A glimpse into the mind of a 21st-gen kid

What was I thinking not recording the conversations with my fellas this past few years? The first-born of course has officially told me not to share stuff about him in the blogosphere. Privacy and all that! A matter of time before the second-born imposes stiff rules on what I can and cannot write about them.

I need to tell though that at 10, Varun is officially 50. Yes, it’s possible. Here’s a conversation during our walk up to the nearby library yesterday. We have to walk past the school where the boys study to get to the library. And this past Friday/Saturday happened to be the cultural fest in their school. Vyas was one of the volunteers pretending to be busy and was still in the school premises around 5.00PM when we were on our way to the library.

When we neared the school,

ME: Hey Varun, I see some students there on the ground. Let’s hang out here for a while and see if we can spot Vyas. Let’s see what he’s really busy doing.

VARUN: Ma, no, let’s keep walking.

ME: Please da. 5 minutes?

VARUN: Ma, please. You’ll embarrass him. Don’t make him conscious.

ME: Embarrass him? How? Why would he be embarrassed by me?!

VARUN: No, it’s not like that. See, the thing is, he’s grown up. He’s 17 mom. He doesn’t need you around all the time, watching out for him. You know, he doesn’t need your help like how he did 5-6 years back. You should try and understand the 21st-gen kids’ ma.

ME(Aghast): Hello! You are still my kids and it doesn’t change anything. If you 21st-gen kids are going to feel embarrassed about your own folks, I guess something’s wrong with your generation. That attitude I’d say is being insensitive and shallow. Don’t you think? Why I will never be embarrassed about my children.

VARUN: I’m pretty sure we’ve embarrassed you quite a few times. Maybe you don’t want to admit or you don’t remember.

ME: Nah! I still think you are wrong. So what do you think I should be doing? (By this time, we had walked past the school)

VARUN: Nothing much. Maybe just back-off a little? You know? Like, not crowd him?

ME(floundering for words): Wh–What? Oh, you think so? Ummm.. (I go quiet, wondering where all this was coming from)

VARUN: (After almost a minute of quiet): Ma, did I offend you? I’m sorry I didn’t mean to hurt you. Just wanted to let you know how we kids think..

ME (At a loss of words still): No, it’s okay. You didn’t hurt me. I do want you to understand how parents think too..Okay?

VARUN: Alright mom. I love you. You know that right?

Right! I’m trying to catch up. That is all!


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, cars, ads..

Did I tell you that Vyas is into automobiles lately? He is also a beeeeg fan of Honda and has even been defending their recent recall of some cars due to defective inflators. He tells everyone that he is going to become an automobile engineer and will join Honda. You’d think he already has an offer letter from the company! Well, that is some change of plan considering he originally wanted to become a ‘garbage collector’.

Vyas’s favorite magazine now is Autocar India. He doesn’t miss a word, starting from the title to the copyright information at the end of the book, every month. Will never be bored of talking for hours together on the auto-specs to any random person walking this planet. It doesn’t matter even if the listener is not interested.

The big brother’s influence rubs onto the little fella too. Varun though seems to prefer style over substance. His favorite car (he says), is the Lamborghini Murcielago. Next fav. is the Bugatti Veyron. BMW comes third and last is Honda. The other vendors are not in the reckoning at all. He can keep gawking at the various pics of the various sporty cars in the various car mags and books at home!

Car-craze plus commercials does something to kids. Here’s is a sample..

The other day, Varun was watching a BMW ad. He turned to his dad and said,

Varun: “Appa, shall we buy a BMW”

Dad V: “I don’t have the money to buy one”

Varun: “Listen pa. It is easy. Call Quikr. They’ll give more money for our Honda City.”

Mommy/daddy- *facepalm*

Vyas: Hey, Honda is the best. Appa, you retain the Honda. Buy us a BMW.

Dad V: Ok, will check if it available at Connexions tomorrow.

Told you. Vs are like that only!

Gift of the gab

Varun: What?! U.K.G means going to school every day?! No way!

Me: Err… ummm.. It is not like….

Vyas (interrupting my defence): No da Varun.. You don’t have to go everyday. UKG means, 5 days school and 2 days holidays. And the process repeats. Again 5 days school and 2 days holidays and so on. After a few cycles like that, you’ll get about 50 days holidays and you’ll be in the 1st grade!

Varun is convinced. Only, I don’t know why!

Vs Cricket

paasa malar
1.Dad V is the bowler, anna V is the batsman, little V is the wicket keeper, but one who keeps wickets differently. He squats on the bowler’s end or sometimes at silly point and takes position, with his tiny hands cutely cupped to receive the ball. Both the field positions are equidistant from the bowler/batsman when playing inside the house.

2. When its Varun’s turn to bat, the ball is sent rolling on the floor either by dad or anna. He sweeps the bat clearly. 2 out of 10 times, the bat comes in contact with the ball. The rest of the time, the ‘bat turns’ letting the ball hit the stump (the door) and anna yells ‘bowled!!’. This enthuses Varun and he takes a quick single. Sometimes even two.

3. The anna sometimes acts bossy and does not rotate strike with his thambi.. Amma is annoyed at this show of meanness and intervenes.. Varun pitches in with, “vonnimshon da. amma, naangalaam kirkate veladrom maa..” (asks his brother to hold on for a minute- oru nimisham da.. and clarifies that they are playing cricket. I have no business to interfere and rebuke his anna). Vyas is quick to stick out his tongue at me, and happily passes the bat to thambi. With all the love.

Who is the anna?



A scene which is going through rinse-repeat cycles at home:

Me: (screaming at Vyas for some half-baked job- usually not clearing up his books mess, incomplete school work, not clearing up the bed etc)Vyas, this is the nth time I’m telling you to sort this mess!

Varun: Ammaaaa, anna-ve merattadhe! (amma, don’t threaten anna. and says that authoritatively wagging a finger at me!)
Varun again: (Turns to his anna and says): Anna, nee samathha padi-da (Anna, be a good boy and study. says it in a cajoling, sing-song manner!)

Varun: Anna, unku odambu charilliyaaa? (anna, are you not well?)
Vyas: Yes da.
Varun: Feveraa (Do you have fever?)
Vyas: Ummm..
Varun: Crocin chaapudu. sayya poidum. (Have crocin. You’ll be alright!)
Me: Varun, come here and empty your plate.
Varun: Yenakku vaendaam (I don’t want)
Me: Varun, be a good boy. Illenna, ammakku kovam varum. (Or I’ll be angry).
Varun: O-ho! Iru! (and looks out of the door for someone and calls out.) Bhoodham, inge vaa. Vandhu amma-ve merattu! (Beckons the devil to come and threaten me. says it in all earnestness!)

Me:(pointing at a tyre): Varun, what is that?

Varun: Circle!!
Me: Good, that is its shape. What is it?
Varun: Round!!!
Me: (not giving up yet..) Super. You are right. You are talking about the shape. But what is the object? Idhu enna?
Varun: (looks into my eyes for 5 full seconds and draws a circle in the air and says..) Idhu dhaan (It is this!)
I gave up.

Knowledge upgrade pack from anna

The ‘big brother’ has imparted considerable knowledge to the younger sibling the past X-mas vacation. A sample of the addition to the little one’s vocabulary:

1. yelai, enna lei (a dialect of Tamizh loosely translating to – hey, what is it)

2. Sonnommule (see, i told you!)

3. annathe, enna annathe (what is this brother?!)

4. vaenaa, pichipuduve, pichhi! (I’ll rip you apart)

5. enthira. enthira, enthira enthira, enthiraaaaaaaaa,, followed by arima arima (no prizes for guessing this one)

6. ayyyo! potanda! (response to the center fresh ad on TV where the dad slaps the son)

7. aathaadi! (an expression expressing surprise! and even a mundane thing like a fan running when switched on, seems to surprise the two!!)

8. Aiyae, gummnnu iru (shut up)

Am unable to recollect few others like these. I have no idea from where he picked up these gems! I like only the ‘aathadi’ sound from this list! The rest? Well…..

More Varunspeaks and a milestone

A look of serious concentration for 2 seconds followed by a triumphant smile on Varun’s face. From a distance, its a little difficult to see, hear or assess what transpired in those few seconds. I ask him, “enna veshamam panne”? (what mischief are you upto?). He showcases his broad cute grin and says, “amma, vannun gaecchhu vittutaan!”, explaining his rear-wind action – with or without noise! The dirty fella:) Am happy with the new milestone reached. No, am not talking about his farting skills! The colic-pain cries are now a thing of the past. My little boy has grown enough to explain himself a little:)

The moment he hears my voice on the phone, or the minute I step into the house on returning from work, he puts his arms around my neck and says – “amma, pashikaradhu amma” (amma , am hungry. And he would have just finished his meal). What will I not give to hear him repeat it time and again?!

On seeing me in changed clothes when starting for work in the morning, he comes running to me asking, “amma, dhupattha pottukalae?” (amma, you haven’t worn your dhupatta?), “chappale pottukale?” (what about your chappals?), “phone-a ethukalae?” (and your mobile phone?).

An angry glare from me is met with either a tight hug followed by “enn chellam” (my pet, he tells me!) or its the other extreme- “nee baana po” (don’t need you, go!).

Every wall in the home is adorned by his colorful scribbles- he says those are ‘dhadhathais‘- butterflies! Changes his mind the next minute and declares those sketches are tinkel-stars (twinkling stars). Suit yourself kutta, but scribble please. I love that look on your dad’s face- trying to keep you from scribbling, at which you decide to draw all over yourselves, the limbs, tummy, face, neck, palms- everywhere:) And he has to settle for the lesser evil of letting you decorate the walls!

The anna does his best to spoil the not-so-baby brother by dancing to his every tune! The little one says – “anna chuthi chuthi ” and the anna has to go round and round. Anna has to play his fav. rhymes or Thomas Tank Engine every time he asks, forgoing his own TV-time. He has to eat from anna’s plate, drink from his bottle or cup, wear his tees which fit him like a long night-gown, sleep on his pillow, scribble in his notebooks and will insist on me reading him the book which anna has! Vyas has to settle for reading Varun’s copy of Snoring Shanmugam, or the Silly Story of Bondapalli, while the mommy reads Vyas’s abridged version of ‘The Time Machine’ to little Varun, abridging it further to a mere ‘clock, machine, time, travel, A, B, C, D, S, 1, 2, 3, flower, motor, well, flying, scientist uncle, uncle’s friends, Eloi, Weena, and Morlock!

Someone say STOP please. I have quite forgotten how to apply brakes when I get started. My kids’ fault that!


The anna at times becomes the thambi, and thambi acts like the anna! Like the other day when Vyas was at his homework, I called out to him to fetch something. Vyas left his notebook and pencil on the floor and went to the adjacent room. The little one tagged behind calling ‘anna, anna, baa, baa’. He caught hold of his anna’s wrist and continued, ‘anna, baa, baa, pacchi’, pointing at his notebook. He wanted his anna to study! The anna for his part, very sweetly reminded his thambi that only ‘amma’ is supposed to order him about, “Varun, amma dhaan solluva da, okay?”. To which, the little one responded with ‘oookeeee’, with a piggy pout! Am happy my boys understand ‘acceptance’:)

Varun manages to climb on to the cane swing all by himself and insists that only anna set the swing in motion! That is just not enough. When he comes swinging towards his anna, he has to turn around and show his butt for the little fellow to put out his tiny legs and plant a neat kick in the butt! On being kicked, the anna has to go rolling on the floor and feign hurt while the thambi squeals in excitement and laughs till his sides ache and the grapes which he has for his eyes are reduced to a thin crease!

Dinner has now become a ‘corridor affair’ with the moon, an occasional fire cracker, stray dogs, two grey kittens, and construction workers on the other side of the road for company. A senseless blabber from him and me together for 10 minutes takes care of his dinner. Before he realizes, thachi mammam is shoved down his throat. When I stop talking, he peeps into the empty bowl, waves both his tiny palms saying , ‘aacheee’! We bid goodbye to the lizards first and then to the stray dogs before retreating, closing the doors on the nice folks that faithfully kept company for that 10 loooooooooong minutes.

By 10.00 PM, five of us in the V family are dead. The kollu patti and 1.7 year old kollu paerun appear as if it has just dawned. After a forced, rehearsed ‘dhundight’ (which is good night) to the grand folks, the older Vs (which includes the 8 yr old) crash without a sound. It is just about time when the tiny priest commences his custom Suprabhatham! He prostrates several times in front of a calender with Lord Ganesha’s picture and settles into a 15 mins mumbo-jumbo. I wonder what he is praying for so fervently!:) Hopefully for lokha-kshemam! When I breathe a sign of relief after his ‘prayers’, he pulls out his ‘choch’ (fox) story book. The story-telling is interrupted at least 10 times because the Chennai-mosquitoes do their bit. He alternates his hands and legs, stretching them towards me for scratching. Bliss! After several repeats of the blue fox, crow and the snake and such tales the lights fade and mommy is fast asleep. I guess he is on his own for a while before his brain calls it a day!

He appears more clear and firm in the morning. Sleep does make people sane. The strawberry toothpaste makes its way into his tummy the first thing in the morning. A mock ‘burrrrrrr’ happens in the name of gargling with not even an atom of foam, water, anything coming out of the mouth! Despite the squirrels, crows, cuckoo’s calling and butterflies, he has his mouth shut tight to not let in the boring cup of Horlicks! He’s game for tea anytime! “Naannna”, he says, while his head does a 180 degree sweep several times. A little more persistence from me leads to his burying his face in my shoulders with a stealthy glance every 5 secs to see if the mommy’s resolve is still strong or if there are any signs of relenting. Once I put the cup down, he resumes butterflying and cries ‘bhathaachee, bhathaachee’, which till a few days back I mistook to mean pattasu (fire crackers)!

Breakfast is always with the dear anna. He insists on a separate plate and continues to mess around with the contents in the anna’s plate. Anna is only too happy because, with the focus deflected on containing the brat, he doesn’t get nagged for ‘slow-motion’ at 7.50 AM. He follows his anna with his plate to put it for wash and waits till he changes into his uniform. Its time and he makes a dash to the wardrobe, beckons his dad to change his dress too. Ask him where he wants to go, and he will tell you in clear terms- choool. “Appa, thookki, thookii, appa, thooki” he goes on turning a deaf ear to the assurance appa gives! The dad has to make him wear his ‘pappals’ (chappals), and carry him along. At the school gate, he insists on giving his anna a ‘nuttha’ (muttha for kiss) and bids good bye! Vyas is proud of the attention his thambi bestows on him. His proud gait into the school vaguely reminds me of ‘Swami’ from Malgudi Days!

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