The blurb ob by blob...

My photo
Mother, writer and daydreamer. Also chocoholic and chick-flick lover. But mainly mommy. To two boys, at that! When not escorting my Elder One (EO) to karate class, I'm trying to get in as many cuddles as possible from my Younger One (YO). And when not doing either, I'm hard-at-work trying to maintain a steady relationship with my laptop. And as for the Man I Married (MIM), well, let’s just put it this way – even though we share a bedroom, our most meaningful conversations are held over the cell-phone!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Let's Do Something!!

I am sick, SICK of these as***les trying to blow our country into smithereens. I am sick of my backyard turning into a war field. I am sick of worrying about family and friends living under the threat of terror. I am sick of feeling guilty for bringing two beautiful children into this f***ed-up world.

We can rant and rave about the politics and politicians of this country. We can scream ourselves hoarse over issues like corruption and nepotism. We can sign all the online petitions we want condemning killings, murders and rapes.


Something to ensure that the tigers don't die out in our children's lifetimes.
Something to make sure that we have clean water to drink and fresh air to breathe till eternity end.
Something to make sure that the flora and flauna of the world can thrive and grow in all their natural beauty and splendour.
Something to make sure that the d***-heads don't strike again.
Something to make sure that out five-year olds don't come and ask us what a 'bomm balast' means.
Something to make sure that watching the news need not be a censored event in front of your children's eyes.

But what?

We can wear all the black armbands and badges we like; burn all the candles we want; walk in all the protest rallies there are; cuss at all the politicians that exist; ...but what can we do to make our citizens more proud of their country? What can we do to instill more pride in our armed forces? What can we do to become a more tolerant yet vigilant and tougher nation?

Over the past few days, I have read some excellent posts by mommies all over the world. Mommies angered over the ease with which these terrorists could gain access into our country; mommies scared by the sheer intensity of the hatred that these gun-toting bastards propagate ; mommies outraged by irresponsible men chosen to lead and govern us; mommies scared shitless and witless over the kind of world we are bequeathing to our children.

This is what I propose to all the mommy bloggers out there who want to make a difference:
~Let's start a forum, like Mommy Bloggers Against Terror or Mommy Bloggers for a Better World. [let's get a better name to start with! ;)]
~We should write a petition to the Prime Minister and President of our country, asking them to pass a law to make the pledge of allegiance to our Motherland absolutely and strictly COMPULSORY in each and every school throughout the land. Nationalism is not inbred, it is instilled.
~We can visit schools and make presentations to the principles asking them to start an initiative with the Indian army, where they can invite army officers once or twice a year to come to school and give an interactive talk to children from class 6 and up, about what it is that they do. Our children need to know, understand and be grateful.
~Let's form clubs in school geared towards protecting the environment. This should be made a part of every school curriculum, just like moral science and SUPW.
~Let's teach our children to be more vigilant.
~Let's revive the concept of pen-pals in school, onbce again.
~Let's start across the border friendship initiatives amongst the schools. We have inter-school cul-fests in our cities, why not amonst the SAARC nations? Let's get sponsors for exchange programs.

I don't know... What else? You tell me... Please share your thoughts. ideas and suggestions with me. Please tell your blog friends to read this particular post of mine and to pass the good word around. If required...let's start a new blog!! We blog, we write, we connect -- from all over the world. Let's do this too!

I'm sick and tired of sitting in the back-seat, waiting for things to happen. Let's take the steering wheel in our hands and move forward, in the same direction with the same goal in sight.

Let's do something!

Friday, November 28, 2008

As***le Terrorists! I Hate You More Than Ever!

My two boys are busy hugging and kissing each other as I write this. The Nephew joins them. There's a funny love-fest going on with lots of raspberries being blown on each others tummies, endless hugs and the sound of musical laughter...

And my vision is blurred. The tears have come of their own accord at this sight that has been played out before my eyes millions of times before. But today, in this atmosphere of bloodshed and unrest, it just punches my heart in a very different way.

My precious loves! What kind of world have we brought you into?

The Fat Busting Diaries: Day 2

What with the situation in Mumbai, I did not feel like blogging about this yesterday. Very frankly, my heart is still not in it, but I did promise to record my personal Battle with the Bulge, so here it is, Day 2 at the Slimming Centre...

I was informed that the day-before had been a 'Zero Session'. At first I thought all that zapping and buzzing had yielded zero results, hence the name. But no, it was a 'freebie', a session to give me a taste of things to come. Yesterday's session, my treatment process started in earnest. The Buzzer, which is what I decided to call the machine (at first thought I'd use The Vibrator, but then I remembered that oops, a contraption by that name already exists!!) is for the weight-loss program. Yesterday, was the first session of my Thermoslim Therapy. For fun, I've decided to call it Ther-Ther. Also because it reminds me of this Bengali colloquialism, 'thhawl-thhawl', which loosely translated means, wibble-wobble, which unfunnily enough, is exactly what my tum-tum does.

So The Buzzer and the Ther-Ther were to be my fat-busting buddies.

The Sunny Chica was asking me about my Fat Book, which I didn't get. That made her considerably un-sunny. She weighed me and noted that I had GAINED .55 kgs over-night. Something in me just withered and died. I felt like somebody had whacked me in the face with last night's dinner-plate laden with home-made Chinese food! So she asked me to write down on a piece of paper, what my diet normally looks like on a day-to-day basis. Now I kid you not, but I actually am a very healthy eater. It's the evening round of namkeens that play my nemesis and of course my chocoholism, but I don't sin everyday. Normally it's lots of fruit, salad, milk, bowls of daal and roti-sabzi at night. I eat smart and I thought Sunny Chica would give me a pat on the back. Instead she looked at my sheet, nodded and said that she would give me a diet chart? WTF?!?

Seriously! WTF?!? If I had to go on a diet and exercise for an hour-a-day at home, WTF was I paying them for? I could have joined Talwaker's for the amount I paid them! This is why I am a gullible, stupid fool, ladies and gents. This is why I am the biggest sucker in all of Suckerdom! Probably the biggest sucker that ever existed!

I was made to go into the Ther-Ther room, where the day-before's nurse-like person measured, in excruciatingly embarrassing detail, the flab content of my stomach, hips and thighs. The Ther-Ther is supposed to be my salvation to inch-loss. As she was taking the measurements, I couldn't help but remember what the MIM had said the night before. "Inch-loss? All they're going to do is hold the measuring tape that much more tighter after your entire treatment is over and then present you with your 'successful ' results!" Maybe I was being paranoid, but it did seem to me that she was indeed holding the tape rather loosely. Sigh! I guess I'll find out eventually!

I was asked to "go to toilet" after which my Ther-Ther session began. My T-shirt was pulled up and tucked under my boobs, while my tracks were pulled down to mid-thigh region. She asked me to lie down on the bed and then she took out something that looked suspiciously like an iron, switched it on and started 'ironing' me with all her strength! What was she trying to do? Flatten my tummy into trimness? Squeeze the flab out of me? What? And what if somebody wanted this therapy for their butt? Oh! Spare me the nightmare!

Now, I noted that there was a buzzing of a different tempo happening where The Iron and my flab made contact. So, I an safely come to the conclusion that the buzz about all theses weight-loss centres is simply buzzings of different natures and at various speeds, tempos and vibrations. Very interesting!

She moved The Iron all over my stomach, which was bobbing up and down like a disgusting sea of flab. I watched the wibble and the wobble, the jiggle and the jaggle in morbid fascination. God! My stomach was so flabby and wobbly it wasn't even funny or was just shameful.

After half-an-hour of ironing, Nurse Strong-Arms (that's what I've decided to name her), massaged my tummy. She did everything from kneading the flab like dough to doing karate chops that bounced right off my stomach and hurtled towards her face. After that, she mixed some kind of paste, which looked like papier-mache and tons of glue, spread the goop all over my tummy, put a towel on it, covered me up and left the room. Since there was no TV in the Ther-Ther room, I dozed off for about 10-15 minutes. When I snapped out of my snooze, I felt a tightening about my stomach and at that moment, Nurse Strong-Arms walked in, peeled off the now-hardened goop and voila! A cast of my stomach! Did they expect me to take that home, put it in a glass box for all to see and admire? I hoped not.

Luckily, she threw it away asked me to adjust my clothes, "go to toilet", weigh myself and go to room number 3. Sunny Chica was there to supervise my jaunt on the scales and noted with tremendous glee and satisfaction that I had lost .35 kgs. She looked at me expectantly thinking that I was going to go all "Gee! OMG! Goodness Gracious! How wonderfully clever y'all are, to squeeze SOOOOO MUCH of my fatness out of me in just one hour! Imagine what two hours could do!?!" But no. Not me. How was I supposed to be sure that it was due to all the ironing-kneading-and-moulding and not because of my "going to toilet" twice that resulted in this 'miraculous' weight-loss? So I just gave a half-smile instead.

I then went to room 3, which was the same where The Buzzer resided. I found a giant-sized roll of cling-film and a pair of scissors there. Just how many wonders were in store for me? Nurse Strong-Arms came in, slapped some cream onto my stomach and wrapped my tummy in three rounds of plastic. I was then made to lie down on the bed, where they put a rubbery-like half-body suit on me and switched on the machine. The TV was also switched on for my benefit, So far so good. And then, things started to heat up a little bit. Then came the trickles of sweat. So I was right. I had indeed been wrapped up like a kathi roll so that I could be baked into a pool of melted fat. Looks like my microwave idea wasn't that far off the mark!!

As I sweated and hopefully some areas of my body melted, I felt that this wasn't so bad. It was like my tummy's personal sauna happening. After around 40 mins, an aide came in, switched off the giant-sized heating pad and unwrapped me. I wonder what the MIM would have made of it! ;p

After that, yes, another trip to the toilet, another trip to the scales and with the presentation of a diet chart by the now-unsmiling-and-dead-serious Sunny Chica, I was sent home, with a reminder of my appointment with the doctor in the evening.

Yes, come 5 p.m. and I was back in the place that seemed all set to become my second home over the next couple of weeks. The session was with a gynaecologist whom I recognised as somebody who practices in the same hospital where the boys' paediatrician practices. That was very reassuring, I have to tell you. He was nice and sweet and asked me lots of questions. He recommended that I get my hormone, thyroid and insulin levels checked, which didn't seem unreasonable at all and which I should have had done by now anyways. After all, it's been two years since the YO was born and that was the last time that I had any kind of testing done.

So, next week, I will be off somewhere to get myself poked with needles and Operation Blubber Be Gone will continue...

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Mumbai Meri Jaan

I'm a Bangalore girl, through and through. But I have strong bits of New York, Kolkata, Delhi and Mumbai in me too. And I am just crazy in love with Mumbai.

And right now, my beloved Mumbai is bleeding. I know that I am not the only one weeping tears of blood.

My prayers go out to all the Mumbaikers now. My prayers for peace are passe. They are now for sanity to prevail...

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Yay! Yay! Hip Hip Hooray!

I'm celebrating two successes today...

~For the first time today, my YO actually WANTED to go to school! He was impatient and started yelling at me to me to put on my 'shujj' and 'thalo, thalo', pulling me towards the lift! So obviously, there were no tears this morning as he was taken out of the car and carried inside. He got out all smiles and happily walked to his class teacher...without even looking back once! Yeah, that last bit makes me kinda sad, but get this -- my YO actually WANTED to go to school today! Yay!

~The karate belt exam is next month. The EO is a yellow belt. His friends are getting a green belt and I was under the impression that he wasn't going to the next level, which did make me slightly upset, yes, but which I could also very well understand. After all, he just turned five, he doesn't practise at home, his attention does wander and he was absent for quite a while over the last few months. But today, I was informed by the sweet kid who takes their classes (yes, a college kid who happens to be a black belt) that he is indeed getting a GREEN BELT! Hip hip hooray!

Champagne anyone? I can't help it, I'm a proud Mamma today!

P.S. Buri nazar wale tere munh kaalaa!

The Fat Busting Diaries: Day One

So, I went for my first session today to the Slimming Centre. And what a day I chose, too! Today apparently is World Obesity Day! I'm not sure if I should be congratulating other fatties like me and sending out a box of chocolates or kissing the hands of the slim'n'trim and worshipping the ground they glide on. Is there a particular greeting that I should be using, like "Happy Obesity!" or something? And more importantly, who do I say it to? The fat or the fat-free? Maybe Archies has a selection of appropriate cards which will throw some light on this issue. Anyway, today was my first day of Operation Blubber Be Gone!

I went in at 9.30 a.m. and was greeted by this short, thin young girl with a huge smile. She was chirpy and bright and thoroughly irritating. I mean, why wouldn't she be sunny? She was thin! I christened her Sunny Chica. She sat me down in the Counselling Room and started talking nineteen-to-the-dozen and giving me a headache. She addressed me with the familiar 'tumi' instead of the formal 'apni' and added a 'di' to my first name while using it. In fact, she told me to think of her as her 'choto bon' (younger sister). Okkkaaayyy! Too much happy-happy on an empty stomach was happening for my comfort. But then, I wasn't there for any kind of comfort now, was I? She took my details again and filled them into another form, congratulating me for using my maiden name as well as my married one. She went so far as to butter me up saying that she had learned something from me today...that women shouldn't let go of their maiden names after marriage. Pooosh!

After all the sugary sweet talk, she went on to tell me what a wonderful day I'd come on and how it was World Obesity Day and all, and therefore they were offering huge discounts on all their services and how I should really, really go for their special schemes and sign up for some more thermoslim sessions for my hips and thighs... Oh boy! I had fallen for it the last time, which is why I was there in the first place. I wasn't going to walk into that one again! I sweetly shook my head and said I wanted to see how these sessions worked out for me first, so thanks but no thanks...and I mentally patted myself on the back for not caving.

Then she took me to her colleagues and they took my weight...again and repeated the instructions for me...again, because hey, if I was fat I must obviously be stupis as well. They all used 'tmi' to address me, which I really am okay with, I just found it surprising that they didn't ask if they could first (it a polite familiarity, you know, "Ei! Tumi bolchchi, kichu money koro naa please!" -- I hope you don't mind me using 'tumi', if you don't mind...) Anyway, semantics be damned, bring on the slim-antics instead!

They finally took me to a Slimming Room. The room had two beds, each with a strange corset-like body suit laid out on top; a TV, and a strange machine that had loads of knobs and pirates eye-patch-like black pads attached to it, looking like octopus tentacles. Here, a nurse-like prototype took measurements of all my flabby areas...yes, butt cheeks, sagging belly, flapping underarms et al! I was then asked to lie down on the bed while she pulled my shirt up and tracks down so that she could strap me into the corset-like thingummy, after which she gelled the pirate patches onto my fields of rolling fat.

I must have been a very scary sight. Strapped up as I was, I probably looked just about less frightening than Hannibal Lector, but give me a mask and I'm sure that can be corrected! Imagine if you dare, a flabulous, short woman oozing excess flesh from ever undesirable quarter possible, strapped into Scarlet O'Hara's lingerie, which is incidentally held together by velcro. Not only is the sight unappealing, unsexy and unappetising, it might make you want to skip a meal or two or all. If that is indeed their intention, then they should put mirrors on the ceiling. I'm sure nothing would work up a resolve to never touch food again in this lifetime more than the sight of fat thighs that I just described.

So as she was gelling me down and strapping me up to black pads all over my hips, butt and thighs, I asked her, "Eitaa diye ki hoi?" (What does this do?)
She very helpfully said, "Eitaa on korle, ektu feelings hobey." (You'll get some 'feelings' once this is switched on.) 'Feelings.' Oooh! Intriguing! Feelings as in...? Of a sexual nature? Of the spiritual type? Of the emotional kind? Man, was she a bundle of knowledge and information! 'Feelings'! Phooosh!

And then, without even giving me a chance to count-down, she switched the contraption on. No blast, no bubbles, no fanfare, not even Aquaguard type of music to signal the start of Operation Blubber Be Gone. The electro-whatchamacallit was switched on. And I lay there with these funny zzzzzz vibrations zapping me at the places the pads touched my body. They came at one second intervals and lasted for about a second each time. So this is how they 'mobilise' the fat. Well who would have thought? But here's another thought...wouldn't it just be easier to wire me up to my fridge or microwave? Imagine the sizzling of those fat cells! Wouldn't that cause one helluva meltdown?!

So, as I lay there with the Ballet of the Buzzing Bees happening under my skin, I decided to follow the antics of the interns at Grace Hospital. Something was just so wrong with the entire picture in that Slimming Room. Me half-naked, padded up with tingly sensations swirling around my cells as I focused on Doc McDreamy's gorgeous face floating in front of me. It was like a weird S&M bondage fantasy gone all wrong!

After 45 mins of shock therapy, where I didn't even get to see how the episode ended, I was unstrapped, ungelled and fully-clothed once more. I was asked to "go to toilet" after which I would be presented with a Daily Diet Diary and have a session with the physiotherapist. Another broad-smiling dame called me into the counseling room, where I was handed the said diary. I have decided to name it, "Mamma Mia's Daily Remembrances of Gluttony and Guilt." Now, I know that's quite a mouthful, so for short, I'll just refer to it as my Fat Book. She explained what I had to do and then she started off with the World Obesity Day discount spiel too. I smiled and repeated what I had said to Sunny Chica.

And then it was the physiotherapist's turn. A young guy walked in. A definite cutie, but not hottie. He started flipping through my chart and measurements and obviously I cringed inside thinking about the figures of my figure that he was checking out. He then asked me to touch the floor and clasp my arms behind my back (one over the shoulder, the other via the side). I did both with ease. I may be a fat momma, but I'm a flexible momma. He then asked me about body image and I gave him a duh! look and then after that, he hit me. Oh no! Not physically, of course, but with, wait for it...with an exercise regime! Yes!!! Half-an-hour of brisk walking, spot jogging for ten minutes, jogging on a step for ten minutes and 20 counts of a particular asana.

Hellllllllllooooooooooooooo!!!! If I did this on my own everyday, anyway, I wouldn't be flabby in the first place! I wouldn't be coming to you guys at all! I wouldn't need your presence in my life! If it was all about the exercise and the eating right, I wouldn't BE HERE!! If suckers like me actually follow the "physiotherapist's" 'suggestions' no wonder there are these great big hoardings allover India proclaiming miraculous results! Geez!

So this is why they took so much money out of me. To sham me into working out everyday, to shame me into thinking about what I put into my mouth on a daily basis and to collect rent on the use of their TV sets for an hour-and-a-half three times a week. Boy! Am I stupid or am I stupid?

Am I going to lose weight after my 17 sessions? Well, if my Fat Book guilts me into moderation, maybe. If I follow the physiotherapist's orders, definitely. Will I be happy about the kilo-kill that I hope to achieve? If I can get into my pre-preg clothes, then of course. Will I be happy about this very expensive method that I've chosen to go from Fat-n-Flab to Fit-n-Fab? Nope, no, no, nope.

And here's why...

I think I would have gotten better results at a gym or playing a sport or simply by taking evening walks everyday. I definitely would have been healthier and in better shape at the end of sixty days, rather than having the fat buzzed out of me and being conned into a work-out regime at home.

At least that's what I feel right now. I may have to eat my words. In case I do, I just hope they're fat-free!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Sa Re Ga Ma Pa, Mera Dil Gayey Jaa!

I love music. After my boys, it's my second most favourite thing in the world. I can sit at a musical conference/concert all day and night and not notice the call of nature, feel the pull of a stiff back or feel the need for a good cup of elaichi chai. I studied to the soulful tunes and notes of classical music at night during my ICSE and ISC. Yes, I was a night owl. And during those stressful times, Pandits Ravi Shankar, Hari Prasad Chaurasia and Ustad Amjad Ali Khan would ease the tensions away. The musical ghosts of Verdi and Tchaikovsky were constant companions too.

When I moved to Delhi for my BA and subsequent MA, one article that I insisted on taking along with me was my parents' first-ever two-in-one. It had FM radio and a cassette player. What more did I need? It was my faithful friend and fixture. It shifted rooms with me, cooed me to sleep, coaxed me out of my slumber, kept me company during term papers and dissertation, sang me love songs during the first rush and blush of a crush, and sobbed with me during many a heartbreak.

Music is my soul food. And I have an eclectic taste in music, if I do say so myself. It all depends on my mood. So sometimes I jazz it up with Diana Krall, feel all lazy and bluesy with Norah Jones, let my heart ballet with Mozart or pretend it's an apsara for Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma, rock it with Scorpions, melt to Josh Groban, lend my voice and soul to Rabindrasangeet, blast it with Bollywood...pretty much let my soul do whatever it's feeling like at that very moment. Yes, I'm very indulgent when it comes to feeding my soul with music. (Yes! Yes! I'm indulgent to my hips, waist and thighs too with chocolate, so my body can't complain that I love my soul more!!)

Often though, I forget about the power music has over me. It's soothing, healing and restorative powers. It can cure almost everything, I'm sure. There's a great deal to be said about music therapy...

So, in all the madness of daily life, project deadlines and two sniffly boys and one middle-aged type fighting for this Mamma's attention, my soul's cravings had taken a backseat. Oh the chocolates were still coming fast and furious because when the body wants, it gets. The body's hunger cannot be shushed or shut up. But the very essence of a soul is it's patience. It waits silently and sufferingly. Dangerous, yes, because there's a pressure cooker effect building up slowly and surely, but for the most part, it is quiet and patient.

This morning, the MIM put on some of my ABBA favourites from the movie 'Mamma Mia!' at eardrum shattering levels. And I sang. No, no, that's wrong. I belted it out. From my gut, from my very insides. From my very soul. I sang loud and proud, at the top of my voice, matching the decibel level of the iPod. I could feel all the black and blue clouds swirling over my head parting to make way for starlight, moonshine and fairy dust. My spine immediately straightened itself and I felt so tall, I could probably catch a floating cloud.

And I felt the unmistakable sting of tears rick my eyes. Not because I sang well. Good God, no! But because I just realised, again, how happy music and singing makes me. I felt so bloody happy! And it was a kind of no-strings attached happiness. The happiness just existed and radiated like the sun. No need for meaning or thought or deep philosophy or dissection. It was happiness. Plain and simple.

And the song that was playing? Very appropriately, 'Thank You For the Music."

Seriously. And happily. Thank you indeed.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Irresistable Pull of the Ghungroos

I wanted to be a professional Odissi dancer.

It was not some odd-ball, little girl fantasy. While other little girls wanted to be mommies, nurses, dancers and beauty queens, I would get a far-away look in my eyes and imagine myself decked-up in full Odissi-style splendour, dancing on stage before God, guru, family and friends.

There's a history there. I was learning ballet and tap in New York and having a blast learning both. When we moved to Bangalore, I remember being introduced to the gorgeously splendourful and entrancing world of Indian classical dance. While I was awed by them all, the Odissi performances captivated me the most. I felt like I was privy to the celestial dance of the apsaras and my heart was moved beyond measure.

Then and there, I decided that this was the path I was meant to follow. I sent Maa-Janoni on a wild quest to find a teacher or school for me where I could learn this art. But it was not meant to be. Bangalore was teeming with Bhartnatyam and Kathak classes, but not Odissi and I was stubborn in my refusal to learn anything else. Today, I regret my stubbornness, for had I learned either one of those dance forms, at least I would have been blessed with some form of dance in my life.

And then, the wonderful happened. Protima Gauri, my Odissi icon, opened Nrityagram. I was in the 8th grade. I wanted to leave everything and go there. I was serious. I sobbed, wailed, ranted and raved. I stopped eating for many days. Daddy Dearest was still living in New York in those days and my Maa-Janoni was at wit's end, trying to deal with me.

I never made it there. For a field trip, yes. For the yearly Vasant Habba celebrations, yes. But never as a student.

And it is the biggest regret of my life.

And Odissi still remains my life's biggest yearning.

Lately, the pull of the ghungroos and dancing beats has become too strong to ignore. I don't know whether I'm becoming pre-menopausal (I still have a couple of years to go before I hit my mid thirties, for cryig out loud!) or whether it's a mid-life crisis. But I do know this. I have to sign up for classes and learn. Even if it's for a year or six months. I know I'll never make it to the stage as a pro... I mean hey! At my age and bulk, who am I kidding?

But, I can still dance for me. And for the Gods.

A Room of My Own

Clearing out my study table drawer the other day, I suddenly realise what I miss. I miss having my own room. A lot.

I know, I know, I'm married and I live and share a bed and bathroom with an over-grown boy. I have too. It's one of those unstated, unwritten laws of marriage. But still, I miss having my own room.

And I'm not talking huge, big, gigantic room with a walk-in closet that resembles the floor area of a Ritu's boutique. Just a little haven of space that is mine alone.

Where I don't need to accommodate another person's stuff. Which reflects my personality, my quirks, my obsessions and delights. Which smells of sandalwood on some days, roses on others and green apples every now and then. Which would have a secret stash of Classic Ultra Milds, Juicy Fruit Bubblegum, Twix bars, nimki and Cavendish & Harvey sour cherry drops. Where I would hang snaps of me and my boys that reek of mamta, maternity and motherhood; make a collage out of post-cards and pictures of famous Impressionist paintings; and have a huge photograph of New York's Central Part displaying the gorgeous, golden-flame colours of fall in a full blaze of glory.

A small space to call my own and make my own. To mould and shape to reflect the inner passions and whimsies of my soul.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Fat Poem

Hey diddle, diddle,
The fat and the frizzle...
My thighs shake all on their own.

My tummy's all lard,
Of the jelly-type, that too...
And my hips are way past over-grown.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

When Fat Cells Eat Up Your Grey Cells... become an idiot.

And I, dear friends, am an idiot. Of the biggest kind (a certain pun intended...) Carry on gentlefolk, to read my story of how I allowed myself to be absolutely and thoroughly bemuddled into joining a weight-loss centre.

I got a VLCC gift voucher as a gift from a credit card company.

Now, everybody knows how much I crib about my weight...and why not? I am fifteen kgs overweight. I was never slim and trim, but I was never such a hot-air balloon like figure either. It's one of my major causes for depression. (Yes, I do suffer from depression...there! I've said it out loud and I feel strangely lighter...but the battle with the little demons that surround me, leave me feeling tired, unhappy and soul-less. {I can't believe I've just admitted all that!})

But as I was saying before I started rambling, I am overweight and I have tried to do things about it before. I started going for walks soon after the YO was born, and everybody said that the results were showing. And then, I just stopped. The only available time on my hands was the evenings, but that time is heavy traffic-time for me...chasing after the kids, sometimes dropping & picking the EO and my friend's sons from karate class, feeding my boys, putting them to bed...I felt very rushed. I know it's not a good excuse, but it's the truth.

Next, I joined a gym for a month. I didn't even go regularly, but in twenty-one days I lost three kilos! That should have been incentive enough for me to keep going, but I didn't, because the gym timings were in the morning and that meant I had to go after dropping the EO off to school and before picking him up. That meant, the being away from home during the only exclusive time I had with my YO. And I thought bonding with my teeny-tiny babe was more important than those then 10 extra kilos.

But now that the YO has started school, I have been toying with the idea of going back to the gym. And then this voucher fell into my lap. It gave me a 30% discount on slimming or beauty packages, plus Rs. 5,000/- worth of treatments free. Never one to pass up a freebie and considering that this was also going to help carve a slim-waisted figure out of a lumpy mass of fat and flesh, and also not to ignore the fact that there's a VLCC centre just half-a-kilometer away from home, I decided to drop in.

The lady, sales rep, centre manager or what-have-you, knew her spiel backwards. And even though I am not a naive bumpkin and went in there knowing that to avail of those beautifully-worded freebies I'd have to shell out some amount from my pocket, I never imagined that I would be thwacked in the face with the astronomical figure of Rs. 40,000/-!! This, Ms. VLCC claimed, was how much it would cost me to lose a measly five kgs (hah!) and to tighten my tum-tum and thighs (that had me really interested) in x-amount of sittings. I shook my head politely and said that thanks, but no thanks I would just take the weight-loss package that guaranteed to have me 5 kgs lighter in time for Christmas.

But Ms. VLCC was not to be outdone. She carried on trying to convince me to go for ten sittings, instead of 20, for the thigh and tummy toning thingamajig. That still meant Rs. 20,000/-. Her well-toned upper arms, which she purposely flaunted in that sleeveless kurta, obviously worn to woo desperadoes like me who craved for an unflappable pair, seemed to mock me. My resolve was weakening, I could tell, but to my credit, I sat firm.

Finally, a last ditch effort by Ms. VLCC....and I caved. The thought of slimmer thighs and being able to fit into a pair of jeans that didn't have an elastic waist-band to accommodate a growing person inside of me, was just too good to pass up.

Yes. I am indeed walking around with a post-it stuck to my forehead, loudly proclaiming me to be a "SUCKER!!!"

And thus starts the story of how I allowed myself to be bamboozled into joining a weight-loss and slimming centre. Just so that I could get some freebies. And hopefully feel lighter around my 'problem areas'.

And I must say, it's already working. My bank balance is already feeling lighter by several thousands of rupees! And so is the inside of my head...those grey cells must really be dwindling in number!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Other Pandora's Box

I'm talking about my study table drawer. And the study table that housed it, warmly and snugly.

That table bore my diaries bearing reams and reams of my poetry, text books, tomes on mythology and various versions of the Mahabharata (am an avid world mythology and Mahabharata buff), poetry books, multi-coloured pens, and so so much more, with smiling patience and quiet strength. It would hold my cup of milk and plate of fruits, my constant breakfast for years, for me as I got ready for school/work.

The study table that was part of my growing up years and teen years when I was in Bangalore. Where I used to do my homework and not study. Where I sat for hours with the cordless phone and gossiped with friends and flirted with 'then' boyfriends. Where I shared many a kiss with my first boyfriend who used to sit there and write my name in calligraphy, over and over again. Where I sobbed my eyes out into my folded arms after many a tiff with Maa-Janoni, many a heartache, many lost dreams and crushes that were crushed. Where I poured my heart out in anguished rhyme and angsty blank-verse.

All my precious treasures were kept under lock-and-key in that drawer. Letters, photographs, knick-knacks, scraps of poetry, ciggie boxes and other bits and pieces of myself. I've carried the key around with me obssessively from city to city; to Delhi where I did my B.A. and M.A., to Bombay after I got married and finally to Kolkata where I still am.

My desk sat pretty in 'my' pretty, pink bedroom in Bangalore, waiting for my touch, my hello, my mere a true, long dear friend. And like the good, faithful friend that she was, she kept all my secrets to herself, never for a moment, ever betraying my counsel.

Two years ago, she was shipped to Kolkata along with my parent's belongings and now she sits in a corner of Daddy Dearest's study, proudly displaying his heavy tomes of law and Bengali literature, writing paraphernalia, spare set of specs, notepads, his precious fountain pen, a picture of the Goddess of Learning, his wallet, letters...oh, I could go on and on! There's just so much of his personality spilling over it and from it.

Except from the drawer. That drawer is all mine, all me. It holds a part of me that's been locked away for almost five years now.

Daddy Dearest and Maa-Janoni have been after me to open the drawer for over a year now. Obviously. Daddy Dearest needs to use it. They've even threatened to call a locksmith to break it open and change the lock. I keep telling them I'll get to it, but I just keep putting it off.

I don't know why. Because it holds a part of my youth, safely and carefully tucked away from the prying eyes of the world? Because there are things in there that I don't want my family to see or that I am not ready to see again? Or is it me? Am I afraid to get all mushy and sentimental about my youth which I realise is well and truly over? Am I afraid to kiss 'goodbye' to my good ol' days? I don't know why. Maybe I'm just not ready.

Until today that is. Maa-Janoni is in Kerala, sight-seeing with a friend and Daddy-Dearest is in Bangalore, returning sometime at night. I promised my Maa-Janoni that I'd drop by and water the plants and do the puja on her behalf. After dropping the boys off at school, I went over and did the needful.

I then stood staring at my faithful friend for the past so many years. I decided to relieve her of my secrets and treasure, that she has so faithfully held on to for so long.
It was like opening a Pandora's box. Memories flew about my head. I spent the next hour laughing, crying and smiling over the cards, letters and posts written to my by friends and loves, many now lost, some still a part of my life, older and wiser. I found little gifts and hand-made pincushions (made by my hand), bits of poetry written on scraps of paper, old photographs of the ex before the MIM, letters from his parents, an empty cigarette carton, a book of stickers (I used to love collecting them), a book I bought just before the wedding "How to Love Your Man" (blush! blush!), pens and so much more of a me I had forgotten.

The trip down Memory Lane was bittersweet. I am surrounded by an air of nostalgia about me. All I need right now is a cup of latte with an old friend to take that walk with.

They're all so far away.

I guess I'll go solo on that latte. I have many letters left to be read...

Edited to add: I did go out for that latte after all, and not solo, like I thought. I had the glorious pleasure of my YO's company and together we got gooey over a chocolaty doughnut and my foamy, frothy latte!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Happy Happy to my Daddy!

It's Daddy Dearest's birthday today! His 71st! And NO!! That does not make me 40+!! My Daddy Dearest got married late and we, the Bro and I came along even later...

But that's besides the post. It's my dad's birthday. He has well and truly entered into the 7th decade of his life. I worry about him and over him almost as much as I do for the EO and YO. I hate it when he leaves the city for a few days to travel. Like today, instead of spending the entire day with his daughter and grandsons, he's leaving for Bangalore to fight a case. Good for you daddy, yes, but enough already!

Keep doing your yoga, going for walks and taking your medicine. You need to see your grandsons get married!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Oh boy! My boy!

Seems like I'm not the only one 'brooding' and 'upset' (for lack of much better words...and also, am too tired to think of any) about my cherubs growing up.

Around five or six days ago, my EO suddenly told me, totally out of the blue, that he wanted another baby brother or sister. I laughed it off and thought that it was just one of those darndest things that kids say.

A day later, he very seriously told me that he didn't want his baby brother to grow up any more because he wouldn't be cute anymore. He even mentioned something about not wanting his brother to have a beard when he'd be older and that only would have one. He then went to the YO, took his face in his hands and told me, while looking intently into this little brother's face, "Oor ei sweet mukhtaa change hoye jaabey." (This sweet face of his will change). I smiled it off as content for a blog post.

But, he said this again. And again.

And suddenly today, he dissolved into a pool of tears and held on to me while sobbing his little heart out, "Oor mukhtaa aar mishti thaakbey naa! Change hoyey jaabey! Change hoyey jaabey!" (His face won't stay sweet! It'll change! It'll change!)

And for an entire half-an hour, my little boy sobbed. Another fear of his came tumbling out. That of me, his Mamma, growing old and dying. I reassured him that I wasn't going anywhere and that I wasn't old yet. But he wouldn't be consoled. Especially about his little brother growing up.

I held him close to my heart and tried talking to him, reasoning with him, putting things in a different perspective. For example, I said, "You're a big boy of five now and you haven't changed. Your face is still sweet." He replied that his face had changed. That he didn't look the same anymore.

He looked at me and heart-brokenly asked me that if his little brother were to grow up, how would he ever see that sweet face of his again? I told him by looking through snaps and watching videos. That wasn't good enough for him. "Those aren't real!", he sobbed.

And I let him. Maybe he needed to have a cry. Maybe he needed to be held by me. I've been so busy with this project of mine that I haven't really been available to him these last few days. I know he was 'missing' me. For even though I was at home, in front of their eyes all the time, I was never really 'with' them. I was too bloody wrapped up in my work.

But that particular job is finally over as of last night. And I've learnt my lesson. I can't afford to take projects like this anymore in the future which will keep me away from my two most precious creatures. They are why I never went back to my job in the first place. They are why I said 'Goodbye' to the corporate world, which I loved being a part of by the way, when I got pregnant. They are the reason I want to stay at home. But what's the point in my being home if I'm not really there. That's not really 'being' at home for them.

I keep talking about how sensitive my EO is. About how much I worry about him. It's a harsh, cruel world and it's going to break his heart over and over again. What do I do? How can I stand by and just watch it happen?

I don't know what to do.

Except to let him know that I am there. To stand by him. To hold him.

Right now, all I can do, is hold his little body, cradle it in in my arm and let him have a good cry.
Right now, I am smeared in baby boy love and tears.
Right now, I change myself to be a balm to his pain.
Right now, I allow myself to wonder at a sensitivity so pure and beautiful that it leaves me breathless every time.
Right now, I wonder if his EQ is far beyond his years.
Right now, I just pour all my love into this hug and let it flow from my very insides so that it can envelop him and leave him in no doubt about my emotions, my intensity.
Right now, I just squeeze him a little harder and love him a little bit more.

I'll deal with my aching heart later.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Children's Day

To your children, to mine and to the children of the world...

~may you have fresh, clean water to splash about in on a hot summer's day.
~may you have tall green trees to climb, swing from and pluck ripe fruits from.
~may you see a tiger and be able to show it to your children and children's children.
~may you never lose your laughter.
~may you always have peaceful nights of slumber.
~may you never take freedom of choice for granted.
~may you always have love.

Shine in the sun, soar in the sky, stay rooted to the earth, little and always!

Happy Children's Day!

Greedy Glutton Am I

I often crave a third child. Very often. Sometimes it's just a nice, pleasant fantasy that finds expression in a silly smile and a far-away look in my eyes. And at other times, it's a burning hunger that eats away at me in tiny bits and bites.

And it's not just because I so desperately want a girl. Yes, there is that. There's always that. But it's more because my little ones are growing into big ones. They're still innocent and adorable, but for how much longer?

How much longer can I shield them before the 'Real World ' treads upon their space and sucks them in? How much longer will that lovely laughter, that rings pure and free and unbridled; that's music to my soul; that makes me misty-eyed whenever I hear it; how much longer before it turns into controlled haha's? How much longer before the innocence that makes their perfect faces bloom with beauty and purity, fades, leaving behind imprints of street-smart, worldly-wise looks of "I-know-it-and-suffer-it-all"?

My EO's sensitivity fills my heart with a love so fierce, I can physically feel it, and it hurts. It feels like Shah Rukh Khan knocking the wind out of Saif Ali Khan's sails. And the YO's absolute joie de vivre has my heart bursting with joy like a display of fireworks in the 4th of July sky. The intensity of my love flares up, brightens, making me exclaim out loud in wonder. And then, just as suddenly my love and joy vanish, leaving me sad and a little "So that's it?" Because all this awe and marvelling, suddenly turn to fear as I am faced with the prospect of losing the brightness and beauty of my sons' childhoods.

I watch them take their steps towards tomorrow with pride. But there's so much sadness in that pride as well. It's such a delight watching them grow, but why the f*** is it so bloody hard as well? They're so eager to grow big and leave their toddlerhood and childhood behind. But I'm not. And, answer me this...will I ever be?

I want a third child because I am greedy. I want my life to be surrounded by innocence, purity, beauty and joy. And nothing embodies all these qualities more exquisitely than a child. Well, there's music, but that's a distant second (and this is an absolute music-buff who's saying so). But a baby, a toddler, a child...oh! Just thinking about one sends tingles of delight and happiness all over my body.

And there you have it. The honest truth. I want another baby. For selfish reasons. I want another baby because I hate that my babies are babies no more. I want another baby because I need to fill the gaps and missing spaces. I want another baby because I don't want the delights to ever end. I want another baby because I'm not ready to start missing their countless "I love you's" and sloppy kisses and no-reason-at-all-but-just-like-that hugs that come in a never-ending supply. I want another baby BECAUSE I simply do.

So excuse me folks, while I try to convince my husband to knock me up once again...

Or maybe it's just time I started taking piano lessons.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Mirror Gazing and Randomn Thoughts

It's a mystery to me why a woman never 'discovered' gravity.

You'd think they never had 30 year old boobs back then.

Monday, November 10, 2008

What Will I Ever Do????

My EO is five. A big boy, yet eminently huggable.
My YO is two. He's growing up, yet he's scrumtiously addorable.


Whatever will I do when the huggableness and adorability factor are gone?

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Doing Something Good, Something Right

I have some deadlines looming bright and large in front of my face and I can feel that familiar sense of panic and hysteria begin its ascent up my esophagus.

So that I could hold on to the last few shreds of my sanity and get typing at full steam, I implored hubby to take the boys out for a couple of hours, which, being the devoted daddy that he is, he willingly agreed to do. Plus, he has seen and dealt with the hysterics of this Mamma when her back has snapped in the past, so he knew it was the saner and wiser choice in the long run! Better running after his hearts' delights rather than dealing with the mental breakdown of a crazy person!

The MIM decided to take them to Science City. The EO wasn't too thrilled to be leaving me behind and looked at me with puppy dog eyes. The YO was rather perplexed, but he quickly got over it and yelled a happy 'Bye!' waving his little hand.

So I popped a bag of popcorn, switched on some ABBA (loudly!) and started working at top speed. After one page, five songs, half a bag of artificially flavoured, synthetic-smelling butter popcorn and I'm sure 3500 calories later, I started missing my boys. All three of them. Especially the incessant chatter of my EO and the mad-cap antics of my YO.

So I just called my MIM.

Me: Kothai? (where are you?)
MIM: Aami tomaar boro chheley key niye aar kono din berobo naa. (I'm never going out with YOUR elder son again.)
Me: Keno? Ki hoyechhey? (Why? What happened?)
MIM: Shaarraa khon, Mamma, Mamma, Mamma! Aar jokhon aami jigesh korlaam, ekhon Pizza Hut-ey jaabey o bollo, "Mamma-key chhaaraa Pizza Hut? Naa, tumi Mamma-key phone koro. Bolo aamraa pick-up korbo. Mamma keno kaaj korchhey? Mamma ke niye Pizza Hut chalo..." (All the time, just Mamma, Mamma, Mamma! And when I asked him if we should go to Pizza Hut he was aghast! "Pizza Hut without Mamma? Noo! Call Mamma and tell her we'll pick her up. Why is Mamma working? We'll take Mamma along to Pizza Hut...)

And then my beloved EO took the phone from his father, told me what he had eaten and ended with "...aar Maa, aami tomaar jonyo ekta pack korechhi." (...and Maa, I've packed one for you.)

Ladies and gentlemen, I'm so happy I could cry! I must be doing something right!! (And ahem, ahem, methinks someone is jealous!)

Cold and the Bengali

Winter is setting in, here in Calcutta.
I know, because last night I saw the first semblance of a monkey-cap.

Friday, November 7, 2008

'Me' Time, 'Me' Rhyme

I'm no good
at twisted conversations
and smiles that
can't be read.

I hate pretending
I don't eat;
I look and
am well-fed.

I love to write
and cook and smoke,
and read books
lazing in my bed.

Not the brightest
bulb in the box,
but no dumb airhead
am I.

I think,
I have opinions;
I follow the news;
I wonder 'Why?'.


all of that,
that's me.


You get
whatever it is
you see.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

He Did It!

No, I'm not talking about Barack Obama, although yes, he did it too. And since I'm on the topic, I may as well get this out of the way. Obama was my man, my guy, my choice. Had I been in the States, he would have gotten my vote. In fact, I believed in him so strongly, I actually considered going to the embassy to find out more about over-seas voting.

But even without my vote, he did it. He won. As I knew he would.

However, I'm slightly wary now. What does this mean for India? After his remark about the Kashmir issue, I don't know what to think.

What does this win mean for the thriving BPOs and Call Centres in India? Does it spell doom for the IT industry?

I don't know. I can only hope and pray, that this man who I put all my political faith into, does not let me down.

But until then...I am slightly wary.
And now to move on to the little man for whom this post is actually YO.

Today, after endless prayers sent to the heavens above, I heard the magic words, "A****** can come from 9.30 tomorrow." Yay! Zippa-dee-doo-dah and zippa-dee-ay!

Ok, while I didn't hear the magic words directly since I had to pick up the EO from his school, they were relayed to me by the YO's ayah who was waiting with a beaming smile to tell me about my little one's graduation from the Crier's Section to the Non-Crier's Section. Well slap my back and call me Happy!

Since Monday, his fusses and tantrums had been losing intensity and there would be no tears in the car, on the way to school. The ear-splitting, nerve-fraying, heart-breaking "Mammmmmmmmmmmmaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!!!!" would start once we got down from the car and he would be taken from my arms. He'd be carried inside, looking at me teary-eyed, hand outstretched in my direction and shrieking at champagne-flute-shattering-levels. But according to the class teacher, the minute he'd enter class and be put down, the shriek would change to a sniffle and the sniffle to smiles and a happy-to-be-here-this-place-ain't-all-that-bad outlook. He's even been walking out all smiles now!

And so, they finally feel he's ready to start at normal timings along with the others. They're confident that even the two-minute wail will disappear soon enough!

My fingers and toes are all crossed, folks. Hell, I'm even typing this cross-eyed! ;)

Say a little prayer for us, won't you?

What's Wrong With This Picture?

Today, my five-year old son went to school wearing Guess jeans and I, as of this very moment, am wearing my good old, nameless, structureless, hot-air balloon-like maternity jeans.

Hello, Fashion Police? You need to make some serious arrests in the name of whale-impersonation here!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Big Questions (or, At The EO's Interview)

(Warning, the following is a very LOOOOOOOONG post. Proceed with a cup of tea/mocha joe/bubbly in hand. I myself am horror-struck by its length, but I just din't know which parts to edit. I need all these details to keep the memory alive...)

Yesterday was a D-Day, of sorts. A big, old, important day in my young son's life. His interview at the 'Big School'.

And I have to say, the MIM and I were impressed. The EO didn't disappoint.

He was delightful, charming and the chatterbox that he normally is. Too chatty, if you ask me...and yes, the interviewer remarked upon that as well.

Now, I know I am sounding like a puffed-up, proud and boastful mamma, so, before you carry on reading, please do forgive me. I apologise.

I hadn't prepped my son for the interview at all. I only told him that he had to be respectful and say 'Good evening' when we walked in and to answer the quesions asked to the absolute best of his ability; if he didn't know anything I wanted him to be honest and say, "I'm sorry, I don't know." Of course while telling him this he did ask me seriously why he should be sorry if he didn't know the answer, and then he proceeded to answer his own question himself, "O. Taahole oraa bhaabey je aami poraashona kori naa." ("Oh. Then they'll think that I don't study.") Of course I quickly quashed this heart-wrenching notion of his, telling him that it was just the polite thing to do.

So, that was basically the extent of my training/prepping my son for his BIG interview...greet politely, answer the questions and be honest. Basic everyday expectations I have from him anyways.

Was I tense? Worried? Nervous? Yes, I'll admit I was. As I mentioned in a previous post, it doesn't matter whether he gets in or not (in fact, if he does, we'll be in quite the dilemma), but I just wanted them to know that I do have a bright little boy. Kids this age are still unpredictable; they have mood swings, can get cranky, act up, get clingy or suddenly take on a vow of silence. I didn't want them forming an opinion of my son's intelligence and capabilities based on a few lousy questions and a 45 second intro. I wanted my EO to make a good impression. And because that was not in my control, yes, I was tense. Worried. Nervous.

And for a few scary minutes, those feelings took control of me in the car, as the three of, all smartly turned out (well my man and my boy, anyhow) were on our way to the school. I suddenly remembered what a friend of mine had told me many years ago when she was trying out in different schools for her son. An only child, the interviewer asked him how many brothers-and-sisters he had. This boy said two, referring to his cousins. The interviewer looked at the parents who explained that since the cousins were so close, they called each other brother and sister. The interviewer shook his head and wrote something down. My friend's son didn't get in and she thinks it was because her son couldn't differentiate between 'own' brother/sister and cousin brother/sister.

Now, as you know, we live in a joint family. The Nephew is just three months older than the EO and they live in each others pockets. The Niece is seven-days older than the YO and they are joined at the hip. The EO goes around telling the whole world that he has two brothers, "my big brother and one small brother." I frantically decided to give him a family lesson as well as vocab lesson. He wasn't pleased with the concept at all and started arguing.

EO: No! He's not my cousin! He's my big brother and I love him!
A despearte MIM and M4: Of course you love him, shona and of course he's your big brother. He's your big cousin brother.

He quietly leaned back into the seat after a while, looking all pouty and adorable and we decided not to push it.

We arrived on time and while I waited in line along with other parents, the MIM was suddenly all awash with nostalgia and took his first born by the hand and gave him a tour of his school. And no, the MIM didn't forget about me. I was taken for a trip down memory lane too..."See, this is where I split my chin wide open when I was six and I had to be rushed to the nursing home where they gave me stiches"; "And those are the stairs where we used to push each other down"; "And those are the walls we tried to climb"...

Ok people, am I still supposed to want to put my son into this rowdy school? The only sensible wow-thing he said to me was "And that's where Sourav Ganguly and I started playing cricket together."

After we got our application form and other 'sundry documents' verified, we were given a token and asked to wait. Which we did. The EO was all jumpy, the MIM was something akin to starstruck and I was all twitchy! My throat suddenly started to feel very dry and since we were standing next to the 'canteen' (makeshift stall-like structure is more like it!) I asked the MIM for a glass of Coke. The EO looked like Christmas had come early and immediately tried to grab it, but I first took a swig to lower the level. It was coooooooold. I let the EO have a small sip and just started to enjoy the rest when wouldn't you know it, they called our number! In my desperate bid to swig the cold Coke down, I nearly choked and passed some out through my nose! I just pray that there were no hidden cameras about! The MIM helped me finish it and we were asked to go to the first floor. The interviews were taking place in all the Class 1 classrooms and there was a single bench in front of each one. Each time a family went in, the next one sat down and waited their turn.

The MIM, for all his nostalgia, has been extremely cool about the interview. For him, it's a formality and he is absolutely cool about the outcome. He won't be heartbroken if the EO doesn't get into his alma mater.

But suddenly, sitting on the bench, in his old school, just before we were about to go in, I think he felt a surge of panic rise within him as well. So he decided to run the 'cousin' concept by him one more time.

The MIM: your cousin, ok?
The EO: (thoroughly exasperated) OK!!

And then, we were asked to go in. The MIM and I walked in, with the EO in between. We said 'Good evening', she said 'Good evening' and our little man said 'Good evening'. The interviewer looked at him, smiled and said, 'Good evening! What's your name?'

And that's how it started.

The EO: A******
Int.: What a nice name! You study in school?
The EO: (shyly nods his head)
Int. : Which school?
The EO: (monosyllabic answer)
Int.: What is your teacher's name?
The EO: R**** ma'am.
Int: Oh! And you like her?
The EO: (nods his head)
Int.: And what does she do with you in class?
The EO: number dictation...umm...uh
Int.: Dicatation?!
The EO: (thinking hard) number dictation and uh, umm, addition...

At this moment I mentally slapped my forehead and said "Khaisey!" The closest I can give you for that 'eloquent' turn of phrase is 'Ai laa!' or 'Ai yi yo!' or 'Yikes!' An "Oh f***!" sums it up pretty nicely as well.

The thing is folks, October was one big holiday for the EO, with just five days of school, which he missed thanks to virals and mouth blisters. And I didn't sit with him to review his classwork and make him do 'study-related' stuff at all. I just let him have fun. Maybe I dumbed him down a bit. Two days ago, I wanted to see if he remembered the concept of addition. And yes, while he had the concept of it down pat, providing the right answers was proving extremely problematic. And yesterday was the first day of school after the Diwali break. ONE WHOLE MONTH OF NO SCHOOL!

And now, at this important interview, my son goes and tells her that he does addition in his frickin' school! And what does Smart Interview-Lady do? She jumps on the lovingly and innocently preferred piece of info and proceeds to ask him:

Int: So, what is 2+1?
The EO: 2+1? So two in the head (and he puts two fingers on his head) and one in the finger (and he points one finger out). (He repeats himself, all the while tapping his head and the Int, looks on with a very amused expression on her face while I am shitting bricks and the MIM looks paralysed. Finally, after an eternity, the EO takes his two fingers off his head and puts them next to the single, solitary, lone finger resting on the desk and says...) So two fingers and one finger...
Int. : (genlty, with a smile) And what is the total?
The EO: (beaming) THREE!

Yes folks, that huge sigh of relief you heard was mine!

The interviewer then called the EO over to her side and pointed out some pictures of animals in a book and asked him what they were. Now, this was the 'real' interview. This is what they had been asking all the boys. The Nephew had gone through the same process a week ago and my SIL told me that that was it.

The EO, now comfortable and relaxed, swings into full chatty mode and starts pointing out animals, birds and fish that weren't even asked of him. When told that the'big fish' was actually a 'whale', he started arguing that it didn't look like a whale and that it was too small. The interviewer said, "Hmm. Maybe it's a small whale then". Next she pointed to a dolphin which the EO obviously got right. She asked him whether he had ever seen a dolphin show and he said no. She asked him if he watched a lot of TV and my little boy shook his head no! The little lier! I nearly guffawed out loud! Pictures of birds followed...crow, black colour; parrot, green colour 'but sometimes it can be other colours also'.

Int.: Yes, that's right. Parrots can be other colours as well.
The EO: (absolutely on a roll now) and that's an ostrich, that's a pigeon and that's a falcon.
Int.: No, that's a hawk. (Oh come on lady! Give it to him! How many adorable little boys know what a falcon is anyways? {the answer to that, gentle people, would be "Anyone who's seen Stuart Little Part II."} So give the boy a break! And she did...) But yes, it does look like a falcon.
The EO: You know, I have one big cousin brother and one small brother.

I nearly split myself open laughing so hard, on the inside of course. The adorable little dweeb. Not having been asked the only question that his hysteria-driven parents had prepped him for, he decides to go and offer information himself. Of course the dumkopf MIM had to ruin the moment by offering the interviewer an unasked for explanation!! Man! She didn't ask! Save your voice for the questions that she's going to ask you!

And finally, the interviewer turns to us. "He's very chatty isn't he?" She smilingly says of the EO. Now it's my turn to behave like the village idiot and answer her oh-so-obviously rhetorical question with actual words, instead of a smile, "Yes. He's quite the chatterbox!"

Our interview went off without any fireworks. She asked the MIM if he had studied in this school and for how long. He replied from Class 1 right up to 3rd year in college and she said (sarcastically? I wonder) "Oh! So that's why you're so confident!"

Huh? Where did that come from? Confident? No, no, we weren't confident! We knew it was a gamble and a lottery and our son had as much chances of getting in or not getting in as the next boy! So no ma'am, he was not confident. But what can you say to such a question? Nothing! And wisely, this time, that's what the MIM said! She then asked him if he remembered any of his old teachers and he promptly started to rattle off the names of all his class teachers along with year and section. Satisfied, she then turned to me while MIM was still in mid-rattle. I was aked where I was from. She then asked me how I liked Kolkata. Again, a question that is to be treated very carefully. I couln't diss the city obviously and sing hosannas for good ol'beantown, when the MIM decided to put on another display of stupidity, "Oh! She hates it!"

Grrrrrrrrrr! What was with him? Didn't he know when to shut it? So she looked at me inquiringly and I just smiled weakly and said "I guess I'm still a Bangalore girl at heart and I'm here because I'm bound by holy matrimony." She smiled and I couldn't quite read what her smile was trying to say.

In the meanwhile, the EO had started to show his true colours. He was getting all restless and jittery. My son, ladies and gentlemen, was born with ants in his pants. He just can't sit still. He started to pull at the book and when we tried to reproach him, the interviewer gently said, "It's okay. Let him be. It's impossible for them to not be restless for such a long time!" And that was the precise moment that she won me over! So the EO started flipping pages and pointing out all the different things that he knew. Show-off! Or should I say eager beaver? Or just EO being EO?! The interviewer smilingly said, "So now you're teaching me!"

Anyway, before we knew it, it was over. Five minutes, maybe six. That's how long it takes for a little boy's future to be decided upon.

The MIM and I left, feeling proud of our offspring. He was polite, he answered the questions correctly, argued for what he thought was right and didn't misbehave. Yes, he did answer out of turn and turned restless when the attention was not on him anymore, but his father and I have no cause for far as he's concerned that is.

Now regarding the MIM...

Enh, forget it. I live with him 'cause "I'm bound by holy matrimony!" ;p

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Goodbye Boro Jethu

My Boro Jethu passed away this afternoon. He was my father's eldest brother. 86 years of age and old enough to be my grandfather. He led a full life and was in agony this past one month. The suffering is over now.

He was a good man.

Goodbye Jethu. Duggaa, Duggaa...Shanti, Shanti.

Romeo, Romeo, Wherefore Art Thou Romeo?

'Roadside Romeo'. So obviously a Hindi movie, beacuse

~duh! The characters speak in Hindi. Granted, there's a Tamilindi speaking villain, Mumbaiya spouting side-kicks and Saifindi speaking hero, but we are to believe that it is, all said and done, a Hindi animated feature.

~ the female dogs are statuesque, busty, slim-waisted and size-zero. Those bitches! ;p

~the lead pair is the 'hottest' couple in the business today...Saifeena. Or wait, is that just one hybrid sample?

~the "villain" totally kicks the "hero's" mangy butt...performance-wise. Charile Anna, you are not jesta too war ya three-ah, four-ah, five,-ah tauzand mucha. I yam yur fan. Be happy, chappie! Yes folks, it needs to be said, Javed Jaffrey ROCKS!!!!!!!!!!! He is the undisputed Komedy Cing in India!

~the pj's are ridiculous but you can't help laughing! Charlie's Angels! Hahaha! I tell you! *she wipes a tear from her eye*

~there are industry jokes meant for the adults even though it's a kid's flick.

~the song and prance bits incorporate a dream sequence, an item number, a tapori act and the don's dance. Typical!

~it was full-on fun and a riot and total paisa-vasool.