Monthly Archives: August 2013

things i need to make a point


1. i cant find karadi tales at a store near me. neither can i find it at a store far away from me = landmark, chennai.

2. baby param turns 5 today. he thinks krishna is part of the celebrations –> not that he is sharing krishna’s birthday.

3. i want to visit the forum mall in vadapalani. looks like it may happen in 2014. they have marks and spencers and i love the talcum powders by m and s.

4. i am looking for a CD for the past one year — it’s called bodhana by sita rajan. i still havent found it. giri trading mylapore is my last bet.

5. happy at the things that have gotten repaired here is now a long list … firstborn’s school bag, our wall clock — twice, the children’s shorts, my blouses. i need to take the printers for repair, next.

6. the library subscription needs to be renewed. but we have mowed through a major per cent of the books in the kiddos readability categ. hmmm

7. baby param took a home made sweet for the teachers… adv. of studying in a small school, what?


on attending a wedding/reception when you…


… arent invited and you dont know anyone.

the mmmim had only protests to offer.
he tried all means to get me to avoid what he thought would be my “social booboo of 2013”.

“you don’t know anyone”
“you arent invited”
“you never are happy attend the functions where you are invited”
“are you hungry”
“only the very desperate would go…”

i raised an eyebrow in his general direction.

and went.

it was the reception of someone known vaguely to the mil.

1. crowded weddings are fun
2. at this one — there was a man dressed like a stuffed bird on a sweltering August evening (all part of the festivities), a tiny band playing film music, 24 people blocking the steps to the dinner hall — as crowded as a MTC bus in rush hour.
3.” ma that bindi make you look like usha uthup ” said firstborn after i borrowed the mil’s bindi to get ready…
4. i wore a borrowed silk sari and drenched it in perspi. — the bright side is i didnt spill any gajar halwa on it.
5. to prove i had been there and done that to the mmmim., i collected the tamboolam — one huge laddoo, a bag of mixture and a stainless steel bowl that sat like a hat on baby param’s head.
6. they served lavender ice cream, rassagullas that had no resemblance howevre slight to their cousins from Kolkata, there was runny rasam that ran all over the plate;

7. the piping hot paal payasam being stirred in a giant urli made up for everything — the mean looks from spouse, a hallwithnobreathingspace, the diningarea with taps on the far far end, men wearing stuffed costumes, traffic jams at Saligramam…

i came away drunk on payasam, thickening milk and melted sugar, served hot, at the end of a day, the toast of a marriage and people together…

anyone has any weddings that they want me to attend?

profiles in courage -II


remember this man?

I found another…

we have a flower delivery man. he is in his 60s. he pops a bag of malli poo everyday on our doorstep. for a small monthly fee.

last week he was limping and had a hanky bandage on his foot — a cut from a stone on the road, he told me. please see a doctor and get an injection, i requested.

“Let me see if i have time — my son’s wedding is coming up…” he told me, and dashed off.

yesterday when we walked back home from class — my sons and I were horrified. there was bloody footprints on the pathway, a rose dipped in blood, and every other step to our home had blood marks.

our watchman who came in this morning was wondering : “may be an animal was hurt in a fight — what’s with the blood stains all over?”

i knew what had happened. but i prayed i wasnt right.

but i was. it was the malli poo man. today, at 6 pm when he rang our doorbell, fresh with flowers.

He said with his typical cheerful smile : “My foot got cut on the road again. i tell you there was a bottle’s worth of blood that dripped,” he added with pride.

A part of me marvelled at his will and his unfazed attitude. But the wretchedness of it all made my stomach churn.

I gave him some money and told him to see a doctor and get an anti tetanus injection. “I am going to stop buying flowers from you if you don’t show me the prescription and the medicines he has given you. Please take rest and do come after a month or so…”

” Of course not. I’ll be here everyday. What will you do without malli poo?”

The boys and me have been talking about him for the last couple of hours — truly a profile in courage.

day 1 — update on the hover-freeze


hover freeze has been in place for 24 hours…

effect on firstborn…
1. clothes got INTO the laundry basket this morning

2. quieter and more accomodative play with sibling…the whole 24 hours.

3. he ate all the bourbon biscuits he could manage before leaving for school– (this was tough to watch; i watched and gritted my teeth, from afar — i didnt interfere, amazed at my restraint)

4. bed was left unmade

5. he said a quiet prayer before he left for school

firstborn chillin, a pic from an old holiday...

firstborn chillin, a pic from an old holiday…

effects on me.
1. the plans are on about the school annual day, he tells me… i want to know more , am awfully curious. but will i listen without judging, evaluation, criticisng … am not sure.
i dont ask him more, but i really want to know. i want to reach a place that says “unconditional positive regard” before i speak…

2. overall peaceful + smiley is the current mood. i look to see if he has a letter for me at the end of the day … there isnt. but i find a handmade paper cellphone in a paper handmade pouch. hmm? does this mean no letter and that he’ll call me?

3. but my mindspace is very clutter-free. has my bossiness has been reined in?

4. 1 lecture-free, no-nag day for firstborn, makes for 1 giant leap for a quiet household. uh-oh. this means i was the mom on the blahblahathon? pass the humble pie, pls.

experiments in hover-freezing


” i am on a vacation in kuala lumpur….”

this is what i have told firstborn:

these are the rules of this week, starting today…

1. he gets to do as he pleases
2. he thinks i am on vacation in KL
3. no hover mum
4. no rules
5. he may write a letter to me, like he would, if i was really in malaysia…

where it began…

this morning, i was in tears…

was it because firstborn smashed one litre of cow’s milk, delivered from gummidipoondi, in a glass bottle. oh. i always cry over spilt milk. the clean up and the infinite mess. even if i know it was an accident.

was it because i felt it coming for a week now. i am telling firstborn the same things over and over and over and over and turning into a parrot. a squawk box.

was it because firstborn is a one boy talkathon, and there isnt time leftover for baby param,…

was it because firstborn zoned me out and heard me after the 234th time, or did he pay attention after the 8974th time

was it because when i correct firstborn , i become like a mother with a mike and a podium — i go on for 20,000 words, where a lifted eyebrow should suffice.

was it because whenever firstborn and baby param argue, firstborn borrows liberally from my verbiage and he uses 40,000 words where a lifted eyebrow would suffice… ulp.

the experiment began 4 hours ago…


firstborn has already asked me these things: “can i call appa? can i wear this kurta? can i eat a biscuit ? can i eat another? can i eat the sweet patti sent? can i finish up the appam in the fridge? can i take a photo from your camera?
to allwhich my patient answer is “child! i am in malaysia. do what you would do if you had to decide and you knew best…”

he has called appa
he wore the kurta that doesnt fit and the wrong way round
he is reeking of sunfeast dreamcream
he has attacked the sugared and the jaggeried delights in the refridgerator; moderation — > i think my firstborn hasnt quite understood thy merits
i hope he turns off the camera, and doesnt leave it on the sofa

ps. the good news is i still get to hover over baby param

a malaysian note


firstborn is humming a strain of notes while bathing…

it sounds like “negaraku” the malaysian national anthem.

and slowly i realise it’s been a full year since i was the maid in malaysia…

i remember how this month would have plenty of holidays, when i lived back there …the Hari Raya, and merdeka and baby param’s birthday

i miss you, my beloved KL. I miss you.

companion piece


i wanted to post this comment on sue’s blog after she posted this on death…

here’s a poem, also by a bengali… I have the book with me, but i couldnt find an online version. so it had to wait till i have the morning off to key it in,

As Old As I

By Paramahansa Yogananda

I am older than the first vapours of heaven,
Or the first baby star that was born
Out of the womb of the blue heavens
I was born before life opened its eyes
On earth’s cradle
I was born and my mind worked
Beneath my skyey skull.
My thoughts spread in the veins
Of the all-pervading cosmic rays
And tingled in the space cells of my finite body.

I breathed the breath of life into everything.
I the oldest in existence,
For it is my One Self,
My one memory, which has been thinking
Through all the human brains
Of all incarnations in all eternity.

Yes, it was I who sang
Through the birds of centuries,
And i who played the flutes of atoms
It was I who made the ornaments of diamond planets,
Ruby starlets, and blue sapphires
To decorate my skyey body.
Yes, I slept many times in many lives
In caves of diamonds,
In the bower of rose petals,
In the breasts of bluebirds, and in countless babies.

But, as I awoke in the omnipresent minds of supermen,
I remembered that I was the same One, the Oldest,
The One who had been thinking, working,
Laughing, coming and going, waking and sleeping,
In the bowers of countless brains,
All souls who have known this
Know that they too are as old as I.

PS: In the autobiography of a yogi, there is a chapter on how Sri Yogananda and Tagore met and had a nice long chat.

tech tiff


baby param,4, is trying to talk to his dad who is engrossed working on the laptop.

“Appa, blah blah blah”

the mmmmim hasn’t heard a word

“Appa, blah blah blah, blah”

the mmmmim still hasnt heard a word.

baby param: “I hope you turn into a CD, then you can really be inside your computer. Bah!”