Saturday, December 6, 2014

The Ceremonies Begin

Yesterday my mother organised a Puja - the Sunderkaand Paath - since my sister is getting married next week ( Yayyy!). Vijay and I drove all the way to Noida and walked into my Mom's home. I did a double take - there were about 5 elderly men sitting there, none of whom I had ever seen before in my life. Was this wrong house? No. These were just the Pandits. Apparently a couple of them had bailed. This was going to be one heavy puja, I figured. Mom, as usual, had it all under control, floating about in her simple yet elegant green salwar kurta - the arrangements had been made wonderfully, with the furniture removed, sheets laid out on the floor, even a microphone and various other puja paraphernalia laid out and ready.

It began shortly after we arrived. The little booklets with the words to the paath were handed out and for the first few minutes, I was very enthusiastic, singing along and clapping with all my might. My sister, demurely dressed in an orangish Anarkali-type thingy, turned around a couple of times and asked me to cool it, but I beamed at her in the 'Hey, you're getting married and I'm the older sister! If you think this is embarrassing, wait till you see me at the Sangeet!' sort of way. It was a complex message but we've always had a bit of an understanding, so she got it and turned back around with a sigh.

My enthusiasm waned quickly enough. The words were complicated and I kept losing track. Soon I figured that just making loud nasal sounds in the approximate tune also seemed to be working but I tired of that too soon enough. We were sitting in the back of the room and my back was beginning to hurt and Vijay had made himself comfortable by leaning his heavy frame against my shoulder. He whispered to me that he was going into a meditative state, which I assumed meant he was going to sleep now.

The puja went on and on and on. I kept looking at the clock. And then my sister, who looked brave and resigned. And then I saw my mom, who looked at various points - intensely involved, emotional, peaceful but overall, I knew she was happy about this whole thing. I leaned back and tried to meditate. After a long time I opened my eyes and looked at the clock. Exactly one and a half minutes had passed.

Three hours of energetic singing from the Pandits, each playing some tinny instrument or drum, loud and fairly harmonious. I was as impressed as I was agonized about the whole thing. My bum was hurting and Vijay and I were very, very hungry. When I was on the verge of breaking down and crying, the singing ended. And then....a Pravachan started. Oh yes. Another 30 minutes of my sitting there in stunned disbelief, while the rest of the group listened, seemingly quite interested in the lesser known stories from the Ramayana. My stomach was rumbling now but everyone ignored it. Even Vijay was clearly awake now and leaning forward and smiling. I wanted to bop him on the head, but refrained, given the general setting.

The highlight of the ceremony for me had been during the beginning, when one of the Pandits turned around and handed me his cellphone, asking me to turn it off. I was thrilled. Never in my life EVER had anyone EVER asked me for ANY help with regard to technology (my young children don't count). I was now a tech-genius. I gazed at the phone in my hand, unsure of what to do. My sister and Vijay simultaneously whispered 'The button on the top'. I pressed it with all my might and then powered off. Yes indeed - I was now a tech genius! I felt like my young nephew Pikki, who is known to the be go-to guy in the family for tech-related issues. I felt young and rejuvenated and all-powerful like I'm sure all tech-geniuses feel on a regular basis.

But now, the thrill had worn off and the Pravachan was still going strong. Suddenly a phone rang from the corner of the room. Loudly. Everyone ignored it but I could see it was throwing the Chief Panditji who was giving the Pravachan off. This would mean it would take longer. I scrambled up to the phone. I suspected it belonged to one of the Pandits but all of them were cleverly disowning it at this time. It was a Blackberry sort of thing, on charge in the far corner, and for the life of me, I couldn't figure out how to switch it off. One 'Savita' was calling and she was the persistent sort because it had already rung about 12 times and she was still waiting. I pressed a couple of buttons and disconnected the call. Within a minute, Savita was back, and the phone was ringing loudly again. This time I did the clever thing. I simply answered the call and Savita started speaking. I put the phone on mute and quietly put it back where it had lain. For the next several minutes, Savita kept talking to no-one seemingly without noticing - apparently, her Pandit was the strong and silent type -and we were not disturbed again.

And then it was over. The Aarti, followed by the handing out of the Prasad. Vijay was quite aghast at my eating the entire apple. He gently suggested that it was Prasad and we could have taken it home for everyone there. I mumbled 'Whatever' and continued chewing.

After the Pandits had been served, we sat down to eat and it was the most delicious meal of my entire life - alu-sabzi, kheer, puri, raita and even some pumpkin thing that tasted divine. Mother was still very happy about the overall proceedings having gone successfully. I hugged her and then we were off for another long drive.

It wasn't until I had put the kids to bed at night and was sitting and watching my favourite show House ( the only thing I ever watch occasionally on TV) that I realized what had happened today. It was the point when House tried to weasel out of Cuddy's birthday dinner because her Mom was going to be there and she growled at him.

'House. I need you there for two hours behaving like a normal human being. Yes, you will be in hell but I will feel better having you there. THAT's what a relationship is. We average our misery.'

It left House stunned.

It left me stunned.

That's what it was. We do stuff like this for each other because that's what a relationship is. Of course, Mom wasn't miserable. She loved the Puja. And I know she felt good about having Vijay and me there. It also explained why I actually felt so good despite having internally moaned for about 4 hours today. After all, my sister was getting married and this Puja marked the starting of the proceedings and putting everyone in the right frame of mind, invoking the blessings of various powers and beings but more importantly - getting the family together. It was great! It was a great day!

Plus - I now felt kind of like Dr. House. A Tech-genius and a fantastic sociopath of a doctor. Not bad for one day. Not bad at all!




Sunday, November 23, 2014

No Dearth of Clowns Here.


PARTY TRICKS - 

Last week, Peanut was in for a disappointment - her brothers were invited to a party and she wasn't. It's always been the other way round and she was wailing about it. I explained that this was the party of a 3 year old boy and a friend of the twins' and that she would have to get used to the fact that she wouldn't always get to go to parties where her brothers were invited. She muttered 'But the cake...it's always so delicious.' However, being a rather understanding child, she let the matter go.

The party ended and the twins came back, flushed with happiness. I was touched when I saw that they had actually got back a large piece of cake for young Peanut. What good brothers my little boys were turning out to be!

Peanut stuffed her mouth with the cake, now flushed with happiness herself.
'Wasn't it wonderful of Pickle and Papad to actually bring you cake? They must have heard you saying that's what you like best about parties!' I gushed.
Peanut swallowed another mouthful and then informed me 'Well, I told them to bring me some cake..'
'You DID?' I was aghast but only for a moment. My smile came back and I said 'Well, it's still something that they actually remembered to get it for you...very sweet of them, and...'
'Ya, but Mama' Peanut wanted to confess something, it seemed, and she went on. 'Actually, I promised them that I would pay each of them five rupees if they remembered...'
This time my smile disappeared for good, but my child continued innocently 'I knew they would never remember otherwise...'

PARENT TEACHER MEETINGS - 

Vijay and I were invited to our children's school for observing their Morning routines in the class. One day I went ( to Pickle's class) and the next day, Vijay went ( to Papad's).

I was amazed at the serenity with which all the activities were conducted. The storytelling, the morning circle...all with a certain hushed reverence around it. The children were terribly well-behaved. Pickle was pleased to have me hovering in the back of the class but when I reached out to tap him playfully in the back, he shrugged me off and whispered 'We don't play like that in the class.' I was mighty impressed with this good little boy.

And it struck me. How different our children were in the school environment just an hour after being shoved out of the house, with all the screaming and shouting about getting late and why aren't you wearing your socks and Now you'll miss your bus for sure and so on. Clearly, the teachers and the school had a certain thing going on. It was better to build this silent peaceful routine based on trust and respect and mutual understanding than to engage in threats and shouting all the time. We had a lot to learn.

I discussed this at length with Vijay later and then we turned to our twins. I asked, although I was sure I already knew the answer 'Children...how come you're so very good in school in the morning routine?'

The twins looked at each other and then Papad spoke up 'Becoss othelwise we will be taken to Plincipal office...' and Pickle added 'And the Madams will schold us!'

Vijay looked at my stricken face and said dryly 'Well...so it's not so different from here after all...'

OF SMARTASSES 

Me (getting hassled especially by the twins in the morning) And the next time I see you guys without socks, you're getting punished! It's cold, and you're not well...
Peanut : But Mama, we feel hot in our socks at night...so we take them out.
Me (snapping): I'm not talking about that...it's okay when you sleep at night without your socks...I'm just saying that you should wear them in the mornings, okay?
Peanut (muttering to herself now): Okay, so that means as soon as I wake up without my socks, I'll be punished... first thing in the morning.

****

Me (reading a story to Papad) - and then Noddy said
Papad (getting up) I'm going to go bathroom,  Mama. (Turning back towards me and holds out his palm with imaginary remote control) PAUSE.

***

Me (trying to get Pickle to read the words in the story): And this is...?
Pickle: (Loudly) TO
Me: No, sweetie, that's 'in' ...we know 'in' we've done it so many times, right? Now I will read some words and you will read some...'So .. (looking questioningly at him, pointing to the word)
Pickle: THE
Me: (Very happy) That's correct. THE Baby Bear..(looking at him, pointing to the word)
Pickle: AND
Me ( Delighted) Yes! ( Now confident he can read most of the sentence- So the baby bear and his sister scrambled to their feet...) 
Pickle: AND...HIS...
Me (prompting on the bigger words): Sister...Scrambled...(Thinking... Come on, I know you can do this, Pickle...)
Pickle (face shining in triumph) EGG!

***

Vijay: I can't find my phone...
Me: Peanut, find Daddy's phone.
Peanut (calling from the other room): How?
Me: Think about it...how would we find it?
Peanut (after a short pause, calls out) By calling him!
Me: Ya, so call him.
Peanut: How can I call him?
Me: (Rolling my eyes at Vijay. This is the kid who calls us every given opportunity from the landline to complain about her brothers, while we're in the office. I call out to her) Well, how do you always call him?
Peanut's voice floats in promptly, with a sweet sing-song lilt:  Oh, Daaaaa-ddddyyyy....




Saturday, November 15, 2014

3 Peas in a Pod


Pickle Story of the Day: 

'I'm hungry' he announces just as we leave the house. Vijay is driving us all out for an errand and all three kids are in the back, 'just along for the ride.'
'Already?' I say 'You just ate breakfast!'
'Ya but I'm still hungry, Mama.' he says, rubbing his tummy for effect.
Vijay is feeling indulgent. 'There's a McDonald's Drive-Thru.'
I open my mouth to protest, but then recall that Saturday is Junk Day as agreed between us and the kids. 'Hmm. Not very healthy' I murmur out of the side of my mouth, but the kids are already exulting, happy at the prospect of their Happy Meal.
Soon, all three of them are peering into their Happy Meal packs for their toys 'Cool, a Tom and Jerry Sticker-Glass!' (Whatever that is). Now I'm feeling all soft-hearted and even add a Soft Serve Vanilla Cone to their terribly unhealthy meal.
The children are all smiles as they bite into this long-forbidden-due-to-viral treat and then Pickle announces 'Say thank you to ME.'
My widening smile freezes - I expected him to finish that sentence with Mama-Daddy. 'What, Pickle?'
He turns to his brother and sister 'I was the one who said I was hungry so you got all this, na?'


Papad Story of the Day: 

I am leafing through his school journal and find a page where he's drawn something round.
The instruction says 'Draw your favourite character from the story The Little Red Hen and tell us why.'
Under his drawing, the teacher has transcribed his reason 'I like the Greedy Pig from the story because ... he eats all day.'
In the same handwriting, the teacher writes politely. 'Interesting thought, Papad. But do you really think eating all day is a good habit?'

Peanut Story of the Day: 

'Mom, I don't understand this book.' She complains. 'Can you please help me?'
I look over and see it's the Selfish Giant. I am instantly reminded of how my grandma used to tell us this story. Dang, I really thought she'd made it up herself. Sigh.
'Sure.' I say 'Which part don't you understand?'
'The very end.' She says 'The last page...you know, I just don't understand what happens...'
I run my eyes over the words on the last page and a sinking feeling hits me. This is my kid who's obsessed with the thought of death, and here's a story where the main character dies in the end. Wonderful. But hey, I'm the mom. I can break it to her easy, right? It's all about presentation.
I explain in a cheerful tone ' See, did you notice something? It says here that many years passed and the Giant grew old. And then one day the little boy he loved reappeared in front of him. How could it be, Peanut?' I figure it helps to be analytical here. 'If the Giant grows older, why does the little boy stay the same age? Can you think of whom it might be?'
She thinks hard and then puts two and two together 'He is...God.'
'That's right.' I say enthusiastically. 'See, he also says that the Giant let him play in his garden, and now the Giant must accompany him to his garden, known as Paradise. So you say, he's inviting him to Paradise, like Heaven, where the Giant will always be very happy with him. Cool, huh?'
I beam at her but she's still frowning at the book. Then her brow clears, and she nods. I let out a sigh of relief.
'So.' I ask gently. 'You get it, right?'
'I get it.' She nods firmly and picks up her book. 'God killed him and took him up to Heaven.'
She scrambles up off the bed and marches off, and I stare after her for a moment. And then I find my voice again, 'Hey wait, Peanut...'

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Thank you for the Music

I somehow rush home in the nick of time after work on Thursday, grab a calm little Peanut and rush her to our music school. 

The Piano teacher M suggests in his business-like manner that today I let him give Peanut a mock test since her Grade 2 exam is coming up next week.

I readily agree and sit outside the class, lost in my own world. My guitar teacher N, with whom I have a class after an hour or so, passes by and gives me his usual formal 'Oh hello Yashodhara.' ( He's one of the few people I regularly interact with who uses my full name) 'I hope you've been practicing.' 

The guilty look on my face obviously gives it away even before I can say the words, but he's rushing for another class and gives me a wave. I hear the strains of Peanut's playing through the door. It sounds like she's doing alright. Whoops, she missed a note there. And there's a little faltering on that scale. But she'll do fine. Right? Right. 

Before I know it, there's a cool little pair of hands covering my eyes and I'm guessing it's not any of the teachers. 'Hello Peanut' I say. 

'How'd you know it was ME?' 

She's been sent out by M to call me into the class and I pick up my books and guitar and purse and phones, feeling hassled and enter the class. There is no chair today but I don't bother and just sink to the floor in a tired heap. It's been a busy day at work and this routine is one that I'm still adjusting to. 

'How'd she do, M?' 

'Very BAD.' M says, busy tabulating her score in his diary. He finally looks up. '75 only.' He gives me a look that suggests it's all my fault, even though I'm one of the enthu enough parents who's actually taking piano lessons with the kid in a bid to try and keep up. 

We go through her lesson, with him explaining the things that Peanut is supposed to work on. Scales. Arpeggios. Slurs. Her pieces. Adjusting her position on the stool and so on. I take notes assiduously, for once, my phone to one side. I try to keep my handwriting neat because now that I have less time at home, I have to make sure that the notes are clear enough even for Peanut to read and absorb herself at home. Thank Goodness she's a good reader, I think. 

After a while, Peanut's class time is over and M says to me 'Now YOU.' M is a very, very good teacher and a fantastic player himself and this makes me a little afraid of him. I have tried to practice for a few minutes daily but I've missed a couple of days this week and it shows up in my underconfident playing. After I've warmed up though, I'm able to play some of the songs that he's been helping me with earlier. 

'Very strange song.' He says about one Oriental sounding number from Peanut's Grade 2 book that I've been trying.

'Because of how I play it?' I suggest.

'Not only that.' He says, face completely straight. 'The song itself. Very strange one.' He's taught the Trinity grades, and he's not all that used to teaching the Royal School of Music curriculum. He was of the view that the latter is only for 'Serious students of music' but once he heard Peanut playing the pieces initially, he was convinced that she was advanced enough to switch to that system. 'Anyway' He nods slowly. 'There's some hope for you with this song.'

M is a very straightforward fellow with a quirky sense of humour that shows up only at certain times. I realize he means to be encouraging. 'Oh really?' I can't help but smile at him. 'You think? You really think there's some hope for me?'

'Yes, yes.' He says, still very serious. 'Some hope is there.' He nods again. 

I roll my eyes and decide to try a new song. He gives me his excellent technical instructions on how to read the music and apply the fingering. And then, ten minutes before the class is to end, we're looking at each other blankly. I'm tired and don't really want to go on anymore. Peanut is happily scratching on the whiteboard in the room, humming to herself. She's quite amused by my attempts at piano, often informing me at home 'But MA, that's an E-flat..' or 'MA, you're so SLOW.' I have requested her to be quiet in the class while I'm getting my instruction from M. Or else. So she leaves me alone now for the most part. 

'That's enough.' M says now, much to my relief. 

'It is?' I sigh and start to put away my book. 

'Yes, yes.' He says with great conviction and then adds 'For ME.' 

I look at him to see if that was meant to be a joke, but he's already busy making notes in his diary about our lesson so that he can remember what to catch me out on next time. 

Ten minutes later, I'm seated in front of N in a larger studio room. N is a younger man than M although both of them appear to be in their twenties. N is probably about twenty three and reminds me of Vijay's nephews. He's an easy going man who has quite the vocabulary. His emails to me and even his conversation in the class include things like 'This will perhaps make things more lucid' or 'While the timbre is rather questionable here, I feel...' I always wish I had audio recorder and often have to hide my smiles when he goes into his earnest and incredibly articulate explanations around technique. 

'So.' He's not smiling today, in fact his well-cut high-cheekboned face is rather stern. 

Usually he's extremely polite and warm with me, even a little diffident - only going as far as to say stuff like 'Ballpark.' or 'Something like that.' when I play something where the Timbre is Questionable. But I've picked up the signals by now and know when he's not happy - I just have to look at his face while I'm playing and there's a particular goggle-eyed, slightly horrified expression that he has on, which quickly melts when I stop playing and he then nods vigorously saying something like 'Almost.' before proceeding to tell me exactly how I was screwing it up. 

'You've not been practicing. At all.' He says to me. I shift uncomfortably in my chair. It's the first week that I haven't picked up my guitar at all since I started lessons with him a few months back. 

'I know. I'm sorry. I just about manage a little time each day for piano. Been missing guitar practice.' I try to lighten the mood and say jocularly. 'I guess I'm a little more scared of M than you.' 

Big mistake. 

N draws himself up in his chair and suddenly, he's looking both goggle-eyed and menacing instead of the handsome easy-going youth that I'm comfortable with. 'Well.' He says 'That can be corrected. I can be strict.' I squirm a little more and proceed to busy myself with getting my guitar out of the case. 

N has a plan in mind. He's not teaching me anything new and he knows my penchant for wanting to constantly learn new songs. He says instead that I should just go over everything we've learned over the last few months and focus on the techniques he's been trying to instil in me, which have involved a fair degree of unlearning of years of wrong fingering and hand position. It's a more silent and intense class than usual and I fervently wish I had remembered to carry my guitar-diary into this class. I resolve to make the notes on my phone as soon as we're done with the class. 

By the time we're done, N has thawed a little bit and the light is back in his eyes. I'm still unable to look him in the eye for too long though as I think through when on earth I should fit the guitar practice in. 

I've not been able to fit writing anything new in while busy on weekdays, as it is; the days seem to pass by in a flash ever since I started work; but I know it's something I was meant to do. It's just that with the kids, the work, the yoga and so on, it's a little tough to fit in regular practice with both piano and guitar. Why am I learning two instruments again? It was easier when I was doing piano and voice. But heart of hearts, I know the guitar is my instrument and it makes a difference to be able to pick it up again. 

Peanut is taking a group voice lesson and it finishes exactly when my guitar lesson does, and she's waiting outside for me, humming to herself and looking rather pleased with life in general. We bundle into the car and go home together. I'm still feeling a little hassled and inadequate. 

But the one thing that I really value about this one day in the week is the fact that Peanut and I get some mom-and-daughter time together. She's singing a song to herself now, reading from the paper that her teacher has given out today.

'Make me a channel of your peace...where there is hatred, let me bring your love.'

I listen to her little clear voice, still going a little bit off in some places. I close my eyes and then the words register. Hang on. 

'Let me see that.' I demand, practically snatching the paper. 

It's as I thought. It's a musical rendition of the beautiful prayer attributed (perhaps wrongly) to  St. Francis of Assisi. It's something that I repeatedly used in my sabbatical and one that I'm very fond of. I discovered it through the writings of the brilliant Eknath Easwaran, first suggested to me by the one and only Dipali. 

Peanut and I sing it together now and I pick up the tune easily. My driver as usual silently suffers through it all the way back home. And as the words sink in, suddenly I'm relaxed and happy. Life is good after all. 

And in the silence that follows, I remember seeing the sign at the music school's reception, on the notice board, declaring. 'Without music, life would be a mistake.'

True. True. And it's not one that I'm going to make. Or Peanut. 


Friday, October 17, 2014

Wednesday Wedding-clothing Woes

My sister’s getting married in December. Isn’t that wonderful?

It IS wonderful in every possible way, and I am so happy for her, especially since the man she is going to marry exhibits all signs of wonderfulness himself, including a tendency to make random jokes in his head and then laugh out loud merrily and un-selfconsciously. For example, yesterday evening when they were over, I caught him craning his head to get a good look at the ceiling light of our drawing room.He caught me eyeing him curiously and grinned widely ‘That’s a CFL bulb’ and burst into loud laughter. I have a soft corner for people who actually enunciate each Ha in their Hahahahahahaha and so smiled, feeling a little bewildered all the same. My sister intervened to explain that it had something to do with a work project that is currently occupying the fiance’s mind, perhaps a private joke. I didn’t probe the matter any further. I remember the way my sister used to look at Vijay before we got married, and for a while after, heck to this day – the expression suggesting ‘Oh he’s very sweet but a bit mad.’ Which is actually about right.

Anyway, so it’s wonderful that she’s getting married, except that it involves my getting clothes. Now, even for my own wedding 12 years ago ( GodDAMN!), I didn’t bother with too much shopping, leaving it to the mother and some help from the sister, although she was a barely-twenty college type at the time. I had a beautiful lehenga at my wedding and a very nice sari. I pretty much never wore the sari again, and the lehenga was pulled out for a wedding a few years ago, and it was discovered that it was so loose for me that it had to be safety-pinned. My sister was not impressed.

She had been chasing me for a while now about the wedding outfit and I had been deftly avoiding the question. The feeling of dread was growing though – she warned me that it wasn’t so easy to get stuff done at the last minute just before wedding season and therefore I should get my act together. So finally, I did what I usually do in moments of personal crisis. I turned to my other sisters in the Gurgaon Moms forum and asked them what the hell I could do about getting outfitted when I am the type who wears these things only once and therefore hate spending a bomb on new stuff.

The moms jumped in with a bunch of fabulous suggestions and encouragement as usual, but the one that appealed most to me was to go to this Lady in Gurgaon who runs a business out of her basement, and is great at converting old stuff into spankin’ new stuff. Now this was great, I thought. I ran the idea past my sister who was not altogether pleased saying that I was the BIG sister and I should wear SOMETHING new. I negotiated with her that I would indeed buy SOMETHING new for one or maybe two of the functions, but why not at least check out what was possible with the old stuff.

And with that, another two weeks passed, with my doing nothing further on the subject. Until Wednesday.

Since it was a holiday due to elections ( I voted by the way – did you?) I requested my sister to come along with me as I went to visit the Lady in her Basement. Being the rather good-natured and helpful sort, the sister agreed and landed up this morning at the stated time of 10.30. I of course wasn’t ready, having busied myself with some other mundane errand of sorting out some winter clothes and so I then rushed to get ready. Together we went to the Lady, and soon, the conversation was going like this.

Lady (to me): ‘So which material do you think you want for the blouse?’
Me: (shrugging) I dunno.
Sister: I think crepe, gorgette ( something about brocade)
Lady: (turning to her) Yes, and even silk would be an option.
Sister: Yes, but…
Me: ( Doo-doo, la, la la…)

Lady (to me): ‘Don’t you think we should look at adding a tinge of orange to this?
Me: (aghast) Orange? I dunno…
Sister (nodding slowly) Yes. Yes. Yes, actually, that would make all the difference. It will really brighten it up, and we can do the same with the dupatta.
Lady (turning to her) Isn’t it? How about this shade? Or something like this?
Sister : This one, I think. Definitely.
Me: (Doo-doo…la, la, la)

Lady (to me): And the sleeve length that you’d like for this?
Me: Huh? I dunno.
Sister: This will look nice sleeveless only
Lady: Yes, I have some good options. This one, with this back? This material here is wonderful sequin work, very in these days.
Me: (trying to contribute) Sleeveless? But it’s December, it will be cold.
(Blank looks from both the women, and then they turn back to their discussion)
Sister: This back looks a little better, I think, it will go well with the traditional look of the material.
Lady: Exactly what I was thinking, it will complement it very well.
Me: (Doo-doo, la, la, la)

So you get the picture. I pretty much shut up after that and let the two of them make the decisions for me. So some refurbished outfits were agreed upon, and I am now on the prowl for something ‘new’ as promised to my sister. It’s her big day and apparently as the REAL sister, I’m not supposed to be able to let her down in this clothing department. Damn.

In the car on the way back, she remarked ‘You know, I was wondering why you’d need me for something like this.’
I asked her wryly ‘Do you not know me at ALL?’
She nodded to herself. ‘I understand totally. Just make sure when you go to her for the actual fitting that everything actually FITS, okay?’
‘Okay.’ The doubt in my voice must have given me away.
‘YOU CAN HANDLE THAT, RIGHT?’ My sister was gazing at me through narrowed eyes.
‘Sure.’I hesitated. ‘It’s just that…I find it difficult to say no. If they tell me it fits, I’ll say yes and walk away with it.’
‘NO!’ My sister shouted. ‘How can you not know if something is too loose or too tight?’
‘I DUNNO’ I cried. ‘I guess I feel that might be how it’s SUPPOSED to be or something!’
Stony silence.
‘We can do it on a weekend?’ I offered tentatively.
‘Fine.’ She growled at me.

She seemed to calm down after a while, and then asked ‘And what about Vijay? Has he thought about what he’s going to wear for all the functions?’

Me ( Staring out of the window, pretending I haven’t heard her, starting to hum to myself) Doo-doo, la, la, la…



Saturday, October 11, 2014

Goaaaaa!

Last weekend I went for the Goa Lit Fest - turning it into most awesome family holiday ever. For the first time till date, we didn't rush back a day early for one reason or the other, and me, Vijay, the kids and my mom had the most fantastic time.

Our first couple of days were spent at Sunbeam, a lovely holiday home owned by a friend of my mother's ( what a joy it is to have a mom with such friends ;) - after which we moved to the TreeHouse Blue, which was also a very nice Serviced Apartment, and I took great joy in taking out some pots and pans and whipping up an elaborate meal for the family.

The children were totally thrilled. It was Pickle and Papad's first time on a plane and they enjoyed every minute of the experience, shrieking with laughter as the plane took off and generally running about enjoying themselves. Peanut's been on a plane several times as a small kid but she remembered nothing of those trips and the experience was all-new for her too.

We ate a lot, played on the beach, swam and generally loafed about and enjoyed ourselves. The surprise of the trip was the Goa Science Centre, suggested by our driver as having a bunch of things to do for the kids, and it was fantastic for them. Basically, my children love to fiddle with things, and here was a place that actually invited them to push a lever here, pull a string there, touch that button to see what happens and so on. The 3D show was one on marine life specifically on sardine shoals and while the quality of the experience left something to be desired, my kids didn't care and simply screamed with laughter every time it looked like an attacking shark was jumping out of the screen at them. This show was followed by another one on the Universe at the little Planetarium, specifically on the life of a star. I was fascinated and humbled to think about the billions of stars and the billions of years they would survive long after we're history. I turned to share this moment with my husband and noted that he and all other members of my contingent were fast asleep.

Net-net, it was a fantastic time that we had and now am back. Work is going pretty well, it's interesting and I'm convinced now that I'm meant to be in a corporate space at least for the forseeable future. I enjoy the coffee :) and the fact that my maids don't come in and ask me 'Khaane mein kya banaye?' Besides I usually get home at a reasonable time to hang out with the kids and that's great.

I've got one book coming out with Harpers next year and am seriously contemplating self-publishing the other one, a funny childhood memoir about growing up in the 80s/90s - essentially centred around the trials and tribulations of the twelfth year of my life. Does that sound like something you'd read? Let me know in comments!

P.S - a big hug to those who stick around here. I love you guys.
P.P.S - the elaborate meal was of course Maggi. 

Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Weekend

Aah. Here it is!

Whoops. There it was...

Zumba in the mornings, 3 Parent-Teacher Meetings to Attend, various other exciting events in the colony. Quick as a flash, Sunday evening hath arriveth ( Donth thath justh sound like lisping?) Anyway, going forward, I hope to be able to fit writing into the new schedule, and that includes blogging at least once a week.

See you around, guyzzz!

P.S - a big thanks to those of you who did bother to delurk on the last post. Waiting to hear from more as motivation to actually take out the time to carry on with this space!

P.P.S - conversation with Peanut -

'Mum, is Roald Dahl alive?'
'No'
'Is Enid Blyton alive?'
'Nope.'
'Wow. Are all authors dead?'
(Silence for a moment and then she looks at me appraisingly)
'Oh yeah. YOU'RE alive.'
(Goes back to her book while I continue to stare at her)