Monday, 22 March 2010

Just some random kids' stuff

Naina: Mama I had a nighmare last night.

Mama looks at her concerned.

Naina: Mama, do u know what a nightmare is???

Mama: Yes i know, shall I explain???

Naina: Ofcourse I know what it is, I wanted to know if u knew.

Mama looks irritatedly at the all-knowing 6 yr old who thought her mother didnt knw the meaning. Nikita snickers, understanding her mothers indignation very well .

Mother[a bit worried now]: Tell me wht u nightmared about


Ma: Why, why cant u tell me...was it so terrible?????

Naina: No no it was a nice nightmare.

I wish I had one of those eyes rolling emoticons to express my feelings. I didnt ask further abt the nice nightmare since I knew for sure it would be a long-winded description of a prince who fought off demons to win her hand and they lived happily ever after;-/

Nikita goes for Arabic tuitions but Naina doesnt but she needs to learn too. Since Naina just needed to know the basics I ask Nikita to teach her. Nikita doesnt show the slighest interest. So to awaken Nikita's interest I tell her that just like how I pay Sabha didi[Arabic tuition teacher] to teach u, I'll pay u to teach Naina.

Now Nikita is interested. And we agree she'll get Dhs.10 per month if she taught Arabic to Naina. So she starts to teach Naina...soon Naina is not very happy at her sister's bossy ways and refuses to learn under her guidance. Nikita is depressed and approaches me for a solution.
I tell her "If u want the 10dhs u must find some way to make her learn".

After a while I find both of them peacefully doing Naina's arabic lessons. I was impressed with Nikita's capabilities and curious. Later I ask her how she managed to get Naina to sit thru

She replies sheepishly "I told her I'll give her half of what I get if she allows me to teach her"

If  I have 7 oranges in 1 hand and 9 in the other what do I have???? asks Naina to her sister.

Mama who overheard this was very happy that her children were studying even before she told them to take out their books. "My children are growing up and recognise their responsibilities" she thinks fondly and moves closer to listen to the answer.

"It means u have very large hands" Nikita answers and both fall back onto the couch and laugh gleefully.

They were quizzing eachother from a Tom & Jerry jokebook;-/

After 45 minutes of heightened activity I order the kids to take a break from the wild games they were playing. So they flop down on the floor and rest.

After 2 minutes.....

Naina: Its so boring

1 minute later..

a deeeeep sigh indicating boredom

after a minute

Naina: "I wish we had 2 brothers."

Nikita nods understandingly while Mama raises eyebrows

Nikita: We could name them Phineas and Ferb

Mama: Huh!!!!

Naina: Havent u seen their cartoon??? For them "there is no such thing as an ordinary day"

I looks up & silently thank the good Lord. Our days are extraordinary enough without adding 2 boys & creating bedlam

Nikita: Or I wish we had 10 sisters...then we could be the 12 dancing princess.

Mama[gets up agitatedly]: U two have too much free time in ur hands. Go get your holiday homework both of U.....NOW.

Nikita is engrossed in a book & I make the mistake of passing by...

Nikita: Ma, can u scratch over here please......[pointing to the portion between the 2nd and the 3rd toe]

...not there, a little bit to the left, no no a bit lower

....higher, higher

Nikita[exasperatedly]: uff not like that........u r so old, its high time u learned how to follow instructions[in the same tone we use to tell her off;-/]

In normal households mothers will sit their children down gently, point to a globe or an Atlas and tell them about different places and facts abt the world. In our household.......

Location: Bathroom

Activity: One of the kids will be sitting on the pot to pee

Mama[impatiently]: Finished???

Child: Not yet

Mama: I dont have the whole day, I've got work to do

Child: Its on its way.

but even after 30 seconds..... nothing

Mama: U r not doing potty are u???

Child: No Ma..I just need to pee

Mama[at the end of her tether]: How long doesn it take to pee??? Anybody will think its coming from the Himalayas???

Child[interestedly]: Himalayas???? Where is that???

Mama: Himalayas are mountains found in the northern most parts of India................detailed explanation follows.

And this is how they learnt about Africa, Australia, China, Sahara Desert, River Thames, the Ganges........

To keep them out of my hair I organised a story-writing competition and this is what Naina wrote...

One day when it was snowing Tom went out to post a letter he saw an enormous sight. He saw a bundle of cats sitting on chairs and it looked just like a party. He began to join in but the cats pushed him out and Tom became very sad.
Then Tom had an idea. He went to them and said " Please" and the cats said ok.

Moral of the story: Always say please before doing or taking something.

;-D.......dont miss the words in italics; incase u r wondering Nikita didnt have the patience & gave up half-way.


The Final exams are finally over and the kids have 1 whole month of holidays before they start their next session. I have my hands full and am running around like a hen without a head. Wish me luck.....there's another 3 weeks before school starts.

Monday, 15 March 2010

Please excuse me while I clear my throat

Ever noticed this peculiar habit of mine…everytime I’m sick I take great pleasure in describing my symtoms to you whether you want to hear it or not. As usual it’s my throat the infection attacks; no cold, fever or blocked nose just a throat pain and this irritating need to clear the throat all the time. And ofcourse with the throat rubbed raw the voice sounds like….like…a baritone minus the timbre. Called a restaurant to order some lunch & the waiter eagerly replied "ok sir, I’ll send the order right away". I hadn’t the energy to correct him……clearing the throat every 10 seconds is tiring business you know.

While the better-half was channel-surfing 2 days back I happened to glimpse Usha Uthup & gestured frantically[my throat’s bad remember] at him to stop there. When he looked enquiringly I rasped how I was just thinking about Usha Uthup that afternoon and voila she popped up on tv at night. What an amazing coincidence!!!

“And why were you thinking about Usha Uthup???” asks better-half curiously.
“Oh just this afternoon I was singing this song and thought I sounded like Usha Uthup." I croak airily.
 He didn’t say anything and I took it as an invitation to perform.

I clear my throat and croon “Dum maro dummmmmmmaaaaaa…….” and look at him triumphantly.

The better-half looked like he wanted to say something but he knew me too well and the mood I was in…….and quietly changed the channel. I ferociously chomp on some crystallised ginger to ease my urge to chew his head off.


A few days back my mom’s friend calls from Bangalore and tells me she was going on a trip to Holleyland and wanted to visit us on her way back from there.

I was like “Eh, I’ve heard of Disneyland and Al Naser Leisureland….….but what is this place you are talking about………..oooohhhh you mean Hollywood”

She was like “No, no Hollyland”

And then it clicked, she was talking about going on a trip to HolyLand…....about visiting Jerusalem, Israel and other places where Jesus lived and preached.

The better-half who understood immediately was laughing at my bewilderment. Ignoring the ruckus behind me I got into my best host-mode and croaked “You are welcome to visit us anytime Aunty, we’ll take care of everything. You just tell us the date and flight timings”

“Oh I know you don’t have any problems about me visiting you, just thought I’ll warn you I’m bringing 4 friends along with me” replied Aunty blithely.

A fit of coughing attacked me and I limply gave the phone to the better-half who also didn’t find it quite funny anymore. Entertaining 5 old ladies for a week was no joke, was it;-D


Surfing thru the channels uninterestedly I chance upon a pretty looking starlet mouthing a long dialogue. I paused to listen and was thinking to myself that if she was the heroine then how is that I haven’t seen her around before. The actor facing her trying to look suitably puzzled asks “I don’t understand what you are trying to say, Nancy” and I knew immediately that she could be essaying any role but the main role.
No character named Nancy in a movie ever had a leading role. If it is a Malayalam movie all Nancys' were the hero’s sister or friend who either had a dreaded disease or got raped in the middle of the movie. If it is a Hindi movie she probably was the vamp who performed 1 cabaret song and died[from a gunshot] immediately afterwards and if its an English movie she usually is the housekeeper or a lawyer.

"Why couldn’t my parents have named me with more thought? Why couldn’t they have named me Meghana or Nidhi or Niveditha….I soo like those names." muttering to myself I make a mental note to tackle my mother about it when I next speak with her.

I'll get off here and let you watch Usha Uthup singing "Dum Maro Dum Aaaaa"…….I quite enjoyed watching her after a looong time;-D

p.s: Ummm....I may have exaggerrated a bit here and there but don’t waste precious time wondering what the post was all about. Most people rest when they dont feel well but I get all charged up and attack. I was not at all in the mood to blog today but somehow if I don’t put up atleast 1 post a week…I feel guilty. You see, I love to pretend that all of you miss me. Now if anybody wants to disagree with me, feel free…..I’m just spoiling for a fight.

Monday, 8 March 2010

How Blogging helps me…

It’s been a mere 2+ years but it seems like I’ve been blogging for ever. Blogging has taken over my life in such a way that I now look at my life in 2 categories; Life before My Blog and Life after My Blog. *And my subconscious produces an image of my better-half looking at me incredulously* well ok I’m kidding but you know what I mean, right!!!!

When I think about the person I was before I started blogging and how I am now……nope, I’m not going to say I’m a completely changed person but there’s definitely been a difference. And I proudly list them out below:

Blogging has resulted in Improved Writing: Initially I started out writing for myself and so didn’t bother too much about legibility, syntaxes or continuity. But gradually the fact that many people were reading my posts started to dawn and that did make a difference to my writing. I became more careful about how I presented my subject and tried hard to bring clarity in my thoughts which I feel has resulted in improved writing; I can’t say for sure though, the only person who can tell me that is YOU.

Blogging made me more focused: I used to be somebody who had problems concentrating on a task to the finish but blogging is something I have not tired of even after 2 years. I pride myself on the fact that I complete what I start…..all my posts have concluding paragraphs don’t they???? Infact I never realized how much patience I had until I clicked NO on the word document I wrote on Global Village & watched the whole post disappear into nothing. I put my head down and wept. Unlike most posts which come out of my head, I had gone thru a hundred links for this one. I sat down the next day again, hunted out all those links and wrote the whole post painstakingly from scratch. I don’t ever remember putting in this much effort even for school exams.

Blogging helped me accept compliments more gracefully: I can’t pinpoint exactly what it is but compliments make me uncomfortable. Say for eg, somebody complimented me on a particular dish I made I would go all flustered and immediately explain that the vegetables were really fresh, how the masala was handground and brought all the way from Kerala and thats why it was so good. The better-half would time and again tell me there was no need to go into long-winded explanations and just accept the compliments at face value. When I started getting compliments for the posts I wrote, for a long time I never really believed them. I would scrutinize the post and shake my head in wonder; they made me feel happy ofcourse but I thought all of U were being kind. Gradually the realization dawned that people would not keep coming back again and again if they didn’t like they were reading. Now I have begun to accept them gracefully both here and in life.

Blogging helps me with my children: I never interacted with small children in my teenage years; infact I remember deliberately keeping my distance from them. When I had 2 kids of my own I’m not going to say I was awful at child rearing but reading many mama blogs gave me innovative ideas how to keep them occupied, make interesting snacks they’d like to eat and helped me reach them at their wavelength. Inshort blogging about my children, their perspectives and inturn receiving valuable input & compliments from ALL of you boosted my knowledge and confidence.

Blogs keep me updated: There are days when I don’t watch the news on tv or read newspapers. But reading blogs really help me keep up with both technology and current affairs. And the links provided at these places give me all the information which I’m sure I would not get in any newspaper.

People & accomplishments: Reading about ordinary people & their extraordinary achievements always leave me inspired. There is something about reading it in blogs….sort of makes it more real than reading what is written rather dryly in the papers.

And finally….

Blogging is restorative: Honestly in many ways it’s been rather therapeutic for me. Blogging about people, places and Pluto myself really helped me express myself & in some vague yet definite way I’ve learned to appreciate the few redeeming qualities I have. Now if I weren’t blogging imagine how much I would have had to shell out for a psychologist to arrive at the same conclusion;-D.

Now you tell me, how has blogging proved beneficial for you?????

Monday, 1 March 2010

Every Woman is Special!!!!

Butterfly, Lakshmi and Varsha tagged me to write something for International Womans Day on March 8th. I racked my brains the whole day to write appropriately and went to the main site to check their rules when I saw that the contest was ending the same day. I gratefully grabbed the straw and decided it was not possible to do justice at such short notice.

Contest or no contest the thought refused to go away, I idly googled for information and International Women's Day website said
“International Women's Day (8 March) is a global day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future.”
The difficulty was that I personally didn’t know anybody who matched this description and just as suddenly it hit me how blind I was. I was searching far and wide for inspiration when one of my closest friend’s life-story was something which always touched me.

We were a group of eight in college and Chaitra and I were part of this big noisy party. As years passed the numbers dwindled and it became a smaller group of 5. Chaitra and I were the only ones who took English literature and so it was not so strange that we became very firm friends by the end of our college-days.

Immediately after college she found a job in an educational centre and soon found a vacancy for me in the same place and our friendship only became stronger. She was a very good-looking girl, looked years younger & one could always find boys hanging around wherever she went. But she was much more than a pretty face; even in the early days of college she was determined to make something out of her life. But a bit confused, I felt or else why would she have gotten out of one broken relationship to jump straight into another. I didn’t approve at all but stood by her when she had to take the extreme decision to go against her parents’ fierce disapproval and marry the boy. I remember shaking in my boots when she dragged me to her parents’ house after her wedding as she couldn’t face them alone. Her mother broke down and demanded why I as her best friend couldn’t have advised her against the relationship. I felt terribly guilty then as I too felt my friend who had everything going for her could have waited for better things.

Everything which had to go wrong went haywire after marriage. Her father-in-law who was a strong support passed away, her parents refused to forgive her for going against their wishes and she found herself pregnant earlier than she planned. She had a terrible delivery and swore she was never going to put herself thru that ordeal again. All her dreams of climbing the corporate ladder fell thru when she was forced to leave her job after her child was born. Her mother-in-law made her life miserable and to top it she had put on so much weight after the delivery that her self-esteem fell. Imagine almost 80kgs on a 5’2 frame…….she once told me in tears how she hated looking at herself in the mirror. It was a hopeless situation, I remember thinking.

Once the initial shock of being confronted with one bad thing or the other passed, she grimly charted out a stringent plan. She was determined not to let circumstances over-whelm her. Her 1st objective was to lose weight; she joined a gym and under the guidance of a trainer exercised single-mindedly and ate all the right food. She lost all the pregnancy fat and achieved her objective in just 6 months flat and never slipped again. Next she looked for a job and found one after a lot of effort[nobody was keen to hire a new mother you see] and stuck thru it even though it was not what she was looking for as she needed the experience it offered.

Meanwhile the situation at her in-laws place where she stayed with her husband was deteriorating from bad to worse. She received absolutely no support from anybody and her husband had his own constraints. The biggest blow was when they were asked to leave the parents home and told to manage on their own when they didn’t have the means to do so. Her husband who part-managed the family business till then was suddenly out in the cold.

I can only imagine what my friend must have gone thru. She by nature is a private person and did not make friends very easily. She never let me know anything[I’m here in Dubai remember] and filled me in only when I went home for vacation. Not that I would have been of much help but atleast I could have lent her some support.

She was shattered but didn’t break; they moved into a small house near her parents house[by now her parents were on speaking terms with her] and she entrusted her son to her mother for the time she was away at work. Her parents were not very happy about it and shouldered the responsibility reluctantly . Chaitra knew about her parents reservations but couldn’t afford to let her pride talk so she pretended not to notice…..atleast her son was in the hands of somebody she could trust.

The next few years brought many life-defining moments both happy and sad and she took them all in her stride. She worked hard and learnt from her mistakes. Breaking away from the family proved to be a blessing in disguise. Her husband who had a casual attitude towards life woke up to his responsibilities; what’s more, recognized her for the woman she was and provided her with all support.

Now I marvel when I look at her. She is a poised and confident woman; nobody believes it when she says she has a 9yr old son. She stood by her mother when she underwent an open heart surgery and helps her father out financially. She is her parents’ strongest support, an irony really as all their life her parents were pinning all their hopes and aspirations on their son and sidelining her. As of now she is working for Dell as their ‘Regional Sales Manager’ and has 45 employees reporting to her. Need I say anything more???? And oh she won the 'Best employee of the year' 2 times consecutively.

I am so proud of her, my heart sort of swells when I think of her and always remember her when I need motivation. In the end I didn’t have to go far at all to find a woman who inspired me….she was there all the while, just within my little world’s reach.

This world is filled with amazing women like Chaitra who is somebody’s mother, daughter or wife. I am so glad she is my very good friend.