Archive for September, 2007

Who would have thought

..that Oh butterfly, butterfly with Asha Bhosle’s nasal voice and all, would be temptingly hummable on the drive to work on a rainy Thursday morning?


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Nine reasons to have a baby

* I’m bored. A baby will bring in much needed sparks into my life.

* I could take it for a walk. Twice a day, every single day!

* My mother in-law will start to trouble the baby and finally leave me alone.

* Once it starts to walk, I could order it around- to get me water, to get me ice-cream, to go to the store to buy emergency sugar, to do the dishes– you know?

* Once it is old enough, I will finally have a partner to play games on our Xbox 360 with. 

* I would have my personal masse-ur/use- I would lie down and make it stand on my back.

* I would have my personal back-scratcher (or perform the exercise fondly referred to by me as “chochi”).

* Baby = entertainment 24/7.

* “Oh look, that baby looks choooooooo cute. Can we make a baby, please?”


P.S: Please direct your shocked/surprised/worried comments/strongly-worded advise to CW’s husband at hewhowantstohaveababyforallthewrongreasons.com.

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Shyam wrote a post nine days back, on her earliest memory of perfect happiness. At the end of the post she requested readers to write about their memories too. So I started to think. And I thought, and thought. And thought. But no happy memory would come flashing back to me however hard I willed it (them) to. And it upset me terribly. ’cause I had a very happy chidlhood and lots of cherishable memories. But just when I wanted to put them in print it seemed that they would shy away from the thought and take a long walk. Never to come back.

So I’m just going to write about one of the many happy memories of childhood. ’cause if I don’t, I would become the first living proof of ‘how very happy people fall prey to depression when they are unable to recall all their very happy memories.’

Whenever I think ‘happy memories’ the immediate subsequent thought is of summer holidays (and all others in between) spent at my grandparents’ place in Madras. The train tickets would be booked well in advance- we would leave the day the annual exams got over and only return the day before, sometimes even the morning of the re-opening of the academic year. This meant many things to me back then, but the most important of them all was the chance of seeing and spending two whole months with my cousins.

Having both sets of grandparents in the same city had its many disadvantages. I had to divide my cousin-time with cousins from my dad’s side (who, for some strange reason I favoured less than the ones from ma’s side. Still do.)! So I would tell myself that I would enjoy every single little moment at the maternal grandparents’. (An interesting aside: I rather looked at my paternal side as my in-laws too!! And they were not even nasty people! Any insights into child psychology, anyone?!)

My maternal grandparents had a huge house with an equally big backyard where thatha grew coconut, mango and guava trees. The yard was marked with a fence- one of those flimsy metal kinds that bends easily under the weight of branches. There was this guava tree with branches spreading beyond the fence. And it would beckon to me every single time I walked into the backyard. It was every tree climber’s heaven!

I think I was nine or ten years old. My cousin brother who is three years younger, and I had just scratched each others’ hands out. (Yeah, that was one of the things I greatly looked forward to.) Every waking minute that we spent together was spent fighting. Being the annoying litle thing that he was, he would want to ape each and every thing that I did. Being the short-tempered big sister that I was, I would retaliate by scratching him, running away to the dining room and tease him by running around the dining table. We would run round and round till both of us could breathe no more (when I’d dutifully say ‘waiitteeesseee’ and he would promptly scratch me back).

It was one of those afternoons when the elders where enjoying a short siesta. Cousin and I had just eaten two big cupsful of Amul milk powder (yum!) and were seriously contemplating our next course of action. I told him about the wonderful guava tree and how we could spend the rest of the afternoon atop its branches. He readily agreed and seemed suitably excited. We then worked on removing the latch on the back door as noiselessly as possible, and got out. Out on bare feet and two jumps later there we were. It was a particularly beautiful afternoon with a gentle breeze blowing (I can feel it on my face even now!). It was so beautiful that we wanted to enjoy it better. So we got books- a Famous Five for me, a Tinkle for him, and sat there on the sturdy guava tree and read our books. Bliss!

All this had to be done on the sly, mind you. The paranoid elders would never let us climb any tree. Soon siesta time ended and thatha came out, wondering why the back door was left open. The sight of us two monkeys (as he called us) caused all the creases on his forehead to bunch together and he yelled at us to climb down. I got an extra helping for ‘being such a tomboy’.

It was an afternoon that I shall never forget. Not necessarily the happiest memory, but certainly one that I shall always cherish. Especially since..sorry..announcement..END OF HAPPY POST.

Especially since the beautiful house was sold off. Paati is no more. Cousin lives in the US and we meet once in about three years, if we’re lucky. And no trees to climb.


P.S: I couldn’t help ending on a melancholic note. My mind works like that- each happy memory deeply entwined with many other sad ones.

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Of earthquakes and stupid news anchors

An earthquake of magnitude 7.9 Richter just hit Indonesia. Tremors were felt in the eighth floor living room of our apartment in Singapore.

This is how it felt- imagine a rocking chair, but instead of the to-fro movement, our sofas swayed very gently from side to side. I felt slightly giddy for a minute, and almost thought I was imagining the whole thing. The swaying persisted for about a minute and when we were still wondering whether it was real or not, the local news channel (actually CNN, before that) confirmed it.

Which brings me to the stupid news anchor part. The anchor talks to the channel’s correspondent in Indonesia. There are reports of Singaporeans calling up the news station to convey/enquire about the situation. The anchor then talks to a guy who, among many others, has been asked to evacuate the building. At the time of his conversation with the anchor, he stands on the ground floor outside his office building, waiting for further information. Let’s call him The Patient Guy.

SNA (Stupid News Anchor): So TPG, tell us, where is your office located?

TPG: Shenton Way.

SNA: I see. Pause. So tell us, umm have you umm evacuated the building?

TPG: Yes I have. So have the others in the building.

SNA: I see. Pause. So TPG, could you describe the area you have evacuated to?

Me: Confused. Describe?? They evacuated to the ground floor of the building. Are any evacuation areas anywhere in the world, special??

TPG: We are at the ground floor of our building.  

SNA: I see. Pause. So who gave you the evacuation order?

TPG: My senior officer.

SNA: I see. Who is you senior officer?

Me: ???

TPG: Sorry?

SNA: Who is you senior officer?

TPG: You mean, you want the name?

SNA: No, was it someone from the management..is he nearby? Could we talk to him?

Me: Okay, so she wanted to talk to the senior officer. Makes sense.

TPG: No she came down but I can’t see her here. Must be somewhere nearby.

SNA: I see. So tell us, how strong were the tremors? What did you see?

TPG: Actually the things on our desks started to move.

SNA: I see. TPG can you please hold the line, we’ll get back to you.

Makes an announcement asking viewers to send in pictures or videos, if any. Talks to Indonesian correspondent again. Back to TPG.

SNA: So TPG, tell us, ummm Indonesia has just issued an ummm tsunami warning alert. Have you ummm heard about it?

TPG: Yes we just did.

SNA: I see. So tell us, ummm what do you feel about ummm the ummm tsunami warning alert?

Me: Much rolling of eyes. Why is she on TV??? Stupid stupid stupid news anchor.

TPG: Well we just saw it on TV here. We are just waiting for further information.

SNA: I see. So TPG, tell us, what was the expression on your colleagues’ faces when you were being evacuated?

Me: Watching her open-mouthed. Why, one of pure, unadulterated joy of course! Jaw on the floor.

TPG: Everything was quite orderly. Now we are all just waiting for further information.

SNA: Thank you very much TPG. That was TPG who was asked to evacuate from his high floor office in Shenton Way. We’ll bring you more as we get more reports. Meanwhile, over to Jack for the business update.

Oh my god. SNA takes the cake for being the stupidest and most inefficient of ALL stupid and inefficient anchors who run the show in the local channels.

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Soundbites- continued

Scene: Post-lunch at home. Our three Chinese friends and us relaxing in the living room. Random Tamizh movie on the telly, at the point where hero-heroine are singing and dancing. Two dozen other men and women in the background just dancing, no singing.

Friend 1, F1: Haha, that is so funny! But I love their colourful clothes. Hahahaha.

F2: Hehe. Hey how many times have the two of you danced like this?

F3: You must have run around a lot of trees too, right?

Us: This happens only in the movies.

F2 (Look of incomprehension): But you should have! It would have added so much romance to the relationship.

Hmm. Maybe that is the point to these song-and-dance sequences that we have been missing all along? Sometimes you need a(n) (unbiased) third party to put things in perspective.

Incidentally, F2 grew up watching Indian movies (I know!) and is fascinated with the whole deal. We have therefore promised to find her a suitable groom with diverse capabilities which are not limited to, but inclusive of singing (she doesn’t buy into the “it’s not them singing, there are people called playback singers”), dancing (but of course),  and Jackie Chan-ish stunt doer (a guy after her own heart).

Do you think this is within reasonable limits to be advertised in the Hindu classifieds?

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“So do you also hail from a village of snake charmers?” asked my colleague, of my home-town.

“Haha, surely you don’t believe that India is full of snake charmers, do you? And what really gave you the idea in the first place?” said I.

“I was watching a show on Discovery and this is what they said”, he insisted.

You mean, you never really watch anything else, like the news maybe? Or did you perhaps miss the part where it was mentioned that in present-day India, snake charmers are an endangered species?

“You must have got it wrong. I for one, have never seen a snake charmer in my life.”




“But India only has people of your religion, right?” asks innocent Chinese colleague, to two of us Indians, one Hindu and the other Christian. Looks at me with a genuinely confused expression.

“Who told you that?”

“That’s what we were taught in school. That’s what our text books said.”

A lesson in multi-cultural, multi-faith dominated Indian society followed. At the end of which the Chinese colleague was truly bewildered, and assumed I was joking. Until the other colleague said, “Hey, I’m a Christian and you already know I’m Indian.” Put all her doubts to rest.

(She was probably just as confused when I had once asked her if all Chinese kids are taught karate, table tennis and badminton in school.) 


“My husband just got back from Vaishnodevi”, said my Chinese colleague to me.

“Wow, that’s impressive! Did he enjoy the trip?”

“Yeah, yeah. And now he can’t stop talking about Shiva..he goes Shiva, Shiva..sorry, no offence meant.”

None taken.


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