25 October, 2006

A Very Fishy Tale

I remember quite vividly when Vic brought home one lone goldfish cos someone in his office had bought fishes and then decided against the idea. And none of the others had survived. There was just this one tiny goldfish that was fighting for its existence.

That day evening, we went to the “pet store” and got a fishbowl, some filter material to keep the water clean and of course, fish food. We did not realise then, how very satisfying this feeling was going to be – to care for and nurture another living being.

A couple of days passed, quite uneventfully I must say (cos fishes are prone to a lot of complications with change in water etc). This little goldfish seemed to have made up its tiny little mind to live and thrive. One more day and we felt that the little goldfish seemed very lonely.

I really don’t know whether it was the fish which was feeling lonely or whether we were so enamored by the lone little fish that we decided to get the fish some “company”.

So that day evening, we again went to the pet store and got another 6 little goldfish.

And very soon, we began to feel that the seven little goldfish were a tad too crowded in the fish bowl. They did not have enough space to move about, we concluded.

And off we went to the store again and this time around, when we got back home, it was with a fully equipped aquarium.

That was how it began ………

Since then, over these past 10 years, we have almost always had an aquarium at home. We kind of feel lost without it. The only periods during the above 10 years when we have not had pet fishes was around the time Appu and Abhay were toddlers. They were at that stage in their lives when just about everything and anything brought about that “wide eyed” look which said “Hey I did not know things like those could exist ?”

And we decided to give not our kids but rather the fishes, a break. We did not want to risk either of our kids thrusting their seeking little hands into the water probably just to get a “feel” of the fishes. Or better still, pull one out and talk to it of play with it.

As parents, we talk a lot about “letting go” when it comes to our kids flying out of the nest. Well, we’ve had 6 batches of fishes “leave the nest”. And we did not, at that time, even imagine exactly how difficult it would be for us to part with them.

For the most part, when the fishes grew too large for the tank and when space began to get restricted, we would let them into one of the ponds which were maintained and run by the Urban Council (a govt extension for the day to day affairs – like keeping the SAR clean, no littering etc). We would watch them as we let them into the large pond where so many more of their kind resided and we would watch them as, with a swish and flick of their tails, they swam away to forge a destiny of their own, by themselves.

Even to date, when I see large goldfish in some of the govt run parks here in HK, I cannot help but think and wonder as to whether any one of those fishes originally had an address the same as ours.

I know, at first say, fishes sound quite plain and boring. “Oh They must be so dreary and monotonous” was what one of my colleagues had once said.

Little did she know how far away from the mark she was.

They are such a lively bunch and most importantly, each one of them has a personality of their own. Some are meek, some are bullies, some are go getters while some are simply content to go with the flow. And there are some pretty adventurous ones as well.

I remember once when Appu was around 3 ½ years old. She was sitting next to the aquarium with her nose pasted on it and suddenly she freaked. Because she saw a fish swimming vertically. Yes – it was indeed !! I was just as taken aback cos in all the years that we had an aquarium, I had, not once, seen a fish that could swim vertically.

And then there was a little goldfish we named James Bond. This was one adventurous fish – so much so that once when I was cleaning the aquarium, this little fishy decided to take a look at the world outside the water. Oh Yes !! It jumped right out of the aquarium. While I was in the kitchen getting water to replace the water in the fish tank, it was Appu who realised that this lone ranger had “gone somewhere” (as she put it then). A frantic search ensued and sure enough we found the frisky little fish under the table, quite literally panting for breath. I was even scared to take it all the way back to the fish tank – just in case it decided to stop breathing. I really did not envision nor was I particularly enamored with the idea of a session of CPR with the fish. So I popped it back into a glass of water first and once it had “caught its breath” we transferred it back to the aquarium.

Even among the little fishies who grace our aquarium now, there is a Bully, a Hitler, a Duster, a Jellybean ...... among many others ......

We’ve had, over the years, a fairly wide range of gold fishes as well. Comets, Commons, Fantails, Pearlscales (we have four right now), Moors (these fishes don’t come in any colour other than black)........

Their very presence brings about a sense of calm and peace. Even when one is terribly upset about something, it really helps to just sit and watch them lazily swirl around in the water, flicking their fins and bobbing their mouths open and shut.

Fishes epitomize tranquility, harmony and serenity.

And these are qualities which, when caught up in the tension-ridden, anxious and stressful lives of the present day, could very well be considered a very rich bequest.

An enticement towards quietude and peacefulness.

23 October, 2006

While on the subject of books ........

............... here are two more books which Abhay loves.

"Time to Say Goodnight" - a book that Vic ordered through Amazon.com. A singsong rhyme urging a whole bunch of baby rabbits, baby birds to go to bed. Aside of the singsong text, what Abhay loves about this book is the illustrations in it. And I must say, the illustrations are indeed beautiful.

Fits Abhay to a "T" right now - cos he is in the process of extending and stretching the "start of his sleeptime". To cut a long story short, he does not want to sleep at night and will do anything to achieve that objective. "Anything" includes singing nursery rhymes, reciting days of the week, months of the year, tickling whoever happens to be nearby at that time .............

Even more fun is playing "turtle turtle" - that is, he picks up his pillow, lies down on his tummy, puts the pillow on his back and crawls around on his tummy, all the while claiming to be a turtle.

The other book he absolutely loves is "Cushy Butterfield". Cushy Butterfield (I find the name quite cute :-) is a little cow who makes excuses in order to avoid going to school - until her parents figure out what she really is upto .........

This is a book I borrowed from the library to read to him and he is quite taken by the name "Cushy Butterfield". And it is even cuter to hear Abhay saying it out aloud, cos he still cannot pronounce "SH".

It is quite commonplace to hear the little pipsqueak starting off on the book by saying

"Coooooooossssssssssseeeeeeee Butterfield"

It was while I was picking up some picture books from the library for Abhay that this thought crossed my mind - it seems like only yesterday that I was poring through picture books in the library to borrow - not for Abhay but for Appu.

Now, she has moved on to chapter books. Picture books are quite the thing of the past. She's now onto Junie B Jones' books by Barbara Park, books by Roald Dahl and the Mister Meddle series by Enid Blyton.

Next in line - one of the Famous Five books.

Happy Reading Kids !!!!

21 October, 2006

Best Wishes for a Happy Deepawali

Wishing all of you and your families a Happy, Healthy, Peaceful and Prosperous Deepawali.

- Vic, Gauri, Aparna, Abhay

18 October, 2006

Biscuit goes to school ..................

.................... turned out to be a book which caused quite a bit of confusion yesterday. I was reading out the book to Abhay and like I normally do, I read the title of the book out aloud.

“Biscuit goes to school” I said.

There resulted a frown on that little face. There was a quizzical expression on his face as he looked at me. He did not say anything but that look prevailed.

I told him “Abhay – this little dog name is Biscuit”

“Dog Biscuit” came the reply.

I said “Not Dog Biscuit Abhay – this little Doggy’s name is Biscuit”

“Doggy Biscuit” came the reply.

(*Sigh*) This was going to be one long read after all.

I said more patiently than I actually felt “ Your name is Abhay, right ??”

“No” he said. “My name is Abhay”

I said “Yeah that’s what I said. Your name is Abhay”

“MY name is Abhay” came the reply zinging across to me.

Not wanting to add more confusing oil into the already confusing fire, I went back to the book and started over again, this time by saying

“This little doggy’s name is Biscuit”

I then asked Abhay “What’s the doggy’s name ?”

All I got was two little eyes staring back at me.

Annnh Aaaaannnhhhh !!!! He was just not buying this.

We read the story though, or rather I read it to him and he enjoyed it too – all the while pointedly referring to the little dog in the book as just “doggy” and not “Biscuit”.

That name, somehow, just did not gel in his mind.

Later in the afternoon, I’d given him a couple of chocolate chip cookies to eat while I got busy attending to some work on the phone.

Once I was through with my phone calls, I got back to the living room and found the cookies still on his plate, untouched. Now that is really something !! Cookies – untouched !!!

I also heard him muttering something. Got a bit closer without him realizing that I was there and there it was again …..

Abhay says “Abhay going to school.”

And then, after a pause, he says

“Biscuit going to school.”

Yay !!! I thought to myself and then saw him give the cookies on the plate a long, hard look. Then, he says ……..

“Cookies going to school ????”

Knowing Abhay, it was not really difficult to envision him having hallucinations and images of huge life size cookies and biscuits walking into school in the morning.

As we went over to school in the morning, I fervently hoped that there wasn’t any kid in his class named “Cookie” (quite a common name among the HK locals).

That would have really done it !!!!

17 October, 2006

Harmony, Peace, Tolerance, Happiness - All Go Hand in Hand

Yesterday, when Appu got back from school, I could see that her brain was in overdrive. Her mind was absolutely and completely buzzing with something. And the excitement was quite palpable.

I had to restrain myself, quite impatiently if I may add, to wait until she had finished her afternoon snack before I broached the subject with her. Now it so happens that she too had been just bursting with enthusiasm to tell me about it all, but again, waited till she finished her afternoon snack.

Come Diwali, every year in their school, the Indian children deck up in Indian clothes and outfits – bindis and all the usual accessories – and the children attired in the entire ensemble are a sight to behold. And I’m sure that on that particular day, their school is a total riot of colours.

The general practice in their school is to have a special Diwali Assembly where the Indian children perform dance routines, dandiya etc.

This year, the Japanese, Korean and Chinese children in the school are doing a dance for Diwali as well. And for an Indian dance, what is needed, first and foremost, is an Indian outfit. And the Indian kids at school are just about dying to lend them Indian apparels to add to the colourful gaiety and joviality.

Is it not a super-duper idea ?

What I found immensely gratifying and heartwarming is the attitude of the children.

This totally exemplifies the spirit of festivity – the zeal, the ardor, the passion, the underlying sentiment, the unspoken emotion that symbolizes and personifies just about each and every festival around this great big globe that we live in.

I’m sure that their school is going to resemble a huge colorful, multihued, exultant panorama.

Their school also makes it a point to mark out festivals of each and every faith on the childrens’ diary so that awareness among the children spreads. This also helps the kids get to know other religions better. The various festivals of each and every faith, the customs, rituals, the underlying history – all this is becoming part and parcel of their lives. It sure will go a long way in helping them mature into level headed individuals with a healthy respect and reverence for the many different cultures and religions all around the globe.

Children, as such, know no religious boundaries. Boundaries, if anything, to them, are geographical lines. Measured in terms of latitudes and longitudes.

Is it not the adults who complicate life for them by dragging religious and ethnic issues into the fore, by filling their heads with sentiments against other religions that the so called “adults” believe are sacrilegious to their own.

Corrupting young, gullible minds thus – is it really worth it all ?? To what end ??

As all these thoughts roam free within my mind, only one song plays and permeates my conscious mind time and again – with crystal clear clarity.

Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today...

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace...

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world...

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one

16 October, 2006

A creepy-crawly fascination !!

Children are fascinated by just about any creation of nature - at just about every given age - just that the object of fascination keeps changing.

So, it should not really have come as a surprise to find that the present subjects of Abhay's enthrallment are hmmm..... , putting it very mildly, quite repulsive.

I am referring to none other than the infamous cockroach.

I've heard of human beings having charisma, I've heard of human beings having that magnetism to them ................ but a cockroach with appeal !!!!!!!!!!

Early last week, he got back from school asserting quite confidently "I see a cockroach outside" ......... "I see a cockroach outside".........

"Outside.... where ??" got me no answers from him. The question was completely sidestepped, as is the case with a lot many more questions.

Just to make sure it was not a figment of his imagination, I asked him what colour the cockroach was and pat came the reply "Black".

To put his concept of big/small to test, I asked him whether the cockroach was big or small and pat came the reply "Beeeeg Cockroach".

Just sometime back, I found him kneeling with his nose apparently glued to the floor. And he was moving around as well, with the tip of his nose barely a few millimeters away from the floor. He seemed very taken by something.

When asked, "Ant Ikku (Irukku means it's there)" "Embu Ikku" he said.

Apparently this fascination with ants too has developed over the past 2-3 days.

I say this because I noticed yesterday night as well as the day before yesterday, once the lights are off and before he pulls his blanket on, he makes it a point to say ............

"Good Night Ant"

"Good Night Cockroach"

I sincerely hope that he restricts his interest in the insect world to his visual senses and that he does not attempt to bring "the sense of touch" into the picture.

Now, that's one pun too many !!

12 October, 2006

The Joy of Friendship

The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand, nor the kindly smile, nor the joy of companionship; it is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when you discover that someone else believes in you and is willing to trust you with a friendship.

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

As is my normal schedule, I went to school at noon to fetch Abhay. While we were making our way to the flight of stairs that lead to our apartment block, I saw a little girl waiting on the second step. She seemed to be waiting for Abhay and sure enough, as soon as we got to the first step, she extended her little hand, palm open and said “Abhay, come, hold my hand”.

Once earlier, I had gone to school to fetch him early cos there was a thunderstorm on. When I reached school I found their classroom empty. On reading their daily schedule, I realised that it was their “music time”. So off I went to the music room. The door was closed and as I watched the proceedings through the glass on the door, I found Abhay and his friend sitting next to each other. He was playing with the toy piano and she was playing with the toy xylophone. I don’t know how long they had been playing with their respective toys cos after a couple of minutes, they switched toys and continued to play – each one lost in their own world.

Every morning, the kids have a warm up routine outside their classrooms, in the play area. They dance to songs like wheels of the bus, head shoulders knees and toes etc. One day, I was standing on the sidelines watching the kids and Abhay was standing next to me. Hesitating, cos he did not want to go down to the play area and dance with the others. That was when I noticed the same little girl beckoning to him and silently calling out “Abhay Come”.

End of Detour

And up the steps they went. In fact, when we reached the top of the stairs, Abhay forgot that he had to turn right and cross the road. He just kept walking with his friend, until the time I reminded him gently that “home” for us lay the other way.

Abhay waved to her with a grin on his little face and said “bye bye” “see you tomorrow” and his friend too waved and said “bye bye” with a shy smile.

I found myself smiling too, unconsciously. There is something so pure, so innocent, so wholesome about the world that these small children live in. When I say live in, I mean their minds, the simple thoughts around which revolves their orbs. And life, as they know it, is so straightforward, so uncomplicated.

They derive such pleasure and laughter out of something as simple as spilling water or spitting food out or clapping their hands or singing a nursery rhyme, turning cartwheels, planting sloppy little kisses on their parents (I’ve many a times noticed Abhay favouring the aquarium too with his little kissies – I presume they are meant for the fish swimming within the aquarium), playing horsey horsey with daddy, asking to be tickled ……….

A big hug, a gentle ruffling of their heads, a smile that comes from deep within the heart and shines through the eyes too – these little things are many a times more than enough to make them feel sated and happy.

Oh Sweet Innocence !!

And it is with complete unadulterated pleasure that I watch these tiny bonds of friendships form among the 25 little children in Kindergarten One, who, about a month and a half back, did not even know that the other 24 existed.

11 October, 2006

Yummy Ladders Through the Tummy ????!!!!!

There’s quite some “food talk” from Abhay nowadays.

They have birthday parties once a month at school – a day filled with goodies and of course, cake.

Yesterday, he was saying that one of his teachers had given him a candy. "Candy Thandha." he said.

A few days back, he had a small pack of Formula Milk with him when he left school. Some kind of ad gimmick courtesy the company which manufactures it, I’m sure but the kids seem quite enamored by all this.

The latest in the list of “food talk” is a BOWN CAKE. That is to say, they had a cake baking activity in their classroom. Apparently both their teachers baked a cake and of course, that day, during snack time, the kids had a special treat – the cake that had been baked in class.

He seems to like his teachers just that little bit more after this cake baking incident :-)

Cake Baking really seems to have taken the cake, figuratively.


Looks like the ladders to this guy’s heart are also being laid through his tummy :-))

10 October, 2006

A Smiley Face - or is it ??

Latest artwork that Abhay carried home from school. When asked as to what it was, for quite a few days we did not get a reply from him. He'd just say "Abhay Make".

So then, the artwork was christened "Smiley Face".

And it was given a place of honour on the kids' bedroom door. The rate at which artwork is piling up on that door, it is very soon going to look like a multihued mural.

Appu yesterday asked me (pointing to Mr.Smileyface) "Mom what's that ?"

I said "That's Smiley Face. Abhay made it at school" ..........

.......... presumably in reply to which a tiny voice squeaked "That's a COWN"

I assume he means CLOWN - but then again - however it is christened or baptized - it sure looks cute :-)

09 October, 2006

The Festival Roll .....

Its festival season !!

In the Hindu calendar, the festival roll is usually heralded by Avani Avittam – better known to the present generation as Rakhi festival.

This is closely followed by Janmashtami, which little children know as Kitchi Pappa's Happy Birthday (sounds so sweet and innocent, doesn't it) – which brings all the ladies in the households together to make murukku, cheedais and what have you.

Then comes Ganesh Chathurthi – and the endless possibility of gobbling up many many modaks in the midst of the many many Ganpati Bappa Moryas.

Then comes the colourful, vibrant Onam, bringing with it memories and possibilities of rich, vivid, multicolored Pookalams and of course, the veritable, delicious, delectable Onam Sadhya.

This is followed by the crème de la crème, as far as the ladies are concerned – The Festival of Navratri – nine days/nights of prayers, celebrations, fun and frolic.

Navratri is almost exclusively a ladies’ festival – atleast more so among the South Indian community. It is quite commonplace to hear of ladies being hosts/recipients of the traditional Vettalai Pakku while a gent and Vettalai pakku are not commonplace associates – Mama Vettalai Pakku ku poyirukka – sounds extremely peculiar and out of the ordinary, does it not :-))

Navratri in HK is quite a subdued affair, as compared with the so many Navratris amidst which we have grown up. Navratri is a much awaited opportunity for all the ladies to air their salwar kameezes and their kancheepuram silks, Yours Truly included. :-)

Appu had been hearing the words Navratri, Vettalai Pakku etc buzzing in the air and this prompted her to come and ask me “Can you please tell me TSON ?”

She drew a lot of puzzled glances initially but she stuck to TSON – absolutely refused to indicate what the abbreviation stood for, until I used the C Cube (Chocolate Chip Cookie) theory on this and finally figured out that TSON was nothing other than "The Story of Navratri."

She was quite thrilled about the fact that she would get to deck up in her ghagra choli and her salwar kameezes, not to mention the fact that many of her friends would be visiting and that she would also be going over to her friends’ house – for Vettalai Pakku, you know. I could not help but imagine as to the amount of fun she would have had if we had been in Bombay during Navratri – what will all the Garbas and Dandiyas going on well into the wee hours of the morn.

Actually this thought has put a “keeda” into my head. What if a Dandiya programme could be arranged right here, in HK !!! Let’s see how things work out – got a whole year ahead. Couple of years back, I had heard that one family here had been enterprising enough to organize a Dandiya programme on the terrace of their block. Did not hear of anything like that the next year. Highly possible that the HK locals, who are habitually paranoid, would have panicked and thought that there was a stampede afoot. :-O

Thus began the Vettalai Pakku visits ……….

Abhay appeared quite nonplussed and was constantly sporting a fairly bewildered expression – I don’t know if it was because he was facing quite a steady stream of people in and out of the house – and all ladies, mind you or whether it was due to the fact that each mami looked just that little bit more dazzling than the earlier one.

What’s all this zest and gusto about, his body language seemed to say.

The antibiotic course that he was on (since he was down with a congested chest and a throat infection too thrown in for good measure) did not really help make him very sociable either. So gregariousness was not the trait Abhay exhibited when the Mamis came over. Quite the contrary. It was bashfulness bordering on wariness. Poor thing !! Already weak from the antibio and faced with the seemingly endless possibility of “Inge Vaa Da Kanna” “Nokku Enna Theriyumada Kanna”.

Appu, on the other hand, was having a time of her life. She was proudly sporting mehendi on both her palms – which, by the way, had elicited a lot of queries from the boys/girls in her class. And to quote Appu “she felt quite dizzy from all that attention”. Yeah yeah !!

She used to have a field day spreading out the bangles and then selecting how many/which ones to wear and ogling at all the bindis in our bindi box and about which hairclip would go better with which outfit ………………

It took me down memory lane to the days when I was a schoolgoer. We used to have Kolu at home and just getting the Kolu stand ready and the dolls out of their storage boxes, dusting them, touching up the paint if needed – all this had its own charm. Not to mention the amount of fun I used to have in decorating the kolu stand – one year it was the shape of a house, the next year it was a chariot all complete with wheels too.
Also the immense satisfaction I used to derive in painting the earthenware in which my mother used to put the “paligai”.

When I saw Appu all excited about Navratri, one incident came to mind very clearly. During my school days, I used to have two other friends and the three of us were virtually inseparable. And so it was, during Navratri when we were making our rounds to all the other mamis’ houses. As is normally the case, all the houses are loaded with mamis from all over. Another customary feature is to have the visitors sing a song in front of the goddess/kolu. And the mamis used to quite literally go into a frenzy at the possibility of being able to coerce, compel or even bully young girls into singing songs.

“Pattu Therinju Irukkunam – Nalaikke Vere Veetukku Poka Patta Ponnakkum” “Ponnu Parukka Varathe Pattu Paada Cholluva” “Appo Enna Pannuvel” – Oh How I used to detest that sentence and even more so, the sentiments that the mamis embodied !!!!!

And on that particular day, as we we landed at one Mami’s house for Vettalai pakku, we were being bullied by a whole group of insistent mamis who were virtually demanding that we sing a song. I had not seen a more persistent lot. And the three of us decided to really test their patience. And off we launched into a song, which, much to the consternation of the mamis there, was not something on the lines of “Saarasa Mukhi” or “Unnadiye Gadhiyenru Adainthein”. It was “Gumnaam Hain Koi, Badnaam Hai Koi”……

The silence that followed was astounding. It was incredible, totally beyond belief. And of the whole bunch, there was only one mami who really appreciated the humour in the situation and enjoyed our cheekiness and the others’ chagrin – the totally mortified, vexed look on their faces.

Out here, I came across just one instance of “Yaaru Paadappora ?” . Unfortunately, there were no takers. I was really hoping for a belting more on the lines of “Material Girl” or better still “Like a Virgin”.

Now that would really have been something !!

The Navaratri festivities ended this year too, with obeisance to the Goddess Saraswati, the Goddess of Knowledge on Saraswati Puja and Vijaya Dasami.

The festival season continues, for around the corner is the festival that illuminates hearts, minds and houses too ………

Deepawali – The Festival of Lights !!

06 October, 2006

Just one of those days .........

It was Wednesday, the 4th of October 2006.

The day began innocuously enough ........

........ but as the events unfolded, it seemed like that day was destined to be one of those days when just about nothing goes right.

Quite bleary eyed, I went into the kitchen to make a cup of coffee for myself and ended up spilling quite a lot of water on the floor. Took a duster to mop the floor, whilst conveniently forgetting that the cup in my hand had some milk in it. No two guesses on what happened next ..... I had finished mopping the water when the milk spilt.

And that was just the beginning .......

By the time I got my coffee ready, both kids were up and about and like is normally the case, bedlam and pandemonium reigned supreme.

In the midst of all this I realised that I had not ironed out Abhay's school uniform the previous evening (that is the normal routine - uniform for the next morning gets ironed the previous evening).

Clatter Clatter Bang Bang and out came the ironing board from its usual resting place - though to be honest, in the middle of all the disarray and mess that the kids manage to create in the mornings (they seem to do it so naturally that it never ceases to amaze me), I had this crazy urge to just toss a thick bedsheet/quilt on the floor and put the uniform on top of that and iron it. Fortunately, wiser counsel prevailed and I decided to use the ironing board after all.

It was while I was ironing Abhay's T-Shirt that I noticed that the material was wearing a little too thin for comfort around the stitches. It was a small patch, tiny actually, but left that way, it would have widened into quite a irreparable defect. Off went Yours Truly, to get the emergency stitching kit. Find the kit I did but when the kit was opened to reveal its contents, the white roll of thread was missing. Great !! The white thread had gone back into the main stitching kit box ...... How ?? When ??? Whom ??? I did not stop to think.

Appu, in the meanwhile, was raking up a storm over her school diary, which was purportedly missing. Mummmeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee Mummeeeeeeeeeeeee came a couple of piercing screeches which were threatening to move into the "bawling" category very soon. Found the diary we did - top priority - it was in the slot in which her art apron normally resides. Phew !!!! Peace reigned, albeit temporarily, or so I thought.

Mummmmeeeeeee !!! there it was again. If the diary is here then where is my apron ?? Oh Oh !!!

Did you not tell me a couple of days back that you left the apron in your box at school ?" I asked her ...

A sheepish look and a "Oh Yeah - I forgot" followed.

Finished off with the T-Shirt repair.

Went after Appu to pack her PE Kit. The PE uniform and PE shoes have to be carried to school in the PE bag and they change into their PE uniform in school just before PE.

Finally, Appu was off to school.

Phew !! One down, one to go !!! :-)

Got around to packing Abhay's school backpack and that was when I realised that one of the zippers of the bag had popped out. Tried to get the zipper back on track whilst muttering and grumbling to myself "only a month since we got the bag from school and things are falling apart already. What quality stuff do they supply ?"

Needless to say, this did not in any way help in getting the zipper back on track.

Handed the backpack over to Vic and while he was working on that, I went back to the living room to get Abhay ready for school.

It so happened that I had given him a bowl of cereals and while I left the room he had been studying it quite assiduously. And while I was away from the room he had just decided to pop the contents onto the dining table - to take a better look I presume !!!!!!!!!!

Hackles raised, "Tidy Up Abhay" came a scream from somewhere within me.

He gave me one look and fled to Grandma who had just gotten back from her morning walk.

When he realised that Mommy's bark is worse than her bite, he eventually did come back and we popped all the cereal back into the bowl.

Got him ready for school and went to get his white shoes from the shoe shelf and I found myself staring at a pair of white shoes which were way too big for Abhay.

Shook my head to clear the cobwebs that had formed due to the lack of my early morning dose of caffeine.

Nope !!

The shoes still remained large. They did not shrink !!! Not even a wee bit !!

Took a closer look and found the words "APARNA" staring back at me.

Oh Oh !!!! That, to me, spelt DOUBLE TROUBLE !!

Aparna had, by mistake, packed up Abhay's school shoes (which also happen to be white shoes) and taken them off to school with her. Which further meant that she would not have shoes to wear during PE and that Abhay would have to go to school in his other pair of sneakers - which happen to be dark blue/orange - quite a far throw from the school directive which said "white shoes".

Off we went, me and Abhay, to school and once there I got the backpack changed. The bell rang in the meantime and I found Abhay straining at my hand like a horse straining on its reins.

Finally we got another bag, transferred the contents of his backpack to the new one and off he went to his classroom.

Wow !! What a morning !!

The rest of the day, I have to say, was quite staid and sedate in comparison.

05 October, 2006

Project "Teamwork"

Work as a team we did, and herein below is the poster.

And this poster totally epitomized the concept for which it stood - Teamwork.....

............ cos even Abhay pitched in.

He held the glue stick when it was not being used :-)))))))))

Concept of "Teamwork"

Over the past two years, that is to say during her Primary One and Primary Two years, Appu used to get occasional homework. Nothing serious or extremely time consuming.

Since she began her Primary Three year, there has been a steady stream of homework. To make it interesting for the children, the Primary Three teachers have introduced the concept of "home projects".

The first of these projects was based on the five values of their school -

Pride, Respect, Work Smart, Responsibility and Teamwork.

The children were given the choice of making a poster based on one of these principles or designing a logo for each of the values or writing a sentence on each of the values.

Quite naturally, we left the choice to Appu.

She decided that she was going to work on a poster dedicated to TEAMWORK.

When she came and told me this, I asked her

"Can you tell me why you chose teamwork ?"

She thought for a couple of minutes and then said

"Cuz in team work, you see, you have to work together. So you and Daddy can help me too."

Thought provoking - Hmmmmmm.........

Convenient - OH YES !!!!!!!!!!

But I have to admit, she had a point.