12 Days Of Rain Holidays

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Chennai Rains

Chennai Rains

On the first day of rain holidays
we slept late.

On the second day of rain holidays
we read books,
and we slept late.

On the third day of rain holidays
we watched a movie,
we read books,
and we slept late.

On the fourth day of rain holidays
we had a play date,
watched a movie,
we read books,
and we slept late.

On the fifth day of rain holidays
we ate chips and popcorn,
had a play date,
watched a movie,
we read books,
and we slept late.

On the sixth day of rain holidays
we had a read aloud session,
ate chips and popcorn
had a play date,
watched a movie,
we read books,
and we slept late.

On the seventh day of rain holidays
we did Wii dance,
had a read aloud session,
ate chips and popcorn
had a play date,
watched a movie,
we read books,
and we slept late.

On the eighth day of rain holidays
we did craft work,
did Wii dance,
had a read aloud session,
ate chips and popcorn
had a play date,
watched a movie,
we read books,
and we slept late.

On the ninth day of rain holidays
we did creative writing,
craft work,
did Wii dance,
had a read aloud session,
ate chips and popcorn
had a play date,
watched a movie,
we read books,
and we slept late.

On the tenth day of rain holidays
we borrowed books from the library,
did creative writing,
craft work,
did Wii dance,
had a read aloud session,
ate chips and popcorn
had a play date,
watched a movie,
we read books,
and we slept late.

On the eleventh day of rain holidays
we did Face Time with many many people,
borrowed books from the library,
did creative writing,
craft work,
did Wii dance,
had a read aloud session,
ate chips and popcorn
had a play date,
watched a movie,
we read books,
and we slept late.

On the twelfth day of rain holidays
we music practice,
did Face Time with many many people,
borrowed books from the library,
did creative writing,
craft work,
did Wii dance,
had a read aloud session,
ate chips and popcorn
had a play date,
watched a movie,
we read books,
and we slept late.

And fought a L.O.T, every single day.
And at our wits end.
So please stop raining dammit!

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  • Teenage Tales

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    Parents know by now that teenage is not a number, but certain characteristics your children start exhibiting.It does not matter if they are 13, 3, 8, 38(ahem!) if you see more than one of the below then you have a teenager in the house.

    -If your child sticks to you when sad, but does not make eye contact with you when in the company of her peers,

    -Allows to hug her only when she is upset,

    -Gets mad at you at the drop of a hat for things you said/did not say/implied/thought in your mind but did not dare express verbally,

    -Wants attention, but does not ask for it, but is irritated when she does not get it,

    -There is no more walking or talking at home. There is only stomping and trudging which may or may not be coupled with door banging and frustrated grunts.

    -There is no more shyness or giggling when you point a camera at them, but you sense a silent warning to the person holding the camera,

    -Many questions are answered with a careless up and down of the shoulders,

    -Plenty of eye rolling.

     

    I am not naming any names, but some one at home, other than me, is in this phase now. So while dropping the children at the bus stop, I put on my game face,  stood outside the child’s window, promptly jumped up and down, waving maniacally and calling her name out loudly. When she comes home today, I might show her the climax of Moondram Pirai, where Kamal is trying to get Sridevi’s attention, just so she knows what may or may not follow.

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    Viciousness Is A Multiple Of 9

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    It was one of our talk sessions in progress. It all started with Child#1 wanting to know why, when the whole world and its neighbor seems to have taken their off springs to Bahubali, I am being such a conservative mother and am refusing to go with the flow. I launched my standard answer  missiles touching upon many things that I believe in like age appropriateness, violent visuals affecting growing minds, over inflated romance creating unrealistic expectations etc.

    Child#2 piped up and asked me, ‘Was Bahubali violent?’ for which I replied in the affirmative. Her next question was if the movie was ‘vicious’. I was mildly irritated at this point as my sermon was still in progress and the child was interrupting me. So I did my standard discouraging technique of answering a question with a question, and countered her with, ‘What did I just tell you?’. Her reply was, ‘You said the movie was violent. I want to know if it was vicious.’ Still eager to get on with my speech I answered, ‘Well what is the difference?’ and was about to go on.

    At this point she stopped me and said, ‘There is a difference amma. If violent is here(pointing to one feet from the ground), viciousness is here(pointing to three feet from the ground). If you still don’t understand amma, violence is like a multiple of 3 and viciousness is like a multiple of 9. Just because something is a multiple of 3 it does not mean it is a multiple of 9. But if it is a multiple of 9, it is definitely a multiple of 3. I can swing my hands violently, it is not vicious. But if I act out viciously against some one, then I am violent towards that person. Got it?’

    And, I was out sermon-ed, just like that! May be they are ready for Bahubali. May be I am the one who is not ready!

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    Cherar Kottai By Gokul Seshadri

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    Updated to add: udumalai.com to buy Cherar Kottai

    Why did Renuka Devi lie to learn the dhanur vidhya techniques from KaandhaLoor salaai?

    What was hidden from the young Ravi Neeli during the Kalam competition?

    Who was the other Chozha representative who fought against Ravi Neeli during the Kalam competition of the first Parandhaga Chozha?

    What is the thaanai thalaivar’s motivation? Who is he? He seems to be the master pupeteer! How did AruL Mozhi Varman figure out who he is?

    There seems to be a background as to why Paraman Mazhapadiyar is the Chozha representative for the Virodhi Varusha Kalam competition, but why tag Kamban Maniyanaar? What role does Maniyanaar play?

    Who was the figure that ran away from the first meeting that was convened by VaLLuvanaar? Was there even a spy? Or was it VaLLuvanaar’s play to make his mission sound dangerous and important?

    Why is Valluvanaar not as happy as the rest of the people when the heir returns?

    What is the message ‘Sa’ ‘Ra’ left by Narayana Pattadhri’s older brother, in his death bed.

    What is the message ‘O’ ‘Ra’ left by Aingaran before he lapses in to coma due to his head injury.

    Will Aingaran come out of the coma in time to reveal the secret thaanai thalaivar’s identity?

     

    Oh! This and many many more questions haunt me as I read Cherar Kottai by Gokul Seshadri. It is a well researched and written historical fiction, in Tamil, that is set in the late 900s, that talks about the ascend of the Chozha kingdom to its zenith. The story spans two books, 1200 pages, 120 chapters, at least 24 major characters and 5-6 plots all interlinked and complicated. This clearly is the Tamil version of Game Of Thrones, without the sadistic killing off, rape, flogging and plunder. And with the end of every chapter, I utter an ‘urrrrrrghhhhhh, can’t the stupid people(stupid people = the other characters who speak loudly when the shattering secret is being told) be quiet?’ And I push my bed time(people who know me, know how precious and unwavering my bed time is :) ) to read one more chapter to see how much more is being unraveled. And after that it is rinse repeat, read the next chapter, so on and so forth.

    As usual I have notes, bubble diagrams, character wikis and the thirst to get to the bottom of it all.

    The style of writing is very similar to Kalki’s. The author is the narrator, jumping back and forth from one point to another both in space and time, revealing bit by bit how and something happened when it happened. Though the narration style is similar to that of Kalki and the book starts off where Kalki left off in his Ponniyin Selvan, the point of view in Cherar Kottai is much more balanced coming from Gokul.

    While reading Ponniyin Selvan, Kalki has you completely convinced that the Chozhas are the good guys and are deserving of the throne. You, as a reader become champions of AruL Mozhi and Vandhiya Thevan. You are one step away from booing Pandiya Aabathudhavis. Though you sympathize with Nadini and at times are stumped by the complexity of her character, you are firmly rooted in Kundhavai’s camp.

    In Cherar Kottai, Gokul through his meticulous research has presented how from 600BC till up to the 17th century, South India has bounced between the Pandiya Dynasty and the Chozha Dynasty, with an exception of the 600 hundred years under the Pallava Dynasty. Even under the Pallava rule, the Pandyas, unlike the Chozhas, did manage to hold on strongly to the Southern sections. So you start off with the Ponniyin Selvan impression, cheering for AruL Mozhi and slowly you start seeing things from the Pandiya point of view also. Though personally AruL Mozhi or Sadayanaar do not crave for a war, killing and displacement of homes, they realize that many times history is larger than an individual and his desires!

    Gokul also talks in detail about the socio political structure of South India and how differently it evolved in each kingdom. The Cheras seem to have adopted a much more democratic set up since the 8th or 9th century. The Chozhas were a monarchy with the King at the top of the pyramid. The Pandiyas were some where in between with 5 people from the same family ruling the country, sharing their power, so that at any point of time there was always one Pandiya of age to rule!

    The next thing that Gokul takes us through without stressing it, but becomes apparent as the story unravels is how RICH the country was, with trade between China, Singapore, Malay, Middle East flourishing. How there were multiple busy ports, customs, departments and divisions supporting this. Though it has been hinted how some foreign traders try to gain the favors of the kings so that they can retain exclusive trading rights, the annihilation seems to have started only when the Europeans set foot in our country! (If you haven’t already, read this. It is extremely depressing though.)

    And the co-existence of multiple religions! Though the Kings themselves belonged to a certain faith, they still seemed to act secular. Especially Mahendra Varma Pallavar, Narashimha Varma Pallavar and majority of the Chozha/Chera/Pandiya kings. Gokul points to the existence of multiple monasteries sanctioned by Ashoka himself and by Ashoka’s son Mahinda while traveling parts of South India. Different stone inscriptions found at the ports indicate that a fair number of monks came all the way from Afghanistan, China and South East Asia to worship at these monasteries and how the rulers had budget allocation to care for the visiting monks. The story in multiple places, based on historical evidences, touches upon, how AruL Mozhi Varman, though a hard core Shaivite, looks at Buddhism as a way of life and supports the monasteries. But the very same monasteries were deemed ‘unsafe (as they are very old)’ by the Christian missionaries in the 1800s and were demolished. And how the sculptures from the monasteries that date back to at least 2BC carried off to various European palaces and museums!

    I am only done with part#1. I still have part#2 which is another 600 pages spread over 60 chapters. But I just HAD to take a breather and let the world know about my excitement over this book. If you can read Tamil, buy, borrow, beg, steal, but do read.

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  • Resolutions Of A Fickle Mind

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    Resolution right after moving homes: W.I.L.L N.E.V.E.R B.U.Y B.O.O.K.S.
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    After 5 min: Ok, Will not buy books for another 5 years. No, no, 2 years. Ok, for the rest of the year. This is FINAL.

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    After buying Devapriya Roy and Saurav Jha’s  Heat And Dust Project kindle book: E-books do not count. I can still move homes and not bother with the packing, unpacking and organization. The spirit of the resolution still stands.
    .

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    After buying Anjali Raghbeer’s Art Tales From India series: Sigh! New resolutions to not make resolutions about not buying books.

    And the culprits are:

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    51JwtedBcrL._SX387_BO1,204,203,200_ 51xWhJizcXL._SX325_BO1,204,203,200_

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    image

     

    A Bird Came Down the Walk By Emily Dickinson

    A bird came down the walk:
    He did not know I saw;
    He bit an angle-worm in halves
    And ate the fellow, raw.

    And then he drank a dew
    From a convenient grass,
    And then hopped sidewise to the wall
    To let a beetle pass.

    He glanced with rapid eyes
    That hurried all abroad,–
    They looked like frightened beads, I thought;
    He stirred his velvet head

    Like one in danger; cautious,
    I offered him a crumb,
    And he unrolled his feathers
    And rowed him softer home

    Than oars divide the ocean,
    Too silver for a seam,
    Or butterflies, off banks of noon,
    Leap, plashless, as they swim.

    Source: http://www.familyfriendpoems.com/poem/a-bird-came-down-the-walk-by-emily-dickinson

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  • Filed under: LiterA(R)Ture
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    -You name your kitchen knives(Mine are Bread’sBane, SharpBastard and TheUnfit, just in case you are curious).

    -You Google recipes for black bread and lemon cakes.

    -You set up a snack of cheese, olives, bread fried in garlic butter and boiled eggs for your children.

    -You develop an unhealthy appetite for all kinds of soup and you think about serving them SFO clam chowder style.

    -You Google GOT TV series pictures to get inspiration for kurti designs.

    -You read,
    ‘Irri and Jhiqui were waiting to brush the tangles from her hair and garb her as befit the Queen of Mereen in a Ghiscari tokar. The garment was a clumsy thing, a long loose shapeless sheet that had to be wound around her hips and under an arm and over a shoulder, its dangling fringes carefully layered and displayed. Wound too loose, it was like to fall off; wound too tight, it would tangle, trip and bind. Even wound properly, the token required its wearer to hold it in place with the left hand. Walking in a token demanded small, mincing steps and exquisite balance, lest one tread upon those heavy trailing fringes.’, and you wonder if GRRM is describing a saree and if you can post it for the #100sareepact on FB.

    -You crave a long hot soak in a tub.

    -You ask your children if they want to take horse riding lessons.

    -You consider getting a dragon tattoo (and promptly drop the idea).

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  • J Is For Just Like That!

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    Its been a long time since I blogged anything about the children. This post is made possible by the baby turning my husband in to an old man by entering her double digits! May the child make him older and us happier every year!

    She chose a monster theme birthday party because, ‘Amma, I am not a child anymore. I am grown up and ready for more scary things now.’ (Gulp!) May she not encounter anything like that. EVER.

    She chose Evolution of Calpurnia Tate, a volley ball and two bottles of nail polish as her birthday gifts. May she be a reader for life and find happiness in simple things.

    She asked for green slime drink, monster sandwiches, scary apple mouths, monstrous baked spaghetti and cheese. I could make only two the way she wanted. I made regular spaghetti with cheese sauce. I skipped the slime drink. She said, ‘Its okay Amma. Lets buy a mixed berry juice. It will look like blood. And the pasta is spot-on in taste. So thanks.’ May you always be blessed with the ability to let go of small disappointments and look at the bigger picture.

    May the universe make all your positive thoughts come true and give you the wisdom to recognize this blessing, dear child.

     

    image  image

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  • W Is For Want To Read

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    Sighted @ Walden/M.R.

    Grant Morrison’s 18 days intrigued me. It was priced at few thousands, so just browsed it and left. The images had a whole Star Trek, Klingon feel to it. But it looked like a behind the scenes collection of an attempt to animate the Kuru war, not a story. So probably a coffee table book for an animation enthusiast.

    Any guess on what was bought and what wasn’t?

     IMG_2982 IMG_2981
    IMG_2985  IMG_2992
     IMG_2991  IMG_2990
     IMG_2989  IMG_2988
     IMG_2987  IMG_2986
     IMG_2984  IMG_2980

     

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  • J Is For Just Like That

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    A wise friend posted this elsewhere. I would like to post it in this space so it is easy to pull up when I need it. (I have highlighted what I like to keep reminding myself about.)

    Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.

    Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.

    Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

    Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

    Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.

    Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

    Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

    Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

    Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

    Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

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