Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year Post

Happy New Year to all :)

Enjoy your Karma. Try to.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Party

I celebrated last New Year with a potluck dinner at our friend's place. The group was made up of my husband's college friends and their families. Potluck was a misnomer since one of the wives had called each of us to plan the menu and allot dishes. Actually celebrated is also a misnomer since the New Year found me flat on the friend's daughter's bed, missing the general cheer at the countdown and all. No, I did NOT get drunk. This is what happened:


I wake up early; and all that cooking after a day at work left me a little sapped of energy. I dolled up in record time, packed the food and set out, albeit drooping, for the party.

Actually party is also a misnomer for the ladies all congregated and what could be the topic of the day but recipes! I did try to contribute..... to keep awake. This went on for.....oh quite long. My effort to speak about monkeys or snakes was futile. Cook-talk refused to loosen its grip over the group. Finally the talk turned to other things. Beauty treatments. This just might be interesting. I thought. The discussion, at first rambling, soon focussed on hair colouring and then to henna.Everyone grew lively, shedding new light on the ingredients and procedures for making the henna concoction. Imagine my dismay at powder, grind, mix, add and stir creeping back into the territory like some Pak soldiers into Kargil. They seemed to have a life of their own and a mission to overpower (me). Meanwhile the potency of coffee powder in the mix as opposed to tea and the cleansing effect of lemon juice, the shine enhancing qualities of castor oil were all thoroughly debated and exhaustively studied. Again I tried to talk about robbers and Adnan Sami's intestinal bypass. However the looks I got turned suspicious at my red rimmed eyes. By this time I was so lost, I couldn't have found my voice if I wanted to scream.The chat then meandered to craft work, I wished I could shut my eyes.

Escape... That's what I needed to do. No one noticed as I wandered towards my friend's daughter's room where the children had gathered. Actually children is a misnomer too.(Am I repeating myself? Excuse please - the whine of a yearning-for-sleep individual is as inebriating as wine itself) So children is a misnomer too, for they had all grown up into college-going youth. Ah youth - the fount of new thought, that dynamic mix of energy and enthusiasm. Their company would infect me with life or at least life enough to keep gravity from getting my eyelids.

No sound could be heard from inside. I turned the door knob and entered the room to find the youngsters lolling around on the chairs and floor watching TV. What I saw on TV froze my blood! On the screen was a fat black man and a blonde woman going "mmmmmmmmm that is sooo ggoood! Aaaaaah..... mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm". My shock at finding the youth engrossed in the blonde's ecstasy over a chocolate cake did loosen the persistent embrace of sleep. I sat on a vacant spot on the bed next to a friend's daughter who resisted my attempts at conversation. Ah these youngsters - they are entitled to an attitude or maybe she didn't want to talk about the fun stuff in her college and her aspirations and even whether she thought Simon was actually a good guy or.... anyway to cut a long story short, I shut up again- I'd become an expert at this and the silence in the room was broken only by the fat chef and blonde stuffing some obscene looking meat with stuff and slathering it with fat...

Sitting on the bed hadn't been a good idea, for coupled with the stillness of bored youngsters, it was an ardent invitation to Sleep who kept stroking me with tempting hands. The problem was that whenever I sat and dozed my mouth would automatically open and my neck would absolve itself of its responsibility to hold my head up; with the effect that I would get transformed from a dignified lady into an ungraceful lout. I hate it. Having presented this ugly side of mine on aircrafts, buses, during speeches, concerts and sundry other occasions, I had extracted a solemn oath from my daughter never to let me be seen as Ms.Revolting. She, being a concerned and law-abiding person and she being in the room with me, in fact seated on the floor right opposite me, took it on herself to wake me the moment my mouth went into fly-catching mode. She would say something that ended with 'Amma',- the last said in a piercing and sharp shout that forced my eyelids open in shock. So it went...
"He's adding so much butter AMMA" and I would jerk upright.
In 2 minutes again I'd go nod nod nod... AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
"The woman is so dumb, no AMMA?" And my eyes would fly open again.
After many such rousing attempts, persistence died within both of us. My daughter simply ran out of things to say. I was past bothering - I could appear as clumsy as Sandra Bullock at her worst for all I cared. The gaps between Nod and Wake grew shorter and shorter, just like labour pain. Keeping awake had become sheer torture. So I abandoned propriety, snuggled on the bed between the wall and somebody's backside and surrendered to bliss.

The ending is a happy one though. This year's party call has come. And I've watched so many cooking shows and searched so many cooking sites and memorised so many recipes. Can't wait to show off.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Suffering Told

Most of us love to complain.Untold suffering seldom is, they say. Be it the boss or the systems and policies at the work place or the inefficient civic authorities or a disappointing movie ... the list is endless. While teaching class twelve I had to get students to write letters of complaint. It was disturbing that they were never expected to be taught to write a thank you note or a note of appreciation. No wonder we are a nation of whiners - see, I am whining about it now.

The pleasure that we get from grumbling is cathartic - you get the offending matter off your chest. The act also unites people who have had similar experiences. Many whine sessions involve people competing to relate the greater grievance. If someone actually addressed our grievances, and we had nothing to be miffed about, I think we would be really miffed!

Sometimes we simply want a sympathetic listener who will take our side. And some people just don't get that. I was once whining to colleagues, about my weight gain. 'Even a tiny piece of cake gets converted into a tyre on the waist,'I said. All I wanted to hear was that I looked good despite a tyre or two. That's when this chemistry teacher earnestly explains to me that energy intake to the body that is not used up is mostly stored as fat in the fat tissue.The conversion efficiency of food energy into physical power depends on the form of energy source - type of food and on the type of physical energy usage, that is which muscles are used, whether the muscle is used aerobically or anaerobically. He continued explaining that the efficiency of muscles is rather low: only a small percent of the food energy is converted into mechanical energy. This low efficiency is the result of only a tiny percentage efficiency of generating ATP (whatever that is!) from food energy, losses in converting energy from ATP into mechanical work inside the muscle, and mechanical losses inside the body. These depend on the type of exercise and the type of muscle fibers being used. He then began to draw - maybe the molecular structure of a fat tissue or something - but stopped on seeing my face.

I was in tears.

There are those who give advice and practical suggestions to overcome a problem. These creative problem solvers don't get it that the whiner isn't asking for a solution. At least my husband doesn't(get it). Like the time when on returning from a parent-teacher meeting, I went on about how exhausted I was, how belligerent the parents were, how useless it was to talk to them how I was the last to leave only to find the bus gone, how I had to wait for another vehicle,how other teachers' spouses had come to get them, how sore my throat felt and how bad my head ached. Without taking his eyes off the TV he suggested, 'Make some tea and take a Panadol. You will feel better.'

My sudden sullenness did bewilder him - after all, he had tried to help, hadn't he?

A little cribbing isn't a dangerous thing but sometimes it becomes excessive. Constant complaining must be some kind of disease and what's more, it can be catching. So beware.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Crime In Rhyme


A footfall steals!

A torch beam

writing white on ink.

The taut night,

About to snap.

Quick glances

To check the blackness,

a busy clock

a restless tap

slumber rumble.

Furtive fingers

at the door


Lights come on,
Thief! Thief!

There stands

Guilt in person,

Chubbiness stained in chocolate

Caught raid handed


The open cookie jar.


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Funny Bees

The following are utterances that were unintentionally humorous. Besides being erroneous, they offer the mind absurd images. Correcting them would be sinful!

(sharing a recipe) '.... then you chop the onions and smash the potatoes.'

'....add the chopped tomatoes and caspicum.'

'There is a force is There.' (a physics teacher long ago)

'Anu, you became so darky, you were so fairy.' (A North Indian relative.)

(Sitting down at the dining table) 'mmmm .... food! I am ravishing!'

'Bejaavo! Bejaavo!' (the P.E teacher who got locked in the gym. Mallu, of course.)

'I talking. He talking. Why you middle middle talking?' (another P.E teacher from another S.Indian state.)

'Kuch kuch hota hein.' ( My good friend, a Hindi-disabled physics teacher, looking into the eyes of the hindi speaking electrician, trying to explain that something weird happened each time some equipment was switched on)

'I am sure we will have good mammaries that we will go to and go back to.' (from a speech at a seminar)

'Her penis lost.' (from a student's note book.)

'The Nair families of Kerala followed the matriarchal system.' (a goal at my own post)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Gilding Lilies

Liberty is a myth. Rousseau was so right when he said, ‘Man is born free but everywhere he is in chains.’ Women are too.

They have clamoured for liberation the most in recent times. And their struggle has borne fruit too. They are free to walk shoulder to shoulder with men and partake in the same opportunities of employment as well as enjoyment. They don’t have to bow to unnatural social expectations any more..... or so I thought, until a visit to a beauty parlour shook my complacency. Every section of the establishment was full, and ladies were waiting their turn. Ah the torture that they endured has to be seen to be believed. Pouring hot wax on body parts, ripping hair off the skin, cooking the face, gouging out blackheads, squeezing ripe pimples, pulling the hair – ! Besides the women spent hours with their faces or hair painted with chemical cocktails. A killing bill strikes a final blow. It may seem ironical, but I seriously think that the burqua could truly liberate a woman from these social evils, if she took to it of her own accord of course. Sarkozy be da.... be denitrified.

After spending so much time and money and suffering such agony, the women come out pleased and confident that they look like every other woman. Like soldiers in uniform, they all sport straightened hair that looks brittle enough to break, bleached clean-shaven faces and long nails that would be the envy of any rakshasi. Fashions do come and go but the concept of beauty has itself changed beyond recognition. Compare a Ravivarma beauty with a size zero glam golliwog. But perhaps that would be an unfair comparison. What I’m trying to say is that there was a time when a woman’s face was her fortune, today we would probably recognize a starlet by her belly button. Maybe I exaggerate, but I find I myself prefer an underclad Shreya to a clothed one! You cannot blame me for losing my balance – all this while I thought I was firmly rooted in tradition.

Indians had an absurd fixation on fair complexion. Now they've dropped it despite the tireless efforts of fairness cream ads; only to replace it with a height fixation. Won't women ever find happiness in the way they are?

The experience in a hair saloon in China was more pleasant. There young, pretty male attendants (not all Chinese men have protruding teeth!!) did the hair of the women customers and females (not necessarily young or pretty) attended to the male customers’ head. They concluded the session with a shoulder massage and they even cleaned out the ears. In the west beautifying could be disastrous, the result of the treatment is more gruesome than the treatment itself – just look at the botox injected and silicon implanted specimens. And poor poor MJ. Sooner than later these beauty (????) trends will capture the Indian mind no doubt.

Years ago it was rumoured that the consecutive Indian Miss World and Indian Miss Universe was a deliberate strategy to open a market in India for international cosmetic companies. Those words seem prophetic. The girl who sold jasmine garlands in the street corner has shut shop and is now working in – would you guess – a beauty parlour.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Like Some, Like Some Not

I hate those animal shows on TV in which men pounce on each other and pummel for joy. Near naked bodies that look like maida kneaded with rosemilk fill the screen in all their repulsive glory. I am repulsed even by women that wrestle. And I thought women could look graceful doing anything. Come to think of it, there are several positions in which women don’t look graceful.... like a dentist’s chair or the beauty parlour. But I digress. The wrestlers boast and swear while a crazed crowd cheers maniacally. I’ve been told that most of it is mere drama. I am sure many people enjoy the fights, but they don’t appeal to me.

Some reality shows like ‘You’re fired’ (..or is it called The Apprentice?) disturb me, for the competition is nasty and the situations unreal. Viewership shoots up when ill feelings among participants escalate. The show turns into a monster that feeds on candidates’ greed for fame and fortune. There is even a show where a bachelor picks out a bride from a pool of wannabies (who would want to be?). Production companies grow fat on the desperation of the candidates and the morbid curiosity of the spectators.

As for sob operas – the less said the better.

The kitchen is not my favourite place, but I love cookery shows. I can’t explain the penchant; perhaps it is a vicarious delight to watch someone else chop, fry, bake and serve. I do dislike the stupid anchors of some of these shows who ask the chef inane questions and repeat whatever she says and generally yak away needlessly.

Some ads irritate me while others amuse. The docomo ad with a fellow who gets a change of seat on a flight always makes me smile. “I’m taking a shower, I’m riding in traffic..’ is another that I find cute. The boy who eats while working out earnestly and the infant asleep on her dad’s stomach seem true to life. I like the reliance one with Hritik as the pied piper. My most favouritest ads are the ones with babies – I love their plump feet, their tiny pink toes, crooked smiles (with or without teeth.), their wobbly gait…Oh, I just love babies.

The most funny are party song scenes from old movies. You have a room full of people and the jiltee looks daggers at the jilter who has become another’s sajna/ni and sings about toota dil and bewafaa and pyaar ki nashaa – and nobody is the wiser. Never fails to cheer me.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Bees In The Bonnet

The other day we were talking about the traffic snarls in Bangalore. “Once the Metro is made, the road congestion will reduce,” someone said. Something seemed wrong in that sentence. The subordinate clause was okay, it was the principal clause that felt like a morsel of rice with a stone in it. Wouldn’t it be better to say, “…the congestion will decrease.”? On referring, I found that the two are more or less synonymous. But decrease means to cause something to become less or to become less. Whereas reduce means to cause something to become less . (There are several other differences as well but I refrain from teaching. ) After that I have noticed people using the two as and where they please and the stone gets my teeth each time.

Less appears to be a harmless little word, but it can increase my blood pressure. For one thing it is often used with countable nouns where fewer would be correct; as in there are less organizations that promote eco-friendly drives. My OED says that ‘less is now commonly and more increasingly used with plural nouns instead of fewer’ but it also adds ‘this is still thought to be incorrect English and careful speakers prefer fewer’. Call me outdated, but I writhe to see The Hindu being careless. (What’s more, even the computer doesn’t show it as an error.) But what gets my goat is the use of lesser. It is like saying worser or betterer. Less is already in the comparative degree. An –er isn’t required. Granted lesser is used to refer to something that is not as great as another. (Do go to that delightful book, the dictionary, for the pleasure of words)

Everywhere we see the use of the double comparatives or double superlatives such as she is more stronger or she is the most strongest. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrgh….. need I say more? Of course Shakespeare did write, “That was the most unkindest cut of all.” But then I will allow Bill anything.

Monday, October 12, 2009


Instead of writing "Smoking is Injurious to health" or even "Gutkha causes Cancer", if they wrote that it causes hairloss or baldness, people would get scared into dropping the habit.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Speech Ability

"Gaaldhi gauldhi gaaldhi gauldhi gaaldhi gauldhi....", went 3year old Sivakumar a.k.a Gopi, peering into a book open on his lap, copying his elder siblings who were booklovers all. Gopi hadn't yet learnt the alphabet,but he so wanted to read just like the others. Gopi's gibberish was a preamble to the gift of the gab that he achieved later. Now in his 80's, Gopimamma or Gopes to us nephews and nieces has a colourful vocabulary which would require a separate post to explore.

Succeeding generations have inherited the vibrant lexical competence. I have a cousin who as an infant made a new language with grammar, lexical sense et al. Each of her sentences ended with a 'la la' refrain. Here's a sample:

Babootamma boo tata lala
Ammu Angi opi lala .

The meaning:
Babootamma = Babu's mother
boo = train
tata = go
Ammu = (a proper noun referring to her)self
Angi = Babu's baby bro ( his gurgling sounded like 'annnggggi')
opi = carry
In short; Babu's mom go in a train, I shall take care of the baby.
No wonder that she later became a University topper and now rubs shoulders with the acronym worthy.

Another cousin in infancy was the epitome of innocence, with his deep dimples and soft, quiet ways. When he began school he got along well with his teacher, Miss Martin. He kept asking her if she had a kangutty. She finally asked him what it was. Murali offered to show her and proceeded to pull down his shorts to enlighten Miss Martin. The fellow had invented the word. And now it is a er- family heirloom(?)As for Miss Martin, I'm sure she remembered Murali to her dying day. Today he has 2 brats of his own.

When all my cousins and I went to schools from the same house, there were many secrets to share. We were then adept at using the 'p' language- wepee weper apadepept apat upusiping thepe lapanguapage. This enraged the adults naturally. Another habit which I use even now is anglicising by adding a 'fy' to vernacular, like edukkafy, kulikkafy, koluthafy.

I suppose every family has lexical heritage of its own. But will such histories be made in future?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Puzzling Thoughts

Whoever said that Variety is the spice of life should be made to shop in a supermarket. Having to choose from an aisle-long range of products will send him scurrying to erase those misleading words. Spice of life, indeed!

Gone are the days when you could pick up the favourite moisturizer or tried and tested toothpaste or familiar cereal. Now you stand in front of the shelves agonizing over Dove Fresh, Dove Body Silk, Dove Extra Dry, Dove Deep moisturizer, Dove Energy Glow, Dove Pro Age… When all I want is my ordinary Dove moisturizer, which has apparently become extinct. Choosing a cereal is pure torture for you’ve got to calculate the ratio and proportion of ingredients, price, weight, nutrients, in Low Fat, Low Cal, No fat, No Cal, Hi Fibre, Bran, Fruit and Nut avatars. Mental sums were never my forte.

Indecision is me when faced with a choice. And invariably, I regret it once the decision is made. Like the other day at a coffee outlet, the Philipino waitress at the counter gave a string of options in an accent I couldn’t comprehend and even if I did, wouldn’t have known what they were. So when she stopped to take a breath at the third recitation, I said that I wanted that. ‘That’ turned out to be Latte Vanilla something and it turned out to be milk with vanilla flavour yyyukkk! It wasn’t even cold and I HATE MILK.

I wonder how people choose mobiles from the sea of brands and varieties. Fortunately I don’t need to choose mine. Aamir Khan sells only Samsung. Besides my mobile needs to telephone or message people. It doesn’t have to sing or calculate for me. Youngsters, I find know every feature, price, pixel and byte of every gadget. One can only imagine their dilemma.

If the market muddles one so, think what life has to offer. Choose your destiny, Your decision today decides your life tomorrow these are the mantras one hears often. No flowing along where life takes you. Every turning point adds to the burden of choosing, always leaving regret of what might have been. Frost wrote a poem on it.

For my mother education was an escape from an early marriage – she could study till she failed. Her parents, I suspect, were eager for that so they could get her married. My mother studied desperately for obvious reasons. In my time too a girl was expected to graduate and then marry. Post graduation and a career were post marriage; provided all agreed. A marriage to a suitable boy found by the elders. Their criteria were family background, job and tolerable looks. The couple were then left to discover differences or similarity in tastes, interests, opinions, attitudes etc. And if one got a Latte Vanilla the girl simply got accustomed to the flavour, added some ice and even cherished the richness of the milk and the texture of the cream.

Today’s girls have so many options that seem more attractive than (drab) matrimony.
So when they do settle down, do they have to choose among all the features available on the candidates and zero in on the ‘right’ one. And then do they expect the person to function faultlessly? (It could be a Latte Vanilla situation) Is it as practical as that or is there something more romantic like chemistry or physics? I presume that men have a worse time making a choice (considering the range of lovely girls that is wider than the range of boys – men are all the same, aren’t they?). But in terms of happiness with their choice they must have more satisfaction – because females are so good …….or is it because males are easy to please?

I can't decide

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Tears - 1

The plant grows and grows.
Untame, rebellious.
The Man with his strings
Gathers wayward limbs,

Clumsy, he bunches
The happy young branches
That shoot off and stray,
That can’t grow his way.

The string goes round
the protest of escaped fronds.
He tucks each leaf under
Within bounds of his order.

Tears for the Man, he’s done his duty
Ne’er a thought that wildness holds beauty.
Tears for his hands torn; they bleed,
From the angry thorns of his own seed.

Monday, April 20, 2009


Peel, wash, cut, chop,
Slice, dice, rinse, drop (oops)
Open, close, search, find (yyess)
Scrape, add, mix, grind…

Simmer boil cook shake,
Look smell feel taste (mmmmm?????)
Season splutter pour fry,
Cool store pat dry…

Wash clean wipe drain,
Sharpen open squeeze strain…

Peel wash cut some more
Slice dice till hands get sore
Open replace, don’t forget
Or you’ll waste time when you cook next….

Simmer boil cook wait
Speed up! you are getting late!
Spilltread eeek slip
Crashbang broken glass!
The kitchen floor is now a mess.
Faster! Faster! Don’t be slow…

Look, It’s gone half past six
Don’t succumb to hysterics.
The bus will come in ten minutes!
Must doll up in three minutes…

Dash and grab the blasted thing
Greet, smile “Oh thank you,
And HAPPY VISHU to you too!” (pant pant…..)

Written last Vishu after keeping the Kani, and (surprising myself by)preparing a sadya of FOURTEEN items.... on a working day.....single handed!!

I did learn from that mistake.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Utter Disaster

My Cambridge English Pronunciation Dictionary tells me that the Gan in Gandhi and rhymes with the Gan in Gander.And so the 'correct' pronunciation is Gan-dee! The same goes for Ganesh too, only worse:it is supposed to be Ganish. I wonder why we Indians don't correct the foreigners.If their tongues can manoeuvre tortures like Alzheimer's or even February, they shouldn't find Gandhi a challenge. But we have let them call Sachin Sash in and condoned the mistake for ages. I've always known that grave dangers lay in store. And my fears were confirmed when at the Oscars Danny Boyle thanked Weak Ass 'Sroop for penning Q and A!! I did not watch the movie but have heard that the man has done enough damage to the name of India.

And we mock the poor Mallu who calls the Pope 'Pop' - at least he makes some sense. Come to think of it, while an Englishman knows only English, a North Indian knows English and Hindi. A South Indian Tamilian knows English Hindi and Tamil and a Mallu knows English, Hindi, Tamil and Malayalam (if not more languages). No wonder we roak.

Monday, March 9, 2009

The Alarm Clock

If there is one thing worse than being woken up, it is being the Waker. Wakerhood in most households falls to the lot of the lady . The husband and children entrust her with alarming them out of sleep. Why does this have to be an unpleasant duty?

When the kids are babies you waaait for the little bawler's eyelids to droop and close, cover him and tiptoe out to get to your work or some sleep. So waking the child is the last thing you want to do. This instinct to let sleeping brats lie gets etched into your psyche. But as they grow up and need to be woken, it is a joyless duty that one does (ok, next to cooking.) For the child may be a brat all his waking hours, but in sleep he looks adorable, with the tip of his tongue sticking out a little and him curled up like a defenceless chick. Only a diabolic nature could enjoy snatching this little bundle from the arms of slumber.

There are those who would swear by the application of cold water on the sleep-warm visage. But my heart is not stone. It is made of nice soft cardiac muscles of low melting point. One invents ways to make the exercise endurable. In this regard I am quite an expert, having done diligent research and varied experiments. And I submit the findings for posterity.

A day begun in happiness is a happy one throughout. This premise has led me to create what I call the tune technique. In this you treat the sleeper as a musical instrument, select a peppy song, pretend that the keys are in all the ticklish areas of the specimen. Now begin playing the song. The music and laughter will wake without disrupting any body's mood. A word of warning: keep away from kicking distance. This works only with little children.

As the years go by you look for more sedate ways. The next method that I present is perhaps the most pleasurable. You cuddle down close to the sleeping child and stare at him , occasionally murmuring wake words. I swear the stare can physically penetrate sleep. The danger here is that you may yourself fall asleep. And then it is all your fault that the day goes awry.

My quest for novelty continued. And there was this phase of reading rousing poetry like 'Where the mind is without Fear...' or speeches like 'Awake, arise my countrymen'. This , while highly enlightening to the Waker is rather ineffective although one hopes that the words will filter into the sleeping head by some strange osmosis.

Time flies and the Board years are on you. Plans and timetables and tests and marks and tuitions and nerves invade the domestic scene. Sleep for your child is reduced to mere naps. And who else to do the needful? My latest method is to read out the Physics or chemistry that the offspring has planned to study that day. The reading should be bright or dramatic or irritating enough to get him out of bed. A monotone would push the fellow over the edge into the deepest slumber. Of course you risk being surveyed with irritation through most of the day but then you do learn some. How else would I know the delights of supercooled liquids and Huygen's principle?

Next month by this time my son and I will have seen the last of the exams and the last of my wake up calls. An alarm clock will take my place in the exams of his future. The thought comes with a strange pang. I won't be needed like I am now............................................................................

AHA! I spoke too soon. I've just got a message from my daughter from far away Hyderabad:Amma, do me a favr. I need 2 complete 3 asgnmnts & 2 prsntatns. Am taking a nap. cal me in an hr in case my alarm doesnt wake me.

Does anyone know any nice wake up messages??

Sunday, February 15, 2009

...And Laid Him on the Green

Talking about his farewell party, my son said that his teacher had sung, 'This little shining light of mine, Angle let it shine...'This reminded me that as a little child one of my favourite rhymes was ' Mary Mary koikondery, how does your garden grow?' and my favourite game was 'Ice Boys'. Only years later did I figure out that they were 'Mary, quite contrary' and 'I Spy'. likewise SJ once insisted that his biology teacher taught him about 'edges and shells'. As it turned out the teacher was referring to 'adjacent cells'. Of course everybody has heard the one about a child who shocked his father when he repeated his Math lesson, "2+2, son of a bitch, is 4." It appears that the real words were '2+2, sum of which is 4'! The strangest of all such erronous utterances is my father's. He used to sing us the prayer he chanted as a schoolboy. And it went: Krishna kambi kumbae tudala tudala tudala, timrutha tommy prepae... It was not a strange language - it is English. When decoded it goes: Krishna can be compared to the lord to the lord to the lord. And the rest (timrutha Tommy prepae) still remains a mystery.

I found later that such misunderstood utterances actually have a name; they are called mondegeens . You will find more instances here

I also learned that mondegreens shouldn't be confused with soramimi which is what Benilava is.

Friday, January 30, 2009

A witty Ditty

I found this poem in an old newspaper. Today is Martyrs' Day so I thought I'd share it:

'Hitler and his Black Shirts
riding for a fall,

Musso with his Brown Shirts
Back against the wall,

De Valera with his Green Shirts
caring not at all,

Three cheers to Gandhi
with no shirt at all!'

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Republic Day Thoughts

Usually the flag hoisting at the Indian Embassy here is early in the morning. We would start out from home before it was fully light, distribute flags for the students to wave, stand in the icy cold desert winter watching and waiting for the ceremony to begin. It felt good to endure the discomfort, reminding me of the extremes that my country men suffer to guard the nation.

Was this year's 9a.m. ceremony symptomatic of something? Besides it was bright and warm too.

The embassy had asked for 25 students from each Indian school. I wasn't surprised to find that no arrangement was made to accommodate them. So all had to squeeze together and try to get a glimpse of what went on. Seeing the tricolour unfurl and flutter, the shouts of Bharat Mata Ki Jai always make me emotional, and in the afterglow I forgot to be annoyed with the officials. I also forgot to frown at the late-comers, important people of the Indian diaspora, who swept in past the barricades to occupy reserved spots, for I was more aware of the 'common ground rather than the differences'(I've just read Mandela).

Hot breakfast distributed free by Mughal Mahal hotel awaited us. The students were given priority and they stood in proper lines - that was good. There are pretty trimmed bushes at the embassy grounds and the base of each was white with discarded plates - that was bad. Reading the India special supplement of the local newspaper was distressing. Some columns said that it was the 59th anniversary while another said that it had completed 60 years of being a republic. One claimed that it was 58 years. Is this confusion a result of thoughtlessness or too much thought?

As the Charge de affaires read out the message to the nation given by the President of India, I overheard a lady say, "Hey he copied it yaar. Same same thing Pratibha Patil said yeshtaarday." I felt nice that Indians did listen to the president's address so closely.

Jai Hind!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Test

Breathless sighs
through parted lips,
Eyes half closed,
Moving fingertips.
Bite marks
Swish of sheets.
Sweat and stain
As bodies strain.
A secret smile
Aah - that's good!

tick tock
tick tock
urgent haste
tick tock
tick tock
faster faster...
screaming bells
and then release

Socks to pull
And strings to tie
As pens are shut
secretions dry.

Thursday, January 1, 2009


Happy New Year!
Hope 2009 will offer peace and stability in the world.
On the personal front, I feel excited about starting out on new ventures.

Incidentally it is also my blog's first birthday. The result of my daughter's persistence, This and That has given me satisfaction. Not being the most systematic person, I used to write stuff and leave them around. Thanks to T&T, they are nicely kept together.

I also got to meet many people and more importantly, new perspectives. I made friends and even frightened (albeit unintended) at least one away [ in my daughter's words 'pissed him off'- (very expressive)- something I've never done in real life. ] I roped some of my students into the writing circle as well.

The blog has been great for my ego (or is it vanity?) too. I even received a very exclusive award (not the usual forwarded and 'foreworded' kind) which had an impact that the prize giver could not have imagined.

I've been asked about the name Materialmom. My identity as a mother keeps me safe and gets me respect automatically. And Material is opposed to spiritual. Also the Material girl keeps re-inventing herself. My blog has done that for me. The thoughts on this blog are my brainchildren and hence I am their Materialmom.

My! I do sound like a teacher, don't I? Sorreee