Monday, December 13, 2010

The god of small people

Niks has been falling sick. Again. And again. We’ve tried a variety of doctors and medicines and even antibiotics through a needle in his little hand. The Manipal hospital Emergency nurses say he is the bravest kid they’ve ever seen, with the scaredy-pooest mom. I stand outside while they poke at him inside.

When all earthly supports fail, we remember those guys upstairs.

And religions blend into one, with all the gods in their heavens being called down in a stampede. It doesn’t matter whether the god wears white robes or saffron, as long as He does the job.

So my neighbor, Nik’s adopted mommy, a Hindu Nair, promises the Infant Jesus church a solid bribe. And my Ma, a die-hard Roman Catholic resorts to tying a black thread ‘to ward off the evil eye’ on Nik’s skinny lil hand. And my cook does a hocus pocus with some seeds and oil around his nose. Something works. And Niks gets well.

I sit back and wonder. At what this relationship is with our Gods. They are smart beings for sure. Probably when Their coffers run a lil empty, and They need to finance a celestial tour across the skies, They look down, chewing Their divine lip.

And then They send Niks a tedious little viral infection, and soon enough – the prayers – and the funds will start pouring in.

Monday, October 4, 2010

In a perfect world

In a perfect world, the day I did the washing, hung all the clothes out in the sun till they were nice and dry and crisp – it would NOT RAIN! Especially, when I was out of home in my new suede shoes! Walking! Without an umbrella! With a cold already!

In a perfect world, the door jamb would hold a door open, not spinelessly fold up and let the door slam on someone’s fingers.

In a perfect world, the coffee would NOT run out just when I had a humpback whale of a headache.

In a perfect world, I would not be an hour late for a one hour meeting.

In a perfect world, I would have a longer nose. And thick lustrous hair falling down my back. (Well, it still falls down my back, but I would rather it was still connected to my scalp while it fell down my back, I meant).

In a perfect world, Niks would not collect germs and school complaints by the dozens and bring them home.

Learning : It’s cloudy outside, and I’ve just put my clothes to dry up, and I’ve got a nice big cuppa chai (so what if there’s no coffee?) and the house is filled with the noise of the kids playing Dinosaur with eachother and swinging from the curtains, and the golden brown dog is curled up in a slice of sunshine, and my hubby’s laughing out loud at something on the TV, and my Ma is doing the crossword, and Niks comes and sits on my lap right now , and wipes his nose on my TShirt, while trying to give me a big hug.
It IS a Perfect World!

Monday, August 23, 2010

My little black dress words

Every woman who ever reached anywhere to be interviewed in any article seems to have a little black dress which she says is the ONE element of her wardrobe she cannot do without. (Well, I have done without one for ages,) and anyways, it only really looked good on Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffanys and on no one who has fat knees.

But I do have that one all-purpose swiss-penknife little black dress WORD – or series of words. They fit in anywhere – consider:

LBD words # 1 : Next time, for sure.

Annoying clingy person: You said you’d call. You didn’t call. You were in the house next to mine, and you DIDN’t CALL!
Me : Oh ah ya. I didn’t call? Next time, for sure!

Ma : You forgot to post my letter again?
Me: Next time for sure.
Next time, Ma :You posted my letter?
Me: Next time, for SURE.

LBD # 2 : hehe

Really bad joke-telling person: So did you get it?
Me :(didn’t get it) : hehe.
Me : (got it but didn’t think it was funny) : hehe

Ira : You didn’t apply for your passport reissue yet?
Me : hehe.
Ira : hehe yes or hehe no?
(the problem with little black dress words is friends soon catch on!)

LBD # 3 : The kids did it!

Posh guest arriving at home: Ah, well, your house looks so – er – homely.
Me : It’s a mess, right? The kids did it!

S (from upstairs): What’s that noise down there?
Me : (dropped hot pan of milk) : Milk fell. Kids did it.
S : The kids are up here with me!

And sometimes, if the situation is really bad, I can use all 3 emergency LBD words at once… like…

Someone I don’t recognize : Hiiii Jane, you look just the same.
Me : hehe.
The someone : I still remember that portrait you said you’d paint of me.
Me : Next time, for sure.
The someone, suspiciously : You don’t know who I am, do you?
Me : hehe.
Someone : Don’t tell me you’ve lost your memory?
Me : The kids did it.

Friday, August 6, 2010

From: Jane. To: Rain

Oh great Indian monsoon, please show your face.
So far, you’ve been an utter disgrace!
No storms, no sploshes, no plops.
No miserly two-bit drops.

But wait - hey!
When I said Rain Rain Go away,
I really meant to say, Please stay.
Don’t be a spoil sport, come out and play.

Please wash my terrace, flood the streets.
You have permission to drench my sun-dried bed sheets.
Just Rain.
Don’t be a pain.
I want no excuses, no buts.
And I really want no more power-cuts.
The price of tomatoes has gone through the sky.
Because every farm is dry.
The big ole trees are dying of thirst.
But those pregnant clouds just refuse to burst.

Made my point. Please Mister Rain?
Save our grain. Please, pretty please, just come out again.

Comment : 1

Dear Jane. This is Mister Rain.
I know the reason you want me to shoot,
Is not for the earth or the crops or the roots.
I’m a wise old fella.
It’s cos you’ve just bought a new fancy umbrella.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

i failed the passport test

The newspapers blazed with ads of all the minister’s smiling mugs, proclaiming Bangalore to be the new icon for passport purposes – all computerized – smooth process – no waiting - passports in 3 days – child-friendly -no hassle to citizens. I beamed more than the ministers. Time to get the kids their passports and renew my own and my mom’s. With NO hassle.

Now, reading between the lines, this is what it really means:

1) New scheme : You are our latest guinea pig! The post office staff supposed to helpfully supply these services looked blank, said they didn’t know what I was talking about and made me buy stamps for standing in the queue.
2) 3 days : It takes over 3 weeks to get an appointment to even apply for a passport under this scheme online – and wade through crashing systems. If you are one of the poor paupers who needs to go stand in the queue, please go the previous night, with idlis wrapped in newspaper, for the passport office to open the next morning.
3) No waiting : We waited for 4 hours, along with others who had brought tons of tiffin and tons of relatives.. Finally had to whine my way in, saying I have 2 sick kids, 1 handicapped mother (she walks with a stick – ha!) and got a chance – after the guy took pity on S, who looked like a normal person stuck in this circus.
4) Child-friendly : Niks,(who unlike the other toddlers who sat and sucked their mom’s sari pallus for 4 hours straight) ran away and got lost when his turn came, then fell onto the camera, and got the fingerprinting stamp ink on to everything else in sight, and insisted on giving the data entry operator a star on her official document. Neel sat and complained to an elderly lady on the other side, about the weight on his 6-year-old shoulders of monthly tests at school.
5) Smooth process : We needed to go through 4 separate levels, some desks manned by grim TCS hires, and some manned by boiled potatoes.
6) No hassle to the citizens : Hahaha – excuse me, while I choke over the coffee that I had to fight off 15 people in the queue in the ‘smooth process’ for!

Did I mention they also fingerprint you and take your photograph on the spot? So, I had done my hair, and put on an apricot shade of lipstick. 4 hours later, when the pic was finally clicked, I ended up looking like Ozzie the Orangutan on a bad hair day.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Need a mid-week weekend

Chix and I just exchanged hellos, how are yous this Monday morning, and realized we’re both exhausted and need a holiday. Because we’re recovering from two holidays in a row, and you know how stressful that is!

The weekend’s more packed, than the 6.02 Churchgate local is. There’s everything you couldn’t do on the weekday to do, like:

Bills to pay and queues to stand in, and bills to search for in safe places, and to find to see that they’re overdue, and therefore different queues to stand in – to be told you’re too late and it’s the weekend, so come back later, since the office is now closed.

Shopping rears its head, since the cupboard is bare. There are exactly two and a quarter geriatric drumsticks that have fossilized, that support the innards of the fridge, so the weekend is the time to stock up. S, with his caveman instincts, likes to hunt and forage, and pick up another five kilos of something that no one will ever eat, except the ants, some day. While the drumsticks live on.

There are errands to run, school things to be picked up (where does one buy bangles of different colours for a BOY’s school project, and WHY does a boy need them?), and socks that display magical holes just a day before school opens and pressure cooker gaskets that suddenly blow and people who fall sick and need visiting, and long-lost family members who appear and need to be visiting…. And the list goes on and on…

There are books to be exchanged in the library, and therefore, the night before spent in speed-reading the book to return it. There are appointments with dentists and saloons and vets, and washing machines that lie down and play dead, and parts for extinct electrical gadgets to be sourced, and – phew!

And do NOT FORGET TO HAVE FUN! Weekends are to have fun, so you must have fun, even if it kills you. So, squeeze in a pub in between standing in a BSNL queue, and repairing a shoe. Or take the kids on a play date with other parents who look as hollow-eyed as you do.

And finally, it’s Monday morning. Time for the blues. Time for a break!

Learning : Don’t you think the week should start with a weekend?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

back to the front burner

To all those who kept asking me to re-blog (like that’s a word!) – this one’s for you. A pile of excuses. It’s nice, by the way, to be told someone’s waiting to hear my thoughts. And my cribs:

1) The World Cup : We all know by now, that every guy will watch anything with balls (didn’t come out quite the way I meant it). And since I have 3 guys at home, there wasn’t time for anything but football, at those insomniac hours. Though I must admit, that I’d get my huge mug of hot chocolate, get the place all readied up to watch the midnight match, and then at the first kick, fall asleep.

2) Nik’s started school : For these last 6 weeks, Niks has started going to Monstessori on a staggered (timings for the kids) and staggering (time for me) schedule. It was drop and pick-up, and now he’s finally going in the big yellow school bus, I miss taking him. He came home yesterday with some big girl’s shoes on. (Only wonder what she wore?) So, now I’ve got myself a little breathing space in the mornings, with Niks at school. Of course, his teachers look like drained out laundry after spending 3 hours in his company. Serves them right. Couldn’t they have opted for an easier profession – like neuro-surgery?

3) Last excuse in my book – is just that. A book that I’m writing/ trying to write. It’s not going forward. Quite the opposite, actually. Every chapter I manage to write, I delete two of the previous ones. Which leaves me with a backward progressing novel. It’s tough to write a book – demoralizing and no feedback (unlike your happy comments on the blog) – so I’m writing it mostly in the dark (literally,given Bangalore’s power situation).

But there it is! You can always depend on me for many excuses. I’m really good at that.
But thanks anyway, for missing me.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

germ warfare

I am sick.
Day 10 now. Coughing like an old car, and head thumping like a new drumset.
And I didn’t do NOTHING to get sick, honest !
What’s happened to my immunity?

Down Memory Lane :
Memory 1 :
I lived in a place where they bred cows for the milk next door. I used to spend my time hanging over the cow shed wall – making friends with all the buffalo calves – they are downright cute! All that cowdung and smell ! And I’d be in the middle of all of it, cuddling them up. Come right home, feeling hungry and make up a sandwich WITHOUT washing my hands.
Healthy as a horse ! (Excuse the mixing of metaphors and animals).

Memory 2 :
Playing all day – dashing around in the mud – hot sunny day – buying 2 rupee iced water in hideous colours of parrot green and orange from the roadside (though it was rumoured they made it from the gutter water).
Gastro-enteritis? Not a whisper !

Memory 3 :
Icy-cold Jamshedpur winter. Freeeeeeezing, and on top of it, it was raining. Saw from my verandah, some lil puppies getting drenched and howling on the road. Went running down (umbrella? Nah!) – and carried them all to push them under a culvert –, and wiping the rain streaming down my face -off at the same time.
Unhygienic? Fleas? Rabies? How do you spell all that?

Not fair. Fast forward a coupla decades – and here I am – being good. Using umbrellas in the rain, and hand SANITIZER – and half the preventive pharmacy – and guess what?

Caught some big bad bugs.
My kids cuddling up to me, kissing me all over my germ-infected nose - and still healthy as - horses!

Learning : Guess those guardian angels that they say kids have? That’s really true.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Early bookings

Every alternate Sunday morning, like a good convent-educated girl, I make my way to worship. In the crowded, dusty environs of Eloor library. Which holds, in the most no-nonsense style, the best books to be had in the city. There, I spend a good part of the morning hours browsing, reading, searching, giggling at a funny line, raising my eyebrows at the audacity of someone who can’t write at all, tip-toeing to the top shelf to get a look at the books hidden up there, sneezing at the cobwebs.
All, in all, it’s a fabulous wouldn’t-give-it-up-for-the-world morning. I come away feeling refreshed (though a lot grimier).

Once in a while, S and I take the boys, in an attempt to introduce them early to this wonderful world of make-believe that makes the world of non-make-believe a lot more livable. Each time, we do this, we promise never to repeat it again.

S goes down one aisle to his section of books heavy enough to start weight-lifting with, with pages full of words no one but the author (and apparently S) had heard of. He then turns to his other interest – absolute mind-smashing Wild West comic books. Similarly, I window-shop through all the erudite master-pieces, cluck at the wisdom and the beauty of those Pulitzer prize winners, and then settle for some nail-biting thriller I can read before falling asleep.

Neel reads (has just learn to read) in loud stage whispers : “P-A-N-T-H-E-R TALES.”
Nik : Whasthat mean, Neel?
Neel (who admits to not knowing nothing) : It’s about why you can’t wear pants if you have tail.s
A couple of giggles around the library. A loud sssssssssshhhhhhhh.

Chastised, Neel goes on to read another book, loudly and all wrong.
Niks soon bored, goes to his favourite task here. He rearranges all the reading stools. He stocks them up on each other, then tries to climb up the whole unholy pile, and before he crashes to the floor, someone kind thankfully catches him. Then he starts all over again.

S often thinks of charging Nik’s audience for the entertainment he never fails to provide.

Neel, meanwhile, has moved to another section of the library, it seems from his loud rendering of “L-A-D-Y C-H-A-TTTTTT-something – L-O-V-E-R”.

Sorely tempted to disown both, and leave them behind in the library, S and I, nevertheless, act the part of responsible parents, and quickly hustle them away. We pay for our books, and rush out red-faced, promising yet again, never to bring them here again.

We are half-way home when we find that Niks has become the world’s littlest shop-lifter, and certainly the first in our family. He clutches on, innocently, to the Little book of Classic Quotes.

With a sigh, we turn back.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Jane Funda’s workout

To those of you who ask me how I stay slim in spite of 2 kids, I say I stay slim BECAUSE of 2 kids. But here's my secret - the daily exercise regimen - never miss a day.

Yoga : Start the day by lying on a mat staring at the ceiling.
Breathe in, saying “Oooooooooooom”
Breathe out, saying “WHO threw ketchup at the ceiling?!!!”

Aerobics : (good for the heart)
It’s gonna rain. Run up the stairs, to pull in all the clothes drying out. Kids run after me to help. Niks throws a clean bed sheet over the terrace wall. It falls to the ground 3 storeys below.
Run 6 flights of stairs down to get the bed sheet, run up 6 flights of stairs back to the terrace. Find that Niks has thrown all the clothes clips over the wall. Run down…. (to be repeated at least thrice).
Scream and rant and rave at Niks (bad for the heart).

Rest : (Finally slump down on pillow for well-deserved rest).
Jump up, with pillow jumping with me. Why? Someone has stuck chewing gum on the pillow. Spend 1 hour vigorously washing hair, and finally have to cut off some strands.

Dance :
So angry now, that should catch and whack the butt of some offending kid. Easier said than done!
Lunge to the left. Bend to the right. Jump over the chair. Dive under the bed. A 1- and a 2- and a- 3- Stretch to the top of the cabinet – a-4- and a- 5- (count till 30 and if haven’t caught the kid till then, let him go!)

Meditate :
Close eyes, sit in a dark room and listen to the sound of …
“Mama, potty!”
“Mama, Marcopolo is chewing up my underwear.”
“Mama, how do I get a crayon out of my nose?”

Learning : Dash around doing three things at once, maybe 40 times a day, and I guarantee you – even after eating comfort-food of a double bar of rich chocolate a day – you will – on this exercise plan– lose 5 pounds a month (and a lot more hair).

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

TV is full of vitamins

Dinner announcement in my house is met with :
Neel : What’s for dinner?
Me : Well, there is….
Neel : Why ?
Nik : I doesn’t like it.

I am quite aware that I need to start dinner etiquette early in life, and am very impressed by pictures of kids sitting at table, elbows off the table, with greens on their plate. Greens !

The problems with this picture :
1) Anything green is pulled out of the mouth along with more green slime from the inner depths of the mouth cavity, and flung at the other kid’s plate.
2) Elbows are never off the table. In fact, sometimes the whole shoulder too, and a chin, and a knee follow.
3) The table itself is a miracle. I started out with all kids strapped in high chairs, at the table. As soon as they could crawl, they crawled out of the strapped high chair, displaying dexterity that Houdini would give his left elbow for.

So dinner now consists of me chasing Niks around the house, under the sofa, with a piece of roti in my hand, threatening him with fire and brimstone forever and ever. While Neel sits with his plate in front of him and whines : Why can’t I run around and eat too?

If all else fails, I turn to my always-present, always-helpful baby-sitter.
So while Ben 10’s many-legged alien spouts green goo at some unfortunate, the little eyes watching open wide, and the little mouth opens wider, and in goes the piece of roti.

Doctors who say never feed your kids in front of TV, never said this in front of their wives.
Cos wives/ mothers all know TV is terrific for our kids. It is the source of Tom and Jerry, Vitamins and Minerals. Dora, the Explorer = a slice of carrot, Spiderman = a spoon of sprouts.

Monday, April 12, 2010


This is in heated defence of what S calls the advantage of being a male – “you don’t have to carry a bag of useful things around.”

Dip-bag research held immediately.
Results :

- 93% of women friends carry a Biiig bag to put all the things that might be needed. Like a hockey stick – hey, you never know when you’d need that. My Ma has never thrown out anything since 1960 because she’s convinced we will all need that some day.
- 10% of women carry photographs of old boyfriends UNDER the picture of their husband.
- 30% of women carry a pair of running shoes, since they wear thigh-twistingly high heels to look taller than their Boss
- 82 % of women carry tissues, in case they go for a movie, and in case the movie is sad, and in case they cry, and in case they have no man’s shirt nearby to wipe their noses on.
- 3 % of women carry money for impulse shopping. The other 97% do NO impulse shopping (that they can’t buy on their card). 96% of these carry their ‘joint account’ card. Ahem!
- 57% of women carry chocolates/ candies/ gum/ roasted pork chops with burnt sauce – in their bags in case hunger pangs hit.
- 35% percent carry safety pins to “accidentally” jab viciously into that man in the bus who “accidentally” falls on them. The others carry more dangerous weapons.
- Many percent carry lipsticks, perfumes, sunscreen, mascara – and a spare toothbrush.
- 45% of women carry age-proof that proves they are 15 years younger than they actually are.
- Zero percent of women carry anything “useful” if it doesn’t look expensive or make them look expensive.

Dip-stick research carried out on men friends as to what they’d carry if they had to carry a big bag – turned out responses like “But Why?” or "Why Me?" , and were invalidated.

Note : Nowadays, women in fashion magazines are not seen with a big bag, but something called a ‘clutch’ – which is the size of a post card, and as slim. These are not ‘real women’ but cut-outs of paper, that weigh as much, and are born without things such as brains and ‘hunger pangs’ – both needed to adequately fill that big bag.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

An Easter Story

No hot cross buns? NO HOT CROSS BUNS ?
I stomped and the waiter at Daily Bread squirmed.
Today is Good Friday. Once a year, on one day, there are hot cross buns. And you say there are NO HOT CROSS BUNS ? I mean I wait 364 days a year for a day on which I’m fasting to eat these buns !
The waiter promised me he would get them, go to his HQ, go to the bakery, short of making his grand-mom bake them, he promised me everything. At 6 that evening, they would be ready.

At 6.05, I was at Daily Bread, with my 2 lil boys in tow.
No hot cross buns? AGAIN ? YOU PROMISED ME !!!
My voice rising like the tide, I unleashed a whole speech on my Easter season being ruined, and my little boys dying of disappointment (though they did a dismal job of being dead, since they were chasing each other around the trays of cakes, oblivious to their supposed disappointment.)

Suddenly, the waiter was called to another table, and came back with a huge box. It had 4 hot cross buns in it.
I thought you said there were none left? I hollered.
The waiter gestured at the table in the corner where a lady sat sipping coffee with her 11-year-old son. They ordered it, said the waiter, but they’re giving theirs to you. For your boys.

If Easter is about hope, and kindness and empathy, I think that lady gave her son a much stronger Easter lesson than I gave my boys that day.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

I wanna sue somebody

We’ve all read of this woman who dropped hot coffee that SHE ordered and SHE was carrying, on HERSELF – and sued the cafĂ© for it being too hot ! And WON a million dollars!
That’s America !
I am making a list of who to sue, cos I could sure use a million dollars.

When Neel was 4, he fell in a Mickey Mouse birthday party, and fractured his arm.
Ban parties ! Sue Walt Disney ? Sue the floor for being too hard?
When Neel was 5, the wind blew the door shut and his finger got cut off.
Sue the South West Monsoon? Ban all doors ?

Not working the way I wanted it to. Can’t see those million dollars anywhere near.

I busted my lip. Tried to make up an exciting story for it, but the truth is I slipped on a toy car at home. (my house looks like a Bangalore traffic jam with toy cars strewn in every corner).
Sue the Hot Wheels car makers for making cars with 4 wheels?

The house is child-safe. All plug points are covered in cello tape. The stairs have a latched gate (That even the dog has learnt to open). Knives, scissors and sharp stuff is shut away.
Niks threw a spoon at Neel and hit him on the head. Neel whacked Niks with a broom and nearly dislocated his neck.
Ban brooms? Sue the makers of spoons and plates?
Niks tumbled over his own shoes and fell on his nose.
SUE THE WORLD for its unfair law of gravity !!!

Learning : Nah ! I think there’s nothing wrong with the way the world and its manufacturers of stuff work. It’s our kids. Let’s face it.
Even better, let’s sue them ! That’s my only million dollar idea so far. Sue them for being so totally accident-prone and kid-like, and hope that they will become billionaire rock stars real fast, and therefore be able to shell out a million dollar lawsuit to their poor ole mom n dad.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The doctor's waiting room

Doctor looking out at the room through his one-way glass, wonders when this evening’s crowd of patients will ever end. Also wonders if he can finally ask his receptionist out to a drink after work.

Receptionist looking at the coiffeured woman in her mid-40s, immaculately dressed, each hair in place. Wonders if this is the person the doctor talks of cheating his wife with.

The woman in her mid-40s looks quietly over her fashion magazine at the young man sitting near her in his 20s, in his tight-fitting jeans, chewing gum, and wonders what it will be like to have a fling with a guy like that, all muscles and no brains, no strings attached.

The young guy chews his gum and openly stares at the teenage girl right across from him, and thinks up a dozen situations of them together. He keeps staring at her, willing her to look at him.

The teenage girl feels openly resentful of that gum-chewing idiot salivating all over his shirt, and staring at her. She needs someone with class, like that grey-haired man in the corner chair, who looks like he owns a corner office too, and would know how to dress a young lady in diamonds.

The grey-haired man waits for his turn to go in to meet the doctor, who he has been seeing for months now, with no other reason except that he has a huge crush on him, and today, he finally plans to confess his love for the doc.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

chocolate ke peeche kya hai ?

I saw this article in the paper where they have made fuel to run a car out of leftover chocolate. A WHOPPING LIE !
Hint 1 : Left over chocolate. LEFT OVER ? who in their right minds would leave over chocolate? I even lick up the piece that falls under the bed.
Hint 2 : There was a woman model sitting in the car. Hah ! She would have drunk up the chocolate fuel for sure.

Same reason I don’t go for chocolate massages. Would not want to be caught licking myself all over !

Anyway, women love chocolate and it is NOT OUR fault ! Something to do with our hormones or genes or something. Guys prefer vanilla icecream. Ugh ! They must have craters full of that on Mars!
If I catch S sneaking into my chocolate stash, I take it as a personal call to Battle !

Men, listen to this. If you have forgotten to wish her on her birthday, (despite my earlier post on V Day), buy her a chocolate as big as a car. She will eat it, while bonding with her girl friends, and tell them what a jerk you were to forget her birthday. (Hey, no one said this was about YOU winning).

Some more facts about chocolate :
A square of dark chocolate a day prevents strokes. (Therefore, 10 squares should be even healthier).
Good for headaches. Good for PMS. Good for depression. Good for morning perk-ups. Good for evening fatigue. Aphrodisiac.
Bad for the Big Butt Society. It has about a hundred calories in every bite I’m afraid.

However, I have a loophole even for this.
The Ugandan village males like fat women. They have a ‘fattening hut’ where they will keep you for months before they even consider marrying you.

Learning :
Girlfriends unite! Let’s meet, eat chocolate and all go to Uganda after that.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Windows 2010

You know what would help you avoid shoe bite, traffic fines, eunuchs, sick children suspected of swine flu and thieves ?
Car Windows… No kidding ! the all-in-one cure !

Here’s a chain of events that happened when my niece went clickety-click on the automatic car windows :

- The automatic windows broke – The windows wouldn’t roll down – The windows manufacturer (not Bill Gates) said the repair unit would take 48 hours – I kept the car running with windows up and air con running for 2 hours – So Niks came down with a cold and fever – Spent thousands on his tests and meds – S took 2 days of leave - The windows manufacturer said the unit would take another 48 hours – Met someone I knew while driving on the road – Could not roll down the window to say Hi – Had to open the car door and get out in traffic to say Hi, my Windows won’t roll down – Angry traffic cop –Went to Manipal Hospital – where car valet managed to get windows DOWN and now they wouldn’t go UP – The windows manufacturer said the unit would take another 48 hours – Now driving with windows down all over town – Traffic signal, the “gender-challenged scary beggars” snaking their arms right in – Can’t park the car anywhere outside cos the windows are DOWN – found my old favorite boot hanging on the mirror flicked – found the car shelf flicked - Mosquitoes flying in and out of the car – threatening malaria - sunniest of days no air con – cos the windows won’t go UP - – I had to walk 1 hour 45 minutes to somewhere cos I couldn’t take my windowless car – got a shoe bite- The windows manufacturer said the unit would take another 48 hours.

Learning : So forget Insurance and gym memberships and Buy the Right Car Windows, People! It could one day (or in 48 hours) save your life !

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Murphy and Me

I ran down the stairs, with the car keys, a book, a toy rubber tiger and my cell phone in my hand. Splattt ! The cell phone fell !
Murphy makes sure whatever’s most precious will fall, whatever’s breakable will break.
If I have keys, book, toy, cell phone and camera? Camera falls !
If I have keys, book, toy, cell, camera and baby ? …. ??!!

Murphy has been wedded to me for ever since I remember, having promised to stick to me in good times and (turn them to) bad – till death do us part. S is aware he has married a bigamist.

As I enter the bathroom in the morning, already very late for something important, the phone rings. It is an earth-shakingly (or bank-shakingly) even more important call from the USA.
“Hello,”(flush sound).
“No, of course, I’m free.” (tap running sound).
“Yesssshh” (while trying to brush my teeth).
“No, you are perfectly clear. Please go on.” (splash while phone falls into bucket of water, and ends call).

I get out of home, and guess who’s in the back seat ? Ole Murphy of course.
He gets me into the longest queue in the traffic jam, behind a Learner Car of a lady who gets out in the middle of the traffic to buy something from a chemist.
I inch forward in the car queue to enter the movie complex. The car before me goes through and they come and slap a PARKING FULL sign and close the gate.

If anything can go wrong, says Murphy’s First Law, it will go wrong.
Today, I have lost my IT papers (kept safe in a place too safe to remember), threw my medicines in the dustbin and the plate with leftovers in the fridge, had a power cut while I was baking a cake, and have a 3 year old down with high fever.
And while rushing home today, I got caught by a traffic cop for talking while driving. No one else in the car. I was not talking on the cell, I tell him, I was talking to Murphy, sitting invisible in my back seat.
If 99 people go wrong, you will be the 1 to get caught, says Murphy.
“Oh shut up,” I tell him.
The cop looks even angrier and doubles my fine.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

No roses on Valentine Day?

Like most girls, I used to measure how much I was loved by the number of roses, cards, chocolates I got on Val Day.
Like most guys, S doesn’t know what Valentine’s Day even is.
Me : What is Feb 14th ?
S : Tuesday.

This year, it wasn’t any different. No roses. No cards. No wishes.
This is how Val Day went :

S & I were going to the library. I was 45 minutes late. He pretended not to notice.
“I’ll just rush in, get a book, and rush out,”; I said. I spent 25 minutes there, totally forgetting about the rusharound promise. S kept Nik busy all the while, chasing him down one aisle, and up the other, picking up every book Nik pulled out, answering every question Nik asked.
Nik : ‘What you doin?’
S : Reading books.
Nik : Ok. Now, what you doin ?

S filled my car up full tank of petrol.
He paid my phone bill.
He took our 5 year old for a party to have a blast with his own pals.
He couriered a letter for me.
He sat while I had a huge filter coffee.
We both went for a walk in the evening. I changed my mind 3 times over about what to get for dinner. Even the waiter looked like he wanted to throw the naan at me.

I got home with a bad headache.
So S fed Nik.
Nik : I don’t want bread.
S : This is Naan.
Nik : I don’t want Naan.
S : This is not Naan.
Nik :I don’t want Not Naan……

In the evening, a good girl friend wished me Happy Valentine’s Day. What did S give you? She asked.

He gave me the best ever Feb 14th. And 15th. And 16th.

Learning :
It’s never measured in roses.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Happy Birthday, Nikash

Today, my baby turns 3. Your grandmother has given you a big red car to ride around in. Dipika Mummy gave you a fabulous shirt-jeans combo. Many people will come and give you lovely gifts. And you will be thrilled, but wonder why Mama didn’t give you anything.

I'm giving you what I've got (but not my stash of chocolates hah !) :

Clouds :
Your first playschool complaint came in. Your teachers told me while all the other children sat to study, you were wandering around in your own world. I told her, So Am I. Lost in my own world. In the clouds. It’s a beautiful place to be. It’s where the dreams come out of. And life, without those dreams, is F-all !

Bump on the head : You jump off the cabinet, fall, get a bump on your head, cry, and then go jump again. I can't stop you. I have scars on my knees that I got from falling off cycles, and skates, and walls. If there’s a wall, you gotta climb it, Niks. If there’s a sofa, you gotta jump off it. Getting hurt is tons better than living scared.

An orange grape : I asked you the other day what colour the grape is. You said it’s grape-colored. Who said it should be purple? Other people? Books? Teachers? It’s your life, and don’t let anyone else tell you how to live it. (Not even me). Go ahead and be different. Stay honest. And become whatever colour grape you want to.

ok then - some chocolate : Most of all, I want to give you the promise that you are loved. So so sooooo much. And please never be afraid to love back. Go ahead and do anything you want. As long as you don't hurt anyone else. And if you hurt yourself ? There will be a bandaid and a cup of hot chocolate whenever you get home.

And yeah – I’ll try not to call you Baby any more. OK, Pup ? :)

Sunday, January 24, 2010


These are the gadgets our household has bought to save its people time and trouble.

The Cell phone : Mine is not charging. I have bought 3 chargers in 3 weeks from. Not charging! I have, with human intelligence found that if laid at an angle of 37 degrees on the bar cabinet, supported by a toy Brontosaurus, held together by a clothes clip and wedged with a tooth-pick, it charges !!! If I replace the toy brontosaurus with a Stegosaurus, it won’t. Or else, I have to stand by the plug point holding the cell phone in place till it charges – while doing nothing else for the 2 hours that this takes. Time-saving device. Hah !

The Microwave : Can do a hundred magnificent things, almost stand on its head. But is used in 99% of Indian households to re-heat ONLY. So, I put the cold milk from the fridge (also tech device – please note) into the microwave to heat quickly. Then Niks scalds his lips and screams. So I put the milk back into the fridge to cool. Final end to this episode : Niks goes to school LATE with burnt lips plus a sneezy nose from milk out of the fridge. Saves trouble. Hmph !!!

The Electric Iron : Our household uses this item as purely educational, since all clothes are sent down to the dhobi. Educational – because Niks is told NOT to TOUCH it, which he chooses to interpret as push Neel onto it, so Neel will touch it instead. And then let’s see what happens.

Laptop : To carry anywhere and have a mobile office. Right now, sits plugged into the mains, since its battery won’t charge. Why is it all items in my house are non-chargeable? But every item in a store that Niks breaks is chargeable? Murphy, c’mon out and let’s talk !

The household also has other inhabitants, some of which are lower-tech-evolved than me. Example : In the middle of a do-or-die presentation, my mom phones me at office to say ‘ The second red light on the washing machine is blinking. Now what to do?’
And there are higher-tech people like my dog, who is the only one who can operate the 5-click guaranteed burglar-proof safety lock on my door.

Learning : They have created a really high-tech appliance which can do children’s homework, fix bulbs, make and pack tiffins, issue warnings, dispense hugs, do crosswords, scrub kids, dress kids, and then drive itself to a full day of work. Guess what it’s called ?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Organizing Blues - and Greens

‘Hey,’ said an old friend I’m meeting after 12 years. ‘Isn’t that the same blue whale t-shirt you had back then?’
‘It’s not, ‘ I reply, ‘then I had a dolphin, now it’s turned into a whale’.
In response to those who think I’m hopelessly fashion-challenged, or disorganized, or lazy :


Here are my piles :

Pile 1 : To throw out - Those clothes I have worn for 10 years : Bye Bye blue whale T shirt. Bye Bye old blue jeans that I fell off a tree in, and then fell off a bike in. (blood stains to prove it). Bye Bye,– sorry, these go right back in.

Pile 2 : To throw out instead – Clothes I have NOT worn for 10 years (smarter !) There should go all my wedding trousseau sarees, but Ma will stage a hunger-strike, so sarees will go into Pile 3.

Pile 3 : Those clothes I have NOT worn for 10 years BUT will wear again : All those tiny tops and size 24 inch waist jeans. Some day I will lose the tummy and the thighs and the – oh forget it, will just give them to some stick-insect teen I meet.

Pile 4 : Shoooooooooes ! I have (opposed to the 3 pairs of footwear that S owns) - currently 27 pairs, out of which I wear my red keds almost every day. Yet, I keep going out and buying another pair of impossibly high heels. (All linked to childhood advice from my Dad – blame him – he said : “Aim High. Stand Tall.”)

Pile 5 : Slinky black dresses and night wear. Night wear now = pajamas. Stick-insect teen – your lucky day !

Pile 6 : Striped T Shirts in all colors. Love these. Buy them every time I sneeze. When I had my 11th, I read that horizontal stripes make you look fatter. Wottodo? Can’t wear my T Shirts at right angles, can I? Too late now. Keep all. Look at the positive - Would fit straight into a jail-break movie/ mental asylum flick (no reader comments accepted on this !)

Pile 7 : Lots of hairbands, caps, socks, (these are called Accessories by fashion mags). They work to color-co-ordinate your look, apparently. Hmmm – like when I’m formally dressed in a black silk sari, nothing like a pair of orange socks with ‘hiya captain’ on them to colorize the co-ordination.

Pile 8 : All other clothes – salwars, trousers, skirts – no more time left to waste, and no more shelves left, so just push them all into the one remaining shelf space, squeezed in between the books, which I have labelled as ‘Unstriped clothes’. (After all, books too qualify as unstriped clothes).

There ! Wardrobe Organized !

Learning (for you this time) : Now all of you who ask why I keep wearing the same red striped T Shirt in all my recent facebook pix, KNOW !

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Perfect Ad

Early in my advertising career, some Ad Big Wig came n gave us a few smart sassy snippets of slurp-up advice, that we, on command, slurped up.

What sells most in ads, said he : Sex, Kids, Dogs

Eager to attain immediate Big Wigdom, I immediately thought up scenarios combining all 3 for my next ad film. But they were all a li’l revolting – in any permutation together – especially since the product to be advertised was a stress-relief tablet.

But I finally crunched all together in a brilliant script - with a cute baby n her sexy mom, playing with a cute puppy.

Ad film Shoot day : The models were shortlisted, the young mom short-skirted, the baby was drool-worthily cute, all dimples and gurgles and giggles. The puppy cuddly.

The day of the shoot, cameras ready, lights set up, the baby wants to grab the camera. The crew, the client, the ad team all try to distract her. She starts to howl. No more giggles, just growls !

She is hungry, said her mom, so she was given Cerelac. She didn’t want it. She tried to chew on the light cable. Everyone got into the act again to stop her. She begins to howl again.

She is sleepy, says her mom. So the baby, the main star of my aborting ad filim goes to sleep. She sleeps all through the morning. We wake her after 4 hours, and she begins to howl. We give her a cable to chew on, and she smiles.

The Director starts shooting, and the baby starts howling.

She wants to go to the toilet, says her mom, so we spend most of the afternoon, changing diapers, and cleaning her up. The baby begins to howl. She has diaper rash, says the mom. She will be ready in a minute. Then the baby goes back to sleep for another 4 hours.

She wakes up at dusk, and the Director begins to howl. He’s lost the light. He can’t shoot. The baby starts to howl because the Director is howling. I have to shoot the rest of the film with another substitute baby without dimples – he is a 2 year old toddler. The stress relief tablet never explains how the curly haired dimpled girl baby turns later into a straight-haired bigger boy. The puppy never makes his film debut at all.

Learning : I never know whether my sexy mom-baby-puppy ad film actually sold the stress-relief tablet to the public. But the entire crew, ad team and client team and everyone else on the sets were popping up the stress-relief tablets. In between howling.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Proven New Year Diet

  1. I will lose weight from the 1st of Jan, 2010.
  2. I will start this resolution on the 2nd of Jan, since the 1st of Jan is the New Year party hangover day and I will need sugar for strength to start my diet.
  3. I will not eat more than 1 sweet thing a week. (coffee and tea do not count.)
  4. Coffee and tea do count! Just checked that every spoon of sugar adds 30 calories. I will drink them unsweetened.
  5. Just tried unsweetened coffee. Will not survive it. I will cut out the 30 calories from my breakfast instead, by not eating half the apple.
  6. I will not eat the left-over Christmas cake. I will instead give it to my neighbours who will return the favour by sending back more home-made sweets, which I will NOT eat.
  7. unless they send their coconut barfi, which I cannot resist, so will eat one a week (allowed by my diet resolution) but coconut gets bad soon, so must finish in one day.
  8. I will cut out snacking in between meals.
  9. I will cut out meals, when I do give in to snacking.
  10. I will chuck out all the snacks in the house. (maybe not these crisps I’m munching on right now, because they are exceptionally good, and they are made of chilli-potato, which is healthy, since chilli is good for the heart).
    ok, I will keep the snacks, but only for emergencies.
  11. Midnight chocolate cravings do not count as emergencies. I will eat carrots instead.
  12. No more chocolate !!!!!!
  13. (unless someone gifts me chocolate, which I can’t refuse, because that would be rude).
  14. Read somewhere that chocolates help in avoiding migraine attacks, which would qualify them as a medical emergency.
  15. Go vegetarian.
  16. I will cook only with olive oil, which makes Mediterranean people live longer.
  17. They also eat lots of fish, so I cannot go vegetarian.
  18. Eggs are high in cholesterol but also high in calcium. ????
  19. Compromise. Eat eggs only in things like cakes, puddings and pancakes.
  20. Do not eat hidden fats. (Does cabbage have hidden fats? Must check, till then, do not eat cabbage).
  21. Also do not eat pumpkins, radish, tendli until the above point is checked out.
  22. Substitute instead with plenty of vitamin supplements.
  23. Vitamin supplements leave a bad after-taste, so have them disguised in a small chocolate pastry (chocolate is a medical emergency, as just proven here).
  24. Do not eat out more than once a week.
  25. ok, eat out, but order sensibly. Drink soup.
  26. Do not drink.
  27. Just read that Alcohol kills the appetite, so drink a lot.
  28. High-fibre diet. Order lots of fried nuts and cashews with drinks.
  29. Drink plenty of water (Beer is only 5% alcohol, and 95% water).
  30. January is full of friends’ birthdays, so should this diet start from Feb?

    Jane’s Proven Immediate-Result Guaranteed Crash Diet Plan (in summary) :

    · Party heavily. Drink a lot.
    · Snacking is allowed, especially chocolates
    · No more cabbage, red spinach, radish and other unhealthy veggies.
    · No veggies at all. Non-veg makes Mediterranean people live longer.
    · Plenty of coffee and tea, with sugar, but cut out fruits to balance the sugar in body
    · No more sweets, unless medical need, or gifted a box, or neighbours send some over, or friend’s birthday party (or other emergencies).