Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Silver Lining

My kids came running into my bedroom when they heard me shriek. I was staring into the mirror in horror, and I think I scared the kids too. Especially my daughter of seven, who is quite a sensitive soul. Well, I have to rewind a bit here.....

I am one of those a-second-in-front-of the-mirror-before-I-bolt-out-the-door person. The only other times I tend to look at the mirror is when I am brushing (an unavoidable horror) or when I have to wear my lenses (so I can't REALLY see what I look like).  But anyway, coming back to the topic.

As the teeth of my comb slid through the little curls on my right temple, I discovered two insolent white hairs. (This is the first time the plural of 'hair' seems to be right! If I had a penny for all the times I've heard people say stuff like 'I have long hairs' .... I'd have given Bill Gates a donation!!).

Not just ANY two white hairs. The most visible, strategically located, undeniably conspicuous pair of mischief makers! All the times I had laughed and scoffed at the ads in TV that declared life ended with the arrival of silver on one's mane! This was like all the ad-makers, models and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan teaming up and screaming revenge.

As if this earth shattering discovery wasn't enough to cause a Myocardial Infarction (Ha! bet you are heading for Google right now!), my husband of over a decade (really... these are the moments when I feel there should be a law against people remaining married for over 5 years! I mean, even the Government gets out after five years!) looks up from his tea and grins with smug satisfaction. "OK... now officially, you're OLD!" Between pouring his hot tea over his head, and storming out of the room in dignified silence - AFTER hiding the TV remote, I chose the latter.

The metamorphosis is very subtle, but I discovered some changes in me:
  • I don't let a chance go by when I pass a mirror these days - the first chance I get, I look at the little white monsters in my hair, and beg them not to convert the others from their natural state
  • I am kinder to silver haired people - especially women
  • I listen intently to Aishwarya Rai or Bipasha Siren Basu when they explain how hair dyes are the gift from heavens
  • I have FINALLY started using oil on my hair (Mom, stop laughing - I can see you say "I told you so")
  • I have told both my kids a million times that THEY are responsible for the new developments on my scalp
  • I am contemplating new hairstyles to suitably hide the offenders
  • While driving in the car I wish we had left hand drive in Delhi, so that its hidden from the others driving on the road (who incidentally, are CERTAINLY looking at the white hair with intense concentration while navigating through rogue Delhi traffic - now we know why all the accidents happen!) 
As a conscious effort to stay out of a straitjacket, I have ditched the idea of throwing white paint on random strangers' heads (especially the ones with nice, glossy BLACK hair). I have also decided to now look at the mirror with my eyes closed.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Farm Tomatoes!

Some sentences stay in your memory. No, I am not talking about the highly inspirational guru-speak that people say when they are reeling under the effect of a certain potent liquid. I am talking about the stuff that lurks somewhere in the back of your head, swimming to the surface of your memory only to make you cringe. Still don't get it? Look at some statements my poor brain has been subjected to:

"You can sit in the backside." - yeah sure, the place you want a foot planted?

"I saw a LOIN in the zoo." - while your eyes are very nearly popping out, someone is vigorously nodding head and showing you how big the 'Loin' - err... the lion was.

"Doctor said me to have 'eye-run' for the blood." - just while wondering how an eye running away can cure anemia, I am given graphic detail about the effect iron syrups have on the said person's bowel movement.

"She has beautiful long hairs." While contemplating mass murder in the school which taught this lover boy his English, you also want to box his ears while asking "And would that be nose hairs?"

And how can I forget all the times I have writhed in agony at all the 'bis-kutts' that seem to be making the rounds in Delhi. For the uninformed, please watch Band Baja whatever.

And its for a reason that "The" is the most common word in the English language - we have exclusive rights to torture, maim and murder conversation using an overdose of 'the'. Don't believe me? Walk the many pubs, restaurants or (yuck!) 'hep' hangouts (a.k.a PVR cinemas, malls etc) in most parts of Saddi Dilli, and you can hear animated conversations among the young guns that go thus *shudder* :

Him : Do you the luvzzz me?
Her : Hehehehe Yes, I the loooovezzz you..... Now the moviezzz will start in the 5 minutes
Him : Okay... you want the popcorns?
Her : No, I am on the diets, but I have the burgers.......

See what I mean? Honest to God, I would be more than happy to retire poor abused 'the' into deep exile till we learn how to use it! Not all that difficult to make complete sense with a few words sans 'THE' !! In fact, just realized I wrote a whole paragraph without it!

Some real winners:

Very sweet hostess: "Did you sleep well? Was the bad comfortable?"
Me : You mean the BED don't you?
VSH : "Yes, yes, the Baaaaaaaaaaad" (Loud and clear! Over!)
VSH : "I put a new shit on it just for you"
Me : OK I hope you  mean sheet here.....

Excited mom in joo .. i mean zoo : "See! The beer is running." Err ... and is closely followed by the scotch and vodka too! Who knows who might win, indeed!

Aunty helping out with veggies shopping : "Buy only the nice bright farm tomatoes."
Me : Wow! how do you know they are from a farm?
Aunty : "Press hard, see? Not pil-pil. Then you feel it is really faarrrrrrrm."
Me : Please ignore me as I bang my head to the wall .......

Liked this post? Go right here to see a hilarious take on marriage too!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Tongue tied

This entry is a part of the contest at in association with

We are a pretty confused family right now. Well, not that we weren't earlier, but now all the wierd questions from her vacation homework (what an oxymoron there!) has been contributing to the chaos.

Pray let me clarify. My daughter who likes to think she is eight already (but will turn eight only after a few months. Funny how we like to turn up the clock in the early years, only to want to smash up the clock in the later years) has come up with a fifteen page holiday homework for parents ooops! the kids, to do.

Of the many head-scratching questions, the one that took the whole answer seeking adventure to another level was this seemingly harmless question: "What is your mother tongue?"
You would think the answer to be a fairly simple one, wouldn't you? Well, surprise, surprise! We went all the way to hell and back making sense of this to a seven-year-old-wanting-to-be-eight girl. "It is Malayalam." I said wistfully.

"Waitaminute!" that was my Delhi-bred husband from under the shower. Another mystery in life is how people (primarily spouses) cannot hear stuff you shout into their ear, but they can catch a slight whisper, from behind closed doors, UNDER the shower, of the stuff you DON'T want them to hear! "How can her mother tongue be Malayalam? Its Hindi."

"Oh yeah? Over my dead body! Malayalam it is, and Malayalam it will be." That was me, with the intention of using my Dramatics training to win the decade-old fight over supremacy in the National-integration-household.

"Really? You promise?" Great! Mr.Smartypants was in the mood for humour.

"I am the mother and my language will be her mother tongue." Profound truth.
"Even if they have no clue if you are praising them or using beep words in that language?" Hubby dearest apparently had been preparing for this face off for a long time. Well, that is true. The kids knew around five words in their mother tongue (I insist on calling it that) - ALL of which are not really nice.

"Come to think of it, do you really think YOU speak Malayalam well yourself?" That set me thinking, my brain sub-conciously DID think in English and then translate it to Malayalam when I spoke my mother tongue. But then I came up wih a list of stuff that does justice ONLY in malayalam.
  • When you say stuff like "Poda" or "Podi" which literally translates into "Go Boy" or "Go Girl" respectively, but means much, much more than that for the true mallu.
  • Some words like "Adipoli" literally translated has no meaning, but is used to denote a term related to 'fantastic' - only better, with explosive effect on one's state of mind
  • Which word in any language can you use with equal aplomb to mean complete agreement or sarcasm in style? Guess what! We have our own "Thanney" !
  • If you haven't heard of "Aiyooo" you really must be from another planet. It is the language equivalent of M-seal! Use it to bind expression to any emotion from horror to humour, from sympathy to absolute glee. Don't even try to look for an English version.
  • Some threats that work only when said in Malayalam. (I swear I have friends who love experimenting with the language on unsuspecting non-malayalees out there. For their safety, I shall refrain from explaining those in here.)
  • Memories of my little niece from Canada saying "Ammaaaaa, ivide chavit." (Mom, stamp here) in a Canadian accent, to kill an ant.  Not 'chavittoo' but 'chavit' as in 'take it'
  • All hell breaking loose when I spoke with a Kannur accent (poyitt, vannit, ennit... etc) in Trivandrum, the land of 'vellangal', 'enthirappi' and the sorts.
  • Memories of my sister and I having animated teenage conversations with a melange of Malayalam, English and Hindi ... 'Chethified' 'Chammalsify' 'Adichu Polikalsify' .... and the likes.
I could go on and on, but to cut a long story short, I am so glad I have a part of my brain that processes words close to my heart in a language which may not be the one which I think in, but definitely the one which triggers endorphins. I guess that makes it truly mother tongue. As for my kids, I am sure as time goes by, there will be memories that trigger off a language they identify with.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Real Mothers

Many authors of best selling "How-to" books would have us believe, raising children is a science one can practice and perfect. I would beg to differ here - its no bloody science! It is a treacherous mountain road, without street lights, and failed brakes! The whole world seems to know better than you about raising kids! Just look at the advises you get!

"Don't let them out of your sight - bad times these days...."
"Give them a bath and warm milk at night.... that'll make them sleepy ......"
"If the AC is on, make'em wear full sleeves"
"Oats is good" "No, daliya is better"
"Raisins are good." "But don't overdo it"
"Don't force feed them" (yeah sure!)
"Let them sleep on their own - don't rock them"
"Honey!" "Ghee!" "Fruits" .... HELP !!! ..... ANYONE !!!

Err.... sorry. Guess I got carried away. Anyways, while I do like cracking jokes on this, I am sincerely thankful from the bottom of my heart for all the timely interventions from various quarters that prevented me from accidentally murdering my kids!

Coming to a more disturbing scenario: Kids are growing up, developing a mind of their own, and are now working up their own perceptions of facts. Proof? Well, let me share with you some statements such as these:

......"Momeeeee, why do you not look like the mom on TV? She seems to have so much fun."

......"Mom, you wearing THAT? Really?"

....."Mom, can we just hang around Dad all day?"

Even better ......"Aren't you going to work today?"

......."It doesn't look as good as it does on the box. Did you cook it right?"

There goes my Best mom award down the drain! Well, let me end on a note I read a long time back. Am sure all moms agree:

Real Mothers don't eat quiche;
They don't have time to make it.

Real Mothers know that their kitchen utensils
Are probably in the sandbox.

Real Mothers often have sticky floors,
Filthy ovens and happy kids.

Real Mothers know that dried play dough
Doesn't come out of carpets.

Real Mothers don't want to know what
The vacuum just sucked up...

Real Mothers sometimes ask "Why me?"
And get their answer when a little
Voice says, "Because I love you best."

Real Mothers know that a child's growth
Is not measured by height or years or grade...
It is marked by the progression of Mommy to Mom to Mother.....

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The World at my feet!

The "Pilot" strapped the weird looking backpack on me. He then put the helmet on my head, tightening a cord here and a belt there. Less than a few minutes back, I was damn sure I was going to do this. Now, looking at this thin, panting young fellow standing in front of me grinning like a jackass, I wasn't so sure!

"Why you grinning like a dumbo?" was what I WANTED to ask. But what came out was "You sure I am going to get back in one piece....... BHAIYYA?" (The 'bhaiyya' in good measure for the required emotional blackmail, so that the guy is extra careful with the equipment my life depends on!)

Guess the emotional stuff worked (oh we are good at that aren't we - the timely stated bhaiyyas, uncles,aunties, bhabhis, chechis, chettans, annans etc.) - because he stopped grinning at me, and he explained that he'd been the 'pilot' now for many years. "Bet you were flying when you were in diapers" I muttered to myself while hoping he didn't hear.

Then came the instructions. "Whatever you do, don't sit. Run fast, and don't let the wind make you sit. When you get pulled back, you pull the opposite direction.  And DON'T FALL." (You moron! You really think that last part required to be stated?) Just before he started running behind me, he remembered one more little thing -"Oh Madam, when we are about to land, keep your legs up, otherwise you can even fracture them!" (Wow! Informative guy! NOW he remembers to tell me!)

And we ran... Rather, he ran, and I bumbled along, remembering not to fall. Till the last few feet before the end of the hill. "This is bloody suicide," was the last thought that crossed my numbed mind before my buckling knees floated and my feet left the reassurance of the ground. The very next moment, I was lifted off the ground, the wiry young mountain lad laughing at my war cry (Actually, more like high-pitched-hysterical-woman-shriek). I had done it!

Well, I mean the wind had done it - successfully picked me - a more than healthy person, and made me fly a few hundred feet above the tiny little people standing below. That moment, I was all respect for my 'Pilot'. I was flying, the bright red, black and white parachute with the number "6" boldly written on it. I was whooping in joy, understanding why man's fascination with flying would never end. The shining snow on the mountains, the glistening river below, and all of nature's beauty was visible as far as my eyes could see..... 

A few minutes of tasting heaven, and it was time to land. I did remember to lift my legs, so no fracture.

After dusting the visible effects of my flight from my clothes, I went straight to my list of "To-do-before-I-Die" list, and crossed out that amazing wonderful word : PARAGLIDING......

Bungee Jumping ...... here I come!!

Friday, June 3, 2011

I Have Learnt.........

Ever have one of those times when some thing you read seemed to hit you with such force that the impression remains?? I read something beautiful written by Andy Roony which engraved itself on to my brain. And I thought I would share it with you too...

Please feel free to add on your experiences to the list :-)

"I HAVE LEARNT ........
  •  That the best classroom in the world is at the feet of an elderly person.
  • That when you're in love, it shows.
  • That just one person saying to me, 'You've made my day!' makes my day
  • That having a child fall asleep in your arms is one of the most peaceful feelings in the world
  • That being kind is more important than being right
  • That you should never say no to a gift from a child
  • That I can always pray for someone when I don't have the strength to help him in some other way.
  • That no matter how serious your life requires you to be, everyone needs a friend to act goofy with.
  • That sometimes all a person needs is a hand to hold and a heart to understand.
  • That simple walks with my father on summer nights when I was a child did wonders for me as an adult.
  • That life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer it gets to the end, the faster it goes.
  • That we should be glad God doesn't give us everything we ask for.
  • That money doesn't buy class.
  • That it's those small daily happenings that make life so spectacular.
  • That under everyone's hard shell is someone who wants to be appreciated and loved.
  • That to ignore the facts does not change the facts.
  • That when you plan to get even with someone, you are only letting that person continue to hurt you.
  • That love, not time, heals all wounds.
  • That the easiest way for me to grow is to surround myself with people smarter than I am.
  • That everyone you meet deserves to be greeted with a smile.
  • That no one is perfect until you fall in love with them.
  • That life is tough, but I'm tougher.
  • That opportunities are never lost, someone will take the ones you miss.
  • That when you harbor bitterness, happiness will dock elsewhere.
  • That one should keep his words both soft and tender, because tomorrow he may have to eat them.
  • That a smile is an inexpensive way to improve your looks.
  • That when your newly born child holds your little finger in his little fist, that you're hooked for life.
  • That everyone wants to reach the top, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you're climbing.
  • That the less time I have to work with, the more things I get done.