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.