21 June, 2010

A morning in the lives of The Nutty Siblings !!

(Pic Courtesy : via Google.com)

Life, with Macadamia and Pecan, has never been anything short of crazy.  I mean the - "driving the parents crazy" kind.  Of late, however, the ante has definitely been upped.  They are at each others' throats constantly, all the time.  It's not as if they need a good reason to argue or get into a tiff.  They just do !!  Simply because - well, they just do !!  They've agreed to disagree on just about anything and everything.  What I've penned below is what one witnesses in the Krishnans' household just about any morning or should I say, every morning !!!

Aieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee, screamed one
In the early hours of the morning, it seemed so brazen
Ooiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii screamed the other
Loud enough to wake even the neighbour

Now you know why our entire apartment block
Has absolutely no need for an alarm clock
We do take environmental issues seriously
And early in the morning, produce a very loud vocal medley.

Now if you’re wondering what this is all about
“tis nothing else but Macadamia and Pecan, showing their clout
‘Cos you see, they love to bicker and fallout
“Tis nothing but sibling love – total and devout

They scream, they yell and they screech
While “God, please save me”, I beseech
What a way to start the day
These noisy mornings, I so have to essay

Macadamia and Pecan loll around in bed
Sounds peaceful ?, Oh ! please don’t be misled

The peace suddenly registers in both their brains
And for a fight, their energies they regain

For, the Nutty Sibs believe in the theory that
The day is absolutely not meant to be begun in peace
At the break of dawn, peace should totally cease

They rush towards the bathroom in a frenzy
Yelling at each other like a couple of banshees

“I got here first” says Macadamia with a glare
Oh ! That look ! She’s looking for open warfare
“I went in first” says Pecan, with daggers in his eyes
Macadamia stares and from her eyes, the sparks fly

Through all this, I maintain a rather safe distance
Hoping to God they wouldn’t notice my absence

“Mummmeeeeeeeeeee” yells Macadamia, her voice dripping ire
“Oh No” “Oh No” I say in dismay, not wanting to get into the mire

“Mummmmeeeeeeeee” comes the yell and this time it’s Pecan
“She barking at me like a dog” he says, all woebegone
“I’m SO NOT” yells Macadamia, with looks that could kill
A rather nonplussed spectator to all this is Timmy the Turtle

Pecan demands “Why do you need the footstool ?”
Macadamia responds “simply because it is cool”
Says Pecan “I need that footstool to reach the washbasin while you don’t”
Macadamia says “I know that but get off the footstool, I SO won’t”

A tussle ensues and of course there’s pushing
I step in to break up the brawl and the nutty sibs are left seething
“No getting physical with each other” is one strict rule
It does not matter if the nutty sibs think that rule is so uncool !

A fight brewing inside them, they look around in haste
Their eyes’ look around, searching for the toothpaste
Yes ! That’s where the next fight is based

“I got it first” yells Pecan, all defiant
Eyes narrowed, nostrils flared, Macadamia is all set to hunt

“Breathe Breathe” I tell myself, assuring that things can’t get any worse
“Why do they do this ?” a part of me asks, “for, it all seems so perverse”

I do remember to Thank the Good Lord
For Macadamia and Pecan cannot afford
To scream and yell at each other in distaste
With their mouths full of toothpaste !!!!

In the meanwhile, Mommy’s escaped
seriously thinking that their mouths ought to be taped !!!!!!!!!!

While Mommy gets their cups of milk ready
The Nutty Sibs are found staring at each other cagily.

Pecan says “I’m taking this chair”
Macadamia retorts “Hey ! That’s SO not fair”

Phew ! Just as one argument ended, another one begins
Exactly what have we here ? A couple of loony bins ??!!

Yells Macadamia “Don’t you kick me under the table”
Says Pecan “I did NOT ! his tone decidedly nasal.

“Stop talking and drink your milk” says Macadamia, all sassy
“You are NOT my boss” retorts Pecan, “so stop being bossy” !

Peace temporarily reigns, as their milk they glug
While Mommy seriously considers getting a pair of earplugs

Mommy’s just beginning to think that they’re done for the morning
When, there comes a loud loud scream, without any warning

Dropping vessels in a haste, to the bedroom we rush
Only to find Macadamia, hands on her hips, face all flushed
Eyes glare, rage spews and Macadamia hisses
“Why are you always like this ? asks Pecan, as Mommy visibly flinches

“You keep out of this” roars Macadamia, her ire evident
And Pecan, having found a way to irritate her, is anything but prudent
“You always bark like this” says Pecan, enjoying his moment
While Macadamia stares at us, dangerously silent

“Why did you scream” I ask, having almost forgotten
Macadamia complains, “Cos this thing is a demon”
She is referring to her dear shower cap
Which around her hair, is indeed wrapped
Protests Macadamia “It does not stay on my hair, it keeps coming off”
“Simple solution” grins Pecan and says “Time for your hair to be cut off”

The house quite literally turns into a setting for a Tom and Jerry toon
While the “by now crazy” Mommy is all ready to go dizzy and swoon

Macadamia somehow gets bundled into the bath
Else, there sure would have ensued a bloodbath
No one in their right minds should be in their paths
Else, in the morn, they’d incur the Nutty Siblings’ wrath

“Leave some water for me” yells Pecan, goading yet again
Patience, God, Patience by the container load I SO do need, Amen !

“Stoooppppppppppp Ittttttttt” screams Macadamia from the bathroom
“I did not do anything” says Pecan, and the arguments resume

The next half hour passes in a blur
And Mommy desperately longs for a breather

Finally they’re dressed in their uniforms
When Pecan has yet another of his brainstorms
“Have you taken your homeopathy pills yet ?” he asks
And in the glory of his question, he totally basks
For Pecan knows that Macadamia did forget
And yet again, we witness yet another onset

The glares, the stares and the tirade
As anger rises yet again and nerves are frayed.

This is part of a normal day, every morning
With the Nutty Sibs around, things happen without any warning.

Standing near the mirror, a safe distance from the fray
Mommy suddenly noticed that some more of her hairs had turned grey !!!

“How did that happen ?” you ask ??
Handling the Nutty Siblings, ‘tis quite a task !!!

19 June, 2010

One God

(Picture courtesy : satyadev.net via Google)

There is but one thread that runs through all these pearls.  Each pearl is a religion or a sect thereof.  There are many different pearls and God is the thread that runs through all of them.  Most people, however, are entirely unconscious of this truth. ~ Swami Vivekananda

Landed in the Inbox, two emails today
The contents of which left me in utter dismay

‘Twas an email, the author of which called it an “appeal”
His hatred and bigotry, he’d hardly been able to conceal

It was related to the Hindu Muslim conflict
As I read a few lines, my throat did indeed constrict.

Why is there so much hatred in this world
Charges, allegations and accusations being hurled

Why do people have to stoke and incite ?
Why do people have to light and ignite ?

“Protect Hindu girls and their ijjat” proclaimed the mail
The extent of hatred projected, left me pale

Bombay was my home, Bombay is still my home
The city which embodies the “cultural hotpot” syndrome
In that very city, tensions exploded
Over religion, people once feuded

I was at work when the bombs exploded
As, one after the other, places in the city were pounded
Bodies carted away in trucks, limbs lay scattered
The heart ached to see the city torn, families shattered

The Babri Masjid was razed and brought down
Of religious tolerance and brotherhood, there was a complete breakdown
People went after each other – all in the name of religion
Momentarily forgotten was the fact that they were each others’ brethren

What came from such violence, I ask
Was there indeed so much of hatred for people to unmask ?

It is sad to see people still fueling hatred
It’s even sadder to see such people being lauded

Look around the world today before you do condemn
What is it that you see ? Oh ! What is it that you see ?
Violence, bloodshed, carnage and mayhem,
In the name of religion, people whipping up a frenzy.

God made this Universe and put us all here
God did not say “each other you will fear”

Is not God the same Universal Truth
His hand on our head, is said to soothe.

Why then are we humans trying to make
Each others’ hearts and minds ache

God is just one, God is just one single entity
of Him, there aren’t a dozen different varieties !

Why then do we humans spread hatred and loathing
And in doing so, what sort of a future course are we charting

War in the name of religion
Oh brethren ! Human attitude is so brazen

Pause for a moment and think
Would God want humans to raise such a stink ?
Would God encourage cruelty and strife in His name ?
Would He want people to inflame and set each other aflame ?

We humans are fast being dragged into a mire
And we humans are fast setting the world afire
We’ve imprisoned ourselves in cages of bigotry
And to anger based on religion, there seems no boundary

There’s got to be a start somewhere, There’s got to be a start somewhere
Of prejudice, bias and intolerance we all need to beware
God is The Omnipotent Creator
‘Tis under His wings that we all seek harbour

We have to make a start by saying ...
“We will not listen to those who try and divide us in His name”
We have to stop goading and gloating ......
Cos, be it Hinduism, Christianity or Islam – they’re all one and the same

God has always been one and the same.
God still is one and the same
God will always be one and the same.

17 June, 2010

Questions Galore ....... Macadamia and Pecan are on a roll

The air conditioner was humming its own tune. The room was all chilled and seemed like a lovely, safe haven from the high levels of humidity that Mother Nature has blessed us with these days. Pecan was looking all snug and cosy under his light blanket.

‘Twas the end of the day.

Just as we were lulled into a false sense of security that the day had indeed ended for these two, bang came the question “Why do countries need national anthems ?”.

(Image Courtesy : motivationalplus.com via google)

It took a while for that question to actually register. By that time of the day, it takes anything and everything a very very long time to register in my head. Statements and questions need to travel miles and miles through my thick head, which, by the end of the day, gets blanketed by a whole cloud of fog and mist. And for a thought process to get through all that fog inside my head, does take time. A lot of time !!! That is, if at all it manages to get through to that pea sized portion of my head known as the active brain.

“What ?” I floundered, feeling pretty much like a fish does when it is pulled out of water.

“Why do countries need national anthems ?” repeated Pecan, a tad too patiently. His tone seemed to be dripping with exasperation, or maybe it was my imagination – for, it was the end of the day.

“Every country has a national anthem” I said, knowing exactly how pitiful that sounded to my own ears. At about the same time, it did register that I’d never ever thought of why countries needed a national anthem.

“I know every country has its national anthem, Mummy !!!” hissed Pecan. “I’m asking you why they have a national anthem ?”

I looked at Macadamia for help of some sort, only to find her nodding her head sagely and saying “Hmmm .... yeah Mum, why DO countries have national anthems ?”. To rub it right in, she then goes “good question, Pecan”, with amusement written large, all over her face.

Very cleverly deducing that no help was going to be forthcoming from that sector, I plunged into cold waters without a life jacket and said “A national anthem is something people of every country identify with. More often than not, the anthems convey a message.”

“But some national anthems do not even have words. I read that somewhere. Then how can they convey a message ?” asked Pecan, without as much as batting an eyelid.

“And how and when did national anthems start ?” “And who started them ?” continued Pecan, relentlessly.

“Mum, is there any particular name given to the study of national anthems ?” queried Macadamia, who, by now, was rather safely ensconced on the upper bunk.

“But every country has its own flag, does it not ?” So when they look at the flag they know it is their country's flag."  countered Pecan. “Then why do countries need a anthem also ?”

Did I not say earlier that I was so not up to this. Definitely not at 10 pm when my ever decreasing mental faculties are at their lowest ebb !!

“I’ll do some research on this and then answer your question” I said, not realizing that I was digging a deeper hole for myself, to bury myself in.

“What’s the difference between researching and studying ?” asked Pecan, finding yet another doubt that he thought his mater could clarify for him. Little did he know that the said mater was all about to collapse.

"Researching is like ........................ well, researching" said Macadamia, very helpfully.  "And studying is like when you s.e.r.i.o.u.s.l.y s.t.u.d.e.e.e.e.e." she carried on with her eyes large as saucers for added effect, evidently and conveniently ignoring the fact that Pecan was beginning to look like one of those enraged bees that we see in Tom and Jerry cartoons.

“What’s the difference between learning and studying ?” asked Pecan.

"I just told you, didn't I ?" asked Macadamia, a tad too sweetly, goading Pecan and inciting him further.

"Will you just keep quiet ?  You don't know anything so stop confusing me as well." said Pecan, who was, by now, looking as mad as a whole swarm of angry bees.

All I knew right then were all sorts of random words floating around inside my head – anthem, learning, study, research ...... and the fact that I was all about to crash !!

As a collective nothing was making sense. Absolutely nothing.

I do vaguely remember thanking Ikea, though.

Thanking Ikea because they make their furniture strong enough to withstand the forces of a Macadamia who was struggling rather helplessly to control that mirth. Needless to say, the rather profound hilarity of the situation found her holding onto her tummy and laughing her heart out.

I guess I do look rather funny when I’m confused. Or better still, tired AND confused.

Somebody please help !!!

10 June, 2010

Sixteen years and counting .....

Image courtesy : flickr.com via Google

Chains do not hold people together.  It is threads, hundreds of tiny threads which sew people together through the years. ~ Simone Signoret

In the wee hours of the morning
The alarm clock beeped its warning
Wake up ! Wake up ! the alarm clock said and leapt
Did not make any difference, since I’d hardly slept !!

‘Twas the 10th of June, 1994,
Outside, the lightning flashed and the thunder roared
People at home were all too busy
The way they were hustling and bustling, left me dizzy.

That was how the day truly began
As my memory files I now scan.

I sat, bleary eyed and stiff-necked
For my head was royally bedecked
With flowers, flowers - whole ropes and coils
Oh ! Thank God ! They spared my head the oils !!

Reached the hall at 4 am and voila ! The priest was missing !
To find the priest missing left my father seething and hissing

I could not help but chuckle and chortle
While the elders could not hide their baffle
“The priest will be here soon” the relatives hoped
Me ? Oh ! I was sure that the priest had eloped !

That was the day we got married indeed,
Soon, one after the other – the ceremonies did proceed.
The invitees milling, guests were aplenty
Some classy, some charming, some deadly and some chunky !

Oceans of mamis in kancheevarams resplendent
The colors of their saris absolutely vibrant
Their nose rings shining with an intensity blinding
With all those multiple glittering blingy blingy blings.

The mamas in their mundus, looking benign
Tried in vain, their thoughts to streamline
Their roving eyes, they couldn’t confine
Thanks to the Mamis’ Kancheevaram clad waistlines !! :)))))

The Madisar made me sweat in more ways than one
As I hoped and prayed that something wouldn’t come undone
For, The Madisar with its multiple knots and tucks
Is a costume contraption, absolutely deluxe !!

The first four years of marriage went off real quick
Pretty much like eyelids that bat and blink
But then, us being us,
For getting into trouble, we were rather famous.

Our well known penchant for trouble
 Sent us stumbling into parenthood, on the double
Humans, as they say, never stay separated from trouble
Sure enough, there arrived Macadamia and burst the D.I.N.K bubble !!

Little did we know what was to come
As we struggled to balance parenthood and officedom
Juggling those two was not a song to hum
And giving up officedom, I stepped into full fledged Mommydom!

Trouble, they say, never stops at one
Oh dear ! Do pardon my pun
As Macadamia into kindergarten grew
There arrived Pecan a.k.a Noisy Two !!

Life after that zipped past on the fast track
To life, then there was absolutely no slack
That made the four of us ; and
A full circle we did form, thus.

We’ve chugged along through life
We’ve had our share of laughter and strife
We’ve been through quite a bit of thick and thin
And through it all, we’ve managed to spin and grin

Peace, Health, Happiness and Love
Have indeed been gifts to us from The One Above
And as the four of us journey along
To each other, we well and truly belong.

No better way to end this ode,
than with a quote from Rita Rudner, if I may.
“I love being married”. Oh ! Do ask me why ...
Go on .....Go on .... now don’t be shy !
Cos it’s so great to find that one special person
you can annoy for the rest of your life. Isn’t that Heaven ??!! :))))

As we walk together, Dear K, our paths forging and unfurling
Here’s to many more, darling
Sixteen years and counting .....
Sixteen years and counting ....

08 June, 2010

Growing Pains ....

(Picture courtesy : guardian.co.uk via Google)

Growing Pains .... They’ve swept and descended on Pecan with all their might.

I’ve heard of growing pains and I’ve read about the fact that nearly 1/3rd of children suffer from these. But yesterday evening/night was the first time we came face to face with growing pains.

It all started with Pecan complaining of an ache in his calves towards the evening. So much so that he did not even broach the topic of going to the park to play cricket. Since he’d had PE at school yesterday, we did not attach much importance to the ache – attributing it to a possible overdoing of running and stuff that normally comes along with PE.

Towards 9 pm, the ache in his calves started again and it was so bad that it actually reduced Pecan to tears. He’s the kind of guy who brushes hurts and bruises off and carries on with whatever it is that he’s doing. There have been times when he’s banged his foot or his head or his arms somewhere and has forgotten all about it in an instant. We would realize that something of that sort had happened when we looked at the bruises turning black/blue the next day.

So for him to be reduced to tears, it had to be really really bad.  He was a picture of abject misery and he was just as confused or probably mighty more confused than we were.

Things were compounded by the fact that Pecan is on homeopathy and the homeopath has strictly forbidden use of any sort of cream or lotion or ointment or oil on his body. So much so that even chapstick and Vaseline (as lip balms) aren’t allowed.

Yesterday night, the pain in his legs got so bad that we simply decided to forgo the “no oils” dictum and used pain relieving oil and massaged his legs. Normally, this medicated oil has effect on all sorts of pains, sprains and what have you. But on Pecan’s aching calves – this oil had absolutely no effect.

The oil did not help. Massaging his legs did not help. Keeping his legs covered with the quilt to keep the warmth “in” did not help. In short, nothing seemed to be helping reduce the pain in any way.

He nodded off to sleep when the pain lessened on its own after a while. But it was short-lived. An hour later, it was that very pain that woke him up and he walked into our room, crying. It had come back with a vengeance.  The pain had restarted in his calves and had now extended to his forearms as well. Finally, we had to resort to Panadol to ease the pain and that lulled him into sleep – albeit a bit restless.

Today morning, he seemed OK and said so himself as he bounded off to meet his school bus in the lobby.

We yet again did something we never do, for physical ailments.

Resorted to checking this out on Google. Simply because the whole thing was so baffling. It had left us completely perplexed.

No visible hurt marks, no black blue bruises, no redness or swelling anywhere, the affected areas of the body were not “warm to the touch” – nothing, that in the normal sense of the word, is normally associated with aches and pains.

Upon checking it out on Google, we were given to understand that these could well have been “growing pains”.

“Growing Pains” – which are said to be a genuine ailment, one without a cure, per se. It is said to be a phase, one which wears itself out in time and one which does not have any specific time period.

All said and done, common or not, it is extremely distressing to watch a child in pain, more so when nothing much helps.

We’re hoping that this was a one-off incident and that these aches and pains do not repeat themselves.

Fingers crossed !!

07 June, 2010

The Forces and The Last Laugh ....

(Picture courtesy : images.pictureshunt.com via Google)

It happened just the other day.

Pecan had been asked to practice his school work. By who else but me ??!! No one else in the Krishnans’ household has an affinity towards trouble like I do. Well, he had not been told specifically to practice his Math Tables or his Word Mountain or any such thing – because all along, a “practice session involving school work” automatically meant those things.

Now as children grow up, one apparently needs to get more specific with things. It seems that it does not work the other way around, like it did when we were growing up. I mean, the more grown up a child then, the less specific the parental instructions. Because it was assumed that the child was old enough to put two and two together and arrive at four.

Nowadays, given that opportunity (as I recently realized), children do put two and two together – but they arrive not at four, but at twenty two !!!

A while later, there was no sign of any books or pencils or any such implement on the study desk or the coffee table (places where Pecan is normally found when he does happen to practice school work). For that matter, Pecan himself was missing.

There was no one sitting and playing the drums with the pencil or pretending that the eraser was a cricket ball or that the pencil and the eraser put together could well be substitutes for a bat AND a ball. Ingenious kids, I say !! They can actually play cricket with a pencil and an eraser !!

At such times, we do remember to thank God that houses in HK are as small as they actually are. Less number of places for children to hide, you know. Imagine a huge rambling house with cellars and walk in wardrobes and what have you – and someone like Pecan. That would be like looking for a little mouse in the Amazon jungle !!

Noises from the kids’ room made me walk towards the kids’ room. Yeah, I am really smart that way. In deducing things like these, I mean. Noises from the room mean I should walk into the room and find out where the noises are coming from and all that. Like I said, I’d beat Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot put together, at this kind of thing any day.

There was Pecan. On the floor vroooming and zooming with a Mini Cooper and a Lamborghini.  A host of other cars stood in line, awaiting their turn, I guessed.

“Excuse me” I said, with much self-righteousness.

“What ?” said Pecan, the aforesaid self-righteousness sliding right off what must be a really thick hide.

Determined not to be flustered, I said “Did I not tell you to practice your school work ?”.

The glee was rather evident on my face as scenes from Tom and Jerry played across my head. Those kind of scenes where Tom has Jerry at his mercy, where Tom is just about to rip Jerry to bits. Remember that glazy look Tom used to have in his eyes then and that smack of the lips in anticipation of “Jerry being in trouble”. Not to mention that grin dripping with glee.

Well, that was me right then.

The one small detail that did escape my rather large head was the fact that despite being in situations like those, Tom was invariably the one who got bashed up and it was Jerry who consistently had the last laugh.

“But I am practicing my school work” said Pecan, in a huff, jolting me out of my “Tom and Jerry” reverie.

“Yeah, sure.” I said. “I do see a Mini Cooper and a Lamborghini on the floor.  And lots of other cards alongside.” “And I do see you zooming them around with special sound effects.” “Yes indeed. Practice of school work, it is.” I said, getting that speech ready inside my head. Remember the kind of speech Amitabh used to give the school kids in Mohabbatein.

Yeah, t.h.a.t kind of speech !!

“But Mummeee .... I AM practicing school work” said an indignant Pecan.

“How so ?” I asked. That speech was almost ready inside my head.

“I am not just playing with the cars, OK ?” said Pecan.

“Ah haannn. Go on”. And after what seemed like a rather dramatic pause, "I’m listening.” I said, pretty much like Frasier on the TV Show.

And yes, that speech was ready and Tom was smacking his lips and gloating over a cowering Jerry.

“I am not just playing with the cars. I am practicing school work. You see Mummeeeeee (that was really long drawn out and should have been warning enough but I refused to see it coming) – I am just trying to see how forces work. I push the cars around and I have to use force. And how force works and how force changes things is our topic of enquiry at school now. So you seeeee. That’s also school work.” said Pecan.

Those Tom and Jerry images were still floating in my mind. At this point of time they were images of a Jerry holding his belly and laughing, looking as he normally does, when he’s pulled the rug out from under Tom’s feet !!!

Speaking of which, there is another advantage to houses in HK being small. At times like these, I just have to turn in any direction I choose and I’d find a wall – all ready for me to bang my head on !!!!

05 June, 2010

Life in the 1970s ....

I received this via email today and it did take me down memory lane.  Nostalgia, nostalgia :)). 

(Picture courtesy : istockphoto via Google)

I decided to put this down on Tiny Tidbits in the hope that it would give the Nutty Siblings some idea of what life was like, for a middle class family, in the 1970s.  So yeah, I am counting on the fact that Macadamia and Pecan will read this someday. 

Who says I'm not an optimist, eh ?? :))

Life in the 1970s ~ Author Unknown

For those who grew up during the 70s in middle class India, here are some things that you can identify with – atleast I do!

Some never had a thing and went house to house to enjoy them.

1. Though you may not publicly own to this, at the age of 12-17 years, you were very proud of your first "Bellbottom" or your first "Maxi"or your first Apache jeans.

2. Phantom & Mandrake were your only true heroes. The brainy ones read "Competition Success Review".

3. Your "Camlin" geometry box &Natraj/Flora pencil/s was/were your prized possession/s.

4. The only "Holidays" you took were to go to your grandparents' or your cousins' houses.

5. Ice-cream meant only - either an orange stick, a vanilla stick – or a Choco Bar if you were better off than most.

6. You gave your neighbour’s phone number to others with a ‘c/o’ written against it because you had booked yours only 7 years ago and were still waiting for your number to come.

7. Your first family car (and the only one) was a Fiat or an Ambassador. This often had to be pushed by the entire family to get going.

8. The glass windows in the back seats used to get stuck at the two-thirds down level and used to irk the shit out of you! The window went down only if your puny arm could manage the tacky rotary handle to pull it down. Locking the door was easy. You just whacked the other tacky, non-rotary handle downwards.

9. Your mom had stitched the weirdest lace curtains for all the windows of the car. They were tied in the middle and if your dad was the comfort-oriented kinds, you had a magnificent small fan upfront.

10. Your parents were proud owners of HMT watches. You "earned" yours after SSC exams.

11. You have been to "Jumbo Circus"; have held your breath while the pretty young thing in the glittery skirt did acrobatics, quite enjoyed the elephants hitting football, the motorcyclist vrooming in the "Maut Ka Gola" and it was politically okay to laugh your guts out at dwarfs hitting each others bottoms!

12. You have atleast once heard "Hawa Mahal" on the radio.

13. If you had a TV, it was normal to expect the neighborhood to gather around to watch the Chitrahaar or the Sunday movie. If you didn't have a TV, you just went to a house that did. It mattered little if you knew the owners or not.

14. Sometimes the owners of these TVs got very creative and got a bi or even a tri-coloured anti-glare screen which they attached with two side clips onto their Weston TVs. That confused the hell out of you!

15. Black & White TVs weren't so bad after all because cricket was played in whites.

16. You thought your Dad rocked because you got your own (the family's; not your own own!) colour TV when the Asian Games started.
Everyone else got the same idea as well and ever since, no one came over to your house and you didn't go to anyone else's.

17. You dreaded the death of any political leader because of the mourning they would announce on the TV. After all how much "Shashtriya Sangeet" can a kid take? Salma Sultana also didn't smile during the mourning.

18. You knew that "Indira Gandhi" was somebody really powerful and terribly important. And that's all you needed to know.

19. The only "Gadgets" in the house were the TV, the Fridge and possibly a mixer.

20. All the gadgets had to be duly covered with a crochet covers and sometimes even with ingenious, custom-fit plastic covers.

21. Movies meant Rajesh Khanna or Amitabh Bachchan. Before the start of the movie you always had to watch the obligatory "Newsreel".

22. You thought you were so rocking because you knew almost all the songs of Abba and Boney M.

23. Your hormones went crazy when you heard "Disco Deewane" by Naziya Hassan & Zoheb Hassan.

24. School teachers, your parents and even your neighbours could whack you and it was all okay.

25. Photograph taking was a big thing. You were lucky if your family owned a camera. A reel of 36 exposures was valuable hence it justified the half hour preparation & "setting" & the "posing" for each picture. Therefore, you have atleast one family picture where everyone is holding their breath and standing at attention!

03 June, 2010

Salads - Light and Healthy !!

Today's lunch menu read "Pasta with Yellow Bell Peppers and Red Onions". As a matter of rule, whenever lunch or dinner is carb heavy (and pasta is !!!), we make it a point to have a salad before the main course.

Today was no different.

To make matters easy, the markets, of late, have been flooded with many different varieties of cherry tomatoes. Now while these little tomatoes are good for snacking, they do make a super duper salad ingredient too.

For quite a while now, we've stopped using the store bought variety of salad dressings, for these are loaded with calories. While a salad is supposed to be healthy, store bought salad dressings negate the "health" factor by piling on those hidden calories.

Today's salad had in it : torn lettuce leaves, halved cherry tomatoes (the red variety), diced Chinese cucumber and diced red bell pepper.

The salad dressing was a light soy vinaigrette with basil and thyme.

The salad was topped with dry roasted white sesame seeds and some capers were tossed in just before serving.

Light Soy Vinaigrette Recipe

5 tbsps light soy sauce
1 tbsp white vinegar
1 tsp sesame oil (could be substituted with olive oil)
1 1/2 tsp Sugar
Ground Black Pepper
Basil and Thyme (dried) (can be substituted with herbs of ones choice)

Whisk the vinegar, soy sauce and oil together till the dressing emulsifies/thickens.  A few twists of the pepper mill.  Add the salt and sugar and whisk once more until all the sugar is dissolved.  Add the dried herbs and give the dressing one last light whisk.

02 June, 2010

What happens when instructions are not clear ?

(Picture courtesy : istockphoto via Google)

Quite obviously, they result in confusion !!
Last week, all the children in Pecan’s class had been asked to get a plastic container for recycling.

That was about it. Those were the instructions.

“Get a plastic container for recycling.”

Imagine a bunch of seven / eight year olds playing around with that instruction. Imagine a bunch of kids rolling that instruction around, exploring all the possibilities associated with it, coming up with all sorts of permutations and combinations with regard to what they think that instruction meant.

Countless possibilities emerge, don’t they ?

1. Should we get a big container or a small one ?
2. Should we get a container with a lid or without a lid ?
3. Should we get a “container container” or will a bottle do ?
4. Can the container have holes in it ?
5. Should it be strong enough to hold water or something heavy ?

and the questions go on and on and on.

The other day, I asked Pecan what they have been asked to get a container for.

“For recycling” came the answer, immediately.

“OK. So what are you all going to recycle ?” I asked

“Pchhh – the container, of course, Mummee” came the reply, sounding a tad exasperated.

OK – Maybe that question needed to be rephrased, I thought, on hindsight (of which I have plenty, by the way. I really could do with some lots of foresight, especially while dealing with the Nutty Sibs).

"I meant, how exactly are you all going to recycle the container ?" I ventured again.

Trouble, they say, never stops at one question alone. It comes in multiples !!

“We are going to take the container to school and then drop it in the recycle bin there” said Pecan, with a poker face. Those brows were furrowed, though !!

I honestly don’t know if he meant what he said or if he was right royally pulling my leg. 

Like I said earlier, trouble never ever stops at one question. So then, I compulsively had to flounder in with another question. It is a Law of Nature that I do so, and so I did.

“But if you just have to drop it in the recycle bin, why don’t you drop it in the bin downstairs ? Why do you need to carry it all the way to school, just to drop it in the recycle bin there ?” I queried, honestly flummoxed.

It was then that I found Pecan staring right past me and that was when realization hit home that there were all sorts of weird noises – something that sounded like a mix of hiccups and an oboe. Those made me turn around and what do I see ?

Macadamia was found rolling on the floor, her mirth apparently compounded by Pecan’s poker face !!!!

I mean, what ??

Asking questions has become funny nowadays ??

Or is it just me ????!!!!!

01 June, 2010

The Red Marker Blogathon - Acronyms !!!!!!!!!!

What do you do when you get a message which reads ....

I hv bin ADVD 2 SBT d FRMS ASAP. ASAMOF ASAYGT cld u CYE. Dis P2C2E thru SMS. CYE.

To me, this was a nightmare come true.

Why, you ask ??

Simply because I’ve never ever been able to “take to” textese. Call me old fashioned, if you like, but LMAO, ROFL, ROTFL and their cousins have never ever been my cup of tea. For that matter, the entire textese family drives me up the wall.

I mean, what’s with the ROTFL and the ROFLs ? They sound like barks from different pedigrees of dogs, to be honest. Rufff Roofffff Ruofff .... definitely sounds like a dog barking, to me.

Until a few weeks back, I did not know what the acronym ROFL stood for. Until I was enlightened, and how !!!

Here’s how ......

someone hacked into one of my email accounts and sent out a message with a name followed by the acronym ROFL. One of my acquaintances here (the person whose name was mentioned on the email before the ROFL) thought it was me who was using that acronym to actually make fun of her. All this happened right under my very nose and there I was, blissfully unaware of all the rumblings under the volcano.

Well, things like a volcano, you see, work and function based on the laws of nature. So a volcano which has begun to rumble must erupt. That’s a given. This volcano erupted too .... spewing ash and lava all aimed at me ...... I was enlightened about all this volcanic activity by one of my friends and that was when the term ROFL came to light.

That was how I was told that ROFL actually meant “rolling on floor laughing”.

Made me feel like a fool actually. I mean, had I known this earlier, I could have saved innumerable number of bytes in many of my blog posts simply by saying Macadamia was ROFL, instead of saying Macadamia was rolling around laughing.

But then again, like I said earlier, go ahead and call me old fashioned, will ya ??

I’ve never been able to understand what this SMS language is all about, let alone try and figure it out. While some distinctly sound like noises animals would make when they are in pain or when they are angry or threatened, some other acronyms are so complicated that they put Latin and Greek to shame.

“B4YKI” I remember reading somewhere. The word that immediately sprung to mind was “teriyaki” while B4YKI is apparently supposed to mean “before you knew it”.

These acronyms can work as two edged swords, apparently. BBB can stand for “bye bye babe” or “boring beyond belief”. So if someone texts you a BBB – don’t be too sure that it stands for “bye bye babe”.

Take BABY, for instance. Imagine a situation wherein your kid comes and says “I’m BABY”. With one of those tender, maternal smiles, you say “Of course, sweetheart. You are my baby.” A glare and a LOD (look of disgust) later, your baby says “I’m BABY” means “I’m Being Annoyed By You”. !!!!!!

OOOOOOOOOO !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

BZ to me sounds like the hum of a bee or should I say “drone of a bee” (pun not intended). Or a housefly. Or even an mosquito. But BZ apparently means “busy” !!!

CMU would, in all probability, make me respond by saying “Oh Emu ! Those are little birds”. Well, a CMU apparently stands for Crack Me Up !!

“Classes could be CX” said someone the other day. “Classes to be held on Cathay Pacific” ???!!! I wondered. Simply because the only acronyms I’ve been familiar with are the ones used by airlines. But somehow English classes on Cathay Pacific did not really make sense and that was how I learnt that CX is an acronym for “cancelled”.

While I honestly do believe that textese is a CWOT, I think, for reasons linked with my own sanity, it is high time I CUWTA.

What ?? !!

Are you thinking of asking me what CWOT or CUWTA mean ?? Seriously ??!!!!

Tell you what ? You figure those out while I go ROFL !!!!!

I honestly ought to thank that acquaintance of mine for having slandered me all over/around town over an acronym I did not even know existed. Had it not been for her, I would never have been introduced to this world of acronyms.

ECHISL, you know !!

Go Figure !!

It’s mighty irritating, you say ??? It really gets your goat ??

Did I not say just that at the beginning of the post ?? These acronyms even put the Nutty Siblings to shame, when it comes to irritating me.

They are indeed my Achilles Heel !!!

(This post is being sent over to The Red Marker Blogathon being hosted by Sue.)

Ten Elements ....

(Image Courtesy : LunarStarryNight by Jerry Mac via fineartamerica.com)

His throat was parched. His body ached. His head pounded. His eyelids felt as though they were sewn shut. His skin felt as if there were scores of ants crawling all over. His ears buzzed ….. yet heard nothing in particular. Every cell in his body screamed for water. His thoughts were totally disjointed. All he could think about was the haze ….. the smog that seemed to cloud his vision, the mist that was all around him – swirling, dragging him down into its foamy, cottony depths.

His senses were eddying, it was like being caught in a whirlpool which threatened to drag him down to oblivion. With a start, he realized that being dragged down into that vortex was what he wanted then. “Give up …. Give in” screamed a part of his mind. “Not yet ….. Not yet….” screamed yet another fragment of his psyche.

There had been ten of them. All ten in the peak of their physical strength, the absolute zenith of their mental capacities, specialists in their own fields.

“Wake up” screamed a voice inside his head.

The feeling of being weighed down was unbearable. Out of that feeling of total helplessness arose a new emotion – fear.

“I’m scared” he thought to himself. “I’m scared”. The fear was almost palpable.

“I’ve got to pull myself together” “I’m one of the best of my kind” he said to himself, trying his level best to instill a sense of strength and willing himself to get up and take stock of the situation.

“A few more minutes and I’ll be able to get on my feet” he mulled.

His mind felt alive. It was buzzing with activity. Despite the physical discomfort that his body was enduring, his mind seemed to be honing itself.

He was mentally orienting himself.

Distant memories flooded his animated consciousness. Memories – like little scraps, little fragments.

Yet, amongst all those little bits of memory, there stood out one thought – Ten.

“Ten” “Ten” “Ten” “Ten” – the number reverberated against the walls of his mind. There were details attached to the number but they refused to surface into conscious memory. Pushing these thoughts aside, he recollected with distinct clarity the interior of the spaceship which had brought them here.

“Where is it ?” he wondered. “Where has it disappeared ?” “Where are the other nine ?” “Where have they gone ?”

Slowly, it was all coming back to him.

The waiting, the nervousness, the camaraderie amongst all the astronauts headed out to this planet, the force within each one of them, waiting to be unleashed. Each one of them waiting impatiently to give a free rein to their talents and prove themselves to the world.

His thoughts were conspicuously lucid now.

His first impression of space. That world beyond Planet Earth. The dark awning, the seeming nothingness which was scary – yet soothing. It had filled him with a sense of awe and respect.

The memories were tumbling into his cognizant mind now – fast and furious. The attack on the spaceship, the sudden force that propelled them onto a hard surface and the sudden bright light, total silence and then the utter, appalling destruction.

“I must look for the others” he thought to himself.

He pulled himself up – slowly and painfully – for every inch of his body hurt. He was a complete mess. Numerous cuts and bruises on his body. He tried to move his legs. It was sheer agony. Looking down, he realised that there was a piece of rock embedded in his left leg. For once in his life, he was glad that there were no mirrors around. The narcissist in him would not have been able to tolerate the wounded, broken and bloodied human lying on the surface of another planet.

Just then he thought he heard something whizzing. A moment later there was a sharp stinging sensation on the side of his head. Almost as if something had bumped into his head. Sure enough, there was a small stone lying near him.

“Where did this come from ?” he thought.

For the first time since he’d awoken from his stupor, he looked across the vast ground. At first, there was nothing. And then, slowly, the image started to register.

It was hideous and huge. It was unsightly and gruesome to look at. The numerous clawed tentacles sprouting from all around its body seemed to have a life of their own – each one testing and seeking prey. The ungainly blob that was its body seemed to radiate evil. But, by far the most repulsive feature was the creature’s eye. One single gelatinous mass – gooey, viscous, totally flat and lifeless. That eye held nothing but malevolence in it.

And that macabre eye was holding him in its sight.

Looking, probing, staring ...

And as he looked around the planet surface for his fellow astronauts, a part of his mind registered the fact that it was just him and that hideous creature. It all sunk in at once. The fact that his spaceship had been destroyed, the fact that there was no human other than him alive on that planet surface. He allowed himself the luxury of tears. As the tears flowed, as he mourned the loss of his friends, the creature let loose a whole barrage of stones and rocks at him from the other side of the roughly hewn planet surface. Those tentacles were waving angrily, threateningly at him. And the creature itself was looking rather ominously portent.

This time around, as he looked at the grotesque creature, he felt rather than saw a new feeling.

It wanted to fight.

And then realization struck. One human and one alien species. This was to be a fight to the finish. It was not him and the alien fighting each other. It was a question of the survival of one species and the complete annihilation of the other.

He shook with rage. Rage against the creature which was now eyeing him, assessing him, evaluating him, appraising his strengths and weaknesses. And that very rage catapulted him into action. Picking up the very same rocks that had been hurled at him, he threw them back at the creature, screaming incoherently at it, waving and pumping his fists at it hysterically.

And he realised that what appeared to be a open, flat plane of land was not all that open. All the rocks he threw at the creature bounced back at him from some unseen barrier. He could not see the barrier but it was there. The alien creature, however, was totally unaffected by the barricade.

The creature was beginning to move now. It could probably sense that its opponent was an uneven match for its capabilities. It seemed to be able to discern the differences between them. It appeared to be able to observe, perceive and identify his weaknesses only too well.

As he observed the creature, he could almost sense it gloating, wallowing in the triumph that seemed to be its already.

As his mind grasped at straws, he refused to admit defeat. There had to be a way out of this. There just had to be …………

It could not end like this. There was way too much at stake here. At that given moment, he could feel the weight of the very existence of the entire humanity on his shoulders. He knew that it all hinged on this final battle. If he lost to the alien creature, humanity was doomed. And he could not even bring himself to contemplate that scenario. Earth taken over and people ruled over by these hideous creatures.

“No !!” he screamed out aloud. “There has to be a way….. There has to be a way ….”

Through all these chaotic interludes in his mind, there was still that niggling voice which was hammering away repeatedly “Ten” “Ten” “Ten” “Ten” ………..

“What am I trying to remember ?” “Why am I not able to recollect ?” he thought to himself furiously and desperately.

Even while his thoughts were in turmoil, he had to constantly gauge the approaches of the alien creature. Sensing his confusion and frail state, the creature was advancing slowly but steadily – towards him !!!

“Ten” “Ten” “Ten” “Ten” – the word kept up an obscene resonance in his head. And in a perverse sort of way, though he could not put his finger on it, he knew that the every survival of the human race hinged on the number ten.

“But ten of what ?” “What is it that is so close to my conscious memory and yet eludes me ?” he thought, furious with himself for not being able to put the pieces of the puzzle together.

The alien creature had moved closer and was slowly, confidently making its way towards him. This injured human in distress was no match for it. It knew that and worse still, so did he !!!

“Ten” “Ten” “Ten” “Ten” started the chant in his head once again.

“Stop It” he shrieked.

“Just stop it” “Leave me alone” he screamed, a cry born out of sheer desperation.

His was, quite literally, a cry in the wilderness.

His thoughts drifted to his family. His wife, his daughters – who were awaiting his return to Earth.

“What will become of them ?” he thought to himself as tears of utter frustration and sheer helplessness trickled out of his eyes.

He thought of the days they had spent together as a family. A happy family cocooned and shrouded in a blanket of warmth, affection and love. Of the days they had spent relishing the resources that Mother Earth had to offer. The lovely skies, the beautiful crystal clear streams, the lush foliage….. things that they had, then, taken for granted.  Now, as all of those things seemed totally out of reach, he longed for them .....

He remembered the times when he and his wife would jokingly compare their family to the four elements on Planet Earth. And the survival of that very Mother Earth now depended on him.

And that was when realization dawned. It flooded his very consciousness and lit up each and every nerve centre in his body and mind.

“Ten” he said aloud. “The Ten Elements” “Ten Elements”.

It all came crashing into his mind. The floodgates had been opened and there was no stopping the information that flooded in. A sudden burst of inspiration and his mind was inundated.

“The only way to destroy this creature is by using the Ten Elements that are found on this planet surface” he realised.

All the lectures and theories that had been compiled and researched upon before their mission began, focused on the Ten Elements on the planet surface. And all Ten Elements were said to be found in the rocks on the planet.

His eyes searched as far as they could see but there was nothing. No rocks – just flat land.

The alien creature had crossed over to his side of the plane and he could almost read its thoughts. The creature was very blatant and overt about its malicious intent. He could visualize the perverse grin on its revolting being.

As he looked about furiously, his gaze was drawn to his own left leg. His sight locked on to the piece of rock that had embedded itself in its leg when his spaceship was destroyed.

“The Ten Elements” he whispered to himself “are right here”. “I have been carrying it on myself all this while” he said, with unreserved wonder in his voice.

He knew it would hurt. He grit his teeth and pulled at the rock on his leg.

The alien creature approached, drew closer – the claws glistening, the tentacles swaying violently ……

He dragged himself up to a standing position and clutched the rock composed of the Ten Elements close to his heart.

A while later, after what had been a fierce duel – it was all over.

He awoke with a start. He was sweating profusely, his clothes were drenched. The television was blaring ….. and Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith were standing covered in slime after having blasted an alien creature into oblivion.

“Was it all a dream ?” he wondered.

His hand moved to the multiple scars on his chest and back – scars which had thinned and turned shades of white with time.

“No.” He muttered to himself.

“It could not have been a dream ……”

(This was penned a couple of years back. I honestly can't recollect what motivated me to write this but .... I came across the file a couple of days back and decided that Tiny Tidbits was a good place to bank this for a future read.)