Friday, 24 September 2010

back on popular demand

sean connery as james bond. i used to like him a whole lot. in fact, when i was in edinburgh back in 2000, i walked around the whole city and stood in front of a door that they claimed was his house and said in a heavy whisper (to myself, was alone) 'sean connery's house' Of course later, i saw the saturday night live segment wherein he is represented saying 'famous titties' in his characteristic slurring speech and laughed my guts out and did not think of him with that awed, half-whispering type tone anymore. human being, after all. not a god. (after watching The Rock so many times - dont blame me, alongside Conair and The hunt for red october, its a favourite of Mr.DeathGripOnRemote also known as my husband).

whats up ladies and gents?
have no idea what i am talking about? thats fine, thats fine, dont worry. its just words, flowing out like endless rain.

one time when dad was ill with some spitting type infection of the throat, the doc said, just have a few cups to spit into so you dont have to get up and go to the (wet) bathroom every single time and tire yourself out. so we asked my cousin, the big hairy bear of a cousin of mine, to go get some paper cups from the little ice cream store nearby (which occasionally had ice cream to sell; but definitely cups in plenty). he came back with about 200 of them, which was fun for me because i was thinking up craft possibilities with paper cups. but mum was damn irritated. what a waste! of money! of paper! she went on for a bit. yeah well, i agree with her now. no one needs 200 paper cups for spitting phlegm. this incident is often referred to in family lore as 'the ice cream paper cup incident'

i have had a lot of phlegm. thankfully, i am not recovering from an open heart surgery (as dad was, at that time of contracting aforementioned infection and sending all of us into a tizzy of worry). so i walk over and pukingly spit into the wash basin in the bathroom. this causes much mirth to the monster. in fact, our leading argument in the past six days has been on the matter of phlegm and spitting. she prefers to make a face and swallow. i spit it out and rinse my mouth with some water. she thinks i am disgusting, i think she is disgusting. and also, incidentally, there is a salty taste in my mouth that has nothing to do with the foods i have been able to eat.

and donald duck. ought to be shot. i mean, i know he is not real. and that he is banned in Finland because he does not wear pants. but please, his voice! i used to like him well enough as a child. a silly sort of duck with cute nephews and that annoying uncle of his. well. and i liked gyro gearloose a lot (what a geek i am!). but the monster has found these clips of the damned duck on youtube some place and insists its super funny and i should watch it. i swear, its the most annoying thing ever. i cannot believe i ever thought chip and dale were cute. squeaky irritants. but better than that damned duck. for sure.

so thats an update of sorts. read a lot of books. mostly, re-read. found many new gems hidden inside the stories that Mr.McCallSmith churns out for me. Wondered if Murakami was going to hit some type of Naipaul-ish big league soon. Considered this and that. Made a bunch of .ppts (black background, white and yellow text). Tracked changes on various students documents and felt proud of myself (!) for my incisive inputs. Got pained with life. Got un-pained with life. Lost, and then gained equilibrium. and now i skip back to my other screen for some text editing.

bye bye for anon, good folk.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

at the fork

trying to decide.

crank a meaningful, soulful, entirely incomprehensible post out for blogger


lie down and (re) read The World According to Bertie


Feck it, I choose the later, bye for now!

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Weekly Round-up

Time hangs heavily in the mornings. I am not running this week. My last run was a fun Marina beach run with the Sudha-Machine. Its a special Chennai Girls (Wimmins) group she has initiated (you are most welcome to join. Sunday mornings at da beach, girls!). So, yes, that was on Sunday. I happened to be feeling light and young that day. I happened to channel a bit of long jump (we used to call it broad jump in school; till someone snigger -ed; Beavis and Butthead style, "Broad. Heh Heh." Anyway I just call it Longg Jump now). I longg jumped over a puddle of rain water. Mounted policemen (Not the Canadian variety, just our local home grown Chennai Police), clapped. I love Chennai Police, not just because of that, but in general, I like them. Chennai Police, if you are reading this, please, can I be your groupie?

"Good Day Gang" the dude on the 8 minute Abs video on Youtube says. I do that routine. I like it. Don't tell me its not effective and all that bull. Its fine. I sleep half an hour extra. Then I check my emails (not that anything earth-shaking has happened overnight, just an obsession). Then abs. Some push-ups. Sometimes, I do nothing, I just loll around, chat with the maid, boil milk on Sim and shocking stuff like that. I know! Whats up with that! Well, circumstances are such that I..Could..Not..Run..This..Week.

No, you silly, its not my period or anything, I totally run through my period, in fact, one can argue that its good for you to do so. Yes, it is, i do argue. I should know. I have done it for years. Played basketball. Check. Run. Check. Longg Jump. Check. More Basketball. Check. Run the Mumbai Half. Double Check. When the last happened two (or was it three) years in a row, my friend remarked, WHAT? You are that regular?

So I am home alone with the monster. This is the reason I cannot run. Mr. Consultant husband is gallivanting, parents-in-law are out visiting their saner children and grandchildren. So its me and her. Which is not as scary as a situation as it used to be in earlier years (not her fault, of course).

We had a reasonably fun week. Tomorrow having been declared a school holiday for Eid.. (yes, yes, Eid Mubaarak; Wishes as appropriate for Ganpati and Vinaayaka Chathurthi and so on).

Monday was the teacher's day thing at school. Much fun was had. Many dreams were dreamed for the country, upon meeting enthusiastic children of the nation. And no, they did not all want to write the JEE. At least not so far.

Tuesday was a regular Blue Uniform School day. Monster attended a work meeting and read Haroun and drank department sponsored Maaza. If I was a bit worried about it all, I hid it well, lets say.

Wednesday was a hectic day with me having an exam to invigilate at 8 am and a show by the monster in the afternoon at her after-school place. She was very cute, but is clearly a geek, no doubt.

Today was a chilled out day where I spent a large fraction of the day walking or driving to and from the coffee place on campus. Monster came to the office in the afternoon but we had to leave soon due to a sudden potty threat.

Tomorrow is, of course another day. As I age, I identify more and more with Ms. O'Hara. Take things a day at a time; I am up for that these days. No more deep planning of the next ten years of my life. In fact, I put all my meetings and stuff on my phone and just wake in the morning and think about things then. The monster is going through a 'boy-phase' as we call it. She is pretending to be a boy. Careful readers of that demi-classic 'Scarlett' will recall that her child is supposed to have somehow morphed into a girl one fine halloween day; a few seconds post-birth. And also that she loves her daughter more than love itself and even good ol' Rhett is second in place to said child. Which may or may not be true in my case.

If I have a vague sense of loneliness, a bit of discomfort, a smidgen of uneasiness at the time I have on my hands because I am not running or cycling to my run or running upstairs post-run to get the child ready for school, and I miss adult company as it were, I manage to keep it at bay. I celebrate it, in fact. And ponder on things with a little less despondency than last week. And wonder how one can:

(a) Find peace amidst noise and chaos (Kumbh Mela, anyone?)
(b) Be lonely in a crowd (I can so do that;

Monday, 6 September 2010

Playing Teacher

Today, I got to play teacher.
I know.
I am that anyway, right.
But I got to play teacher in the monster's school!
I think it was a fantastic idea. For teacher's day.

First, I went to a higher class. I chose the seventh grade. Just so they know a little bit about atoms and molecules and stuff like that. I made them a presentation. Oh! The kids are so enthu! And the duration of the class is so less! Although, it took no time to warm them up. With the surly teenagers that I usually encounter, it takes a while. These pre-teens were awesome! Of course, a few of them tried very hard to ensure that I did not cover any material that would show up on exams; and used age old techniques for time-wasting; the shortest guy in the class chose to sit in the last possible bench, etc. but still, overall fun! I loved it.

Next, I went to the monster's class. This is II Std. The husband also went; in fact, he went ahead. He played around with some math stuff with them. I bet he was a hoot and a hit. The teacher kept saying 'please don't lift up your hand, I feel the fan blades will cut your fingers' this is a good point. I had a friend, a very tallllll friend who cut his fingers on the blades of a fan in a train, once.

I took a bunch of props into the class. I had with me the following-
1. Empty dabba of Pringles sour cream and onion
2. Empty dabba of Pringles original
3. Cardboard carton of Chocos Planets and Stars
4. Blackcurrent flavour Kissan Jam Squeezee
5. Strawberry flavour Kissan Jam Squeezee
6. Act II Popcorn Sachet.

The inspiration for this is a stray conversation I had with the deshvaasi, recently.

"What do you need to make potato chips?" he asked me.

Well: potatoes, oil, salt.

He was trying to get his kid to stop obsessing on Pringles. Which really has some strange things in it.

csm has been shouting this from the rooftops for a while now.

"Watch the damn ingredients"

The kids in II std. did not know the word ingredients. They surely do not what the heck Monosodium Glutamate or Guanylate or INO320 or Red#2 are. I don't either. Hopefully, they will stop wanting to eat foods that contain wierd things such as potato and onion powder. Recently, perakath was talking about EGG powder. What the hell? I used to laugh at the Banana Milk Shake of McDonalds, you know that thing that has never seen a banana. Bananas are ubiquitous, chiquita. Milk, Banana, Sugar, this is all it takes to make Banana Milk Shake. Instead, you use

A Powder That Smells And Tastes Like Banana
Milk Powder
A Sugar-Like Substance

to make Banana Milk Shake.

The advantage is that when you have a nuclear holocaust, while my backyard banana tree will die an ignominious death, a cup of McDonald's Banana Milk Shake will survive. And feed the surviving cockroaches.

I did not talk about this stuff (practice what you preach or teach what you can practice), just the ingredients on those things listed above. Then we sang the Karadi Rhymes song about Sambar.

"Peel the onions, dice them small
Soak tamarind in water thats warm
Cook some dhal and mash it soft
Add some salt and turmeric strong.
Coconut and red chillies
Roast and grind them ever so fine
Add the paste to the dhal to simmer
Onion sambar ready for dinner!"

It was fun, overall. Hopefully it serves my vested purpose, which is to really get my girl to stop eating Kurkure (its the worst offender, really) and Aloo Bhujia. Its hard, this stuff. I don't want to be too crazy strict with these things either, it creates too much friction and on some levels I need the aversion for crap to come from within her and not be imposed by me. I definitely eat Lays Chips sometimes, my favourite flavour is the Sour Cream thing (it has the max. number of crappy things). It definitely hurts my stomach; and coats my tongue with something nasty enough that I don't overdo it or obsess about it. So I would not be able to PREVENT her from EVER eating these things. But, today, she did come back from school and say 'I don't want to eat stuff that has funny numbers as part of the ingredients list.' Lets see, maybe I did a good thing today!

[The teacher LOVED it. She promised to pick up on this theme later in the class]

[In the seventh std. class, one of the kids said, I wish we had not bothered to figure out how to make petrol. The world would have been a cleaner place then. Though it would have been difficult to get to Mahabalipuram!]

Friday, 3 September 2010

Bike Love

I love my bike, in fact, everyone who uses it loves my bike. I am a good sharer. I invite you to ride it. You will love it. The seat is adjustable in height, so even if you are king kong, you should be able to ride it. And yes, my husband does ride it in a reckless, super fast, crazy manner that is particular, I think, to type-A males of all species.

I don't wear a helmet when I ride it. I don't own one.

I don't ride my bike to work. I cite my laptop as the excuse.

I don't ride my bike when there is crazy traffic on the road.

I don't ride the bike to the store because I cannot bring back grocery and the child without spilling one onto the road.

I just don't ride my bike enough!

I wish we were more kind to bicyclists in our country. I wish people would recognise biking as a legitimate means of transport, in our country. I wish people wouldn't honk at me when I am riding. I wish there were bike racks and bike paths and a real biking mafia. I hope you know that it has been my cross-training of choice these past few months, and there is nothing more fantastic than my post-long-run bike-rides back home. And yes, I love riding in the rain, and splashing through puddles, imagining for a second that I am back in school and Honey and I are together, admiring the trees and splashing around with our bikes (Hers a maroon BSA-SLR; mine a red AVON-SLR; back then).

Last week, she (the bike; she is feminine, brown(ish), strong, sturdy, and most of all, a hard-worker) got a nice spiffy overhaul. Her chain, brakes, gears, were all oiled. The loose mud-guards fixed up. I did not do it. I don't pay as much attention to her maintenance as I should. My friend did this for me. I was so taken aback and happy at that.

I have been salivating at the thought of riding it ever since. I eye it with longing every evening and morning when I leave the homestead.

I (feel I am) strong, sturdy, and most of all a hard-worker. I think I occasionally need a spiffy overhaul. I don't think I pay as much attention to maintenance as I should. But I will.

I lead you away from this weird note of mine, to this cute blog post I read today, and in case you don't really want to go there, write down its message for you:

"You'd look hotter in a helmet"

For sure.

Ride safe, people!