Category Archives: general

Imagine

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a conversation between 5 yr olds 15 years from now,

5 yr old 1:  Birds also tweet… apparently!

5 yr old 2: I didn’t know they were that social..

5 yr old 1: This is the spookiest part… they started tweeting long before humans came into being!

Whatever it means

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Found this poster in one of the rest rooms in a mall.

Isn’t it supposed to bring out the worst in you? Or did I get it wrong?

And while on the topic, recently while out for shopping, Pattu wanted a bio break. So, I found the nearest staff and asked, “Where is the bathroom?”.

Pattu tugs at my T shirt and says in hushed tone, looking rather embarrassed, “Rest room amma…not bathroom!”

I went on a flash back trip 2 yrs back when Pattu would loudly announce, “Ammaaa Mooochaaa” much to my embarrassment.

We’ve grown up, haven’t we?

Healthy and Green

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I’ve been going around with some dangerous ideas in my head lately. No, no…I’m not gonna enroll myself for music classes…not that dangerous.  I’m thinking of a healthy and green b’day party for Pattu. While it is generally very fashionable to use a smattering of these words in conversations, they are not necessarily party highlights…if u know what I mean… that too if your audience is kids.

I. Healthy….
Imagine a b’day party without fries, fryums, wafers, samosas/ puffs/ cutlets/burgers/ pizzas… more so, imagine b’days with cucumber, carrot, fruit salads, idli/dhokla, cup corn, sundal…. I sounded this off with a few kids here are some reactions,
‘aunty, last year they served fruit salad at S’s party… we are not planning to attend this year..’
‘aunty you can serve corn and chips and samosas…let people take what they like’ – the kid who didn’t want to hurt me.
…. you get the picture. I don’t have to tell you all…kids are ruthless. Imagine the kind of nick names they’ll call me *SHUDDER*
But, but…I am not one to give up. Iron will …heard of it?
So, here’s goes my list:
1. bhel puri, small triangles of chutney sandwich – whole wheat/ multigrain bread, whole wheat pasta with corn, mini fruit muffins (that I plan to bake) + b’day cake ; non aerated fruit juice ; chocolates ; cookies
Any other non messy, easy, healthy and interesting option? Ideas please…

II Green
No plastic cups/ confetti, etc. Bio degradable cups and plates; etc. etc..
Hubby strictly said no gifts and no return gifts… it has to be celebration for the pure joy of it and not be burdened with gifts and such trappings. Very radical. But it is like serving cucumber and boiled carrots for the party. I told him that his daughter would be alone and friendless after such a party. None of that moved his Iron will…the family seems to have this in plenty.

But then I got a bulb… I thought I’ll organise art and craft…

– Wooden beads – they can make bracelets/ key chains
– Pot painting – a pack of seeds with each pot
– Block printing on white hankies
– Danglers with used CDs
– Newspaper bags to carry these

So long as they have things to carry back home, I think kids would be happy…what do you think?
Any other ideas folks? Let me know before this weekend…

Globalisation

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…can be funny at times…

Hyderabad treated us to Punjabi food for lunch and we had Uttappam for breakfast in Delhi!

My craving for Hyderabadi biryani will have to wait for the next time.

CMM Level 4

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I realised a few days back how efficient we have become as a team. I mean all of us at home – including the domestic help. I’m brimming with pride – we have almost reached CMM level 4. Let me explain.


While our home is not too dirty or cluttered, it doesn’t fall in the ‘always sparkling clean’ category. If you have magnifying glasses for eyes, you’ll find a layer of dust waving at you here and there and you’ll hear the walls groan from the scrubbing of Pattu’s murals, you might find a stray crayon, peanut, squeaky toy under the cushion, etc, etc. We are also liberated people who will keep things where we want to keep them; not necessarily where they belong by popular opinion – c’mon, what’s a home if I can’t do as I please.
The unspoken rule however is that, come visitors and we’ll get into the teamwork mode. What we used to accomplish in 3 hours, we accomplish in less than 30 mins these days. Process, people, process is the key. I just have to ‘blow the whistle’ and we all get working like an army of ants.


– MIL will hide the laundry, clear the railing of stray towels and undies, restore doormats to their positions and walk around with a piece of cloth dusting here and there.
– FIL will put on his teeth, dab some talcum powder and excavate used bowls and glasses from under the cot, near the sofa, under the cushion etc and throw them into the sink and he’ll switch on all the fans so that the dust on them doesn’t show.
– I shove all kitchen clutter under the counter, clear the bathrooms of Pattu’s toys and other things that you don’t want to know and straighten the sheets (all the way to the floor so that the crocodiles and dinosaurs under the cot are well hidden).
– Hubby dear will clear laptops and such gadgets from dining table, put the wet towels out and shove folded clothes into the nearest cupboard
– Maid will sweep and swab in one efficient swoosh and clear the mess in Pattu’s room
– Pattu will ‘help’ the maid clean up her room, plump the cushions, throw them around and jump on them again till I holler and refrain from causing any further damage.
– And we all put on our best smiles (like it is all so effortless).


What’s more, we even categorise the visits.
1. Short visits limited to living, dining, kitchen.
2. Extended visits that can lead to bathroom and bedroom exploration as well
3. Stay over. We take 2 days to prepare for 3 – dusting, scrubbing, rearranging in full swing. For No 3, we actually clean the fans.


MBA project trainees are welcome to analyse and learn from our process efficiency.

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!

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 …

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….