Thursday, December 30, 2010

He knows what he knows...

V came from school one day, a little late than usual (He's being dropped by a van).
Me: Is anyone else being dropped before you?
V: Yes
Me: Who?
V: Akshada
Me Who... Akshad-a?
V: No Amma Akshada....girl...ladies ladies (note the use of ladies instead of lady!!)

We come back after visiting the doctor and
Paati- Doctora paathiya? (Did you see the doctor)
Paati- Enna sonna...Marunthu yethavathu koduthara? (What did he say? did he give any medicine?)
V- Illa verum paperthaan koduthaa (No, he just gave a paper, referring to the prescription)

V's school conducted a project day and his class's topic was North India.
One evening H and I were talking about visiting a temple when V chipped in,
V-Let us go to the Golden temple
Me (beaming and hoping to spread the news of the child's knowledge to the world)-Where is the Golden temple?
V- At school

Monday, December 20, 2010

Before anything else...

Some 'V Talk'...

'Enna paati...pazham sudutha'

The above is a very popular conversation (supposed?) between Lord Muruga and Avvaiyar as represented in the films 'Avvaiyar' and Kandan Karunai.
In the guise of a shepherd, sitting on the branch of a Jamun tree (nava pazham), the Lord asks a tired Avvaiyar if she wants hot (sutta) or cold (sudatha) fruit. The poet laughs at the child's ignorance and says she will have cold fruit. When the fruits fall on the ground the poet picks them up and blows away the dust at which Muruga asks if the fruit is hot thus revealing who he is.

Some mornings H has the classic 'pazhayathu' (rice soaked overnight in water) with buttermilk for breakfast. He does a tea vendor act while mixing the rice and buttermilk. V chose that morning to do a Lord Muruga ...
V- Enna appa...Mor sudaratha (Why the butter milk hot?)

V the detective

One day V's best friend N was supposed to visit us. V was exited throughout the day. However, in the evening, N's mother called to say that her older son had made some plans without her knowledge and that they could n't come that evening.
V was extremely disappointed and I had to use the only believable soothing technique and told him that N was sick and had to be taken to the doctor. Nevertheless he kept asking me a hundred times why N did n't come and I repeated the same thing.
The next day, he came back from school and asked me yet again..
V: Amma, Why did n't N come yesterday?
Me: I told you...She was sick
V:  I asked her...She said she had gone to a friend's house ( and walks off without pausing to give me a look)
Me: (Need I even say what my face looked like??)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

A Month later- Baby T and Big brother V

It's been a more than a month now since Baby T entered our lives and as always it is chaos. The nights and days are blurred and I can hardly read! Wish I were into confinement without being tempted by books, internet and the people who make the already difficult days more difficult that I have no choice but to resort to books and the internet-hope that explains the bad eye-sight.

A big brother emerges

V's behavior has been on predictable lines. He is co-operative when least expected (which is the case most of the times) and at the other times I have two kids crying for shoulder space. The initial week was very tough for him. At every given opportunity he would help me with anything from trying to put my feet on the bed, to handing over the feeding pillow to staying close to T when I was away from the room. But in all of the above I could sense a feeling of insecurity. Now he seems to have accepted the fact that the baby is here to stay and his day begins with a 'good morning' to the baby, checking if her nappy is wet, baby-talking (who?) to her and
most of the time he does what he is best at doing-Talk.

One day he wanted the baby to be placed on his lap. In a few minutes she did 'su-su' on him. Before he could react all of us  cheered him saying that the baby likes him a lot. What could have been a frown turned into a grin and he retorted,
'Naan enna toileta?' (Am I a toilet?)

A few days later the same scene was enacted. This time before he could let me place T on his lap, he stood up, removed his trousers and became 'ready' to hold his sister.

P.S: I am glad I got this out of the system. Almost contemplated to quitting blogging (read posting):)

Monday, November 15, 2010

It's a girl!!

I had packed the bags for the hospital by October end and had declared (threatened) to the household that the baby will be born before Deepavali (Second time mom's instinct you see). That passed.
Then I announced that the baby is going to be a Deepavali release amidst the chaos and crackers. (Instinct, instinct). That too passed.
When 'the Jal' took the city by storm I was very sure we were going to do an "Anjali film" act and rush in the rain even as storm hissed past us. That stormy night too passed.

Next morning it was sunny and bright. So I declared- "It is definitely going to be next week on the expected due date. Bring out the vacuum cleaner. I have to clean the house". The husband and my father who were detained at home on various occasions the previous weeks were packed off to their respective places of work. (Instincts instincts, very strong instincts)

Two hours later I was driven to the hospital and our baby girl was born!

Friday, October 8, 2010

This Boss passes!

I am back! And this time with a post on a film I watched in a theater, in the second weekof its release and not on TV after two years! From the moment I watched the trailers of 'Boss Engira Baskaran' I wanted to watch the film like I have wanted to watch numerous others and somehow it materialized this time.

Why I liked the film?
It was a light entertainer with nothing to enrage the little acrobat inside! There were no tears, fights (the real ones) and no logic. I hav n't seen the earlier film by the same director, 'Siva Manasula Sakthi' but the fact that this was supposedly better than that only made me feel relieved and happy!
And in which Tamil movie these days does one get to watch the hero trying to touch the comedian's feet?
And after a very long time I heard 'real' laughter in the theater.
The climax was so contrived that one had to accept the fact that this film had no choice but to end only in that one way.
It is a little sad that comedy films these days use the spoof weapon pretty often but what the heck...anything laughable is worth watching, though it meant explaining to the husband which scene takes a dig at which movie when he sadly gaped around wondering why everyone was laughing!
Also... surprise surprise...despite the presence of a particular actress in a scene (like the ones that are brought around by the hero's friends to increase business, bring more students to class etc) it did not have the usual crass elements in the name of humor.
And only this film can make a comedian out the the treacherous villain of 'Naan Kadavul'.
Definitely worth a watch especially when someone like me is not in a position to watch 'Enthiran'!

How did it happen?
The last five years have seen H and I stand in the ticket counter and walk out in the last minute but never watch a film. This last one year has seen a lot of plans being made and cancelled in the last minute.
So, I asked him, "Shall we watch Boss Engira Baskaran'?
H: Is it a good movie?
Me: Seems so. It is a light comedy
H: Ok
Me: Shall I book for the next weekend
H: Are you kidding? I'll see if we can get tickets for the evening or tomorrow morning
H: What...the world might come to an end next week...
So, we watched the 8:15 show on a Sunday morning. Looks like the man has taken the 'baby-will-get-influenced-by-what-the-mother-watches' stuff seriously.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Chocolatey entertainment

As always this is a late take on something that has been written and raved about a thousand times. Movies are a good way to ward of stress. But as a policy H and I don't watch films in theaters. Actually it's been five years since we visited a cinema, so it is easy to make it into a policy! A couple of weeks back we left V with my parents and went to watch 'Crazy' Mohan's "Chocolate Krishna". Though a social play would have meant a more meaningful time spent, we zeroed in on the familiar brand of comedy the reason for which I will state at the end.

It was the well known 'Crazy' brand of comedy with the occasional display of magic thrown in between being an added attraction. The 'story' was on predictable lines and Mohan also manages to give a message at the end. What we loved about the play was its tight script and the fact that it was over in less than 90 mins without a break. Though with familiar film BGMs added to the play it did look like those famous 'film-trailers' from one's college days, it was a light-hearted time-spent. And wonders, though no one follows rules strictly not a single mobile ring tone was heard inside the hall!

Coming to the reason. It was the beginning of the third trimester and I did n't want to be left squirming with a jumping baby inside in a cinema theater what with all the sound effects and visuals. Also some time in these five years I happened to tell H that a few weeks before I was born my mother watched 'Omen'.Since H thinks the film has had a definite bearing on his wife's behavior he did n't want to take any chances with film choices for his children.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Keeping it Straight and Simple

"Naan Kariyeriten, neenga innum karaiyerama nikareley?"
Barathiraja, Maniratnam and all others who featured immortal lines by children in their films...I salute you. For your understanding of children and their mindset. Of their keenness in keeping things short, simple and straight.

I was cleaning the Puja room for Janmashtami celebrations. V caught me wiping the pictures and asked why. Without thinking I mumbled, "For Janmashtami"
V: What?
Me: Lord Krishna's Happy Birthday
V: What?
Me: We are performing a Puja today.
V: (Thinking for a while): Dirtya irukarathunala clean pannaraya? (Are you cleaning because the pictures are dirty?)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Kid Speak!

The elders learn some lessons

H and V are playing with numbers.
H - This is zero
V - Jeero
H (Don't know what made him ask this) - Zero yaar kandupidicha theriyuma? (Do you know who invented zero?)
V- Yaaru? (Who?)
H - Aryabhatta
H- Let's get into the complexities later
Me- Athu seri
V - Yaaru Batta?
H- Aryabhatta
V (Remains thoughtful for a while)- Appa...8 yaaru kandupidicha?

It is V's uncle's birthday and he wishes him over phone. The phone is in speaker mode.
V - Appy barthaday to youuu
Uncle- Happy Birthday sollariyaa...
V - (Repeats) Appy barthaday to youuu
Uncle - Oh...hahaha
V (flustered) - Thank you sollu (Say thank you)
Uncle- Oh seri seri...Thank you
V- You are welcome

V the cop
V is learning about traffic signals at school and can go on all day with, 'Red says stop. Green says go', etc.
One day we are on our way to drop him at school. There is a major traffic jam on our not-so-main-road. It is very chaotic. Some auto-rickshaw drivers step in to ease the traffic. Thankfully we are on the bike and are able to move around a little. Suddenly a squeaky voice shouts out loud,

'Rad shays shtop, green shays go, yallo shays drive schhloly'
And the same voice asks: Amma why is there no signal here?

Finally a lesson for Thatha
V's Thatha takes him on his scooter on a jolly ride. They are at a signal. The signal is red. Our little traffic policeman begins, 'Rad shays shtop..'. Thatha finds some space and moves a little. The little cop gets angry,
'Thatha...Rad shays shtop...why are you moving???"

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Then and now; Sivaji and Enthiran!

Simply, then and now would have meant that I was going to write about my first pregnancy and the present. is still about that. It is just a coincidence that the superstar's films have also been spaced out during the exact time frame! Silly? Yes and No. Not that I am bothered about watching the film.

What I am concerned about are the songs. The only memories that are still vivid till date are those from the delivery table. Even as I was doing my breathing (occasionally checking if they were in the right order), chanting slokas, a song suddenly made its way through into my head. I don't remember whether the film 'Sivaji, the Boss' was released by then or if it were only the songs, but 'Sahana saaral...' kept ringing in my ears. Later I was thankful that it was 'Sahana' and not 'Oru koodai sumlight..' That would have made the labor harder!

Now, I dread the 'techno-effects' of 'Enthiran' getting into the system. Not that the songs are bad, but I only hope 'Boom boom robo da' does n't make its way through into my head!!!

Other memories from the D-table and more songs
The only good thing about that hospital (Now I've changed both the gynecologist and the hospital) was the doctor. What irritated me most was even when I wanted to get down and use the toilet, I was told, 'Come soon..the doctor will get angry'. "Sister, my back pain is getting worse, I want to lean against the wall...", "No...The doctor might say something..' and continued on those line when I wanted the A/C temperature to be reduced, wanted to sit etc. The problem was that the baby's head did n't turn and I was having 'back labor'. Though the duty doctor acknowledged this fact, the nurses didn't assist me.

To cut a four hour story short, that was when 'Sahana' happened (?) and I was getting temporary relief. The two nurses present tried their level best to help me primarily by acting deaf and secondly by holding my hand. Suddenly one of them thought it would give me great pleasure if she sings. And started off with 'Yerikara poongatre'...Lovely song agreed. But not when heard in a screech-like Malayalam accented version, especially when one is contemplating whether the pain in the lower abdomen or the back pain is worse. Taking liberty from the fact that one need not feel embarrassed while in labor, I made a face.
The nurse (full credit to her for trying to be helpful), "Yaen...paatu pidikalaiya?" (Don't you like the song).
Me: (Trying to sound Vadivelu-like) 'Illa sister...valikudhu' (No, it is paining, hoping she would understand what pain I meant)

It is said that the baby, after birth, can recognize voices that it had heard inside the womb. It was true in V's case. He was quiet when the doctor, duty doctor and other nurses walked into the room (and talked of course). But when our 'Yeriakara' nurse spoke to me he cried. Not once but every time she came in!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A Note to..

...all pedestrians, motorists, auto-rickshaw drivers (I have to address them separately), all those who think the whole world is a parking lot and many others.... from a fellow pedestrian, ex (for the time being) motorist and one among the rest.

-Thank you for staring at me , but that does n't mean you can flash lights on a broad day light, indicating me to move to my right when there is hardly any space to stand.
-I've struggled with a heavy bag on one shoulder and a kid on the arm and no auto would stop. Why is it that only when I don't need one all the auto rickshaws slow down and make walking harder?
-Neel Metal Fanalca is doing their bit to the city by stationing their huge garbage bins on the road turnings. But the motorists cast an angry glance at me when they turn sharply at a very high speed. I can only manage to stand a few inches farther from the bin...not any closer.
-Every time I look at the road, I get confused. When did this become a parking lot? One can walk (or try to) on the pavement, but is how is one supposed to drive a car or ride a two-wheeler between a car parked haphazardly and the electric post?
-Dear sirs (assuming sirs, by the bikes parked), I am unable to hold my umbrella straight when your bikes are parked like they were straight out of a modern-art picture frame even as the branch of a tree, lying low sways precariously as I struggle on the so called pavement, trying to avoid being splashed at by a bucket of dirty water from the nearby tea-shop. Not to mention the oncoming traffic to whom people on feet are invisible.
-And lady... I understand you want to take the right- from your car indicator that flashes 'right'. But why do you have to swirl to your left, take a u-turn (almost) on the road that is on your left, indicating right all the time? Wrong.
- To all the others who make life on the roads, a roller-coaster ride/walk/drive for many like me... It is very hard to learn one's lesson in a hospital. Take care and thank you for letting me live long enough to write this.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Selective Hearing

I don't know whether the above is particularly common to men (or men aged 35 and above), but I am experiencing it and have heard people talk  about this.

A few months back I was talking to an elderly relative. Her husband is very particular about money. Sometime earlier he had had a bad cold and his hearing was affected for a few days. One day this aunt had asked him to help her with something and he, naturally, could n't hear. After some time she was talking to someone over the phone about some money matters and after she had put the phone down the uncle wanted to know what the money was spent on!

Yesterday, I was doing some cleaning in one room and H was in the adjacent room. We could hear each other pretty well across the wall and were having occasional conversations.
At some point,
Me: We have to clean the loft. The existing cupboards are full and we have to make room for the new baby's things...
H: (No response)
Me: There is space in the loft for all the unused stuff
H: (No response)
Me: If possible, today....
H (No response yet...)
Me: (Suddenly remembering the first mentioned instant, and without raising my voice) You know what...That Micromax mobile phone...
H: (Suddenly rushes into the room) What what??
Me: (Grinning...)
H: No...I thought you were saying something about the oven...
Me: Hmmm...Kuppura vizhunthaalum....

Thursday, July 15, 2010


The diapers have been stashed away, to be pulled out only on emergencies. The rubber sheet is all set to find its way back into the cupboard. Or so we thought! It looks like they will (of much smaller size though!) have to make an appearance in another four months! Also, all plans of changing the upholstery and re-arranging the house will also have to be put on hold, for another two-three years!

Thank You!!!!!

Phew! This has been in draft for more than a month and was scheduled to be published at least three times and then brought back to 'drafts'. Initially I wanted this to be my 100th post, but that mark was crossed many posts earlier. Then I wanted to post this on completing one year of (active) blogging, but that too did n't happen (the posting bit, the year went past long-back!). But I had to get it out of the system (computer heh heh) and guess this is a milestone worth a mention!

I did n't want to make a big deal about this, but if this blog (after many name changes) is still alive it is because of V. Ever since we announced the news of another baby to him, there has been a lot of changes in his behavior. I guess, the way he handles the situation, not to mention the conversations, is worth recording.

V is happy about the fact that he will be an Anna now and considers himself 'big'! He wants to know if the baby can talk, eat, dance or sing like he does (inside my tummy!). But he is all set to teach the baby to..what the drum!

One day, (for the heck of it) I explained to V that a brother (thambi) would be a (baby) boy and sister (thangai) would be girl. He immediately said, 'ennaku thambi vaenum'. After some time he asked me,

V:  Amma...Naan boya?
Me: Yes
V: N (his best friend at school) girla?
Me: Yes
V: (thinking for a while) Ennaku Thangai vaenum (I want a baby sister)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


It began when the watchman addressed V's Thatha as 'Enga Thatha' (in daily parlance -my grandfather, literally it means our grandfather). Since then it has been a battle of words between the two - the three year old who has begun to  speak like an adult and the seventy-five year old who speaks like a child.

So whenever he spots him, V has a few select sentences like, 'Ithu enga amma', (this is my mother), 'Enga appa' (father), enga car, enga paper, enga school bag, enga tri-cycle etc.

This happens outside also. When we are at the supermarket, V tells the sales girl, 'Ithu enga amma, ithu enga biscuit' etc. Attempts to stop him only fuels the fire. So, to save our faces, we give a false glare and a low-pitched  'V.....' when we encounter strangers.

One day at school, I spot V's best friend N with a hand-kerchief neatly pinned on her frock, and tell her mother that it is very difficult to get V dressed like that.

Looks like the brat had listened to this very keenly. That evening, he pulls out large napkin and insists that I pin it on his shirt for him. When I ask why, he says,
"Ennoda N ippadithaan pin pannipa" (My N pins up her hanky like this - Note the disappearance of Enga!!!)

Friday, July 9, 2010

Sinning against gender stereotypes...

Everyone in the blogging world seems to waging a war against the stereotypes. So much so that not being a stereotype will become one! Poor joke, I know. The point is, Uma, LR and AA have tagged me into confessing my sins against the gender stereotypes.

It was started by IHM and this is the tag line -Please list at least ten things you have ever wanted or done which your gender is not supposed to.
Some of the following sins have already found a place in the post on 'Seven things you don't know about me'. Forgive the repetition!

1. I love sports. I don't go screaming after good looking sportsmen. But I watch a county cricket tournamnet with the same interest as a T 20 match. I used to follow the erstwhile WWF very keenly. At college orchestrated a cricket-stadium like ambiance by beating bottles on the desks whenever things went a little too boring.

2. I don't like jewelery of any kind. I hardly think about how valuable they are because they are of no use to me.

3.I don't apply make-up. Don't like the thought of it (except the occasion when everything goes just the way you don't plan it-wedding!). I don't even apply lipstick or kajal.

4. I hate asking someone for directions. I try to find the route on my own.

5. I have been on my own and have traveled alone many times by train, in a general compartment across cities.
6. I don't care about how large or small an object is. I carry them myself. Whether it is lifting heavy boxes or helping someone carry a suitcase, I don't mind.

7. I do not like mush and mushy stories and films. Some friends began to avoid me when I told them I did n't like DDLJ and that it was a waste of time watching such long movies. Have never read M&Bs.

8. I have never expected (and don't expect) my friends (men) to pay the restaurant bill. I share the bill or end up paying myself. So much so that before our wedding, on the only occasion that we went out (H was in another city then), we shared the bill. (The fact that he did n't mind and a few other things easily makes him a sinner himself!)

9. Normally, I end up clicking photographs at friends' get togethers or family functions and don't worry about my not being in them.

10. My favorite color is blue.

11. At any given point of time I don't own more than two or three pairs of footwear of which one is a pair of sports shoes.

12. My first job was in sales and I was the only female field sales executive in the company I worked for. I have the reputation of covering more distance on a scooter than any of my male friends or acquaintances, in a year.

13. Many times, visitors have raised an eyebrow, when the husband helps me in serving dinner. And on most occasions, I don't wait for him and have my meals before he comes home. I guess this sin is better than suffering from acidity.

All said and done I still do the following : Make lists like the one above. Lately I've begun to enjoy cooking. I also enjoy dressing up my child and spend a lot of time and money on his clothes, books and toys! I write down and plan even when nothing happens.

It is heartening to find many 'sinners' around. From my side, these so called sins are not deliberate or an attempt to rebel. It is just who I am and if I try to change I will only end up wasting my time and others'.

Everyone whom I wanted to tag have already been tagged..Nevertheless... Lavanya, Jayashree, Elizabeth, SSStoryteller...go ahead and confess yours!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

He got his drum and ate it too!

So, a drum and a micro-party it was! V got what he wanted, after some arguments, a day long deliberation, and some extra brain-work from us.
We did n't want to celebrate his birthday because H thought it will become a habit I was too scared to even think of the number of people we would have to invite. We did n't want to hold it outside and leave it to some event-managers and the house would n't accommodate 50-60 people. Yes, if V wanted his friends to come, including parents (only moms) the number came to around 15. It was a get- together, and my friends had little children too...another 10-15. In the recent past I had made a few more friends because they had children V's age and some blogger-friends too (Go over here and here for more on the meet!) Our cousins had children too. And then there were people who are older than us, parents, but would feel offended if they were n't invited. 

We threw the list into the bin and decided to hold the gathering (party) only for V's friends from school and reduced the numbers to 15. (friends, their moms and siblings if any). My parents obliged and came home the previous day. The rest we decided, will be called for his 'Upananyanam' or wedding, or another function next year (wait for the next post please!). And why did I have to write all this...Well, I am being practical!

The Party

We wanted to keep it short and simple, 1) because of the restricted space, 2) it would be easy for us to handle children who have visited us before, 3) We can personalize the return gifts and snacks. 

The said 'Drum' cake and sandwiches were ordered at 'Padmashree' foods, Mylapore (really worth a try). When I went there to place the order, two days before the birthday, there were pictures of Disney characters and other popular cartoon characters from kiddie channels, but no drum. Not even a picture of some character playing a drum (I don't know how many do?!) But it was easy to describe it and the lady at the shop made my job easier by drawing it out beautifully. After which she said that normally they would n't bake any cake with a design that they don't have but this was simple. Uma, you were right. Drum IS a reasonable demand.

We purchased return gifts in accordance with the age group invited. The food consisted of cake, sandwiches and some spicy biscuits. That was that. No chips or fries and no one seemed to be bothered about the absence of fried stuff (there is a separate post on birthday parties in the draft, but that will be posted after we attend a party to be held during the weekend). 

V did n't sleep a wink that afternoon. Though he did n't voice it out we knew how excited he was. Thankfully the rain did n't play a spoil sport. The kids came. They were happy, more because they all knew each other. Though there were a few squabbles over toys and caps (we had deliberately left a few old sturdy toys for the kids to play with and locked away the rest!) things went on pretty smoothly.

At the end of it all, V was HAPPY and that was all we wanted!

'The Cake'

Monday, July 5, 2010

Another year older!

V is turning three today. I really can't say who has grown a year older... I guess it's me! We did n't want to have any celebration but bought him some new clothes last week.

After the purchase, H told him, 'These are for your birthday...'
V: Where is cake?
Me and H, taken aback: What?
V: Cake..
We: What cake do you want?
V: 'Drum' cake
We (still unable to believe what we are hearing and to make sure that we don't put any ideas into his head): Will you cut cake in school?
V: No, at home
We: Shall we call Thatha, Paati...
V: No, S, N, S, S, H,P (his friends)
We (to ourselves): Oh my God!!!

This was drafted two days before his birthday. So whether we really had a party or a drum will be posted later...including more drum-rolls!!!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Kid Speak!

One morning, V woke up early and as is the norm dragged himself into the living room, sat on the couch and started blinking. When this is the case, either H or I try to 'wake him up' by gently pulling his ears and he loves that. On that fateful morning it was my turn and it turned out that he had a pain in his right ear and he yelled.

That evening, suspecting an ear infection we took him to the Doctor. H told V (because he was talking too much!) that he had to explain to the doctor what his problem was and both Amma and Appa will stay quiet. the doctor, like on all occasions asked,

Doctor: Enna aachu? (what happened)
V: Kaathu Valikuthu (Ear is paining)
Doctor: Why?
V: Amma Kaatha pidichu izhuthuta (amma pulled my ears) 

When a child says this, the doctor naturally had to say this,
Yaen, neenga veshamam pannengala (Why, were you naughty)

Now my ears turned red!

Friday, June 11, 2010

More Tamil Rhymes...

How did I ever forget these?! Some songs for 'play-time'.

Thenna Marathula Earathey...
This is sung when a baby has learnt to stand on his/her own and can balance himself/herself on someone else's feet. The adult sits on a chair, holds the hand of the child while he/she stands on the adult's feet and the latter lifts his legs up and down. This is very a popular 'game' and almost every child loves it.

Thenna Marathula Earathey...
Thengaiyai parikaathey
Mamaruthula Earathey..
Maangayai Parikathey
Aathula vizhariya
Sethula Vizhariya
Illa Ammaiyar paati kulathula vizhariya?

Don't climb the coconut tree, don't pluck coconuts, Don't climb a Mango tree and pluck mangoes. Will you fall into the river, gutter or Ammaiyar paati's pond?
This Ammaiyar Paati character is central in many songs and stories.

In one story, about an impatient sparrow, a hungry sparrow asks Mrs. Ammaiyar to make him some 'Payasam' (Kheer). She asks him to bring ingredients like milk, cashew, dry-grapes and ghee. He flies of to get each with his tiny beak and eagerly watches as the Paati begins cooking. Once the sparrow finds that the Payasam is made, he tries to gulp it down without thinking and burns his tongue (?). The 'Paati' asks him to 'cool' the Payasam to normal temperature by placing it in a bowl of water. The sparrow leaves the vessel in a pond, thinking that the large sheet of water would cool his payasam quickly. On the contrary, the vessel topples and the pond becomes a 'payasam-pond'. The poor sparrow then goes on to drink all the water in the pond and bloats like a balloon. The Paati asks him to stuff his mouth with hay. After some time a hungry cow comes near the pond. On spotting a bunch of hay, she begins to eat it. Soon all the payasam-water spills out of the sparrow and the village is flooded. While ending the story, even as a delighted child watches eagerly, one sings

"Aadu maadu kolam kulam
Ammaiyar Paati kolam kulam"

(Kulam-pond, Aadu, Maadu-cattle.)

When a baby is able to play with his/her fist, he/she is encouraged to thump the fist on the palm of the adult, who sings,

Amma Kuthu
Gumma Kuthu
Paati kuthu
Peran kuthu
Pillayar kuthu
Pidichiko kuthu...

When the adult says pidichiko he/she tries to grab the child's fist who should learn to pull it away.
Translation: Kuthu-punch. Paati-Grandmother, Peran-Grandson. Pillayar-Lord Ganesha

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The story of Bondapalli...Not so silly!

What happens when a ball of batter accidentally falls into hot oil? A sizzling bonda emerges, leading to a satisfied Prince, a content Kingdom and a ..well...Bondaful story! Shamim Padamsee's 'The Silly Story of Bondapalli', published by Tulika, is a wonderful story not only for children but also for adults, who want to have a good laugh after a stressful day. That's what I did. I don't know if my little enjoyed as much as I did (The recommended age is 5+) but I laughed out loud while reading the book...something I hav n't done in a long long time.

A young Prince fusses over food and an 'accident' leads to the discovery of the Bonda. It becomes the Prince's favorite food. So much so that people in the Kingdom start eating Bondas everyday and this leads to a happy re-arrangement of their lives and homes. The Kindom then becomes, you guessed right-Bondapalli! What happens when a neighboring King hears of this, forms the rest of the story.

The word 'Bonda' caught V's attention. The story captures the very essence of childhood- children protesting against what they don't like and wanting to have only what they are fond of.

As is with every other book, Ashok Rajagopalan's illustrations are catchy and for a child as little as V, they in a way explain the crux of the story. In V's words, 'Amma, atho paar bonda veedu, Bonda Mama, Bonda Kaaka' (Bonda house, Uncle and crow). Simply 'Bondastic'! Older children are likely to understand and enjoy the humor.

After reading the book I could n't help wanting for more. If my instincts are right, we can expect a series under 'Adventures at Bondapalli'!
(Picture courtesy Tulika Books)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Tamil rhymes and songs from childhood..

After shamelessly missing out on their third Blogathan, I am all set for Tulika's Blogathan-4 Rhymes, chants and playground songs, simply because this gives a chance to recall songs from my childhood, some of which I am passing on to V.There are many many rhymes and songs in Tamil. To add to these, each family has its own version.

My most favorite 'playground' song, is like a never-ending set of questions and answers. There are many versions. But this was the version I came across first and began 'singing' to V, ever since he was a fourth-month old fetus! We used to sing this instead of 'Inky Pinky Ponky' while choosing players in a game.

Enna biscuit? Jam biscuit
Enna Jam? Co-Jam
Enna Co?Tea-Co
Enna Tea? Roti
Enna Roti? Bun-Roti
Enna Bun? Ribbon
Enna Ribbon? Pachhai Ribbon
Enna Pachhai? Ma pachhai
Enna ma? Amma
Enna Amma? Teacher Amma
Enna teacher? Kanakku Teacher
Enna kannaku? Veetu Kannaku
Enna veedu? Madi Veedu
Enna maadi? Motta Madi
Enna mottai? Thirupathi mottai

Translation: Enna-What, Roti-Bread/ Bun, Pachai-Green, Amma-Mother, Kanaku teacher-Maths teacher, Veedu-home- Mottai Madi-Terrace


The following are from my husband's childhood days, passed on to V

Rail Paatu (The Train Song)
Ammukinan Pointai
Saathinan Gateai
Vandi vanthu Nikuthu
Seekaramai Earungal
Koduthan Guard beerendru visilai
Gup-gup Gup-gup Gup-gup.....

The song refers to the duties of the station master wherein he closes the gate and gives the signal for the guard to start the engine.

(He) presses the switch,
Closes the gates
The train has come
Get in quickly
The guard blows the whistle
Gup gup.....

The following is another favorite, the origin and motive of which I am not aware!

Ka-ka kala kala vande
Eppadi appam suduve?
Potta Nella gummi,
Gummuku Gummukunu kuthi
Sarkara vellatha potu
Athu mela ozhakennai Vaarthu
Suttu suttu koduthaka
Amma puttu puttu thimbalaam

Translation: Refers to the process of making the sweet-dish-Appam.  

Another 'Ka-ka' Song:
Kaka Kaka Kannuku Mai kondu vaa
Kuruvi kuruvi kondaiku poo kondu vaa
Kokey Kokey Kuzhandaiku paal konduva
Kiliye kiliye kinnathil pazham kondu vaa

(Hey) crow, bring some Kajal for the eyes
Sparrow, bring some flowers,
Crane, bring some milk for the child
Parrot, bring some fruits in a bowl

Kai veesamma Kai veesu
Kai veesamma kai veesu,
Kadaiku pogalam kai veesu

Mittai Vaangalam Kai veesu
Methuvai Thingalam Kai veesu

Sokkai vaangalam kai veesu
Sogusai podalam kai veesu

Koviluku Pogalam KAi veesu
Kumbittu varalam Kai veesu

Thera Paarkalam Kai veesu
Thirumbi varalam kai veesu

Translation: A song typically sung when a baby begins to move its arms. Kai veesu means to swing one's hands (arms). 
Swing your arms - Swing your arms
Let's go to a shop - Swing your arms
Let''s buy sweets and eat them slowly - Swing your arms
Let's buy dresses and dress grandly - Swing your arms
Let's go the temple and pray- Swing your arms
Let's see the Temple car and return -Swing your arms

And probably the most popular of them all...!

Nila Nila Odi Vaa
Nila Nila Odi vaa
Nillamal odi vaa
Malai meethu eari vaa
Maligai poo kondu vaa,
Nadu veetu la vai,
Nalla thuthi sei
Vatta vatta Nilave
Vaanil pogum nilave
Pattam pole paranthu vaa
Bambaramai sutri vaa

Translation:A song about the moon. Here, a child asks the moon to bring flowers, and fly like a kite and spin like a top.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Kid Speak!

Four or five years ago, H bought a Trackman mouse, which supposedly reduces stress on the wrist, caused by constant 'mousing'! V, however finds it difficult to use this mouse, because his fingers are a little too small to reach the 'red ball' and ends up clicking as he likes. We searched for the old optical mouse that was resting in the loft and it is an understatement if I say V was excited. 

H fixed it for him. After a few minutes...

V: Appa...intha mouseku Vaale illa (This mouse has no tail)


Another tail err..tale...

It is common in Tamil to address a naughty child as 'vaalu' (tail) referring to our tailed ancestors. 
It is also common in Tambram parlance to address elders 'Periyavaa' (otherwise periyavanga) and the younger ones 'Chinnava' (Chinnavanga).
When used in a sentence this may become Periyavlellam etc, meaning all elders.

Now that word when split becomes periya-vaal meaning big tail and chinna-vaal meaning small tail.

Conversations with V sometimes end like this...

Me: Athu chinnavaalukellam kidaiyathu (That is not for the little ones)

V: (thinks for a while then..) Oho...athu kutti-vaaluku kedaiyathaa...unna maathiri Bigu-vaaluku thaana (So that is not for little vaalus like me but big vaalus like you)

Friday, May 28, 2010

A visit and a birthday party!

The Gift...

I had to buy gifts for three kids. One whose family H would be visiting during his out-of-station trip, another who is going abroad and another who had had his birthday (party) coming up. I had decided what the gifts will be, as it was a while since we bought V any books and I had read this and wanted  so badly to buy a copy. Moreover, V wanted to gift 'Snoring Shanmugam' to all his three friends.

I think the above explains my visit to Tulika's office, V in tow. I was n't sure how V would behave because it was an office (in this case more like a house) and not a shop. As always he surprised me by staying quiet and happy to find some of his favorite books stacked and managed to get himself a biscuit from the staff!

Since I had browsed their online catalog and had an idea of what to buy, our work was done in about twenty minutes. The birthday boy and the 'out-of-chennai' kid received two books each from the 'Baby Bahadur' series. Greedily we kept 'The silly story of Bondapalli" to ourselves (Ok...myself...bah). I'll post our 'reactions' on this after the 29th of May!

I was keeping my friends crossed, because I had talked to the moms of the three kids and realized that they hav n't even heard about the books. This is something I am always wary about. Books are one's personal choice. This wariness increases if it is a gift to an adult. Anyway...I waited.

The verdict: All the three kids and moms loved them.

And the party...

The Birthday boy's party was held at one of Chennai's most child-friendly play centers. V was the only 'friend' who attended as the other kids had gone on a vacation. The two kids had a wonderful time. The birthday boy S was sweating profusely but still wanted to play. He cut the cake, and refused to eat the snacks. His mother complained that he had n't eaten the whole of that day because he had been waiting for the party. For a week, he had been asking his parents about the party and gifts.

An observation: I feel it is best to leave the kids alone if they don't want to eat. It is their day and one should let them enjoy. In this case the boy turned three and had just realized what this is all about.

We are planning a 'no-celebration-low-key-party' (read no party!) for V and hope he has n't 'learnt' anything from the above!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Observations on a Rainy day

The 'Laila' storm left the city cool for a couple of days, and our total lack of civic sense left the roads flooded and the beach(es) dirty. We were in for some surprises though...

H had to attend office that day and could n't take out his bike and did n't want to be stranded in the car in traffic. He made a call to the local call taxis (how he did n't mind staying put in a call taxi beats me, trusts the drivers more I guess) and was left listening to the message 'No taxis available'- It was about eight in the morning.

The only option was to call for an auto rickshaw. I asked him to to be prepared to pay anywhere between Rs.160-200 for the normally Rs. 130 route...
He ended up paying Rs. 130 and Rs. 120 while coming back.

We had to drop V's grandparents at the Egmore station the same evening, and the rain had abated, thankfully. We had booked a call taxi eight hours before time and since the traffic was not heavy we had a smooth ride. Mount Road, which is normally brightly lit near Teynampet was 'brighter' thanks to decorative tube-lights, the occasion being some politician's son's wedding. A few meters beyond, after we had crossed over the Anna fly-over, the area was plunged into darkness. There was no power at the railway station too. Worse, the train was to boarded from the fifth platform, to reach which one had to climb the stairs. The place was slippery, dark and the old couple and to climb the stairs. The predicament was same for hundreds who were gathered. H appointed a porter and they went towards the train and I rushed towards the platform ticket counter, pulling V along. The little one was co-operative until he saw the crowd. The counter had n't opened and there were some twenty people people waiting before me. There were other reservation counters too and the long queues only added to the madness. V wanted me to carry him, as the place was dark and scary. Nobody wanted to leave the queue because the general belief was that 'you can't take a risk on any given day, and what if it is a bad day and we get caught?' I knew that once the counter opened, the queue would move fast and it did.

Before that, a couple came and stood behind me. the husband asked his wife to go ahead and that he would join her with the platform tickets. She was carrying a child of about two, and the following conversation ensued...

Wife: What is the matter? Why is this place so crowded?
Husband: The counter has n't opened and there is no power...
Wife: Why is there no power?
Husband: We saw while coming here did n't we...
Wife: Why is the counter closed... Why can't they keep it open?
Husband: They' ll come
Wife: When?
Husband: *remains silent*
Wife: This happens in this city wonly..

I make a mental note to add her in the 'Some people are like this only' series!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The books we read...

One of my passions over the last two or three years, has been collecting books for V and hiding them deftly from H's view! Most of them are age-appropriate, others are sheer indulgence. I never really bothered to post about them because there were/are reviews and posts on those books in many blogs and they are done beautifully. Tulika's gesture, however served as a good wake up call and I thought it would be useful (to me!)  to share our experiences with those books. Since I could n't do that with Hanuman's Ramayan, as the story line was a little overwhelming for V , I'd begin this series of posts with two of his (our!) most favorite Tulika books.

What shall I make?

What shall I make?
V's favorite 'game' from when he was about one and a half, was to 'make' chapatis. We bought him a miniature wooden chapati rolling pin. He even went on to call the playing clay (Play-Doh) as 'chappati'.

So when I came across 'What shall I make', by Nandini Nayar, from Tulika, I bought it without even thinking.

In the book, Neeraj plays with the chapati dough his mother gives him, and the 'journey' of the dough before it becomes a chapati forms the rest of the story.

V loves the way the little boy makes various 'things' out of the dough. The fact that it ends becoming a normal chapati only added to his glee. So much so that even when he eats idli or dosa, he rolls the food and says, 'Amma, see snake...'

The illustrations by Proti Roy are simple and even a two year old will be able to recognize and identify the 'objects'.

Look the Moon (Atho Paar Nila-Tamil)


One of V's first story books in Tamil, Atho Paar Nila, (Look, The Moon by Sandhya Rao and effectively translated by Jeeva Raghunath. ) is  in simple verse and can easily impress a little child. When I first picked up the book, I looked at the pictures and was a little confused. When I read the text I realized the reasoning behind Trostsky Marudu's 'sketches'. It is just what a child, who has learnt to draw and use colors would relate to.

V loves the way the moon becomes bigger and did n't show any disappointment in its becoming smaller and disappearing, because he quickly understood that the Moon was going to reappear after the New Moon day. What an effect!

 (Pictures courtesy Tulika)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Our first 'craft'!

This month I was sure we would participate in Shruti's Artsy-Craftsy challenge, primarily because there were different kinds of thermocol packing, styrofoam packing material and plates at home albeit in the loft. I even convinced H to part with the packing material of his precious sub-woofer and synthesizer. I had ambitious plans of making a cycle with the help of little V. But various things/factors have brought us to the last day of the challenge.

On this day, all I could find within reach were a couple of thermocol plates. V and I had nothing to do and and as soon as I told him that we would cut the plates he said 'Amma Bag pannu' (amma make a bag). I told him that we would indeed make a 'bag' and paint on it. The word paint got him going and even as I was cutting the plate (thanks for the idea Shankari), he was busy with his painting kit and was trying to make something on his own on a sheet of paper. Relieved at the break, I continued cutting and mentally made a note of the things required: Plates, paint and fevicol.

This artistically challenged amma found some old paint (mine, I dare not touch the little one's!). Alas, I just had half a tube of Fevicol (from a 10 mg tube). Well, we began so we must continue. Then, the brown paint (V's choice of color) went missing. Tried managing that too by mixing red and green and with V's help painted the plates. Suddenly he wanted the brush that I had and changed his mind five seconds later.

So why have I spent such a long time in writing this post instead of just clicking a picture of the 'bag' and sending it across.

Well...I am waiting for the paint to dry, so that I can stick the plates together!

Now that the paint is dry here is our very first entry to the Artsy-Craftsy challenge.

Thermocol Hand-Bag

I cut the plates into almost three-fourth's size and used the remaining to make the handle.
I let V do most of the base coloring.
I wont be terribly worried if Gucci or Armani reject our design because what I am happy about is that the colors and design were my almost three year old's choice!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

An Award!

Uma was sweet enough to pass on the following award. Thank you!
I don't want to jump around...but this is my first award, my first first awaaaa....

I pass it on to Elizabeth.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


I want to ramble on and on about the traffic and the roads but my drafts are always incomplete and there are already five of them. As if to put them all in a nutshell, the following incident...err...accident happened last week.

As always, the road we live in - used as a short-cut to avoid signals- was congested with vehicles coming from one main road trying to reach another. A motorbike was overtaking a car, another car overtaking the above two and finally another motorbike trying to overtake the said car. All from the same direction on a  20-feet wide road...

The last mentioned bike had an over zealous motorist who, at a maddening speed, rammed into a car which was 'on the opposite direction'. The two men on the bike were thrown on the road and had to be given first-aid and their bike was in a bad condition. Whatever it was they were hurrying for, was not reached on time.

By the way...Did I mention what the car (which was also involved in the accident) rather the driver was doing when it happened...?



The said car was parked in a far corner in the opposite direction.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Kid Speak!

V for Vadivelu-2

It is around ten in the night and V complains of stomach pain. Knowing very well that it is because of the heat, I bring out a bottle of Castor oil and rub the oil on his tummy. The following conversation takes place...

V: Amma... ithu enna (What is this)
Me: Velakkennai (Castor Oil)
V: Vilakkuku ethara yennaia (is this oil used for lighting a lamp?)
Me: No.
V: Appo itha vechu vilakku etha mudiyatha? (Can't we light a lamp with this?)
Me: No. Athuku Nallennai use pannuvom (We use sesame oil for that)
V: Appo ithu nalla ennai illaya?
Me: Illapa...ithu nalla ennai thaan
V: Appo Vilaku ethalaama?
Me: Illa paaa...Ithu peru Velakennai. Athu peru Nalennai. Aana rendum Nalla ennai thaan (I explain which is for what and that both are good)
V: Appo thoppaila tadavarathum Nalennaiya?? (Here he means sesame oil)
Me (simply nods head and to self) : Aaahaaa...ippove kanna katudhe (A famous 'Vadivel' dialogue which can be loosely interpreted as 'I am already exhausted...but I know there's still more to come'.


Velakkenai: This is Tamil for Castor oil. When broken into two the word becomes 'Vilaku ennai' which could also mean oil used for lighting silver or brass lamps.

Nallennai: This is Tamil for Sesame/ Gingelly or Til oil. The word when broken into two becomes Nalla ennai which literally means 'good oil' in Tamil

Explanation -Video

Monday, April 26, 2010

Hanumanin Ramayanam

The much awaited copy of Hanuman's Ramayan (my copy for review is in Tamil) arrived last week for my 'efforts' at Tulika's first blogathon. At first read it is a simple story but one may need to explain that the Ramayana has been written in many languages by various people and has been passed on through various forms, for little children to understand. Though V knows a few stories from the Ramayana, I think it will take some more time for him to understand the above.

The story begins with Valmiki, after completing the epic, carrying it with him all around the world and the heavens to show off his work. While it is praised by the Gods, Narada announces that this may not be the greatest work and that the one written by Hanuman may be better. Valmiki unable to believe that a monkey can do a better job than him travels all over to reach the garden in which Hanuman resides and finds the Ramayan written on huge Banana leaves. Tears of joy (also from the fact that this is better than his work) flow from his eyes only to be consoled by Hanuman. How? One has to read the book to find out!

The story is written by Devdutt Pattnaik who uses mild humor to explain that there is no one version of the epic.
Nancy Raj's art work carries on the story beautifully. I was particularly delighted at the pictures of the 'Devas' and Hanuman's abode.

What I liked most about the story is the message Hanuman passes on that would have an effect on Adults as well.
The following is an attempt to do justice to the fact that this book was sent for my post on native languages.

துலிகா நிறுவனத்தின் முதல் ப்லோகதனில் பங்கேற்றதினால் எனக்கு அவர்களின்  அனுமனின் ராமாயணம் என்ற அருமையான புத்தகம் பரிசாக கிடைத்தது. புத்தகம் தமிழில் உள்ளதால் இந்த வர்ணனனையின் ஒரு சிறு பகுதியாவது  தமிழில் இருக்க வேண்டும் என்று விரும்பினேன்!

ராமாயணத்தை சிறுவர் , முழுவதாகவோ அல்லது சிறு கதைகளவோ அறிந்திருக்க வாய்ப்பு இருக்கிறது. இந்த தொன்மம் கதைகளாகவும், பாடல்களாகவும் நம்மிடயே  புழங்குகிறது. அதே போல் பலர் எழுதியதாக சொல்ல பட்டாலும் வால்மிகியின் ராமாயணம், மிகவும் பிரபலமாக அறியப்படுகிறது.

இந்த கதை, வால்மீகி ராமாயணத்தை எழுதி முடிப்பதில் இருந்து தொடங்குகிறது. அவருக்கு தன் படைப்பை பற்றி மிகவும் பெருமை. அதை பறை சாற்றி கொள்வதற்கு உலகம் முழுவதம் ஏன் தேவ லோகத்திற்கும் செல்கிறார். அப்பொழுது நாரதர் (எப்பொழுதும் போல்!) அவரின் பகற்றை உடைப்பது போல், வால்மிகின் ராமயணத்தை விட உயர்வானதொரு ராமாயணத்தை அனுமன் எழுதியிருபதாக சொல்கிறார்.

பதற்றம் அடைகிற வால்மீகி அனுமனை தேடி செல்கிறார். நெடு தூர பயணத்திற்கு பிறகு அனுமன் வசிக்கும் தோட்டத்தை அடையும் வால்மீகி அங்கு வாழை இலைகளில் அனுமன் எழுதியிருக்கும் ராமாயணத்தை படித்த பிறகு கண்ணீர் வடிக்கிறார். அனுமன்
ஆறுதல் கூறுகிறார்.

அனுமனின் ராமாயணம் ஏன் நமிடம் தற்போது புழங்குவதில்லை?
வால்மீகியை அனுமன் எவ்வாறு தேற்றுகிறார்?
இக்கேள்விகளுக்கான விடை புத்தகத்தில்.

இந்த கதையை தேவ்டட் பட்நாயக் இயற்றியிருக்கிறார் (தமிழாக்கம் ஷங்கர் ராமசுப்ரமணியன்). கதையின் நடை சுவாரசியமாக உள்ளது. ஆனால் கருத்தோ பெரியவர் சிறுவர் அனைவருக்கும் பொருந்தும். கதை சொல்பவர் அல்ல, கதையே முக்கியம் என்பதே அது.  நான்சி ராஜின் சித்திரங்கள் அருமையாகவும் வித்தியாசமாகவும் உள்ளன.

கதையின் கதை என்று இதை தான் சொல்வார்களோ!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Summer Camp!

We finally decided upon that one place where we knew V would have a lot of fun plus activities to do. It was also decided that he would go for a week for the time being. V's amma was particularly happy because she could also accompany him. Sounds bizarre? Read on...

The 'place' had a well and a garden. V's activities included playing near the well watching birds and butterflies in the garden. For the first time he came face to face with a garden lizard (Onan) and he was delighted because though it was bigger than his friend the 'palli' (lizard), this Onan stayed put at one place and kept staring! Also, his 'friends' at the place, though older were always at his beck and call.

We also enjoyed additional 'benefits' such as free stay and food, what with me hogging me like never before because the 'camp' happened to be at V's maternal grandparents place! That also meant a never before (at least until recently) a 'laze-as-you-please' routine for both of us.

V just had too many things to do like playing the 'dholak' (which he had dutifully taken along) with his 'Kollu Paati' (Great grand mother), playing with water near the well, occasional 'washing of clothes', cooking with his paati's utensils, riding 'elephant' on his Thatha and generally getting all muddy and dirty.

What was the amma doing in the meantime? Apart from wasting time and watching TV and wasting more time, I managed to dig into my old stuff and found some story books from my Class One days, for V. The books definitely did n't look 25 years old so I brought them along when we came back! Needless to emphasize, V is waiting to go back to his Thatha's place again!

                                                     - - - - - - -

V was showing of his latest skills in logic and speech sometimes simultaneously.

His favorite phrase these days is "mooka aruthu kaakaiku potuduven" (Cutting one's nose and offering it to the crow- I don't know where he picked that from)
One day he came running in after having spotted an 'Onan'. He pulled out his 'play-doh' kit and took out a 'knife'
Me: Enna panna pora (What are you going to do?)
V: Onaanoda mooka aruthu kaakaiku poda poren
 It is another story that he kept screaming 'Onan vaa' a good five meters away from the lizard...

It was around nine in the night when V wanted to visit the backyard.
Me: No...there are cats around...
V: Naan vilayaaduven (I'll play with them)
Me: They'll bite you
V: Naan adipen (I'll beat them)
Me: The doctor will give injections...
V: Yaaruku? (for?)


One day we were sitting near the well and playing 'auto-auto' with V sitting on the washing stone...
V:  Amma...Naa kenathula kuthika poren... (I am going to jump into the well)
Me:  Mandaya odachupa (You will break your head)
V, sounding happy:  Appo Thalaiku kulika mudiyatha? (Then I can 't have a head bath?)

Friday, April 16, 2010

Tamizh Padam!

I finally watched 'Tamizh Padam' and am still smiling! Since it imitates and spoofs films, the audience for a change can relax, without worrying if they would like or not like the film.
Though this reminded me of the 'trailers' from college days with titles such as 'Mazhai peyala...Janala thiranthu veyunga', I guess anything else would have made it appear more 'serious'.

The master stroke (in my opinion that is, I am not making a film and do not want to offend anyone!) was the song 'Oh Mahaziya...'. A hero's introduction songs are beyond comprehension anyway, and it is easy to coin the lyrics. But a duet may upset the plans and let somebody else make fun of the film sometime later. So what does a clever director do...waste no money and time on lyrics. I never realized that there are so many super hit songs with incomprehensible 'words'.

Some sequences like the one in which the Hero 'grows up', the one song millionaire and the identity of the villain, were on predictable lines, having brought up on a healthy diet of 'variety entertainment' and 'Ad-zap' during college days.

The 'Mouna Ragam' scene, the 'family song', the 'twist' in 'Delhi' Ganesh's murder and a few other sequences were ..well... unexpected! I hope at least one film like this gets released every year so that a 'non-theater-visiting-species' like me can watch all the other films in a 'nut' shell!

To sum up, a single line review of Tamizh Padam, borrowed from the film itself:
"Too much...thaangalai..kadavuleee...mudiyala"!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Kid Speak!

V, The Know-it-all

V and his Paati play a game regularly, according to which, when V comes back home he rings the bell and Paati has to come and open the door. Similarly when Paati or Thatha come back home, they have to ring the bell for V to open the door. Paati normally teases V by asking, as she opens the door, "Who is it..Oh you? I thought it was the milkman, courier etc."

One day Paati rings the bell...

V: Who is it? Oh you...I thought it was the flower vendor...

On another occasion...

Whenever V needs to be coaxed or cajoled into something -the case most of the time- I'd have to feed his morning milk with a spoon. When there is just a spoonful left I normally say 'adi vazhichu aanai kutti', a well known phrase in these parts to encourage a child to finish his/her food completely. On this particular day, I forget to say the phrase and somehow manage to collect a few more drops from the tumbler...

V : (pauses for a few seconds) Amma...Nee maranthutiya? (Did you forget?)

V for Vadivelu

Me: V...You want Idli or Corn flakes?
V: Eh??
Me: Idliya corn flakesa?
V: Enna? (what?)
Me: Enna venum?
V: Enna enna?
Me: ???

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Annual Day Notes...

V's school celebrated, what they called their 'Family day' last weekend. All the branches were a part of this with every little student participating in what was a big event for the little ones. A rehearsal was held a couple of days earlier and needless to say it was a rehearsal for parents and teachers, since, as anticipated, the children did the unexpected (those who did n't cry, cried and vice versa!) on the D-day.

Cluck cluck here...
Our little brat was a little chick in the 'Old McDonald had a farm' performance. It is another story that all the 'chickens' were dressed in hen and rooster costumes! When we took him to the shop where we hired the costume, he wore it (to our surprise) and refused to get out of it.

...and a rehearsal there...
V danced like there is no second chance on the day of the rehearsals but I was not up beat because I wanted to see what he would do on the said day. One parent or an escort was to be on stage with each child in V's batch as they were the youngest of the lot. So there I was kneeling on the floor behind V. Before I knew it, there were tears in my eyes. I only wished his aunties would n't notice and they did n't because, some children too (?!) had tears in thier eyes. More on this at the end of the post...

The D-day
V woke up, unusually early and we were worried because this meant tantrums. On the previous day too he refused to remove his 'costume'. On this particular day, he first refused to have his bath and then insisted on having two. He then refused to wear his diaper (we were wary of the toilets available at the Hall) and did so after a lot of cajoling. Then he wanted to play his 'Dholak' in 'full costume' and wanted a photograph clicked. Finally he refused to wear his socks. That was that....He was carried bawling to the car and Paati and Thatha in tow, all of us headed to the Hall.

It was a grand event. As expected, V who is a terror at home (only) was at his best behavior and even as the other kids refused to wear their costumes or removed them before entering the stage, a sweating V refused to come out of his, even after his dance. This time, 'my on-stage performance' was uneventful.

Despite crying children, the heat, over-enthusiastic parents, and the sheer number (the Hall that would normally seat about 1500 people, was full), it was a wonderful day and the school had done an excellent job.

I emphasize the above because many parents felt it was badly organized. A few questions to them...

Have you handled more than five children at a time?
Hav n't you ever been in Chennai at this time of the year in a crowded place? and finally...
When the school clearly stated that a child should be accompanied to the stage - that too only if required, by only one escort, why was your entire family near the stage?

Anyway it was a typical 'some people are like this only' situation.

Now coming 'back' to the rehearsal episode. I did exactly what a non-sage-like person would do when she/he sees a fully dressed child-chick, ducks, cows shaking their hips, from behind.Needless to say, those were tears of laughter and I almost hurt myself half-rolling on the ground!

(Note to self: Do not allow V to read this blog)

Friday, March 26, 2010

I am tagged..I am tagged!

Well...this is the first time...Allow me to get excited! Jayashree has tagged me to write about seven things that people don't know about me.

Only me...No V! Here goes,

1. I love sports. I've tried my hand at volley ball and cricket. While the first worked, the second did n't. So I stuck to being a fanatic. When I say fanatic I don't mean watching T 20, 24 hours a day. I can watch the ongoing New Zealand-Australia Test series without 'batting' a eyelid.

2.I once attempted an exam for only 50 marks instead of the full 100 at College because I had to rush to the stadium to watch an India-Australia test match. Another time, when I had only one ticket I watched a match in the stadium, in the company of thousands of strangers.

(Before this reads like seven things you do not know about Me, the sports buff, I will change gears)

3. To an amused executive at a two-wheeler service station, I took my scooter (It does n't make it any fashionable if called bike!) for service on the 20th day of purchase because the manual said, "First service after 45 days from the day of purchase or on completion of 1000 kms, whichever is earlier). I had completed 1000 kms.

4. I wanted to become a journalist, a tennis star (not merely a player), a CBI officer, a pilot, a quiz show host and a rock star. Of the above I quit my aspiration of a pilot because I did n't want to study Maths and Physics and journalism because of...I really don't know why. Many of my school mates still think I write for a living!

5.The last thing I had wanted to do was to get married and cook. Now I don't remember the first thing that I wanted to do.

6. I can recall film dialogues and talk about past, present and future films. But I need to be dragged to a movie hall. On one occasion I convinced my friend to walk out half way through a film and on another slipped out of the ticket counter when it was my turn to buy a ticket! But still when I talk about films people will think I have all the 'stuff' to make a film like 'Tamil Padam'!

7. I am a walking and talking museum. Apart from my first prize winning book in the LKG, my report cards from LKG to Class XII,  my 'Guide' scarf, posters of sports persons taken away from issues of 'The Sports Star', scarp book of cricket world cups up to 1999, my school badge,  my old cupboard also boasts of an old purse that still contains my students season pass from school days.

To the five or six people (who know me personally-friends, cousins and sister) who know that I blog and are reading this...I am still like that wonly!

What say Home Cooked, and ssstoryteller?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Can I have some water please?

I hate to visit restaurants where I have to ask the above question. So I don't visit them. I also hate the fact that we have to 'buy' water, but there is no choice.

I got the shock of my life when my batch-mates from another metropolitan city who visited my house in Chennai exclaimed to their friends, "She 's got a well at her place'. Many years later, a young cousin was surprised at the 'well' and insisted on being taught how to draw water from it!

No jokes this. We live in a flat and V hates being pulled off from my parents place where there is a lot of space, a garden and of course the well! I dread the day when our children's children or grandchildren have to 'learn' about water. I may sound like a page out of a sci-fi book, but at least we are, metaphorically speaking, heading right there. My kid is still too young to understand the concept of 'conservation'. So, right now we tell him how 'good' trees are for us and how if he wastes water in the bathroom, he may have to go dirty for the rest of the day. Hard fact...but he seems to understand!

We are bearing the bitter fruits of the mistakes made by the previous generation - like having to buy water. But we don 't seem to have learnt our lessons. If we are too lazy and pre-occupied with our selves, the least one can do is to teach one's children about the goodness of nature.

This is my 'drop', Tulika!

I'll end this with a leaf out of the book..err..presentation !

"Ayasha looked at the sun again and thought, there is more mercy in your golden flame than in the hearts of people."

Friday, March 19, 2010

Yet another Bru Ad...

...finds a mention here. It is just that they reflect everyday life really well.

Watch this

My parents-in-law came home last month and last week my MIL asked me,

"You should have added kotha malli (coriander leaves) to the Kootu..."
Me: (grinning) There's no kotha malli at home. In fact I've not been using kotha malli for about a fortnight now.
MIL (who considers kootu/rasam without kothamallli as bad as food without salt) :Oh...I was wondering how after all these years even I could not blend the kotha malli so well with the tomatoes. (We beat the tomatoes in the mixer for a better flavor)
H: (butting in) Hav n't you watched the Bru Ad?

The next day I go to the vegetable shop to buy coconut (every other vegetable including kothamalli is at home). No points for guessing what MIL asked when I came back!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Do you write what you speak?

Language development starts at home. Though I am not particular in making it a disciplinary routine, I talk to my child in my mother tongue-Tamil or Tamizh! I have therefore decided to participate in the Tulika Blogathan to make my point.

Initially, my second language at school was Tamil and from the seventh grade I moved to French. This was because I could read, write and speak Tamil very well (or so I thought!). Though I did n't understand the 'Tirukural' as soon as I read a 'Kural', I was able to interpret it with the help of a guide! Being a Chennaite all my life, I took great pride at my knowledge (however selective) of my mother tongue.I also gloated on the fact that I 'read' Tamil (apart from what was taught in school) from the age of five or six. So my second language being French in school and College did not make any difference.

All the pride fell to dust in my final year of college. We had to perform a 'street play' for an inter-departmental competition and what better than the local language to express our point, we thought. I was super-excited as I was to speak in Tamil in what was conceived as a TV program. As each team performed, lumps were formed in my throat. When our turn came, we made complete fools of ourselves and I spoke Tamil like badly spoken English and needless to say we lost. It was then that I realized that despite speaking in Tamil with my family and friends, formal spoken language is completely different. If this is the case with speaking, we would need a hundred people to interpret what was/is being written.

The written language is not what one speaks, generally speaking, unless one is hinting at the 'prose-like' lyrics of many of our present Tamil film songs! The spoken form is different from the written language because of colloquialism.

In my opinion, the quality of written language (not only the text book type) depends on what one reads. If you read literature, your writing and oration of the language would become better. But a general 'good-quality' reading exercise will be useful for good writing skills.

I want my child to become familiar with his mother tongue. Though for practical reasons, we may (Sorry V, allow us to make your decisions for the time being!) opt for Hindi as his second language, we are keen on teaching him to read and write in Tamil. His bookshelf has both English and Tamil books, some bi-lingual, apart from alphabet books in both languages. I would also like him follow my track-Magazines!

The problem however, will be seen in the years to come. For instance, when I was about twelve years old, someone gifted me some Tamil books, meant for children and adolescents. I loved them and as was the practice, passed them on to my friends. They gave me a bewildered look and said, "Tamil...nah.
All of them could read, write and speak in Tamil!

Kid Speak - Good and Bad

V the Chamathu (Good)

V: Amma, okkaru (sit down)
Me: No pa, I have work...
V: Nee okkandhuko...Illana unnaku Kaal valikkum (You sit down, else your legs will pain)
Me: No problem
V: Naa sollarenla..Okkaru...Nee tireda irukkey (I am telling you...sit down, you are tired)
Me: :)))

V the Rakshas
The after effects of watching Mythological stories unfold

V: Amma, Naan Gathai vechundiruken...Naan Rakshasi (I am holding the Gathai...I am a Rakshasi - Note: not 'Rakshas'!)
Me: No you are not a Rakshas
V: Noooo Naan Rakshasi
Me: No pa. Rakshasas are bad. You are a good boy.
V: (pauses for a minute) Ammmaaa...Naanu Baddd

Friday, March 12, 2010

Children's clothes

Clothes make a man. Good clothes make a child. When I say good, I mean comfortable because that is what a young child needs. Though many are choosy about colors and designs at a very early age it is we parents who make the final decisions. For V's clothes, from his birth (even before that actually) we have been scouring the city for shops that sell good quality clothes.

Our latest picks are from S & M Kids wear. They have recently opened a store in Chennai at City center. But we bought V's at Madurai. I must say that the quality is very good. It is soft on the skin and easily washable. And what more. There are some 'interesting' designs for boys! I am not writing about girls clothes, which were as ever! The size (mentioned in the tag) is a little smaller than what is normal.

This brings me to the question -'Do brands really matter'? Except for trousers we hav n't gone beyond the 'lesser known' brands for V's clothes. We are very particular about the tags on V's shirts and Tee-shirts because he has a sensitive skin. He has developed rashes on the neck on some occasions and cutting the tags make things worse. Most big brands have tags in at least two different places.

However, there are brands that have their labels 'printed' on the inside instead of a tag being attached. And I am not talking about the clothes sent by my cousin from the US of A. All of us are aware of the 'interesting' fact that most clothes we receive from abroad are those that were made here. And most of them ARE available here. One need n't rush to big malls for this. They may be available in some obscure corner in your neighborhood.

I am talking about the 'export-surplus' (NOT rejected-you 'll know the difference when you see one) shops. We have been doing our purchase for V's everyday wear (and ours!) from two such shops for more than a year. There may not be great variety, but the quality is good. And...some of them have their labels printed.

A few things to note before one makes a purchase are:
1) The size- The 'Indian' size (or Asian?) is smaller than than those that are exported.
2) The Stitching
3) A general inspection of the dress
Now is n't that what we always do???

The quality for newborns are excellent and in lovely shades. Apart from clothes for children and adults some of these have stocks of curtains, bedsheets and table cloths. You will find the same stuff at bigger stores but be ready to faint when you find the price difference. (When I say same, I even mean identical, as it happened to us once!)

One quick thing. The shops I talk about are on the main road and are fully air conditioned and the clothes are neatly displayed, if your are thinking of sheds that once used to (may be still housing) house export-rejected stuff.

I could have been straight forward on this. But I am meandering because of a few bad experiences with people who looked at me in horror when I told them about these shops. I want my child to be comfortable and well dressed. And he is growing every month. So, I have to settle for something good yet reasonably priced. However, I am also writing this because of the few people who did lend me a ear and went about shopping at these places and thanked me for the information, continue to shop and continue to thank me :D

In my opinion when it comes to quality, brand names do not matter.

This post has been in draft for long. I was in doubt for a long time whether to come out with this or not, simply because people react differently and some may even get offended. But this post by Uma made me take a call on this.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Kid Speak!

About three months back, a conversation would have been something like this...

H: V...Don't go...Amma is angry
V: Amma...are you angry? present

V keeps following me everywhere and does n't let me do anything. I walk into the kitchen and hear H say,

H: V..Don't go in, Amma will get very angry. (His actual words were- Amma kadichiduva)
V: (Comes in anyway) Amma...Appa sonna nee kadichuduva...
V's favorite sentences these days are, "Go away", "I will not come" etc... which indicate that we have to give him a hug. Also, when he does that we, (H mostly!) say Ok...don't come only to see him rushing towards us.

One night, V jumped out of the bed and said...

"Naan vara maaten...naa poren" (I am going to go out...I am not coming)
H: (assuming that the usual tactic will work) Ok... go
V: (Starts crying) "Appa poga sollita" (asked me to go)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Mosquito menace-2

The mosquito hunt has reached some interesting stages. What I thought was a joke is now laughing at me.

Our mosquito net is actually catching mosquitoes...well...almost! Every morning, we find mosquitoes (they numbered 45 in the beginning and now they are about 3 or 4 -Yes I actually count them every day) trapped dead 'above us'!

The reasons seem simple enough:

1. The net is of a very poor quality and the holes are large enough for a mosquito to try and go through.
2. The mosquitoes seem to be trying as mentioned in point 1, and get trapped.
3. The pressure exerted by the ceiling fan makes their position harder

I know I am trying to make it sound like rocket science, but the brutal excitement of seeing our tormentors dead deserves a post! Also never new a bad (purchase) decision will yield good results!