Monthly Archives: February 2011

Real Cow or Ordinary Cow?

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If anything, Pattu has a really wild imagination. Recently Pattu was telling her grandma not to go near a cow, so grandma asked, ‘why?’

Pattu: ..because… (trying to think up something on the fly)…it is not an ordinary cow……it is a ‘reaaallll cow’
Gran: What is a ‘real cow’?
Pattu: (again trying to think up something on the fly)…hmmm.. it has a switch on its belly … and when it presses the switches it will become a crocodile … (encouraged by the raised eyebrows of people around) …and again if you press it, it will become a snake and eat you…that’s why it is a ‘real cow’…

So folks, watch out for the ‘reaaallll cow’!!

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The Battle of Water-Loo

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Two years back, I met a mom who moved her son to a different school only because the previous school did not have decent toilet facilities. While there were enough toilets and in good condition, they ran out of water quite frequently. Now, we are not talking about some corporation school here. This is a fairly well known middle class+ school. The boy (who was only 5 yrs at that point of time) stopped drinking water so that he doesn’t have to go to the toilet.
I want him to be healthy first – studies can come later” was her opinion.

Recently I was talking to a bunch of older kids (10 yrs+) and they said something similar. They avoided drinking water so that they don’t have to go to a dirty toilet.

“Thank god PT is the last period. After playing we’ll feel so thirsty and we have to drink lots of water, since it is the last period, we can come back home..”
“It really stinks and during intervals it is so crowded”
 and apparently the teacher would, “say something in front of the whole class if we want to go during class, it will be embarrassing”

This again is a fairly sought after school. I can’t believe that schools that take so much money in the name of fees should have such poor facilities. Wonder why most parents don’t think this important enough to take up during PTA meets.

I’ve always wondered why women in particular consumed very little water during the day. Most women I know drink less than a litre per day which is abysmally low. Some of them atleast push themselves consciously to drink more but it takes a lot of effort.
I can’t help but attribute this to poor public toilet facilities in our country. I’ve noticed that even some shops do not have such facilities – when I asked the female staff what they do when they have to use the loo, she simply said that they ‘finish the business before leaving home’! Imagine the plight of these women when they have their periods! Or for that matter even a stomach upset.
And another shop which was in a shopping complex had the loo on the terrace and again the women never ventured up there since men were always hanging out there. Men obviously pee where they like so they are hardly affected.

I’m remeinded of a social research project that I did many years back. This was among the tea leaf pickers in rural Ooty. I was shocked to learn that it is a taboo for women to go too many times during the day. It apparently means, ‘lack of control/ discipline‘ on the woman’s part – they have to ‘finish the job before sunrise’. An older woman then told me that if they have to go while at work, they have to go into the forest (the thickets nearby) since there are no toilets and it is not safe for women to stray away from the group and wander off alone. I guess it was the women’s way of conditioning to save themselves from bigger dangers. This was almost 10 years back and I hope things have changed for good now… though I wonder…

On a lighter note, recently when I visited a public loo, I was really surprised to find it very clean only to realise later that the door doesn’t lock!

Vanity…

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…thy name is Pattu

Pattu obviously noticed that I’ve been taking pictures (though occassionally) of things she draws, scribbles, cards and crafts that she makes, etc. Recently she did something that really didn’t warrant a picture, atleast I didn’t think so… (…… what kind of mom am I?? well, it takes all kinds…)
..but then, Pattu trillls…,”Amma, see this…wow!!! It is Wowwww!!! no amma?? Take a picture amma”

…time to take stock…

Discovered…

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Lydie’s @ ECR: A nice quiet place for a lazy weekend… good continental food, delicious desserts… the Indian fare is just so-so…

Bikaner Bhojanalaya @ Valmiki Nagar – for authentic home cooked rajasthani food, finger licking good… a no frills place, reminded me of Lalitha’s, Bangalore… smaller scale though…

And…. had the Pav Bhaji at Novelty Tea House at Mint Street, Sowcarpet
Worth a try…

Hide and Seek

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Pattu is a total goof when playing this game. She still does an ostrich every now and then, tries to hide behind sheer curtains, under a baby cushion and giggles loudly while still hiding. Once, when it was her turn to play catcher, she looked around (she’s a goof even while trying to find) just for a second and called out ,
“G akka, where are you?”

Since G akka is not a goof, this question met with silence and pattu repeated it a few times, the tone becoming more demanding with every repetition. Finally the frustrated Pattu throws her arms in the air and says with a sigh,

“I’ve no clue where you are…and now it looks like even you don’t know where you are!”

to which G akka burst out laughing and ended up getting caught!

Out of focus

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I happened to watch a bharatnatyam dance show on TV recently – a family friend’s daughter was participating. It was a contest with a few theme rounds and had Sudha Chandran as the host and another dancer as the guest judge.

I was surprised to see that the cameraman had absolutely no idea how to capture the dance- the camera angle kept changing every few seconds which was not only a strain on the eyes, but also kept shifting the audience perspective continuously leaving them confused.

What really annoyed me was that the camera wandered, even as the dancers were performing, to focus on the judge’s bangles, the host’s elaborate bindi, their sarees and ther smiles. All these were very pretty indeed but distracting the audience from the performanc itself.

Finally when the 30 minutes show ended, I only remembered the bindi, sarees, bangles and a few disconnected snippets of the dance!

Wondering if all shows are like this one …

From the horse’s mouth

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It is a routine for me to ask Pattu what happened at school and for her to tell me that she played with her friends and then ate snacks and got back home. Some days she gets punishment for running about in class, making noise and such things. 
The updates rarely go beyond these and sometimes, just to hear from the horse’s mouth, I employ some tactics like these:


Amma: but what were you doing when B was drawing?
Pattu: But B was not drawing
Amma: So, what was she doing?
Pattu: She was crying
Amma: Why?
Pattu: Because she got hurt
Amma: What were you doing?
Pattu: I was not crying
Amma: ok, but what were you doing??
Pattu: I told B not to cry


...how insightful!!
But then, amma is not the kind who’ll give up…


Amma: So, what did you draw at school today?
Pattu: I drew thunder, lightning and lot of rain…and a storm
Amma: (not giving up still) what did your teacher say?
Pattu: She got wet in the rain


…sigh!
Finally the last ditch effort


Amma: Did you learn numbers or alphabets in school today?
Pattu: nothing
Amma: you sang?
Pattu: No
Amma: you danced?
Pattu: No amma
Amma: So, what did you do?
Pattu: Nothing amma, I was just a good girl 
Amma: What did you do to be a good girl?
Pattu: I played with my friends and finished my snacks


These days, I’m just happy to hear that she was a good girl.

Impressions

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It is funny how some impressions stick in your mind forever. The kind of impressions I am talking about here are not the deep meaningful variety, but some really silly associations instead.

I bumped into my brother’s friend B recently – I couldn’t really place him (the last time I saw him was as a schoolboy) but the moment he said, “I’m B, M’s classmate..”, I was almost about to say, ‘yeah, the B of knife fame’, but bit my tongue in time.
The story goes like this – B had some vegetable carving project at school and he wanted a serrated knife which was rare to come by those days and hence borrowed ours. This one just happened to be my mom’s favourite and came all the way from Dubai and hence a prized possession. I didn’t quite appreciate my mom’s attachment with the knife at that time but I do now. Among the set of knives, I have my favourite and wouldn’t let anyone tamper with it. Somehow, the veggies under attack seem to behave wonderfully with that particular knife. Anyway, let me come back to the point.

My mom must have had this ominous foreboding about lending the knife and she told the bro a million times that she needs it back the very next day and in perfect condition. As things turn out in most of such cases, the knife never found its way back into our house and my mom has neither forgotten this inciden nor has she forgiven the bro and his friend for this disaster. Everytime a tomato rebelled under the other knives, my mom lamented her fate loudly enough for the bro to notice. This, of course tormented my bro a good deal and provided me a lot of entertainment.

It has been a good 15+ years now and I was curious to find out if my mom still remembered it. So, when I got back home, I casually mentioned that I bumped into B. Quite predictably, she went on, “oh, the one who never returned my knife…” Poor B who is now a respectable family man and very successful in his career would be shocked to know that he still holds a criminal charge!

This was promptly reported to the bro over chat the same evening 😀

It is funny how certain impressions stick in your mind forever….