Monday, 21 December 2009

& Meanwhile the Sheriff

is also John Brown (not the same), as we all know very well.

& yes, I have only heard Clapton sing that one.

I don't care much for either the song, or for the dead Sheriff (killer identified), or the dead deputy (killer not necessarily clearly identified). But we did have some good moments in our long forgotten college-hood listening to Clapton tell us about his badge and momma and the dead Sheriff called John Brown who always hated him.

After I wrote my last post, I was thinking for a long while that the name sounded awfully familiar. Knowing me, it could not have been any real person who achieved anything because, you know, of my disconnect with reality and humanity. It clicked fairly immediately, don't fear, just did not have the time to remind you, my loyal readers, about it.

Next on Davey Moore, for sure.

Friday, 18 December 2009

John Brown

Being musically challenged, I know very little about this song. I only know the one version (how shocking!), which, of course, in consideration of my current trip, is Bob Dylan's from the album MTV Unplugged (I think). But these words, every-single-time I hear it, I get goosebumps.

"Don't you remember, Ma, when I went off to war
You thought it was the best thing I could do?
I was on the battleground, you were home . . . acting proud.
You wasn't there standing in my shoes."

"Oh, and I thought when I was there, God, what am I doing here?
I'm a-tryin' to kill somebody or die tryin'.
But the thing that scared me most was when my enemy came close
And I saw that his face looked just like mine."

Oh! Lord! Just like mine!

Yeah, just like mine. I am not at war. I am no soldier (I could have been, its one of those things I say with regret, now, at 35 and 8 years in the work-force at the other end of the spectrum, safe and cuddly). But still, its so very appropriate for me to think of.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Thought you would never hear me say this?

The day dawns, cool and gray and wet. I snooze. Its uncharacteristic, I know. I snooze some more. I snuggle a bit into my sheet. Its uncharacteristic, its true, but then did I not recently visit a jewelry store? How much more uncharacteristic can it get than that? I esk you. Anyhow, my husband wakes up. He signals to me to get up, get off my ass, and just go. Obviously, the very fact that he opened both eyes at that hour of the morning means that in the Kenny Household, something has gone awry. Stars have lined up differently. The moon is circling the sun, which is circling the earth, which is rotating in ulta direction, and has stopped leaning on its axis, and stuff like that.

A few years ago, I was visiting Chennai in this season. My mother in law was all over some lamp lighting details. I racked my brains and figured it was Karthikai. You know, the time we light lamps and diyas and so on all over and the curtains billow and you live in mortal fear of curtains catching fire and you in your new silk paavadai are darting in and out and eating sweets of some nature and staring intently at the curtains and that spectacular brass lamp belonging to my aunt which has subsequently disappeared I don't dare ask mum about it she may foist it on me. The lamps usually go out in half a second on this festival day because its unnaturally windy and rainy. Wait, its naturally windy and rainy. Its winter in the tropics (usually lasts a day), for heavens sake. That day, the lamps were tenacious. They hung on. My mil was impressed, she said, wow you brought luck.

I remember walking around with a big head for a day or two, thinking, boss, I have such control over cosmic phenomena and not to mention weather. All the way from Mumbai to Chennai to put my reins on the weather and make sure the lamps remained lit for a long time into the night.

Its that type of season again. But yesterday, which I started to talk about earlier here, was great fun. I finally swung down my legs and scooted out and started running. Since I have not changed my music for years now, it was the same old stuff. I put it on unshuffle mode, just for variation. I ran. It rained. I continued to run. It was great fun. I was glad I was wearing black dry-fit, because, you know, I got a bit wet from the pouring skies. And, you know, this is Chennai. I enjoyed it immensely, and was on an endorphin high all day.

But the thing is, all this running, its making me even smaller. I don't mean in a "Wowza! You have lost so much weight babe! Good for you! Looking good, girl!" type of way. But in a "Hey! What happened to you? Stuff some socks or something already now" type of situation. If you know what I mean. So that was my excuse for not getting out there and running today. There, the negative aspect of running. Possibly the only one I can think of. You heard it here first, ladies...

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Its OK; Go Read It

I must say, I have read worse. And at least, this one seems to come from the heart unlike those two terrible ones - the one about the Call Center blah, further made annoying by having a movie made out of the Clan of Salman Khan; and the other one which, in my opinion, trivialises everything including cricket. Of course I am not feeling objective enough to comment on Five Point Someone. I give it points for opening doors and creating a genre.

In short. "2 States"

Normally, I would never admit to reading a book that had that title. It has to be 'Two' not '2' I would insist. I mean, not that I am Queen Elizabeth, perhaps its not even right, but that, would be my preference.

I was surely not going to pay even the <100 bucks for it. At least, that was what I told my friend just a month ago. "Naah. Not even worth that" I believe I said.

But mum bought the book in Mysore. And brought it all the way over. She asked me to read it before she leaves so she can take it back to my aunt, who apparently wants to read it. As a family we are like that. We read anything that dares to cross our paths. My mum has been known to read the newspaper which used to wrap the Chilli Bondas that Kaveramma in I Main Road (right next to the gutter. eww) used to make. Not to mention the old Star of Mysore in which the Churmuri used to show up in. I don't read greasy papers for sure, but I do read any novel that I happen to see.

But yeah, back to Mr.Bhagat, whom I love to hate. I even called him Chetan Sharma once. Which is another person I love to hate. He used to play in those long ago days when I was a big cricket fan. Those crazy days when I used to like Ravi Shastri (Ewww).

As I was saying, there has been enough dope about this book. They say its autobiographical. Probably is. He paints the wife in such fantastically rosy colours that even if it is obviously autobiographical (she ought to be the best judge of that), he needn't worry. He is not going to be in the dog-house, sleeping on the couch, denied of basic human needs, because of his book.

What am I saying? Poor guy, probably nice at heart and so forth.

I read it in a rush. I ignored the obvious mis-spelling of suspicious. I let the very IITian 'in life' appearing at the end of several sentences. I skimmed over a couple of other such minor transgressions. I laughed at the Punjabi caricatures. I nodded at the boring South Indian wedding. I totally realised he was playing to the gallery with the mickey mouse undies thing. I admired their tenacity in hanging on to their dream. In short, not bad at all.

I can now safely move on to Grimus, which I am reading slowly and methodically. And cracking all the anagrams this time around. Endimions indeed!!

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Here and there

Been around.
In the country.
But not in town.
Working hard for a change.
Meeting up with old friends and making some new ones.
But now its back to routine.
Mum is here.
Am *actually* reading Chetan Bhagat.
& Yes, no tantrums.
The head is clear.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

I been having a temper tantrum

Its one of those days. I set off thinking its all going to be good. i went to bed early. with the intention of waking early and getting my daily kick.

First the rain. It poured down all over my clothes that I had left outside optimistically hoping that it wont rain overnight.

Next the bike ride. Cancelled due to rain. I totally hate to miss my exercise, whatever little of it I get.

Next the car. Wouldn't start.

Then the husband's car. Not his own but a work thing. It seemed obvious that I should use it considering our own car was dead. And the guy just lolls around all day. And the husband being prim and proper that he is, will charge it personal.

But it smelled.

The driver hated me on sight.

He could not be assed to take a child to school, because, clearly, he is destined for greater things, such as driving from meeting to meeting. And fucking drinking tea.

I want to hate the driver so much, I want to get in this face and say, Bitch, take this, and give it to him. I want to. Seriously. The thing is, I could, and he would be in hospital (So what if I am 5 ft tall and weigh in at 52 kilos? have you met desi middle aged men recently, they are total pansy asses, I swear) and his wife would be all mad and I would have a law-suit on my hands, and his children's education to take care of, and so on. So I fret. I fume. I read all morning hoping the feeling goes away.

But come afternoon and time to pick up my monster from school; and guess what, its parent teacher meeting day, and I am just a little bit stressed out because of the Bears project she had to make last week (I think we kicked ass; but what do I know; I teach huge monstrous boys and an occasional girl, they wake up at 5 pm most days, my students). What if she had claimed Stage Fright again. Should I feel proud that she can spell fright or just sad that she has an affliction I never imagined a child of mine would have.

I am wondering this stuff and this bitch-ass driver gives me more lip. Because, guess what, he cannot be assed to pick children up from school less than he can be assed to drop them off at it.

I learnt one thing in grad school, I swear. Its called the swear-word package deal. You NEVER say. Fuck that. You say Fuck that Shit. Get the drift. Like that. More compound the sentence structure, better it is, for your soul. Yeah ladies and gents, take notes, Thats what grad school is for, to help you swear your way out of situations. No shit.

So take that you. I know his name too. So I can cuss him out well and good.

Whatever. I am done with him. And the entire company he represents. I declare, here and now. I am
(a) Buying a new car of my own. I am done with the beast. While suggestions are most welcome, I am definitely thinking of overcoming of my aversion for Hyundai well-honed from my years in the US, to be able to look an I20 in the eye without sniggering.
(b) I am calling a cab company of my very own, just now. In case I have not said this before, I HATE depending on people, and I loathe having to deal with stuff through someone else, even if that someone else IS the love of my life and husband of 12 years.

Toodles Kids/ I am sworn out now/ And able to talk in normal human language and not in Cuss-Word Diads/ This is why I love this blog, its serious catharsis/

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Two Peas In a Pod

While on the whole matter of men vs. women (Yeah I know, its not a fight or anything, y'all; am just saying. I swear its fucking Chennai that makes me think like this. Like I must keep my eyes down and na-ah no way I can claim equality and waltz into an evil Tasmac to buy me a quarter). So, anyway, where were we before being interrupted by brackets? Yes. Men. Women.

Last night, in one of those rare occurrences, we found ourselves watching TV together. And the child getting herself to sleep upstairs. I feel vaguely guilty watching anything on TV when she is around. She, of course, has no such compulsions and has been known to drive people out of the house entirely by OD-ing on Perman. Anyway, this is not about her, my monster child.

Its about her father. Not as monstrous, you say? Maybe, maybe, maybe.

So last night, the choice was between some Jet Li type stuff filled to the brim with Chinese looking martial artistes in black tuxedos. And Coyote Ugly. I mean, come on now. Coyote Ugly! A classic, if there was any. "Do we serve water in this bar?" "Hell No H2O Hell No H2O". I know, I know, I should hide my head in shame, but whatever, I prefer it to invincible Steven Seagal type stuff. I have said this a hundred times but my favourite movie scene is the one which in S.S. falls out of a plane and dies in the first two minutes after opening. I think my husband cries at that point, because, imagine, who will be all Buddhist and Balding and break off arms now in the rest of the movie while looking perfectly pan-faced? Who?

So after about 14 seconds when I said, hey you can change the channel, I have already watched this movie (ha! several times, so take that you!), the man breathed this HUGE sigh of relief and quickly figured out two channels which would cater to his esoteric, well-evolved, manly, tastes. Complaining only slightly that Pint bottles made him want to drink more (this I agree with. I am LOVING the green kingfisher pints the Evil Tasmac sold us recently; but its leaving me vaguely dissatisfied occasionally as well).

& This morning- I woke up 5:10 am. Changed. Stepped outside. Still a bit dark. Fuck it. I can take anyone who tries to mess with me. Its simple, just a matter of being aware of your surroundings. I ran. I did a bit of uphill (just the flyover near home). Returned home. Abs. Kitchen duties. Shower.

"Kenny I feel like going back to sleep"
"Dude dont be absurd. Just get out of the house, go to the gym"
"Na. I want to sleep"
"Hey! I rushed back from my run and ran up and down the stairs inside the house so you could gym"
"I know! You are like such a stud, I swear. Don't know how you do this"
"What do you mean, just GO, You dont even look sleepy"
"My knee is hurting"

Two peas in a pod, we are not, that is for sure. But which of us is the more sensible, normal one is still very much under contention.

Monday, 30 November 2009

Mid-life Crisis and Other Related Stuff

How does one know when one hits the dreaded m-l c? I mean, the movies tell me that I should be out, right now, buying a Red Porsche, and finding the bimbo-est bimbo to cross the oceans to hang off my arm. But the problem with that is that, lets say, theoretically, for the sake of argument, that a R.P. hit me on the head. Or even, gently tickled my toes. I would NOT recognise it. I wouldn't. It might register in my head as a 'Red Car' with 'Four Wheels' and that would be it. So thats out. I am not into bimbos any more so thats out. But I think I have said crisis, its only a matter of proving it. Getting to the QED.

So I was riding the bus this morning (note: I can tell a bus apart from a car, my knowledge of automobiles extends to that). We were a few minutes late stepping out the door and so I did not get my ritual window seat on the bus. So I sat next to an aunty. See on these buses (they are not city buses, they only operate within our campus), the left hand side is reserved for the Ladies, while the right is for Men. This is important I suppose. In other words, I think its ridiculous and absurd. But its a rule.

This rule is followed fairly well. The men don't muscle into the ladies seats. They dont get close and pinch tummies or whatever. They don't poke. They calmly go and sit in their right hand seats. Else they stand, if the seats are all taken. They face their eyes and faces away from the left hand side, which is redolent with the morning scents of jasmine, Vatika hair oil, school ribbons, and aunties. I inhale the bouquet deeply and squish in, my laptop bag and handbag and sundry books arranged about myself, and glasses perched on my head, and add my own scents to the atmosphere.

Today, when I entered the bus, many of the left hand side seats were taken. A few remained, but it could have been a situation wherein I would have entered the bus and no seats meant for ladies would have been empty. The question is, in that case, would I sit on the guys side? Would I? Should I? Could I? (I could; and probably should, being all weak and a lady and all that, but I would not). There, I just would not.

We had a real nice run this Saturday. Ludwig tried his best to act all wilt-y and so on but persevered nevertheless. So we are passing what, in the normal time of day serves as my office building, and on the other side was a platoon of pot-bellied, loud men, presumably earning their chutney calories via gentle sauntering (If you ask me, their vocal chord usage could burn more than the amble, but hey, what do I know, I am a left hand side of the bus, I ought to look ahead and gently tug at my pallu to hide my tummy). We are running, nothing crazy, just a gentle pace, three of us, two guys and yours truly. The men go (at ear-splitting decibels) - "Nowadays LADIES are also doing this, saar, see there."

Okay now.

Doing what? I did not understand. If they meant jungle love (ha!), there is nothing new in that. Ladies have been participating in jungle love for ever. And, more often than not, with men, ever since a Darwinian mutation led to the first male (initially considered a freak, but later ID-ed as the next best thing to sliced bread) being born on this bountiful planet, earlier filled almost entirely with ladies (don't sue me, Doris, in The Cleft, I am aware of it). So, no, not that.

Do they mean jobs? Do they mean wearing pants? Do they mean driving cars? Scooters? Jumping? Looking people in the eye? Carrying mobile phones? Getting college degrees? What?


Running. Oh yeah, the dorks meant me, for my running (dressed most demurely in my black and black nike shorts and dryfit tee and well supported as always). Imagine! Running! Wearing Shorts! And Shoes! And with two guys at that! Shiva Shiva! On the other land, as the most supportive people I was running with said, I might now have single handedly inspired a bunch of middle-aged (!) men to run, holding on to their bellies to prevent jiggling. Yeah, full marks to Kenny. Good job girl.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Its nearly done now

The year, I mean. 2009. We are upon December, very nearly, almost there. Hang on now Kenny.

December is a good month. I look forward to it with anticipation. Its blog birthday month for one (that never gets celebrated around here, do not worry, gentle readers). Its vacation month, for another. I am still reliving our fantastic Goa vacation of 2008, in my mind. The time when Guns ran out of beach, Calangute to Baga; and back. Battling dogs. And food and water and sand and naps. Yumm. Its done with this semester, baby, month. Of course, this year I am celebrating early because I already got done, through a quirk of fate, with my course and exams and so on. I graded the exams on Saturday, spent all of Sunday questioning the meaning of life, figured it out on Monday, and today, on Wednesday, its all done and gone and life is back to normal. And I look to December with eager anticipation. Its also Mumbai (for a week) month, this time around. I am, of course, super excited about it, although I will be spending three full days at a very geeky work thing during that week, I am bound to enjoy it all. I am already slurping thinking of meeting new babies, and old friends.

A couple of years ago, we visited Chennai in December. I must have written about it, but of course, cannot be assed to find it for you, gentle reader, in my own archives. You know that you should not expect links in Kenny's page. So stop complaining. So, bottom line, weather was bearable, which is a HUGE surprise for Chennai. We did some concert-shoncert type thing, which was fun. We saw Sanjay Subramaniam and Jesudas. I liked them both. My husband swore that we would see a lot of them in the years to come. Meanwhile, this year, we are already in place, so should be able to check the scene out pretty easily, except that we are traveling a fair bit, and for some reason, I don't feel like going to Carnatic music concerts.. Nevertheless, for purposes of education of child and so on, we ought to check some of it out, I suppose.

But wait, still, we are in November, another week of it to ride out. This week has already looked very interesting. We had a three - four day absolute loss of power at work. I sweated a million buckets on Monday, and decided to protest it all by staying home on Tuesday. Incidentally, monster chose to develop a mild fever and so it was just as well as I could not send her to school. And may I say, it was much more productive at home than over there. Monster read and napped, while I worked. My office has, meanwhile moved from down to up for various reasons. Its bound to be hot as hell upstairs. I have two options:
(a) Invest in anti-perspirant strong enough for a bear
(b) Lock up the office and work in Cafe Coffee Day
For now, I am choosing (b), while you go away and burn the midnight oil and sell me some snakeskinoil and (a).

I leave you finally, with some interesting insights I gained by reading something called 'Sportstar' this morning.
1. Thierry Henri, during the hand of gaul episode, behaved badly, he should have behaved, apparently, like a man, and he did not. Which is kind of cool, because, you know, I do tell myself often when I am in the mood to wrongly claim that the ball went out when it did not, that I should be a man and not lie and behave in an unsportsmanlike manner. So yeah.
2. Meanwhile, Vivian Richards thinks, for some reason, that though Cricket is supposed to be a gentlemen's game, its first of all a man's game. I am sure this warms the cockles of the hearts of all the women cricketers out there, and inspires them like hell. After all, he is a legend, and a damn attractive-to-ladies type one at that.
So, as my friend Ms.Rum Sant (name changed to protect identity) used to say, "I leave you, ladies and gentlemen, to ponder these matters" while I conduct my own research on anti-perspirants, bears, hairy men, and such-like.

Monday, 16 November 2009


I think I am pretty well-versed in dealing with death. For one, I have often claimed that my own ultimate demise is not a matter of fear for me. I mean, we are mortal, all of us, every single one of us, so what is the big deal. I am confident of having taken some from and given some to bountiful Mother Earth. Disbelieving in the after-life and so on, to me, death is the ultimate closure on everything - the good and the bad. While I cannot claim to expecting nothing, I feel like I am getting to that place, where I expect less and less from others, from myself, and from this life in general.

On the other hand, I flip that coin, and I find myself preaching (mostly internally, of course) about potential, and not disappearing in middling mediocrity, and performance, and passion and so forth. Which is of course, somewhat inconsistent a philosophy, as philosophies go, when coupled with the lack of expectations aspect.

I find in the recesses of my brain, these two statements, on refrain-
* Life is short, hold it by the horns and live it to the fullest
& Life is long, let it go, don't stress about it.
On the surface, this is inconsistent as well. Most times, I know what I am thinking when I am thinking either of these thoughts. At the same time, I know that each of these thoughts separately is meaningless and merely a rationalisation for something that has occurred and needs to be sorted out, mentally.

Ultimately, when I ponder death is when I see the meaning and the meaningless of everything - the material things, the feelings, the emotions, the passion - just everything that constitutes me as a person and my life as a construct.

So in all I would expect that when confronted by death - of a dear friend, of a friend's child, of a relative, of a famous person - I would deal with it well, with equanimity, and dignity, and without self-references aloud but with genuine exploration of thoughts and feelings within myself. I think I get there ultimately, back to my positive persona that you and you see, but still death has me a bit, how to say it, crumpled.

Yes, a crumpled feeling. A quick warmth in the eyes, as I hold back the tears, that show up on cue. A few (or several) hours of dejection. An early morning awakening with a sense of un-reality, a 'Uff Thank Heavens It Was All Just A Dream' feeling, an immediate anger when I remember that it is no dream, a need to SHOUT out, a need to vent, a reluctance to vent to the wrong people, a fear of hurt if someone says the wrong thing (I bet it sounds right to them!), all this and more. In short, I think I am good with it in theory, but when confronted by the actual loss, when I hear of someone's death, when I walk in to a room of puffy faced relatives, when I dig deep and manage to say the usual platitudes, I am not good. My heart beats faster. I lose my words...

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Still Raining

Its hard to believe, but its still raining here! I mean, whats up with that now? I always assumed that other people had mood swings and not me. You know, like people take naps, and I don't. But that is all out the door. I took naps this weekend again. Plus I am having major mood swings of late, try as I might to avoid them...

Super disappointed that I had to miss the ECR run, it seemed like a bad idea to run on a road which was water logged plus had highway traffic running through.

Happy to see everything cleaned out and green from the water.

Irritated at how big a deal people are making of this rain, including my husband, who replied to every suggestion with 'What! In this rain!'

Elated to have found two small snails and several centiped(ish creatures) on various walls, and, possibly a leech in the backyard.

Disgusted with all the mud we have been trailing into the car.

Thankful to driver who shakes out the car mats so many times through the day.

Depressed about missed basketball games, and long runs, and today after nearly a fifteen-day long stretch, did not do any planks/crunches in the morning as really, whats the point, in this weather?

Happy that I could use the school holiday of yesterday to do the thing I have been meaning to for a while, go to the British Council Library.

A tad disappointed with the BC exhibit on Charles Darwin, which turned out to be just a bunch of poster boards in their main library foyer. Too much text to read, and the displays were just seahorse shapes you moved out and there was more text there. Not very creative, I am afraid.

Anyway hippocampus trip yielded the last Judy Moody, which was duly consumed, and, Roddy Doyle is most crazy and the monster enjoyed him so now we are dreaming of going to Ireland. (How big is Ireland? As big as your bum: She got this from the book and whatever, I have let it be, she finds it hilarious).

I think, on balance the rain is good, its fine. My garden likes it. So what if the house/car are a bit icky and I have a bit of a situation with the clothes? So what? Now if I can just get off this pendulum....

Thursday, 5 November 2009

It Happened One Day - Today!

Three days ago, I told my friendly household monster:
"Look, we going to be 5 and 35 only for a few more months; don't you think we should enjoy every moment of it rather than being like the Cats of Kilkenny?"
Meaning, she said nothing then. But you know how scarily things you say get imbibed by your child in manner of an osmotic process which, to you, might seem unreal, and frankly at some point of night seems so to me as well, but I cannot admit it because, you know, I am a Chemical Engineer and all, and my rep to hold up (at least till some point of night; such as, for e.g., this, and I mean Osmosis of course).
Well, anyway, that happened.

In other words, I am constantly reminded that we are only going to be 5 (AND HALF) and 35 (AND HALF) for few short months now.

Mostly, it has been good. I have immediately relaxed onto the low dimensional manifold which is my Zen state; from my usual state of "GABABABABABABBA STOP IT ALREADY I AM COUNTING TO THREE AND THEN THERE WILL BE TROUBLE MISSY"

Sometimes the mommies say stuff like Oh My God I cannot believe my kid is old enough to:
(a) Go to College
(b) Marry
(c) Give birth
(d) etc.
and I always think, What The Fuck Woman? Grow up and cut the damn cord already! Go on a vacation, get a perm, whatever. Stop giving us all a bad rap. Shoo now... Well, I think that in my mind of course, but I would be loathe to say it to your face. Yeah, you too (but I do love you, you know that, right, babe?) So, of course, it came as a shocker to me, my reaction to this
(a) The Monster's First Tooth Fell Out Two Days Ago
See, its in all caps in my brain. Not just in Abc format. I am still unable to deal with it. I am going around saying stupid ass stuff like "OH! But Her Teeth Just Came Out" (Hello? That was, like, in 2005, which is, like, 4+ years ago now). "Its too early, must be from that fall she had last year" (Mmm. Your turn, go on, give it to me).

Today was a rain holiday. I was really irritated by this. I checked the school web-site at 7:13:05 am (prior to proceeding on my morning obsession of PLANKS!! TO BUILD CORE STRENGTH!!). We left home at 8:12;01 am soon after a small yelling and retracting of said yelling session between mom and daughter (viz. Me and Monster). I was jubilant that we got a spot right outside the gate. Woohoo! She was to wear Pink canvas shoes as her school shoes (black, nasty, Bata) were still a bit wet and I am so NOT a mother who can allow her child to wear wet shoes. So what to do?

* The Creche is Out - I have not even bothered with the November month fees; she just refuses to go
* The Husband is Out - of town that is (which makes sense, I mean, why not?)
In other words, she came to my office. We stopped at home first. I fortified myself with a quick cup of tea. She changed into normal human being clothes (as opposed to the uniform, which is made of tent-cloth and would serve you well in arctic winters). We filled a bag with books. The books were:
a) All the Pippi's owned by her (= All the ones that Astrid has bothered to write).
b) One Enid Blyton
c) One Tinkle
Since the plan was to read (a); the little monkey (to simulate Mr.Nelson; close friend and associate of Pippi) was brought along. A satin thingie that came with the chocolate thingie that we got recently from someone was brought along (to serve as Mr.Nelson's bed; if the mood to lie down overtook him). All were piled into the green cloth bag from an (environmentally conscious) friend's wedding. Raincoats and umbrellas were taken.

We had a great time, really. I downloaded a ton of fantastic sounding papers. She read through the entire stock of Pippi. We had a leisurely lunch at home. She then read something else while I put together some notes. She also set up an entire household inside the tent (its just one of those toy tents we have; and I relented finally and set up over the weekend, its very China-made but a big hit with kids; everyone we know seems to have it, we had two and I passed one off quietly to my sis, my nephew sleeps curled up inside it on occasion) while I hmmed and hawed at all her suggestions and pretended to eat all the eggs she cooked for me from inside the tent (we also recently acquired a set of Russian Peasant Doll like eggs; you know, one inside the other inside the another inside the yet another).

We took off at some point to Hippocampus (thinking of Judy Moody; but ending up with Roddy Doyle and a bunch of Blyton's due to lack of time. Hippocampus = Library, fantastic, for kids, you can identify which books are theirs just by feeling them - per monster - they have slightly rough plastic covers on all, just, really fantastic). I went for a run in the campus. She read through the new collection from H.C. I finished my run and we sighted the world's smallest Chameleon (they like the hot Chennai weather; we see them a lot; should let Eric Carle know). The frogs have obviously not had a go at each other yet; could not find any tadpoles.

Back home and dinner and here.

The day has been perfect. Really. Muah.

Monday, 2 November 2009

Drive me crazy!

The weekend was great. In equal parts it had work, play, and a party. Oh yeah, I took a nap as well. Generally I don't do naps. If you know me in person you should be able to say that right off the bat, I don't exude that vibe, you know, a chilled out person capable of taking naps. No, not me. I am too excitable, and to top it all, am a worry wart.

Early sat morning I dissed the husband and child for delaying tactics (in waking up) and excitedly set off for my morning long run with Point Mass urf Guns. The last week's run was in an AMAZINGLY beautiful Kerala location. In fact, we made a weekend trip pretty much with the sole aim of running, and had a great run despite a nagging blister issue in my foot. This week, back in home environs, my aim was to really go for a long time and not pansy out. Next Sunday we run on the ECR (thats East Coast Road) - and mentally one wants to be prepared for that. Not to mention the fact that the Mumbai Half looms somewhat close and I cannot yet mentally cross the Peddar Road fly-over without palpitations. This Saturday, in our deer-filled campus, second wind and overall endorphin-induced euphoria happened. Sorry ludwig, I did, however miss you, if that is any comfort.

I missed the Sat evening basketball game though (18 KM followed by a good number of hours of work + a frustrating shopping session that I am trying to not think about was enough, and there was the party too later that night). The boys say they had a wonderful game. I suspiciously asked them if it was BECAUSE I did not join them or INSPITE of it. The response was annoyingly non-committal. So I went on Sunday night (wait, that was just last night) to the game, and I did think I rocked the game. I got majorly hazed by this older Navy dude we play with, but thankfully my husband did not choose to fight my fight or anything. Also, I wish I was bigger/stronger so I could block Navy Dude out better under the board, but hey, one cannot have everything. My new funda while playing ball is to get some good stretching done before hand. Amazingly, my lower body can stretch well whereas my torso is super stiff and I can barely bend it. I blame running for it. Though the fact that all my fingers are bent out of shape is solely due to basketball.

The party was fantastic, despite the guys going off on a major dumb charades trip (what are we - ten years old?). But really, it was cool. There were all these people yelling out the movie names like they lived-breathed-peed movies for a living, and then there were two of us geeks who had no clue about ANY of the movies and kept everyone on the wrong track by guessing some obscure (to them at least) book name based on the miming. Plus it was dark so it was hilarious when the clue-er would hold up two fingers and half the populace would say 'Three Words' !! The sea breeze was superb, the area completely devoid of traffic and spirits were particularly high and really, it was immense fun. It could be my middle age talking but restaurants are over-rated, we always have much more fun at each others homes.

Work! I know! I rarely work in the weekends. The last time I did was quite a while ago. I might on occasion check my email or something but that is about it. As I said to my husband, who demanded to know, I WANTED to work this weekend. I did manage to schedule it such that it was least disruptive to the family and friends and exercise regimen (I did have to miss one family function, but that apart...), at least as far as I could tell, so it was really nice. I got a bunch of things done, and was pretty excited about working today as well, despite it being a holiday in these parts. Sometimes days when I have a holiday and the monster does not are good..

And, oh, best of all! We have outputted one snake gourd (big one) and another big bunch of greens from the home garden. I cooked the snake gourd with a bunch of other things in one of my colourful subji things last night, and it tasted wonderful (even if I say so myself), and tonight my dear cook will address the greens in a yet-to-be-conceived dish. Last week we had a bunch of very small bitter gourds picked up, and of course, it was just my imagination that the stuff tasted sweet to my tongue. I sent a really tiny one to school for show and tell, it was shown but what was told about it is anyone's guess.

Last, but by no means the least, we come to the monster. Looked ridiculously cute in a green paavadai at the family function. Took a nap with me without undue fuss or behaving like a cockroach thrashing about in bed. Had a good party with little friends, ingesting small amount of food but being overall non-whiny and happy. Slept half-way through, hugging little friend. Enjoyed spending time with her grandparents. Practiced eating rice with her fingers, and, at some point yesterday declared that her mind had told her to be a good girl and therefore she was being such a one. When I immediately demanded to know, told me that she cannot assure anything about tomorrow. Well, at least she did not drive me crazy over the weekend, and we have all emerged stronger and ready to attack the week now.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Mind Your Language!

I am pretty cool with languages. Of course, I have several pet peeves. I dislike people spelling loose as lose (or vice versa). I am not particularly fond of Americanised spellings. Or saying AlumiNUM when its Aluminium, and an element. Or, for that matter, intregal when its integral. Not to mention Nucelar for Nuclear. Inventing words, like Irregardless. Making verbs out of nouns (latest e.g. Bucketise; Previous hate, Guesstimate). Okay, so this list is growing and I get irritated easily. Guess that is the truth. I am NOT cool.

Nevertheless, I am conversant in Hindi, Kannada, Tamil and English, and would be able to deal with you (without holding it against you or being uppity about it, I think) if you spoke only one of those languages. I realise I am not great at any of them, thanks to the mish-mash-ness that has been my life so far, but I can handle it. And have. Though I only do Math in English.

What I cannot handle though is when you try to sell me insurance, or a health plan, or offer me a loan, or want me to move my balances on my other credit cards over to you, or want me to hook myself up with a second phone connection (Free!), apply for a new credit card (Rs. 5000 per year Only! Platinum membership!), buy 10 kilos of Encyclopedias, and so on, and are particularly insistent on the whole thing, call me at work at 10 am when I am right in the middle of some thoughts on somethings, and then insist on only talking to me in Hindi. That drives me insane. So, please, if you WANT to sell me something, don't:

(a) Call me at work
(b) Call me at home
(c) Call me
(d) Call
(e) At all
(f) Especially if you feel like talking in Hindi.


(Yeah, Yeah, I understand, they have numbers to report, things to sell, salaries to earn, families to support, etc. etc., their grasp of the Queen's tongue is not up to par, and they are just doing their job so stop being so high maintenance already. But still, they are calling me at work and don't even know my name and are not listening to me at all when I tell them I am in a meeting and no, they cannot call me back today, tomorrow, or ever. Fine, so think of me what you will, I am a horrid person who ought to be made to watch Shah Rukh Khan movies in a loop as punishment and to recognise that I should be more open minded towards people who insist on speaking in strange manners, fine fine).

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Welcome, Namaskar

I have a mental list of jobs that are unique to India. Since I just discovered a new one this past weekend, I decided to share.

1. Cheque Stamper. There is a woman who has a blue stamp thingie. She adjusts the numbers on it to reflect your account number and then stamps every one of the leaves in your book with it. Sometimes, your book cannot be stamped, because she is out fetching tea. So you wait patiently.

2. Bathroom Flooder. This person presumably is allotted the task of cleaning bathrooms in public situations. Instead, she pours copious amounts of water there and waltzes out. You are never sure though if it is water or pee or the pot overflowed or whatever. But at least her allotted job seems to make sense.

3. Window Cleaner. Again, original intention is acceptable. He carries a cloth and a bottle of blue 'Colin' He rubs and rubs the windows, but he has forgotten to ever wash the cloth, and thus imparts more dirt than he removes.

4. Toll Booth Value Adder. This is my recent find. We passed five toll booths on our drive. At each of them, there is a guy, in uniform, standing at each stall. As you approach, screeching tires and so forth, the guy moves a small vertical stick that is placed right in your path. Then once your biz is done and you drive away, he places the things back. In his spare time, he bends over for the cool dude inside the booth who actually issues your ticket and takes your money.

5. Physical File Mover. This one is a major favourite of mine. Sometimes, its called dispatch. 'We will put it in dispatch madam' they said. Oh cool, I said, imagining a conveyor belt or something that would take my letter from OfficeX to OfficeY. Three days later I went to ask about it. 'Sorry madam, he took sick leave' they said. I discovered that it was an olllldddd guy who was assigned this task. He moved at the rate of 0.05 meters per day. So it would literally take him the whole week to go next door for a signature.

6. Sundry SideKicks. There are people that ride in cycles while the master (like, for e.g. a plumber) rides a bike. The bike dude will conduct all transactions through the bicycle person. Including conversations with me, despite all three of us overlapping in time and space. Bike dude will be chewing paan and will mutter something. SideKick will then repeat the same to me in a squeaky voice. I will address bike dude in response. SideKick will repeat what I say, in his voice. After a point I gave up and SideKick and I had a great conversation, ignoring the other fellow entirely. We are meeting for coffee tomorrow.

7. Assistant to Assistant. Self-explanatory. Recently, they are demanding that I 'put in an email' so they can 'take necessary action' - these are very smart people, I would be wary of them in general.

8. Tick Mark Specialist. There is some guy (or gal) who takes a red pen and marks ticks all over my official documents (such as pay-stubs and so on). The first time I saw it I was appalled. Why is someone poring over my pay-stub? I asked. The assistant to assistant nodded his head towards a sidekick-cum-spokesperson who said that he is checking that the math is right. Nowadays I feel scared if I don't see the ticks. What if my pay is all wrong? Why is he not checking it anymore? I wail. 'His daughter's marriage madam' they say.

9. Generic Computer Terminal Starers. This is less a person and more a movement. In every bank, government office, library, canteen, chickenhouse, henhouse, pighouse, etc. there are computer terminals. There is a person in front of every one of these. What does s/he do? Why does s/he direct me to the next terminal every time I ask anything? What does s/he mean come at 4 pm? Oh, the sign on the wall says 'All Transactions 4-5 pm' Why is s/he here at 10 am then? What is that? Minesweeper? Okay, must be beta-testing Minesweeper version 97.0 in a 1980 time-warp. I better come back in 2009 at 4 pm.

10. Toilet Tissue Agents. I am perfectly capable of tearing out my square of toilet paper. My daughter has trained me, in recent times, so that I actually tear on the indentation and not in a jagged end. She is also equally capable of the task, incidentally. Then, why, do you, in your beige shirt worn directly over your pink sari, think it incumbent upon you to hand me squares of TP? And, also, what use is it on my way OUT after finishing my business inside? Is it for the next time? And why do you grin maniacally when I refuse it? And WAIT! Are you going to pour that water on the floor? I flushed after I peed, I promise, PLEASE don't pour water...

Thursday, 15 October 2009


I am a stickler for deadlines. Generally. If I have to meet you at 5, I am there at your doorstep at 5, generally. When things have spun out of my control and someone is talking and I am having a hard time inserting a word in and finally just give up and let them run out of steam, I end up being late. That happens. Or, due to my foolhardiness several years ago in entering into a lifelong commitment with a man who blows puffs of smoke at time itself (outside of work, especially if the TV is on), I might be late to a party. Always, as we are stepping out to some place where I think its important to be on time (which is nearly every place I go to), the child has to go potty. I might be late then. But if I lived alone on an island with no one to hold me back, believe me, I would row over to the mainland exactly on time. Or, as mostly happens, early.

Yesterday was a day when my ability to be on time was sorely tested. Plus the sun was furious.

I went to pick the monster up. She had not even packed up her backpack, despite the bell having run several minutes ago. I saw her making faces at me at the window as I walked up. Monster! I dragged her out bodily. Her best friend 'Friend' insisted that they had to bring sweets (or something) the next day. So we had to go back to the teacher and ask her what on earth that was all about (nothing, just some childish randomness). Back out again. Down the stairs. The long walk to the gate, and then the longer walk to the main road.

Police everywhere. Car nowhere in sight!

Considering I had just gotten dropped off by the driver like seven minutes earlier, I was really flummoxed.

Chief Minister, an irate looking cop said.

Which explained it. They just cleared out the whole road in anticipation of that. I wondered for a second what the name of the guy was (being a particularly aware citizen of the country, who diligently reads the newspaper everyday). Then I tried to quiz them about my car. They insisted that they had sent away all the drivers because the CM was coming. Oh. That made sense. At 3 pm, when kids have gotten out of a long day of school, and the sun is beating down furiously, it makes sense to hold them all to ransom and make them hang out on the street for that. Yes. That makes sense.

All the ladies were whipping out cell phones to call their drivers.

My phone chose that point of time to fully run out of battery. Bip. Bip. Bip.

I do not know the driver's number in my head, so I would have had to borrow a phone from someone, call my husband on his chennai number, hope that he would pick up the phone, ask him to call the driver, and so on. The very thought of doing all that was making my head spin.

The monster was hot and gearing up for a mini-tantrum, which I squashed into the ground with a nice yell, at t=0 .

I was walking around aimlessly when I finally found the car lurking somewhere at a distance.

We got in and settled down amidst our countless bags (I swear that we do not have enough space in the car because of the bags), and headed homeward. The plan was to stop at home for just enough time for her to change (and use the bathroom) and then rush off, she to one of her random classes at the neighbourhood place, and me to my non-random class which I had to teach.

The traffic was blocked up near home. I tried to tell the driver to take another route, this would take us past the monster's after-school class. Dense as he is, the driver pulled up at the class. I was like, doooddee, she needs to change her uniform. Oh well, we went home, and da-da-dah, changed (without too much argument on the dress, thankfully), out again, and dropped her a few minutes early to her class. Thankfully again they did not complain about it. All the smiling and gentle soaping has been helpful I guess!

I was drumming my fingers all over and going chmah, chmah with my mouth as we headed over to my office. Finally managed to reach my class only five minutes late. My colleague, whom I would have called in the middle of all this to say that I am slightly delayed and can he please hold the fort, if only my cell was in working order, was there. The students were late. One sauntered in half an hour (or more) into the class.

No, that does not justify my being late. I still hate being late! Even if the other party is routinely late, I would prefer to stick to my time, thank you very much, Mr. CM and Police Commissioner, and everything else notwithstanding...

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Plastic Overload

On my US trip recently, I shopped a fair bit (for me, that is). I bought shoes, socks, clothes for the monster, crepe bandages, Hello Kitty bandaids, apple TV, and hair bands. Of course the duty free booze.

I had one empty backpack checked in. Since my husband was not around when I left, no one could complain about the stupidity of checking in an empty bag. He would have somehow tried to squeeze it into my pullman (despite the impossibility of it, he would have tried, and somehow tried to blame it on me when it did not fit). Also, the pullman is fairly small and it was still not fully filled when I left from here. Yes, I have finally managed to jettison extra stuff on my travels and manage to travel fairly light most of the time.

In New York, where I have spent many memorable half-days at my friend's apartment in Queens, usually to and from somewhere, I have my routine fairly set. He has cloth bags coming out of the pores of his flat. The nice grocery bags that you buy over there. I sling one on my shoulder every time I step out of his flat, even if it is just to the starbucks down the road. You never know. This time, I discovered why he has so many bags. Apparently, he punishes himself when he goes grocery shopping and happens to forget to take a bag. How? By making himself spend on buying a cloth bag. Nice idea, eh? I love it!

Anyway, this time, he suggested I just take my backpack. Since I have to pack stuff in it anyway finally. Super smart. So we went all over the place to the runner's store and to Children's Place and to a pharmacy and so on and stuffed everything into my backpack. I brought back three pairs of running shoes (for various individuals, mind you). I would have had worries about whether they would all fit in my luggage for the way back, so this was really a great idea. The monster's clothes and matching hair band and so on were of course really irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. Not a single bag did we take at any store. And, the best part, once we returned home, I spent five minutes rearranging stuff in the backpack and did not open it out until I returned back home here five days later, after going to Pittsburgh and back again and so forth.

It has become an easy habit, to carry bags whenever we go out to buy anything. Grocery, veggies, booze, clothes, library books, books, all have their allotted bags. Nilgiris gave me 1% off for bringing my own bags. I am beginning to like Nilgiris, they sell these green trash bags, which they claim are a lot more biodegradable than the regular ones (may or may not be true, wanted to test it out in my garden, but the time scales are still too high), at least its an effort. And now the 1% off, which is nothing to scoff at, I think. Fresh@ has these notices everywhere saying bring your own bags, but no one really follows that advice. Which is why the girls there always sing to me when I do so.

So feeling all perfectly saved the earth single handedly about it, I opened a kitchen cupboard.

And found.

A Million Plastic Bottles. Juice. Have We Really Drunk That Much Juice In Just Five Months?

I think I am still wayyyyyy negative; although I carry water from home now when I step out of the house, I have a long way to go. Surely. I kid you not, I can build a house out of those bottles (probably should, idea not my own, read it in Judy Moody).

Monday, 12 October 2009

Deepavali Shopping

In the olden days what did I do for this festival of lights?

Frankly, I cannot even remember in entirety.

I think we washed our hair. I think some species of sweet things were created. I think we had the day off from school. In our household, we never spent huge amounts of money on crackers. My sis and I stuck to sparklers, snake, the occasional flower pot. We got a small packet of the red little bombs for dad to light (he liked to, up to a certain point of time, it was sort of like he was the only brave soul in the house who could light the bombs, rest of us wilting females). Our street would be littered with the debris of hundreds of rupees worth of crackers, at the end of the three days. Although most of the houses had kids in them, it was not a requirement. In fact, the rockets, the chains of bombs, the loudest toned things, were all lit by adults. Perhaps from the viewpoint of safety. Perhaps. Two little mud lamps would stand on our doorstep, on either side. We had a large number of lamps, in various materials of construction, that we would light all over the house (having secured all the door curtains on top, of course), but that was not on Deepavali day. It was sometime later. Cannot remember exactly when.

I don't remember any other tradition associated with the festival. I can feel some of the excitement of a new packet of sparklers, the responsibility with which I would stack the used sticks (still hot) away, the occasional fear when I nearly destroyed one or other of my mum's potted plants (I just thought I had, but my little matchstick of coloured light, reminding me of the poor little match girl, was no match for the wet mud and soon died, harming no living creature, plant or animal directly, only indirectly, the fumes....).

In 2004, I was the Deepavali Grinch. I hated it entirely. It was also our first Mumbai one. Noisy does not even describe it. The apartment complex of leviathan buildings that we lived in exploded in an outburst of joy. Bombs went BUD BUD. Rockets wheeeeeeeed past our window (shut securely, heat oppressive). The parking lot was infested with little boys lighting crackers everywhere, ridiculing the security guards if they tried to stop them. And the litter! My god! The litter they left behind. Most of all, it made my then six month old child wake up every few minutes. This was a child that woke when we flipped a switch, or, you know, breathed hard. So this was a crazy week. Mumbai so damn hot already. Clearly, I was not going to do anything at all for the festival. It was hardly a festival for me, most like torture!

I still don't like it. Its a festival of noise, smoke, and booby trapped roads. Possibly gluttony as well, but thankfully that is something I can choose to not take part in. However, I am feeling much less conflicted about it this year than the last one. Because I want my daughter to, well, not hate it, but sieve the wheat from the chaff and figure out a meaning to the whole thing, without overly imposing my views. Plus, I don't want to be the one to deny her the 'fun' - yes, I did have fun with it all as a child, and the part of my reason for hating all of it is the realisation that the fun comes at a big cost. I could tell her, here are three reasons why YOU should NOT burst crackers. Di Dah Doo. I could just not buy her anything at all. She would probably have a bit of a cry about it and tell me all that her friends said and so on, but that would be it. I did that for three years of her life, maybe even four. Before she became the social animal that she is now, with a trillion little people who she likes much more than Amma-Appa. Before her comprehension of what other adults tell her became so acute. Before we both ceased to be the only voices in her head.

Then last year, I let it go. I said, if you WANT to do this, you should. My husband, who also avoids the whole thing, took charge of the thing, albeit reluctantly (preferring TV or sleep to the process involved in bursting crackers with a child in tow, and listening to nagging by the participant ladies regarding violation of safety principles). So we had a small stack of crackers (which nevertheless cost trillions of rupees). I fished out an old-new sari - something that I had never worn and therefore could be considered 'new', and I think the monster had a new dress sort of coincidentally. I disliked the festival a bit less. We spent time with family.

This year, I am already a bit cranky about its impending arrival. I am hearing the bombs already. I am jumping out of my skin - which is not saying much, sometimes, absorbed in the intelligent task of boiling milk, I jump out of skin when the maid comes in. Its super hot here in Chennai, and I am confident that once the cracker-bursting reaches a crescendo, it will be hotter. The child is already after me to buy her crackers (of course I have outsourced it). I have responded as usual with 'If you want to, you can burst them' We have not yet figured out where to buy them, however, something ought to turn up, I suppose. I am not even feeling somewhat open-minded about the associated 'traditions' - whatever they might be, as last year. All I want to do is for for a long run in peace, play basketball with joy, and eat healthy food. But, I did feel enthusiastic about buying clothes (a tradition that is part of the season, per my husband), and we braved the mall yesterday. It was as usual a most disappointing and unnerving experience, but I must say, I hung in there, and managed to do the deed. Which means that there is at least one Salwar Kameez that has to find its way out from my cupboard, pronto (based on my buy one, release one rule, which I mostly stick to). Overall though, my mood is still dark. And it is with a sense of apprehension that I approach this week, at the end of it which the whole Deepavali business will unravel... Oh well...Onward we go...

Friday, 9 October 2009

Chop Chop Chop We Go

The part I like the most about cooking is the chopping of vegetables. I would like to claim that I am pretty good at this. As in, my pieces are even, and I get the job done fast. These are the two aspects of veggie cutting that are most important. Believe me, I have served as assistant cook, in charge especially of veggie chopping many many times with many many good (but quick to criticise) cooks. There are some small aspects such as not wasting too much of the veggie in the guise of peeling, ensuring removal of icky bits and bits with potential worms and such-like, good washing, etc. which are necessary but not sufficient characteristics to earn the Crown.

Although I don't like to eat it anymore, I absolutely adore cutting vegetables for Aviyal. Simply because it involves so many colours. And there is a definite requirement that they be evenly long cylinders in shape. I don't generally like unidimensional-ness. I am constantly interrupting myself and parallel processing. I have a million browser windows on all the time. I like my veggies mixed up, especially for colour.

All this is not to say that I don't enjoy, what some may think of as, the actual cooking. I do. My sister insists I enjoy it because I don't do it often enough. That is a possibility. But I have not yet figured that out. My single days of cooking don't count. My weekend forays to feed the love of my life don't count much. My Indian experience has generally involved a hired cook. My repertoire is not large and is shrinking rapidly. It is rather heavy on vegetables (possibly because of the love of chopping them!). The food itself is rather simple, and is unlikely to satisfy most picky people. I go easy on the spices as well, in honour of a husband whose lifetime of irregular eating habits is catching up with him, so to say. Overall, an honest rating of my food will be: Edible, but Blah.

Nevertheless, I enjoy the process. I get lost in the mist for hours. It relaxes me. Even the most hated task of cleaning up the counter after the task relaxes me. I had a rare opportunity to indulge myself last night. The cook was absent (huh). The husband is in Mumbai. That left the monster and yours truly. We switched on music. She does that herself, of course, as any self-respecting 5.5 year old would. We drew from a book called 'Learn to Draw Animals' - I made Leo the Lion; Chris the Cat; Tim the Tiger. She made Priyadarshini the Lioness & Christine the Cat. She struck my Chris off to say 'Chris the TomCat' - a term that she uses to refer to Male Cats while the rest of the world KNOWS its the Cruise-Holmes duo.

I made Sambar (Capsicum) & a Mixed Vegetable Subji (Beans, Carrots, Potatoes, Onions). She wanted Salad so we had that too in the mix (Cucumber, Carrots, Ginger, Lemon). I kept some plain Dhal aside for her. She ate in a glass bowl the size of my pinky finger. I had to feed her the last episode of dinner, i.e. curd. My evening jadoo-pocha person kindly did the dishes while I polished the counter to brilliance.

Loved the world.

Now the cook is back.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

No. I Don't Have Blog Block.

See, the first thing to do is to deny it.

Apparently, a classic leadership technique is to take issues and trivialise them.

I am good at that.

I am trivialising my blog block.
I am trivialising my tendency to spell things with s rather than z.
I am trivializing my irritation with the red squiggly.

I even wrote a poem recently, so there, what block? who block? It went like this:

Time, how it flies
Like a bird with wings.
Look at us now,
you and I.
Sitting here eating,
listening to music,
and checking emails.

For those of you taking a class on poetry and such like, monster girl, was writing emails to her cousins. And we were listening to The Beatles. She likes Yellow Submarine. I like Norwegian Wood. Neither of those songs make sense to me. But I still like them. Or therefore I like them.

There. Its done. The flood gates are opened. Let the fun begin.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009


You know how that thing from Kentucky was supposed to be only referred to by its initials because expanding the initials made it sound unhealthy? Being of the vegetarian variety myself, it hardly mattered to me. I mean you could take a chicken and fry it beef lard and smear it with pig-fat and serve it and I would not bat an eyelid, cause you know what, I DONT EAT THAT STUFF!

So I was on this cruise right, in Pittsburgh. Apparently there are rivers and there is a cruise you go on and the boats real nice (and yes, they have bathrooms, and not bad, not bad, better than those in the Chennai airport). You see the baseball and the football stadia and a bunch of other things and this REALLY ugly building that is the Medical Center here. And yeah, a bar and a buffet dinner.

Big hoop silver earrings the girl was wearing and a black vest. I said
"What kind of beers do you have"
"Miller Lite; Coors Lite; MGD"
(What the hell? Who drinks that stuff? I mean, there are a lot of American things I like, even pasty-faced white boys with floppy blonde hair at times, but EVERYONE knows that these are crap beers. There ARE American beers I like, for various reasons. Cannot live in New England for so long and not drink Sam Adams, for one)
(And LIGHT, it is, like NIGHT, FIGHT).

Anyhow, MGD is obviously and evidently Miller Genuine Draft. As opposed to the other Millers which are fake, of course. So I say
"Fine, give me that Genuine Draft crap, whatever it might be"
(and Please, get rid of the vest and stock some real beers for a change)
"Oh, you mean the MGD"
(WTF? I am not even supposed to EXPAND initials anymore. Thats uncool now? I tell you WHATS uncool. Drinking this thing. And for nought I care. I am real tired and I can use some alcoholic stimulants to get me over my jet-lag and stuff, so here, talk to the hand, woman with the hoop earrings).

So, yeah. But thankfully, I had other opportunities to sample the things I come all the way to the land of tissue and toilet paper for: Guinness; Starbucks; and Speciality Runners Stores.

I am headed back to base today. Mind-blowingly long travel. 36+ hours. I usually drink Gin w Tonic Water on flights. And SLEEP AND SLEEP.

Friday, 18 September 2009


Today, I got my eyebrows done. 'Eyebrow Hair Cut' the monster calls it. I used to love to go to the American places since they wax instead of threading. But thats fine. Its Chennai. Threading it is. The place is called Limelight by the way. Not really sure why. The girl asked me if I am Malayali. Of course its a compliment! Must polish up my Malayalam now. Which I like, starting with the fact that it is a Palindrome. As are Dad and Mum, monster reminds me often. In Kannada the most famous ones are Ka-La-Ki and Vi-Ka-Ta-Ka-Vi. The husband disses those palindromes because they are not palindromic when written in English. But pffft.

Basically I am trying to say that I am flying out tonight. After I just returned from Kalpakkam day before (where, I was asked, are you a student? Duh. You invited me, go check your emails dude).

I am making the monster finish all the Holiday Homework before I leave. Thankfully she is feeling enthu about it. Except for the one homework I really thought she would enjoy - A Book Review. Loves books but refuses to tell them why. Go figure.

Emails! Packing! Lists! Passport! Presentation! Shirts! Cuff Links!


Friday, 11 September 2009

Breathe, Kenny, Breathe

I don't know why, it has been that kind of week. I am real glad to find myself face to face with Friday. Especially after a long discussion with Guns involving planning a run (long) and drinks and food and hanging out and as always, the benefits of exercise.

The monster, oh my the monster. She has been awful this week. The thing is, she looks so cute being awful that later when I think of her face in my mind, I feel terrible. The main issue, as is often the case these days, has been food. I have woken up earlier, been more creative, discussed at length with the cook, made stuff myself, stretched the eating time so that she is more hungry, yelled, threatened, sweet-talked, lost my temper, felt tired, nearly cried, and everything else in between as well. While all this soap opera soliloquy has been unfolding, she has eaten maybe ONE BITE.

My cook has assured me that I yell at my child too much. She is also telling the child when I am out of ear-shot, look, I am giving you just a little bit of food, your mum gives you too much (NOT. I give her like 10 chocos; of which she takes 2 and keeps in her mouth for the entire day, or something). Although she means well by it, and usually tells me later that she was hoping it would convince her to eat, I get really riled when someone says stuff about me to the monster. I do think its hard enough to respect and appreciate a parent, especially one as irritating as myself, without getting external reinforcements like this, in whatever spirit they may be conveyed. And the monster, who is extremely shrewd as kids are, picks only the parts that are convenient and forms opinions based on that. Meaning, you can sing my praises till the cows come home, and she will distill out the one negative thing you may have said about me, and latch on to that. I am sure she gets it from her dad. Hmph. Not me.

All this going on and a whole lot of travel (for work) coming up next week. Travel which is never just travel but involves serious military-style strategising and what not. And the idiots are refusing to reimburse my car-ride UNLESS I leave at 7:30 am. I cannot leave at 7:30 am because (a) my husband is out of town, as always in such situs and (b) Kid needs to be dropped in school at 8 am and I am darned if you get me to leave before that. Plus, its the tone of the voice, I am annoyed at more than anything else. Gr Gah. But yes, it does not matter. This week has been the kind of week when problems have been solved by the throwing of money at them.

Meaning. The car had to be brought in to service. It was in real bad shape and barely climbing over speed bumps (of which there are about twenty from here to home). The driver had taken Monday off. But that was OK because we still had the car and thankfully, legs, so we drove ourselves. Then on Tues the husband took it in (I swear if I had to be even marginally involved in taking the car into the workshop I would have exploded; or imploded, as the case might be). It was gone for two days. Meanwhile, I did feel as if the same legs, were cut off. I missed my Zen. I called a Call Taxi. SO MANY BAGS to ferry around. And although I am in a campus all day, its HUGE. Its 4 km to the nearest Auto. And I had class at exactly the time the school finished and other such cute coincidences. It was so impossible to manage it all and the Call Taxi thing so damn annoying with the radio blaring nonsense messages all the time and the guy burping like he was going to throw up and the car slightly smelly and the monster licking the nasty Call Taxi seat.

Although it is still making what I think are weird noises, I am super glad to have the car back. Not to mention the driver. Whom my husband suspects of driving on half clutch, and being solely responsible for the ruination of car. Thankfully he has refrained from accusing me of the same, possibly in recognition of my very incandescent mood. At least the man displays some sense, every once in a while. For that I am glad because I really would like to have gotten past the stage where I say stuff I regret deeply later, in language that would NOT make my mother proud.

Anyhow at the end of it (well, almost, there is this afternoon to contend with. The after school thing she goes to on Fridays is on break this week, of course there is a talk I would like to attend at 4 pm), I must say that I have somewhat regained my composure and equilibrium. So BRING IT ON. Just BRING IT ON.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Other things I should be doing now

Like right now,I should be packing the innumerable bags that divvy up my day into wholesome segments.

* School Drop Off: Pink School Bag (Check Diary); Pink Plastic Lunch Basket (Check Napkin)
* Freedom Office Morning: Black and Blue Laptop Bag
* Relaxed Lunch Reading Blogs: Black and Blue Stan Chart Mum Marathon Bag with Multiple Dabbas (Check Spoon)
* Hot Afternoon School Pick Up: Red Sammie Kids Backpack with innumerable items such as clothes, snacks, books to read, books to write, books to draw, and so on
* Chennai through the day: My Nasty Old Asha Cloth Handbag (Hope my mom never sees me carrying it, she will get furious) with: Mobile, Wallet, Thousands of Papers from here and there; Whisper; Pens; Pencils; Calculator; and ex-roommate
* Scary Concept Shoe Bag: With Sandals for After School (of matching colour, lest, the fashion fairy admonish me)
* Useless Dance Bag: With dance dress in three parts; and a notebook (Okay that was yesterday, and she refused to go anyway).

The other thing I could be doing is putting clothes away, uniforms by the truckload, little skirts, and undies by the gallon.

Oh hell, am out of here.

Monday, 7 September 2009


In my long ago memory, there is this thing.

My dad used to make up songs. Many were off the cuff creations. Most were set to popular tunes of the times. Several were created after hours of mulling in bathrooms and office rooms (filled invariably, with smoke), and other such irreverent situations. I was his audience, but I was not the only one, the world was his audience. His world, of course, consisting of a bunch of close relatives and us, the two children who-sadly-did-not-inherit-his-genius (or so I think he thought!).

Sure, in family folk lore, several of these songs remain. If you get my sis, me, my aunt together, we can render them for you. They are variously in: Indian English (you know, that kind, last-but-by-no-means-the-least; sincerely; pre-poned; called-as; and a final one that has really slipped out of my mind); Mysore Tamizh; Tamizh; Kannada. No child speak, I don't think, ever. Maybe a word or two out of our childhood, but not in a consistent manner. And, all the words were real words, not invented ones, in some language or the other. Though, later, he did invent words as well, or reinterpreted them- "Not a visionary today" he would say on days when his eyes were troublesome.

When I went to college, I was asked, as part of 'ragging' (which, incidentally, is and has always been, banned), I was asked to write about the various stray cats in the hostel. I was so damn happy. I tell you, I am one of those that wanted to be ragged. It was just attention seeking, I know, I wanted that attention. I thought the seniors were the coolest ever (later,I changed my mind but that is another story). So anyway I dug deep and found the crazy gene; identified six stray cats; and gave them all vaguely Amerindian names (the-cat-with-the-patch or something of that sort, can't remember). It was most un-appreciated. I even copied it out for them to read, as promised, but they went away on dates (after washing their hair), and that piece of paper was relegated I suppose, to the trash.

The Hunting of the Snark and reciting the pi upto the nth decimal occupied me for a while after that and I forgot all about the cats and only heard the crazy nonsense songs when I visited home (which was rarely). English lost its charm in the middle of word lists for GRE and Kannada was forgotten after several years out of hometown, so much so that when I met a school friend in New York it felt weird as I was talking in English and she, in Kannada. It was easy to lose touch after that, clearly, we don't have much in common anymore, I argued in my head.

Last week, battling one of those battles that are commonplace now. You know, school suddenly off, the creche made out to be a hell-hole with ants (she insists, and since I still cannot get away from Marquez' ant imagery, I don't feel like sending her there), food and 'Chew On Both Sides Already' 'Waah I want kurkure' and wailing and screaming and hand-raised-on-butt; and a sniff and a sneeze and 'Oh my god! Could it be the FLU?' later, I decided to stop stressing myself out and relapsed into nonsense speak. I am very fluent in nonsense speak, despite what my father might have believed (i.e. the crazy gene). I can hold conversations in it; complete with the proper intonation and so on. Of course children love it (at least mine does). Breaks a tense mood like anything. And for all intents and purposes you can see us and think we are having a conversation in a foreign language. Which has many repetitive sounds if I am not concentrating.

So yeah, while it started a couple of weeks ago with my inability to make sense of my brain messages, last week, I harnessed the same into real voluntary nonsense speak, and broke barriers. Sometimes, while you probe around and try to find the root cause of the arguments that we, mother-and-child, have, these band-aid methods of nonsense speak; tickling attacks; making faces; magic tricks; these work better than - yelling, screaming, hitting, furling brows (Unfurl Your Brows Amma, she often says). Now, to record this message and print it on the brain, behind the brows. There. And to start digging into my hidden treasure trove inherited from dad, and not be overwhelmed enough by the day-to-day to not even have the time to make up silly songs (set to popular tunes of the day).

Tuesday, 1 September 2009


In many ways, I would LIKE to be compe-Mommy. You know, the type that aggressively eggs on child, befriends judges, sits up preparing for the child's event the next day, rehearses lines with her at the breakfast table, stuff like that. Well, to be fair, I would not mind rehearsing lines, coming up with appropriate silly poems, writing stuff down for her, researching online to come up with ideas, putting stuff together etc. I, of course, would not be caught dead befriending judges (I have a very strong moral compass and it would not allow me to do such things). And I CANNOT aggressively egg on child. Because, she absolutely HATES it. She does. She is un-egg-on-able. That's the word now.

Three years ago, in the play school she has been in forEVER now (the Mumbai one), they had a small annual day of sorts. They used to learn songs till the cows (or parents) came home back then, and in the function, the teacher told them all to dress nicely in ghagras and sing the songs. My child was all over that one. Of course she knew all the song lyrics to perfection (was spending a lot of time there, obviously!), and was the least bit bothered about all the adults being around. In fact, she started crying at one point of time (she was only 2.5 that time, I suppose its forgiveable, somewhat) when a friend of hers grabbed away the mike. It was most hilarious. And cute, the kids were immensely good (not just mine, all the other chutkus that were there in that boisterous gang), and had NO FEAR. Whatsoever.

Then she went off to KG, and there they made a production of these competitions. I thought it was great fun. Imagine, 10 or 12 competitions, so many prizes to be had in each of them, singing, reciting, beading, story-telling, fancy dress, all cool stuff. They argued that it was just part of their regular school programming - on Fridays pretty much every week, they would have some or the other competition going on. I would sit with the monster and ask her, what about this story, or song. For the English ones, we invariably settled on Karadi Rhymes/Tales stuff; and for the Hindi ones, the play school songs came in quite handy.

As a three year old, she loved to sing and to listen to songs. But somehow that changed. I suppose it could be a disastrous attempt at having her learn music that I mistakenly got into. I was fooled by the fact that she could sing so many songs at my sister-in-law's wedding, all in very pure tamizh, that too. But the teacher was horrid (sorry to say!), the timing was all off, I made the mistake of taking her with another child, her Best Friend, and overall, it was a nightmare. That child's mother and I have been ourselves so traumatised by it that we have not talked about singing lessons at all in the past three years!!

Anyway, that, and these 'competitions' in school. The first one was beading. I bought her a bead set and we had some fun with it. I hate jewelery so it was all for her to use as she pleased. She played with it for about a month, and now its there, somewhere, in the cupboard. The second one was a Hindi song, she did fine. The third was an English song, she had to sing. Since her school is a basic school of sorts, the number of fluent English speakers was very low. I suppose it was REALLY low. Anyway, we had picked the Train Song from Karadi Rhymes, a song she knew for donkey's years (so, not much practice required!). They had a preliminary turn at it in the class, and the teacher just ADORED it - of course, it is a lovely one, I like it too. So then when the final came along, apparently, she did not sing it properly at all. I am convinced that she could not have 'forgotten' the lines, since she really knew them. I am not too sure if it was 'stage fright' (an affliction she recently claimed she suffers from). I personally feel that it was just that she did not like anyone pressurising her (even if it was in a praising manner).

Now it gets worse. The teacher, when I went to pick her up that day, says, Monster, you want to tell mama what you did today? I was sure it was something to do with climbing tables or pulling curtains (famous for such things). But it was this funda with the song. The teacher was disappointed that she did not deliver the promise in front of the Principal etc. I suppose I was disappointed too, somewhat. But then it is hardly okay to say these things to a child, right? (Someone please agree!). Anyway since then it was really like pulling teeth getting her to really prep for any of this stuff.

The worst part of it is, I would have LOVED to go up there and sing 'Chai Chai Coffee Coffee' - would still do it if you asked me. But the kid has stopped enjoying it, in fact at the mention of 'Competition' she scoots. Which brings me to the fact that tomorrow, her school has a competition about writing an essay about their teacher. I know, essay! Five year olds! But then, she is quite capable of doing that, except if someone uses the dreaded word at her. 'Exam' she does not mind, but 'Competition' she severely objects to!! Part of me is wondering I should tell her its an exam. But that sounds cruel. I have told her that she should write something about the teacher she loves so much, and when the teacher reads it, she will feel happy. Not sure it will work. I mean if the loved teacher herself uses the key-word, its game over!!

Thus dashing my hopes of being Compe-Mommy to beat all Compe-Mommies at their own game. Oh well, the things you learn from your children!!

Friday, 28 August 2009

Back in Class

I was to go to the monster's class today. It is parent observation week in school. Awesome idea eh? Well, I sure think so, 'cause you leave the monkey in the gates at like 8:10 and till 2:30 when you go back to bring it back home, so many things could have happened. Now was the chance to figure out what all those things were.

So there I was, in the back of the class, perched on a blue stool like chair.

& This week already I attended another class (as a student, or rather, as discerning audience). That was at 8 pm. Yes. pm. It was fun. We had to do major juggling to make it happen.
6:15 Monster & I reach home, and fight.
6:40 I feel faint and request cook to make me some dosas.
6:42 - 7:27 Monster spends in bathroom.
7:30 Husband returns home.
7:32 I start shoving food in monster's mouth.
7:46 I leave home
8:05 Rest of students start trickling into classroom
9:15 I leave the class & head home
9:34 I wake up husband who has fallen asleep with his glasses on
9:49 He leaves home to go back to work

I have lost my student-ness. I forget to take in a crossword puzzle to solve in class. When allowed, I tend to sit in the front rows, since I cannot hear too well in the back. I feel excited (and not alarmed) when exams (they are called worksheets. they were four pages long. they had a crossword in there though!). I don't watch the clock every two minutes hoping for miraculous occurrences. I don't find myself thinking 'What the heck is s/he going on about?' I don't dream of a bright future filled with joy. I (for the most part) listen to what they are saying and try to synthesize the information into logical wholes.

Its just not the same, no.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Trg Uyt ghuyto

Yeah well that is how the brain is functioning currently. Sleep is the missing factor, which I cannot remedy tonight as I (hold breath) have a class to attend tonight. And why not, I ask you. I can only attend if the husband reaches home in time for me to leave, so there is the possibility of reprieve. So it led me to think.

Suppose I had the parenting gig on during my graduate school days. How would I:

1. Wake up 7:00 am and catch the 7:15 am (first) bus to the university?
(like now I need two hours to get ready and get out of the house; and that is a stretch already)

2. Saunter over to the grad lounge for a coffee at 10:00 am; severe hunger pangs (despite eating 1 multivitamin tablet for breakfast)?
(i religiously eat breakfast now; but still feel hungry at 10 am)

3. Waste time after lunch watching the boys play warcraft?
(the boys are grown men with parenting duties of their own now. Gah.)

4. Suddenly realise that its 4 pm and time for the invited lecture (and DONUTS!)?
(thankfully, lectures do not imply donuts anymore. Cannot eat that stuff now)

5. Feel tired at 5 pm after the lecture (and DONUTS!) but force myself to slog it till 8 pm?
(ha! 5 pm means only 45 mins to go. Time to go online and browse!!)

6. Get home at 8:30 pm; throw all my stuff around everywhere, switch on re-run of Seinfeld, cook a horrendous meal of dal, rice, and veggies all together in the rice cooker?
(which is why we have a cook, and she made really fantastic stuff last night, with keerai from my own garden; and, TV is very rare now.)

7. Try very hard to read all the stuff I saved up to read over dinner, but finally,
give up?
(still doing this!)

8. Call husband (i.e. the other half of the gene pool) and talk in silences?
(still talking in silences, except without even bothering to call!)

9. Go to bed, mind all disturbed and asking myself the same question "Is there light at the end of the tunnel, really?"
(light was there; and it turned out to be just the entrance to the next tunnel. no problem, tomorrow, as my favourite fictional character is known to say, is another day).

Yeah, how would I do all those things. I dread to think. And I could not have quit, because, you know, I don't do that either. So, onward we move. Onward.

Its better this way. And, after all, I was recently asked if I graduated in 2009 (while in real fact, I graduated in 1995 from here), which means that all said and done the intervening years of: grad school; pregnancy & motherhood; meetings; interviews; breast feeding; conferences; are as if they never really happened, at least not to me.

Tghy THI agoo, to be sure.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Comment Crisis

So there is something absolutely strange going on at work network. Web-pages open. The network connections looks fine. Everything looks kosher. Then when I try to do something active (other than browse), like send emails, comment on blogs, it goes into a weird loop related to the proxy server. I can download content, but I cannot send an email. I have tried all nature of browsers now thinking it was outlook that was a problem or IE (I use a webmail thing on IE or FF for one of my email things); waited patiently for a bit and tried again, but more weird shit happened. Like I would try to open IE (WHY? you ask me. Well I was desperate and had enough of Safari and Opera and I have Firefox configured for another network and don't want to screw it up too much). It wanted to save a page when I tried IE. WTF? What page? I want a browser window dammit.

Anyhow, as a consequence, I am doing only essential stuff at work and I logged on from home to see if I could send out a few emails at least, which were semi-urgent. And yeah, I have not replied to your comments or commented on yours because I can't. Bear with me. I called a guy from the network admin place (I know, dorky, right). He said I am coming right over. That was like a thousand hours ago, you idiot. I did not even get a cup of coffee (anyway was not in the mood, but he does not need to know that) because I feared you would show up when I had gone.

I was just now going nuts as well since the WLAN at home was acting like it had PMS. I mean the signal was okay but no web-page could open. I tried to fix it using their repair thingammy (from Airtel) but it spewed garbage as usual and made me check my phone dial tone one billion times. And there were these green flashing circles all the time going on on the page. Most annoying.

Delhi airport is quite swank, eh? I went in and was thinking I was in LA. They have strollers to tie your kid down into; a kid's play zone; non-stinky, dry-floored bathrooms (which is not what I can say about Chennai. Don't know how we can make a brand new airport bathroom like that), lots and lots of shopping (if so inclined); a nice open structure; enough seating; temperature well maintained (which is not what I can say about, say Frankfurt. Always too damn cold); and at the end of the day what matters is the coffee costs the same as in Chennai (and of course, is almost as bad). Somehow it strongly reminded me of my crazy LA airport thing. You know, when I slept 24 hours straight and almost boarded the wrong flight because I was asleep and just followed some desi-looking critters. Here is what I used when in Delhis IG I Airport:
1. Chairs (nice)
2. Odyssey book store (bought copy of Tehelka; but touched many books)
3. Bathroom (of course)
4. Snooty Coffee place ("Do you have one rupee?" he asked; as he poured a lot of milk into a smidgen of coffee decoction)
5. Boarding gate 14. Which is right after 13. Where a hartal was going on. Which was due to delay of flight. Which in turn was due to late arrival of incoming aircraft. Which in turn was due to late arrival of aircraft incoming to previous location. Which was ultimately traced to the Pilot and Flight attendant indulging in some Mile High Action and forgetting to serve SRK in F-Class; Who in turn was sitting next to Dr.Kalam (unrecognisable as ex-president due to haircut).
5. I religiously stayed 1 m away from anyone who was wearing a green (or any other colour) mask. Even this one tall guy who *might* have been quite cute in a weird kind of perhaps-he-knows-the-password-for-airport-wireless-lan kind of way.

Yeah that is it. I spent two hours in there, wondering about the guy and the lan and cursing the coffee and generally working on this beautiful, dainty little machine, i.e. my Vaio (Hope it heard me and will succumb to the sucking up).

The homies were at a party when I returned to Chennai, and I hopped over too. Was nice to drink a beer and sort of calm down after the trip. Monster fell asleep at their place and we had to carry her which meant that the husb. carried her and I therefore carried his awful laptop bag, my TUMI on my back, the monster's school backpack, her after-school bag, and her sandals. Well, only up to the car, but still I hate having to have anything to do with his laptop bag. But a girl gotto do what she gotto do.

Monday, 17 August 2009

Mental Gymnastics

Considering my small frame, I was an ideal candidate for gymnastics. My school was generally into several sporty things. We always had a decent cricket (boys) and athletics (boys and girls) team. There was basketball coaching, invariably. A long drawn out sports tournament every year, with teams across three classes and sufficiently large number of games all around. Formats were changed often but finally we all got plenty of games and matches and races through the year.

I used to be a sniffly, weak little thing early on in my school years. Extremely tiny to boot. I am convinced that I had won the third price in Potato race in V std (or thereabouts). But the guy who was judging (a family friend's son), I still strongly feel, cheated me out of it. I went crying to my dad (who taught next door) and to date the family brings this up every time we have company in an attempt to embarrass me (BTW, dad laughed and narrated the story like a joke and did nothing). I suppose I owe it to that guy, my determination to do well in sports and there needed to be no doubt in later years as to who won the race. Except one year when I won the 100m by a lot and had the cheek to turn around and look at the rest of the crowd behind me (hey, I was twelve or thirteen years old). My dad gave me a piece of his mind then (he was invited there to hand over our medals that day; would not have bothered to come to just see me run!) and I felt severely apologetic about it, later.

And when I was in VII standard, the school decided to introduce the wonderful world of gymnastics to us. I LOVED it. We would bring out these nasty mattresses and lay them all down in a long line and go 'flip flip flip' down it, the whole length. I learned a whole bunch of things, we had the horse too in the school (No rings). Then some of us were invited to go to the local physical education training institute to practice some more. I felt so damn honoured! My friends and I would cycle over to that place, right by the railway track, and spend hours learning back flips and hand stands and combinations and what have you. Every free hour in school we would be flipping. We would wear our sports shorts under our uniform skirt all through the year. My mum would be horrified when it was summer, but we did not care, it was plenty of fun. Then suddenly one day I just stopped. Gave it up. I still play around a bit and do a partial cartwheel to amuse a child or something, but just stopped the whole thing. Why? Because my BFF and I felt that the coach was being particularly partial to the older girls, you know, the ones with boobs. And we were definitely better than them (we were minuscule and perfectly flexible; had no interest in boys or anything so could dedicate much free time to practicing; of course we were better!). Anyway we gave it up entirely and went off to basketball instead. School days are great, you feel so invincible, and 'whole life is ahead of me' types.

Yesterday I came back from my run (at a really odd time - NOON. Yeah I know, its madness) and found a daughter dressed in:
Red Pants & Yellow Tshirt (a dull shade, both, not as Govinda as you would imagine it to be). I nearly fell down the stairs. Of course I assumed that the husband dressed her, he has this way of managing to bulldoze her into doing what he wants her to. I launch into all explanations (too hot for pants; cannot wear Polyester in Chennai; need sleeves as the place will be cold, etc. She counters all my arguments with some of her own, my brain flips out inside my skull, I swear). But apparently she said 'Today I feel like dressing like a boy' & picked those clothes herself.

Oh well. At least thats 1 day in nearly 2000 days of existence that she has felt like her mother. Who used to peel off her uniform skirt; tuck the shirt into the shorts; and go 'Flip Flip Flip' through the school corridors sometimes.

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Rain Ruined Morning

Its a good thing when it rains here. Its a splendid thing, in fact. Yesterday was SO hot that some rain today is definitely not amiss at all. So, last night when I woke briefly at 3:30 (why? why does this happen to me?) and realised it was raining, I was partially happy. Partially. Because we had planned to run early this morning, and if it was raining at that time it was unlikely to be dry enough for it. Not that we have not gone in the rain before, we have. I don't run in the rain in Mumbai, because that is sort of too much volume, but Chennai rains are nowhere near as ferocious. They are mild younger sisters (like me). So yeah, have run in Chennai rains before.

Woke up bright in the morning. Took my stuff out of the bedroom (so as to not disturb my sleeping homies). Brushed. Boiled Milk. Made coffee. Opened out new coffee. Pondered on how to get in touch with ludwig, considering his phone situation. Guns and I exchanged several messages and calls. Some more messaging. Put in the insert in the soles that I bought in the US in May. Its supposed to provide support for my arches (I have flat feet, and pronate a bit). We were going to run long so I figured its time to use it. I changed into my running shorts and tee. Checked myself out in the bathroom mirror (by the process of standing on a little step stool) to see if my tummy was showing (We don't have a dresser or a long mirror, somehow never bothered about it). Examined my bra to see if it had lost any elasticity. It had not, so it saved me the bother of walking back up to the bedroom. I pottered. Read a page of Harry Potter too, while at it. Wore my garden chappal and tested the road and looked knowingly at the sky (looked super dark and cloudy and belched out a few thunders and lightnings while I was doing that).

Finally, cancelled the run. Guns has ominously declared 'I am going back to sleep now, we can run sometime during the day' Its unlikely to work for me. I have duties. Plus the child to hang with. Plus some work which I am unlikely to get to do. Veggie shopping. Cook has declared herself sick (I don't believe her) but that means, cooking. Did I say I love cooking? I do. But my repertoire is shrinking. Which is fine since the husband is just awesome that way. He likes simple foods with lots of coloured vegetables thrown in. I am good at making that. There is some satisfaction in seeing food that I cooked fully consumed and the dish relinquished to the sink. This was last night.

So what if I could not run as planned today? I relaxed, checked my emails. Read a few blog posts. Hung out downstairs, amazed at how dark the sky is (still). The maid showed up. I know I should get up and sort through the piles of puzzles and books the monster has left in her wake. I know I should do something about Independence Day. Should Go Now. As In Now.

Thursday, 13 August 2009

I am here


In bullet points:

* Swine flu alerts everywhere. Local store out of hand sanitizer. Interesting experience trying to buy a mask from a person wearing a mask (I could not hear a word of what she was muttering). No, am not wearing a mask or anything.

* Laptop is dying. In reaction to the burning printer. Yes, I had a printer connected to my laptop. The printer burned. With smoke. I suppose it burned parts of the laptop with it. I have backup. I think.

* I don't have a desktop at work, which means that even if the school & creche were not closed, I would have to be home since I don't have a computer to work on at work (nice sentence eh?)

* Fucking Sony service store. I called. Idiot woman mutterred something and asked me to go to the service center. I said, the one in Adyar? Yes, she seemed to mutter. Except that that stupid store is closed today for Krishna Jayanthi, formerly known as Janmashtami (like blog, mind too has to make the Mumbai->Chennai transition). Ok, I am cussed out I suppose.

* Lab at 2; class at 4:45; child still eating spoon#2 of lunch.

To put it mildly, I cannot wait for the weekend. Which I hope brings something in the nature of relief.