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!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Typical Conversations!

We have some guests at home and all of us are watching some programme on TV featuring a famous Tamil film personality

Me: (Unable to keep my mouth shut) This person's son is in V's school. They live in XYZ nagar (Some place 3 kms away from where we live)
Guest: (Surprised) is it?
Me: You know V's friend P right, who lives a few buildings away?
Guest: Yes, yes yes, yes....
Me: It is not him. That boy and P are in the same batch...
Guest: Oh! (Turns her face even as I begin the second sentence)
Me: (Rushes into the kitchen, points forefinger at self in' Vadivelu style' and asks) Thevaiya...Ithu unaku Thevaiya? (Loosely translates as 'you deserve it'?!)

Friday, March 5, 2010

The latest Bru Ad... every wife's delight, especially if she's a home maker! Check this out. (Unfortunately my most favorite part, that comes in the end is missing in this video).

H, who keeps saying that the actors in the advertisements, these days, are doing a wonderful job, kept mum at this. He probably thought they were not acting!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

A tale of two babies...

One afternoon, I stepped into the bathroom and quickly drew my foot out. Something darted by. I first thought it was a mouse and then realized it was a little squirrel. This is the third time that a little squirrel had managed its way in. I was very keen on letting it out because the little one could n't climb the way out on its own and it was SCARED.

And then the catching began. As I tried to pick it up it started running wildly. I brought a thick piece of cardboard with which I thought I could lift it up and let it outside. It was not easy. Possibly the tiny squirrel thought I was going to hurt it and slipped every time I tired catching it. No amount of pleading (I later recalled that I was addressing the squirrel the same way as I would call V!), cajoling and squirrel-like screeching (I forget what it is called!) helped.

After fifteen minutes of running, sweating and panting I managed to lift the squirrel and lift it out. The poor thing was shivering and so was I.

In the meantime....

V who was n't able to find me anywhere else in the house panicked and started crying. I was not oblivious to his crying but concentrated on the squirrel because, V's grandparents were around. When I came out I saw him waiting outside, tears flowing down his face. He had decided that his Amma had left him and had gone away. (How else can one translate, "Amma poitta...enna vitutu poita..." etc?!) I lifted him up and he hugged me tight and kept asking me to go back to the bathroom, holding me tighter. I tried explaining to him about the little squirrel. He seemed to understand and kept asking if the squirrel's Amma had left it and had gone away!

It was time for his afternoon nap. As is his habit now, he started talking in his sleep. And this time it was, "Amma go inside the bathroom and don't come back". This subsided only some time late in the evening.

I had to give priority to the first mentioned baby. At about the same time when I heard V crying out side, I heard some thing else outside the bathroom ventilator - Squirrels