The Hidden Cameras

Last Sunday, the tea-maker promised to make tea and was waiting for his dad to wake up after his siesta. Yours truly was tea-thirsty and decided to make it myself. The dad woke up just as I was pouring the tea into the cups.

As we were having our tea, Vyas spotted his dad gazing at the different corners of the ceiling of the room we were in. “Appa, I know what you are looking at. The Hidden Cameras!”, he declared. Puzzled, the dad told him not to read too-much into anything and suggested that he probably had an over-doze of Enid Blyton or TV programs. He denied the reasons of course! And then he said, “Appa, do you know that all TV shows have hidden cameras that focus on us?” We didn’t quite comprehend what he said and looked at him questioningly. “That is how they know we are watching them”. Still clueless, I asked him what he meant.”Ayyo, have you not heard them say, ‘You are watching XXX on Disney XD- or whatever channel that is? How do they know we are watching them? They have hidden cameras watching us!'”

It dawned on us that though his talks are BIG, he is still a little kid:)

And just in case you are curious, the dad was sizing up the age of the cob-webs on the ceiling and reminding himself that it was time we added color to the home with something more than just the natural web…

Machine Impossible?

A sewing machine that also doubles up as an iron-board has been occupying a little real-estate in our house. My dad gifted it when I was in high-school and I loved stitching outfits for my sis and myself. I haven’t sewed anything in it for a long time (read over 8.5 years) but it gets its space by virtue of being a nice, compact iron-board alternative.

A few months back, the sewing machine grew in stature as a play-thing with Varun doing a ‘zoin-zoin’ with the pedal, sitting on it for a see-saw effect and such other creative activities. The ‘big’ brother who had not acknowledged its existence so far, has suddenly woken up to the fact that there is an antique in the house and that it does have a little history. He wanted to know why we have it at home in the first place when no one is sewing on it. I don’t let a chance go by if it is an opportunity to brag about my skills:-) A bad habit I know! I told him I stitched salwars, skirts and blouses and loved wearing them to college. He quickly noted that he did not remember seeing me on the sewing machine even a single day. He wanted to know if I knitted him anything when he was a baby, and was disappointed to hear me say that I didn’t. With an intent of cheering him up quickly (quick reflex), told him that I was planning to revive the hobby very soon (don’t ask me how soon now! following blogs like these inspire one to tread dangerous territories:-) and that I’d knit something for him..

Maybe I said it too soon for my dear son latched on to the words: “Ma, will you sew me a nice shirt?” he asked. I declined as I had not learnt to make shirts. “A cotton trouser then?” he again. No baby, I do not know to make one. “An underwear for me at least? C’mon, it is easy to make ! I’ll help” he quickly added! This is too much of a challenge and what with my pride hurt, I promised to knit him one. The least he can do to help in the process, is wear it without a fuss and top it up with a good, ready-made one! There is no way I can I tell him not to discuss this project with friends, neighbors and sundry, lest it becomes the primary object of joke even before the design document is ready! There! I said it!

Growing up?

On a short vacation, Vyas and I were happily snacking in the evening at the restaurant attached to the resort while Varun and his dad were catching on some sleep. The little fellow was in one of his best ‘moods’ cracking some jokes and I was laughing away. A little later, he said something (that I don’t remember now!) that made me angry and I rebuked him. To which he said, “Thank God, at least now you are the normal strict-impatient-mom. You have either been laughing or smiling almost at everything I said the past hour!”

A couple of months back, during one of our usual one-to-one conversations, he surprised/shocked me by telling me that he liked the angry-mommy than the patient/friendly-mommy.

Whenever we have arguments (we have quite a few and quite often!), I have stood my ground to a ‘No’ as a ‘No’. He throws tantrums, pleads, looks for ‘outside’ support and finally relents when he knows that there is no way out. I have been trying to be a reasonable mom and if there is a strict ‘No’, it is either for junk food (pizzas, french fries, noodles are not included:)), or bad language/behavior. I admit there are times when I get tough unnecessarily and that usually happens when am angry with someone else or some situation and vent out the bottled-up frustration on my son. After some really very bad patches, I retrospect and apologize if I have erred, and if he is wrong, I try and make him see the point. When I sit to talk about how we could have handled something better, he, like an adult, says, “Amma, let us forget about it! Let us not talk about it” and dismisses it.

The more I think about these instances and try evaluating his statements, the more confusing it gets. A few questions I have been asking myself:

1. Am I being too hard on him?
2. Am I acting any differently after Varun’s arrival?
3. Or is it that Vyas is able to communicate his opinion/preferences in clear terms?
4. Or is it just his casual observation, a passing thing, and that I just need to ignore it for now?
5. How was I when I was 8 yrs old? Here, I could recollect several instances from my 2nd or 3rd standard. I understood when my parents had an argument, when a friend lost her parent, when there was a celebration, the joy of going on a trip, everything…

When I ask him why a child would like his mommy when she is strict when mostly kids of any age love being pampered, and like the mothers that yield to their demands, he tells me in a matter-of-fact tone that he really does not know why, but he really really finds me better that way!! Is there anyone out there who is able to even remotely identify with anything in this rant? Do share please! Will feel reassured if I know this is ‘normal’. If it isn’t, I have to work at it!!

I know what I’ll do this summer!

Was chatting with a few parents on the ‘swimming observation’ day at school recently. As is usual, the parents and kids were discussing the summer vacation plans. A parent was asking me if I was planning to put Vyas in any summer camp and wanted to know if we can plan something together. She casually asked Vyas what his plans were.

Our man said this: “I’m going to hibernate“!!


Why my son loves me…

Am openly jealous when I see kids with a lovely handwriting. Vyas’s handwriting leaves much to be desired and I cringe every time I open his notebooks! Well, that deserves a separate post. I guess someone has cast a spell over the last weekend as I see some legible work in his notebooks.

Vyas had trouble getting the numbers division right due to which he was visibly upset and frustrated. His mom made things more difficult for him because of the guilt-fever the working moms are known to catch often by worrying about not spending enough time with the child! Like a woman possessed, last week, I spent an hour teaching him to divide numbers and also gave him some exercises. Following this, he got all the divisions right in the class and he was elated. This ‘confidence’ and a little pep-up by his teacher on his handwriting has somehow egged him to write neatly and it showed in his home assignments. Maybe am saying it too soon:-)

He was proud of his neat work and kept bringing the notebook after every sum for my approval! I was happy indeed! And what followed was this:

Me: I love you da kanna! I love you because you are a sweet boy! You understand. I’ll be doubly happy and never get angry if you listen the very first time I tell you something! (I know its a little too much…. ‘konjam over’.. still..)

Vyas: Ok, ok.. I’ll write neatly hereafter ma!

Me: Super da! See how nice you feel when you do a job well? You are capable of writing neatly, but its the laziness that made you do a shabby work..

Vyas: (getting cautious) Amma, I’ll try, but can’t promise!

Me: What?

Vyas: I mean, you must keep reminding me that I have to write neatly. ok?

Me: Maybe the first few times. Then it’ll become a habit and you are already doing a great job!

Vyas: (beaming): Yeah, I know!

Me: (again) I love you very much because you are a lovely boy!

Vyas: I love you too ma. Because you taught me to divide!

Sigh!!! And not for the nice-mom-am-trying to be!!

Random Dinner-time Conversations

Vyas: Amma, if Apram falls sick..

Me: Wait.. He is not sick. And will not fall sick.

Vyas: Listen! Just saying… imagine… if he is sick, I’ll go and meet him with a ‘Get Well’ card!

Me: !!??$$ Ok. Just because you discovered about a ‘get well’ card, you want a friend to fall sick!! Sick!!

Vyas: No. Wait. Am not done yet… When I give the card, Apram will say, “Oh! am terribly sick with Chicken-pox!” , to which I’ll reply, “Ok da! Stop being a drama King!” Fancy that!

So, its about the urgent need to put some recently learnt words and phrases to use!


Vyas: Amma, I have a question.

Me: I know! Shoot!

Vyas: Who or what is a ‘suitor’?

Me: Errr.. umm…. Someone eligible or suitable for marriage. Meaning depends on the context. Where did you learn that word?

Vyas: When I was reading – The Odyssey…(had got him an abridged version)

Me: So, who has suitors?

Vyas: Penelope. Ulysses is the suitor. Others are un-suitors!

Me: (LOL!) Ulysses is the suitor alright. But the others are not suitable enough..(I suggest)!

Vyas: (Shrugs). Is The Odyssey real? I mean, is it a real epic or imagination like Ramayana? Is Troy a real place? And what about Ithaca?

Me: Its a Greek epic. Not sure if it is based on a true story. Will find out. I think there was a city called Troy. Not sure again..

Vyas: So why are they calling it Trojan war and not Troy war?

Me: I DONT KNOW! I’ll read about it and let you know. ok?

Vyas: Forget it. Do you know Roald Dahl’s father’s name?

Me: I really give up!

Life would have been tough if there was no Wikipedia! Again, am not complaining:-)

Small Savings Big Dreams!

Winnie-the-phooh is one happy, nicely fed, big-sized kiddy bank. He is the owner’s pride. Vyas takes care of Winnie by feeding him with the ‘disowned’ coins in the house and with a lot of Rupee notes sourced from grand-parents, aunts, uncles and sundry. Before Winnie entered his life, there was another little over-fed porcelain boy. It needed just one more coin to burst him. That was when my friend Rajavel gifted this kiddy bank to Vyas, which he bought on one of his trips abroad. In hindsight, I think Raj should have gifted himself one too for reasons best known to him:-)

Vyas has developed a penchant for saving ever since this bank arrived and we are very happy at the progress both are making:-) The curiosity bug bites me often and I ask him what he plans to do with the money he saves. He comes up with different answers each time. Am listing a few that I remember:

The happy bank1. Will save ‘enough’ money so that we can visit the UK and take a ride on the famed Thomas The Tank Engine train. He sourced the train information from the net when he was at some games in the Thomas… website.

2. Build a house each for his parents, grand-parents and for himself. And he’ll build it with his own hands.

3. Cars fascinate him. And so, he is going to save ‘lots and lots’ of money to buy a BMW top-open!! Even the idea of buying over a dozen Nanos in place of a BMW did not appeal to him.

4. A laptop all for himself. He can load his favorite games, and google for Power-rangers videos which is banned at home!

5. And this is the second best: He will use it to fund his business! He will design and sell a computer called ‘GENIUS’ which will be like Windows. He will set up a shop from where people can buy Genius. He will also provide a variant called JAEFFER, like Vista or Windows 7 he says!! I have no clue from where he invented these names! And his brother Varun can join him and together they will set up a huge establishment with glass doors et al!!

6. This is the best and my favorite. And a practical one. He wants me to set up a small library for him in our house. The library must have nice sliding glass doors. The lower racks will have books for his tiny brother so that he can reach easily. He will use the rest of the space to stock his collection!

While the mommy in me wants every one of his dreams realized, am seriously considering helping him with the last one. Will come back and tell you guys when it is ready.

Dream more dreams dear son for, sky is the limit! And follow them too…

The Tea-maker..

Often, at around 3.30 PM on a Saturday or Sunday, you will find a little man perched on a little chair, handing out instructions to his dad. The place of action is the kitchen and if you are wondering what’s cooking, it is the little man brewing tea for his mom & dad. The dad is only too happy to play an ‘assistant’ to his son, and happier still because he is spared the effort of having to make it. Vyas is very obliging when his dear mummy or daddy request a cuppa tea!

“Appa! Come, let us make tea”, he says and drags his small wooden chair to the kitchen. Appa has to play along and ‘help’ him with a few things. He picks the right vessel to make tea and fills out the water required to make exactly 2 cups of tea. “Appa, light the stove”, and appa readily helps. “Bring that tea dust, yes, the one in that dubba”. He adds the tea powder neatly and casually adds another small pinch like how his amma does, and hands back the dabba. “Now, sugar” he tells his dad. Adds sugar when he sees the tea boiling. “Pour out milk in this cup for me” he requests, and is quick to add “podhum, podhum (enough, enough)”. Waits for the tea to boil till the aroma tickles his nose and then carefully adds the milk. And gestures ‘wait’ at his dad with one hand, with his other hand on the hip, looking all serious and supervising the tea-in-making.

Last weekend, he insisted on making ‘adhrak’ tea to surprise the dad. So, he conspired with his mom and got her to pound a little adhrak (ginger) to make tea. So, I swapped places with his dad and heeded to his instructions! Once done, he announces proudly, “Dad, your tea is ready. Can you guess what I’ve added?”. Dad of course has to pretend ignorance and let the son reveal the secret. A nice ‘kadak’ (strong) chat-pata chai it was.

Tastes heavenly, specially if you don’t have to make your own tea! Right? He in return gets squeezed into a tight hug with a kiss and a huge THANKS! The little busy-body Varun looks on in wonderment, and these days he gets to taste the tea too. He approves strongly.. Wait baby, just a little more time, and you’ll team up with anna and bestow this favor on your dear appa and amma!


Peace of mind…

An exchange of ghyan on what everyone in this world is after- P. E . A . C . E.

Vyas: Ma, we must have a lot of peace. We don’t need anything else.

Me: What piece?

Vyas: Ayyo, i mean peace of mind (makes a meditative gesture, drawing in some breath).

Me: (little skeptical) Absolutely right. But, do you know what it means?

Vyas: Of course I do! Its, its, its a calm…

Me: Wow boy! You are right again. From where did you learn about ‘peace’? (i was already impressed)

: (Ignores my question and proceeds with his) Ma, who are Buddhists?

Me: They are followers of Gautama Buddha. Why? (I ask intrigued)

: So, are they Bodhisattvas?

Me: Well.. yes, yes.. (recollecting that he read a short story book on the life of Gautama Buddha)

Vyas: I want to be a Buddhist.

Me: What!?? Why?

Vyas: They have a lot of peace. I read an Amar Chitra Katha about the Bodhisattvas (using the word repeatedly to sound grown-up).

Me: You need not be a Buddhist to find peace. Everyone can find peace with a little effort (I reason). Why should you be a Buddhist for that?

Vyas: They always sleep. And so they are peaceful!!

Me: No, they don’t. They work.

Vyas: No, they always close their eyes and meditate and mostly sleep, and seek alms.

So much for the illustrations in the story book he picked up….. At the end of a hard evening trying to explain ‘peace’, we finally made peace and dropped the subject with a resolution to discuss this much later in life….

Family history shared in a bus

Bus travel is an experience. But never knew that it can be so very interesting. Come to think of it, the conversations we overhear (this is not intentional mind you!) are excellent bloggable materials. And am sure this deserves a special section in the blogs and am going to add special tags.

The travel time last evening from work to home was just over 35 mins. Between, ‘time’ is a tricky thing and I have a feeling it customizes itself according to people’s mood, place, or circumstance. Otherwise how could I have learnt the family history of 3 families spanning over 3 decades in about 30 mins? Many such conversations have made it to our lunch table discussions and then forgotten. They are worthy of being recorded for posterity. Precisely why am going to jot them down here!

Claimer 1: All characters, names, incidents, events cited below are real and have not been distorted.

Claimer 2: Hey you all women reading this. Don’t you ever believe when the guys say that they do not gossip or indulge in small-talk. They do it big time. There will be few smart guys who will attribute that gossip also to the presence of a girl or two in the group!

Disclaimer: Am not sure of the authenticity of the tales spun (err.. facts discussed) by the characters though.. And I mean no offence to you guys who traveled, if you chance upon this blog. Which I doubt..

Disclaimer: There might be mix-ups of conversations of B and Mani. Read on to see who they are..

A girl and two guys, all in their 2nd yr Engineering, were occupying the last seat and D70 is the bus route (in Chennai). They got to ‘know’ each other a little recently (this is my inference from the conversation that followed). For convenience, let me call the girl G and one of the boys B (for I did not figure out their names). The other boy is Manikandan and is brilliant. He himself made that claim and B vouched for his academic brilliance.

(Starts from where I picked up)

B ( to G): What’s the model number of your mobile?

G: Not sure da. Don’t remember actually. I shelled out 7K though.

B and Mani: Too bad you don’t know! Ok, what songs do you have?

G: Eei,check the file storage. My brother only knows da. He listens to the songs as I have pain in my ears when I plug the ear-phones in.

Mani: Why?

G: Don’t know. Must visit the ENT.

Mani: I mean, why don’t you know which songs are available?

G: Oh that! (giggles..) I told you I don’t use it. My brother does.

B: You have two brothers right?

G: I have a younger brother and 3 cousin brothers who are older than me. But they are as good as my own brother and are very fond of me.

B or Mani: Do you fight?

G: Yeah, we fight and forget soon too.

B: Yeah, that’s the way to be. I and my elder brother fight too. We are still close.

G: Do you both have sisters?

B: We both have an elder brother. Do you know something. My brother’s name is Karthik and so is Mani’s (it was at this junction that I got to know that Mani is Mani). And both did IT in Jerusalem college.

G: Same class?

Mani: No, my brother is studying while his brother is [some year]-passout.

G: So nice no?!! Do your brothers take care of you (unga annanga ungale nalla pathikkuvangala?).

B: Yeah. I told you we also fight.

G: You know, my brother takes his studies too lightly. He feels that he should have been born a year later.

B or Mani: Why?

G: No exams for 10th std from next year. That is why. He is in 10th now.

B or Mani: I heard that the exam ban is in effect from this year?

G: No No. I do not think so.

G to Mani in particular: I heard that you study very well?

Mani: See, I just listen in the class. I don’t spend hours studying like how others portray. But somehow, I manage to score well. Just listening in class matters.

G: I don’t know about that. I can’t make sense of half the things taught. Who do you think teaches that well? Most of them (i guess it is the faculty) are recent pass-outs!

B & Mani: Yeah yeah, you are right….

B: But what this guy says is true. I’ve never seen him with books at home. He is either watching TV or playing cricket or talking to me or other friends. His brother is even more brilliant. He was the District 7 (or similar rank, don’t remember) in 12th.

G: Wow! Your parents must have been very happy.

Mani: Yes, specially my dad. You know, my dad has struggled quite a lot when he was young. Very much!

B: Hey tell her about how your dad started da!

Mani: He (the dad) started working in a bakery at Red Hills when he was just 7. His dad ditched him after his (the dad’s) mom’s death and married someone else. He has struggled his way up since then.

B: His (mani’s) mom’s a great support. You know, their’s was a love marriage.

Mani: Yeah, my mom is very broad-minded. My parents still have not been accepted by my grand-parents (must be the mom’s side- my brilliant inference).

G: Sad na?! But it is nice that your dad has made it and has also managed to educate both his sons in professional colleges!

B /Mani : True, true! Really great.

G (laughs): Mani, I then don’t see any objections from your parents when the time comes…

Mani: Yes. They are very open to it.

G: I sometimes tell my mom that I’m going to find my own match. And my mom is too easy on that too. She says she’ll happily save the money to be spent on 50 sovereigns gold and dowry if i elope (laughs again)!

B: Hey what photo is this? (presumably the one in G’s mobile)

G: This is our college symposium. And this is when I went to Coimbatore for [something to do with college].

Mani: We should plan an outing with all our friends. Maybe Ooty or some place. It will be fun.

G: No way. My parents will not allow for more than a day or two at max. Maybe beach or ..

It was time for me to alight while their interesting journey must’ve continued. While the three-some discussed their families so loudly in so public a place like a local transport, what was heartening was to hear them speak highly of their family and there wasn’t a trace of vulgarity!

Life sometimes doesn’t seem complex at all. It can be run as a 30 mins slideshow…