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)

Sunday, September 14, 2014

And yet another 'Final' Sabbatical Round up

So I find myself back at work after a bit of a gap. Older and wiser and yet ready and eager. It kind of just happened, but I think I was ready for it.

The last couple of years have been great fun and a wonderful learning experience. But it kind of hit me when a lady of about my age attended my Zumba class and then asked if I could be her 'mentor' - she said that I seemed to be following my passion and it looked so enviable and that's what she wanted to be doing now that she's had a baby and been working for ten years herself...and so on. The alarm bells went off in my head. Over the last couple of months, I had been feeling restless and influenced greatly by Cal Newport's book ''So Good They Can't Ignore You''. I highly recommend this to anyone on the verge of quitting their job in favour of the wonderful, entrepreneurial, ''follow your passion'' type of life. From the outside, I realized, it really looked like that's what I was doing. I don't regret a single moment of the last two years, but the fact is that there's a lot to be said for having to get up and get ready and go to work and of course, having an income outside of some not-very-impressive royalty cheques. So I told the lady not to be fooled by appearances, and to basically read the book herself!

I passed out of IIM-B in 2002 and had a pretty decent record in my field of Marketing so I was very lucky to have built that track record before I took my break. The most fun I've ever had was at my last job as Business Head for a movie review website. So I've been lucky to find a role now which looks like it will be perhaps as interesting, and that too, in Gurgaon. All this kind of just happened, and it happened at a time when I realized that Pickle-Papad are well-settled in school, all three kids tend to keep each other busy, and my help R seems to have settled back in for at least the medium term with us. Now that the children are older, it is clearer that they should be able to take care of themselves and each other. It amazes me how much of a help Peanut already is, with her advanced reading skills, in assisting  in getting the twins homework done.

I've done one earlier 'final' round up before I went back to work at my old organization in 2012. That was a stint of a few months; subsequent to which I had two more work assignments. The one that I'm taking on currently may last longer if all goes well ( although I've already had a bit of an adventure on Day 3 which I'm too embarrassed to report and maybe will show up in a subsequent book).

Despite the fact that I've had 3 work assignments over the last two years running into almost a year in total, I just felt like taking a look at the overall period and musing over what's happened. So here goes:

- After Just Married, Please Excuse (in August 2012) came my second book 'Sorting Out Sid', which released earlier this year (Feb 2014). If you still haven't read my books, please follow the links and check out the reviews and ratings on Flipkart- they're also available on Amazon as e-books and I promise you they're laugh riots at the very least. Now, 'Dear Rimi' (work in progress title) is already with HarperCollins and my esteemed Chief Editor loves the book, which is really saying something. It will be out next year sometime. Simultaneously, I've also written a funny childhood memoir and am trying to figure out what to do with that one - I've got great feedback from some of you on the first three chapters and just need to see about the publishing plan for it. So as you can see, I'm kind of written out for now anyway and felt like taking a break from it. However, when inspiration strikes, I'll be back and doing the writing thing for an hour a day. I've made my peace with the fact that I much prefer looking upon writing as a passion than a career and can't follow the advice about ''sitting down every single day to write no matter what''. I just can't. But you'll be seeing lots of books from me. 5 before I'm forty for sure! And I'm parking here, in September 2014, a random prediction that there's going to be significant developments for me when it comes to writing after December 2016. It will be fun to check back here after two years and see if it happens!

- I'm a weekend Zumba instructor with the excellent team at Delhi Salsa Club, led by the inimitable Sameer Sachdeva. Although I only take a weekend batch, I'm really happy about the fact that this month I've got 10 students signed up and they really seem to enjoy the workout. I've been tempted often to take on mid-week classes, even went to Ozone Gym for 5 Thursdays, but gave that up as I figured that it was eating into other things.

I'm highly amused about the fact that in an interview last year, someone made a sarcastic remark about ''how will you manage work when you do this...Zumba thing?'' following it up immediately and pre-emptively with ''don't feel you have to be defensive, of course''. I answered him politely but I was thinking it would make sense for him to take out a couple of hours a week for his own workout and no one would question him about how that would affect work. His colleague of course, topped him on the same day by asking me ''Wow. 3 kids, huh? How will you manage them and work?'' Needless to say, it didn't work out with that organization and I'm particularly glad. Incidentally- a year later and apparently at least one of them has quit already.

But coming back to the Zumba - it's a brilliant form of exercise and I'm just so glad that I stumbled upon Sameer, totally by chance. Any other instructor would unlikely have left the kind of impression on me that he did, and his initial training helped much more than the actual Zumba workshop. I'm hoping to keep this up for as long as I'm physically able to.

- I finally found an excellent music school in Gurgaon, several months back for Peanut and me. My daughter's piano playing has reached a whole new level with a wonderful teacher called Vee, who is now unfortunately leaving the country. But she has been replaced by another great teacher who comes all the way from the Delhi School of Music and we are still enjoying our lessons. I'm also learning guitar  again under a wonderful young man at the same school, while Peanut goes in for a group vocal session. The wonderful young man is probably ten or twelve years younger than me, but has a distinguished style and polished vocabulary and turns out to have been an engineer and a trade analyst who left JP Morgan because he just didn't like it very much. It puts a little pressure on me to have to practice two musical instruments but I'm telling myself that surely 10 minutes a day on each is manageable while I'm strict with Peanut about getting in a good disciplined 30 minutes in total on her piano. The important thing is for her to develop her talent. Me, I'm doing it for the fun of it and yes, it is fun to finally correct my guitar technique and learn a new instrument, figuring out how to read music ( it's like a new language altogether) and so on.

- To my regret, I have stopped going to The Happy School for now. The last thing I did for them was prepare a bunch of students for their Annual Day function and that felt really good. I will need to figure out another way of being associated with them. The kids can definitely still expect their annual haul from Santa Claus after writing him letters about what they want, but I don't know if I'm going to be able to be more regular with my weekend voluntary spoken English classes there. After all, weekends are all I get with the family, so I'm trying not to guilt-trip myself too much about this.

- I did a lot of fun stuff with the kids in terms of just hanging out, taking them to various places in Delhi which you'll have read about if you're a regular reader here. And now for the first time ever, we're all going to Goa as a family next month for just a couple of days, using the Goa Lit Fest where  I am apparently an invited author as an excuse- now, young Pickle and Papad have never been on a plane or a beach, so it's a first on both counts for them. I think I'm more excited about it than they are though. Cool, huh?

- And then there's the Yoga. The most excellent instructor, Apoorva Gupta, about a year younger than me but approximately seven times wiser nevertheless, made her way to Gurgaon last year and I got in touch with her. She's often exasperated with me but also keeps pointing out changes in my posture and spine that I never notice myself - the practice is definitely helping me because it's meditative in nature and I highly recommend Yoga to all and sundry all the time. I am no longer able to take instruction from my father-in-law as he is in not in a great physical condition himself these days, but Apoorva is helping me a great deal with doing Yoga the 'right' way. And while I know there's a lot on my plate, the good thing is that these classes are only once a week or sometimes once a fortnight if we are both too busy to make it and she ends the class by making these very handy notes and diagrams for me which ensure that I don't forget what she taught me to do for the next week.

- We've got ourselves a CA-type of person who's quite efficient, ensures that our taxes are filed on time, that we aren't overpaying and we actually manage to get our refunds from the government and in general has shamed us into being at least slightly more organized with regard to future planning and paperwork and filing stuff and all that shit. Many thanks to him for that!

So in short, I'm going to be really busy from now. Not that I've been blogging much anyway, but you can expect to see a post here maybe once a week or so, so please do keep coming back. And it's been a real long time since I asked for a de-lurk and took stock on content direction. I know comments are now mostly on Facebook yada yada but would it trouble you too much to just comment today and let me know who you are and what you'd like to see more of on this blog? Much appreciate it, ta.

P.S - read the book by Cal Newport that I mentioned, okay?
P.P.S. - sadly, I still don't know how to cook although it figured on my sabbatical list. But I cracked those besan ke laddoos. Yesssss!!!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Will the REAL Shrishti please stand up?

Riding along in the car with my various children often gives me the opportunity to listen in to their conversations.

Peanut: Pickle! You know? I always thought that Shrishti was in your class because one day I saw you say bye to her after school. But today I saw that she was going into Papad's class. So she's in Papad's class.

Pickle: No. Shrishti in MY class.

Peanut: Oh no, but I saw her, her elder sister was dropping her to her class and then she pushed her into Papad's class and not your class.

Me (only slightly aghast, interrupting) Why would she push her in?

Peanut: Ya, she pushed her in, I saw her do it, like this! ( She re-enacts a rather cheerful older sister sideways shove) So now I know that Shrishti is in Papad's class. Right, Papad?

Papad ( gazing dreamily out of the window, not paying any attention whatsoever) Ya.

Peanut (turns to a glowering Pickle) See Pickle?

Pickle: NO! Shrishti in MY class and MY friend.

Peanut (sagely) No but I saw her sister....

Me ( interrupting because I see Pickle clenching his little fist) Peanut, has it occurred to you that perhaps there are two Shrishtis? One in Pickle's class and the other in Papad's class?

Papad ( now attentive suddenly) Are they awso twins?

Me: Now don't be silly Papad, if they were twins, would they be named the same?

Papad (smiles beatifically at his own silliness and goes back to gazing dreamily out the window).

Peanut ( dismissive) Well, even if there are two Shrishtis, the one I am looking for is in Papad's class. That's the REAL Shrishti.

Pickle: Real Shrishti awso in MY class.

Me: Yes, his Shrishti is also real, Peanut. Now stop teasing him.

Peanut: But I'm just saying that the REAL Shrishti is the one that I am looking for, and she is not in Pickle's class.

Me: You can't say his Shrishti isn't real. You're teasing him for no reason.

Peanut: (Sulkily) Alright, alright. ( Adds in a loud whisper) But the REAL Shrishti is Papad's.

Pickle looks like he's about to strike her, but somehow controls himself and comes up with an inspired solution, shouting -

'YO'RE NOT THE REAL PEANUT'