Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Can I show you my etchings?

Children are so cute and innocent. Yesterday, we had gone to visit one of our friends who's going abroad shortly to join her husband. Her daughter T, is Sonny boy's first and most preferred girl friend, and she too has a special place for Sonny boy in her little life.

While I was staying at home last year, she used to be a frequent visitor, dropping in on her way back from her daycare, or walking back with Sonny boy and me from the park....but once I went back to work, there was just no time for neighbours/friends on a weekday.

She's chubby and very cute, and had pretty shoes, and bangles, and all the girlie trinkets, that she proudly brandished for all to admire, and Sonny boy fell for her, hook, line and sinker.

He normally had a problem allowing other kids to get on his tricycle, which he'd just learnt to pedal, but for T, he would willingly get off, and push her all around on his tricycle. While they did of course have the occasional squall, he was more occupied with her than with his other peers. Their respective eyes would light up at the mention of the other. They have exchanged toys and clothes. And they have taught each other about the basics of the birds and the bees.

One evening, T's Mom and I were at home, since both our husbands were late and were coming back together. T and Sonny boy were having a ball at the extended playtime. They finished dinner too, both of them eating the better for having the other around. And after dinner came potty for T. Off she was carted to sit on the kiddy seat, and since it was potty and would take time, T's Mom and I went back to chatting in the living room. After a while T finished, and was being washed by her Mom in the bathroom, when Sonny boy sidled up to me, buried his face in my legs and said, with bashfulness, puzzlement and wonder dancing in his eyes, "Amma, T has no susu? Sonny boy has susu- see.." and here he patted his crotch lovingly. T' kku onnu illa!" (T has nothing!).

I was hard put to contain my amusement, but I told him that T had a different susu. Before any further questions came, T and Mom came back, and I related this laughingly to T's Mom. Who rolled her eyes and said, "Thank God roles weren't reversed. Else T would have wanted to know why Sonny boy had something where he peed. And would have wanted the same!"

A year passed, and yesterday, when we were at T's home, T wanted to do susu. And she went running off to the loo, and then called- "Sonny boy, don't you want to come and see me do susu?" And T's Mom rolled her eyes again and we laughed, holding an eager Sonny boy behind. I wonder when would be the best time to show T this post of mine? When she's a teenager, perhaps?

Monday, July 30, 2007


I have mentioned in my tag on being judgemental that I simply hate persons who expect others to do things for them. Now this one was especially for family. And tho' I don't normally take off on family, I just can't help myself here.

I have this relative, N, who is not liked by her two younger sisters and brother, and sister-in-law. This is for several different reasons, which I shall not go into here, for those reasons do not really concern me. And while I was absolutely on the side of N's siblings, I had often wondered why they didn't collectively give her a few, tight, well-deserved slaps and drive home reason. Well, now I know why they just ranted and didn't do anything else. They just CAN'T do anything else. The lady is pig headed, selfish, and thicker skinned than a rhinoceros. (I'm sorry, dear pig and rhino.)

N's daughter recently secured admission to a college in B'lore. The interview was a couple of months back, and N came with her daughter, sis, and BIL for the interview. Since at the time my house was filled to overflowing with with FIL, MIL SIL, BIL and of course us, I told them that I wouldn't be able to accommodate them at my home, but could book a room for them, once she confirmed the date. Here starts my crib.

After I booked the room tentatively, she did not confirm the date of arrival or anything, just landed up that evening suddenly..., and expected me to accompany her to the institute the next day! Of course I did nothing of the sort! The next day, after the interview, she went back, and didn't bother to call me saying that they'd reached back. Such niceties just didn't occur to her.

This was two months back. Now, N is not well off financially ( but thinks nothing of splurging with her siblings' money which she thinks is her birthright) and so had to apply for a loan to cover her daughter's studies. The loan took some time getting processed, and so N's daughter couldn't join on the joining date. Madam N asked her sister to call up from Kerala, requesting me to speak to the Institute and ensure that the seat was intact. As it was a matter of a girl's studies and future, I spoke to the Principal, and smoothed matters, but here again, N gave me no idea as to how it was going with the loan procedures and when she would be able to finally join. The Principal meanwhile told me that classes were going to close from the 26th July to the 1st of Aug, and if the student could not come on the 26th, then she could come only after the 1st, as all students would be going home. I conveyed the message across to N, again through her sister. N does have a mobile phone, but she had not given me the number, nor had she the decency to check with me how I managed.

Last week- on the 25th actually, N's sister called me up again, and told me that N was leaving for B'lore the next night and that she had been asked to pass on the message. At this, I blew my top and asked N's sister why on earth she was passing messages for N, why couldn't N call me directly? I reminded her that the Principal had been quite clearcut in requesting the student to come either before 26th July or after 1st Aug, so why on earth was N planning to leave on 26th night and land up on the 27th? @#$%!! (And wasn't there a basic courtesy involved in checking with me if the visit was convenient?) I told N's sister that my maid had ditched, my Mom was unwell, and I was not prepared for a guest at this juncture, and requested her to tell N that she could come a day before the 1st, (certainly not plonk herself on me for 4 -5 days, uninvited, unwanted.) but not on the 27th.

25th passed with no news from N, as also the entire day of 26th. On 26th night, I got a call on my mobile. It was dear N, saying that she was starting out. I made as if I couldn't hear her, and kept saying hello hello, and finally cut the call. I was fuming, and so was my mother. I thought that if I refused to take her call, she would have a re-think, or at least make alternate arrangements regarding her stay in B'lore. Well, I thought wrong.

The next morning, at around 5.30am, our land phone buzzed. By the time we got up groggy from sleep on a coveted Sat morn, it had got cut. Hubs and I wondered if it could be N, but the call didn't come again. I told Hubs, that if at all N had had the audacity to come uninvited, then she could wait it out at the bus-stand for some time, while we made our way leisurely to pick her up. Innate humanity not allowing that we ditch a woman and her teenage daughter in a place they knew nothing about.

About an hour later, Hubs got a call on his mobile. N had reached the road beneath our flat(!!), and wanted to know where our flat was. We were incredulous. Hubs told her the way. If she's found her way upto here, then she can jolly well find the rest of it herself too, without me going to escort her, was Hubs' stance. 15 min later found Hubs, myself and my Mom all looking dazedly at N, daughter and son, across the threshold of our door. I was MAD. And despite instructions from my dear Mom, let loose a volley of scoldings. The lady hasn't stepped out of her hometown without some company, doesn't know the local language, has absolutely no clue as to where on earth our house could be and she has had the temerity to land up unannounced and unwelcome. What does she think my home is- a hotel? (I am NOT close to her, despite the sorry fact that she is a relative, how can she just land up like this, on my precious weekend?)

To cut a long, miserable story short, she was there and she meant to stay. N is separated from her husband and with two kids, she has always played on the sympathies of elders and relatives. And my Mom wanted me to tolerate her - she knows that asking me to be nice to her would be asking for too much!- for the sake of my dear Dad, for N was Dad's relative.

It would be alright if the trio were pleasant company. The three had absolutely nothing to talk about, in general. Hubs was befuddled with the teenage boy who has a newspaper in front of him every waking moment (and when that newspaper is either B'lore Times or Education Times, you know how much reading actually takes place.) The girl was ok, but she too had nothing much to contribute by way of meaningful conversation, other than a polite smile. And N! Man ! It is so inexpressibly depressing to have her moping around. She just stood around, feeling sorry for herself, making herself out to be a martyr. My weekend is all shot to bits because of them. We ended up cancelling tickets to a movie on Sat night( not Harry Potter, mallu movie Hello, courtesy Mom) and sat around looking at the tv. Because I was damned if I would take them around sightseeing like I normally would, any newcomers to B'lore.

It was left to me to call up the Principal (N won'tdo all that! She will just come all the way and plonk herself on people's doorsteps.) and explain that yes, he HAD told me that she was to come only after the 1st, but here they were anyway, and could they come over, please? Regardless of my mother's requests to the contrary, I kept tearing strips off N for her irresponsible behaviour, but I doubt it made any difference. Finally to cut another long, depressing story short, we ended up going to drop the girl on Sunday at the hostel. No sleeping in on Sun either, as the bloody hostel was some 28 kms from our house, and we were to reach there by 10.30 am

We landed back home by around 4 - a day very well spent indeed! In the evening I asked N if she wanted her tickets booked for that night or the next day. N told me hemming and hawing, and meeting my eyes hesitantly, that she thought umm.., would it be ok if, ummm.. they left after the 1st? I bluntly asked her why. She said she could speak to her daughter and see that she had settled in alright in the hostel and in class as well. I was speechless. This is all because of you, I cast daggers at my Mom. You and your misplaced idea of humaneness and not being nasty to unwanted relatives. If I had had my way, I would have....I would have ..

What would I have done? What CAN you do with such relatives? You can't really cast them out, for they don't have anybody else in B'lore. But I sure as hell do not want to play host for another miserable 4 days. And what is more important, I want to make damn sure that this lady does not plonk herself like this any time in the future during the 3 years of her daughter's course. SHUDDER!! Any suggestions?

Hubs came up with the bright idea of presenting her with their tickets home. But for someone who has been self-centered enough to land up on our doorsteps, knowing she was not welcome, will that work? I have told her that in future, if she passes on any message to me indirectly, I will not be responsible for my actions. If she has anything to say, she better open her mouth to me directly.

I am not joking, or being Potteresque, but it is honestly like having dementors at home.
We are normally a cheerful lot, but how do you joke and talk and laugh, when someone in the room with you has an unsmiling face, and is totally cheerless? Even Sonny boy's antics fail to charm. Sigh!

PS: Our natural irrepressible cheer cannot be held down for long. Yesterday after I returned home from office, Mom and I laughed long and hard. Mom was wondering how a person could remain so silent throughout the day. And I gave her a I-told-you-so look and reminded her that it was she who had wanted to be big minded and stuff, whereas I had warned her what we were letting ourselves in for. And she sighed and said "yes..... but....." And suddenly the humour of the situation struck us, (yeah, we found humour in this bizarre situation) and we laughed our hearts out. And we feel the better for letting out some of that frustration. N is still at home, by the way.

Happiness is

Baby Hania in her Papa's arms.

Haneef has returned, and for Firdous, all is well that ends well. Baby Hania has rightly been named happiness for, "the deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain"

Undoubtedly, happy times are here again for the Haneef family. I'm glad he was proved innocent of all charges.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Cracking the code

1. Ephilants/ ephitants are universally fat.

2. An apple a day is good mecedine.

3. When it is drraak, you put on the light.

4. Showers are lovely, be they pink or oyange or red.

5. Small kids should not play with the micorrrr

6. Not all pains are pains, some fly. Like helicotets.

7. And some kheem is good for dry skin.

8. Jumstick isn't another version of joystick. It drums more than it jumps.

9. Sonny boy simply loves to pay, anytime of the day.

10. Contuter is a good tutor and friend.

How many of these could you decode? Bet 5 has you stumped.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

maid woes.

I wrote about my last maid who ditched, and all of you gave me an earful for putting up with the old hag (forgive me for the usage, but its Potter time, folks). Have been on the lookout for a replacement, but I am finding that it is easier said than done.

Of course, I did check with Muruga, but she has found herself a new house, and then too, she would have been willing to come back to me, if not for the fact that the master of the said house had gone abroad for month, and the lady was all alone, and hence she could not ditch her. Have I mentioned earlier that she is a very responsible person? Boo Hoo Hoo. Am hoping that she sickens for Sonny boy and comes back. ( she cried while leaving, and now I'm almost crying that she comes back.)

Swati very kindly gave me the number of a lady she knew, who had just left the employ of her firned, and was quite good, but unfortunately, I think that lady's also already found herself another house, for her mobile remains switched off. And on re-checking with Swati, found that this conscientious lady does not use her phone while at work. Boo Hoo hoo. Why are all the good ones snapped up so soon?

Then came along another lady brought to me by our security person. The man told me that she was his neighbour, and that she was excellent with kids. She certainly looked a motherly type, was fat, and cheerful, and smiled beguilingly at Sonny boy and me (forget that the teeth were paan stained...). but there the charm stopped. Before I could tell her about the nature of work, she started asking me how much I would give her. And she started glossing that she got this much in the previous houses she had worked in and wouldn't I also give her that much? I would have given her much more than that if she had inspired me with at least a little confidence, but...

Momma lady's sweeping was shoddy, and her swabbing was as if the house had been flooded(as if a hyper 3 yr old needed anything further to skid and fall..), The vessels had remnants of sambar, and milk, and tea all stuck to them, I had to give back at least 5 vessels to be re-cleaned, and then again another 3- no exaggeration.(and I use Vim!!)In between she kept reassuring me that she actually was a good worker, just that this was the first day, you see.. She had never done any bathrooms, she gave me a quelling look when I said I'd show her how I wanted mine done. I gave her an equally qquelling look and proceeded to demonstrate in the first bathroom. After that, I left her to the second bathroom, and when I returned to check later, half the Harpic was still on the toilet rims, and the wash basin had froth on it from inadequate usage of water... I decided that I just didn't have the patience or energy to train this lady, who just didn't want to learn anyway, and told the watchman to dispose of her, after giving her the money for the day.

Two days later, my watchman brought along another girl. She was quite alright- clean in her work, not lazy, pleasant and cleanly attired too. Unfortunately, she couldn't stay full time, as she was already working in another place and didn't want to leave there. Another of those loyal people. She could come in and do the chores, if I wanted. Oooh, I wanted, but I wanted more...Boo Hoo hoo.

Two weeks later, came along another girl, this time brought by the neighbouring watchman. Very helpful guys these are. A smart cookie, this one, she knew exactly what I wanted. She had gleaned that info' from the watchman. She proceeded to tell me that she could do all housework, and she had been looking after kids in one of her earlier houses... and how much would I give her? I asked her how much she wanted. She refused to give me a figure and waited for me to make the first offer. I told you she was smart. I came up with a figure slightly lesser than what I gave previously. She came up with a figure almost 3 times that and said she was getting this much now, so, how much could I offer her? Husband and I looked at each other, assessing the situation.Now my wise husband always tells me that I react too soon, and foolishly to situations, so I waited for him to say the first, wise word. Finally he ended up agreeing to give her slightly more than we gave previously, and she agreed. (Obviously!!)This week, she has said she will come in at some time during the day, as she can't suddenly ditch the 4 houses she's working in, and we agree to that, provided she comes in at a time when Sonny boy is around, so that he can adjust to having her around. She told me, 'Aunty, you don't worry, your son is like my son'.

The next day, Smart Cookie came in the afternoon. Since my Mom wasn't keeping well, (she's still with me, the sweetheart) I had taken the afternoon off, and so was there when she came.
She had come with her grandmother in tow, who she said would help her. The grandmother proceeded to do the dishes and the Smart Cookie proceeded to do other stuff.

She rolled the carpet up, without cleaning it, and kept it on my sofa, on top of the newspapers and the cushions. She also took Sonny boy's shoes (which happened to be inside that day) and kept it on top of the centre table. I had gone to check the vessel cleaning abilities of the granny, and coming back, I saw this and managed to not yell, and told her quietly that carpets were not to be put on sofas. They were to be dusted, and put out to sun, on the balcony railings. To be fair, her sweeping was ok, and so was her swabbing. But she came with her own perfume, an overpowering odour of sweat and dirt and whatnot, with the result that the house smelled much dirtier, even tho' it probably was cleaner. I am not exaggerating, the whiff brought Husband out in a hurry from the bedroom when she went in to swab; and this when he was lying reading the penultimate Potter book is saying the ultimate about her body odour. I certainly do NOT want her to be even around my son (and fastidious Sonny boy will not either) let alone, carry him/feed him. And btw, for someone who said your son is like my son, she didn't give a second glance at Sonny boy who had just come back from school. So that, was that!

But I found the granny quite alright, actually. The vessels were Vim clean, she didn 't have a distinct air of superiority, and did her work quietly and efficiently. Just that we found communication a bit of a problem, managing by means of smiles and nods and other gestures, her knowing only Telugu, and me knowing none.

Now am back to square one, looking for a replacement, who will do a bit of housework and look after Sonny boy like he is their charge, not like he is their son. I will do that. Hmmm.... Life is not easy, folks.

Friday, July 20, 2007


Hm... now this is going to be a difficult post. To write about the people/things that make me judgemental
Have always thought myself to be a broadminded, tolerant person. To put it very frankly, I think that is a nicer way to put it rather than calling myself a doormat.

Am not diffident about taking a stand, but am one who is ever willing to see the other person's view, rather than sticking to my own. Isn't that better than being called a fence sitter, who is too lazy to take sides. If I ever came to form part of a jury, I should forever be vacillating between the accused and the victim, once given both their versions.

But, all that aside, I certainly do have my strong opinions and am definitely judgemental on a few things. Just that I had hidden them away in a deep, dark corner.... But then have been tagged to reveal just that. So here goes... I am judgemental about

1. Persons who think they have a better deal in life- could be their home, could be job, could be marriage, could be kid, anything- and then keep advising the other people to move up in life. This is especially true for relatives. These types get on my NERVES. And sometimes, they're so totally deluded by their own lifestyle, they fail to grasp that someone could actually be happier otherwise.

2. Ok, so some people do not like dogs. That is ok with tolerant me. But looking askance, and commenting on other people who do... I dislike such people too. Especially if they are the type who are ok with other animals, like cat, bird, cow etc. Live and let live, people!

3. I loathe loud people, who raise a hue and cry over every silly thing, and then expect others to do it too. And who then proceed to look down upon their abilities if the others do not.

4. I look down on people who take their language, accent, (Usha has put it very nicely) culture, rituals, customs to be superior.Ultimately, ashes to ashes, dust to dust, so where do they think they are headed with their superiority?

5. I was extremely judgemental in school about those goody goodys who would slog and slog and slog, and then say they hadn't studied anything! And once outside the exam hall, they said they were sure to fail. GRRR! So what did they think would happen if they admitted they had finished revising the entire portions for the umpteenth time? That others would buck up and defeat them to the coveted rank? Bah! funny how these types disappeared once in college/University.

6. I am extremely judgemental of those colleagues who sit on their fat asses, do nothing, and then rush to take /try to take credit for a difficult job well done. I have been known to get off the fence, fling the doormat and be as aggressive as it takes, when these types get my goat. But very very rarely.

7. I am extremely judgemental of people who cannot do anything for themselves in life, but look to others to get it done for them. Worse, people who come to expect it as their birthright, and try to make everybody else feel the same, or feel guilty. GRRRR!!!

8. I judge people who plonk their unwanted selves/family/kids on you, without so much as a by your leave. And then , who do nothing to help out either, but expect to be waited upon hand and foot. BAH! I would love to do the same to them, but have been brought up better.

But yeah, while most of these people do get on my nerves, it is my beloved husband who gets to bear the brunt of my nerves. He listens ( is forced to listen) to all my rants and then asks me why I'm ranting at him?! Why can't I just let go? Or better still, go and shout at the person who deserves it?

I can't always, my dear husband. Tho' I am sorry occasionally for downloading on you. But then every once in a while comes along a person like Itchy...who tags me and lets me let off steam. Leaving the husband in peace.Thanks, Itchy!

I tag: Dame's Diary, Whatsinaname, Gauri, Swati, HGMom, and anyone else who wishes to take it up. C'mon let the fumes spill forth...

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Weekends over the years were...

As a schoolkid.
Weekends were fun days.
Library days.
Bakery days.
Visiting-my-Dad's-home days. (we used to stay in my Mom's tharavad, which was a hour from my Dad's place.)
Cleaning-my-table days.
Fighting-with-my-sister days.
Emptying-all-the-tins-of-goodies-stocked-for-guests days.
Bonding-with-guests days.
Accompanying-Mom-to-temple days.

As a teenager.
Again fun days, but with a slight difference.
Library days.
Bakery days.
Tuition days.
Cleaning-my-room days.
Visiting-my-Dad's-home days.
Fighting-with-my-sister days.
Visiting-friends'-houses days.
Accompanying-Mom-to-temple days

As a hostelite, in a students' hostel.
All days were fun in the hostel, honestly. But weekends were
Loll-about-in-bed days.
Crib days (about the matron and what an ogre she was, about the professors, about hostel food...)
Wash days. (those bedsheets and jeans!)
Oil massage days.
Campus rambles days.
Movie days.
Catching-up-on-reading days.
Outing-to-town days.
Letterwriting days.

As a hostelite, in a working women's hostel.
You have to stay in both types of hostels to appreciate the difference. The former is infinitely better than the latter. Here again, weekends were
Loll-about-in-bed days.
Wash days.
Movie days.
Shopping (for nothing in particular) days.
Gossip days . (There was less in common to crib about, more idle, juicy gossip on this and that, and him and her..)
Calling/visiting- home days.
Catching-up-on-reading days.

As a married, working woman sans kid.
Fun days.
Loll in bed days.
Lazy days.
Eating out days.
Movie days.
Catching-up-on-reading days.
rent-a-movie days.
Cleaning-house days.
Visiting relatives days.

As a married, working woman with kid.
Cleaning house days.
Catching-up-on-homework days.
Household-shopping days.
Get-into-fight-with-husband days.
Spend-time-with-baby days.
Visiting relatives days.
Going-to-temple days.

I miss my lazing in bed days and my reading throughout the day days. These days, self indulgence comes at a cost. Untidy house. Baby vying for attention. Husband alternately vying for/trying to miss my attention. sigh! how the years pass...

Come on, what were/are your weekends like?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

My heart goes out to

Firdaus, Haneef and Hania.

Three people who must be going through the worst phase of their lives right now.

I am no journalist, and I have not poked into the nooks and crannies of the entire affair, so am not one to judge. But if Mohd. Haneef is actually innocent, then it is a terrible ordeal that he is being subjected to.

Imagine leaving in a hurry to see your just born. And imagine never getting there, but instead being sentenced to 23 hr solitary confinement, in a land far away from baby and wife, and other loved ones.

And all this because of his so called 'reckless' support to terrorists. If donating a SIM card is all that one needs to be guilty of, then my BIL is a terrorist!

When he came over to B'lore immediately after his studies, he too had a pre-paid sim card. Once he got into a career, he got himself a postpaid connection, but since all you need to do is to fill in money to keep the pre-paid SIM going, he gave the prepaid SIM to another needy friend. This needy friend, once out of his need, donated it to another and so the chain went, over a period of 5 years, until finally it landed up in the mobile phone of one of our close friends. Now this friend has left just recently for Dubai, and so the SIM is I-don't-know-where! I sure hope it doesn't land into the hands of some terrorist, for in that case, my BIL could also be branded as a reckless supporter of terrorism.

Unfortunately for Haneef, his SIM card was given to Sabeel/Kafeel, labelled the terrorist brothers. We can't all chose our relatives, can we? And we can't all be held responsible for what our second cousins do. Going by that logic, Firdaus asks whether Australia will round up all relatives of Kafeel...

Poor Firdaus. At a time when she should be taking rest, and enjoying the sights and smells of her new born babe, surrounded by the love of her husband and family, she is running from pillar to post for a fair trial for Haneef.
Who must be going through his own personal hell if he is innocent. It must be awful to be so near release, and home, and then to see it all taken away from you. To see no one at all, leave alone his baby.

The only suspicious thing I could find(pointed out to me by my husband) is that he had a one-way ticket to India. Didn't he mean to return to his workplace? If so, for what reasons? Innocent, ordinary ones, like being close to his wife, newborn, sister, Mom and newborn niece? Or were the reasons a little more complicated and more devious? Surely if the latter were the case, the authorities would have found more incriminating evidence by now? Other than a mere donated sim card?

I hope Firdaus gets to see the father of her baby united with her baby soon. Baby Hania. Whose name means happiness. But who couldn't have popped out at a more unhappy time, the poor baby.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Overheard this morning

This voice from behind the Bangalore Times grumbled aggrievedly.

"Its just not fair. I think we Indian men should be given a chance before these foreigners come and start kissing our Indian women."


The front page had a picture of Bipasha and Ronaldo in a liplock.

That Bips might also want a say in the matter, and that a certain John had a bigger right to grievance redressal were matters that had to be mentioned in passing by the loving wife.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Thinking blogger award.

I have been named a thinking blogger by HGMom.
And I can't tell you with what a warm feeling I went throught that post of hers.
I am truly delighted to be called a Thinking Blogger, and that too by someone no less in stature than HGMom.

Its been such a short journey for me in the blogosphere, and I've already been overwhelmed with the sheer quantity and quality of writings out here. About how each person is so unique in her treatment of various things, despite most of us having two things in common- we're women and we're mothers.
So many of you have reinforced my beliefs, made me re-think some of them, made me think, reassured me, commiserated with me, shared my worries, made me laugh my ass off, made my jaw drop in wonder, made me shake my head ruefully at my lack of parenting skills, left me awed at your energy levels, I could go on and on...

I can relate so well, to so many things that you ladies write on. All of you make me reflect on lots of little little things and lots of big big things. So, I would like to raise a toast here to all those ladies, and one lone gentleman, I have linked to in my blog, each and every special one of you.

All are equal, but some are more equal. And all are special, but some are more special. I too have those more special people, who make me ponder, long after I have read their posts, and who offer me an insight into life itself, and whom I respect and who manage to humble me each time I visit them. I dunno if I am allowed to tag those who have already been tagged, but here's my High Five


And thank you, HGMom, for the honour. Sorry to be late with this tag, but I needed to think on who made me think the most..

If you choose to pass this award on, these are the Thinking Blogger Award rules:

This award was started here.

You have to award five others whose blog you think deserve this award.

Should you choose to participate, please make sure you pass this list of rules to the blogs you are tagging.

Write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think.

Link to this post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme.

Optional: Proudly display the ‘Thinking Blogger Award’ with a link to the post that you wrote.

Please, remember to tag blogs with real merits, i.e. relative content, and above all — blogs that really get you thinking

Yet another bundle of joy...

Have been hearing of two little babies that have landed on the blogosphere- Noon, and RBdans. And now, I have one almost in my backyard. Well, it would be in my backyard...., if my flat was a house....., with land around....., like in Kerala.

But as of now, this is in the flat right adjacent, and our kitchens have our utility areas facing each other. And the flats are so close, that I can reach out my hands and accept goodies from my neighbour and vice versa. She is also a young mother, like me, and since she moved in during the time when I was still a SAHM, we'd formed a bond of sorts. And this lady has given birth to a bonny baby boy, on Fri.

Today, she espied me when I was loading the washing machine, and said from her kitchen with a bright smile- Hey, I delivered my baby!
And the next sec, we were both laughing through the grills, at each other. Talk about monkeys in the zoo!

I was really pleased for her, for I knew she had been a wee bit worried about the birth, inspite of it being her second, as she had had some problems with her pregnancy. She was a little disappointed with the sex, for the first one was a boy- he's two yrs old- and she'd wanted a girl second time around. We chatted a bit, then her Mom came to shoo her back to bed.

And I went back to get ready for work, with a smile still on my face, thinking of her. Of when she'd proved how caring a neighbour she was...

We had been having a puja in our home- a Ganapathy Homam and a Bhagavathy Seva. For those who do not know, this is a puja done basically to get rid of all obstacles and usher in prosperity. For the homam, a lot of smoke ensues, when you pour the offerings on the fire. Well that particular time the fumes were particularly dense, and started issuing out of all possible vents.
The priest was chanting the mantras in the loud, typically nasal tones, and also had his bell ringing, so that we didn't hear it initially. Then we couldn't miss it- It was my name- being screamed madly, frantically, by my dear neighbour, with utter panic in her voice. She seemed to be going beserk from the sound of her. I rushed out, thinking something must've happened to her son, and saw that her face was pale with fear, fright, worry...

"What happened? What's wrong?" I yelled, in a panic too.

"Your home is on fire," she shouted, gesturing frantically towards my kitchen.

"What??!!" And I looked back.

Because the kitchen doors are the ones to get the maximum airflow, we had kept them open, and the smoke was pouring out of it in great volumes, and kept pouring, densely, as the fire consumed more and more of the ghee and other offerings...

And this poor lady probably had thought that I and my son were being roasted alive. And she was yelling for all she was worth for us to get out. She was a muslim, and had absolutely no clue as to the mad things we hindus sometimes get up to. Filling our houses with smoke indeed!

I explained matters, and she gave me a look that spoke volumes. Indeed I cannot express in words, all that her look conveyed to me that day!
But it certainly conveyed that she was a caring, concerned neighbour.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

maid hunting...

The hunt is on! And in this one instance, the excitement of the chase is just not there. All the hunters would much rather the perfect quarry just fell into their laps.

I'd written earlier about my gem of a maid, Muruga. who was quitting to get married. She quit, but managed to get me a replacement- her sister's MIL- Muniyamma.. After the first week, I had made up my mind- the lady was ok in housework, but was hopeless at looking after Sonny boy. And I was more bothered about the latter than the former. But till I had ample reason to shift, I was happy to sail along, not rocking the boat...

And then the bubble of discontent blew bigger and bigger and AMPLE.

1. She would just not make the effort to get him to do the stuff he should- eat his food, drink his milk, wash him...
-Which did not go toward giving me any ease of mind.

2. If she let him go to neighbouring houses to play, she tended to forget that he was her responsibility, and would calmly sit on the staircase outside both houses, waiting for the maid in that house to get tired of looking after three charges- her two and another.
-Which made me irritable, since I have always believed in not plonking my kid on to others and vice versa.

3. She would take him down to play like the other mothers/maids, but would not run after him like them. She expected Sonny boy to follow the herd mentality and go with the herd. Unfortunately, Sonny boy was not a follow-the-leader person. He was a let's-experiment-till-caught person.
-Which made me paranoid that one day I would come back to find Sonny boy hurt in some accident or the other.

4. She was not really bothered about that extra bit of cleanliness, so that when I came home in the evening, Sonny boy would sometimes be in the same set of clothes he had worn to school. I started laying out the clothes he was to change into, but I was never sure if he changed into them after having had his hands/legs and face washed.
-Which also made me wonder if she washed his mouth after each meal ...

5. Soon for every slight I caught her out on, her excuse would be that Sonny boy didn't listen/allow her to do whatever... Lady, you are a 6o- year old grandmother, and he is a 3-year old kid, surely you can reason with him, and admonish him to do whatever is absolutely required?
- Which made me get irritated with her excuses, and look out for things to catch her out on...

6. The ultimate was when Muruga, my earlier maid returned. Her wedding had been cancelled, the guy was a fraud.(that's material for another post) So she would really like to return, but Muniyamma was her sister's MIL, so domestic problems were sure to crop up. Already were, for the MIL was refusing to speak to her, or acknowledge her presence. This could be because Muniyamma saw in her a threat, to her income of easily treble of what she used to be earning.
For someone who used to be so full of talk about how the wedding had got cancelled, and how the sister was responsible, and how Muruga was a paavam, Muniyamma said not a word about her return. And there was I , longing to get Muruga back, but not knowing how, for I didn't want to throw the old lady out... and even if I did, Muruga might not come, for fear of causing problems for her sister.

The bubble ballooned, and the irritation spread to issues other than Sonny boy, which hadn't really mattered much to me till then- issues on housekeeping, cleaning, gossipping, etc etc. Small things to which I would have blindly shut my eye earlier, but which now began to add salt to the wounds.

Clothes were dumped onto the spare bed and not immediately folded. They lay there crumpled, for more than a day. Which led to the room having an unkempt look.

Sonny boy's toys were never put away, and the house was never, ever spic and span- as much as could be maintained with a toddler inhabitant.

In case I forgot to tell her to prepare the ingredients for dinner, she never reminded me about it when I called her in the afternoon to check on Sonny boy. I would have to come back tired in the evening, and prepare everything from scratch, with no time to spare for Sonny boy who would cling...

She was never able to tell me exactly anything with respect to Sonny boy- when the school van came to drop him back, how many kids were there in the van, how he got that bruise on his arm/leg..

One day when I called her to check if Sonny boy had eaten his lunch, she told me that Sonny boy had fallen down while climbing the stairs, and cut his lip and that he had cried at all the blood, and had not eaten and was sleeping. I panicked, called the husband, and got him to go home and check, as I absolutely couldn't take off from work. He rushed home and reported back that it was OK, Sonny boy had only cut his lip. Apparently the lift was being repaired, and Sonny boy and she were climbing up the stairs and Sonny boy fell and cut his lip on the steps/railing... I yelled at her that day, that she was to be more careful with Sonny boy, that that was what I was paying her for, not to do housework!

I think the balloon finally became more ample than I could bear, when I called two days consecutively and she didn't pick up the phone in the afternoon. I was darn worried, and came home early from office the first day, only to be told that she had been in the house and hadn't heard the phone ringing. Now Sonny boy has these times when he picks up the phone to chat to his Ammamma, and does not put it back on the hook. So I thought it must be that and let it go. But that evening, when I checked, the phone was ok.The next day again, I call and nobody picks up. Evening I ask and she tells me she was washing clothes. And that she hadn't heard the phone owing to the running tap.

That was when I knew that she was telling lies. For the madam always washed clothes in the morning itself, while I ran about my kitchen chores. Which used to irritate me no end, for I used to always wonder why she could not help me in the kitchen then and do the washing later, after we had all left, and she was alone in the house. So she was lying but why? What had she been doing that she had to lie about it? And what was Sonny boy doing in the meantime?

I was extremely pissed. But she was an old lady, and I had no solid proof that she was lying. And my dear Sonny boy was no help either.
And then by chance, the next morning I was looking for the remains of some puttu I had made for breakfast the previous morning, and it was not to be found. There had been enough for a solid meal for two, not so little that it could have been thrown away. So I asked her if she had taken it/kept it anywhere else.. and she said no.. and then when I persisted in searching for it (normally I give up and cook something else) told me that she had given it to Sonny boy.
This made me sit up and take notice, for I do not encourage Sonny boy to be fed leftover food. Not by her, for I was not sure that she would warm the food appropriately.
Nor was Sonny boy so fond of puttu that he would eat it in the evening.

"Sonny boy ate puttu? When?" I asked her.
"In the evening."

"But last evening, I came home early, I was here before Sonny boy awoke. You did not even give him milk, I did. And he certainly didn't have any puttu!"

"Yyesss...Nnnooo......, I gave it to him in the afternoon". Shifty eyes.

"And in the afternoon, he had puttu and he finished all his rice too...?" For she had already told me that he had finished his lunch..
"yyyess.. "still without looking me in the eye.

I stopped enquiring, and sailed out of the kitchen. That morning, for the first time, I did not prepare any breakfast for her. We could eat from out, and I didn't care what she did. I fumed all day, and in the evening, was home earlier than usual.

I had some fresh greens with me, that I had bought. Muniyamma was getting ready to leave, but I requested her to clean the greens before she left, so that I could cook it at night. And while I was going about the preparations to light the lamp, I saw that my tulsi was flooded. The pot had been full of water the day before too, but I had thought that probably both she had watered it just before. So I asked her if she had watered the tulsi that day. She nodded her head and affirmed confidently. At which I asked her in ominous tones if she hadn't seen that the water was nearly overflowing in the pot, and had been for the last couple of days. She blustered.
I bent down and investigated, and found that the pot was full of old oil wicks and agarbatty sticks! All courtesy dear Muniyamma, of course.

I lost it. We had dustbins in almost every room and she had to dump stuff in my Tulsi pot, of all places? I silently cleaned the pot, sifting out all the rubbish. And then muttered aloud that everything she did had some fault or the other. And that I didn't know why she couldn't apply herself better to the jobs she did. She did not attempt to justify herself this time.

The next day Muniyamma was AWOL. We did not enquire into the reasons.

For now, the hunt is on for a new maid. A new companion for Sonny boy, who will also help me in the household chores. My dear bloggie friends, can any of you help me out? Do any of you know of any good maids or agencies that supply babysitters-cum-workers?

Present continuous

"Ammaaaaa! Why you not getupping?"

huh? what was that again? have heard of harrumphing horses, but getupping Ammas?

Friday, July 6, 2007

Good ol' Ammamma is a-coming..!

My maid has ditched. And what is irritating is that she has left me absolutely in the lurch, the bad woman. Shall deal with a separate post on the doings, or rather, non-doings of madam Muniyamma.

But now I need to find a new, good, clean, responsible maid, pronto. Or I need to get Sonny boy into a daycare after his school. But no daycare near my house will keep open till the time I can probably collect him. So I need to resign my job, maybe.

OR, maybe get the Ammamma to come visiting. And take-caring, like Sonny boy would put it.

And YES!! The AMMAMMA is a-coming home! Three cheers to her!

Am off to pick her up, will be back on Mon, Ammamma in tow. Sonny boy is going to be so pleased to have his Ammamma home. And so will the Amma, for obvious reasons. And so will the Acha, for now he can continue his trysts with the loo and the newspaper in undisturbed peace.

Have a good weekend, folks!

My friends and me...and religion - Part 1

I form close friendships with time, but again, over time, we drift apart. As in, we move to different cities, countries.. in the name of our jobs, families.... However, I still have the fondest memories of most of them, never mind that we haven't seen/spoken to each other in years.

There was B- a Christian pal I had during my MA days. She was the most scatterbrained girl I have ever had for a friend. And also one of the dearest. We were quite inseparable, and when, once, we went to Guruvayoor, she accompanied us. I had no worries that her visit would sully Lord Guruvayoorappan. All of us were suitably clad, and we were chatting our way through the long queue, and had almost reached the front doors, when- horror of horrors!!! Madame B had the cross out on her chain for all to see!

We very much knew that it was forbidden for non-Hindus to enter, and were petrified that at any moment one of the temple authorities would see and haul us up , and create a scene and... God knows what! We were 5 of us, and somehow we managed to put her in the middle while the offending cross (sorry Jesus) was shoved into the interiors of her clothing. Whew! Phew! Our beating hearts calmed down, and we proceeded inside, offered our prayers to Lord Guruvayoorappan and came out. Once outside, the tension seeped out, and we rolled on the floor with relieved laughter, literally.

Then there was the time, when on an early moring excursion, we bumped into a beautiful relic of a temple, with fish in the temple pond and a rambling rose growing in the midst of the Tulsi inside the temple courtyard...We went inside and since it was the morning hour the temple priest was doing the puja. He came out with the arti. Now, B knew that we anointed sandal paste on our foreheads, and put the flowers on our heads, but she had not yet gotten into the fundas of the arti, and so she just proceeded to copy us. She held her hands over the flame and took them to her forehead, and then- proceeded to make the sign of the cross!
Practice dies hard, you see.

When the father does his bit.

You know that the Acha does some serious helping-the-Amma with Sonny boy when-

1. Sonny boy wakes up 15 min late, owing to some extra kootchie kooing in bed by the lazy Acha.

2. The brush goes into Sonny boy's mouth, but the 'keetanoo' remain firmly entrenched.

3. There's nearly a quarter of milk left behind in the "finished!' glass of milk.

4. From the bathroom come sounds of sheer delight, as Sonny boy gets to splash the parent and the bathroom liberally.

5. Instead of 10 min, bath takes forever, (unlike brushing) with said sounds going on and on...

6. Sonny boy gets the Acha to change 3 sets of clothes before the irrritated Amma intervenes.

7. Sonny boy gets away with eating next to nothing for breakfast.

8. But gets 3 biscuits, 2 cakes and 1 fruit in his lunchbox.

9. The house generally resembles a market in terms of sounds- yells and squeals galore, with people running hither and thither, cluelessly...

10. Sonny boy is fitted with shoes and socks and belt, and handkerchief, but no schoolbag!

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Tagged, but waiting...

Hiphop Grandmom tagged me as one of the bloggers that make her think. I have to in turn write about 5 others, who make me think.

All the ones who do, have already been tagged. I've been wanting to find some new people, so I can mention them, but am kept too busy reading all the gals I like. That made me realise, I have only one guy on my list of favourites. And this for somebody who used to get along better with guys than gals in college! Even tho' we do write abt kids, surely there must be some more fathers too who are proud and love to contribute.

HH Gmom, I'm sorry to take so long to respond to your tag, I will write soon...

Help- Sonny boy has homework!

Last year, Sonny boy, had only a Colouring Book, in which he had to colour some 2-3 pages every week. This year, he has advanced. He has
Cursive Writing
Writing Numbers
Interactive Mathematics and
General Knowledge.

And yesterday was his first instalment of homework in the M2 classes.
Pages 1-4 of GK and Pages 1-8 of IM. Which again had to be done over the course of a week.

We sailed through the GK, which was basically colouring of the longer, shorter, taller, bigger, smaller objects. This year, I decided that unlike last year, (where he did the colouring mostly on his own with minimal moulding from me, and thus made his drawings quite uniquely different from what they were supposed to be, and earned a 'colour more neatly' remark from his teacher) I would help the little fingers grasp the pencil better, till he was able to cope more 'neatly' on his own.

And then we came to Interactive Maths. Math has been my bete noire in all my school years, (till I scored highest in class, for the first and only time, in my 9th std, under the guidance of an able, simply amazing teacher- the best I have ever had in Math) So I have been hoping that here, his genes take after his Achha who is definitely better at numbers than I am.

Well, Sonny boy had been pretty ok with his numbers, tho' there were the times when he would count, ' vun, two, fore, seben, TEN!'
And then there was the time when I taught him to count on his fingers, starting with the thumb at one, and when he kept missing six, I told him that the little finger (on the second hand) stood for six.
So now he goes ,
"one two, three, four SIX, " because
"that ish little finger, Amma. Little finger is SIX!"
Logic and his Amma certainly have their sway over Sonny boy.

So yesterday we were doing the numbers, and we finished with One and came to Two. On that page, were two beautifully coloured butterflies. So I let Sonny boy look his fill, and then I asked, "What is this, Sonny boy?" pointing at the number Two.
Pat came the reply.
Yeah, but what is this? Jabbing by the Amma at the number Two.
"Lotsh of butterflies!"

Help! I think my son takes after me in numbers!

And then, in GK, we were at tall and short, where the pictures were of a tall cone icecream and a short and squat cup of icecream.
"What is this?" Pointing at the cone.
"Good. What is this?" Pointing at the cup.

Monday, July 2, 2007

once more

What is with the world these days?

First little Piyush and now little Ahan.
A 6 yr young little boy.
Who fell down from a gap between the railings and the elevator, from the 4th floor, of a mall in Bangalore. Last evening.
He fell hitting his head, and was declared brain dead on arrival at the hospital.

The family were at the mall for a happy Sunday outing. The mother was near the little boy, near the escalator. When suddenly he slipped and fell.
From a laughing, mischievous little boy, hovering about the escalator, to a cold, lifeless body laid on a hospital bed- all in the space of just 2 hours.

How can that mother bear it? If only she had been able to grasp hold of her son's leg, arm, anything... as he went over..If only she had held on to her son's hand... What must be the thoughts going madly through her mind? And through the father's?

It is so scaring and shocking. Garuda Mall is a mall we go to pretty frequently, and Sonny boy like any other kid, is mad about the escalators. It could so easily have been him instead of that little boy... God!

I still haven't been able to comprehend how the accident happened- for I can't remember any such gap between the railings and the escalator. All the railings had glass covers. So how did that little boy fall? The next time I go there, I will look at all the railings near the escalator. Morbid tho' it seems, I do have to know how he fell. So that I can take precautions with Sonny boy.

God be with those poor parents, and help them come to terms with their loss. I wonder if they have any other children. Ahan is, no was, a student of Vidya Shilp School. Those teachers will miss that bright enthusiastic face in class. God keep his little soul.

I can't help comparing the two deaths- of Piyush and Ahan.
I wonder which was the better/worse death? To go out like a light- happy one moment, lifeless the next, or to painfully fight months, weeks, days, hours, for a life that is slipping away every second? I would say that the former was a better way to go for the child, but for the parents, and others left behind, either way leaves only painful memories ... especially when all the memories you have are cute, lovable, endearing ones. Of a child just starting out on the threshold of life... Very very sad.