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).


choxbox said...

(is that a nonsense word?)

and have you taught her i willilish i wallolosh yet?

choxbox said...

and LOLing @ 'after washing their hair'!

kbpm said...

yes, its nonsense enough!

You know chox, we have sung willish a few times several years ago. And then, her teacher sang it in school and monster SO PROUD to be the only one who could parse through to the sensible part. i mean, at least the part that is in human language. (surprised you still remember it, anyway I was not the only mad creature, all of us were like that, na).

Serious Lounger said...

kewl, the seal pup calls me a bad appa and a big bloody pest.. now beat that :D :P..

dipali said...

Such fun! I love 'I willilish' too:)
Smashing memories, Kenny!

choxbox said...

kenny: yup the MQ was the highest ever in that bunch! still is no?!

MQ: madness quotient.