Monday, 21 May 2012

Everything nice and not so mice

It's been ages since I wrote about the kids. On the surface there is nothing much to write about them…nothing worth noting down anyway. Yeah they are growing ….too fast in my opinion and behaving like teenagers even though they have more than a couple of years to reach there.

If you ask me ‘what are they doing right now????’ I don’t have to look to see what they are upto…..I can tell you just like that. They are arguing.....most of the time they are at it……

You did.

I did not.

I saw you.

You did not.



I am notttttt.

Cry baby.

Stopppp ittttt!!!!!!!


Similar phrases in varying tones can be heard throughout the day. And it continues into the night. They are at it even in their sleep. Honest I heard them.

I’m so grateful to the Great Sages who invented schools.

But most schools here wind up before 1pm.

I threaten them with boarding schools.

They suggest Malory Towers and St. Clares and look at me very hopefully. 

I know I’m rambling but thats because I desperately trying to recall some worthwhile things to write about them. 

Meanwhile posting some pictures about ‘things’ they do in the little time they are not sparring with eachother.....

Background for a science project
Nikita's class were divided in groups to make models for a science project. Her group was given the subject 'Sustainable energy' and it was Nikita's job to provide the background. We were not pleased that she had to do this when her unit tests were going on and so she did it all very quietly so as to not aggravate us further. Secretly her father & I were impressed, we hung around waiting for her to ask for help & very 'reluctantly' helped her stick it all on the board with super glue. I deliberately flattened those windmills down so that you could take a good look at it;-P.

They draw very rarely nowadays;-(
The kids got diaries with locks from their aunt. They were very thrilled and spent a lot of time decorating the first page with their names and such. I could see Nikita writing in it and keeping it away carefully. Then one day she asks.....

Nikita: What exactly is one supposed to write in a diary???
Mama: Anything you want.
Nikita: Should I write everyday??
Mama: If you want.
Nikita: Can I write about something what happened 2 years back???
Mama: What happened two yrs back????
No, nothing I’m just asking.
Yes you can write about anything……time doesn’t matter.
Can I write about sad things????
What sad things???
Nothing happened*exasperated* I’m just asking whether I should write only about the happy things which happen to me or also the sad stuff.
I told you, you can write about anything…….happy, sad, ordinary, special, feelings, anything…
Mama[cannot help herself]: What sad things?????
Nikita: Nothing Mama, I was just asking*walking away*.
Mama[calling out anxiously]: Or you can also tell Mama about it.
Nikita*wearily*: That’s what I do…..I tell you first and then write in the Diary.
Then why do you need to lock the diary*finally voicing what was troubling me*
“To keep Naina out” says Nikita grimly.
Naina[8yrs] who was following the conversation avidly grins unrepentantly.
Mama[irritated]: Naina, its bad, BAAD manners, why don’t you write in your own diary instead of reading other peoples’???
Naina[mournfully]: I lost the lock.

Periwinkle Plant
Naina plants a plum seed in an empty pot and waters it diligently everyday.
After a few days Mama brings a small sapling of a flowering plant from the park, plants it in the same pot.
“Oh shoot, Naina planted a seed in that, she's going to make my life miserable" thinks Mama tiredly.
Naina comes back from school and “Mama, Chechi LOOOOOK………my plum seed has sprouted….YAAAAAYAYAAY”.
Mama gets a few months reprieve.

Fridge magnets made by them & an old poloroid picture
[Last night at the dining table]
Naina: what is the meaning of ‘seer’????

Mama: Sear means like burn or scorch.

Naina: No not tht sear, s-e-e-r seer???

Mama: Ah ok, that seer is a person who can prophecy, who can tell what's going to happen in the future.

After a minute….

Naina:  I think I have got all the makings of a true seer.*

Nikita[under her breath]: Ohhhh puh-leeese.

Mama[looking impressed]: Really!!!!

"Yes, I can tell the future" Naina waves her fork grandly.

Father: Can you forsee the punishment you’ll get if you don’t finish what’s on your plate in 5 minutes????

Nikita guffaws.

Mama looks reproachfully at Papa.

Naina who took a few seconds to understand the nuances of that statement, prudently decides to use the fork to finish her spaghetti.

Click & enlarge to read a newspaper report
Please ignore all grammatical & spelling mistakes.....Nikita is not usually so careless, the only explanation I can offer here is that I think she wrote it very fast. Now one word… particular word on the board, referred to Naina in a manner she found offending. She pleaded with her sister to remove it but Nikita didnt budge. Finally Naina resorted to sneaking into the room when Nikita wasn’t there, rubbed out the offending word and substituted it with princess/ beautiful girl/ intelligent human being and such-like, then tiptoed away. When she went back into the room later, it would have magically reverted back to the original word. Then she would repeat the process all over again. This went on till the father came back from his trip & put Naina out of her misery;-D. 

Book-mouse. Ever heard of this word??? I heard it for the first time last week. Nikita showed me a "How to make a Book-Mouse" article in a Tom & Jerry comic book and talked excitedly about making them. She launched into a loooong explanation which I listened with half a ear smiling at her enthusiasm. Book-mouse is a mouse made of clay with a long tail which served as a book-mark and....*didnt hear* have to give me a string.....and...*didnt hear*...I'm going to make them. Is that alright with you Mama????

Sure, I'm okay. are the best Mama in the whole world!!!!

Children, I shake my head. It takes so little to make them happy. I hunt for a string for the tail. 

She comes back in no time with a book-mouse in hand.

"It's nice" I make all the right noises, very carefully not touching the mouse.

"Isn't it??? Now let's bake it." says Nikita.

"Whaat" I look up confused.

"Haven't you been listening to anything I said????" demands Nikita.

I fidget guiltily.

"We have to bake this mouse to harden it. I told you."

Realisation dawns. 

"No baking mice in my oven." I say firmly.

"Mammaaa" wails Nikita.

"I'm not going to waste energy for a little thing like that. Why don't you dry it in the sun. It may take longer but it will have the same effect."

"Okay then I'll make some more of them, I have to make some for my friends anyway. If I make say, 10 of them will you bake it then"

I stare in horror. I couldn't get myself to imagine baking 1 mouse let alone a dozen of them.

I know they are fake. But Urrrrgghhhh.......No Way.

After 1/2 an hour of pleading Nikita goes away in a huff & places them on the balcony. After she leaves, I go there and quickly click a picture. 

I may shrink at the idea of baking mice in my oven but have no qualms about serving it on the blog;-D

p.s: Some of the pictures and the incidents written below it have no connection with eachother. 

* I knew there was something fishy about that sentence. It came to me after a couple of is lifted out of a Harry Potter book;-/.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Piece of Mind

The shifting saga is not over yet. I searched my mind for some other interesting story to tell you but the mind remains stubbornly blank. Well I can’t blame my mind also… has never in its life ‘shifted’ anywhere and the upheaval caused by the move cannot be glossed over.

See, my mind is a creature of habit.

It hates change.

Because it is a creature of habit.

I already said that???

I apologise, please go easy on it.


My mind, I’m talking about my MIND.

It’s still living in the past.  For instance as soon as we get out of the lift it persists in turning right instead of left simply because for the past 12 years it has been turning right to reach home. It[my mind, my MIND] also directs my hand to reach for certain ingredients in the kitchen at odd places, in short wastes so much of my time. It’s almost one month since we moved in but my poor little mind still lives in my old apartment.

Me, I’m beginning to like my new home now and see potential and possibilities.  The first 2 weeks were terrible but now I’m much more relaxed. Down to the last 3 unopened cartons you see.

You still have cartons to open?????

Yeah *shamefaced* but only 3-4 of them. See the problem with me is that I’m easily distracted…….for me each carton was like Pandora’s Box. One could never predict what one would find in them. Some of the things, I hadn't seen in years. And totally evil stuff. The carton with books were the worst….and it's not just me, each of us would pause on the books we liked, then slowly wander away from the unpacking scene to sit down and read. 

Once the books were given their due the photo albums demanded their share of attention. The kids were so thrilled to go through the pictures of their babyhood[I had stashed them away for safety reasons…like sticky fingers] and I had to explain the circumstances under which each picture was taken. Not a single picture reflected tranquillity you see and so couldn't blame them for demanding explanations. After we finished with that, came the carton with my puzzles.

Jigsaw puzzles.

It was like meeting up with old friends. I don’t know if I’ve ever told you but next to my love for reading comes my fascination with Jigsaws. When the kids are busy checking out the latest toys in a Toy Store I can usually be found in the aisle where the Jigsaw puzzles are kept. I’ll not be joking if I said I can spend hours looking through the choices the store has and finally even if the kids didn’t choose anything I would have picked up a puzzle pack. The more the number of pieces in the puzzle the more I am entranced. The better-half never understood my fixaton with them.  When I edged towards the cash counter he would give me that ‘Not another one’ look and I would pretend not to notice and march off with my jigsaw pack safely cradled in my arms.

Now interest is one thing and the ability to put them together another.

No doubt I’m a passionate Jigsaw puzzle devotee but I lack the dedication to see it through. I certainly begin well; the initial 100 pieces are pieced together in a matter of hours. I would be at it whenever I had some time to spare and even manage to complete the puzzle say 70% of it within weeks. Then I get stuck. The main culprit is usually the sky or the sea and sometimes it’s both. Darkness and shadows are other terrible images to put together. Days stretch into weeks and weeks into months. Soon the pieces would find their way into the kitchen and onto the balcony. Some of them even hide themselves in the vacuum cleaner. The worst is that the better-half is the one who always finds them.

I would wince inside when he stood in front of me with a piece [which he would have fished out of don’t ask where and dammit how is it that only he finds them] and not say a single word.

After a few repeated confrontations like the above I would admit defeat and mournfully bundle up all the pieces back into its covers and pack it away safely.

You’d think I’d have learnt my lesson but no, within a few months I’d buy another pack and go through the whole ringamole once again. The thing is, everytime I pick up a new pack I convince myself that this time I’ll definitely complete it.

Truth be told I have completed many but the plain fact is that I have more incomplete stuff to my credit.

Like I said the sky and the sea just scramble my mind. After working on it for a few weeks my mind starts turning everything into a jigsaw. Anything I’m looking at sort of form into odd shaped pieces and start piecing themselves together. Just like how tetris blocks keep falling everywhere you look…ermmm tetris addicts will know what I’m talking about.

One fine day I made a decision to stop buying until I finished the previous. It was hard but I kept my word, to myself. I still went and examined all the new puzzles in the store and studied the pictures and dimensions very carefully but did not buy. Though I was totally convinced that ‘this one’ is something I can definitely complete.  

Aah well, old stories….

Wait, why did I bring that up now when I was talking about unpacking???

Because I’m back at it again. This time with a new purpose. See I got this brilliant idea, some of my walls were looking so bare so I thought I’ll piece together these puzzles, get them framed and put them on the wall. Howzattttt!!!!!

Here are a few I've been working on….

It all started when the kids took this puzzle to fix and asked me to help I ofcourse couldn't resist. I was so rusty initially that I mourned the loss of my jigsaw piecing skills. But like we never forget how to ride a bicycle I got back into rhythm after sometime. Together we fixed the puzzle in one day and were very thrilled with ourselves ‘Hmmmmm, haven’t lost my touch*pat, pat went my hand on my back*’. But it was just a 300 piece puzzle I cautioned myself.

The Road to the Sea
The kids then took this one out with the same enthusiasm but soon gave up as a 1000 piece puzzle was a different ballgame altogether. They compensated by picked out the edges, the sea and the sky and helped me a lot. I fixed the houses, the path and the greenery in 4-5 days and then took more than 1 week to put the sea and the sky together. Just look at it......the sea and the sky I mean, just pieces and pieces of light blue and dark blue. It was really tough but I made it. The satisfaction I got cannot be explained. Because this was one of the incompleted puzzles which I left half-way a year or so back, convinced that the sky and sea were inpiecable[if there is a word like that] by a normal human being. The better-half was impressed, not that he told me so in words but I could make out;-D.

Puppies in the wooden Box
Now this one is one of my oldest and a favourite. I have pieced it together more than once. I have this one memory of this puzzle. Almost 10 yrs ago when I first attempted the picture I started with the puppies first…..after a lot of trial and error I pieced together all the 6 puppies and found that I still had bits and pieces of puppy nose and paws and whiskers left. I simply couldn’t imagine why these extra pieces were there in the pack. I then pieced together the wooden chest and the fabric hanging behind the puppies. When I was nearing the end I found a gaping hole next to the 6th puppy from the right. And what do you know, all those extra pieces came together to form a tiny 7th puppy in the corner. It was such a lovely surprise and I still remember my excitement at piecing together something which wasn’t even there in the picture. 

Machu Picchu - 3000pcs
A few years back my brother-in-law was going to Singapore/Malaysia and I asked him to get me a puzzle pack from there. You see I had heard about and even seen some beautiful puzzle packs from there, especially the famous paintings from the bygone[Renaissance, etc] era which were promoted as puzzles. So I explained in detail what I wanted and he said he knew all about it. Then he comes back and gives me what I still think is the largest and the most complicated one. I took it out just once but kept it back within days. It was working out to be bigger than my dining table. And the bil got what he wanted, I never asked him for anything again.

The Castle - 2000pcs
I am now occupied with the above. Like the earlier one, I had attempted this one too a few years back and had given up half-way. I know it’s not going to be easy, for this one has double the pieces, the sky & forest are already giving me the creeps. But the confidence I gained after completing ‘Road to the Sea’ is something else. Makes me feel very optimistic:-).

The mind is a strange thing......whenever I'm doubtful it keeps spurring me on.  Like Buddha says "The mind is everything. What you think you become". But he wouldn't have ever thought it would get twisted this much out of context;-).