you invite me to participate in. Boo! Hoo! hoo!)
I am also arithmetically challenged. To this day, I don't know how I scored in my school and college Math subjects. And to this day I get confused when these things come up-for this many its that much. So for that many, how much will it be???? Bah!

5) Have been saving this for the last. I love pulling out my body hair.
I even have tweezers bought specially for the purpose. And my husband keeps throwing away the tweezers and I keep buying new ones to replace them.
Before you go eeeewwww! let me explain how this came to be. There is a logical reason.
You know we ladies wax our hair away...? Well, one such waxing day, there was no power at the parlour, (and this was in my impoverished, unmarried days, when money for waxing was nearly non-existent, all being saved for long STD calls to the parents at Kerala, and to the boy friend at Mumbai.) and the lady did a rather hodge podge job of it in the sole light operated by generator.
And when I came home, I found several lonely hairs peeping out sadly from here and there. And I had an official party that very evening! Well, this was in the hostel of course, and so I found tweezers readily enough. And so I proceeded to pluck all the miserable left-alone-behind ones and sent them to accompany their friends in some body-hair-heaven somewhere.
I was so flushed with the thrill of achievement that day!

After that day, I made it a practice to check each time post waxing, and sure enough, each time I would find some poor hair souls left weeping behind, and I would proceed to give send them on their way too.
Soon, the checkings became not just after waxing, but all the time. And there! I had got my quirk, and was quite addicted to it. And sometimes when tweezers are not handy, I resort to what our original ancestors did- I use my nails.
I have grown quite adept at it now. If you had seen me, you would have thought that I was just picking some speck of dust or particle from my arm, leg, with my fingers, but now you would know better, wouldn't you?

There, those were some of my quirks. Moppet's Mom, if anybody refuses to have anything to do with me after reading my last quirk, I will hold you responsible.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Happy Birthday to MEEEEE!!!!

Its that time of the day again.

When you wake up in the morning with a special feeling in your heart, because you know that today's your special day.

A day when all who are in the know are nice to you. And if ever somebody turns out not nice, all you have to do is tell them that its your B'day today, and voila! they turn nice for a day too!

And this is a day when you get a whole lot of good wishes- creative ones, from-the-heart ones, flippant ones, regular ones....

I have grown considerably older and wiser(I hope), and today when I look back on the 30 odd years of my life, one thing that comes to the fore, is gratitude for all the good things in my life.

For having all my senses and all my limbs, and my health intact.
For having had a wonderful childhood, with loving parents to fall back upon whenever needed.
For having a sibling with whom I can share almost everything.
For having a good education, that I have been able to put to use.
For having a wonderful husband and a wondrous child.
For having in-laws with whom I share a pleasant relationship
For having friends that made me laugh and enjoy my friendship with them. (Some of them who stood by me through thin too)

Now that I think of it, there are scores of things to be thankful for actually, too many to list down here- I don't want to bore you guys, do I?

And at the end of it, when I think of what I would like for myself in the years ahead, I feel that what is most important is not just to have good things in life, but be able to cope, with hope in your heart, when you come across bad times.

Not for nothing did someone say that Life is not a bed of roses. The man knew what he was saying.

And so, while of course, I would ask God for roses- big, beautiful, bountiful roses of every hue-along my way, if He forgets to prune the stems and I get some thorns as well, then what I ask for myself today is that the beauty of the roses far outweighs the prick of the thorns.
That all the pricks are momentary and get healed soon, and that the fragrance of the roses is what remains in memory.

Monday, November 5, 2007

My better half

Hmm... for about every time I think I'll sever all ties with him, Hubby comes up with something that makes me think he's not that bad actually.

This morning we had a fight over water problems in our flat. (Now you tell me how I'm responsible for the damn security fellow not ordering water in time!)

He, glumly: * coming out at 8.30 from a long sojourn in the loo* "There's no water in the pipe".
She, acidly: * running late for her office* "I know. That's why I have my bath as early as possible".

He, immediately grabbing onto excuse to blame wife: "If you knew, why didn't you do something about it?"
She, with a superior air: "I did- that is when I asked you to HAVE YOUR BATH SOON"!

He: "You should have collected some water in the bucket, at least".
She: "I had so many other things to do".

He: You're never bothered about me!
She: Purses her lips and gives him a glare that conveys that all because of his laggardliness, she's going to get late to her new office. An ominous silence reigns.

He giving her a glare back. I'm not going to office today. YOU can go, and do whatever.

Now this is a mean, mean, MEAN thing to do, cos he knows I haven't driven to my office alone ever, AND he broke the side view mirror of the car, so I had told him yesterday that I wanted him to fix it before I'd drive alone.

But- I am not me for nothing!
I marched into the bedroom, changed my attire and told him that I was going to office. And I sailed out of home, car keys in hand, not forgetting to wave bye to my sweet little mother, who's home and is a blessing in these times, when otherwise I'd have yelled back at the husband and brought the roof down.

I drove with my heart under those pedals. But I'm proud to say that I reached office in record time. And I managed to bloody (sorry) park as well, on a ramp like thing from where the security guys would heave it to whatever floor they liked. (I have no clue how I'm supposed to get it down now in the evening.)
And while I did call up my Mom to tell her I reached safely and in one piece, I did NOT call the mean husband. But to his credit, the man did call up a little later asking me where I had parked the car- his way of getting to know that I had arrived in one piece. Husbands!

Came a call sometime back from the man, asking me why my blog was all bright.
"Bright !?" I echoed, having been totally immersed in work and not having opened the blog, save for the morning check on comments.
"Bright", he repeated.
"I don't know", said I . "I haven't checked my blog". And we said bye.

Now, having seen couple of friends' blogs suddenly get hijacked, I got worried with the sudden observation of my husband. And if he- a techno' geek, couldn't figure out what had happened, what COULD have happened?

click! click! click! I opened my blog and the bright yellow colour hit me. As did- the wonderful new header!

O! O! O!
The sweetheart!
He's gone and created a new header for me.
And isn't that header a perfect depiction of me right now, with no maid?
Isn't he a darling?
Apparently its an advance b'day gift for me.
He couldn't have got me a better one, could he?

Hmmm... time to kiss and make up?

Friday, November 2, 2007

Bunking with a capital B

Had been busy the last week- had to go to Mumbai to meet the rest of the team, who were incidnetally having their quarterly review meeting. Boy! This was one review meeting where I was totally chilled out. No targets unmet yet, you see. *broad smile*

And while this post is on something else, I just have to mention this in passing. Mumbai is so pulsingly ALIVE. There is no other word that fits. Everybody is as busy as a bee and the city hums with activity. Even the bystander's is no aimless idle standing, but purposeful waiting, with eyes alert and constantly darting around. Mumbai is vibrant, on-the-move, vivacious, welcoming, helpful. Tho' I have been there earlier, most of my days were spent within the confines of office, guest house, hotel, etc, with only commuting time being spent outside, and that, concentrating more on colleagues, friends, family.
But this time, we spent a whole day outside, on the streets, observing, and what I noticed about the people of Mumbai was that it was so warm and alive. Salaam Mumbai indeed!

Now coming to the subject of my post.
Why do Indian airhostesses look so drab? I flew Indian while coming back, and at the airport and on the flight, I saw just about a couple who looked somewhat like what air hostesses are supposed to look like. And I don't mean in looks alone, I mean more in their demeanour and the way they carry themselves...
There was NOTHING pleasant, warm and friendly about most of them. More than 60% of the ones I saw looked like middle aged housewives. And while there are plenty of middle aged housewives who are smart, these were nowhere even close. They had unsightly bulges showing flagrantly, the sari (which is such an elegant, graceful attire) was draped totally tastelessly, and their hair was done terribly and they had tonnes of make-up, and they looked such total frumps. No smiles while dealing with you at the check-in counters, no greetings either for a nice safe flight, and on the flight too, the air hostesses looked totally putting off. No warm smiles, just perfunctory lip stretches and one of them had a perpetual grimace on her face. I asked one of them for extra sugar, and she handed it over to me with a look that totally conveyed that this was not what she would like to be doing.
So what was she doing there?

I flew Jet while going out, and they were so professional in their attitude. Yes, they too are there doing a job. But the way in which they approach it made such a difference. They were courteous to the core. You don't have to wear trousers or mini skirts to look smart and appealing.(But having said that, yes, the Kingfisher gals look SEXY, that colour alone is so riveting) And you don't so need to be young either. I have seen senior people in the banking and hospitality sectors who are dressed neatly, and carry themselves so well. So what is it with the Indian air hostesses? Are they underpaid and disgruntled? Whatever it is, I think the management needs to make an effort to get them all spruced up. Coming from a country which has beauty queens, and wearing an attire which has been named by some as the sexiest ever, the gals from the national airline presented a frumpy picture. Sad.

And this took the cake. My flight was at 8.55 last nite. For once in a blue moon ( Hubby always jokes that when I am on time, things invariably go wrong.., and he was proved right) I was there at the airport VERY early- more than an hour before the flight. And I sat down to wait.

8 pm - no announcement
Ditto for 8.15pm, 8.30pm, 8.45pm.

Come 8.55pm, we were all waiting still and looking enquiringly at each other.

By 9.15pm, a sense of camaraderie had developed among some of us, as we started making guesses as to what could have happened. But still nothing from the side of Indian staff.

By 9.30pm, people seated started getting up to stretch their legs, and people walking around started sitting down to rest their legs. But still no announcement.

By 9.55pm, irritated outbursts could be heard from certain quarters of the sitting area. Still no news from Indian.

After 10pm, slowly the door towards the boarding area opened, and a harassed looking steward and a looking sorry-for-herself airhostess came into the lounge. And the steward mumbled something only the people sitting in the first row could catch. But whatever he said had all of them leaping to their feet and rushing across to him. And then, a collective uproar of disbelief and anger rose from the crowd. Which had more people rushing to join the tamasha.

The reason the flight had been delayed was- the co-pilot was not to be found!
He had gone home! Said good bye and good nite for the day.

Leaving all of us passengers feeling very sleepy, and angry, in the lounge. I don't know the exact details- obviously the nitty gritties were not revealed even though a couple of irate passengers were wanting the name of the happy-go-lucky-guy who had gone AWOL.

Apparently they had been trying to trace him (from 8.55?) and had found that he had gone home. And then they were trying to find another pilot who would take on his job. But they were not succesful till after 10pm. Till which time, they kept mum and kept us all not knowing whether we would reach home that nite or not.

So finally for a flight which was scheduled to leave at 8.55, all of us boarded at 10.30. Bah!
I am all for Be Indian, Buy Indian. But fly Indian? Not without some second thinking now.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Bits and pieces

We all speak Sonny-boy-speak these days. See if you can speak it too.

One lawn sets off another. So please cover your mouth while lawning.

How yootiful! The showers....(he's still not managed flowers)

One rumber, two rumber, three rumber...and so it goes...

Sumburry's at the door, who could it be?

These days, he's taken to setting down the rules for me.
"When sumburry's playing train, not to disturb!"
This, when I'm calling him to eat dinner. Can you beat that? And this is said in a perfectly serious tone, complete with finger held up admonishingly.
He never says 'When I'm playing..' or whatever, because we try to train him saying- when somebody's reading the newspaper, you should not disturb. so he too brings sumburry in.
Small wonder, Mr. Sumburry's very much part of the family now.


And yip yip yipppeeee!
The Ammamma's coming over again. Sonny boy and I are going to pick her up this weekend and we'll be back on Mon morn.
As of now, I still haven't found a maid, so am still doing the housework and officework and nanny work and its all getting to be too much. And Sonny boy still has his Puja hols, (school re-opens Mon, hallelujah!) so he keeps being shunted around between the two of us as we try to accomodate each other's work schedules and his needs as well.
And this is what the mother had to say when she told me she was coming.
"You and Hubby can do whatever and manage, but I'm coming for poor Sonny boy. Why should that poor darling suffer?"
This is what I call rank ingratitude. She forgets she was a Mom first and only then an Ammamma. After all, if not for me and the Hubby, she wouldn't have a Sonny boy, would she?

I shall leave you to ponder on the injustice of that, peoples. Happy weekend!

Pssstt! YAYYYYY!! She's coming!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The middle name tag.

HGMom tagged me for this ages back.

First you're supposed to mention the rules, so here goes. There are 3 rules.
Rule 1. The rules must be mentioned in the beginning of the tag.

Rule 2 You must list one fact that is somehow relevant to your life for each letter of your middle name. If you don’t have a middle name, use the middle name you would have liked to have had.

Rule 3. At the end of your blog post, you need to choose one person for each letter of your middle name to tag. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

Hmmm... I don't have a middle name. When I first read this tag, I thought I'd use my blog name, but its too long. Today when I sat down to do this tag, it just came to me. For half my life, I went around with another name that I don't use now, for its changed on all my records. But I loved it and lots of people used to call me just by that name, and sometimes I miss it a lot, as I do the owner of that name too.
I'm talking of my surname before marriage- Krishnan. ( As a teenager, I had quite militant ideas about why a girl had to tag on the name of her husband after marriage, but here now, I'm tamely doing the same. Sacrilegious)

So here goes.. and this one's for you, Daddy!

K- Kitchen. This room plays quite an important role in my life. My Mom used to make the easily-distracted-me (now you know where Sonny boy gets it from) study from the kitchen, where she could keep an eye on me while I was a kid. Some years down the line, after we moved into our new house, we Mom and kids had our breakfast there when Daddy was away, and it became a bonding place. It remains that. To this day, whenever I go home, we 3 girls just gang up there. Me, my Mom and my sis. My sis and me are ostensibly there to help Mom, but we just go yakkitty yakkitty yak, while poor Mom does everything and at times asks us to shut up too, because she gets distracted by our talk! The sons-in-law of course are banished to the front of the TV (need you even wonder?)

R- Respect. I see this as an integral part of my relationships with people all around. Its such a simple thing, but so hard to gain and keep. Once respect is established, everything else comes so much faster and easier- be it in school/college, be it at work, be it with in-laws, be it with your family. And it has very little to do with designations. I might not respect the Vice President, but I might have respect for the simple lift boy, for the way in which he gets his work done.

I- Inquisitiveness. Now this is one thing I wish I had in plenty. I'm curious enough about lots of things, but some things leave me totally unmoved. Which never ceases to amaze my husband. Like politics. Like the latest gizmos. Like what makes things run. Naah. Like I said, I'm quite happy to be left by the wayside.

S- Sentiment. I'm a very sentimental person. I think with my heart, not my brain, which frequently leads to several mishaps.

H- Humility. I admire this quality in anybody. I think it makes you a much nicer human being no matter how big you become, if you can remain rooted to the ground. And I've always found that the truly 'big' people remain humble and approachable.

N- Naughty. I've been labelled this nearly all my life, till I got married. (And now, the poor husband certainly can't run to anybody with this complaint, for he got into this himself.) Apparently, I was nothing but a bundle of trouble all through school and college. It didn't help matters one bit, that my sister was the paavamest, nicest, sweetest girl before me. She always came back from school on time, while there were plenty of times when my auto driver went off without me and sent my Mom into distress mode till I was found safe, which was when it was time for me to go into distresss mode. In college, she like a good girl, always stayed home for all the rowdy celebrations, while I was thick in the middle of it. ( Did I tell you I was once hauled off by the lady cops at university? *wink* And I gave my name to them as Veronica at the police station. Ah, those days!)

A- Attachment. I find it very easy to get attached to places, persons. This makes it easy for me to adjust to new situations, but difficult to let go of the old. When I do get attached, I give my all, but the person on the other end doesn't necessarily have to be of the same mind. This has frequently led to disillusionments, minor and major. My Dad once advised me not to be so passionate about things, to always maintain a level of detachment, but I still haven't managed that. I'm very attached to my family. They're my biggest source of strength.

N- Nice. This is such a nice adjective. And there have been so many nice persons that have crossed my life. People who have made such a difference by virtue of their niceness. Who have made an otherwise intolerant situation tolerable. And while I don't want to be remembered as great, or lovely or important or useful, nice is something that would be nice to be remembered as. For you can continue to be nice all your life. In one way or another.

I think everybody else has already done this, so I tag anyone who comes across this tag and feels like taking it up.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Mars and Venus

Little boys are indeed from Mars and little girls are from Venus.

In the mornings after he wakes up, sometimes Sonny boy's eyes just refuse to stay open till he receives the first splash of water on his face when we get set to brush, which is after he makes susu, which sometimes he does with his eyes closed. When all things are pointing right, it makes less of a mess for me to clean up later, so I generally position him in the right stance. Today morning, after I had gathered Sonny boy up from bed, and stood him on the toilet seat, and stood there waiting, came a sleepy, dreamy, loving observation.
"Look Amma, my susu's so beeg..."
I looked down at him- the eyes were open and looking fondly upon that erect organ.

What is it with men and the size of their penises?
But then, I guess, if we had something between our legs that would grow big and small as it liked, and seemed to have a will of its own, maybe we too might have been fascinated?

Sometime back, he used to want to pee whenever his friends who came visiting wanted to pee. Like an innocent Venusian, I let him. Until I found out that peeing was a lesser incident and comparing sizes was what they were into. After that I ensured that the peeing took place in different bathrooms. Miraculously, the visiting boys stopped wanting to pee, and my boy stopped wanting to pee too. Martians!!

Now my fervent hope is that he doesn't get the opportunity to tell this to some little Venusian right now- Look, Venus, my susu's so beeg.
I know this will definitely be uttered, but I hope I will be much older and not as responsible for him as I am now, when it does!

How about all you other mamas out there? Any similar tales?

Monday, October 22, 2007

The second one..

I was overwhelmed when I received my first blog award- the thinking blogger one, which came my way from Hipgrandmom. I had only just started off on the journey through blogdom and to be gifted that then was a real real delight. All the more so because it was TOTALLY unexpected. Awards were just something happening to the rest of all those interesting people out there, something to read about, and I never expected to figure at all.

Then, I started making more friends, and being part of many other lives and now, when Moppet's mom tells me my blog has The Power of Schmooze, I find myself AS delighted as then. Because, now, I feel like I'm part of the family and it is absloutely wonderful to be thought a nice family member. Thankee kindly, Moppet's mom.

The creator of this award refers to schmoozing as "the ability to converse casually, especially in order to gain an advantage or make a social connection"
Now I'm all for the casual conversation. But gain advantage? make social connection?

The last two sound very materialistic, kind of like a networking tool that is essential in my business, but not in my blog. My blog is 100% true to my self. I may have to be nice to people I don't like in my profession, for that's how the business works. But in my blog, in my posts and in my comments too, every word is sincere and heartfelt and responsive. But then , comments are a way of keeping in touch in blogdom, so I try and comment to as many posts as strike a chord somewhere.

98% of my blogging family remains unseen and even unknown, most of them writing under their blog personas. So I have nothing to gain anyway from them, except

1. Empathy (working mother guilt, harried mothering)
2. Encouragement (from those who've been there/done that and are wiser for it)
3. Words of praise/support ( which help you toodle along the way)
4. Sharing interests- (be it likes, be it dislikes)
5. Venting, ranting ( and being understood every step of the way)
6. And yeah, learning ( all of us are so similar and yet so different, there are so many different learnings, of different customs, different countries....)
7. Laughter ( its so amazingly wonderful to laugh and be laughed at)

and with all this, that bond just gets forged, and gets stronger with every passing post and comment.
Thank you, Moppet's Mom for finding me nice and genuine, warm and friendly.*warm hug*

And now, its my turn to take advantage of the mommas/grannies and to make a social connection here. *wink, wink* I've only just come back and I haven't had the time to go through all the blogs yet and find out who's been awarded this, so you gals will just have to forgive me if there's an overlap

Gauri She lets you be part of her world so effortlessly, its as if she's relating your world. And she puts down so many nice things you can do for your kids, its awesome. A warm, creative mother, I wish I were like her.

WIN and Sunita Their posts are a few and far in between, but when they do post, the connection is instantly made. And their words paint a delightful picture of themselves and their lives and kids, and make you chuckle.

~Nm A very easygoing , likeable person. Absolutely without any airs, and very down-to-earth, her writings are warm and effervescent. She can paint very well and man! can she take a picture! Her comments are always friendly and tongue-in-cheek and I like her all the more for it.

Hiphopgrandmom She's quite exactly what her blog's called, a hip hop g'mom. With many hats on her head, she juggles them all with seeming ease. The age barrier just doesn't exist here, the fact that she's a grandmother only adds to the charm. I only hope that when I'm a G'mom, I'm as engaged and engaging as her.

There are so many others out there, who are worthy of this award, but then, I mustn't be greedy and hog, must I? I shall leave some for you others too.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Am back, am back, am back!

Hey girls, am back!

Joined my new place today, and was ITCHING to reply to all you gals (thank you so much for all the good wishes) when I checked my blog finally, but thought it prudent to wait for a few more hours.

Thank you, thank you, thank you ALL for all the love ( am I starting to sound like a vote-hungry politician here?) and I'm glad I was missed at least somewhat! I missed all you gals SORELY too!

Mom is fine. She had her moments of glory for a week after the operation, masquerading as MGR's /Karunanidhi's sister with those dark glasses of hers, but then, the good times never do last , do they? *wink* Her eyes are pronounced fine and she is back to her old self again.

And after a week of lazing around, I am back to - a new job, and no maid and only one car and no driver either. Not a very merry state of affairs. And the icing on the cake is that Sonny boy has Dussehra holidays! What more could I have asked for in my first week of work at a new place?

But then, you know, nothing seems to matter too much! Right now the honeymoon is on in full swing. (Lets hope the spectacles never lose their rosy tint). The poor husband is house-holding for a week, and Sonny boy has firmly usurped the husband's lap and the poor laptop forlornly lies in a corner.. luckily, since its Dussehra, things are kind of relaxed for him its not too bad.

Well, in my new place, am not going to be blogging (from work) rightaway, and I don't know WHEN I'm going to catch up with all you gals. (Poppins tells me that some of you were also MIA) I have lesser time at home than ever, and have loads to catch up on reading and writing wise. Guess my brain will just have to itch for some time more, for I'm just going to read all you gals, in what little time I can snatch from work, without commenting, till I've caught up somewhat.

In the middle of all this, did I forget to say- I'm GLAD to be back? Muuuaaaahhhh!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

new shoots... new leaves

Girls, girls, girls!

There has been quite a lot happening in the last one week.

The good news first. For no matter what the uncertainties, change is always good. Especially when you have been longing, yearning, praying for it with all your heart for the last one year almost.

I have landed a new job.

But the going's not all good. For every pro, there seem to be a con.

Pro -Its in the same function- sales.
Con- But its in a whole new, emerging field. Now- when it emerges fully it could either be for better or for worse. Being eternally optimistic, I choose to believe the former.

Pro- Its dealing with the same people I have been interacting with,
Con- But from a different address. A whole world away from the current one. We were almost thinking of shifting houses, to be honest. But we've decided to wait and watch...

Pro- There's only going to be a skeletal sales force in my company. Just one other person.
Con- There's only going to be a skeletal sales force. Just me and this significant other, in an office peopled with a large team of another business within the same organisation. Now this other person HAS to be someone I get along with. HAS to, HAS to, HAS to!
I am not normally skeptical about my abilities to gel with others, but my experience in my last (current for this one week more) organisation has left me respecting the ability of colleagues to make your life miserable.

Pro- There's obviously more money.
Con- With more responsibilities too, which will gradually come my way, never mind that I have requested to handle just B'lore for the time being. While I am kind of looking forward to that too, I sincerely hope that by then, my home will be in a better state of management that it currently is. By that I mean the good old maid, nanny, playmate for Sonny boy of course.

I thought Saturdays were a working day and was hugely depressed even in the middle of the euphoria at landing a good job, finally.
BUT- yesterday, when negotiating with my boss-to-be on my joining date, I found out that Sat's are off here too. I could have hugged him at that moment. But since I couldn't, I hugged the good Lord tight, tight,TIGHT in my mind. Like my husband says, now that she knows she has the weekends off, she's willing even to commute to the moon and back on the week days.

Now all that remains is to get started and keep going. Forward, enthusiastically, happily.
Please, send Up a good word for me, all of you girls out there. I know you all will, thank you for the same, but still....

Now some other news- my Mom's got her cataract operation fixed for next week. So I'm off for the weekend. I may be off the whole of next week too. Please send up a prayer for her too. I don't expect anything to go wrong, especially as she's had her other eye done, and there were absolutely no problems then. But still.... Thank you for that too, girls.

So, for now, its happy holidays for me, for a week.
Meanie hubby persists in needling me- no internet for a week, what will you DOOO???
I know what I'll DOOOO.... I'll miss all of YOUUUU!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

just like that...

I was day-dreaming in office today, and I was thinking...

It would have been nice if my husband could sing. Then, instead of watching those numerous news channels one after the other, in one language after the other, probably, he could have sung to me..and I would have listened, enraptured....
I would have listened dreamily as he sang love songs for me, I would have listened charmedly as he sang beautiful lullabies for our young son. I would have listened romantically when he sang those old, lovely lyrics- Hindi/Malayalam/Tamil.... and it would probably have inspired me to sing/learn as well.
Instead of which, now when he blares out some song at the top of his voice, I grimace and try to pretend its not my dear hubby, but just some loudspeaker gone bad outside.

It would also have been nice if probably my dear love-(irritation)-of-my-life could draw as beautifully as a certain other dame's husband. Then I too could sleep off while he watched cricket(?) and he could draw the sleeping beauty and I could post that instead of this.
Instead of which I probably need to thank my stars that at least he can draw a flying crow well. Those concave lines looped together, you know..

Hmmmm..... sigh.

But never mind. At least, I CAN get him to laugh helplessly with me, as he listens to me re-read Something Fresh, that wonderful, wonderful laugh-a-thon from dear Wodehouse-
where Lord Emsworth is at his potty, vacuous best, and the most unlikely amateurs try to purloin back a pricelss scarab, and the Efficient Baxter tries to foil them, with the most disastrous and hilarious results.

Hmmmm.... not too bad. Laughing. Pretty infectious too. For all that its called the Best Medicine.
And maybe one day when we are not too old, I can laugh him into buying us a dog. Just imagine- a he, a she, a progeny and a dog, all tangled on the sofa. Fourplay heaven!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Life has its turns...

Sometimes we tend to take things for granted, and the greatest issues are the ones we least worry about.
Dotmom's Big Geek suffered a heart attack yesterday, and he's just 33! All day today, was wondering how they were- all 3 of them.
But not to worry too much, the remarkably brave and indomitable man is recuperating. Friends, those wonderful rocks, have rallied around, as have all the normal, people around.

It was their anniversary too, and my heart went out to poor Dotmom. Little would she have thought that they would be celebrating in hospital.
God bless her and her family with good things in life, and many many years of happy togetherness.

And as I write this, I count my many blessings and give thanks to the good Lord for all of them. Thank you, God.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Tag no 3- Sonny boy's nicks

Have been tagged for this first by Swati, and then by Choxbox, so its definitely not going to let me go!

When he was a baby, Sonny boy used to be called
bawa(maybe an indianised version of baby?),
mone (little one- an endearment in mallu),
ponnu mone (golden little one) etc by the grandies.

When Mom used to oil him before his bath, she used to lovingly call him mone, ponne, ponnum katte ( a block of gold) and all that stuff. But when an oiled Sonny boy used to get all squirmy and be in danger of falling off her knees, all that love and gold would go right out of the window and she would exasperatedly call- eda chekka!! (brat) and bring him back in place, where he would look up and gurgle at her gummily.

When he'd pooped lots in his nappy, then too all the gold would go flying and he would be called Potty chekka ( pottied brat)

But yeah, on the whole, katta (block) held sway.
Ponnum (gold) katte,
chakkara (sugar) katte,
punnara (sweet nothings) katte,
thanga (umm.., this one is gold too, purer than ponnu, I think)katte, and so on, the kattas went. These still hold sway in our hugging and kissing sessions, sometimes.

As he grew, the names varied. And there was this one which I fondly remember still, tho' I don't use it now.
We have a labrador back home, Trinity, who as a puppy was (she's grown now, but she's still the same as regards eating habits) very fond of her food. And she used to just gulp it down without even bothering to chew, until the entire dish was empty, and her stomach resembled a full drum, narrowing down into head at one end, and rump at the other. And we used to laugh at that drum belly and call her maddalam (one of the percussion instruments in the panchavadyam
We'd tell Trinity, "Maddalam, here's your food, come chomp it all up!"

Sonny boy used to love his food too when he was a baby. Spoon after spoon after spoon of solids went in without any trouble, and juice and water too, until the bowl was empty and his stomach kind of resembled Trinity's stomach....
So, Maddalam turned out to have two respondents. Trinity and Sonny boy. (Ah.. if only I knew that not too long after, I would long for him to wolf down his food, I probably would have laughed less.) As it was, my Mom would also laugh at his stomach, and then scold me for calling him that. And the dear maddalam would grin guilelessly back at us laughing ladies.

Then, the Katta started growing and being naughty. After too many instances of naughtinesses, an exasperated Amma would call him- ........ inte mone! Translates into ........'s son!
No No...! before you rush to horrified conclusions, the ........ is just his father's name. Called in a half- irritated-half affectionate tone.
The first time his father heard me say that, he asked me, "now why do you call him that, in THAT way? "
And I tartly replied, "because he is your son, of course."

There was Sweetie pie, and shweetie pie and chweetie pie, which finally has become Cheetoo now.
If his Acha calls him any of these, Sonny boy says, "Why you calling me that? I Amma's cheetoo ille?" So cheetoo is exclusively reserved for me.
And Acha's nickname for him is Baby or Beyboo. I am not to call him that either. Pat will come- "I'm Acha's beyboo ille?"

As he grew older, the nicks became varying versions of his name. And now, we really only call him by his name and the ubiquitous cheetoo/beyboo.

And then came along Sonny boy when I started this blog.

Since I'm still running way behind on tags, think there's nobody left to be tagged on this one either. Anyone who's interested, please, go right ahead and get ready to have your offspring call YOU names later.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Tag no 2- post-kid passion

I forgot to mention- I've been tagged for this by the mad momma, and I just couldn't refuse..

once upon a time, long ago...
a he and a she had no need to tend to the fires of their passion
for it tended to blaze forth scorching in its intensity.
and then a few years down the line,
that passion produced a progeny
and passion started on the wane...

have to give he credit for occasional, nay repeated trial and...?
but progeny will have no errors.
gives birth to a new adage, does ever vigilant progeny-
Man proposes, progeny disposes!

he's arm around she, spotted, progeny will remove
and drape around himself...
she sitting on he's lap, gives rise to tantrums and sulks
till she rises, but not he!
foreplay? What's that? threeplay's more like it
and I sure don't mean an orgy!

add to this, frustrating work outside home
and tiring work at home, with no maid to boot!
right now, everything seems to conspire
to send passion down the drain!

time alone will tell...
if those slumbering embers can be fanned to a blaze
if progeny no 2 will come to fruit
some time soon...

everybody's already been there and done that.
this tag, I mean, not THAT!
ah, but no! I spy, with my little eye,
some little chicks, that could still add to the fun
(the more, the merrier, LOl, ROFL)
Whatsinaname, Sunitha, Swati and ~Nm
go ahead, go ahead, feel free, be my guest
spill all, about you-know-what!

P.S. This version is the edited one. Had forgotten to stick to the rules of a tag in the original version- mention the one who tagged me, and tag some more. Have amended that.

Thursday, September 20, 2007


Just saw that one of the google ads on my blog is

"Is masturbation safe?" ????!!!!

And I thought this was a mommy blog!
This, without having done mad momma's tag!

Btw, it IS safe! ;-)

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Of teeth and their contrarinesses.

Sonny boy's teeth drive me crazy, they do!

Start with a normal day. He's a sweetheart and within 5 calls, gets up, poking his butt into the air, and stumbles into my arms across the bed, eyes still closed, but mumbling "munn morning, Amma...". Well and good and that merits him a tight hug and an adoring kiss.
Susu done, we are all set to brush our teeth. Or rather, I am, he isn't.

He just doesn't keep his front teeth closed, for me to run the brush up and down. It takes all the patience and good will out of me in the morning, to have this battle with him day in and day out, so early in the morning.When he needs to keep his teeth closed he will open his jaws and when his molars neeed to be brushed, he will close his teeth. Grrrr!

Ok, washing face over, we are all set to drink Bournvita. (Which we tell him has Boosters for that's the current beverage ad that's won him over.) He goes off to snuggle in his Acha's lap, till I come with the drink. When the milk mug hovers in front, Sonny boy's mouth will not open. And if it does, those teeth that just wouldn't close during the brushing session, now remain firmly closed.
Have you tried getting your child to drink milk with his teeth closed? Very difficult. But very smart thinking on the child's part, if he doesn't like milk, for only the bare minimum gets past, even if the glass/cup/mug is tilted enough. Another battle of wills ensues, where the Amma wins by sheer virtue of brawn, at the end of half an hour.

Come breakfast time. The teeth now remain neither closed, nor open, but remain at that point where a spoon will just go in , without being able to dislodge its contents. Or if it manages to, the contents will go half into the mouth and half onto the floor. My teeth are fair on the way to being gritted now, as with every spoonful, I snap "OPEN your teeth!"
Ok, teeth opened, and food dislodged into mouth. Now- the teeth refuse to chew. And that mouth remains pursed shut, and will remain that way for minutes together. Maybe hours if I didn't intervene, but we've not put that to the test, yet. I intervene and roar at him to him to "CHEW your food!" When he goes on and on, masticating like a cow, but with a difference- the mouth remains closed, politely.
Ready to tear my hair out by now, I shriek, "SWALLOW!!!!"

So as of now, home assumes the nature of a barracks, with orders shouted out sharply at intervals.
Open your mouth!

Open your TEETH!!

Chew! Chew!! CHEW!!!


Phew! To think that this has been going on for a year now, and might go on for some years to come.... PHEW!!!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Tag no 1- Indian writing

Have 3 tags pending and I have never liked this feeling of having too much to do and the list only going to get bigger, so here goes....

Hope she's enjoying her heart out in sexy Europe, but too bad Poppins is not around to comment on my finally having gotten around to doing her tag... after having slept on it for so long.

The difficulty with this tag was that I had to really sit and think about the many authors I liked.

I'd finalise on some and then suddenly come up with one that I'd forgotten, but had really been quite loved... And I was just not able to decide( now I hope this doesn't lead to a mistaken notion that I'm the final authority on Indian Writing- I'm so NOT) and I dillied and dallied... and in the meantime all the others got cracking, and I felt awed that so many of them had read so much more than me...

Then I finally thought i'd just do it the simplest way, and the easiest way, which was to start at the very beginning and then go on from there...

So starting with my very first exposure to Indian writing, how can I forget- Amar Chitra Katha? I loved, still love, will always love them. I particularly liked the mythology series... and recently, I have picked up the entire lot for Sonny boy. Well, I say its for Sonny boy, but since he's too young to read them , its actually for Sonny boy's Amma and Acha who both adore those comics. I also liked Indrajal comics, but Phantom more than Mandrake, more than Bahadur, more than Flash Gordon. If the ACK women were the epitome of Indian grace and sensuousness, Diana was the epitome of feminine ooomph! to me, closely followed by Narda and Lothar's girlfriend. (I forget her name, I think its Karma?) Champak, Chandamama were not as great favourites. I did not like Tinkle so much, tho' I did get my first prize for writing from Uncle Pai, for a complete-the-short-story competition- a princely sum of Rs. 25/-

In my Enid Blyton years, I found Shashi Deshpande, an Indian Enid Blyton, with Indian scenarios and kiddy escapades. Food played an integral role in Shashi's books, as did kids who gorged on them, and I enjoyed reading her writings about the cousins who get together for the holidays, and into fun and mischief.

The next big piece of Indian Writing that I remember was my non-detailed text in high school- The Room on the Roof, by Ruskin Bond. Rusty had his first kiss in that book, and we girls who hadn't yet had our first kiss so WAITED for that chapter! (Says much for convent education, doesn't it?) I remember another of Ruskin Bpnd's characters fondly- Rikki Tikki Tavi - the mongoose who slays Nag in Jungle Book.

Funny, but I never liked my Malayalam non-detailed's in school, maybe because I thoroughly disliked my teacher, who was a nun with not the slightest idea of how to make things fun. Little wonder that I shifted to Special English in the ninth standard.
It was at this point that I read an anthology of Malayalam Short Stories in translation, and I loved the simple stories that went straight to my heart. I realised then that it was not for want of good writing that I disliked my Malayalam stories, but somehow..., I drew away from Malayalam writing, and stuck to English, not knowing my loss.

It wasn't till I joined for MA in English Literature, and had Indian Writing in English as one of my subjects, that I drew back to the Indian authors. I had Kamala Markandeya's Nectar in a Seive, Mulk Raj Anand's Untouchable, Arun Joshi's The Foreigner, RK Narayan's Guide,... Girish Karnad's Hayavadana, ... and lots of poets to study- Nissim Ezekiel, Rabindranath Tagore, Sarojini Naidu, Shiv K Kumar...

Some of my class/batchmates introduced me to Malayalam poetry and novels at this point, and I am eternally indebted to them. I read just a few in those one and a half years, but it left me wishing that my teachers in school had been at least one tenth as good as some of my seniors in University...
I read Sachidanandan's poetry and was enthralled. The one he wrote on Death still haunts me, I don't remember all the lines, and I have been trying to google it unsuccessfully. The imagery was mind boggling. One of these days when I get all the lines, that will form a separate post on my blog. I liked MT Vasudevan Nair's Manju. I have been meaning to read his Randaam Oozham, which is about the entire Mahabharata from Bhima's point of view.

I find the Aitheehiya maala a fascinating read. Its about temples and their legends and why certain rituals are followed and devotees' experiences. Totally riveting once you get into the mood for it. I liked C. Rajagopalachari's Ramayana and Mahabharat. Both of these were books I read while pregnant. My mother in law lovingly advised me to read the Ramayana to beget good offspring and I did. Not Tulsidas' or Valmiki's or Ezhuthachan's, but C Rjagoplachari's. Needless to say, she does not know of it.

You see, a slight problem I have is that, not having read too much of it in my younger days, I don't flow along with the Malayalam narrative as easily as I do with the English. And so, I don't find Malayalam as much of a pleasure to read as English. Well, I have to reserve something for my old age, don't I now? When I will be too tired to gad about, then I will sit curled in an armchair and read all the mallu novels I didn't read when I was young.

And now we come to all the Indian authors that I have enjoyed in recent times...hmmm...

Arundhati Roy- The God of Small Things. To me it was a hugely engrossing book about the greys of life. Life is definitely sometimes black, sometimes white, but sometimes it just defies compartmentalisation.. I loved Ammu and Velutha and the kids..and sympathised so with their heartbreaks in life.

Jhumpa Lahiri- I liked The Interpreter of Maladies and The Namesake. Some are of the opinion that the movie is slightly better than the latter book. I need to see the movie and decide.

I have always found that a movie doesn't come up to the standard of the movel. But one aberration was Water, by Bapsi Sidhwa. I haven't seen the movie, but I found the book totally stirring. My heart went out to the poor forlorn waif-widow Chuyia, and to Kalyani and Shakuntala. ( Apparently Bapsi is a Pakistani author, but I include her here, for she was born in Karachi pre Independence and so that makes her part of the then India).

Chitra Bannerjee Divakaruni writes heartwarmingly of the bond between two cousins, Anju and Sudha. I read the sequel -The Vine of Desire- first, and am waiting now to read the first book- Sister of my Heart. Indian values and expectations from women are perfectly narrated in the book.

AK Ramanujan's Folk Tales from India offer a wealth of folk tales in about 20 odd Indian languages. Truly a delight to read, especially when you have a kid hungry for stories. And these stories are truly grandma's stories. You smile when you come across the ones you know, and read enjoyably the ones you don't.

And ooooh! How could I forget RK Narayan, that stalwart of Indian Writing? I loved all his works but none more than Swami and Friends. Its stupid, but every time I pass through Mysore, I wonder if Malgudi was this..., or this.... or that.... He enchanted a whole generation of Indians with his characters, who were so wholesome and lovable and empathisable..(As an aside, I love RK Laxman's The Common Man too.)

Of course, I love Tagore's Gitanjali. But Kabuliwala brings a lump to my throat every time I read it. And then of course, he's the man who gave us our JanaGanaMana.

I liked Chetan Bhagat's Five Point Someone more than I did his One Night at a Call Centre. (And mistake of my life- I bought another IITian, Tushar Raheja's Anything For You, Ma'am. I found him pathetic. And he says his inspiration is Wodehouse. Wodehouse hasn't stopped rolling in his grave ever since.)

And yeah, I found Kiran Desai's Inheritance of Loss truly a loss. Of the 100 odd bucks I paid for it on the pavement. I thank God I didn't dish out the Crossword/Landmark price for it. It was with great difficulty that I turned the pages.Totally drab and uninspiring and b-o-r-i-n-g. Phew! And to think I bought it without anybody recommending it! Next time I shall beware of Booker prize winners.

Well, that's enough about the ones I love. About the ones that are on my to-read list:

Upamanyu Chatterjee

Rohinton Mistry

Amitabh Ghosh

Mahasweta Devi

(Bapsi's Ice Candy Man)

Kiran Desai's Hullaballoo in the Guava Orchard

David Davidar

So many Mallu authors.....

I am not particularly keen on Salman Rushdie or Vikram Seth, tho' I know they are much in demand...

Well, that's about it! One tag down and two more to follow. I look forward to book recommendations in the comments. Please do feel free to add your lists.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Have any of you read this ? Which book is it?

Girls! Ladies! Mommas!
Calling each one of you.. Below is the storyline of a book I had read long back. I have been wanting to read it again, but there's a slight hitch. I remember neither the author nor the title!

It was gifted to me by a cousin while in my teens, and I loved the book. Unfortunately, one of my numerous friends borrowed it and never bothered to return it.I've tried searching the net for it, but while I've come across a play that fits the storyline almost perfectly, I'm still searching for the book. I know it exists because I've read it.If any of you recognise this story and can tell me the title/author, I would be much obliged.

The story is set in the middle of World War (dunno whether I or II) and this is what I remember of it...It starts off with this young, handsome and brilliant German scientist and this warm, vivacious, lovely lady(non-German), who are married to each other and are deeply in love, with their cup of happiness overflowing. However being a German, he is wanted by the Nazis. The couple get wind of the less than noble intentions of the Nazis and engineer an escape, but at the last minute, the husband( I think his name is Stefan) is caught. The wife is devastated. She tries to get him released, but in vain, and they are parted, him inside the concentration camp and her outside.She becomes a shadow of her earlier self, however life goes on.

Alex comes into her life. Dashing, debonair and a well -heeled Greek,, ( I forget his profession, but he is someone with a lot of political hold) he falls in love with her almost instantly, but she is devoted to her husband and rebuffs all his advances.Time passes and he manages to win her reluctant love. By this time she is convinced that Stefan would be no more, that he would have been tortured to death, for she has left no stone unturned to find out his whereabouts.The two of them become lovers. They decide to escape from this place full of memories and to get married, when she finds out that her husband is alive .

Tho a tortured wreck of his former self, Stefan is as much in love with his wife as ever, and believes her love to be unchanged. Her love for him indeed has not changed, but there is a new love to be considered. And Alex loves her, but cannot in all humanity leave Stefan there to die, while he escapes with Stefan's wife. How Alex helps Stefan and his lover (Drat, I just don't remember her name at all) escape the clutches of the Nazis, while himself falling to their bullets forms the bittersweet ending of this novel.

What I can remember of the title is that it had the words- "Love is We know of Heaven and Hell.." in it somewhere. I dunno if that was the title or just a brief note on the contents. It was an extremely well-written novel on the emotions of a woman torn between her husband and her lover. And I would love to read it again now, when I am not such an impressionable teen anymore. It had undertones of A Tale of Two Cities in the final pages- the urgency, the desperation, the relief that they've got away, but also a pang that Alex hasn't managed it...

Now, if any of you readers've come across this book, please jot down the name of the title/author in the comments. It would be such a HELP.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Letter to a teacher

I read this, long back in school. I liked it then, and I liked it even better when a few years later, my Dad took me through the simple, yet profound beauty of the lines.
But how truly heart-stirring a piece it is, only strikes me now, as Sonny boy gets ready for formal schooling... and I wonder how he will fare at the end of it all...

A moving tribute to the value of a teacher and the greatness of a loving father....
I guess this is an eternal request from the hearts of all parents.

My son starts school today. It is all going to be strange and new to him for a while and I wish you would treat him gently. It is an adventure that might take him across continents. Adventures that probably include wars, tragedy and sorrow. To live this life will require faith, love and courage. So dear Teacher, will you please take him by his hand and teach him things he will have to know, teaching him - but gently, if you can.

He will have to learn, I know,
that all men are not just,
all men are not true.
But teach him also that
for every scoundrel there is a hero;
that for every selfish Politician,
there is a dedicated leader...
Teach him for every enemy there is a friend,

Steer him away from envy,
if you can,
teach him the secret of
quiet laughter.

Let him learn early that
the bullies are the easiest to lick...
Teach him, if you can,
the wonder of books...
But also give him quiet time
to ponder the eternal mystery of birds in the sky,
bees in the sun,
and the flowers on a green hillside.

In the school teach him
it is far honourable to fail
than to cheat...
Teach him to have faith
in his own ideas,
even if everyone tells him
they are wrong...
Teach him to be gentle
with gentle people,
and tough with the tough.

Try to give my son
the strength not to follow the crowd
when everyone is getting on the band wagon...
Teach him to listen to all men...
but teach him also to filter
all he hears on a screen of truth,
and take only the good
that comes through.

Teach him if you can,
how to laugh when he is sad...
Teach him there is no shame in tears,
Teach him to scoff at cynics
and to beware of too much sweetness...
Teach him to sell his brawn
and brain to the highest bidders
but never to put a price-tag
on his heart and soul.

Teach him to close his ears
to a howling mob
and to stand and fight
if he thinks he's right.
Treat him gently,
but do not cuddle him,
because only the test
of fire makes fine steel.

Let him have the courage
to be impatient...
let him have the patience to be brave.
Teach him always
to have sublime faith in himself,
because then he will have
sublime faith in mankind.

This is a big order,
but see what you can do...
He is such a fine fellow,
my son!

Friday, September 7, 2007

Bedroom line

One attracted, but afraid to commit female, who doesn't want to make sleeping together a habit.

One determined male.

"Will you come and sleep with me?"



A determined silence.

"Amma, pleeease... will you come and sleep with meeeee...? I want to hug you."

A melting Amma goes and sleeps with him.

Happy weekend, folks!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Happy Teachers' Day.

In these days when you hear of teachers beating their students to death almost, I think with gratitude and love of my teachers, who were maybe not GREAT, all of them, but some of them certainly left their mark on me and several others who passed through their classes.

Starting with class I, there was Ms. Colleen, my class teacher. An Anglo-Indian, she was dark and pretty and vivacious, and I adored her! The feeling was reciprocated and I was one of her favourites, seated on the front bench. Till one day, she caught me peeking at her white panties, up her dress. (I still remember the colour!) She crossed her legs, only to give me a better view! She then joined her legs primly and turned them the other way from one pair of inquisitive eyes, and smiled at me and said, 'Naughty girl!" She would come and visit even me when I passed on into the second standard...She got married and left soon after, but years later, she came back, when I was in the ninth or tenth. Don't think she remembered me as the girl who peeked, and was glad for it. I however remembered my adored one.

There was Mrs. Violet, my class teacher in the third, who was so very particular about how the v's and the w's had to be pronounced. To this day, when reading stories to Sonny boy, I remember her and I make a perfect round for the w's. (Hmmm, these days I also think of a certain Moppet, when rounding my lips into a perfect O)
Miss Anne was another who was very particular about the English language. She it was who used to give five stars as treats for students who used to do well in her class. Gave 'carrot and stick' a whole new meaning, she did. And she was always dressed so smartly and elegantly.Not a hair out of place, and perfectly creased skirts and blouses.... I wish I had half her poise and charm....

I have mentioned Mrs. Gopalan in an earlier post. She was taken aback and delighted to know that one of the 'dunces' from her class actually went on to do her graduation in Chemistry. After all, all those lines had to come in useful, didn't they?
And then, there was Mrs. Mariamma, who took away just 1/2 a mark from my answer sheet in one test, and praised me so much I can never forget it. It was in History of all subjects, but apparently, I had mentioned ALL the points and she so stressed on points, points, points.....esp as we were going to be facing our board exams the next year.
After all that goodwill, she got terribly upset with me when I sang a parody in the school festival. It was about a faithless boyfriend who if his girlfriend couldn't accompany him to the cinema, was quite happy to have the younger sister of his girlfriend accompany him. The younger sister's name was Mariyamma, and the school went wild when I sang it. Unfortunately, she didn't appreciate the humour then and gave me a lecture on how she expected a class leader to set better standards. Later, she forgave me.

There was Pavithran Mashu. He was not a teacher at school, but I went to him for Maths tuition in the ninth. He turned all my ideas of doing math on its head. Given a problem, he would start with the solution, and then work backwards. Perfect modus operandi for life too, but there are no teachers as good as him to learn from. He was also my neighbour, and I was in awe of him. Incidentally, I scored the highest in class in Maths during the period I learnt from him, which sadly was for just a year. He is no more now, God bless his soul.

Coming to college, there was Prasenna teacher. She was one of the most liked, respected teachers, who went on to become the Head of the Department, but to this date (she's retired now) she continues being called Prasenna teacher. There's humility for you. Actually, more than Mrs. Gop, it was she who was instrumental in my taking up Chemistry. She wore such gorgeous saris, and we used to never see her wear the same sari in less than 6 months. Quite a collection!
Then there was Prof. Bose, who despite the students booing and teasing and calling him all sorts of names, stuck to his love for the language, and taught well, the ones who were interested. I wish I'd had him for my teacher when I DID take up Eglish literature as my main subject. It would have been a pleasure.

In University, there was Prof. R.Viswanathan. Nicknamed RV. Unbelievably knowledgeable. And unbelievably self-effacing with it. Quietly he would come to class and get me enraptured with his lectures. He it was, who made me appreciate what a world of difference criticism made to a work. Prof. Jaleel was another erudite person, who taught me to love the poets.

Looking back, I think that one common thing that marked all the good teachers, was their humility. The more they knew, the greater their humility.
And then, their desire to impart the love and fascination for their subject.
There were some of my teachers who were very knowledgeable perhaps, but did miserably at imparting that knowledge across to others. They failed to kindle that flame of curiosity that makes you want to go on and on...

I so hope and pray that Sonny boy's teachers in his early and later days kindle that spirit of curiosity, which makes learning such a pleasure and less of a chore.

And on this day, God bless teachers the world over with patience, love and forbearance.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Down in the dumps.

After nearly two months, the longest she's ever stayed with us, Mummy has gone back home.

Sonny boy hasn't yet registered that Wed morn when he comes back from school, Ammamma isn't going to be there to welcome him with loving arms. To cajole him into eating, and rock him into sleep. To give him his milk in the evening. To play with him till Acha and Amma come back.

The pains she takes to get Sonny boy do things happily, I wouldn't even think of. I would dream of them, yes, cos she's shown me the way with umpteen other younger cousins of mine.
She coaxes and wheedles and teases and-that all important thing- DISTRACTS Sonny boy into doing the things he ought to, without ever losing her temper, or her calm.
She plays with him the silliest of games that get him giggling all the way behind her. And not one of these games include a toy. Truly inventive, Sonny boy's Ammamma, she pooh-pooh's the need for toys to keep kids amused.
Her stories are the weirdest ever, but the way she relates it, even I would listen, and I'm almost in my dotage, so you can imagine how floored Sonny boy is.
Even when she's tired she still keeps going, with love and forbearance,where I would have just flopped down, or ranted and raved.

In all the days she has been here, she has dealt with Sonny boy with SUCH patience, never raising her voice in anger, even once against him. How do the grand mommies do it? Win them over, sans whacks and rants? If I could be half as good a Mom to Sonny boy as she is to me, I'd consider Sonny boy blessed. And having her home has meant so MUCH to me.

Of course, the days she has been here, I haven't had to think about the day's menu. She took care of the kitchen, while I took care of Sonny boy and the other rooms. All I had to do was feed ourselves and then get the leftovers into the fridge. She has been a HUGE help. looking on the domestic side of things.

But, then, that is not what I am going to miss.
I will miss the way she brightens up my day when we see each other and smile, first thing in the morning.
I will miss the way Sonny boy looks for her in the morning and when assured that she is still there, comes running to me and hides his face in my legs with a smile of delight, not meeting her laughing eyes.
I will miss a loving smile from the doorway and a waving hand on the balcony, on my way to work.
I will miss my calls to her from office, and her grumble that she might as well be in Kerala than here, if all we got to do was talk over the phone!
I will miss her calls to me with updates/complaints on what 'Ninte mon' did/is doing/is going to do.
I will miss that feeling of peace, knowing that inspite of my absence, Sonny boy is being cared for by the best person in the world, second to none, not even me.
I will miss going out on weekends with her, holding her arm companionably and guidingly while we amble along malls, where she keeps eyeing a vacant seat!
I will miss my sister's frequent(er) calls, checking out on the excitement in our lives, enviously.
I will miss having her nodding off in the back seat while we return home from our tiring outings.
I will miss those programmes she keeps watching on tv, which I wouldn't dream of watching by myself.
I will miss her asking me to have more patience with Sonny boy while he and I do our homework.
I will miss the way she asks me to have more restraint when I get into one of those rages with the husband.
I will miss not being able to deposit Sonny boy with her when I am in danger of flying off the handle TOTALLY.
I will miss sitting on her bed at night and going over the day with her.
I will miss Sonny boy kissing and hugging her goodnight. Something which I don't do normally, myself, but always wish I did.

Oh, Mummy, I will miss you, period.
I love you.
Come back soon.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Am at my wits end!

Amma and I are learning numbers. And Boy! is she one confused Amma!

Last week, she taught me eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen...
We were progressing ok, going on with sixteen, seventeen... when she stopped. And looked at me enquiringly. I looked right back at her. Now what, I wondered.
She asked me, "After seven, what?"
This one I knew.
"Eight," I replied promptly.
"Yes, good!" Beaming.
" So, after seventeen, comes eighteen!"Smiles at me.
I smile back. Sometimes it takes very little to make her happy. "Eighteen"
"So Sonny boy, after ten, you just have to add 'teen' to the numbers to come up with the sequence. Fine?"

I think Amma thinks I'm dimwitted, the way she asks me whether I understand anything so obvious.
"Fine," I say. And we continue.
"Eighteen, nineteen..

"Enough. Now start again, after ten....?" Encouraging look.
As easy as cake, this one. "One-teen, two-teen..."

She said, "Nooooo...!" Looked at me. And then broke up laughing!
Apparently that is not correct.

I wish she'd make up her mind. On two accounts. First, the actual sequence of numbers after ten, and then, whether she going to be mad at me for saying the wrong number, or whether she's going to laugh.
Just yesterday, she was SHOUTING at me for saying something not correct, today she laughs! I was zapped. These Ammas, I tell you... ! They sure have their moodswings. (btw, my Amma looks so much nicer when she's laughing than when she's snarling.)
Finally we mastered those elevens and twelves and thirteens.

Well, that was last week.
This week, we moved on from those confusing teens to the easy twenties.
Amma told me all I had to do was add twenty before the one-two-threes I already knew well.
As easy as pie, this one.
"Twenty one, twenty two... correct, Amma?
"Correct, Sonny boy. Go on..." Smiles.
... twenty eight, twenty nine, twenty ten!"

That look again. Now what, I thought in my mind. you never know WHAT gets these Ammas upset. But no, she was at her moodswings again. Laughing ruefully,

"Oh, Sonny boy! you are so cute, do you know that?" Hugs me tight.

Hmmmph! Big deal for my Amma to find me cute. And right in the middle of my numbers! She tells me umpteen times to concentrate and then she goes wandering.
By the way, I wish she'd make up her mind again. On those numbers. Apparently its not twenty ten, but something like thirteen, again.
Oops, not thirteen, its supposed to be thirty.
Why they have to make things as easy as pie and then add a twist in it, is beyond my understanding. And it seems this is going to go on till hundred! Bah!

I would much rather play with Thomas and Percy and Fergus!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

For Onam

It was Onam yesterday. A big day for us Mallus. And one thing I like about this festival so much is that it has no shades of religion attached to it. There's nothing specifically Hindu, Muslim or Christian about it. It is actually the festival of plenty. And anyone wanting some plenty in their life can feel free to participate in the spirit of Onam. A spirit of giving and gaiety and colours and bonding.

Any mention of Onam would be incomplete without mentioning Mahabali, the noble king who comes back to visit his beloved subjects for a day, on the day of Thiruvonam. The myth of Mahabali is truly a 'shory' worth telling.

Kerala was a beautiful stretch of land ruled over by Mahabali, the Asura king. But Asura though he was, Mahabali was the embodiment of goodness. A wise, judicious, benevolent, and extremely charitable ruler, he was respected and loved by his subjects. His age was truly the golden age of Kerala. Rich or poor, all were equal in Mahabali's time. No discrimination was practised whatsoever, according to caste or creed. There was no crime, no corruption, nor any sorrow, poverty or disease in Mahabali's land. Truly idyllic times, with the entire populace happy and content.

Such was his charisma, that the Devas began to fear for their supremacy. And Aditi, the mother of the Devas, sought Lord Vishnu's help to curtail Mahabali's popularity and fame, and maintain her sons' superiority. Accordingly, Lord Vishnu assumed the form of a Vamana (a brahmin boy) and went to Mahabali, at the site of a yagna he was conducting. Since Mahabali was known for his generosity, Vamana requested alms- a piece of land- of him. Mahabali agreed. Sukracharya, the guru of the Asuras, smelt a rat, and advised Mahabali against it. He told Mahabali that the Vamana was none other than Lord Vishnu in disguise, and advised him to decline his request, also warning him that the boon would bring about his downfall.

But Mahabali was not known for his generosity for nothing. He told Sukracharya that he could not take back his given word, and directed the Vamana to state his request. The Vamana asked him for enough land to cover three paces of his foot. An ever charitable Mahabali, eyeing the diminutive stature of the lad, asked the Vamana to ask for more. But Vamana persisted in his request for just 3 paces of land. On Mahabali's consent, the Vamana grew and grew... with one step, the Vamana covered all of Earth, and with the next, he covered the Heavens. He looked at Mahabali and queried for a place to keep his third step.... At which Mahabali, realising that his vanity was his downfall, bent and offered his head to the Vamana, to place his third step.

Vamana sent Mahabali to the Netherlands, but before going, the ever loving King asked the Lord for permission to come and check that all was well with his beloved subjects, once in a year. The Lord agreed, and Onam is the day when Mahabali visits his beloved people. And the people, unite in their desire to show their much loved, erstwhile king that all is indeed well with them.

Thus it is that the people, irrespective of caste and creed, put on new clothes, eat good food and have enjoyable times for Onam. To keep their king happy, who sees only good things and good times, all through his beloved land, as in the days of his rule.

******* ********

And so Sonny boy celebrated his first remembered Onam. With a feast prepared by Ammamma ( Since Amma and Accha had no holiday on Monday, a compromise was reached, with the Onasadhya being eaten on Sunday) and eaten on green banana leaves procured by Acha.
Truly delicious. Mmmmmm... Kaalan, pachadi, payar varavu, rice, sambar, kootu, pappadam, nellikka achar, and payasam. Noodle payasam, as Sonny boy would say.

But the other aspects of Onam were not compromised with. Early in the morning on Monday, flowers were elaborately arranged in a pookkalam. Where Sonny 'helped' Amma SO MUCH, making her tell him so many times not to drop those red dahlia petals over the yellow marigold, PUHLEEEEASE! With the growing diameter of the pookkalam, Amma's exasperation grew, till Sonny boy was made to stay indoors, out of harm's way, so that Amma could finish and get on with getting ready for office.

Baths over, Acha, Amma, Ammamma and Sonny boy, attired in new clothes, (did a long jump over the pookkalam in the corridor), went to the temple, and prayed for good times, health and prosperity. And then, dropping Ammamma and Sonny boy at home, Acha and Amma went to office.

End of 'shory'.

No discrimination, no crime, corruption, sorrow, poverty or disease..... Wonder if Mahabali could come back and rule over us once again...? ????

Here's wishing that Mahabali days come back for all of us, soon, in this big bad world of today. May days of happiness and contentment abound in our lives !


do the numbers not go


Logically, it should. Certainly it would make life easier for one three year old and his Amma. But then, what would we do for laughs?

Friday, August 24, 2007

Of girl things...

I am not a lady. As in, I do not indulge in those ladylike things. Bangles, bracelets, chains, make-up, ear rings, nose rings, anklets....But I have a wonderful curiosity about these things and love to see women accessoried properly and looking really good, like you so often find on the streets of Bangalore.

I'd compare myself to them and end up feeling a frump. Which was ok when I was married, sans kid. Because my husband fell in love with me when I weighed 10 kilos more than I do now, and looked well, younger, but the same, more or less. So I had no fears that he'd wander.

But I wanted Sonny boy to be able to compare his Amma without finding things wanting... So I took up some old habits which I'd left off. I started painting my nails again. (Of course, I had quite a selection of colours thanks to my hoarding tendencies.) And when I paint it on, Sonny boy almost touches his nose to my nail. He's that entranced to see the brush glide smoothly on..

He loves to see me apply lipstick. And as I have explained to him that all these are girl things, he earnestly queries,
"That is girl, Amma?"
"Yes, Sonny boy, this is a girl thing. Not for little boys."

He looks on while I apply a tiny bindi.
"This also girl, Amma?"
"This also girl , Sonny boy."

He is not allowed anywhere near my contacts, tho' he would love to poke his inquisitive fingers in.

Little Peeping Tom refuses to go out of the room sometimes while I change, and stands there unblinking. I wonder what goes on in his little mind then. But Amma has lived in hostels and is a pastmistress at the art of changing dresses with zilch free show. So I indulge him some days, while some days he is pushed unceremoniously, protestingly, out.

After I'm dressed, I bustle around finishing last minute tasks. And then, I'm all ready to go. But not quite.
"Amma!" very authoritatively. I turn enquiringly.
"Your dupatti! You put your dupatti, Amma." Comes trailing my dupatta behind him.

I make a face at my husband. Certainly my son is his father's son. The only difference being that Sonny boy dares where Accha feared to tread.

"Thank you, Sonny boy." And I drape the duppatta around my neck casually.
"Not like that, Amma. Like this..." And he proceeds to demonstrate.

Finally I am ready. One edge of the material decorously covering one breast and the other covering the other breast. What the...!!!

On second thoughts, he isn't just his Accha's son.
He is his Ammamma's grandson to the core. Bah!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

a prayer

Dear God,

When I land my next job,

1. Please let at least half of my colleagues be responsible mothers with toddlers. Puhleeeese! My boss especially has to be one of those types who actually like to go back home.

2. Let one quarter be loving fathers with toddlers, who would love to go back home and bond with said toddlers, as soon as work hours get over.

3. Let the remaining quarter be lovable hunks/delightful dames, who would rather spend the night hours in a pub with a lissome partner, rather than in front of their pc at work.

4. Let the weekend be off.

5. Let working hours be from 9.30 to 6. You could make the timings better if you want, God.

6. Let the colleagues be fun, and work engrossing.

7. Dear God, let that job land soon!

Thank you.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Pissed off...

I am pissed. I heartily dislike people I do not like, sleeping in my bed. That is an understatement. I am fanatic. About my bed, and my pillow and my towel and my comb.

I don't mind sharing the former two, but it is with difficulty that I share the last two with my husband and whenever he does, a blistering argument breaks out between us.
I don't mind sharing t-shirts with my Hubs, nor do I mind him struggling into my jeans when he has to make a quick trip down and can't be bothered to find his own. This has happened couple of times, after which he came back grumbling about how ladies jeans were so uncomfortable. Gentleman, I do not recall asking you to wear them.

But yeah, I am digressing from the main point which is bed, pillow, towel and comb, being shared by people other than the lawfully wedded husband.

Please don't misunderstand me. When I do have visitors, and when they happen to be elder than me/Hubs, I have absolutely no compunctions about giving up bed and room to them, and flopping down for the night on the good ol' mattress that served as our marital bed. The bed is as good as theirs for all the duration of their stay, post which I change the sheets and pillow cases again, and then, the bed is mine again.

After it has been re-established as MY bed, I do not like people slipping in and having a lie down on it. And, I don't know exactly why- I'm relatively more ok with my girlfriends, other women (who have reached as far as my bedroom) lying on it, but I HATE other men sleeping on my bed. I am pretty unreasonable in this matter. I do not like seeing strands of hair left around on my pillow when I know it is neither mine, nor my husband's. I prefer the fragrance of my shampoo to linger, not some other offensive smell.

Come to think of it, I do not like these persons using my bedroom either. My bedroom can possibly have nothing of somebody else's. And things of mine that are in MY bedroom, I do NOT want to share. Nor do I want to have things shifted, or unable to be accounted for. A bedroom is a private personal space, and if you are well liked, you will be welcome in that space. But if not, please keep off.

I am at a loss to know what to do with thick skinned pigs who will use my bedroom and my bed, and my pillow and my toiletries. The husband has no issues this way. He will not even begin to understand the vehemence behind this post.

But when there are designated beds for all people/guests in a house, I think people had better stick to their given spaces. Else things just might get out of hand. And a trying-to-be-nice-and- pleasant hostess might well turn into a shrew. And niceties be damned!

Do any of you feel this possessive about your space? Or am I just being a finicky, possessive hag?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

-Salutations and many happier returns, my dear India.

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high;
Where knowledge is free;
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow
domestic walls;
Where words come out from the depth of truth;
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection;
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the
dreary desert sand of dead habit;
Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever-widening thought
and action--
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.
- Rabindranath Tagore.

How do people write these things that are valid for a lifetime?

Sometimes I wonder what our great leaders of the past would say if they saw the India of today.
1947 was a year when there were so many dreams ahead of India. So many milestones to achieve.
And while we have come a long way along many roads, there are glaring, unfilled potholes on some others. And I wish that India fulfils the dreams of her makers, in every way there is.

From the bottom of my heart, I wish for my India, that her citizens awake one day soon, to a morning where there are no families living below the poverty line. Above anything else. How glaring an inadequacy is it that in a country where so many prosper, there are still little stomachs crying for a morsel of food.

There are others- empowerment of women, reforms in social 'norms', a better life for India's children.... but most of all, I pray for an India where no one has that most dreadful of feelings- the gnawing of an empty stomach. Worse still, the prospect of an empty stomach for their little ones.

God bless. That India prospers. As a whole.
Happy Independence Day to you, my dear India.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Prof Umbridge with a difference.

"How many times? Raised eyebrows above the black-rimmed spectacles.
"25..? 50...? 100.....?"

A downbent head nodded vigorously. A curly haired head tilted royally. And the student sat down, heaving a sigh of relief at having gotten off with just 100 lines.

This was way back in school. In the eight standard. Slaked lime, milk of lime, limestone...washing soda, baking soda... The chemical names for all these used to be a nightmare for that whole year. And our Chemistry teacher used to make it a point to ask at least one of us every day for the chemical name of at least one of these 'household' names. Bah!

But now when I think of Mrs. G, she brings a loving smile to my lips. And wonderful, wonderful memories of all the fun we used to have in her class, waiting for her dreaded questions, for that quizzical look through those glasses, and for that clipped voice giving out lines. In fact, one could almost call it an inititation into high-school Chemistry

These lines brought about such a sense of unity and co-operation in class. Initially, the fortunate few would take turns to write out some lines at least for their unfortunate friends. But soon came a time when this was caught by the canny eyes of Mrs. G. And extra lines would be given to the fortunate and the unfortunate. Ah... lines were a great leveller in those days.

The day when the impositions were due, there would be frenzied writing going on during intervals too, with no distractions whatsoever. One could even say, that at times, more than the formula/name, what was getting remembered was numbers. 27, 28,29,....75,76,77,...98,99,100!

There was one girl S, (who was slightly mentally challenged) who came up something we thought was quite brilliant- She wrote just the first line- Washing Soda- Na2Co3, and then followed it up with a 100 dittoes.
While all of us were much taken with her brilliance, much amused too, none of us dared to be that audacious. We even warned her that she was in for it, but she refused to take any heed. We waited with bated breath for Mrs. G to take her to pieces when S went to take her paper back, but the staff were evidently advised of S' misfortune and Mrs. G said nothing. She just ensured that S knew the formula and let her off.

While she was a terror in class, she had a good sense of humour outside. The quizzical look inside class was replaced by a twinkle outside class. She could take a joke very well. For school festivals, at least one spoof on her Hitlerish way of taking classes was a must. But she would be one of the first persons to laugh out loud.. No extra lines for ridiculing Mrs. G, no way!
And invariably lines would be given to all generations of students who passed through her hands.

I remember, after all those lines we wrote in the eight standard, we passed out into the ninth. And the first hour of Chemistry that we had, in came Mrs. G. After roll call, she looked around at all of us and smiled. We smiled back in high spirits. And then she shot out-

"What's the formula for slaked lime?"

The class as a whole deflated. Not one of us was prepared for questions the very first day. And the funny thing was, only a couple of girls knew the formula then. And these two were sitting on the last row. After one year in her class, we knew better than to prompt or sneak looks at text books. So the girls began standing up, one after the other, some not answering at all, for fear of inviting scathing comments, some giving wrong answers.
The first row, a girl was given 2 min, before the next one stood up. By the time the questioning reached the second row, the next girl waited just one minute before standing up in her turn, and by the third row, no one was waiting for Mrs. G to look at the next person, we all just sprung up one after the other.

And at the end, one girl gave the answer - Ca(OH)2. We sneaked looks at Mrs. G, the class filled with the silence of repressed mirth. And Mrs. G looked at us with a repressed twinkle and said,

"What a bunch of dunces I have to teach! 9th std. A whole class. Not knowing the formula of slaked lime!"
And she started shaking in her chair. And the class burst out laughing. In sheer merriment at being caught for the 'dunces' we were. And class started just like ordinary times, again.

I was reading about this rule which is to be introduced in schools, totally disallowing any kind of punishment, corporal or otherwise. And while I wholeheartedly agree with the stand on corporal punishment (those incidents of students -toddlers to teens-dying due to mishandling by their teachers was horrifyingly scary), I was suddenly reminded of Mrs. G's impositions, which were famous in her time.

And I found myself wondering if it wasn't too bad that, if Mrs. G were to teach in today's times, I could sue Mrs. G for giving me or anybody else lines.

Our teachers also made us stand on benches, stand outside class, go out of class, gave a whack with a ruler (only in the junior classes, and none so hard that it ever made welts on the hand/leg), and none of us were any worse for it, maybe it did spur us onto better efforts to stay clear of that ruler. But then, all my teachers genuinely wanted the betterment of their students and did not let rage get the upper hand, ever.
Something that can't be said for today's teachers, maybe. Patience truly is the mother of all virtues, especially for teachers.