Monday, November 30, 2009

to-do-when-you're-bored tag

1.What is your current obsession ?

2. What are you wearing today?
Red and black kurta pyjama.

3. What’s for dinner?
Rice, sambar, cabbage+carrot varavu, papad, pickle, curd, water,.. ;-) fruit.

4. What’s the last thing you bought?
Books from Blossom

5. What are you listening to right now?
A colleague talking to a client,out in the corridor, the sound of traffic streaking thru Bannerghatta MAin Road- (not nice!)

6. What do you think about the person who tagged you?
Just started reading her today, found this tag interesting

7. If you could have a house totally paid for, fully furnished anywhere in the world, where would you like it to be?
Right now, here in B'lore, near Sonny boy's school! Can move in from the rented house we currently stay in and maybe sell off our old flat.

8. What are your must-have pieces for summer?
LOL! Anything, really

9. If you could go anywhere in the world for the next hour, where would you go?
If its paid for, a cruise around the Bahamas. Just read about it in a book yesterday.

10. Which language do you want to learn?

11. What’s your favourite quote?
When you have an elephant by the hind leg and he wants to run, it is best to let him run. Abe Lincoln.

12. Who do you want to meet right now?
My dog at Kerala. Apparently she has a real bad wound on her leg and I haven't seen it and nobody loves there loves her like I do. Awww, baby, get well soon!

13. What is your favourite colour?
For now, blue.

14. What is your favourite piece of clothing in your own closet?
Nothing comes to mind! Time for me to buy one?

15. What is your dream job?
Right now, one that leaves me with enough time to be a good mother to my son. Sigh!

16. What’s your favourite magazine?
Stardust. Tho' I only read it from the beauty parlour.

17. If you had $100 now, what would you spend it on?
Books and chocolates.

18. What do you consider a fashion faux pas?
People wearing the 'IN' things and looking very 'OUT' indeed!

19. Who according to you is the most over-rated style icon?
I'm not a big follower of the icons, especially on style.

20. What kind of haircut do you prefer?
Sigh again! Nothing can make my hair look good, so I just let it behave as it wants!

21. What are you going to do after this?
Lunch, 2 client meetings and then HOME!

22. What are your favourite movies?
Sound of Music. Rachana- Malayalam (one of these days I'll post the story), Ice Age Part 1, Mausam (saw it as a girl, want to see it again now), Mouna Ragam (I LOVE this movie), Madanolsavam.

23. What are three cosmetic/makeup/perfume products that you can't live without?
My deo, lipgel, and my bindi

24. What inspires you ?
Graciousness. Animals

25. Give us three styling tips that always work for you:
a cheerful smile!

26. What do you do when you “have nothing to wear” (even though your closet’s packed)?
Treat it as inspiration to shop!

27. Coffee or tea?

28. What do you do when you are feeling low or terribly depressed?
Curl up into myself and brood, for as long as I have the luxury. Eat chocolate.

29. What is the meaning of your name?
Sigh! My Dad named me with much love to rhyme after my sister. LOL! ANd rhymes are not made to mean or reason!

30. Which other blogs do you love visiting?
Plenty of 'em.

31. Favorite Dessert/Sweet?
ice cream/chocolate/caramel pudding

32. Favorite Season ?
Monsoon. in Kerala.

33. If I come to your house now, what would u cook for me?
Am in office! You could cook something for me tho', to welcome me when I get back.

34. What is the right way to avoid people who purposefully hurt you?
Avoid them, period! If it can be managed.

35. What are you afraid of the most?

36. My Question: Is it possible to be in love with two persons simultaneously??
In-love love- No. Not for me. Being in love with ONE person was taxing enough!

Feel free to copy past the tag.

Friday, November 27, 2009


The more I try to get out of answering questions and save on time, the more I am made to wish that I had answered the question in the first place.

Sonny boy: Amma, do you know why/how/what .......?
A harried Amma: No.

Sonny boy: Amma you don't know how/why/what....?
Amma: I DON'T know, Sonny boy.

Sonny boy: I know, Amma. I will tell you...
And he goes on to earnestly make up the most ridiculous stories about why/how/what....
He ends in all seriousness, Amma, now you know why/how/what..?

I'm torn between feeling ashamed of myself for not being patient enough to answer all his questions and wanting to laugh out loud at the wondrous nonsense he churns out.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

o the pain!

thankfully the apples and oranges survived
but not so the pumpkins and strawberries
they just rotted and wasted away.

3 days of neglect was not to be borne...

alas! Facebook games are banned in office!
Boo! Hoo! Hoo!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

happy sad

The whole of last week, you could trip over people in our house!

My Mom's of course been with us the last month.
Along came last week, her brother's younger daughter
and her brother's MIL who happens to be her old classmate and movie mate and library mate.
That the two had a BALL does not need to be said, does it?

Also came my sis, and her son.
And of course, there were the 3 of us.

On the weekend, we crammed all 8 of us into our car(!!!!) and took off to Innovative Film City. (I lived and as you can read, am telling the tale.)

The Ripley exhibits were awesome, and that bridge thingie with psychedelic lights spinning all round made our heads swim too. I took Sonny boy on it just for the fun of it, and he started swaying from when he put his feet on the bridge. LOL!
My sister insisted on reading every single thing and we kidded her that if she'd done this when she was studying, she'd have gotten State rank or something.

The Tussaud exhibit was a total let-down after Ripleys.
Apparently, someone stole Gandhiji's trademark specs! He didn't at all look like Gandhi without 'em and neither did plenty of others. Was good fun though, the highlights being that Sonny boy went peeping under Marilyn Monroe's flying skirt to see puppy shame.
All of us laughed to see his abashed face.
Only to collapse laughing a minute later.
Cos he insisted on lifting Ammamma's sari to show us the skirt she had on underneath and tell us that that was what Marilyn had on underneath. LOL It was almost a replica of the Monroe act, with Ammamma holding down her sari with both hands!
The Ammamma was scandalised, and thanked her stars that we being 8 of us, were the only group around at the time.

And in the mirror maze, we kept bumping into our and each other's reflections and had a hilarious time laughing all the times we came back round to the SAME place! We finally had to resort to help from the guys to get out of the place.

The 4D movie was awesome too, except for the scurrying mice. Ewwwwwwwww!
Don't get discouraged, folks, the place was clean and well maintained, the rats were just the 4D effect.

It was an afternoon well spent, even though we had to dish out 4000 bucks for tickets alone for all of us.

Reached back home by 9.

And 2 days later all of them are gone.

My home now knows what the fair ground feels like when the fair's moved on.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

a known 'celebrity'?

This morning I was taken some many years back - to my college days. My undergraduate days- when elections were round the corner.

And there were all those candidates, for all those parties... there were of course, the ubiquitous KSU and SFI, also the ABVP and the famous/much laughed at ECEC. (Election Committee for Efficient Candidates) While the KSU and SFI campaigned hard for every single vote, the ECEC would while the time away under the ECEC tree, and generally have a rollicking time making fun of everybody who dared pass within hearing distance.

Voting day dawned with all of us getting beseiged from the time we alighted from the bus, till we reached our respective classes.The various candidates would smile winningly, and their supporters would entreat us once again to not forget them. Slips of all parties would be thrust into our hands. But everyone knew that the main parties contending, and the main rivals, were KSU and SFI.

I can remember at least one thrilling occasion in which KSU and SFI locked horns with each other and there was a NASTY fight on campus, with knives drawn and local goondas gate crashing and finally the police being called in... Freshly out from convent school, we were awed and delighted at the ruckus. I can still hear the collective 'ooooooh ' that went up when we saw the glint of sunlight on the knife from our vantage safe viewing point upstairs, from outside the lab...

AP Abdullakutty was one of those standing for election in those days. For the SFI. He was in the Arts section while I was in the Science section. So we didn't see too much of each other, or get to know each other well. I don't remember if he won that election, I think he did, but what I do remember is that he was a well liked boy, even by those who didn't like the party he stood for. Always polite and smiling, dressed even then in a white mundu and shirt.

Some years down the line, he won the State elections from the LDF. I was working in B'lore by then and one day when I was going home by bus, he happened to be in the same bus. Wearing his trademark white mundu and shirt. We remembered each other with delight and exchanged some small talk before the lights went off and the bus got going. The husband who was with me was delighted at the encounter and used to make fun of my 'high connections'.

Some more years down the line, I heard with regret that he was expelled from the party. The husband who reads about 5 newspapers and watches about 20 news channels gave me the news. I do not know the whys and wherefores of his dismissal...

Life went on, with all its little ups and downs and I forgot all about Abdullakutty. Until today, when I found that Abdullakkuty was contesting the Elections in Kannur. I was zapped to hear that he'd moved from LDF to the UDF! The Ammamma who was here with us was keenly following the progress in her 'naadu' on TV and the husband as usual was glued to the news.
And since it was good ol' Abdullakutty, I too stopped in my tracks.
Only to cheer when I heard that he had a lead of close to eleven thousand.

He's won the elections with a lead of over 12000 votes, I heard.
Way to go, Abdullakutty! Good luck to you!

Seeing his photo, I was reminded of one day long back, when on the rocks in front of the Economics wing, a young boy smilingly asked a group of girls for their votes. To think that one day he would go on to win the elections of his State!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Ganga flowing on....

D wrote a post on child labour, which reminded me of the one time I employed someone I was sure was a minor, despite parental affirmations to the contrary.

My current-at-the-time maid who was moving to her hometown had brought her as a replacement, and the only reason I didn't send her off rightaway was that I was pregnant and throwing up 24/7.

Just putting down a post I had writen elsewhere on Ganga, in 2006

This weekend, while rolling out chappatties, I was idly reading an article on the newspaper I had laid out to spread the chappatties on... It was on child labour- or the necessities of doing away with child labour.

I am all support for the abolishment of child labour. Every child has the right to his/her childhood- a time all of us look back upon with such nostalgia. But will the government by abolishing child labour, ensure that the child gets to spend its formative years happily, peacefully, usefully? Without falling into the clutches of unscrupulous people, without getting abused, without suffering the pangs of hunger? Will it ensure that the child doesn't see its siblings crying for food, its parents worried over where the money for the next mouthfull , the next instalment of rent will come from? Will it ensure that he/she has a roof above his/her head?
I think not.

However I do not know what the solution is, unless it is one that is too Utopian. Where every child lives as the apple of its parents' eyes. And parents who are not living below poverty line.

The article also led me to wonder about Ganga, a delightful child who had come to help me out in my household chores about 2 years back. We had moved into our new flat, and as is the headache whenever you move into a new place, were on the lookout for a maid. There were still 2 more flats being constructed in the vicinity and there was no dearth of women volunteering as maids.I was quite satisfied with the one I got, but about 6 months into the job, she had to go back to her native place She came to me with a replacement- a girl who would have been hardly few feet above my waist. I was horrified, so was my husband. But the good woman insisted that she- Ganga- did all the housework in her house -sweeping, washing vessels, clothes etc and was a good worker and was older than she looked. When I still refused, Ganga spoke up. She pleaded with me to let her work in my house as her family needed the money and was offended at the fact that I thought her too small. She was vociferous in support of her qualifications to work in my house and finally wore down my reservations.
The next day Ganga reported to work promptly. Her responsibilities included sweeping, swabbing and washing vessels. Being a child (till date I do not know her age, but I wouldn't have put it above 10-12yrs when she came to work for me) I did a fair share of the work in the initial days. But she knew the earlier lady's work profile and insisted that she do the same.

Ganga was a delight to have in the house. She had a child's innocent pleasure still in going about her chores, and a disarming smile every time our eyes met. She was a shy creature, but yet mature beyond her years and confident. The microwave and computer, which were not familiar objects to her were sources of unending delight. The TV was a big attraction as well, and sometimes, when my husband had left for office and her work was over, she would stay on and watch. Not being a TV freak, I would be reading and she would be watching, ( for her sake I would put on Kannada music/film channels) until she woke up to her responsibilities and ran off home as she had to finish up her washing and cleaning at her home.

Yes, Ganga would come to my house on the dot of seven and sweep, and swab my house and also clean up the dirty utensils. (Tue, and Fri, she would clean the bathrooms as well.)This would take up her time till 9, when she was actually free to leave. After that she had to go home and finish her sweeping and cleaning at her home, wash vessels and wash clothes at her home. and after all this, look after her brother's baby, as her sister-in-law had to sweep the flat premises.All this from a slightly built, chit of a girl. She used to make me feel ashamed of myself and my laziness, (for compared to her, that was what I was).
One of my flatmates owned a parlour and Ganga took on the responsibility of sweeping the parlour as well, in the morning. In the afternnon, she would have to go and fetch water from a public tap about a 20 min away from her house. So her time was chock full of chores and it was hard physical work , that she did- most of the time, only lapsing into occasional bouts of laziness. And all this from a young girl who should be going to school and playing with her classmates and doing her school homework, not housework.

With all this, she was the most cheerful maid I ever had. Gradually she started to open up more and more. She knew only kannada and I knew barely some, so our conversations together were a source of unending fun to both of us.We used to end up laughing at each other's ignorance and it was a wonder that we managed to communicate anything at all, but we managed beautifully.She was more resourceful than me too. She volunteered to take the newspapers to the vendor down the road, instead of giving it to the nespaper boys who would come by every weekend- she got more money for them that way, and I gave her 10 bucks for her pains. She would lug the newspapers all the way balancing them on her head. When I protested saying it was too heavy, she would laugh at me and say she lifted heavier loads of drinking water for her home. She would sell the milk packets as well (that money, I let her keep).

I was pregnant at the time and she would look at me with concern as I would puke, puke and puke yet again. When I had to leave for my hometown at the end of 7 months, she saw me off fondly, telling me to come back soon with the baby. By now she had made friends with my husband too, who was totally taken with with Ganga.(She was the first maid whom he could relate to as a person, talk to and joke with and scold :-)) Actually nobody who came to my house was not charmed by Ganga- precocious girl -woman that she was- playful,yet responsible; shy, yet talkative; reserved, yet bold.. Ganga was, as I have said earlier, a delight.

When I came back with my baby, she was one of the most delighted persons in the flat. She was shy initially, but gradually, she started cooing to my son and making these weird noises to catch his attention ( she probably did the same antics with her nephew at her home) My husband and I would be convulsed by these noises, but we never let her know that and as if to prove her right, my son would be totally entranced by those weird noises and playful contortions.

But it was time for her to move on... One day she came to me and asked me to increase her salary (at the time I used to pay her 350/-). It was going to be a year since she had joined us, so without demurring, I said I would increase it to 450/- Then she asked me with hope, and yet no hope in her expressive eyes, if I could give her 2000/-. I was flabbergasted and said that I could not. Then I probed and asked her what the problem was.

The problem was money. Her father was a construction worker and had found her a job on a construction site that would pay 60/- per day.And since the whole family worked on the site, they were comfortable with her also working on the site. By now Ganga had grown a few inches- she was probably closer to my shoulders now, but she still didn't look any older than she did when she came to me.
If I was horrified at the thought of her doing housework then, I was even more dismayed now. My shy, vulnerable Ganga on construction sites! Unimaginable. I asked her if she wanted to go. She said that she didn't want to , but the money? Her family needed the money. They had a new mouth to feed, and it WAS a big hike from the 500- 600 that I could offer her.
I asked her if she would be able to do the hard work. She shrugged and smiled and said philosophically, everybody does it, with time I will adjust, will have to adjust.
Yes, I knew her to be resourceful and responsible and hardworking.An asset to any family. And if the work was going to be hard (probably backbreaking in the initial days) , her family was there to support her. I had met her father and mother and sister-in-law at tmes.A rough noisy lot, but loving and warm hearted and extremely close-knit.
So,wishing each other well from the bottom of our hearts, we parted ways. And my Ganga moved on, yet another dop in the vast ocean of humanity going about earning their daily wages, to meet their family requirements. Proud to be doing her bit to contribute.
Yet another child labourer?

This was in our old flat, and I still bump into her when I go there. She is a young woman now, as bashful and cheerful as ever, and will make some young man an admirable wife. She still works on construction sites.