Saturday, June 1, 2013

No, I can't say No

No…is the most difficult word in the dictionary for me.

Happy voice: ‘Wow, it’s been ages since we met! I’m dropping in to Bangalore. Will you pick me up from the airport at 10 in the night?’

Me: ‘aaah… well… er…’

Happy voice: ‘Thanks so much. Knew I could count on you.’

- - -

Arbit person I meet at a neighbour’s: ‘You haven’t got Tupperware? You MUST buy Tupperware. I’ll come over tomorrow morning with some must-have pieces.’

Me: ‘I really don’t need any…’

Arbit person: ‘You just have to see them and you’ll want them all.’

Me: ‘Oh of course!’

- - - -

Nice client: ‘Hey, sorry to catch you on a Saturday night. But I really need this by tomorrow morning urgently.’

Me: ‘But it’s Saturday night….’

Nice client: ‘I know. Shame to spoil it for you. So tomorrow morning, ok? Thanks so much!’

- - -

So, of course, it came as a major surprise to me, when my kids came around.

‘Mama, can we eat jam biscuits now?’


‘Can we paint on the walls?’


‘Can we ...’


‘Don’t you know to say anything but No?’

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Monday Vs The people

“The defendant Monday is hereby ordered to stand in the presence of the kangaroo court and the Supreme Justice Jandy. What, if anything, have you got to say in your defence, you snivelling miserable day, you?”

Sir, I start the week.”

“You weak-starter! You ignoramus! I am not a Sir. I am a Your Honour. If you weren’t so sluggish after your weekend party, you woulda known the difference.”

Your Honour, I am not sluggish. I am always sharp and bright and hard-working.”

“I know I know. That is the problem. Why do you slap everyone into shape for the hated Monday morning meeting?”

Your Honour, it’s called discipline. Look at Friday, that slacker – no meetings, no discipline, half the day planning the weekend...”

“And why can’t you take a break for a little fun, huh? Why must you be such a killjoy? Giving everyone the Monday morning blues.”

 “Your Honour...”

“And do you know more people are sick on Mondays than any other day, huh?”

Your Honour...”

Don’t Your Honour me...”

But you told me to call you Your Honour, Your Honour.”

“Are you arguing with the Supreme Justice Jandy? You are hereby sent to life imprisonment. With no chance of ever getting out! You will never show your face again. From now on, the work week will have 4 days, starting with half a work day on Tuesday, and Thursday afternoons off too. Begone Monday!”

Sunday, May 26, 2013

The UnColour

My favourite colour is black. There I said it! That’s not a colour, right, you’re thinking, didn’t she do her light spectrum in school... black is the absence of all colours. Black is the uncolour.

I love black. Black hair. Which I never missed as much as now that it’s turning – well, not black.

I love black clothes. You look like you’re in mourning, mourns my Ma. You look like a crow, snaps my aunt. You look like an extra in a heavy metal band, said a friend. You look like you fell into ink, said a not-so-well-meaning in-law.

And so I stubbornly black on... I even buy my lil boys black clothes. Hey – black shows no dirt from the 15th fall down the stairs, black shows no blood from scraped knees, black shows no darn marks from the tear in the trouser crotch that all boys seem mysteriously to get. Black’s wash n wear n no-iron.

I bought a black Kancheepuram sari for my bro-in-law’s wedding in Kerala, and was promptly escorted off to buy a more ‘auspicious colour’ which turned out to be blistering maroon with a golden pointy blouse that would make Madonna’s iron bra pale in comparison.

Nah, black is definitely me. Literally. I am the colour of burnt toast myself and so proud of it. And I don’t wanna look like the million other pink-is-in or pasty pastels you get a dime a dozen. After all, I’m the only mourning black crow in a heavy metal band who fell into ink – and wow, that’s a self-image I love enough to live with!


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Mom Exchange

I’m afraid I’m doing such a lousy job of being a mom, that my lil boys are soon going to smarten up and go demand a ‘cash back’ from the Mom Exchange.

I mean – examples:

Neel wasn’t allowed to enter his piano competition in school because his mom didn’t ask in writing. So I promptly sent a note – taking full blame. Blaming it on my PMS and my head trauma when I was 11 years old (oh well, not exactly , but...) and in short, saying – look, he’s got a lousy mom, just let the kid play, ok?

Lil Niks is the only boy in his class who hasn’t got an umbrella for his umbrella dance. Where can one buy an umbrella in the dry dustiest season of the year? I’ve combed the streets and stores. So he’s hopping around like Gene Kelly twirling the class Number Rod. Well, at least he’ll stand out on stage!

Neel has decided to take things into his own hands. Today, I see him breaking his plastic sphere into 2. What for? Cos he needed to take one of my bangles as a circular object to school for Timeclock drawing, and he assumed (correctly) I wouldn’t ever be able to find a bangle. So he created his own hemisphere instead.

Now, they’re gonna get chatting with their pals and realise the others have these wonderful moms who pack tiffins on time and have bangles and write notes for piano. And some day, they’re going to trot off to the Mom Exchange and demand they get one of those!

So if one day you meet my boys at the Mom Exchange, please tell them how I gave up a galloping career at its peak to wipe multi-coloured crap off baby buttocks. How I painted their room wall with the Jungle book animals they wanted, since Asian Paints couldn’t and how I got a dust allergy from it that I carry till today. How I make Stegosaurus idlis attacking Diplodoccus cauliflowers for dinner. How every time they go up on stage, I chew off all my fingernails. And every time I’m told what fine young men I’ve brought up, I begin to howl in pride. Bet they can’t get a mom from the Exchange who’ll do all that, huh?

Monday, January 7, 2013

Ban the bloody gift

‘Ok Mama, ready for the party. Where’s the gift?’ shouts Neel.

Where’s the gift? Where’s what gift? What’s what gift? .... Didn’t buy it!!! Help!

You’d think I’d learn from past experience, but I never do, do I?

So, the marathon panic session begins yet again.

I charge up to the hidden stash of gifts they’ve been given – duplicates etc. Pull out the cooking set. Won’t do. It’s a boy’s party. Not a single rotten car. Or Beyblade. There’s a headless superman. Won’t do! Books? The kids too young for Harry Potter and too old for Noddy. Money’s too cheap to give! Help Help!

‘Mamaaa, getting late!’ the yell drifts up.

The cooking set it will be! Maybe the little boy will grow up to be a great chef and thank me for it endlessly (and call me for 5 star meals?)

Wrapping paper’s squashed into a ball. Kids had a fight with it. Store is closed! I read somewhere you can iron out wrapping paper. Yippee! Plug in the iron.

Try to tear the price tag off the cooking set – a chunk of the box peels off. Aaargh!

Iron the wrapping paper and it works! Something’s going right. No wrinkles – just that bit in the centre left – press the iron harder – and – gosh – a great big burn! No, no, not now!


Swaddle the peeling plastic cooking set in the burnt wrapping paper. Try to cut off the darned cello tape and it starts sticking to everything but the paper. To the scissors, to the iron, to my fingers.... to my teeth (don’t ask!)

Maybe I can cover the gaping hole with the gift card? Nope, too small. There’s a magazine lying around with a big ad for Eurokids. Have a brainwave! Cut out the beaming kids in the ad and stick them over the burnt hole. They don’t cover it. Cut out a teddy bear’s head and add it. There! Done!


Go running down the stairs and fling the gift at Neel poised at the door, who catches it expertly and if he wonders why he has a slippery parcel with a Eurokids ad and beheaded teddy bears on it, he doesn’t ask.

Neel is never invited to this particular boy’s birthday party ever again!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Niks' world

The way my not-yet 6 year-old looks at the world: (Note: For all the bigness he's obsessed with, you only realise his perspective in the last line.)

What’s the big fishie, Niks?

It’s the biggest creature in the world. A blue whale. But bigger. A blue sperm whale. What’s sperm, Mama?

It’s - ahem -(changing topic) – what’s the thing on top of it?
A dinosaur. Biggest in the world. Its spines can turn into legs when it turns upside down. So it can have 18 legs.

Niks, no one can have 18 legs.
Why not?
Ok, so what’s the building? Our building?
No – it’s the Burj Khalifa. This dino’s taller than the Burj Khalifa!
Phew, what a big dino!
No, Mama. And here’s the best part. He’s only a baby. See the face? That’s the dino Mama!
WOW! That’s so gigantic, Niks, and what are those birds on the other side?
They’re pterodactyls all flying down towards the dot.
What’s that tiny dot, Niks?
Mama - That’s a Man.