The Scorpios

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Friday, September 29, 2006

Pregnancy and Compassion

I am Pregnant, not sick. This is the sentence that appears in most of the Mills & Boons books where the pregnant heroine is treated with kids’ gloves by the Tall, Dark, Handsome hunk. I also found myself telling the same sentence to many people who tried to restrict me too much. I guess the only people who understood and applied this sentence in totality are the guys who give us Mediclaim cover – where in you need to get admitted to the hospital for 24hours and avail cashless facility for the expenses within the prescribed limit. The ugly truth dawned on me when I was carrying- pregnancy is not covered under Mediclaim but my company had negotiated with the insurance guys to allow around a quarter of what I am otherwise eligible- and this covered less than half of my actual expenses in the hospital. Infact some medication taken post a hospitalization incident are also covered under mediclaim but not the medicines taken post pregnancy. Atleast I was luckier than my husband, who got no coverage for his pregnant wife. The saving grace was that I was allowed to cover my kids from day 1 so their expenses were completely taken care of.

Somebody needs to educate the insurance guys out there that while pregnancy may not be a disease the pregnant woman has to endure 9 months carrying & hospital visits + 5 days in hospital + atleast 6 months recuperating. Atleast we can move to 100% coverage for up to 2 child births?

The discrimination exists everywhere. Bosses/ colleagues use the episode of pregnancy as a reference point during introductions- she has just come back from maternity leave, or she is carrying and is continuing to work for as long as she can, as if the rest of the achievements don’t count at all. As if she has done no work all this while, simply came, go married, got pregnant, took maternity leave & is back again. This happens when a girl gets married also- she is introduced as “just married” whereas men are never introduced using marriage or planning a child as a reference point. I have seen some women who are in the middle of crucial project, not telling the boss about the pregnancy until it becomes too obvious for they fear that their commitment levels would be questioned. Sad but true. Some bosses even leave the lady in question without meaningful projects, clearly doubting whether she would come back or not.

She bears the jabs from colleagues - I guess you are in a different world and your priorities are different so you have not been paying attention, or the inhuman ones like- how come you don’t come down to the lab nowadays totally forgetting that even walking down to the loo is such an effort for her who is carrying a hell lot of extra weight around her middle.

Bosses have been known to use pregnancy as an excuse during appraisal times indicating the poor increments a result of the long maternity leave. Totally ignoring the fact that she would have worked from home, received umpteen no of phone calls regarding work related issues from team members and ghost directed the projects. Completely forgetting that she would have filled in for others who would have resigned or were getting married & had taken a month long break and that she was working till the last moment until she could walk no more. Ignoring how beautifully she would have mentored the colleagues who would fill in after she leaves and how impeccably she would have maintained documents and records so that the transition is smooth. They miss out on the fact that after getting back to work post maternity leave, how swiftly she gets cued on to the whole set of projects and starts of from where she has left.

On the flip side, companies, bosses and colleagues also offer a lot of support in terms of extended maternity leave, allowing flexitime, ignoring late-coming and early leaving, allowing faster access to the lunch, at times taking a detour when she hitch hikes a ride etc. People are by & large compassionate but if only they were more professional about the job front too…

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Here’s to the Working Fathers! and their woes…

Pregnancy- Right from the time when the news of the pregnancy is shared with the world, all pampering happens to the Mom-to-be. They get the license to eat whatever they want, even take more than their fair share off the husband’s plate. He doesn’t have the freedom to eat anything the mere sight of which may be a potential cause of nausea to the wife. Suddenly everyone seems to side with the wife. The biggest ditcher is the mother. Overnight the DIL becomes the best, most loved and most cared for. All healthy, nutritious, tasty food is made for her and the poor, ignored son is made to do all the hard work including the simple tasks of switching on the fan & the tough sacrifice of handing over the TV remote to the wife.
They bear the brunt of the sudden bursts of emotion & are made to respond to all the whims of the pregnant wife. And do they get to buy paternity clothes? While women can use the occassion to shop every trimester for new maternity wear, then post partum wear and then new clothes again once they are back in shape.

Post delivery- The situation is the same- if at all worse as the baby also joins the league.
A whole bunch of relatives will appear on the scene to help the new mother & none come to help the new father. Nobody prepares the new father – they have to learn the game themselves. If the Mom is a working mom, she additionally gets to take the maternity leave from the so supportive workplace. And some grant paternity leave to make sure that he gets to support the just-delivered wife in hospital, take care of the new baby, change diapers and hold the baby when the mom wishes to relax.

Re-prioritization- the loving wife becomes the loving mother and the order of priority is baby, baby, baby, self (so that she can take care of the baby), house (since everything has to be clean so that baby does not get affected), relatives (who are helping with the baby), maid (to help with the baby) and not to forget- husband.

Working Hours- And does the working father get a break at all? Maybe the Mom gets to sleep when the baby sleeps. When Dad gets back home, he is handed over the baby, in the name of bonding even before he manages to remove his shoes. And of course- the Mom is tired after taking care of the baby whole day while Dad is whiling away time at office. And weekends are never the same again. Since Mom takes care the entire week, Dad has to fill in during the weekends. So all hopes of even a small afternoon nap flies out of the window as Dad dare not express the wish of a nap to Mom who does not get any break during week days. Of course all repair work, home maintenance work and shopping has to happen during the weekend so that Dad can do/ supervise. Mom is willing to do it if Dad promises to take care of the baby without even once calling Mom for help!

And the Nights- since the doc has advised- no diapers at night, keep the baby comfortable, Dad is supposed to do the change of nappies and then hand over the baby to the waiting mom for feeding. If still the baby doesn’t sleep, Dad will hold the baby and walk around till (s)he sleeps. After all Mom has been doing exactly this the whole day and also elders say that the mother will find it difficult to put the baby to sleep. The baby will be able to recognize the mother and then expect that feeding routine will take place and therefore will not sleep. So the indulgent Dad has to do the drill. Same for bottle feeding- Dr Spock says mom should leave the room when baby is fussing when bottle fed.
While Mom can sleep till late in the morning if the baby allows so, Dad has to get up & go for work – on time. Even miss breakfast if the entire household is busy with the baby.

Touring- Wonder if it happens to the mom, but kids refuse to recognize the dad when he comes back after a longish tour.
When my husband came back home form a 3-week tour the little monsters decided that they did not know him at all, until he sat down to do his daily puja & rang the bell. When Tejas was 6 weeks old, Hubby suddenly materialsed after a 2-week tour and planted a kiss on his cheeks- the little fellow spent about 20 minutes crying in fear.

Separation Pangs- of course Dad also misses the baby- whether in office or while touring. Some times they also miss out in being the first one to witness the milestone happening.

Performance Anxiety- diapering, holding the baby, making the baby sleep, baby should not cry in his lap etc etc. Basically be good at everything the mom does and be evaluated for the performance by everyone.

Bad Cop- Dad gets to be the monster- wait till Daddy comes; I will tell him all that you did today.

There, Dads of the world, I have taken up your cause. You may contribute and add to the list while we Moms may look for more occasions of making you bond with the children.

Edited to add
This post is linked to CHBM in response to the Carnival

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


This happened few months ago when I went to my Maikaa (parents’ place) Patna with my kids. We went to a distant relative’s house for the dual purpose of visiting them and seeing her grandchild.
As it often happens, comparisons started happening between the 3 kids. My relative started off, my grandchild is quite fair but yours is little on the darker side. Well, who cares!
My grandson is quite “tall” & heavier also. This went on for some time and she went on talking about the hard work she did for her daughter in law so that she would deliver a healthy baby.
After a point, my Mom got fed up and said - Together they were more than 11 pounds when they were born. Can any woman carry more weight than that?
Then her son started spewing rubbish. Don’t mind but all Madrasis (meaning inhabitants of any state beyond Madhya Pradesh) are very “bhayanak” (scary) looking naa. They will be black (check out the word used), weird and ugly.

His Mother- No no, her husband does not look like that- he looks like you guys only.

Me (to myself) – Yuck. If my husband would have been like you, he would have failed at college, would have been stupid, jobless and living on his father’s income.

Son continued- Those people wear lungi and coat on formal occasion naa.
Me- no, infact people in Chennai are very brand conscious, they dress very well at work - atleast from what I have seen in my office and the neighboring offices. Some pubs don’t allow entry without shoes (I am sure he wouldn’t have understood the concept of pub anyways).

My Mother’s parting shot that shut them up- And by the way, you have more number of Tamilians & Bengalis in IIT & IIM than anyone else. And don’t forget the 100% literacy of Kerala. And the software hub of India? Where that is, you know naa!!
What irked me more than anything else was the sad picture he created about Tamil Nadu and South India in general. He who had no identity of himself in terms of career had the gall to even talk about others. All state and state people have quirks but what right does anyone have to dismiss someone else in terms of colour, looks and choice of clothes? And why the degrading description to top it all?

Well, South India gave us Chidambaram, Kalam, Narain Karthikeyan, Kamal Hassan, Maniratnam, AR Rehman, K Srikanth, Kumble, Dravid, Vishwanathan Anand, Hariharan, SP Balasubramanian, Narayanmoorthy, Aishwarya Rai, Hema Malini to name a few that came to my mind immediately. The list will go on and on....
First of all, these people are intelligent and close to “first in class” or benchmarks. Moreover they have great presence and at least are far more presentable than my relative in question. So why that typecasting?

A matter of mindset and preconceived notions?

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Diary on Milestones Met (rather Unmet)

10 months and lot of milestones are unmet. Am I bothered? Not at all!! Yet, would want to record it and tell other mothers later. Read on only if you have the time. It’s a long one & I do not want to edit out the details.

1.Walker- My boys are not attempting to walk. Heredity may be. Mom says I walked after 1.25 years. (Really! that’s unacceptable. I must have been too wary of walking.) They are attempting to stand up but walking? Not at all.
After lending a patient ear to all points of view on giving the walker to the child, we decided to unpack the set of walkers that Ojas & Tejas had got as gifts a few months ago. Primarily because they used to wail the moment we went out of sight. And I was freaked that they would touch something dirty on the floor or pick up an ant. A walker would help them follow us at will. People say walkers are bad, but so what? Let them start walking late because of the ill effect of the walker but atleast they will be happy in their new pursuit.
While Tejas who relies overtly on his own motor skills, whether it is for feeding or climbing our lap or grabbing the mobile phone disliked the walker instantly especially because he was going backwards rather than forward, Ojas was simply thrilled! For a long time he had been frustrated about his inability to crawl. With the walker, he discovered the joys of freedom- he is busy exploring corners, glass shelves, banging the doors and even escaping from me when I try to offer food to him. He follows his football kicking it in the process.
After a few days Tejas became quite savvy with the walker & he chased Ojas when he wanted the toy he was having. Tejas loves to open the cupboard & gets thrilled to pieces when he manages to do it. The other day he dragged my dress material out of the cupboard & then “walked” the entire house with it trailing behind him like the train of a wedding gown.

2. Sipper- Lot of mothers with kids of same age as mine are now using the sipper. And even Dr. Spock says how babies should be introduced slowly to the sipper & then the cup after 6 months. What about mine? They throw their sippers away in a rage- together with the “aay” sound. While they love to use their bottle caps as cups & act as if they are drinking from it but the sipper- no no. They seem to dislike the snout particularly.

3. Responding- My babies were responding to anyone but each other until last month. I was so worried. Surfed the net and discovered that a particular set of twins realized that they were separate entities only when they got separated at college. Weird! Probably that’s what was happening with mine. I figured out that they were regarding each other as a part of a whole so did not feel the need to talk. Only a few days before I noticed the change. They are smiling at each other, “talking” and even showing affection- hugging, “kissing”, caressing the face & head. Sigh of relief. The other day a friend came with her daughter of similar age. We offered her a “foot”ball. We saw Ojas & Tejas looking at each other. I am sure there was some silent communication as Tejas crawled at a great speed, snatched the football and brought it back to home turf. Bad manners! But rejoice, atleast they are friends.

4.Crawling- Finally Ojas started crawling last month. More than us, he was dismayed every time he tried to crawl. The backward crawl was ongoing for 3 months. But he was concentrating on body building- doing push-ups instead of crawling. I was not worried as my sister had never crawled and I knew it did not matter if they mis a milestone altogether. But for his sake, I wanted him to crawl so that he could enjoy making new discoveries. Since he is so dexterous with his feet, I was quite surprised he was unable to get the trick right. He can hold anything with the help of his feet- bottle, toy, pillow. (refer picture)

5.Reading- A friend and also Dr Spock says that the time is right to start reading stories or picture books to the babies. They love to hear your voice and by the year end they will start pointing out at the relevant picture when we say A for… etc. So, with great enthusiasm I bought a plastic coated, bright yellow, picture book and presented it to my little monsters with great aplomb. They loved it. Loved to eat it, snatch it from each other, throw it- all but “read” it. So I brought out a giant fairy tale book & started reading out aloud. The reaction- grab at the pages- they almost tore my favourite book from my childhood and yelled when I took the book away. So much for literacy and so much for the books I read and puzzles I solved during pregnancy. I thought some rub-off may happen. (Please God! I want them to be like me and love books). Ok, let’s face it. They will read & blog online in their past time (refer picture of Tejas)

6. Teething- Tejas has begun – has four little ones and Ojas is happy to be toothless. They say if they cut the upper teeth first, the Mama (mother’s brother) has to feed them kheer (rice porridge) in a silver bowl with a silver spoon to ward of ill luck for the Mama. Tejas is all set to get the silver from his Mama.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Weird Things that I like about my Babies

Some predictable, some understandable, some downright weird. This would be a dynamic list that I would like to preserve for posterity – to show to Ojas & Tejas when they grow up.

Love the smell of their head and love their smell after they get up in the morning.
How their pillows smell after 2-3 days of usage
Their cheeks feel so taut when they grin- toothless or otherwise
The smell & wetness of their fingers or feet when they have been sucking on it (Don’t know why but I prefer Ojas’ toes & Tejas’ fingers)
When they “kiss” me
The way Ojas puts the roti/ biscuit to his toes before every bite
When they put their palm or feet on my mouth/ face
When they shut their eyes tight & search for “milk”/ “bottle” from left to right
How cute they look when they sometimes sleep in exact positions
How Tejas loves the A/C
The haughty look on their face when they are sitting at the wheel of the car
Their giggles / screams of delight when they see anyone after a long time
How Ojas gets nervous when I try to make both of them race their cars or play throwball with each other (may be doesn’t want to lose the competition) & how Tejas is not bothered at the outcome at all
How Tejas grabs at the laptop
The way they chase each other on their walkers especially if one is having a toy which the other predictably wants
Love to hug them and sleep – but need to be careful – should not put my weight on them
How they try to “catch” the water flowing from the tap.
The grin & chuckle when we twirl them around or hold them high
The way they squirm when they want to come to my lap from someone else’s.
The warmth I feel when I hold them- how I want to just hug them tight & not let go.
The way they curl around me when they are trying to sleep.
The way Ojas turns on his stomach when he wants to sleep and Tejas turns away from me when he is sleepy
The cool feel when I hold them close after giving them a bath.
The peacefull feel when they fall asleep in my lap- feel like holding them in my lap till they wake up again.
The expression on their face when they are sleeping
How Ojas lazes around for a long time after he wakes up

Friday, September 22, 2006

'Around the same time as a quick tale 158'- Rivalry

Ammani had announced this contest. In response I have posted the below in the comment section

Two brothers are trying to solve a puzzle. The answer to which is 'flamenco'. But they don't know it yet and they have been staring at the page for a few minutes now. ‘M-O-C-N-E-L-A-F, Fanmeloc, Flamecon’ muttered the older brother under his breath, rapidly trying to unscramble the jumble. “Wish I could just write it down in capital letters in a circle so that it would be easier to solve. If only we had not challenged each other to do it mentally. Please God, let me get this one first. He seems to think I am too good at it. He doesn’t know I solve most of the Hindu Crossword & Indian Express Jumble using the crossword solver & the jumble solver on the internet.” By now, it has been close to 4 minutes that the brothers have been focussed on the clue with no sign of cracking it. I can hear Ramya coming. Let’s annoy her by solving it before her. Quick, the answer is on page 56, suggests the older brother, should we take a look? If you insist, says the younger brother. Shrugging his shoulder as if he didn't care.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Bus Personality

Types of people you encounter in your office bus

The Seat Grabber- rushes to the bus & has to be the 1st one to enter so that (s)he gets the best seat or seat of choice

The Gatekeeper- Occupies the aisle seat & one has to go on the toes, bend over the front seat and squeeze past his/her knees to reach the inside seats. One may not consider entering that row at all because of the difficulty involved so that net-net this person gets to occupy the whole row most of the time

The Sleeper- Sleeps in the bus- at times even misses the stop. Reclines one’s chair so much that (s)he is almost sleeping on the (un)willing lap of the person sitting behind

The Dueling Duo- Always fighting. For the volume of the radio or the opening/ shutting of the window.

The Fevicol Pair- Will always sit together. Will even request someone for exchange of seats so that the pair could enjoy the journey together

The Conformist- Will occupy a particular seat everyday & will fret if someone happens to occupy that unknowingly. Most of the time, the others in the bus will steer clear of his/ her seat but sometimes some Adventurer may occupy that just for the lark. Has behavioral commonality with the Seat Grabber.

The Adventurer- will occupy a different seat every day much to the irk of the Conformist

The Hog- Occupies at least 2 seats- one for oneself and the other to put the entire paraphernalia- bag, books, phone, glasses and what not. People usually don’t disturb this person unless necessary.

The Busy Body- will effectively utilize the bus ride- send SMS, make loud calls on the mobile (ask the radio volume to be turned down), read books/ newspapers, solve crossword, sudoko etc. Will mostly not converse with any fellow passenger.

The Talkative- will discuss anything and everything under the sun with the co-passenger. Will almost talk the other’s ears off. Different from the Busy Body who talks on the mobile phone.

The Sourpuss- No hi/ hello, will constantly be looking out of the window, prefer to sit alone, others will usually not sit near this person. Will greet the others only once (s)he reaches the office.

The Rapid Riser- is in a great hurry to get off the bus. Will rush/push past the seats / people to get down first. May even stand by the door just when the bus starts entering the premises so that (s)he is the 1st to get off.
Updated -
The Window Seat Patron- Sits only by the window. Will fret if he is unlucky enough not to find one. Has behavioral commonalities with the Seat Grabber & The Conformist

The Backseat Boys- will occupy the last seat or last 3 rows & create great hulla hungama & generally have fun, sing songs, clap and play antrakshari. Mostly the younger group. Will even cheer when any member of the club boards the bus

The Unaffected Passengers- Inspite of the hungama at the back, these will not be bothered and not twitch even an eyebrow. Will occupy several seats in the front. Have behavioural commonalities with the Sour Puss but not to that extreme

Observant Blogger- Observes others keenly to find blog-worthy stuff- contributed by Twisted DNA in the comments section

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Before (Babies) & After (Babies)

Me - will you wash the chicken?
Hubby- uuhhh , put the chicken in the bowl & put some water- I will wash it then
Me- (snort) Better I only do it..
Me - will you feed the babies their lunch meanwhile I will wash the chicken?
Hubby- Don’t worry, I will wash the chicken for you. Let me try my way of cooking also.

Inlaws/ Other relatives- we are coming to visit you
Us- we were planning to go out now so you can come after 9.00 pm
Inlaws/ Other relatives- we are coming to visit you
Us- we were planning to go out now so you come fast and take care of the kids while we quickly go out and come back

Maid- I can’t do all this work, I will quit
Me- Fine, you are not indispensable, I can find another one. (oh, my god hope she doesn’t go)

Maid- I can’t do all this work, I will quit
Me- You are the best. How can I manage without you? Pleeeease don’t go

Hubby- don’t pack lunch for me, I will eat in office
Me- when I am there why do you want to eat outside food? I will pack for you & I have already cooked everything
Hubby- don’t pack lunch for me, I will eat in office
Me-Anyway I haven’t cooked till now, but good you can eat fresh & hot food. It becomes too cold in the Air Con. Actually, better if you eat the office food everyday, what say?

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The Home CEO or What?

So what do you do whole day at home?
She takes care of the house- said her husband, almost daring me to counter or misguide her into pursuing a career.

My boss used to say-some women proudly claim - we don’t keep a servant. Of course, you are the unpaid, educated servant in the house.

I do not want to cast aspersions on the homemakers- if one were to compare a CEO of a company vs the home CEO ‘she’ would win hands down. No points for guessing that. But like all CEO’s I wish the homemakers understood that it’s not about working hard but working smart. It’s about managing the show and not working your backside off.
Can’t they appoint someone and delegate?

Today most of us are well educated and could contribute in a big way socially, culturally and not to forget, in the upbringing of their children – wherever applicable. I appoint help and my objectives are clear- they are not there to bring my babies up but to do the other stuff so that I can spend all my time with my babies.

This girl in the 1st para of this post is a qualified civil engineer. She says – he does not want me to work. (Un)Fair enough – so what do you do? Oh there’s a lot to do- cooking, cleaning, washing. Why don’t you keep a help? Then what will I do the whole day – well twiddle your thumbs. Then she asks me, do you always wear western clothes. Me says no I also wear other clothes. Our lady says, before marriage I used to wear churidaar (meaning salwar suits) and even nightie- (well, didn’t know that too counted in the list), and now I wear only sari as he says only sari suits me. Well beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder I guess, but what the hell (actually - what the F@$%). And the ‘he’ in question is not a small town guy- he has stayed abroad for a good number of years and I expected him to be more open in his views.

My roommate used to say- even if I decide to stay at home and let my husband take care of all my monetary needs, I will never do the household work so to speak. I have other talents which I would want to pursue.
My mom is a homemaker and I have never seen her idle away. She has too many hobbies to pursue. I idolize my Mom and therefore I could never stay at home- I do not have as many talents as her so I do not know what I would do the whole day at home apart from read or perhaps blog.

Some women are sadistic martyrs. They self-inflict the following commandments:
Thou shalt not take rest, idle away nor do time-pass
Thou shalt not sleep till late but arise at the stroke of dawn
Thou shalt involve thyself in the grueling cycle of cooking, cleaning, washing for the rest of thy life
Thou shalt not appoint a help to do the housework nor permit anyone in thy house to help thee in the above tasks
Thou shalt be house-proud.

Well, perhaps it’s a choice some women make. They want to get the pleasure of doing everything with their own hands, down to polishing the very last tile on the bathroom floor. And I am talking about women in well to do families, not those where the man is working hard to make ends meet. I know families in the West do not have a choice- labour is expensive, but in India?

Monday, September 18, 2006

Of bygone days

Buying new books for the new school year,sitting together with Dad & Mom on a Sunday to cover the new books with crisp brown paper, sticking neat labels and using our best handwriting to write our names with a flourish
Writing with chalks on slate or occasionally on the Black Board when the teacher allowed us to do so
The proud work of art with crayons, colour pencils & sketch pens
Reading, collecting & exchanging story books and comics
The satisfaction of a doing homework and submitting to the teacher- on time
Scoring good marks in spelling tests and surprise tests – and the “very good” on our notebooks in red, not to forget the occasional “andaa” or the zero
Using the log book, and doing quick mental maths (can we do a simple addition without calculators now?)
Lunch break & water/ toilet break – and inspite of that – the oft repeated Miss, may I go to toilet?
Free period when the teacher is absent- and how we enjoyed that
Sitting in groups under the tree to share tiffin boxes
Playing Kho, Kabaddi, Book Cricket, Hide n Seek, Catch-Catch, 5- stones/ marbles or making castles in the sand
Frenzied preparation for the school annual day- songs, dance, drama and fancy dress sports
Elocution competitions and practicing hard for debate and recitation
The games period and the fun we had starting from ring- a ring of roses in primary class and going up to badminton and throw ball in the higher classes
Craft classes and SUPW
Rushing for window seats in the school bus
Punishments (kneel down/ stand up on the bench/ get out of the class) and impositions (I shall not talk in class/ I have not done my homework)
Playing with friends in the playground near home
Making notes and studying for exams
Writing exams and then waiting for the report card until the 1st fifteen days of the holidays
The assured long holidays and going to “Native Place”
Writing and receiving letters – eager wait for the postman
When TV had just 1 or 2 channels and we used to play carom/ ludo/ monopoly at home and not fight for the remote

Days bygone will never be back. Let’s tell this to our kids and ask them to slow down and enjoy life. Let’s switch off the TV and play with the kids instead. For like how I am writing this, one day they will reminisce about how their parents used to read to them or tell stories or play with them. Let’s live life to the fullest and enjoy every moment as it comes by.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Shopper’s Spot

Sunny Sistems- The Gallery- Gandhi Nagar Adyar
Unique affordable art, paintings, sculpture, prints. The artists may not be well known but the paintings can be picked up for their sheer beauty and put-up-ability. My favourites- A wooden carving of hounds, painting on ancient parchment, a collage art using industrial metals, glue etc, a series of paintings that depict Laxmi, Saraswati and other Hindu Gods using symbolisms

Design Store, Alwarpet
Furniture, artifacts, bamboo, jute, wooden decorative stuff, limited collection of Madhubani paintings, cushions, scarves

Currimbhoy’s, Adyar
You can find all types of crockery here starting from cups & glasses to cooking vessels & cutlery organisers

Anmol Palace, Ispahani Centre, Nungambakkam
Affordable fashion jewelry in silver, 1gram gold and other metals, funky watches. The designs are unique and don’t get repeated often.

Stone & Strings
You can find the counters in Lifestyle, shopper’s stop, Odyssey, SriLankan TradeCentre- Spencer’s Mall, 3rd Phase- Fashion jewelry especially in precious & semi-precious stones, pearl etc, also cuff links & Tie pins

Sixth Sense Gallery, Adyar
Gift items like Artificial flowers, Pot pourri, candles, ceramic, photo frames, vases, paintings- even though you may not get very affordable stuff but the atmosphere is quite relaxing and feel good factor is great

Odyssey, Adyar
Books, CDs, Gift items, perfumes, even paintings. The new store has a very spacious layout, 3-level shopping experience and valet parking too.

Pebbles Besant Nagar
Books, CDs, Gift items

Titanic, Ispahani Centre, Nungambakkam (also in Pondicherry)
Export surplus western wear for men, women and kids. All depends on your luck. Sometimes there wouldn’t be a good stock of stuff. Average price of shirt/ ladies’ top- Rs 250-350.

Fashion Folks, Adyar, Chennai
Export surplus western wear for men, women, kids, shoes, bags, leather coats.

Clothes Encounters, Khader Nawaz Khan Road, Nungambakkam
Export surplus western wear but not very cheap- makes sense to wait for the sale that usually happens twice a year.

Dollars & Pounds, Adyar- Gandhi Nagar & Sardar Patel road

Export surplus men’s wear. The new store at Sardar Patel road is huge- some say the quality has gone down after that but its up to the shoppers to explore and find out for themselves

Kataria’s, Cathedral Road
Designer saris in georgette, crepe, chiffon. Wide range in terms of price – use their catalogue- you will get a better idea of how the sari looks when draped- extremely good service

Gotewaala, Cathedral Road
Georgettes, Crepes, Chiffons, cottons – sari, lehenga, salwar-suits- collection is good but the prices on the higher side

Manmandir , Khader Nawaz Khan Road, Nungambakkam
Unique designer Saris- you can shop according to the budget you have rather than sleect and then ask for the price. Chiffons, Georgettes, Crepes again

Soles, Khader Nawaz Khan Road, Nungambakkam
Ladies’ footwear- you can find a good range of office wearable footwear here and you will definitely get something that you like

Kobblerr, Alwarpet
Footwear – again a good range of casual/ office footwear but I have not yet explored it well

Trendy, Spencer’s Mall, 3rd Phase
Wide range of footwear, especially for weddings

Mochi, Chennai City Centre
Trendy, jeweled footwear, the kind that gets advertised in Femina

Modskins, Gandhi Nagar, Adyar
You will find leather bags here – can buy incase you are looking for casual office use and not in a mood to spend lots- may not find good stuff always

Jang Leather Planet, Besant Nagar
Not yet explored but the print ads in Femina indicates that it’s a hip place.

Witco- Adyar, T Nagar
Bags only- luggage, handbags, toilet kits, wallets

Casablanca, Pondicherry
Auroville aromatherapy candles, agarbatti, women’s wear, International label men’s wear, sunglasses, Hidesign label leather goods, junk jewelry, shoes, silk shawls, scarves, cushion covers, bedspreads, curtain, cutlery, ceramic cups, mugs, vases, kid’s stuff. You have a mini outlet in Ispahani centre Chennai – but it does not have a great range

Thursday, September 14, 2006

A reason to be…

Everyone is sent into this world for a reason. I am grateful to God for being kind enough to send someone for me whenever I was in need. I spent a greater part of my life in hostels. Trivial though it may sound, God always send me wonderful room mates who made hostel life more enjoyable and bearable. Whenever I needed someone, whether it was a simple thing of getting an urgent train reservation or a difficult one of obtaining a Tatkal passport, I had people to bail me out. Today whenever I am in despair over getting the right caretaker for my babies, I relax and say to myself- God will send someone to me when the time is right- and it has worked out to be true all the while. I have learnt to stop worrying of things beyond my control and let things take its own course as I know the Grandmaster is out there working out the best for all of us.
On a self congratulatory note, I try not to omit an opportunity of being of use to someone in need. Whether it meant having a friend over to stay at my place when she is job hunting (even though I was 8 months pregnant and in no way I could even cook a decent meal for her) or offering a ride into town for 2 college girls stuck without a transport (a word of caution on doing this when alone or even otherwise- you never know the intentions of the hitch hiker) or leaving all my work and just accompanying a relative when he was trying for admissions across colleges for his son.
Can we think of instances when people have been sent to help us out? Can we reach out and say thank you? Not to forget, can we think of the times we have been sent to help someone in need? Have we been useful at that time or have we ignored the chance given to us? Lets pat ourselves for every good deed done.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Factual Fiction- Euphemism

They brought the body in at 1 pm from the hospital. The ladies of the house began to wail at the sight of the lifeless body. They proceeded to bathe and dress the body in preparation for the funeral. The kids of the house jumped and played around the body, unmindful of the seriousness of the situation.
Stop Stop Stop… Find…Replace… I should replace the word “the body” with “Mrs Das”. Only a few hours ago she was Mrs Das and has now been euphemized as “the body”.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

A Brush with the Law

Few centuries ago, a Law teacher came across a student who was willing to learn but was unable to pay the fee. The student struck a deal saying, "I would pay your fee the day I win my first case in the court". Teacher agreed and proceeded with the law course. When the course was finished and teacher started pestering the student to pay up the fee, student reminded the deal and pushed days. Fed up with this, the teacher decided to sue the student in the court of law and both of them decided to argue for themselves. The teacher put forward his argument saying: "If I win this case, as per the court of law, student has to pay me. And if I lose the case, student will still pay me because he would have won his first case. So either way i will have to get the money". Equally brilliant student argued back saying: "If I win the case, as per the court of law, I don't have to pay anything to the teacher. And if I lose the case, I don't have to pay him because I haven't won my first case yet. So either way, I am not going to pay the teacher anything".
This is one of the greatest paradoxes ever recorded in history.

These are things people actually said in court, word for word, taken down and now published by court reporters - who had the torment of staying calm while these exchanges were taking place
Q : What is your date of birth?
A : July fifteenth.
Q : What year?
A : Every year.

Q : What gear were you in at the moment of the impact?
A : Gucci sweats and Reeboks

Q : This myasthenia gravis, does it affect your memory at all?
A : Yes
Q : And in what ways does it affect your memory?
A : I forget.
Q : You forget. Can you give us an example of something that you've forgotten?

Q : How old is your son, the one living with you?
A : Thirty-eight or thirty-five, I can't remember which.
Q : How long has he lived with you?
A : Forty-five years.

Q : What was the first thing your husband said to you when he woke up that morning?
A : He said, "Cathy, Where am I?"
Q : And why did it upset you?
A : My name is Susan.

Q : Now doctor, isn't it true that when a person dies in his sleep, he doesn't know about it until the next morning?

Q : The youngest son, the twenty-year old, how old is he?

Q : Were you present at the time your picture was taken?

Q : So the date of conception (of the baby) was August 8th?
A : Yes
Q : And what were you doing at that time?

Q : She had three children, right?
A : Yes.
Q : How many were boys?
A : None.
Q : Were there any girls?

Q : How was your first marriage terminated?
A : By death.
Q : And by whose death was it terminated?

Q : Can you described the individual?
A : He was about medium height and had a beard.
Q : Was this a male, or a female?

Q : Is your appearance here this morning pursuant to a deposition notice
which I sent to your attorney?
A : No, this is how I always dress when I go to work.

Q : Doctor, how many autopsies have you performed on dead people?
A : All my autopsies are performed on dead people.

Q : All your responses must be oral, OK? What school did you go to?
A : Oral.

Q : Do you recall the time that you examined the body?
A : The autopsy started around 8.30 p.m.
Q : And Mr Dennington was dead at the time?
A : No, he was sitting on the table wondering why I was doing an autopsy on him.

Q : Are you qualified to give a urine sample?

Q : Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse?
A : No
Q : Did your check for blood pressure?
A : No
Q : Did your check for breathing?
A : No
Q : So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you began the autopsy?
A : No
Q : How can you be so sure, Doctor?
A : Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar.
Q : But could the patient have still been alive, nevertheless?
A : Not unless he was out practicing law somewhere

Monday, September 11, 2006


I had decided that I will never try to compare my babies with others. Never try to compare milestones & other development phases as each individual is unique.
But I find it hard to not to compare between my twins when I observe the following-
1. one is born with a hairy head & the other is nearly bald
2. One gets rid of the remainder of his cord on day 2 & the other takes a week to throw it off
3. one says mamma 1st & seems to swear at everyone when he is hungry/sleepy & the other yells tatatata & something that resembles "hey there".
4. one begins to crawl & the other is contend to lie down and play or at the most sit & grab at his brother's toys when his is out of reach
5. one is trying to stand & the other is not concerned
6. one has started cutting teeth & the other is blissfully toothless conveniently resembles me & the other his dad in looks, temperment & expressions
My doc said that I must be happy, not watch TV serials & not fight with hubby when I was carrying as it will affect the babies' disposition. But my both babies are of different temperment inspite of being born just a minute apart. Is all this heredity or can be controlled? Any views?

Friday, September 08, 2006


How would you be, my babies when you grow up?
Would you be like me or your daddy?
Would you be handsome or cute and good?
Would you be kind and good natured?
Would you still love me and need me like you do today?
Would you be creative, fun and jovial?
Will you involve me in your aspirations, dreams, despair?
Will I be your friend?
Most important,
Would you be a responsible and good human being?

From what you were when you were born to what you are now…
I wonder how you will look when you grow up …

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Love at First Sight???

It was 10 am when the neo natal ward sister brought the baby for her to see. Nobody had prepared her for this first look of the baby. She had never seen such a new baby before- just 5 hours old. She did not count all the perfect toes and fingers of the baby and neither did she bond immediately with it as they say in the books. She did not instantly sit up and take the baby in her arms amidst tears of joy- like they show in the movies. She was literally pinned down to the bed with the numerous tubes, the searing cut and the after effect of the anesthesia, half turned to her side and quite uncomfortable, as the ward sisters did not believe in propping the patient up with as many pillows as she needed.
One by one she drank in the details. The not so baby soft and smooth skin, extremely hairy- just like his father- thank God it’s a boy and not a girl, she thought, else she would have to battle with the facial hair her entire life. No body had told her that the hair would shed after a few months. She once again memorized the features as she ran her hand over the bald head of the baby. Just incase they do not make a mistake and exchange the baby in the nursery. They wouldn’t assured the sister. She proceeded to show her the identifying label on the baby’s arm and a matching one on hers.
For the second time, she was doing the examining. She looked at the hairy baby, the not-so-smooth skin and the hairy head of her baby.
How many times will you bring the baby to the mother, the ward sister said crossly.
But this is the second one!
Twins aaa !?
Yes, twins indeed, sighed the mother as she dropped off to an exhausted sleep. One that would be her last long sleep in the many months to follow.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Factual Fiction-Yet another day in office..

…predictably begins with me plopping down on my black coloured ergonomically designed chair, switching on the CPU while at the same time delving into my large size bag amidst the trash that has settled comfortably- that Femina that had seemed too big to get into my bag a week before and I had cruelly folded it lengthwise to fit it in, has almost disappeared into the depths of it, the comb that does not turn up when needed but pricks me most annoyingly otherwise, folded currency notes and a treasure trove of coins (the bank can forget about these out of circulation coins) falling out of the unzipped inner pouch, pieces of paper soiled and frayed beyond recognition, bills paid long ago … sorting among such junk to reach that single untagged key to open my drawer…logging in to my ever slow system, waiting for the mailbox to open, sorting through the persistent junk mail that at times seem to outnumber the work mails ( I must not delete the work related mail by mistake, like I once did), the compelling forwards tempting me to open them and forward them in turn …As I write this, the phone rings and the day gets going…until its 5.30pm and I close shop after a few rush hour e-mails, last minute additions to the power point presentation, the last google search for the day and the final phone call – all packed into the countdown 5 minutes of the day…

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Factual Fiction-Kashmakash- The Inner struggle

Mahesh had borrowed the camera tripod from Vipin. So that he could set the camera timer and take group photos with himself in it too.
And today he got the news that Vipin is dead.
Well, should he return the tripod? It was quite a new piece, unused and probably nobody at his home even knew of its existence.
Vipin is no longer there to use it now.
And Vipin had told him that he could keep it. But he had insisted that he would return it after he had had fun experimenting with it for sometime.
But Vipin is no longer there to appreciate the fact that he had remembered to return it. And not that it would matter to any one if he did not.
Its only a camera tripod after all. In the midst of the bigger pain of Vipin's passing away, a tripod stand is too small a thing to be brought up...

A week later Mahesh went to Vipin's house and returned the tripod stand to his wife.

Monday, September 04, 2006

The OT

They wheeled her inside the OT at 4.30 am. Or what she thought was an OT. It was a room just outside the OT where they kept all the equipments etc. She was in queue as there was another patient inside. Not again, she sighed to herself, queue here also.
She saw her doctor in the surgical attire. She had never seen her doctor like this before. She used to always be dressed up in a silk/ starched cotton sari with make –up to perfection, matching eye shadow, jewels and all. And here she was in the blue surgical attire and not at all her usual talkative self. She watched her doctor as she said a silent prayer to herself and perhaps mentally prepared for the surgery and felt a strange mix of camaraderie and alienation. Then it struck her perhaps for the first time that she was not just one in so many cases for her doctor- like they usually say. But she was one of her many “key result areas” like the HR people say in any other profession. She was accountable for the outcome and her performance appraisal would be based on all the cases she handles. Hence every case needed the utmost care and perfection. Perhaps that is why the doctor never completely delegates her case to the junior doctors. Even if it is a simple exercise of removing the stitches she insists that she takes the final look. And when it comes to checking the baby’s heart beat, she repeats it inspite of the fact that one would have taken the scan a few minutes ago and seen the baby’s heart galloping.

The other patient came out from the OT softly groaning. She made a mental note to not to groan when she is wheeled out of the OT, but to bravely bear the pain.

As she was taken in and the preparation being done, she asked her doctor how long the operation would take, eagerly waiting for the anesthesia to be administered so that she could escape from the dull pain that was going on for at least 12 hours now. Soon was the only word she heard and then breathe deeply as she drifted off to a welcoming, 45 minute long anesthesia induced sleep.

factual Fiction- One Last Time…

One last time, let me go and meet Archana. Also Minakshi and Harpreet. One last time let me take a drive down the beach road in my Scooty. One last time let all friends gang up like we did a month ago. Let me ask mom to cook those delicious gulab jamuns and bake her special chocolate cake. One last time let me taste all the pickles in the kitchen cupboard. One last time let me listen to those 10 favourite records on Dad’s gramophone. For tomorrow is the day I leave for my hostel for the forthcoming semester after a month long vacation.

Friday, September 01, 2006

How To Be A Pain In The Neck

Nag Nag Nag- at all possible times
Repeat the same joke/ story/ incident many times in various settings- make the tale extremely long drawn, explore irrelevant angles, talk in a very slow speed and simply rip the topic apart- all the while not letting the other person manage a word in between
Eavesdrop and then pass a comment or even join the discussion even if you think it is not meant to be a public forum
Have your favourite oft-repeated punchline like when I was in xyz college/ company/ country
Do enthusiastic class participation in all meetings- do not let the speaker continue in his tempo- keep debating every sentence. If someone tries to ask a question, quickly rephrase that and pretend it was your query
Do all your private fights/ romance on a public phone- like office/ hostel phone- make sure everyone in the vicinity hears it. after that you could even cry publicly
Send meaningless and heavy forwards especially the ones which give the warning as to how many people you should send it so that you get instant love/ good news on the job front
Look at the negative side of every incident- keep complaining about everything under the sun
Always have a pronounced frown on your face or the "all of you are stinking rubbish" look or on the contrary be diabetic sweet with every one.
Instead of settling things amicably be rude, pick up a quarrel or accuse
Show off
Be un-cooperative
Always come late for any meeting and if the meeting has started, ask for a quick review
Talk about only 1 topic everytime and with everyone- like how bad your workplace is or what is the latest on your pregnancy or child rearing skills or how wonderful your child or other half is or some other of your current favourite topic

Painkillers anyone???

Microwave- Which View to Believe

Read this interesting post by has to be me on microwaving.
While I do not want to negate the concerns but I have this article on exactly opposite views. We must choose therefore which to believe.