Monday, June 23, 2014

Interview Time!

Bangalore-based Writer and Journalist Bhakti Mathew interviewed me over the weekend for a new series she's starting on Indian Authors called 'How They Did It.'

And here's an open offer: If you guys have blogs or websites on your own and would like to feature me on any topic ( from parenting to Zumba to freelancing to writing to you get the picture but I'm happiest talking about my books ;), I'm just an email away at yashodhara dot lal at gmail dot com.

Bhakti's interview:

At first glance, it can be easy to shrug her off as just another alumnus of the prestigious Indian Institute of Management (IIM) wanting to write a book (not that there’s anything wrong with an IIM-alumnus or any alumnus writing a book!). But she’s funny, really.

Read more on Bhakti's blog. 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Vijay and The Call Centre Lady

My husband realises at the last minute ( as usual) that he has very limited time to submit some bank documents at the office. So he calls up the bank and requests the Call Center representative for the same.

Vijay: that will be the Interest Certificate along with the Repayment schedule. Right?

CC lady: Yes, Sir. You will receive the Interest Certificate within 2 days and the Repayment Schedule within 15 working days...

Vijay (shocked): Hang on, Hang on...I have only five days left to submit everything. Why will I get the Repayment schedule within 15 days?

CC Lady: Sir, actually that's our system.

Vijay: What's your system?

CC Lady: The Interest Certificate will be sent by Courier and the Repayment schedule by regular post.

Vijay: But why?

CC Lady: Usually, people require Interest certificate more quickly, so that's our system sir.

Vijay: But...but...I need them both at the same time.

CC Lady: Sorry sir, but I can't help you. That's our...

Vijay: System, system, I know. (Inspired) But tell me. Can't you just send both documents to me by courier?

CC Lady: No sir. That is not something we can do.

Vijay: Listen . Do they come from separate sources or something?

CC Lady: No, sir. They are both taken out at same time from the computer.

Vijay (slowly): So you're telling me the guy who takes the printouts will put them into separate envelopes for despatch through two separate sources?

CC Lady (pleased that he's finally getting it): Exactly sir.


Vijay (taking a deep breath): So why can't he just put them in the same envelope?

CC Lady: That would not be possible, sir. It's the system.

Vijay (trying to turn on the charm): Look Madam. Can't it just be something between you and me? As an exception - you just tell that dude to put the Repayment schedule into the same envelope with the Interest Certificate and send both by courier?

CC Lady (aghast): No, sir.

Vijay (getting desperate): No one else has to know! And if he likes, he can quietly send me an empty envelope through regular post also....dheere dheere woh bhi pahuch jaayega...

(Ad infinitum. In short: I really don't know who to feel more sorry for when I hear Vijay speaking to customer care representatives). 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Summer Holiday Ramble

For the last twenty days or so, Peanut-Pickle-Papad have been goofing off at home. I can only thank my lucky stars that our help, who had gone away for a full five months, returned in April and manages the three of them deftly. I myself, no longer the sprightly young woman that I used to be, simply lie around with an ice-pack on my head as she chases the three of them around the house.

I've been busier than usual over the last couple of months with a marketing consulting assignment having been added to my plate. It offers a fair degree of flexibility, but in a connected world, you're never really switched off. Still, I'm managing fine. My yoga teacher, an excellent young woman named Apoorva, often asks me to slow down, stay in the present moment and all that other cool yoga-type stuff which works well for a while and then I forget and then she reminds me the next week. So that's cool.

I had taken on piano lessons along with Peanut a couple of months ago and am valiantly keeping at those, although I don't get to practice as much as I'd like ( damn, I should go and do it right now) and therefore I'm not progressing at the rate that I should. However, it's a big high for me learning how to read music; I couldn't manage it when I last fancifully took guitar lessons a couple of years ago. However, a year of coaching Peanut and cheering her along before I started my own lessons meant that I'm reasonably up to speed with Piano theory. Practicals, yeah, not so much. But the other day I managed to play Beethoven's Choral Symphony Theme (it's easier than it looks but what the hell!) - I had played something composed by Beethoven. Take that! It really felt good.

Peanut is doing very well under her new teacher ( yes: we shifted schools, more on that another time) and is jumping Grade 1 completely and moving straight to Grade 2- and that too, of the more strenuous Royal School of Music, which I am told is for the more 'serious students'. Well, she's not serious about the Piano, but it seems to have just become a natural part of her everyday routine ( Ahem: okay so maybe I've forced it into being natural but never mind). The other night, I was feeling a little creeped out about some sounds that the A/C was making. I cuddled closer to Peanut, who put her arm around my neck and in her sleep, murmured 'Bye Mama.'

'Bye?' I said, feeling even more creeped out.

'Mama.' She said, changing tack, eyes still closed. 'Listen.'

Her tone was serious and I held my breath. She continued 'You have to play it like this - looong-short, loong-short loong-short.'

It took me a second but then I realized what she was taking about. Our piano teacher had instructed her to play the bass portion of the Mickey Mouse March, a duet we were doing for fun with a slight 'swing...looong-short, looong-short'. A couple of days later, my daughter was still dreaming about it. It was so ridiculous and cute that I lay back and guffawed with laughter.

Peanut giggled too, still fast asleep and then urged me 'Shhhh...Mama...Shhhh' and was quiet for the rest of the night. She had no recollection of it the next day and still thinks I'm making it up.

So anyway, the Piano and Yoga goes on. We're doing vocal lessons too - Peanut and me - which is fun too although this is one thing I never get to practice during the week, unlike piano, yoga which is fairly often even though not for as long as I'd like. The Zumba is restricted to the weekends. Work assignment involves a few hours in office a few days a week, and I'm working on a third book. Haven't been to the Happy School in a while, but they've anyway closed for summers now. It's a full schedule but that's nice for now. The kids are keeping each other busy, and this is why I recommend that three is a good number for children. One is fun, Hum Do Hamare Do. But my slogan is - after one P, have two more and see. Okay, now I know that's a really bad one. All three kids are into Taekwondo and they love the swimming pool we have here. And as of two days ago, there are some summer activities that have started up in the colony for 2 hours each day by parent volunteers, so hopefully that should keep them busy too. Which reminds me. I'm doing voluntary Zumba for the kids on Thursday. Ack! No songlist yet.

Rambly post this is, but then it's a rambly life too.
And how's Summer going for you?
(Poetic today, aren't I?)