Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Happy Happy!

Jan 26th 2009. India celebrated its 60th Republic Day, and-

Me n my other half celebrated our 9th Wedding Anniversary.

9 years of marriage! After 8 years of knowing each other, out of which we courted for 6 years. A total of 16 years that we've been seeing each other around!!

and all I can say, my dear husband, is that we continue to see each other around, for many years more...

That disagreements, spats and fights notwithstanding, the something that bound us together in the first place still continues to hold supreme sway through all the ups and downs. God bless.

One delightful thing about this anniversary was that it was the first time Sonny boy wished us happy 'anniserversary'. A big mouthful, but he got it out in one shot. He got to know about it from my Mom who called, and he wished me first and then when told that it was Acha's happy anniversary too, he wished the Acha too, altho' i could make out he was puzzled at this couple happy thing. So far he only knew of Happy Birthdays and there was only ONE B'day boy or girl.

The Acha bought me a pair of lovely diamond ear studs. And he gets the plasma tv he's been nagging me for months to buy. We aren't all THAT lovey-dovey- he had to be asked to buy me the studs and I had to be conned into getting him the plasma tv.
But anyway, happy anniversary to us!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Choices, choices...!

Have been searching long and far and wide for a person who would stay with Sonny boy while I brought in the jam. But for nearly a year, had not met with any success of the lasting kind.

My Mom while she is wayyyyy better than me at looking after Sonny boy can't stay for more than 2 months, before the heart begins to pine for the coconut trees, and the shouting-at-the-cat-who-comes-to-steal-the-fish, and the friendly neighbourhood gossip, so poor Sonny boy has to settle for second best!

We got someone from Kerala to stay with us for a short while. This was someone whose elder sister used to look after a friend's kids, and the elder sister was exemplary, but the younger one was far from it. While she was here, Sonny boy learnt to go pssst! pssst! at young gentlemen from the kitchen balcony and duck out of view! After one afternoon when I came home without prior notice to find the flat locked, and her near the Security Guards' cabin at a time when everybody was having their siesta (Sonny boy was to be fast asleep too, instead of which he was out in the burning sun), I put a stop to her caretaking before she brought a whole lot of unwanted cares to me.

Subsequently Sonny boy was put into the day care centre which functioned within our flat complex. And while this was ideal from the security and convenience for school-bus-drop point of view, the daycare ladies were firm in their stand that they would not stay beyond 6, max. 6.30. We managed for a couple of months, before they shifted the time to 5.30 , when there was that cold wave in Chennai and it started getting dark and gloomy by 4. Time to bid goodbye to the daycare too.

Then there was another girl whose parents told us to treat her like my daughter, and insisted that she kept house for them and looked after all the neighbouring kids too and was a total gem. She was a young girl (the parents assured us that she was 17)and Sonny boy took to her at once. The parents left, and the girl developed a fever the same evening. When the parents were informed, they told us to ignore it and that it would wear off in a couple of days. Turned out the poor girl was homesick. The fever got better, but the next day when she called home, her parents refused to take the call. She thought we were also ganging up against her and said she would go on her own to her house. The husband still has nightmares of her going off and later having the police come knocking..... To cut a long story short, we got a friend of the parents to escort her back safely. Phew!

I was at my wits' end as to what to do, when like manna from heaven descended Sonny boy's present care-mate. She was the cousin of one of the maids in the complex, and had been working in a garment factory before. So age no bar, definitely.
She was young, she was clean, she helped me in the kitchen, she did housework well too and she was cheerful. All well. I really like her, honestly. But.

Comes the fly. In the ointment.

She stays with us .
I HATE the idea of having someone underfoot ALL the time, in a flat. As of now, we can't afford to stay in a flat with a servant's room and all that. We have 3 bedrooms, out of which one has no wardrobe and so is a misc. room..
And our present house has been designed by a NITWIT who has not put a single lock on ANY of the wardrobes. So when we go off, I can either lock the bedrooms and leave her the use of just the kitchen and the guest/pooja/computer room. Which wouldn't leave any bed for Sonny boy to sleep in the afternoon, there being just a diwan in the guest room. Or I can leave the entire house and wardrobes open to her. Well, beggars can't be choosers, so that is what I do currently. So far she has not proved herself untrustworthy. Touchwood, touchforest!

But there are so many issues, all related to this staying-at-home bit. She has not been a housemaid before, neither have I had one before, With the result that a few all-important ground rules were left undeclared.

I gave her a toilet soap, washing soap and toothpaste for her use. I expected that she would have brought her toothbrush. Turns out that she hasn't and wants me to buy one for her. Ok, not a big issue at all. I also bought her a bottle of Parachute when buying the toothbrush.
Madam asked me if I should buy her shampoo also?! I told her that I had some spare bottles that she could use for the time being (hotel samples)and that she could buy one later. I do NOT think that I am supposed to buy shampoo for my maid, or am I, people? If she wants one, she can jolly well buy it from her salary.
Ditto for sanitary napkins. Madam can buy whatever brand she likes for herself. Not ask me for my stock!
The I find by chance that Madam has been happily using my comb. ewwwww! Now she is a pretty clean person and all that, but I barely put up with even my husband using MY comb. My comb is MINE. To be used only by ME. and hello, what happened to the comb she would hve been using before she came to work in my house? Didn't she think to pack that when packing her clothes, huh?

This is why I hate to have somebody staying full time. There are so many things where the line has to be drawn very intangibly. Like she can look after my son when I am not there, but when I AM there, I do NOT want her butting in or adding her two bits or scolding Sonny boy. I am also old fashioned in that I do NOT want her raising her voice when I am there, or hanging around in the living room/dining room. I do not expect her to be in the kitchen full time, but she does have a room of her own- said guest/pooja/computer room, she can go there and relax.

Coming to the computer room, we have a computer unit, that had a couple of shelves partly empty as I hadn't unpacked all of Sonny boy's toys/books which is what had been stored there. One day, when searching for something, I open the lower shelf, only to have a heap of clothes tumbling out. Madam was using it as her shelf!! I got damn pissed at this especially since she started using it without a by-your-leave from me. I however didn't want to create an issue, so I am letting that lie, till the day I springclean, and then her things can go wherever. What bugs me is that she didn't even ask me if she could.. Not that I would have allowed her if she'd asked me, but I would have gottne her an extra suitcase or something..

But the limit was when, one Sunday, we were supposed to go out for lunch, so I told her to get dressed by lunchtime as we had to go. I was preparing breakfast and she was cleaning the house, after cleaning she asked me if she could have her bath first. She had already cut me all the reqd veggies, so I said Yes, and then I got busy. I did not notice when she came out, but after some time the smell of agarbathy wafted thru the house... and there she was lighting the lamp! I the lady of the house was in the kitchen, and she the maid had had her bath and was lighting the lamp. Can you believe that??! I saw RED, but I kept my cool as I didn't want to shout at her while she was praying. I went and had my bath, and then I took all the pooja items to wash, in front of her. And I told her very politely, that she wasn't ever to light the lamp, even if I wasn't at home, or even on my off days. I told her that she was welcome to go and pray, I had no issues with her going and praying in front and all that, but that I didn't want her doing anything else. And then as usual, I went and lit the lamp.

And I wondered, what all was I supposed to lay out in black and white regarding what she was supposed to do and what not? What I wanted her help for and what I didn't? What she was supposed to provide for herself and what I would provide?

Once the irritations have started, they come in a stream. This post is to let off some steam, but at the same time to remember what really matters. That Sonny boy is looked after pretty well while we are at work. Maybe what was required is a Rule Book like we used to get at hostels. Dos and Don'ts. Sigh!
I hope she stays long enough despite our differences. Amen.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

advertising and a sponge

Yesterday was a holiday, thanks to Pongal/Sankranti.

We went out for the day- shopped till we dropped at Lifestyle- Sonny boy literally- (3 shirts for l'homme, 2 pairs of sandals for moi, 1 Build-a-Thomas for you-know-who) and then when our wallets were much lighter and us heavier (after a not-as-great-as-expected Sankranti Special Non-veg Thali at Nandhana, we headed back home and watched a movie- Blind Date on Zee Studio.

The movie was nice, and was liberally interspersed with BBC World Trust's Condom ad. Both the hubby and myself find the ad cute and totally sensible. And yesterday after watching the cute puppy in the ad for the umpteenth time. Hubby said,
"you know, what if I got a dog and named him Condom and yelled out to you in public,
""JLTEEEEEE! Have you seen Condom anywhere? I need him NOW, help me, please!""

And he looked at me, grinning.
Gave the Hubby a look that spoke volumes but later dissolved into laughter at the thought of our neighbours' faces!

Sonny boy was a witness to all this tomfoolery and later still, while having dinner, he went "Condom! Condom!" and sneaked a look at both of us for approval.
Both of us maintained an steadfast silence and went on eating.
"Nice puppy, no Ammma?"

Sigh! It was to be expected. Sonny boy is a big fan of ads. And he likes dogs. But I do wish he'd take any other name. SIGH!
Good ad, BBC.

Haven't posted any links for the ad, sorry

Monday, January 12, 2009


Sonny boy's best friend's Dad is taking Sonny boy's best friend out of their school. Because he does not have a job anymore. He was not laid off, he quit owing to issues with his boss.

We met him at school where he had come to take the TC. The school was full of parents who had come for their children's admissions. We ourselves had gone for our nephew's admissions. And he had come to take his son out.

We were good friends and knew that he'd quit his job, so when we saw him we went up to him with smiling faces to say Hi. Which was when he told us he'd come to get his son's TC. I don't know which of us felt worse.

Life takes such difficult turns sometimes.

Sonny boy's best friend, I hope and pray your Nana gets a good job sooooon, my dear.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

He's a growing, he is....

I was a smart mother, I was. But Sonny boy is getting to be too smart for me, sigh!

You may remember that Sonny boy HAS to have a story read to him before he will/can go to sleep. It is left to the Amma to tell said story after she supervises his homework, supervises dinner, DICTATES dining by Sonny boy and then supervises shutting-the-kitchen. This after a hard/maybe not-so-hard day at work.

The Acha would have been busy all this while supervising the different programmes on tv. Ah! Very tiring work indeed, esp when sprawled out on the sofa. So the Acha promptly goes to bed after dinner if there is no more supervision needed on tv. Needless to say, he would be lolling in bed with HIS book, while Sonny boy waits for me with HIS book (When do I get to read MY book? is a pet grievance with me).

When I do crawl into bed, Sonny boy latches on with 'story, story', and bone-tired tho' I am, I do not find it in my heart to turn him away. But I am a smart (read mean) mother. I take the book in my hands, and I start to read, and I turn MULTIPLE pages, keeping to the gist of the story.
For eg, the story is about about a little farm boy who is searching for a name for his pet pussy cat and who goes around taking suggestions from his folks, and the horse, sheep, cow, hen, dog, pig, duck, fish etc etc as to what he should name her. With a page and a few lines devoted to each person/animal, it would normally take about 5 minutes to read thru the entire thing animatedly. (No compromises on the animation, no matter how tired I am, I intend Sonny boy to enjoy his books.) But when turning pages, if you turn two pages together, hey presto! you get rid of two animals and can end the story in 2 minutes. Which, once I knew I could get away with it, I did regularly. With Sonny boy being none the wiser for it. Till last week.

After the granddad, I skipped the horse and the cow to the pig, when up piped an alert voice from my shoulder,
"Amma, you forgot the horse."
"Horse? What horse? There's no horse, the little boy's asking the pig."

And I firmly went on to the pig. And went on reading.
"No Amma, there is a horse."

A little finger comes up and turns back the pages till he comes to the horse.
"There! See? You forgot the horse?" and he beamed at me in the innocent delight of having helped me 'find' the missing page.
"Ooooh! There was a horse...! I didn't see him, Sonny boy..." and I beamed back in fake delight.

A minute later, I skipped the pig and the hen to the duck.
"Amma, you forgot the pig,now."
"Pig? I did...?

Up came the finger immediately.
"Ah, I see!"

I see, my little Sonny boy, that gone are the days of little deceptions like these. Don't grow up too soon, my son, my darling son.

Friday, January 2, 2009


Wish you all a very happy new year, peoples! a year that you can look back on fondly and tell your grandchildren, "2009 was a good year, you know....'

The first working day of the new year 2009, and I have no resolutions whatsoever, except
- give up a few of my cards.
I end up paying at least 2000 bucks as late fee/interest, almost on a monthly basis across the 5 cards I have. The husband tells me he will change his name if I can prove that I have spent a paisa less than 10K on credit card charges.
10K! Is he mad or what? My hard earned money! So many other things to spend on, so many other worthwhile causes to donate to, if I'm going to end up just giving my money away.. At least I would feel good about it rather than aggrieved. And there would be less of finger pointing in chez JLT. So to maintain cordial marital relations, I plan to give up at least 2 of my cards.
That will leave me with just two dates I have to be paranoid about remembering, and less reasons for the husband to pile on me. Not that he needs a reason. Gah!

Is it something wrong with me, or am I right in thinking some people totally obnoxious?
There is this girl I meet regularly in office, at the loo. She has till date never exchanged a Hi (even a perfunctory one) but has asked me at various times for
cold cream,
safety pins,
sanitary napkins!!....
Today was heights! Its the first working day of the year, and you would think she could at least wish me a happy new year in return? You think wrong.
Mademoiselle was standing squarely in front of the mirror,looking at her nails and then she asks me- do you have a nail file or something?
What does she think I come to office for? To file my nails? Or maybe she thinks I'm a mobile beauty parlour. If I looked the part, I could excuse that thinking, but a bit of neutrally shaded lipstick is my sole claim to glamour.While she comes to office totally made up. Gah! These glamourpusses get on my nerves, I say! Or am I just getting older?

I haven't made any new year resolutions, but I sincerely hope all of my clients have made at least one. To give me business and plenty of business and at regular intervals, at that. Especially in these times, borrowing from Sonny boy's vocabulary,
I have LILLOMETERS to go
before I achieve my targets.

I thought I'd left those days behind me, but it seems I've not... The husband has been nagging me for at least a year now, but yesterday finally , after trying on a pair of trousers in the trial room I think maaaaaaybe I better start taking more care of my body and start trimming my not-so-little sign of prosperity. The trousers I tried on just. wouldn't. zip. up. No matter however much I held my tummy in/stopped breathing..... Gah!
One good by-product would be - the husband and I can stop sharing jeans. I do NOT wear his, he sneaks into mine when I'm not looking and goes off to the ATM or to drop Sonny boy to the school bus- with the button unbuttoned! Its too tight for him to button it, you see.

And on a related note, WHERE are those jeans/trousers that one could wear without showing one's panties? I'm SICK of finding only low waisted trousers wherever you go. One can't bend or stretch without the underpants showing. Gah! and this is all the more so when one has a trim waist and rather full hips. Ok, ok, a pear shaped body, if you insist. Seriously, why do almost all the trousers have to be in that slinky material? And are there really that many size 26's in adult women? If not, could the 26's and 28's be relegated to the kids' section and the women's section have more of 30 and 32 and 34 and...

Looking back, Gah! seems to be my favourite word in this post.....