Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year Desolutions

Every New Year’s Resolutions last determinedly and passionately for 365 .... seconds of January 1st. Then ‘the second cup of coffee won’t hurt’ and the ‘I’ll diet tomorrow’ starts!

Because as everyone knows – resolutions are meant to be broken. It’s the great Universal Resolution Rule. Not my fault. Not your fault. Not the diet’s fault.

So, this year, I’m going to make the De-Resolutions. On the assumption that I’m going to break them. Let’s start with that. Ya, oh ya – this is gonna so work!

  1. I am going to follow a crash diet! I will eat everything I want to, whenever I want to which will send my weighing scale crashing through the floor. (Already do this, but it’s so nice to make it legal!) I am going to aim to fit back into my maternity clothes! Yay Yay! Even better! I am going to throw out those old 26 inch waist jeans because I’ll never fit into them again but I’m going to aim for a 40 inch waist. Loverly!
  2. I will exercise with a vengeance. I will exercise my jaws and yap away with my favourite buddies. I will exercise my remote control finger. Haven’t watched TV in ages! I must start again! I will exercise my vocal chords and command Neel and Niks to go get me things instead of getting off my fat butt and getting them myself. Loving this year already!
  3. I will organize my life... next year. This year, I will live in the chaos I so love. So I will continue to lose cheques, not pay bills, lose the most important documents I kept in a very safe place and not find anything which is most critical... (like my marriage cert.... which  of course may mean that the kids aren’t legit!)
  4. I will NOT learn to cook!
  5. I will NOT be nice to all the lousy people who were mean to me.
  6. I will NOT act my age! I will not behave like a mom of 2 should!
  7. I will not get tech-savvy or PR savvy!
  8. I will NOT join a gym, cut my hair, change my wardrobe and transform into a goddess.

Ha! Done! That was so easy! Now, check with me a few minutes, seconds, days into 2013, and let’s see how far this takes me. I should pretty much have my life in order don’t you think? Going by the slimy back-biting nature of resolutions and their ability to turn right around, these should turn my life organized, get me into super shape, and make me into a super mom super cook in no time at all. Waiting... and Happy New Year to you too!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Santa's list

Dear Jandy,

You’ve been asking for things since you were 4 years old. I’ve been delivering. At 7, I caught you popping awake in the night trying to crack open your ceiling to make a chimney.

Now, it’s my turn to make that list. Better be sure you deliver, girl!

  1. A new reindeer. Rudolph (who is actually female, as you’ve read, because she has antlers in this season) is too whiney. She keeps asking me if her nose is too red, and her butt is too big. Of course, as you know with most of the female species, no answer is good enough.
  2. L’oreal hair dye. Because I’m worth it. I don’t wanna look like an old man. I’d like some of those pretty young mommies to offer me a cup of hot chocolate when I get down the chimney. So how about it? Auburn – you think that would suit me? Or silver black?
  3. A smart phone with GPS. It’s not funny having to travel the whole world at night, with only a whiney reindeer to guide me.
  4. Spectacles. Phew! Have you ever tried reading a 5-year-old’s handwriting? I’ve got asked for ‘Remoth-control-BOYS’ which I only hope is ‘remote controlled toys’. I’ve squinted hard at ‘Barbed wall’, which I’ve delivered as ‘Barbie Doll’. And ‘No more pants!’ Gosh! Also  I’ve given a girl who wanted a ‘Crap dress’ – pretty pink crepe dress. I’ve carried puppies for those who asked for ‘poppies’, ‘pepsis’ and ‘paps’.  But what on earth is a  ‘Gronjicle’?
  5. A vacation. In the Bahamas. Far from snow and ice and – ya, ya, - reindeers with big butts!

Aww. Who am I kidding! I love this job! I love the kids and their awful lists. Now, just what did your 5-year-old Niks want when he asked for ‘Mama to have another booby?’

Friday, December 21, 2012

Bucket List

Bucket list when I was 6

I want the tooth fairy to give me 2 new teeth really quick!

When I was 8

I want to become an airhostess and see the world. (Now that I’ve got my 2 front teeth).

At 11

Air-hostesses are fluffy. I want to become a pilot and see the world.

At 15

I want to marry Shahrukh Khan.

At 17

I want to marry the guy next door.

At 21

I don’t ever want to marry. I want to work hard and become rich and famous.

At 22

I’m sick of working. I want to marry someone rich and famous.

At 23

I want to save the world and all its animals and people and trees.

At 24

I want to learn to dance the flamenco, and learn the guitar, and learn Spanish, and work on a film script, and travel the world, and work all day and party all night.

At 25

I don’t want a single one of the above. I want to get a house of my own, with wonderful kids and a dog, and sit at a window and look at the sky and write a book, and write a column and write a blog .... and read and read... and write and write.

At Now.

Got there. Living my bucket list right now. Don’t seem to have anything more I want to do. I’m boring!!!! Help!

But guessing from the way my life is, I’m sure I’ll have one tomorrow, and a new one a year later. Maybe write that film script? Maybe work in a small town in France or Papua New Guinea? Maybe go look after polar bears or koala bears or tigers in the Sunderbans?  

I guess what I’m trying to say is that my bucket list in a work in progress. The bucket seems to have a hole at the bottom and the handle’s too rusty to carry around for long. It also seems to change shape. Sometimes it’s the size of the plane I wanted to learn to fly. Right now, it’s so tiny it’s non-existent. I’d like to see my 2 li’l boys grow up  to start working and stand on their own 2 feet. That’s about it. Before that, I refuse to kick the bucket. Or even think of one. (The one that’s overflowing in the bathroom, draining out the water tank, while I sit and write this blog).

Monday, December 17, 2012

Copyright cake

Everyone posts recipes, so here’s mine! Never let it be said I didn’t share the recipe of my fabulous much-acclaimed Christmas cake.

Buy a pack of maida and bring it home to realise it’s rice flour. Disgusting con men in the store!

Cut open the packet of sugar and get the scissors stuck in the pack and see half the sugar spill on to the floor.

Try to mop it up with one hand, while keeping the dog away with the other. Sugar is bad for dogs, since they don’t brush their teeth ever ever!

Take the cut n dried raisins and almonds and cashews and stuff that you’d soaked in rum a month back – and kept tasting ever since. Look shocked since it’s now down to a handful.  Make a big noise demanding to know who in the house ate it up.

Anyway, just pour everything into a big wooden bowl and stir it.  Add other things you think cakes need. Like candles. Like eggs. Darn, how do you pick out the egg shells? Never mind, they’re good sources of calcium!

Caramelise some sugar by burning it brown in a pan with a little water. Stop before the whole house starts smoking and the neighbours ring the bell in panic. Go to the door to assure them you are not on fire. Return to the kitchen to find you are!

The caramelised sugar is now hard enough to throw at one of the neighbours!

You forgot to add butter, you clod! The butter is frozen to its paper carton. Dump it in anyway. If they can eat egg shells, they can eat paper too. It won’t dissolve! Microwave the whole thing a bit to melt it!

Ooh freakin frook! Paper carton and  wooden bowl and metal stirrer! Everything’s smoking. The microwave oven has blown the house fuse!

How are you gonna bake it with no power?

Call the boys and the dog and sit and lick up all the cake mix instead. It’s much yummier than cake. Call S and ask him sweetly to buy 4 large Christmas cakes on his way home. And some medicine for tummy upset.

Liked my cake recipe? 

Now here’s the real secret. Ma bakes the cake. I just eat it.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Why I write

I ran. Fast. Out of breath. Lungs bursting. Legs hitting the earth. I thudded up the path, around the corner, right up the stairs and reached the door. I flung it open and ... suddenly.. I heard them. Those dreaded footsteps right behind me. I knew it, I knew I was being followed. I whipped around and saw...


Me said breathlessly, ‘Don’t run away! We need to talk!’

‘No,’ I said, ‘there’s nothing to talk about. One of me is bad enough. I don’t need two.’

Me said, ‘You always run away from what you’re afraid of, or what you don’t like. Face it!’

‘No,’ I said, trying to shut the door, but Me had her foot in it. ‘Go away. I’m afraid of facing you.’

‘What are you most afraid of?’

So I stopped. Me wasn’t going away. I said slowly, ‘I’m afraid of being alone. I’m afraid of running out of money, of friends... I’m afraid of losing those I love. I’m afraid .....’ and I went on and on. Me and I – we went in through that door, and we weren’t running any more. We sat and talked about it. It all poured out – the fears, the tears.

After a long while, Me said, ‘Why don’t you write about it? About what you think? About what you want to.’

‘No,’ I said, ‘I’m afraid. What if no one likes it?’

‘Only one way to know. Only one way to attack this. It’s your first fear. Face it. Write.’

So I sat and began to write....

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


2 much 1 had 2 do today 2 blog! But 2 tempting a date 2 ignore. 1 that comes 1nc in a millennium.

Especially since the world is going to end on the 21st, according to the Mayan calendar, and the pushy pessimists who believe it. So this 1 is going to be about the end of the world.

A Dutchman has built an ark like Noah’s, but it has gaming arcades and restaurants and a movie theatre. Nice way to go, if you have to go.

How’d you like to greet the end of the world? Putting up a good fight? In peace with all your loved ones cuddled under the same duvet? Praying? Playing? Replaying a life well lived?

When I was small, we were just Ma, Dad and me - a tiny little unit, and I always wanted us all to die together. In a plane crash. So no one would be left to be sad, y’know. It didn’t happen that way. Dad went first, and the sadness stays every single day.

But now, I think of the end of the world, and I think of how many fantastic things I want to do. I want to write that book (done! – you guys better buy it!). I want to live each moment of my life (Doing that). It used to be important that I earn a lot of money, but it seems insignificant now.  I want to leave the world a better place (not of much use since it’s going to go up in smoke, but...) I mean I want to help people and animals and stand up for those who can’t.

Nik at not yet 6, has a simpler, if funnier, want. He’s been keen to leave behind his bone, so billions of years later, someone finds his fossil and figures out a Nikosaur lived here.

How’d you want to meet the end of the world? But hey, it’s not ending, okay? The world’s a lot tougher to end than a video game. But if there’s a one-two-one-two-one-two-boom? Just give it a think. And let me know.

Sunday, December 9, 2012


Don’t read while eating.

Don’t eat while on the computer.

Don’t step out in the sun between noon and 4.

Don’t have more than 2 cups of coffee a day.

(Have more than 4)

Read somewhere that people give advice because they don’t want it any more. I, for sure, do all those don’ts. And I’m still waiting for hell and brimstone to shower down on me because I ate ice-cream when I had a cold or took my glasses off with one hand only.

Besides, who are the ‘they’ who make the ‘don’ts’? In many parts of Kerala, for example, a burp after a meal is a sign that will get the hostess delirious with joy, since she assumes she’s filled you to the brim. A compliment to the chef really! And anywhere else in the world, the burp is a sign of impeccably bad manners. ‘They’ who said please burp vs ‘They’ who said don’t.

So, here goes, my own list of Don’ts.

Don’t skip the chocolate. Being happy is way better than being thin.

Don’t talk politely to your kids. They’re gonna walk all over you. Scream at them till they listen, and then hug them.

Don’t bother about crumbs in bed. Munch in bed and then dust out the sheets.

Don’t wait for a good-hair/ no-rain  day to meet a friend. Jump at any chance.

Don’t waste your day cleaning up. Read a book, check facebook, go shopping. Clean up tomorrow!

Don’t forget to post your comment. Even if you don’t agree.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Before I was born

Ok, so I’m not in the picture. Or am I? How can this be my memory if I’m not in it?

This is a pic of the 2 people who made my world. My Dad n Ma. In an age when things were so much simpler. In the small town where I grew up.

I remember Dad taking me as a toddler on walks to the big maidan behind our house. ‘There’s a crow sitting on a cow’, he’d say, ‘let’s talk to them.’ So I’d babble away to the crow and it would fly off. Rather rude, I’d think. Ever since I’ve preferred cows to crows! My dad was funny and kind and such fun!

Coming home to Ma’s dining table was the best part of a full day in the sun and the mud (and no germs dared come near) - there was always something delicious. I’ve never inherited the cooking gene, by the way - my table smells only of wood.

It was a time when ‘go fly a kite’ really meant that. I learnt to fly kites, shoot marbles, jump walls, play gilli-danda and scrape my knees. And I played with the Bahadur’s kids. There were no malls. There was a main street full of shops and going out there on a Saturday evening was the high point of the week. And eating out? That came once a year – on report card day!

So back to this pic (I wish I really could go back). Oh yes, I am in this pic. I’m in my mom’s tum. Dad bought our first car to bring his precious baby girl home from hospital. And we all drove together down memory lane!

Friday, December 7, 2012

More Guns n Roses

Old readers - sorry about rehashing this one. It's one of my favourites - and then Guns n Roses are playing tonight - so......

Guns or Roses?

A neighbour said she didn’t let her son touch a toy gun.
I came home to find Neel and Nikash shooting at each other, rolling over, playing dead, with hands plunged into gory imaginary blood wounds, and tongues grotesquely stuck out, eyes rolling. The toy guns, knives, ropes were OUT !

S came home to find his son surrounded by a PINK teaset, dolls and teddy bears. The dolls were OUT !

Out went Ben-10 and his aliens, OUT went the sharp toys kids under 3 “may swallow”, out went the rockets, gum, toy snakes, poisonous paints …

Meanwhile, in the last year, my sons have swallowed a bee, then a red crayon, jumped from a plain ole sofa and twisted an ankle, fallen off a SAFE rockinghorse and cracked a head, fallen off a child cycle and torn a ear ! One almost beheaded the other with an ABC book. I have come to the conclusion they can turn cotton balls into life-threatening missiles.

Learning : Children who play with guns don’t grow up into terrorists. 15 years back a kid who played with guns grew up into Abhinav Bindra, and won an Olympic Gold, or they turn into army cadets. It’s never what you put into their hands that shapes their life. It's what you put into their heads.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Death by google

No one gets coughs and colds any more. For which you took a book to bed with a blanket and sneezed your way out in a day or 2.

Everyone gets laryngitis and pharyngitis and viral infections and bird flu and SARS. For which you take blood tests instead.

Who do you think’s to blame? Our falling immunity or global climate change or drug-resistant germs?

None, I’d say. It’s google! Google’s getting us all sicker than ever before!

I’ve got an itch on my arm. It’s not a mosquito bite, oh no, don’t be ridiculous! I google it, and I realise I have atopic dermatitis! Oh man, who did I inherit that from? Or psoriasis? Maybe pityriasis rosea! I knew it! It says I’ve got underlying liver disease!

You’ve got a tummy ache? Obviously, it’s not because you’ve eaten half the free  buffet at the shaadi you attended. No, you should google this at once. It’s irritable bowel syndrome. Or intestinal polyps for sure! Oh help, you’ve got celiac disease! Maybe peptic ulcers the size of moon craters – poor you!

Kids aren’t just plain naughty any more. They’ve got ADHD and Tourette’s syndrome. Your kid has an oversensitive metabolism? Mine has overactive pituitary glands. Even better!

Now, that information is at our fingertips, we diagnose ourselves with the worst illnesses that the tiniest symptoms bring on. Pulmonary aneurysms, diverticular disease, adenoidal inflammation. Hey, there was a reason the doc’s handwriting was so bad. He didn’t want you to see the big words and flip it. Google however throws them up with gay abandon.

‘Sudden sneeze? – You have 3420,022 results in 0.32 seconds!’ Hallelujah! You’re really on your deathbed. It’s a wonder you’re even sitting up at your laptop and googling. Go rest now. Or you’ll get DSPS (and I know you’re going to google that up too!)


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Dog blog

Hi, I’m Marco Polo, Jane’s rescued dog – and forget what she’s been saying – here’s my wisdom from almost 11 years (that’s 77 in dog years) in this crazy world.

When you’re happy, show them! Jump all over them, lick their ears (the little ones’ cheeks taste nicer to lick, the bigger males have pokey stubble!)  When they come home after a long day out, wag your tail till it almost falls off. Everyone loves to come home to a fantastic welcome.

Never take any medicine. They say it’s good for you, but don’t. Even if they open your jaws to stuff it in, just spit it out, sniffle, sneeze and go and curl up and feel as sick as a – right – as a dog – till you feel better. Curling up tight is a super way to feel warm and better soon. If Jane lets me curl up near her, I get better sooner.

Never trust a stranger. If anyone comes near my pups (oh, ok, they’re actually Jane’s pups – Neel and Niks) – I bare my teeth and growl. I’ll defend them with my life! They’re rather silly – these human pups – they don’t know who to trust and who not to.

No matter who you are, if you’re poor or unpopular or dirty or depressed – if you’re good to me, I’ll love you back with my whole heart. I know no other way. I’ll follow my loved ones anywhere. (I even follow Jane into the bathroom when she’s sick and puking, but she shoos me off!)

That’s all really. Simple rules. I’m a happy, no-nonsense guy. I’ve got no hang-ups. I’ll lick my balls in public if I need to. I tear up things when I’m sad. I don’t collect things I never need. I eat, I love, and if you follow these simple rules, you’re going to be a lot happier like me. (Except for the ball-licking thing, humans don’t manage that so well!)

Monday, December 3, 2012

Can't blog any more

Can’t do this... Yes, I can, No – I can’t.

Been the 4th day of blogging and this is how it’s gone for me:

Day 1 – Yippeee! What a genius idea to blog every day for a month!

Day 2- Ummm.... Can I skip today?

Day 3 – Now, what do I blog about that I haven’t already?

Day 4 – Yikes! 27 days left...

I’ve been a great starter, but a middling continuer, and a lousy ender. I’ve got a real problem ending anything that I start. Yoga – started twice and stopped half-way! Diets – started every 1st of January, and ended by 2nd of January. New Year’s resolutions of course, aren’t meant, as everyone knows to be resolved – so forget those! Karate – started in school, French – started in college, cartooning – started in post-grad, keeping accounts – started on my first job. None have continued – not one lousy good habit.

Aha – that’s probably it! The lousy habits have no trouble at all continuing. Like two cups of coffee when I wake up... like reading in bed in flickering lamp light.... like never doing today what I can do tomorrow...

Now the real question is whether I’m this loser kind of person who lacks any shred of will power or purpose in life? Do I deserve a lecture on Wills and Ways etc.? Is someone going to dig out a childhood  syndrome for ‘always giving up’ or ‘getting things easy’? Or am I just a normal egg-head who takes on more than I can chew? Would love to hear if there are any of you out there who are the same.... not egg-heads, but you know what  I mean.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

A mom's mind

Neel announces gleefully that he’s been selected to do a taekwondo kick on sports day and – break a tile!

‘Yippee,’ goes Niks.

‘Yipeee,’ I add, ‘I’m so so proud of you! Listen for the loudest clapping! It’ll be me!’

‘You’re not allowed to clap, Sir says. It will break our concentration,’ says Neel.

And then my mom’s mind starts ticking.... oh my god, he’s going to break his concentration. Oh my double god – he’s going to break a tile. Oh my god, times three - What if he breaks his foot? He’s already broken an arm, a finger...What kind of inconsiderates would make an 8 year old break a tile? Should I give him socks or shoes or a football boot with spikes? Oh my god, he’s going to break his whole leg! Can't they just make him kick tissue paper? Why a tile!

Now, you probably think I’m hyperventilation, unless -  you’re a mom yourself. Then you’ll know. A mom’s mind is full of landmines and danger signs that exist nowhere else on the planet. She will see lurking kidnappers among sweet-sellers outside a school. She will see child molesters on a beach. She will see a road as a place of hurtling vehichles all intent on mowing down her one child.

So, Niks was invited to a party a few days back, and (para above notwithstanding) I’m not a mom who’s yet over the edge, so I was dressing him up and dressing up his gift, when my Ma (his grandma) goes: ‘Oh my god, a party! Which floor is the house on? Will they have windows? You know how naughty Niks is! And you know how children are always falling out of windows? How come you don’t even think of these dangerous things?’

And I realise, there’s only one thing that’s more swamped with tension than a mom’s mind: It’s a grandmom’s mind!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Love is blind... spots

Very interesting conversation driving  out last evening with my 2 girl friends. Love, happens, they said, when you see imperfections – the dark side of the moon – the loony bend. It’s tough to like someone perfect.

Proof? Research says 9 out of 10 men think their partners are not perfect (Hmph – need glasses, don’t they?) but –here’s the whopper! They like them like that! Imperfect!

And more proof! A couple of years back, we did a ‘house-building’ school project at home for  Neel  –all of us together.  Orange juice carton skyscrapers which kept toppling over, windows that kept coming unstuck and grass that was shedding faster than cat’s fur. So, running into school with our buildings that looked earthquake-struck, we saw high heels come out of a big car. And another mom sweeps out with immaculate hair and an immaculate Swiss villa – complete with darling little lamp-posts and a charming chimney! I hated her and her villa on sight!

Jealousy? Of course! We’re human, and we like other humans! We can admire someone who’s perfect, or pray to them, or even follow them on Twitter. But friends – Nah!

Back to my 2 girlfriends in the car – quite accidentally,  I needed to test their theory at once. I had a migraine and was sick as a cow on the way home, moaning, groaning for almost an hour, including stopping the car to gurgle and gush into a roadside drain. They saw my imperfections all right, right back till last night’s dinner. And they were still nice to me!

Random has a baby

I am riveted to news of Will and Kate’s baby (married) and Rob and Kirsten’s baby (not married). The parents-to-be are not married, not the baby! Well, the baby too is not married, and not yet born actually. Or may never be. It’s just a maybe. A maybe of product of a maybe couple I’ll never meet. But it’s delicious news anyway!

‘Neha and Karthik split!’ shouts the newspaper headline, and I make a bee-line once more to dig out each juicy detail. Including who they are. I haven’t got a clue, but there’s something about gossip hard-wired into the female brain.

And the newspaper supplement thrives on our need to know. Hey, a need to know is supposed to be a great thing. Columbus needed to know what was on the other side of the ocean. Newton needed to know why the apple bonked his head. I need to know why Arbit is having a nose job! I don’t need to know so much who Arbit is, unless she’s having Random’s baby.

Of course, if we women love gossip about random strangers in another corner of the world, how much more would we drool over those we know! Who’s having a baby? Who’s running off with whom? Tell me, and I won’t tell a soul, I promise.

When I slogged in advertising over how to get my brand noticed by everybody, I should really have called a girlfriend somewhere late at night, ‘Hey, let me tell you something no one knows!’ And by break of dawn, Random, Arbit, Will and Kate and their maybe baby would have known about my brand!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The unromance novel

I am of the firm opinion that the romance novel has killed romance. It paints a picture so rosy that anything less is immediately dismissed as a bed of thorns. Ouch! Pick up a romance book and pick out any random page.

Pg 42: ‘As his lips brushed her nose, she felt a tingling in her spine.’
I don’t know about her, but in real life, anyone with lips, or anything else brushing her nose would go into a paroxysm of sneezing. And a tingling in the spine – rush to your nearest orthopaedic surgeon who will immediately put you through a list of tests starting with spondylitis and ending with paralysis of the lower limbs.

Pg 73: ‘He took her feet into his hard hands and began to caress the soft white insoles.’
He is a masseur in a massage parlour. That explains it. No other man alive would caress soft white insoles. No other man alive would probably even know what insoles are. Go on check it out. Ask your guy what he thinks of your insoles.

Pg 113: ‘I have waited all my life for a woman like you,’ he whispered.
He is in his nineties. Which is why he’s been waiting all his life. (Also men in romance novels do one whole lot of whispering, do you notice?)

Pg 130: ‘Her heart threatened to burst out of her heaving satin blouse.’
It already is, judging from the cover of the book. There’s a whole lot bursting out of her heaving satin blouse as well.

Had enough? Snap the book shut. And you’re presented with the cover:

The cover has a guy with a jaw that could cut watermelon in one swipe. Stop right there! Have you ever seen a matrimonial ad which reads ‘Highly educated boy with a software degree and a jaw that cuts watermelon searches for a ....’ Of course not! They do not exist. Neither does the woman on the cover with her auburn hair thrown back and her neck thrown back and her head thrown back... at an impossible tilt which has probably given her that spondylitis in the first place.

Pg 199: ‘And then he switched on the TV, and kicked off his shoes and yelled, ‘What’s for dinner?’
Haha. Caught you there. You won’t find that on Pg 199. It doesn’t exist in romance novels. That’s real life. And though it has no bursting hearts or tingling spines, it is a lot more fun!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Doctor What?

Do you realise that these doctors get away with a whole lot of stuff that any other mere mortals would get a stunning slap for?
Yesterday, I went for my annual (read as once-in-5-year) health check, and the ultra-sound doc tells me: “I want to see your bladder full!”
I – want – to –see –your –bladder –full!  Try and put that into a normal conversation if you can.
Hello, says the bank teller, what can I do for you today?

I want to see your bladder full!
Here are other smarmy things I overheard behind other closed doors of this clinic.
“I hope you’re not wearing any underwear.”  (Ok, ok – Xray room)
“And now, go pass urine please.” (Lab assistant)
“Do not breathe till I tell you to.” (Hello – turning blue here!)
“Your gall bladder is constricted.”
“And what colour is your stool?”
I mean – C’mon! Take that for a conversation starter. Guy meets girl online in chat room. Guy says, “So, what colour are your eyes?”
Girl says: “Black. And what colour is your stool?”
See – doctors can ask these dreadfully, burningly embarrassing questions about people’s prostates and fungal growth and peptic ulcers. And get away with it! How many times do you pass gas – have sex – brush your teeth – drink alcohol - get off your butt – eat roughage -  in a day or week. And you are duty-bound to keep a straight face and answer them.
The next time I go in to see a Doc, I’m going to start with, “Hi Doc, so have you emptied your bowels today?”

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Before I forget

The other day I read that absent-minded children are actually more intelligent. Their brains process many things at once. Yippeee, there’s hope for ours. Especially since I’ve been worried that with genes from S and me – they had no chance in life.

Niks’ first teacher complained he used to be walking along the pre-school wall when the other kids were chanting their ABCs. And Neel takes 25 minutes to walk from the gate up home – which should take a normal kid 2 minutes.

Let me dwell on us now. And why we’re worried. For those who don’t know S and me, that is.

I forget everything. And I can’t even blame it on ageing, because I was always this way. Last week, I threw S’s carefully prepared boiled eggs and toast into the sink, while I put a plate of egg shells before him. Ok, so I was in a hurry... but still...

I forget to phone people back, to pay bills, to collect payments, to put the recycling out, to sign the homework. And S is no better. His spectacles are legend! They always lose their way. When he’s rushing out to work, the house needs to go on a hunt – above the bar cabinet, in the laundry basket, in the trouser pocket, on the newspaper pile – no, no, no....I last saw it there, no here, no – where did you last keep it ? If I knew, it wouldn’t be lost, would it?

The other day, I went on a hunt for the sugar jar – it wasn’t in the food cabinet, not in the fridge, not in the microwave... I informed everyone that white sugar was poison!!!! And they would have to bear the bitter jitters from now on... till I found Neel’s school belt neatly rolled up near the tea jar. Aha! So, naturally I walked to the school uniform shelf  – and voila – the sugar jar in all its sweetness, was sitting neatly on the white shirts. It’s probably as absent-minded as the rest of us are.

I know it’s normal for everyone to take a while to realise they’re married and settle in and all – but S and I regularly locked ourselves in or out of our house in the early days. Is that normal?

Now – the good news – who cares if it’s normal? It’s a sign of intelligence! Read the report! Yippeee. So when I send Niks to get my book from the bedroom, and I find him 10 minutes later, following the path of an ant up the stairs – I won’t have a breakdown.  No – I’ll say, ‘Niks, you may lose your way, and your memory, and your spectacles and your wallet, and even your job some day... what a very intelligent thing to do!’

Monday, March 26, 2012

Multiple Murders

Furious with my carpenter for taking a sizeable advance and then disappearing for a fortnight, I could do nothing but bubble and boil when he said, ‘Sorry, Madam – my aunty died.’
Nevertheless, I tried: “Why didn’t you send your assistant?”
“His uncle died.”
It’s a wonder our population is still growing so heartily when everyone is being killed off with such rapidity!
My cook kills off relatives with cheerful abandon each time she absents herself.
After the last 3 days off, she offered, “My mother’s poor mother died.”
“But she died last year in November,” I protested, checking the calendar.

“That was my mother’s other mother. My mother has 2 mothers,” she persisted in her biological illogic, fervently digging her own grave, along with her 2 dead grandmothers’.
Those of us who ponder over the unpredictability of Death, should take consolation. These deaths have perfect timing. After a dinner party, when the house is covered in crumbs and stains and dishes are piled high – grandparents instantly fall dead. Closer relatives like sisters and brothers reserve their own demise for longer spells of absence. A driver once landed up stinking like a brewery, red-eyes and all – after a week of mourning for his dead brother who the next day was mentioned as his dead brother-in-law, and the day after as his dead brother’s brother-in-law. The dead obviously do not take relationships as seriously as we do.
Sicknesses too strike with utter accuracy. Leave is taken for colds, coughs, ingrown toenails, raging fever, bordering cancer, expected AIDS, confirmed swine flu, galloping gangrene – and other ailments – which fade off after the excuse is accepted. 
I can’t really reject the excuse, can I? How cold-hearted can I be to the cause of dearly departed family members? I need to offer tea and sympathy and a few days’ leave at least. I can hardly say, on Pay Day: “My great-grand-mother’s second cousin died. Rituals do not allow me to go to the bank for a month. So sorry!”

So I really do need help here.
We need to curtail these multiple murders immediately. At the rate everyone’s dying, there soon won’t be anyone left to kill off!

Monday, March 19, 2012


Coincidence: Noun. When 2 unrelated things happen together. (2? Just 2?) Example:
8.28 am:  I was getting 1 kid’s medicine into his screaming face,
When the other one told me he’d got chewing gum in his school shoe
When S had taken off in my car since his own was in the service station
When the intercom rang to say the school bus was leaving
When the phone rang to tell me the new mattress had arrived
When the painters arrived to start doing the doors
When the tea boiled all over the stove, the tabletop and the floor
When the water ran out!!!
When the water tanker got a flat on the way in
When the locksmith landed up to fit a broken lock - right now or never
When the electricity decided to go off!!!
When the plumber admitted he had broken a pipe while trying to fix it
When I burnt 2 fingers trying to lift the bloody boiling tea off the bloody boiling stove
When my cook did not land up
When the dhobi landed up instead, wailing for instant payment
When my laptop slipped off a pile of magazines and landed on its head
When the gas freakin cylinder arrived after 2 weeks of pursuing them right THEN
When the dog decided to help  by chasing the painter off his ladder
When a client called to discuss a floppin’ pending job
And said, ‘But why can’t we discuss this now? You’re at home and free anyways, right?’
Should I read him the riot act, or read him the entire unedited definition of a coincidence (with expletives added for effect)?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Booby Trap

There are tons of examples of women going gaga (or rather googoo gaga) after parenthood, while men, we are told, stay untouched – except for growing tummy bumps in empathy with their wives.
Men are altered irrevocably by parenthood. See this:

Mother-to-be: Oh my gawd, I am turning obese. Everything on me is huge and ugly.

Father-to-be: (watching TV): No, no. You look good.

Mother-to-be: Tell me ONE way I look good now. I’m so huge!

Father-to-be: Your breasts look better now.

Mother-to-be: Can’t you think of anything else?

11 years later:

Mother: Do you realise how fast our little girl has grown?

Father: She’s not grown up at all. She’s still a kid.

Mother: She's not a kid. She’s growing breasts and all. It’s cute.

Father: She is NOT.

Mother: Not what?

Father: Not growing those... that...

Mother: Breasts? What – you can’t say breasts now? You never had a problem earlier with breasts.

Father: Don’t keep saying that word.

Mother: Oh, so what is she growing then?

Father: She is just getting a little better padded, that’s all.

Mother: Padded? Padded? Our daughter is growing up into a sofa?

Learning: As you can see, parenthood definitely alters fathers. It turns them into mothers.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Act Your Age

I tell Neel, 7 1/2, ‘C’mon – don’t roll on the floor. Act your age!’
I tell my Mom, in her 70s, equally indignantly, ‘You can’t demand candy floss. C’mon, act your age!’

Because there are these rigid AYA (act your age) rules, aren’t they? Which we’re all trained in, without exception. These rules allow you to stare at morbid fascination, at someone digging his nose when you’re 3, but insist that you politely avert your eyes when you’re 30.

Niks at almost 5, launches himself at anyone he likes. ‘Launches’ because any other word won’t do this action justice. He doesn’t welcome you, or hug you, or even insinuate himself into your arms. He launches. He hits you with a hurricane force, that propels you backwards and out through the door which is supposed to welcome you in. If you survive in vertical position, he then climbs you – to land up somewhere with his legs wrapped around your neck. If you have fallen back onto the floor, he sits on top of you.

I, on the other hand, (at unmentionable age) smile, and do not throw myself or any of my body parts at you, lest you take it badly (if you are a woman too) or a little too happily (if you are male). I will smile at you whether I am thrilled you have come, or whether I have something burning on the stove, 2 assignments to hand in – and wish you’d freeze at the door and visit 2 hours later.

This is because I am AYAing.

Acting Your Age forces you to look interested when you’re falling asleep, to insist it’s no trouble when you’ve spent the whole morning cooking. In short, AYA teaches you, as you grow up, to learn to lie. And to stifle whatever is spontaneous and honest and straight from the gut, and to wrap it up in tinsel instead.

Learning : Can’t really go about telling people that they have wobbly chins, or that they talk too much. And can’t launch at guests or pick at bellybuttons in public or laugh till the food dribbles down your chin. Wottodo? Wottodo? Wottodo? C’mon – Act Your Age and tell me what to do!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Murphy on Holiday

We decided to leave Ole Murphy behind, locked firmly at home while we had that ‘perfect holiday’. Did too. Almost.

Here, for a change, is what did NOT go wrong.

1.       Did a train journey to Goa. Air-conditioned 4-seater to ourselves. Kids did not fall off the train. Niks did however, fall off his lower berth SEVEN times in the night, which meant, I had to wake up SEVEN times in as many hours – and shove him back on.

2.       The hired car guy ditched us when we reached Goa, asking for double the hire rate. Met my darling college buddy, who I wanted to spend hours talking to. She spent hours talking – to every car operator she could think of – begging, pleading – and finally getting us the car. She did not talk to me, and I don’t know if she ever will again.

3.       We spent every day at the beach. With cousins. The kids turned purple and peeling – and would not get out of the water or sun. The bottle of sun-screen lotion got lost on Day 1, and the un-sun-screened kids had a blast.

4.       All the kids got tattoos. Made of HAIR DYE! Niks is gonna have a purple scorpion running  in rivulets down his forearm – and Neel is gonna have to wear a jacket to school for the next month to keep his hidden from his teacher. Niks, back in Bangalore, bared his arm to a little girl on his school bus, and I could hear her scream. (Desired response achieved. Niks sat back, pleased!)

5.       We ate. We walked. We ate. We shopped. We ate. We drank. We ate. We partied. We ate. We ate. We ate. No one got sick. We put on a total of 24 kilos – 4 adults. We tried to walk it off – only till the next bar, where we ate some more.

6.       I bought tons of flimsy shell trinkets, and sarongs in scraps of cloth, that were perfect for the beach. And that I will never ever wear again. I ate, to make up for the guilt.

7.       We met family and friends in our aunt’s beautiful old house. We ate. The kids made tunnels through the hedge, and collected sticks and bruises. Their clothes turned red, their faces black.

8.       Lost the keys to the suitcase. Twice. Scratched the hired car. Puked into the sands of the Arabian sea. Sat through a Konkani mass. Got into a bar brawl. Chased a Goan pao (bread) guy on a cycle at 7 in the morning.  Fed stray dogs.

9.       What we brought home: 2 kilos of sand – sand in clothes, shoes, hair, cuffs, ears... shells, broken sandals, feni, cake, tattoos, cuts, poison ivy itch, sunburn (found the sunscreen bottle when we got home). If anyone wants to come over and share our Goa loot – you’re welcome to any of the above. P.S. The cake is over!

Was a perfect holiday. Came home to ole Murphy. Got out of our sunny holiday plane into Bangalore. It was raining and cold. The sunhats and shells got soaked.