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!