Describe! Imagine! It is your universe


Me: “child! When you write a fictional prologue, the universe is yours — you can set your scene anywhere – outerspace, under a dining table, in a snorkeller’s-only- society that insists on members having last names that begin with W.”


Firstborn: ” I think I will just go with a park.”

Me: (in private) aaaaargh!!!!!!

Me: Child! you can put in any food from anywhere — triple scoops of blue icecream on double cones, dosas that are brown on the outside and uncooked on the inside, onion-flavoured green tea…

Firstborn: “I think I will go with cup corn.”

Me(totally in tears of disappointment) – Aaaaaaaaaarghness!

me: when new characters meet subtle is good. You don’t have to be explicit, black and white or direct.Nuance, glances with hidden messages, furtive looks are perfect for building excitement.

firstborn: I think. I will go with “Hi! I am Peter. Hey friends! What are your talents?”

Am currently mulling over stabbing myself with firstborn’s compass.

Thought bubble…


A friend called to tell me about her 11-day silent retreat in a vipassana meditation centre. She told me how she spent her days in 10-hour meditations, and not even looking or making eye contact with others, eating simple meals — the amazing thing she said was how close she felt to the other meditators at the end of the session — when not a word or a look passed between them.
And when she returned home, there were crises to firefight, and she said she felt at peace, at poise and up to it all.

I am wondering at how much conversation there is inside and outside of me…
and at how much of silence is needed for harmonious living?
Do we need a national average of quiet per head — what is the dose for adults and for children ?
And how do we weave it into our daily lives?

Day 30 of the #100dhotipact


Baby Param, 6, makes strangling noises when he has to wear a kurta and pyjama.

He hates the collars of the kurta, the long sleeves, and the polycot passing for cotton. and he hates the pyjama — from the nada, to the nada tuck, to the chudidarness, which isn’t urgent-loo-scramble friendly.

this month he got friendly with the dhoti. Summery. Thin. Delicate. Rectangular piece of white. No Fuss.

He has been playing cricket, riding a bike and playing catch outdoors in a dhoti.

yesterday he announced he would go for his morning summer class wearing a dhoti and a tee.

He did.

I didnt tell him this.

But I can speak my mind here ..

hat tip, child!

How to crack math.


When I was growing up in a CBSE school, math was an uncomfortable place.

Was it as squirm worthy as Physics, i cannot clearly recall — and that seemed to be my general malaise “cannot clearly recall”

enter friend. This is the one friend who topped Olympiads, won scholarships for outstanding academic records, made it to IIT, dream universities abroad and still had the heart to teach a classmate a key point on the day before an exam.

These are her tips to me for cracking math and teaching math. since I cannot etch them out in gold, the next best thing I can do is blog…

1. Start with numbers below 10 and slowly scale upwards. Math is very simple, since there are always rules for you to hold on to.

example: To teach mixed  fractions. Tell a story of diving two apples to two monkeys. Make it four apples. Make it 10. Make it 9– and you will get the answer four and a half.

do not attempt 227/4 at first.

To teach equivalence divide two apples between two children, three apples between three children, four apples between four children… And show the child patiently how the answer is always one.

2. make sure the child cannot fail. progress slowly. This gives the child confidence and time to assimilate the concept.

3. Maths has an invisible rhythm point. It is like this. You are miserable about the traffic till Poonamallee. Things move slowly till then. And once you reach the highway — you are magically cruising to Bangalore! That happens with math too.



Step 1: today I locked myself and kids out. Kids are already late for their class.

the good news: I had the car keys and cellphone.

the bad news: the duplicate house keys are with the mmmim who is in Mumbai on work.

Step2:  I decide to focus on getting to class first.

Good news: is that class is only 10 minutes away

bad news: car gate key is locked in at home with the housekey. ouch.

good news : an auto magically appears.

Step 3: get to class. Drop kids and call mmmim.

Good news: I don’t have to hear that lecture that begins with :”you careless careless etc ” just yet. The man is on the flight to chennai and so the phone is switched off.

better news: three of my friends offer their roofs, homes and hearts to house us until the mmmim appears.

best news: Naturally, I choose the friend who offers a prayer for “zero superior looks and snarks from spouse.”

mmmim returns.

he is livid. All mosquitoes are indoors. I had left three windows open, when I locked myself out.

oh well.

moral of the story: the rest of the things can happen in any other city. But mosquitoes can get in through netlon windows only in chennai.