Archive for the ‘From My Heart To Yours’ Category

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.



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.




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.



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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Mirror Mirror On The Wall

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And that is where I must have left the mirror. On the wall.

So this is the background.

The children fight as all siblings usually do. Nothing new there, but I am growing increasingly impatient. I sit pondering why can’t one let go and let the fight die a natural death. As I often do, I decided to take matters in my own hands, find a solution instead of silently bearing it, being the master of own destiny, tackle problems as solutions waiting to happen and all that useless jazz.

And I introduced this wonderful concept I learnt in my childhood, namely the mirror. When some one says something nasty to you, you just say mirror and the nasty stuff gets reflected back to them. ‘Stupid’ – ‘mirror’ – the person who said stupid sees his/her reflection and is stumped – you walk away with a smug expression. Simple stuff.

The children were thoroughly kicked with the concept! (Gasp! Really amma?)

They drank from the fountain of knowledge. (Do you have to hold an actual mirror? Should I hold my hand, palm facing out or just say mirror? Can I do both? Can I hold both palms and say mirror? What angle should I hold my hand? )

They checked testimonials. (Did you do it when you were young? Did it work for you? Whom did you use it on?)

Then they executed it.



‘Youuu caaan’t (read it sing-song), because I was already holding mirror when I said stupid. So my stupid goes to you, reflects on your mirror, then bounces on my mirror and goes back to you.’

‘How? How? How can that even happen? It will again bounce on my mirror right?!’

‘But I was holding mirror even before I said stupid. You said mirror only after you heard stupid. By that time my stupid already reached you. Haaaa haaaa (insert sing-song again for complete experience)’

‘Fine, my mirror is bigger than your mirror, so even if it came out late, it completely reflects. Since your mirror is small, the stupid goes around your small mirror and reaches you.’

‘You can’t even see my mirror, how will you know it is small? My mirror is bigger than your mirror.’

‘No mine is the biggest on earth.’

‘No, mine is bigger. I am holding god’s mirror.’

‘Too bad I am holding god’s super mirror, which is the bigger than god’s usual mirror.’

In fact they are walking around the house with one palm, if not both palms, on forehead like a head light, because that is their mirror and they are ready to reflect any insult that may or may not be showered on them.

I am again pondering what I can do about this. Or rather what I must NOT do about this! The biggest joke is how all this was some how mirrored right in to my face.


My Family

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Was the topic Chula was asked to write an essay on by her teacher.

So the child writes…. ‘I love my family even if I get bad thoughts about them and also because they love me and we help each other.’

When I asked her what bad thoughts she gets about her family, she replied that she can’t explain, sometimes she just feels bad.

She also wrote, ‘My father’s name is _____. He works at _____. I like it when he plays badminton with me. I also like it when he plays monopoly with me. My mother’s name is _____. She works for _______.’

That is it!

No mentions of what she likes doing with me.

My feathers were ruffled and I asked her to explain this serious over sight and she patiently said, ‘Ammmaa, you do a ton of great things with me. If I list all the fun things, this will not be a short essay and I don’t know what to pick because they are all great.’

The child can save her behind through diplomacy.

She initially mentioned that she can’t think of one single good thing to write about her sister. Eventually decided that she will write how naughty her sister is.

Meija was upset with this character defamation and said that when she comes to second grade and when she is asked to write about her family, she will write verrry bad things about Chula and will supplement it with an ugly drawing of her. That did the trick.

The child can save her behind through black mail.

I have raised two good citizens. My job is done.

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Moving On

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Or at least trying to…

I am in my parent’s place in Chennai. The only way I have a signal on my cell phone is to stand at the right hand corner of the hall window and hold my phone towards the sky. Chula observed it and is asking me if my phone is ‘solar’ and if it is powered by the Sun.

As usual it is raining in Chennai. I always manage to drag the rain along with me when I visit Chennai. With the rain comes a overflowing laundry basket and wet clothes. I tied a clothes line inside the house, hung some essentials and switched on the fan. Meija was watching me do this. When it was time for scheduled power cut, the fan stopped and she asked me if she can implement her brain wave to dry the clothes even during power cut. I was curious what she was going to do and ended up ROFL when the child came back with a palm leaf hand fan. I thought it was cute. She thinks I was making fun of her. We have agreed to disagree.

I took a major risk this time, by using wash room without a functional latch, with only Chula standing guard outside the door. MONUMENTAL risk people, so it needs to be recorded here.

Sibling rivalry at its peak: Meija is imitating what ever I do. If I get up she gets up. If I put my hand on my hip, she copies. After observing this for a min, Chula says, ‘Amma, slap yourself R.E.A.L.L.Y hard. Quick amma.’

Getting in to my good books: We are getting ready to go to the beach and I was asking them to change out of their fancy clothes in to something that will be appropriate for beach.
Chula: Meija, I am going to listen to amma. I am not like you. I will wear regular play clothes because I don’t want to get my fancy ones dirty.
Meija: I LISTEN. I know our clothes will get dirty. In fact I was planning on wearing something from the laundry basket, something that is already dirty and needs to be washed anyways. Is it ok amma? Am I right?

Chula: <Thinks a bit how to top this> Amma I am going to wear some ripped clothes. What do you think about this amma?

I was seriously thinking about which wall I must bang my head against.



Hindi Samachaar

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Ok, we are now at a stage we are not repulsed by Hindi learning. By ‘we’ I mean the children. I haven’t warmed up to the idea since I get by pretty decently with my ‘Aaap, kaha hein?! Mein ghar mein hein. Aaap aathe aur nahin athe?! Kal pucca-ok?’

Both can read Hindi(Aksharit helped big time). Art, they read your book in Hindi all by themselves. Proud moment for me and needs to be recorded here.

Chula still refuses to speak. So her Hindi teacher has now mandated that Chula speak one new sentence to her every time she sees her.

Many maps of the school were drawn. Every hide-able pillar was marked. Every alternative route was plotted. Numerous strategies on how to avoid A teacher were devised. In the end she saw the futility of the whole charade and asked me for my advise. Me being me, with all sincerity suggested, ‘You know the full song of Chamak chalo don’t you? So every time you see teacher tell her one line from the song. Problem solved.’ Needless to say, I have one furious child at home!

Have a fantabulos back to school week you all. We have one more week as all our teachers and older children are in the music workshop by the Wayfarers.



Candid Conversations With Meija

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Hermit crab
I was telling her how hermit crabs do not have a shell of their own, but pick an empty shell to live in.
Meija: Where does the hermit crab come from?
Me: From an egg.
Meija: Where does the egg come from?
Me: From another hermit crab.
Meija: Amma, (with hand action) I understand that this hermit crab came from that egg, that egg came from thaaatt hermit crab and so on. But that very first hermit crab in the world, where did that come from? Which was first the crab or the egg?
Me: Theriyaleye-ma.

Meta Physics
Morning rush. The situation was getting explosive between Chula and I. She is sitting in front of her breakfast plate and I have given her the 20th ultimatum, but nothing is working.
Me: Chula, if I were you, I would take this more seriously and at least ask for help. I don’t know what you are planning to do.
Meija: Amma, if you were her, you would do the same thing that she is doing. She is doing this because these are the things Chula does. That is what makes her, her. So if you are her, you will do her things and not your things.
Me: ::Fainting::

Mommy school
I am giving the child a bath.
Meija: Amma, you are putting soap so softly.
Me: Yes.
Meija: Yesterday when you put tiger balm for my back and chest, you put it so fast-fast-ly.
Me: Yes.
Meija: How do you know that soap has to be put softly and slowly and tiger balm fast fast?
Me: (Mockingly) Um, they teach all this in mommy school.
Meija: Mommy school? Can I go?
Me: Nope. One must have finished college, then go to another college, get a job, get married and only then they take you in to mommy school.
Meija: Do they teach you to make jokes like you do in mommy school?
Me: Yes.
Meija: Do they teach how to laugh like you do in mommy school?
Me: Yes.
Meija: Do they teach how to give hugs and love like you do in mommy school?
Me: Yes.
Meija: Hmmm, looks like you knew nothing before you went to mommy school.

Me: ??!!

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Tip Of The Hat, Wag Of The Finger

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Tip of the hat to Arvind Gupta. I can’t tell you why right now. But a great man!

Wag of the finger to the Intercity Packers and Movers. Accepted to move our car from Hyderabad to Chennai. After unloading it from the truck and before delivering the car to the Chennai destination, got in to an accident (drunk driving). Hit a scooty, luckily the boy riding the scooty fell on impact and rolled off (HELMETS DO SAVE LIVES people). Dragged the scooty for a distance of 5 – 6 km, got the vehicle seized by the police, bribed the police and tried getting out of all ethical, moral and legal obligations to settle the dispute. Big mafia, these people are! Stay away.

Its been a year since I did my GUESS THE BOOK book quiz. Its not that I haven’t been reading any good books off late, but to find the right book, that is a challenge to decode at the same time encourage people to play is the challenge. So I have a book, how do you want the clues, picture or verbal? Will post on March 7th.



S Is For Saangs

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Sheela-ki-javaani is out and over.

Chamak Challo is taking our house by storm. Yes, we are late and we are like that only. No TV and no computer, we are usually stuck in a different time warp. The children hear about songs from their friends. By the time they register a song, memorize it and start asking for it, the rest of the world would have ridden that wave and would have moved on. But we peak!

Now I can measure every place I drive them to, by Chamak Challo scale. Airport, one way, almost 6 Chamak Challo’s. Grocery store – 3. The auditorium where the children had their annual day function – 3. Copying place close by – 1 etc.

Enthused(and irritated) by the number of times the husband heard the song, the eager beaver he is and with his ever wanting need to get to the bottom of things and understand the meaning, he, of all people, asked the maid the meaning of Chamak Challo. The maid started blushing. I, who was dusting close by, froze. And gave him the look that means, ‘this maid is a keeper, don’t ask her meaning to Hindi movie songs, which usually contains lots of read between the lines material and make her stop coming to work’. The husband, as usual, blissfully unaware of all looks and meanings and implications, moved on with his simple existence.

Another song that the children are singing non-stop is Kolaveri and holds the record for entering the house while it is still in vogue. They dance for Chamak Challo, Mieja has two moves – a standard march past kind of move for male voice and a hip shake with hands crossing for the female voice. But their response to Kolaveri gives me the creeps. They lounge, please note, not sitting but lounging, on the couch and sing dreamily, ‘Hand-le glass-u, glass-le sctotch-u’. Suddenly they tell me ominously, ‘Amma your future is dark-u dark-u’. For which I reply is full childish demeanor, ‘Noooo, my future is not dark. It is bright. I am going places!’

Last but not the least ‘Dhinka Chika’. I don’t even know when it came, so can;t say if we entered this wave soon/late/at peak. But I can tell you that I have heard it so many times that it has filled my head, over flowing from my brain and finding its way out through my vocabulary. Yesterday I told the younger child, ‘Yes, I will tell no if it is not appropriate. Don’t expect me to do Dinhka Chika to all your whims and fancies.’ She missed the point and wanted me to play Dhinka Chika.

Ta folks, have a good weekend!





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Strike It Rich

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Mieja lurves diamonds. Now, according to her, diamond is anything that is smooth, shiny and the size of a lemon. At this point of time I would like to clarify that I am not feeding her with unrealistic expectations. Many a pebbles were picked up from the park, washed, spat on and shined till hands ached and disappointment levels soared. But the child being the tireless kind, decided to change the process. As a result of which multiple diamond experiments were carried on at home.

I nodded approvingly and decided to keep a photographic record of the experiments, because (a)once her heart is set, no matter I reason, she will refuse to listen and (b)if at all by blind luck she did manage to make a diamond?! I mean, the child was talking about rocks the size of lemons. It surely wouldn’t hurt to have a few, wouldn’t it?!

So here it goes, the process, pictures and the product.

Experiment 1

Ingredients: Leaves from your garden, a bucket, water, scissors, plenty of sunlight.

Process: Watch out for the time sunlight falls on your kitchen faucet. Now open the faucet and check if the water sparkles in sunlight. Only sparkling water results in sparkling diamonds. Now fill half your bucket with sparkling water. Cut the leaves in to strips about an inch thick. Fashion these leaves in to little cups. Pour about half a teaspoon of sparkling water in to each leaf cup. Place the leaf cups in to the bucket. Leave the bucket in direct sunlight for a week. Check for readiness and leave them for an additional week if required.



Experiment 2

was formulated after said child’s mother complained to every one under the Sun about the stink emanating from the bucket and scientists needing to clean up their own mess(“Marie Curie’s mother did not run behind her with a mop and scrubber” my exact words). The goal of this experiment was to (a)keep the initial experiment to small scale and if successful scale up as required (b)compress the process to a couple of days, so that said diamonds are ready before the leaves start decaying (c)avoid contamination from air borne pollutants.

Ingredients: One tbsp of chopped onions, leaves from your garden, one tbsp sparkling water, fridge in working condition.

Process: Clean a big broad leaf. Mix chopped onions with sparkling water. Fashion the mixture in to a diamond shape. Place the mixture on the leaf and place the whole thing in the fridge. You can place it in the freezer, will cut down the process time in to 1/3, the trade off being the three footer’s dependency on her parents(read mother) to check the diamond formation every millisecond.

Product: This time the mother raised hell that the fridge stinks of onions and the child gave up after a week.

Experiment 3

Ingredients: Grape seeds, white acrylic paint.

Process: First eat the grapes, one needs the strength from the grapes to convince one’s mother about yet another diamond experiment, then collect the seeds. Wash the seeds in sparkling water. Pat dry. Paint every seed with white acrylic paint. Place in cup. Place the cup in fridge.



Amma had nothing to complain about. No decay, no stink. This experiment stayed for the longest in the fridge and was discarded after the unsuspecting spouse, looking for a late night snack, consumed about half of it.

Experiement 4

Ingredients: Glass, preferably in a sphere shape. One tbsp sparkling water. Hard surface. Pointy, sharp tools.

Process: Take the glass sphere and drill a small hole. Pour the tbsp water through this hole. Place right side up and place in the fridge to set. When set, tap the water filled sphere on a hard surface to chip the sides to make a shiny diamond.

Product: Promptly nipped in the bud by Amma. So no pictures or products to complain about.

She is taking a break right now and I am shuddering that she will come back invigorated after the break.



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Tip Of The Hat, Wag Of The Finger

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This is classic Colbert style, okay?

Tip of the hat to brake oil. Paint scratches on you car paint, the ones that have gone through just the clear coat can be repaired by rubbing over the scratch with a soft cloth dipped in a little brake oil. If the scratch has gone all the way to the primer then, there is no hope. Now DON’T you dare ask me how I chanced upon this information. Consider yourself warned.

Wag of the finger to Reliance shops. IMO, they are like cockroaches. Inferior(in quality) and pop up everywhere. I got a kurti from Reliance Trends (the model with no slits at the sides) for myself. Looks like it is specially designed to wear for people doing adipradhakshinam. Being an aggressively cut, fabric saver model, it is okay as long as I don’t intend to sit cross legged or take wide strides. I did try it out before I purchased it, but one hardly walks and tests comfort level for a piece of garment! The track pants I bought for Chula came out of the washing machine with small holes after one wear and one wash. Very disappointing.

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Guess The Book

Congrats N.Chokkan, on winning the most recent book quiz. .

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