The golden rendezvous (contd..)

The build-up!

The two teachers were friendly, and Vyas had worked with one of them for a school project!

Teacher A: Hello!

Varun: (Turns and sits showing his back to the teacher).

Teacher to me: Please come and sit with him so he feels comfortable.

I do.

Teacher A: Shall we stack these rings? (and hands him a ring)

Varun: (Grabs the ring and throws it near the other teacher’s feet. Repeats it the 2nd time too!!)

The dad and I exchange that ‘gone-case’ look..

Teacher A: What’s your name?

Varun: Solla matten. I’ll not say

Teacher A: Sari, indha book pakkalama.? Shall we see the pics in this book?

Varun: Enakku yedhuvum vendam. I don’t want ANYTHING

Teacher A: (Points at a bicycle pic and asks): What is this?

Varun: Adhu Auto. That’s an auto-rick.

Teacher A: (Points at the auto and asks): Appo idhu enna? So, what is this?

Varun: Ummm… Cycle

Teacher A: (picks another book, points at a camel and asks): What is this?

Varun: Cow

Teacher A: (Points at the cow and then the same question)

Varun: It says Mooo…

At this point, you’d find an involuntary reflex from the dad, mopping the sweat-beads on his brows, and the ‘gone-case’ look now most visible on both our faces!..

Me: Just a moment. Let me try.

Teacher B: Please do! (And is visibly relieved!)

The brat at this point decides to run and check on the others! I bring him back.. I suddenly feel drained of energy!

Teacher A: Now, do you want a chocolate?

Varun: Chocolate vendam, onnum vendam! I don’t want anything!

Teacher A: A wafer? (And pulls out a wafer)

Varun: (Eyes the wafer and before we realize, has snatched it from her! This boy, who is generous with his ‘thank yous’ and ‘pleases’ when i help pick dry leaves or twigs to make a forest on a heap of sand, when i help find his screw-driver or spanner, SNATCHED a wafer, which is not even something he greatly likes! And we all are of course zapped and for a second I forget to even close my mouth!)

Me: (Opened the books with pics of vehicles): Where’s the scooter?

Varun: (With a bite of wafer in his mouth, points correctly at the scooter for a change)

Me: Where’s the motor-bike?

Varun: (Points correctly..)

The teacher gets a cue and leads from there, and what follows is a rapid-fire round!

Teacher A: (Points at the car) Idhu enna? What is this?

Varun: Car

Teacher A: (the plane) This?

Varun: Aeroplane

Teacher: What’s the color?

Varun: Blue (There is a thin blue line on a fully white plane. Technically, a white plane. But pass)

Teacher A: Where’s blue here?

Varun: Dho..(points at the blue line!)

The teacher pulls out a few rings in different colors and our man identifies all the colors..

Teacher A: What’s the color of your tee?

Varun: Yellow

Teacher: Whose pic is that on your tee?

Varun: Kisshnaa (his mouth stuffed with the last bit of the wafer!) Krishna!

Teacher: You want to play cricket? Here, take this ball and bat..

Varun: Maaten! Naan foot-ball dhaan veladuven. No, I won’t play cricket. Only foot-ball.

And he thrusts the bat in dad’s hand and hits the ball all over the room..

Teacher B: You must be a good boy like Vyas when you come here next, ok?!

Varun: Looks at her, and turns away without a response!

Teacher B (To us): Here, please fill in this form and pay the fee in that counter, over there!

Phew!! We said a hurried thank-you, lest she changes her mind, and rushed to the counter!The entire 15 mins, felt like an eternity! A good 5 minutes later, when I was leading Varun out of the room, he went to the same teachers and bid a very endearing ‘Byeeeeeeee, voluntarily!!’

Now, we most certainly would not have been refused admission if Varun had not answered even a single question right.. The interview at this school is more to assess if the child is ‘ready’ for school, and if there is a case of a delayed/different milestone etc.. There were cranky kids crying due to hunger or sleep, some simply bored, a few still sucking the thumb, and even smaller kids who were barely stringing a few words together, a few, absolutely mature and so cooperative and at their best behaviour.. (another friend’s son sang Shakira’s waka waka!) All made it… But only our man seemed to be like a fox on an overdose of honey (thaen kudicha nari!). If anything, I’m now sure that they do not refuse admission even for bad behaviour provided, the older sibling is a ‘good boy’:) If they had refused admission, we would have pulled out Vyas also and put both of them in another school just 2 blocks away from my house, and that was Vyas’s worst nightmare:) It was really the anna who sought the admission for the thambi after-all!

A bird collage

Pictures of the one we (Vyas and I) did recently for his school activity.. Amma did the basic drawing. He had to use items used in cooking. So, we used coriander and cumin seeds, fine broken wheat for the body, toor dhal for feet, pepper for the eye and the title (Vyas’s idea:)), and chappathi dough for the outline, claws, and beak.

Drawing inspired by the above pic in Varun’s Big Book of Birds:) – A copy cat, yes!

Anna All-rounder!

On a cold working day… What? You are not buying the ‘cold working day’ because I’m talking about a day in Chennai?.. Well, it can be a cold working day in Chennai if you are inside my new office premises (same company though) when the AC temperature is set to make your fingers and mind go numb… Well, I digress..

So where was I? Yeah, so on one such day, the sonny boy calls up after he is back from school.. Which by itself is unusual.. He used to call once in a while to ask if he could take a bar of chocolate.. But that was when he was a small boy till a few months back.. Now, this big boy calls and asks me to guess why he called.. It was not chocolates, not a sleep-over at his friend’s, no beyblades, no books, no pizza.. And the amma gives up..

And then, my dear boy tells me on phone that he was awarded the ‘All Rounder’ prize for the last academic year!!! The mommy as expected, reacted with a stupid- “Really? Wow!!”, but it was lined with 200% enthusiasm!Really! Vyas on the other end reacted with, “Yesss ma! You know what, when the teacher read out my name, I thought there surely was a mistake”!! Trust my boy to say just that.. He really takes after me and ONLY me!!

I’d be lying if I were to say that it didn’t matter to him or me, though this was never the goal we ‘chased’.. It is a happy moment for the V-family:) He did not want any of us coming to watch the prize distribution, but we all sneaked in without a noise and cheered every kid that walked the stage..

What this prize means to Vyas: Varun will not be refused admission for the coming academic year by virtue of his anna being an all-rounder;)

Results will follow and how!

The progress report and the answer papers of a test the last academic year were handed over during the open-day at school. The teacher’s observation was that our man was a little careless. He seemed to do things in a hurry so he has time to play with friends. This, she thought, reflected in the cycle test too where he’d copy a question wrong. I did not tell the teacher (and Vyas) that more than his impishness, it was also the gene that should take the blame:)

Vyas and I were going over the Math answer paper in which he’d got a division wrong as he had copied the question wrong. The teacher had put a big bold comment against the working saying- Copied the question wrong.

The next series of tests were round the corner and when we were at the Math exercises, I told Vyas exactly this:

Kanna, remember what your ma’am told? It is perfectly okay if you get stuck with a problem or you do not know the answer to a question. Look at the questions carefully when you write so you at least don’t get the questions wrong! There is no hurry. Put in your best efforts. Results will follow.

You are wrong amma. Results don’t follow just like that. The teacher will correct the answer sheets and put a score. Only then will the results follow.

And the result? The dad is sure that he’s taken after the amma! Will patiently await my turn!

Truth and lies co-exist

I found this assignment by Vyas in a worksheet early last academic year.. The papers were returned at the end of the term and I’ve saved few like this:)

In case you are not able to read the text in the images, its here:

How I help my mother

I help my mother to make noodles, pasta and soup (truth)

I help my mother to make papier mache (ummm… part truth)
I help my mother in dusting and sweeping the floor (absolute lie. he knows he has to eventually learn doing it)
I help my mother to deliver clothes for ironing (part truth.. sulks big time)
I help my mother to take out a book I like (now what do you call this… who is helping who?)
I help my mother to find her cellphone (truth)
I help my mother to take care of my younger brother (truth)
I help my mother to put clothes in the washing machine (a slight correction.. helps the dad)
I help my mother to clear the bed (a big lie..)
I help my mother to put my toys in the tub (again! considers it a ‘help’!)

Kavithe, Kavithe!

Sharing pics of what Vyas wrote in one of his prep classes in school for Young Learners Test (conducted by British Council). And the fella had not shown me what he’s been learning/writing in this program. On the day before the YLE test, I ransacked his folder and found this sheet!

Attempt 1- on Friends/Friendship
Attempt 1- on Friends/Friendship

To spare you some ‘squinting-grunting’ effort:

Friends are the best companies for life
Reading books, chatting together,
Interesting fun and frolic
Enjoy and stick together,
Never always shout at each other
Denser! Your friendship grows.

Says he tried hard to string the lines nicely and make it rhyme, but felt bored to rework!

Attempt 2- on any object
Attempt 2- on any object

Down the road
Bounces the ball
All so bright
And shiny overall
Bounces so freely
Without stopping at all.

This one, I looouved:)

A poetry-writing activity in the class! When asked if he enjoyed writing it (think of the stupid questions asked for the Ms/Mr.India contest), our man had to say this: “Wish I could time-travel. I want to meet the person whoever wrote the first poem and ask why the hell he started it! You have to think so much in so little time!”. [Rolls his eyes!] Bandha party!

And now, for some Khel Ratna

The extra dark pencils seemed to wear off too soon for my liking and Vyas clinging to the 1.5 inch of what remains of the used pencils, stuffing them into his pencil box obsessively without trashing them was even more weird. Till a few months back, he’d want to change pencils everyday- either he’d lose them in class or would simply look for an excuse saying the pencil is too light- and a demo would follow. The lead (the graphite stick in pencils) will just about make contact with the paper, and he’d trace a ghost for letters to convince me that the pencil was bad.

A chance discovery a couple of weeks back helped put the puzzle pieces in place. Afterall, the pencils (and erasers) have more use than what meets the eye. You could make a Galaxy Pegasis, a Fire Sagiterrio, a Storm/Lightening Pegasis, or an Earth Eagle.. Yes, a planet of possibilities. If you are hearing these names for the first time here, welcome to the exciting, not so expensive world of easy-peasy, makeshift Beyblades!

Create from waste is out; waste to create is in! The pencils were/are drilled again and again and again and serve higher purposes- the making of pocket friendly Beyblades. The hooks are broken when they are a centimeter in size and the sharp edge is thrust into the center of a Natraj eraser, and lo! the Beyblade is ready!

The atmosphere during the breaks in the classroom is charged- the self-appointed teams with cheer groups contest for power. Its caught on like a virus and I’ve heard reports on shortage of pencils and a particular type of erasers..

The making:

Harbor no doubts on if this will work.. errr.. spin..It works like a song! The mommy and daddy had a small induction course on, well, how to spin. The dad received a ‘OK’ certification after say 5 trials, and the mom got a ‘somewhat OK’ after 7 trials. While we 3 were at this, thatha was entrusted with the job of keeping lolly-polly Varun at bay.

Here’s the champ at work. The chant goes like this: 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, let it rip!

The mom was too too impressed and conferred the Khel Ratna on her son instantly. In return, the son bestowed the ‘Mother of Khel Ratna‘ on the hapless mommy, who by the way is seriously contemplating taking this game to the corporate world!!

PS: Pliss to excuse the video quality.. Old-gen mobile phone camera it is..


Vyas, his cousin Adi, and I had a super time in the school Carnival – a good package of games, music, and food. The two boys got in and out of queues for every game and were on their own and I sat wondering when they grew up! I treated myself for a simple mehendi on my palms at one of the stalls by a student of std.11 while the two were busy trying their luck at various stalls:)

Adi came up to me after a little while saying he wanted to visit the ‘Kili josiyam’ stall. Yes, there was this counter with kili (parrot), eli (rat), and kai-regai (palmistry) josiyam. Piqued by the presence of such stalls in a school Carnival, I accompanied the two to that counter, and was surprised to see the venue flocked. I asked Vyas if he wanted to try too.. “No maa! They’ll simply lie. A hoax!” Aah, same blood! Yes baby, you are right. “Adi, are you sure you want to try it?”. He said, “Yes maami, just like that please.” I waited to see what the fore-seers were telling the other kids- a random assortment of lives of a million people packed, compartmentalized in about 2 dozen cards and a parrot/rat to pick!

The standard message seemed to be- Study well. That is the only thing which is going to take you places. Ok, no damage, though only the obvious was stated. While we were waiting, I saw another girl, around 15 yrs old, whose palm was being read and she was crying buckets. I couldn’t hear what was being said, but the girl was engaged in an animated conversation with a woman wielding a small wand like object! I wanted to pull back Adi but the parrot had already pulled out his card:) I turned to see if I should go and tell the girl to scoot, and fortunately she had left!

Two more girls, almost the same age as the other girl, had queued up to that counter and were trying to decide on which josiyam to go with. I told the girls that they’d be wasting their time and that I just saw a girl leaving the counter sobbing profusely. “Ayyo, we wanted to have some fun aunty. We don’t want to pay twenty rupees for someone to make us cry.” They saw the Mehendi on my palms and decided that either a Mehendi or the Saravana Bhavan stall would be a better option and scooted off. As I was busy sharing some gyan with the girls, I missed the prophecy for Adi. When I looked him askance, he said, “Nothing much. Chumma. Nanna padikanummnu sonna” (He said I must study well). “Padikalenna, avan onnum kadayadhunnu sonna” (he will be nothing if he does not study), concluded Vambu-Vyas, who had been witnessing the josiyam:)

Adi won in 3 games while Vyas got none:) So he said, “amma, let me win something nice for my tummy at least!” His priorities!

Division of labour

With the *IAS exams approaching, I gave Vyas a few math problems to work out. One of the questions was this: A mechanic had to fit tyres for some cars, 4 tyres each. He had 35 tyres with him. So, for how many cars did he manage to fix and were there any tyres remaining?

Having given him a few more questions on these lines, Varun and I went out to the corridor for our usual moon-talk and the little one was so excited because the moon was playing hide and seek with him, thanks to the inclement weather and the cloudy sky!

Vyas followed us a few minutes later with the notebook.

Me: Finished already?!!

Vyas: No!

Me: Why?

Vyas: The questions are ‘chappa easy’ (his slang for ‘too easy’).

Me: Show me the page. (And pointing at the above question, I asked him what the answers were).

Vyas: (silence, and cloud-gazing)

Me: Dei, how many cars got the tyres?

Vyas: Simple. You must actually ask the mechanic. He might’ve fixed for just one or maybe none. Who knows!

Me: Arrrgghhh!

Vyas: And one more thing. Question-e thappu modhalle (The question is wrong to start with!)

Me: What? Why?

Vyas: Cars have five tyres. You forgot to account the 5th – the spare one!

Me: I’m impressed son. Please try this same division method with your teacher and don’t change your mind about the answer.

*The fuss and frenzy by parents over a regular term test will put IAS/CAT entrance preps to shame!