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?!!

 

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!

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!

Kids!


dosamanVyas wonders why women are awarded ‘bachelor’s’ degree. Why indeed?!

The other day, he quickly called to show me the new OLX ad where the exasperated wife seeks answers to the snoring problems of her hubby. She tries OLX. And then he asks me, ‘amma, you want to put appa on OLX too?’

His favorite pastime now is making dosas. The best way to distract amma from prompting him to study.

For a better morrow..


The sheets on the calendar turn faster each year. There is more ‘grey matter’ adorning my scalp. Like a friend once suggested, I’d like to pass that off as a sign of wisdom and believe that I’ve grown wiser. In the December that went by, I was trying to reflect upon the good, bad, ugly, right, and wrong of another eventful year on this planet. It’s all a blur.

Somehow, my childhood seemed less complex and less terrifying. I’m an optimist by choice but I’m still unable to ignore a fear that is silently creeping into my system, a fear that was non-existent before. I’m worried about the kind of world my children are growing up into. On one hand, we wake up to the news of terror attacks, bomb blasts, rapes, and murders. It is the new normal. On the other hand, we splurge left, center, right, top, and bottom. Weddings are more elaborate and so are the other rituals. We party more, buy stuff on an ordinary day like there is no tomorrow, watch more reality shows on television that are far from real, watch soaps that are getting more slippery, and thrust our dreams onto our children and insist that it is indeed their dream. Exaggerating and portraying a very bleak picture of the present, am I? I’m worried nonetheless and long to see a few changes. No, that’s a lie. I actually want many things changed.

If it were possible to make one ‘national resolution’, I’d say, thwarting patriarchy. I believe it is at the root of the many unrests and is well concealed. I’d want a more level playing field for all our children. I’d want them to respect their freedom and space and that of others. I’d not want them to blow up or rape a fellow being. I’d want them to live in a truly free world where they can lampoon anyone and not get shot for it. I’d not want them to kidnap young girls or be kidnapped for exercising the right to education.

As a mother to two boys and an aunt to four nephews, I’d like to tread the line carefully. I’d like their circle of friends to be patriarchyinclusive. I’d like my children to know that attraction to the opposite sex is but natural. What is NOT natural is the feeling of entitlement and the sense of power (patriarchal) which makes them take a NO for a YES. I’d like them to know that while it is perfectly okay to ask a girl on a date, it is absolutely NOT okay to stalk, hoot, or harass someone emotionally, verbally, or physically. I’d want them to know that home and the associated chores is their forte too and that their sisters and girls among friends have an equal claim to higher education and a successful career.

Even with all the conscious treading, the soon-to-be-six Varun refuses to wear pink or insists on using Spiderman toothpaste, and says no to Barbie paste! He finds it amusing when his grandpa chops veggies and asserts that it must be done either by grandma or mom. Children absorb information from so many sources and besides the home environment, TV,Cinema, and commercials, fuel their imagination.

I’d like to make an appeal to the people in the make-believe world. To be more responsible with the content they dole out. The innocent, intelligent minds of our children are capable of ingesting good stuff. There is sexism in the commercials, an overdose of it in movies where it is dished out in the name of humor or comedy. The actor Santhanam’s comedy to name one. He is verbal diarrhea on legs. He seems incapable of doing three scenes without booze or three lines without sexual innuendos.. In one of the Tamil flicks, you’d find the protagonist and this excuse for a comedian harassing an airhostess (the heroine). And you have another senior hostess almost advising the heroine to put up with it. There is touching and groping. In another scene, the duo follow a girl on a two-wheeler with most part of her face covered. At the traffic signal, when the girl uncovers her face, you’d see the hero spit. Seriously? Since when did these things become funny? Today, at least in Tamilnadu, it is practically impossible to innocently use the words ‘figure’ and ‘item’ because it is a derogatory reference to a chic woman.

You rarely find an inclusive commercial that shows a man cleaning the toilet or obsessing over a dish-washing liquid. There is always a woman who uses spices or flour of a particular brand and waits on the other family members at the dining table. The family has to collectively certify her cooking prowess (and the credit goes to the brand of course!). It is always the man who insures his life for the well being of his wife and children. Women’s lives are not worth insuring of course. It is always a man who applies for a home or car loan. The quintessential provider. Some brand (Fair & Lovely) suddenly decided to be gender-neutral and introduced fairness cream for men! Numskull of an idea, don’t you think? Where a brand can responsibly denounce discrimination based on color, it promotes ‘fairness’ and implies that dark-skin is a serious lack. I can go on.

One can hope though. Hope for a systemic change. Changes in the way the parents engage with their sons and daughters, sensitizing them to gender issues. Changes in the way the parents model their thoughts and actions, leading by example. Changes in the way teachers engage with the students and encourage inclusivity even while allowing room for mistakes, fun, and infatuation. Changes in the content media dishes out because children suck up to it more quickly and also internalize the messages. Some changes from within and some from the world outside. I told you. I’m an optimist by choice.

Things you shouldn’t do early in the morning


Varun walks out of the bedroom on a Sunday morning, still rubbing the sleep out of his eyes. Looks at the big bro meddling with mom’s smartphone. Walks up to him and snatches it from his hand, puts it back on the table and says, “No gadgets early in the morning”!

Sometime later, the dad walks into the room and switches on the TV. Some cricket match in progress. The little man walks up to the TV and switches it off. “No gadgets so early in the morning”, he says.  The time is 10.30 AM. This time he comes straight to the mommy and does a high-five.

All is well with this world.

Jokes or hints?


Vyas, for some reason, is sharing quite a few contextual jokes with the mom and dad these days.  Sample this:

To mom:

“Ma, read this joke where A tells B that a brilliant artist can change a smiling face into a crying one with a single stroke.  For which B says that his mom does it with equal ease”!

To dad:

“Pa, a teacher tests a kid for his numerical abilities.  She asks him how much money will he have if he already has six rupees with him and his dad gives him ten more. To which, the kid answers that he’ll have six rupees. The teacher frets and says, “You don’t know basic addition”. The kid says, “You don’t know my dad”!

#Discretion #cheekiness #toomuch!

What to say?!!


At 12 (going on 13), the older brat wonders thus on a community he has created on G-Plus:

“….and y is ronaldo kissing a shoe?must leave a bad taste in his mouth.”

At 5 (going on 6), the younger one reacts thus when I tell him how beautifully he draws and that he should try attending a drawing class because he’ll enjoy it..

“Oh why, oh why, oh why did I grow up?”!!!

Surely I’d heard him wrong, but on further prodding he says,

“Why did I grow up mom? So much work to do – writing, drawing, reading, cycling, playing!! “

A bright future awaits..