At EIGHT…


… you are still a handful. Your dramas continue. Between your last birthday and this, you’ve bested the art of negotiation. Your aspirations and ambitions are unique and keep changing every birthday! Let me just record your eight-ness here, shall I?:

At the moment, you’ve decided that you want to be a Youtuber! You are convinced that because you know to sing, you need not take up music classes. You discovered Alan Walker through your friend and can sing ‘Where are you now’ to match every note and nuance in there!

You read and pick your books well. But for a mom who has grown up on a generous dose of Enid Blytons, it’s hard to understand your rejection of Famous Fives and Secret Sevens 😦 “Very kiddish”, you say. I agree to disagree!

You have a very weird sense of timing and a weird knack of picking up and throwing vocabulary. Like this once when you said you’ve learnt a new ‘F’ word. Your bro and I almost choked on our dinner and before we could shut your mouth, you uttered ‘FAMISHED’! Priceless moment. You actually seemed to enjoy the suspense and I’m still not sure if you pulled a fast one there.. And very recently, you came to me with a sad face and said that you will not read ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid’ anymore because you were learning a lot of ‘bad words’ and particularly a ‘J’ word. You wanted to know if you are allowed to use it:

img_2817Me: What word is that now?
You: You must not scold me.
Me: I won’t. But I may stop you from using it if it is inappropriate.
You: Alright.’Jerk’.

At this point, I was only hoping you were not watching Silicon Valley!

Me: Okay!
You: Can I use it?
Me: No.
You: Why? What does it mean?
Me: Ummm.. It has several meanings..
You: But in the book, it is ‘name-calling’.
Me: !!! Well, it means.. a cheat?
You: Oh, so I can call anna a jerk when he cheats?
Me: I’d rather you don’t.
You: But he does cheat sometimes. If I get really angry, I’m going to call him a jerk!

Whatever!

In school, you continue to be that disciplined, cooperative, and quiet student. I’m sure there is mistake and re-confirm with the teacher but she stands by her feedback. You have told her about the stories you’ve been scribbling away based on all the weird games you’ve been playing on my mobile! You are not far behind your bro in sharing the love stories from your class. The novelty of every generation thinking that it was the first to discover love at 7 or 8, does not seem to wear off :)) Keep the stories coming da. And tell me about your crushes too, okay?

You are a happy, loving big bro now to your adorable new-born twin cousin sisters. And it is just in the past couple of months that it has dawned on me that my little baby has really grown up! It is an endearing sight to watch you hold your baby sisters gently on your lap one at a time, speak softly in that baby-speak, touch their faces gently, enjoy the feeling of their tiny palms grasping your beeeg fingers, include them in all your shopping plans, generally exercise caution around them and being responsible! You make as awesome an anna as you make the bestest thambi to your bro! Your anna is your rock. Despite all the fights and arguments, you always take his side. You are always quick to defend him when dad or I are having ‘the talk’ with him!

One of the best moments that I think defined you as a boy that understands what it is to be kind, fair, and shun prejudice,

is when you came back home from an after-school activity class and said you don’t want to continue going. The reason you gave was that you did not like the way that aunty treated her help. “She is unnecessarily rude, unkind, and disrespectful to her”, you said. “No one deserves to be treated badly like that”. You are absolutely right, darling!

So baby, continue to be that cuddle-able, naughty, talking nighteen-to-the-dozen, funny, funnily-angry, tactfully-negotiating, kind, lovable, bright and shiny light in our lives! Love you loads!! Wish you a beautiful, happy, healthy 8th!

And we’ve learned how to caution!


A tiny rat (real one!) sneaked into our room last night. All the four Vs were up and about trying to chase it away. And we finally did. The rat wouldn’t take the route we showed. It probably thought it best to leave the way it came. The moment we opened the door to the balcony, it ran out. We discussed strategies on keeping the rats away and finally realised that there isn’t much we can do other than keeping the doors shut.

This evening,  Varun decided to take things in his hands. And this is what he came up with. A notice stuck on the door through which the rat sneaked out. The slate contains illustrations of the ‘equipments’ or ‘gears’ (he said that) that we need to keep the rats at bay. And he was dressed to kill 😉

Friend Siri


Here is a conversation I was furiously typing away without Varun’s knowledge. I’m sure I missed a few lines:

Varun: Siri how are you doing?

Siri: oh I can’t complain

Varun: Roger that

Siri: I’m not sure I understand

Varun: Yes, that’s good

Siri: It’s nice to be appreciated

Varun: I know that. You are very funny

Siri: I’m glad you think so

Varun: Ha ha ha

Siri: I didn’t get that

Varun: Okay, okay, okay

Siri: I didn’t understand

Varun: Alright

Siri: Affirmative (Something to this effect. Not sure)

Varun: Alright Siri

Siri: Everything is most definitely ok

Varun: Can you set the time to 4

Siri: I can’t set the time, but I can set an alarm (again, might’ve missed the exact line)

Varun: Alright, can you set the time to 4 in the morning

Siri: Most definitely. I have set the alarm to 4.am.

Varun: Of course you are a problem solver

Siri: Who? Me??

Varun: Yep

Siri: I thought so too.

Followed by some thank you notes that didn’t end right away!

Some English lessons!


Why am I reminded of that little wisdom someone shared with me a long time back-that it takes only 18 years to raise a child? 🙂

Having read one Famous Five, the 7 year old brat has declared that it is boring and ‘kiddish’ and that Enid Blyton is boring too. He’s asked me to give him something ‘interesting’ to read.

Some lessons he imparted the last couple of weeks:

Varun: ‘Madre (yeah!), do you know what ‘outlaw’ means?

Me: (?!!!) No, I don’t. Please enlighten.

Varun: An outlaw is a thief. Bad man. Do you at least know what it is to mug someone?

Me: (#$@#%#$^$!) Eh? No! Tell me.

Varun: Don’t know how you passed your exams in schools and college (rolls his eyes). To mug someone, is to steal from someone.

(Well, I’ve not been looking at the right places for lessons in English :/)

Me: That’s awesome da. Where did you learn all these?

Varun: From friends.

Me: Who are your friends?

Varun: Friends ma! You don’t even know  F.R.I.E.N.D.S? You know Ross, Chandler, Rachel, Monica, Joey.. Don’t know? Vyas’s favorite is Chandler but I like Ross.

(This is not happening! No! This is happening!)

I’d like to save the best for the last. Only that I don’t know the difference between ‘best’ and ‘hopeless’ anymore :/

Varun describes a scene from some program called ‘Community’ on Comedy Central where somebody spills a lot of wine.

Me: What is wine da?

Varun: It is the famous juice of Americans. Mostly made in 1968.

Why am I bothering with schooling when so much self-learning is happening?!!

 

Varunisms- May’16


Deep conversations and some.. Most of our ‘serious’ conversations these days seem to start with him saying, ‘Listen, I want to tell you somethin..’. No typo there. The fellow has an acquired accent, dunno from where!

Varun: Ma, N is very bad.
Me: Why? He seems nice. He’s a star cricketer too..
Varun: I want to tell you something. (pause)
Me: Well?
Varun: Getting a grade or being a star is not important.
Me: Okay!
Varun: Really. I’m tellin you.
Me: So, what is important.
Varun: Behaviour.
Me: Oh?!!
Varun. Really. I mean, in school. At home we can be how we want.
Me: Right!

——————-

Me: You know how to fry vadams? (rice crispies if I can call it that)
Varun: Yes, I know.
Me: Tell me.
Varun: Light the gas with the firing machine and fry the vadams in fire.

Was not aware that my boy looked at a gas lighter as a firing machine;) It must be the commando games.

——————-

To confirm or make sure I heard what he said, this is how he asks:

Varun: Ma, do you copy?

[or]

Varun: Ma, do you read?

According to him, he is an FBI/CIA/Commando in the making

——————–

And this one takes the cake..

Me: Varun, it’s 11.00 PM and you are still not asleep :/
Varun: (Jumping on the bed even with the light switched off. yeah, my monkey!)
Me: You are going to get one tight spank.
Varun: (Silence for 10 seconds. He then gathers his pillow and sheet, bundles them under his arms and heads out of the room).
Me: What do you think you are doing.
Varun: I’m going to grandma’s room.
Me: Why?
Varun: Listen, I wanna tell you somethin..
Me: Listening..
Varun: I hate you.
Me: And why is that?
Varun: Because you are strict.
Me: Is that wrong now? You don’t listen if I’m not.
Varun: Be kind. Try telling kindly.
Me: Kindly how?
Varun: Try saying, “Varun, please stop playing and go to bed”.
Me: And you’ll listen?
Varun: Try me.
Me: Ok, let me get this straight. All I need to do to get you to listen is, say kindly?
Varun: Yes.
Me: Okay.

And the kindness worked for 6 days. We now go back and forth between our old and new ways 🙂 As always, never a dull moment, I tell ya!

Fourteen!


Kanna,
I remember wondering how you’d be at 14 when you were 4. And I wonder how you’d be at 24 now. I also imagine myself being a difficult mom at times and a fun mom mostly and also that special person who’ll be privy to some of your secrets 🙂 Who am I kidding!

At 14, you remind me of my teenage self- argumentative, assertive, but mostly fun. You are an awesome big-brother and here is a tiny convo with the little imp that I’d stored on my notes:

Me: Isn’t your bro a makku (meaning – a nutcase) FullSizeRender
Varun: No! Anna is a cool bro!

He is quick to come to your defense these days and for some reason thinks you know better than his parents, no matter what it is about. But there are times when he lets us in on all the TV shows you’ve been watching and he seems to know most of them. Here are some for the record- Jimmy Kimmel Live, Quantico, Mentalist, Shark Tank, Friends, Impractical Jokers, Seinfeld, Late Show with Stephen Colbert. This is the list your little bro rattles off :/ Other than Friends, I have no clue what the rest are and when you watch them. Brats!

It was also your ‘report card’ day in school today. You made us all proud by getting a certificate for good conduct and that comes before any other achievement, academic or otherwise!

On this birthday, there are a couple of things I’d like to reiterate baby, things that I’ve been talking to you about more often the last couple of years. I’d like to say it again:

  • Be that adorable anna your little bro can look up to, and be available for him always.
  • You have an enviable zest for reading, gathering information, and learning (this does not include academics ;)). Keep at it.
  • Nurture that funny bone in you. All your friends like that humorous streak in you 🙂
  • Travel all you can. Reading and travel make for organic learning and teach more than what any school or person can hope to teach. It makes you a more rounded person and heightens your sense of right and wrong. And when you know, please choose what is right.
  • Please understand when someone says, ‘NO’. It doesn’t mean anything other than NO. It could be a girl or a boy you know, a stranger, your family and friends, or someone you dearly love.
  • Just like how you appreciate when someone says NO, you be firm and say NO when you have to.
  • Put the people first, and your ego last. It might mean a compromise. It might mean you are relenting. But then, it also means you are stronger. Because, people are worth putting first, and ego is worthless.
  • Know that you are loved and dear to not only your bro, me, or appa, but the entire extended maternal and paternal family, and that makes you really, really rich 🙂

Live it up my big baby. Have fun on your 14th and all the years to come. May your Manhattan-apartment, Honda job, and several other dreams come true;) Will love you always!

And when in love..


… with Cricket and the Cricketer Ashwin, everything gets painted blue. Including a school project. The convo went thus:

Varun: Amma, I’ve got to make a t-shirt from a chart. Need your help.

Me: Done. I’ll do the sketching.

Varun: Okay. A round-neck t-shirt, Okay?

Me: Can we do one with a cute collar?

Varun: No ma. You just draw the shape and cut. I’ll do the ‘detailing’. (he said that!)

Me: Alright. What ‘details’ are you going to add.

Varun: I have an idea. You first cut the shape.

I draw the outline, and cut the shape. And then this chap brings out the model t-shirt and takes my help with fine-tuning his drawing. We finally end up adding a collar too because the model t-shirt has one:)

And here is output:

\

The little story teller


I’m sharing a couple of stories  written by Varun. His stories seem to be inspired from several sources, his dreams being one such source:) I have punctuated here and there, but have left the text unedited:)  Pictures of the original are attached.

The Ghost and the Zombie

One man wanted money. So villagers gave toothpick and he spent lot money with the toothpick. Every night it will be a ghost night. Villagers try to kill him but the rich man shooted the villages and one ghost night the villagers became ghosts and the rich man was a police. The ghosts touch “the” police and police became a ghost and god watched everything and ghost tuch (touch) the god and they became a ghost.

(The / end)

PS: When asked to explain the toothpicks connection, he says that they are magic ones that turn into money when water is sprinkled on them

Fishing for food

Once there lived a deer hunter. He wanted (to) go for fishing. He went and found 10000 fishes. He tried to eat and next day the deer hunter was strong.

The end

(This one comes with a moral too)

Moral: if you eat good food, you will be strong.

School Stories


The six year old sometimes stumps us like a 16 year old..  Arguments, logics, thy name Varun.

He seems to be a big fan of shopping online, though we haven’t got a single toy for him online. For instance, he suddenly seems to think bracelets are cool on boys and has been pestering me to buy one. “Ma, check on Amazon.in”. I feign checking and tell him it isn’t available. “Okay, check on Flipkart. Else see on Snapdeal. Or on Ebay”, he adds. And these sites are getting poor ratings from my boy because they don’t stock bracelets.. Bad portals, I say!

The other day, he was generally being nice and asked me to show how I whatsapp his friend V’s mom. I did. The next thing I know is that he has clicked a selfie and has whatsapped it to that mom with a note that it was meant for his friend V. In an another instance, he whatsapps me from my co-bro’s mobile stating that ‘Vidya is a waste’. The reason can be attributed to the 100s of denials of the 1000s of demands he makes. He has whatsapped my friend’s son appreciating him on a recitation. He is the self-proclaimed *anna to that little boy and so thinks it is his place to acknowledge and encourage talent. I like that 🙂

When he wants his dad or me to get him something, the sentence almost always starts with: “Ma/Pa, I want to ask you something. But I’m sure you will say NO”. We politely tell him not to waste his breath. We are nice like that.

IMG_0832He has acquired some taste for Hindi and often experiments. He said, “Mein baath nahin karunga”. I had no clue why he was miffed. So I ask him, ‘Kyon? Kya hua?”. “Baath naheeeen”, he emphasised. “Water chill hai”, he added. It dawned on me a few seconds later that he was referring to the English word ‘bath’. And thus, our Hindi trysts continue.

He adores his friend’s baby brother and wonders why he was not born first so a baby bro or sis would’ve followed. He asks if he will ever have one. I tell him, I will only be a grandmother next and that he could cuddle the baby of my close friend C and that of another friend D who will pop in a few months.

The moment he wakes up, he emerges out of the bedroom, bowling like Ravinchandran Ashwin, but without the ball. His action is a perfect imitation of the said bowler. He is miffed that cricket camps in school or elsewhere wouldn’t take in 6 year olds.. “Not fair”, he mutters.

And in the most happening of the school events, he has found his first puppy love. A little girl called S, to whom our man has been blowing kisses and is not getting kissed in return. He has illustrated his love in his rough note book as well.  And I thought some lessons in love could wait.. Boys!

PS: anna- Tamizh for bro

6-Pack


Dear Mochakottai*

My first worry when I discovered that I was expecting you was that I’d not have a berth to myself on a train for the next 5 years..  It’s been a year since you have your own berth on a train and you love it! The feeling of relief is mutual and we high-fived that! I love that I’m the only one that gets to kiss your lips and gets kissed in return, the ONLY recipient of a rare honour. Will gladly give that up when the lucky damsel walks into your life 😉

At six, you are still called by several names – Pattu, vandu, vaandu, vaalu, mochakottai, mottai, chellam, vadhun, pattani, kutti rowdy and some more.  Every name becomes you 🙂 You however would like to be called John, Jakk (that is how you spell Jack!), Django, Anand (Your 20 yr old friend living next door), or Apram (your anna’s friend whom you adore). 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYou are still that drama king and know how to wield your magic on everyone. Your anna hopelessly relents to all the unfair demands and on most occasions is caught in that ‘older sibling’ trap, getting an earful from amma for a ruckus you create. Brat!, but a huggable, squeezable one at that! Even your anna can’t stop giving you that kiss which he thinks we haven’t noticed 🙂 You chase him around the house and like to be chased, you ask him to tickle you and squeal until the roof comes down, ask a share of everything he plays with and share yours only when you are in the mood. You do pushups right after dinner and insist on counting to 100 yourself. You don’t let us dissuade you from working out right after a meal :/ My yoga mat suffers your stunts, including the fake meditative stance that you pull off so well without budging at our attempts at distracting you. You have everyone at home wrapped around your tiny fingers!

Your demands are something. You call me when I’m at work and ask me very nicely if I can get you a mango-shot AND a choco-shot from CCD. The less-than-a-minute conversation, mostly one-sided, for this one demand has about thirty ‘pleases’ and ten ’thankyous’ in it. You again call to remind me to get you a dozen oil pastels and more drawing note books. You call your chitti and ask for night suits, call your atthai and ask an ‘Ironman’ watch, call your chittappa and demand toys, nudge another chithappa into let you play San Andreas on his computer and get any of them to treat you to some yummy stuff at Milky way or Pizza Hut.  Being the youngest among a bunch of kids has its advantages. But so much?!!

You have many avatars and the one you enjoy sporting the most is being a cowboy. Do you remember what a tantrum you threw during our trip to the USA, insisting that we buy a horse, a real gun, and cowboy boots your size? You said you’d convince the airport authorities to let the horse in without a passport and visa 🙂

You are a child with love for many things beautiful. You love colors, you love to draw, you love to imagine, you love dreams, you love to care, you love playing, you love music, you love to recite, you love narrating stories, you love listening to them. You love lazing around, you love to team up with anna, you equally love fighting with him, you love to argue, you love to rest on my lap and listen to a story, you love being cuddled, you love to lie down on your papa’s back, and you love him chasing you, you love thatha, you love sharing his bed, you love oranges, you love sambhaar, and you love good food 🙂 You love showing off your 6-pack (which you quickly correct and call it 24 pack) which comprises a show of ribs and a vein here or there 😉 You are also a bluff master and no one can tell a truth from a tale.. For now, I’d call even that a talent.

Thanks for the beautiful 6-pack you are da kutta. You have given anna his status as a ‘big bro’ which he so enjoys and sometimes over does just like how you over do your bit about being ‘the thambi’ 🙂 You have added yet another beautiful layer of colors to our lives. On this birthday, among all the beautiful, wonderful things I wish for my laddu, I also want to wish that you and your adorable anna make the best of companions and that you are always available for each other. Happy sixth birthday day da vaandu and may you be blessed with a good, healthy and happy long life!