The Scorpios

Lilypie Kids Birthday tickers

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Factual Fiction- Together we are famous

It is strange that nobody is noticing me in this place. Normally I am the object of everyone’s curiosity. There are questions directed about me and my brother. Everybody smiles at me and asks my name. Some even ask whether I am a boy or a girl or how come we brothers do not resemble each other or how do the parents tell us apart or how do they manage us (what gall!).

Oh, now I realize. I have come alone and my twin brother is back at home. Therefore nobody is noticing me.


These series of stories called factual fiction are stories based on facts with elements of fiction added to spice it up. I have taken a lot of writer's liberties here. I have blended separate incidents and stories about different people and knitted them into single stories. The experiences may be mine or may not. Hope you guys are enjoying it. If yes, it is not evident in the comment tally!!

Hey, I live for your comments and feedback. Keep it coming... Lurkers, pls de-lurk...can you sense the desperation here!! I am sick of single digit figures in the comments section.

Soon I would be starting a series of my learnings in the gym. Hope you guys will enjoy that too.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Factual Fiction- Meeting

Extremely important not to let your guard down. To appear animated, fully interested in the proceedings, be alert for loopholes in the talk/ plan and ask intelligent questions at the opportune moment, have the data and reference material prominently in front of you to answer sticky questions, take copious notes obviously and intersperse your two-bit every now and then.

You just could not control yourself. Just when you quickly whisper a snide remark to your neighbour and are having a quick laugh about it, that the boss poses a question to you. You splutter, stutter and grope randomly for the answers in the projected screen in front or in the speaker’s face and at the right time you vaguely remember the topic on hand and give a generic reply hoping that it makes sense.

To make it worse, the smarty pants strategically seated next to the boss snorts- wake up call eh!

footnote- ironically, posting this while seated at a meeting, the screen strategically directed away from the boss's / colleague's eyes. That really elevates me in everyone's eyes na!!!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Factual Fiction- Biological Clock

The biological clock was ticking away. You could say she almost eagerly waited for it to signal.

Yes, the signal went off, on the dot. 4.00 pm as always. Time to get up and have tea and snacks.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Factual Fiction- Crossing 60

Finally I crossed 60 today. After a long wait I got to experience the carefree, exhilarating feeling of crossing 60. So that’s how life is on the fast lane! I had done 4o and that was great. Then there were other milestones like 45, 50, 55. At 59 I was waiting to get at 60.

Today, albeit for a few minutes on Raj Bhawan road, she shifted me to the 5th gear.

Midnight Black Swift

Friday, May 25, 2007

Factual Fiction- Water Bottle

She passed the strict rule in her home. Nobody drinks water straight from the bottle. She hated it when people drank right out of the bottle, accidentally or intentionally brushing their lips on the rim of the bottle. It becomes jootha then, doesn’t it. "Rather than make me wash the entire bottle, I would be glad to have just the glass washed. So please use the glass."
She turned her face away and ignored as the aunt pulled drank straight from the bottle. She rather not see if she touched her lips to the bottle. She was tired of arguing and stopping people from doing this in her house.
This is the reason why she avoided drinking water in anyone’s house. Everyone seems to be drinking straight from the bottle nowadays.

She opened the refrigerator door and took out the bottle. She looked around to see if anyone happened to be watching. Quickly, before anyone came, she tipped the bottle above her open mouth and drank heartily straight, not bothering about using the glass as per her own rules.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Factual Fiction- Chivalry

Chivalry is not dead, it has changed hands.
There are times when I find myself trapped in a narrow lane with a car coming from the opposite side. Our eyes lock and there is a silent communication, each one mentally urging the other to move back. More often than not, I find myself reversing back to a clearing so that the other car can pass first. Sometimes there is an appreciative acknowledgement from the other driver. Most of the time there is none. I don’t pretend that I like being gallant all the time. There are times I wish to be treated like a damsel in distress and allowed right of way.
And that goes for times when I am lugging the heavy laptop for client calls too, along with the Account Manager. An offer to carry it for me would be welcome.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Factual Fiction- Friday

It’s Friday evening finally. Her favourite day of the week. There is the weekend to look forward to.
They study the menu hungrily and order a chicken sandwich each. ‘But it’s Friday.’ She almost said it. An inner voice said, let him have it, he feels like it. But he would have wanted to know, the inner voice began acting up. Well I always remind him but this time let him have it. His subconscious wants to eat it. It won’t hurt. “Quickly, we are in a rush”, she said to the waiter.

She cannot concentrate on what he is saying. Still debating about the Friday thing and trying to fight out the demons within. ‘Shit, It’s Friday,’ he said. He jumped up to cancel the order and call for a veg burger instead. And she could not even say, “I remembered.”

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Factual Fiction- Diary of a . . .

Those filthy bodies give me the creeps. I hate it when they brush past me threatening to rub a part of themselves on me. The perfect, impeccable me. So much so, I rather stop and let them pass despite whatever rush I may be in.
That pesky, yellow and black bug-like creature, that filthy, green bully and that raucous selfish, always me-first giant. All attempting to force you off from where you are. How I despise all of them. Another breed of despicable characters is the seemingly spotless ones that could be mistaken as those of my league. But their devil-may-care attitude and reckless behavior puts me off and I take care not to rub shoulders with them too. After all they have nothing to lose, unlike me.

I repeat, I do not want any of their colours rubbed on my Swift, midnight black form.

Monday, May 21, 2007

A child hugs you only if you deserve it!

I love the feel of the babies curled up against me. Ojas likes to laze around for a while after he wakes up. So I hug him from behind while he lies down staring into space, deep in thought(?), and blinking at regular intervals, his lashes sweeping on his cheeks. I savour those few moments of cuddling he allows me to have. I bury my nose into his neck or hair and enjoy the cuddle the few moments it lasts. A little later he becomes alert and sings a few words from his self composed song- pucha pucha…and then stands up and tries to wake up his bhai.

Tejas on the other hand will never reward me with a cuddle. He will lie straight, stiffen his legs and cry. This is a signal for me to give him his feed. The reward I get by relenting is his little body curling up against me while he feeds. If I happen to lie on the bed he assumes that I want to feed him and he in turn starts either pulling at my clothes or takes up the afore mentioned position. He blissfully closes his eyes and feeds while Ojas watches apparently curious and amused. Ojas has completely forgotten that 4 months ago, he was doing exactly the same thing. He likes to put his head against my tummy and Tejas copies him too.

I feel that it is about time that he weans off. I have been on 2 overnight trips hoping that when I am back he would have weaned off. But he simply continues from where he left. Sometimes I wonder whether I am sincere enough in my attempts to wean him off. SM mentions that it was she who needed to be weaned off and not her baby/ I realize that she is right. Tejas likes to feed when he is sleepy or feeling whiny or cranky. Sometimes this is the only way we can stop him from crying. It is comfortable for me since I do not need to do the extensive butt patting to make him sleep but a few minutes of feed does the trick. Even if he wakes up in the middle of the night, this is the easiest option to comfort him. I do not want to let go of this comfort. At an emotional level, I am possessive about this exclusive experience with Tejas and it also gives me an excuse to be able to hug him.

I have already noticed a little bit of discomfort he is showing while nursing. He is much more playful about it and also attempts to change his posture while at it. Perhaps he is getting ready to wean himself off. So the mantra I am following is, don’t force the issue. Probably he is a little insecure since I am not there at home all day and this is his method of possessively curling up to me. I notice he is a little more possessive as he tries to bag a place in my lap if he notices Ojas coming near me or me picking up Ojas. (Vice versa also true but not as often).
I am going to enjoy this while it lasts and until he is read to let go completely.

But any suggestions to a quick wean off would help any case…

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Why Couples Fight?

The dirtier fighter is the one who refuses to fight at all.
Ha! I do enjoy a good, full blown quarrel which lets out steam and bottled up filth. There are times when I am really spoiling for a fight. I goad hubby into arguing back with what I think as his baseless arguments. And in reward, I get to use the choicest of vocabulary, sarcasm and bring forth all complaints. Sometimes the fights get so muddled up that we forget what the issue was.

What annoys her
Lack of Appreciation- Face it; she likes to be appreciated, even if she has blended watermelon juice. And if you garnish it with “you make it better than Mom” she is your slave for life. But the problem is that the “he” species does not want to say it and get into trouble.
Lack of vocal indication of undying love- She knows it but he still must say it again. His logic, well I am living with her so isn’t it obvious?
Maid did not come- This upsets the orderly running of the household and to make things worse he seems unaffected by it. Now, that irritates.
Silent treatment- he appears to be apparently unconcerned about silent treatment or sometimes unaware that the operation is on.
The wet towel on bed and newspaper all over the place factor- yes, it is a big deal for her. It grosses her out, while he feels that instead of cribbing about it she should remove it herself. Say please, she might soften but don’t assume that if he says “why can’t you do it”, she will feel guilt ridden and do it.
Untimely Humour- She is hopping mad about something and he dares to laugh it off.
Gadget affliction-if not cricket, there is football to watch, or the conference call on mobile phone or pending work on the laptop. She wants to talk and he responds in monosyllables as his prime occupation could be any one of the 3 above.

What annoys him
1. Non-cooperation- he has suddenly decided to cook something or clean the house and wants her to cut all ingredients and give to her or help him in the cleaning. She refuses to cooperate. Her logic, cooking includes cutting, preparation & cleaning.
2. Apparent Nagging- when she asks him to do something that faintly resembles multi tasking- like buying vegetables on the way back from work, keeping an eye on the kids while watching TV or ensuring that the kid doesn’t pull down most of the items placed too close to the edge of the kitchen table while he decides to make juice for the whole family that blue moon day. He claims he is engrossed, she feels he is plain careless or unconcerned.
3. Perfectionism- She insists that the photo frame has to be placed at that particular angle or only a specific size of potatoes has to be bought or a trip has to be planned down to the smallest detail like who will carry which bag.
4. Taking a long time to get ready- He can never understand the importance of not repeating attire or wearing the right coloured hair clip or sandals.
5. Solicited advice that is never taken- Why does she ask which outfit suits her best in a shop and then buys something which he ruled out in the first place.
6. Faux Dieting- He orders coffee/ coke / dessert hinting heavily that he doesn’t want to share this time. She refuses vehemently but digs into it all the same.
7. Control Freak- She stops him from drinking, smoking, night out with guys. Her logic, it is for his good she stops him. He thinks she is exercising control. She wants him by her side rather than spend time with his friends. He feels he deserves to do his own things sometimes

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Double Trouble or Double the Fun- Part IV- As they Grow Older

Read Part I
Part II
Part III

As the twins grow older the, we realized that things became a lot easier for we parents and also the caregivers. Here I document the various methods we used to make things more manageable.

As we started them on solid foods, the meals had to happen together to save time and make the process more manageable. Both were strapped to their bouncers and fed. We feed them alternate spoons and if we break the rhythm they object. And if one wants water, the other wants it too. But when one of them is not in a mood to eat we fed only the one who was cooperative and then the whole process needed a repeat performance for the other one.

Infact as soon as they were old enough, bath also started happening simultaneously. To promote harmony, playing together and to save time. But sometimes with them jumping up and down, I have to be ultra careful so that they don’t topple off their tubs.

Any work that is not important to be done by self should be outsourced- for the first time in my life I am giving my clothes to the iron-wallah, I have neglected my garden, I let the maids make my bed, I even allow them to make juice for me if I am in a rush. I cook only after they have arranged all the raw materials near the gas. And I don’t put them back and neither do I clean the work area afterwards (filthy!!). I haven’t folded clothes since last year. To me, it is more important to maximize the time spent with the kids.

It is good fun when they are playing together but tiring when they gang up against me. I will be cooking and they will take turns to empty the vessel drawers. I was forced to install a half gate in my open kitchen and the boys feel very insulted for this slight. We had to fix locks for even the shoe cupboards and they hate us for that.
Around 8 inches of my kitchen counter is unused because they have the habit of pulling down anything that is placed on the counter. They even started fumbling with the cooking gas knobs and holding the lighter against the burner. They will pick up the knife from where ever it is placed hence need to be extremely careful. They also like to explore the refrigerator so whenever we open the same, we need to ensure that they do not pull down the glass bottles.

When they were younger, we could as an option make them sleep in turns. But now they do not like it if one of them is outside and the other one is taken for sleeping. So it is essential that both are in the same room and sleeping at the same time. We take the milk bottles and one sleeps with me and the other with Dad and somehow all of us have got adjusted with this arrangement. So much so that once I was trying to accomplish this feat of making them sleep alone, Ojas walked out of the room with a pillow and called his Dad. Dad was busy talking to a guest so he protested by laying his pillow on the floor and lying down there.

Sufficient milk is filtered and kept ready in a borosil jar. Extra bottles sterilized by evening. Even if one of the two wakes up in the night, we rush out and get 2 bottles of milk so that if the other wakes up because of the noise, the milk bottle is handy to calm them. Whoever leaves for the gym first, places the milk bottles by their side so that the other person will find it easier if they wake up.

When we go out, Ojas sits in the front seat with the seat belt and I sit with Tejas on the lap or in the next seat with m at the rear. The milk bottle/ mobile phone/ keys keep them occupied throughout the drive. Hubby & me take responsibility of one child each and mind our respective charge only, especially when they are running around the entire party hall or resident complex or shop. This stage is still easier then having to carry them without putting them down or holding their hand while they walk along with us. At least our hands get a break but we need to be extremely vigilant regarding their whereabouts especially in stores which has trial rooms and electrical room etc.

When they are quarreling for the same toy we try diverting them with a board game or the football which is their favourite or some nursery rhyme like “chubby cheeks, dimple chin” where in they need to participate with appropriate responses. They get sufficiently diverted and become friends during the game.

With twins, the challenges are compounded because they fuel each other with ideas for mischief. More often than not, Ojas does the ideation and initial demonstration and Tejas emulates it after improvising on it. Following the laws of Synergy, 1 + 1 is more than 2 here!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Ojas- Tejas 1.5 Years Update on Record

Documenting comprehensively for posterity.

1. Singing- Ojas has his version of singing aaja aaja aaja aaja. (jhalak dikhlaja..). He has also composed a tune- pachi puchi puchi, pa pucha pucha pucha…
2. Parts of the body that are pointed out- chubby cheeks, dimple chin, eyes (they can say eyes), ears, nose, belly button (Tejas says- ba bum)
3. Nature Lovers- Tejas loves the Moon and I use the ploy of showing him the moon to keep him engaged when we go for a drive.
4. Poem- Twinkle twinkle is demonstrated using the hands and little star is pointed upwards
5. Potty training?- They look downwards when they want to pee or poop. Sometimes they go and sit on their potty but get up immediately and do it outside. One complains about the other if he has peed or pooped on the floor and shows us the spot. Ojas takes the initiative of taking any cloth, especially the kitchen napkin and wiping the floor when he pees. The only thing is that he wipes anywhere but the correct spot (mercy). Tejas has earned the distinction of peeing in a plate and Ojas in a bowl of cornflakes. Mercifully they do not stomp at the shit or the pee now but walk away carefully.
6. Games- They like to thump at the ball and imitating me they hold it against the wall- their version of throwing against it. Also they put the cork on their toy racket/ ball on their tennis bat. They use their bouncer chairs as rocking horse. They discovered and enjoyed playing train.
7. Animal antics- When we say monkey- they scratch themselves. They imitate parrot- tae tae, tiger- aaggh, cat- maaau. They love to see the kitten that comes home and the fish with the fishmonger who comes home. Their dream came true when we allowed them to touch a puppy on the beach
8. Dangerous games- When I sit against the buffet counter, using me as a ladder, they climb up the counter. They also climb the step ladder and stand straight on the chair. They stand at the edge of the bed and wait for me to scream. (Refer Picture and their expression- waiting for the scream). They used to regularly climb the glass side table and finally Ojas managed to break it. He called my mom and did the demo of the same with a sound aaaa to indicate the shattering of the glass
9. Little Helpers- When my sis comes home to stay, they take out her nightie from the cupboard and give her. When we come back home, they give us the bathroom slipper and when we are going out, they give us our good sandals.
10. Snacks- They discovered Parle cheeselings & Sixer and loved it.
11. Sleeping- Ojas can sleep by himself, after drinking milk and throwing the bottle away. Sometimes he needs a little bum patting or back rubbing. Tejas feeds, then switches over to the bottle and then sleeps off by himself.
12. They love back massage- when I say massage or michaach they bring the oil bottle
13. Sharing- Whoever gets the milk bottle or biscuit etc, he hands over one ti his brother before having one for himself. Ojas throws it at the face literally if we do not accept whatever he is giving.
14. Sibling love- when we say “pyaar karo/ kiss” they embrace and kiss each other. They even do massage for each other when prompted. If one is sleeping the other comes and wakes him up by saying vai vai- meaning bhai.
15. Sibling rivalry- If I am getting water for them the one closest to me will shove the other away so that he gets the head start over drinking the water.
16. Artfulness- If one wants a particular toy/ object which the other has, he diverts him by offering something else. The other will clutch the desired object tightly before accepting and throwing the bait far away. If they have something in hand which I am likely to snatch away, they hold it behind their back. Sometimes they say Kaakaa – meaning crow took away some article, if we want to take it away from them.
17. Attention Seeking Tactics- bang their head on the wall/ floor and then touch the spot on the head and cry.
18. Bossiness- They scold the maid if they slip on wet floor. They scold anyone who comes home after a long gap.
19. Association/ Recognition- they point correctly at our pictures. When the door bell rings after 8.30 pm they say Daddaa.

20. Yuck things- they drink the bath water while bathing. They scoop and eat soap from each other's body. They try to help me while I am washing their bum after potty. and this one takes the cake- Tejas scratches his bum and then licks his fingers, all the while looking at me for reaction.

21. make-up- When they see me in front of the mirror, they make motions of applying cream, lipstick and sindoor. Ojas dropped custard powder on the floor and used it like talcum powder all over himslef. They love to squeeze out cream/ vaseline and apply on hands/ face. Refer picture

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Notes from Calcutta

Landed yesterday morning and the incorrigible shopper in me is itching to visit the shops. Oh I could do anything to swipe my credit card, hear the grating of the machine and sign the smooth slip with a flourish. The shops in this city of joy have been eluding me from yesterday morning by opening much after 10.00 am and closing much before 8.00 pm. And the rains today have been a mega spoiler. The roads are flooded and the shops remain stubbornly closed at half past eleven too. As I wait for my afternoon meeting, I am stuck in the office. So time to engage in my favourite activity- blogging.

I just hear and fret about the wonderful sari shops around Shakespeare Sarani, cursing the rains and the business sense of the shop owners.

Visited the impeccably neat and organized biscuit manufacturing plant. This local player in Calcutta market seems to have done extremely well for himself in just 5 years and his fully automated plant and machinery is one of the most expensive varieties. Saw the Marie biscuits being made and collected souvenirs of the same. But sad to see that the workers do not use gloves or head gear while handling the food ingredients and finished products. And none of the national players do the same, I am told. At the same time I am proud that both my current and ex-company adhere strictly to the gloves & head gear part since our ingredients (flavour) gets into food products.

Making a presentation on the biscuit market to the clients was a novelty. Firstly they are a family concern and every chacha and mama will be a Director. Secondly they dislike national players and no word of praise should be said about them. So a category presentation becomes difficult as the category is governed by the national players. Thirdly they are not too comfortable with English so my entire presentation was done in flawless Hindi, and I surprised myself at that. I was unsure about my capabilities to translate the English presentation smoothly into English, though Hindi is my mother tongue but I managed extremely well. The client also appreciated my comfort level with presenting in Hindi.

Today I hear that the guy who matters in the company has highly appreciated the efforts and is looking forward to doing business with us.

Hand pulled rickshaws are still seen inspite of the recent ban.

Things to do in Calcutta is Eat the road side gol guppa and kaati roll but will not for lack of guts! The huge Haldiram outlet en route to airport may be will be visited but the weight watcher section is holding me back by the scruff of the neck.

Looks like the kids have not given much trouble on account of my overnight absence- first one after last November. But I was bored without them and missed them a lot. Even woke up several times during the night and missed their presence next to me. Spent some time looking at their pictures on my laptop and listening to their voice recorded on my mobile.

12.00 pm and I am going to rush off to the closest market to do a quick dekho…

Edited to add-Lighter by Rs 11000- 6 saris, 2 salwar suit material bought at Ratiram Ramvinod in Shakespear Sarani and 6 t shirts for the kids....Now I feel contented.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Flights of Discomfort

Normally I go all lengths to get reclinable window seats so that I can lean towards the windows comfortably and sleep off. Also I hate being disturbed by loo goers who knock my knees while sqeezing past me if I am in the middle or the aisle. Not to forget the air hostesses who insist on hitting you while stomping up and down.
I recall here my uncomfortable flights.
1. Jet Airways- The middle seat that I got did help in adding its bit to the discomfort. But primarily the reasons for my discomfort were-
- Men on both sides- each one occupying both the hand rests and reading their newspaper. As it is, the flight seats are designed to make you feel cramped and the two fat elbows and the knees knocking me from both sides without remorse made me feel really threatened. I dreaded falling asleep on either of them. Moreover the guy in the front was almost sleeping in my lap reclining really comfortably. My good nature did not allow me to lean back completely for fear of discomforting the passanger at the back.
2. Indian (Airlines)- Chennai- Singapore
-Aisle Seat next to a guy who should have fit well in 2 seats. He insisted on leaning on me heavily while sleeping and he was drunk. Until a hard glare made him turn towards his window and sleep
-aisle seat with a lady and a young child at the back. She decided that the open tray table was a good way of restraining the child. And therefore I should not recline at all throughout the 4 hour flight. Not to forget that we were stranded on Chennai Airport, inside the flight for 4 hours due to technical snag.
3. Indian Airlines- Aisle seat. The airhostess dropped coffee on me while serving, stamped my foot and nudged me every time she walked past. This made me shy of aisle seats till date.
4. Singapore Airlines- Wndow seat- this was one uncomfortable window-
They insisted on serving during the entire flight. At first they serve the drink. So you need to keep your tray table open. They hand you the menu. After what seems as forever, they ask you your choice (if you haven't already indicated while bookinbg your ticket). After another forever, they bring your food. Another long gap and the tea/ coffee is served. Post that they take your trays away. By this time you are already nearing your destination and in effect, your entire flight is spend sitting upright, tied to your seat and the middle seat passanger leaning heavily on you for don't know what reason. I have never boarded another SQ flight ever.
5. Indian Airline- Singapore to Chennai-
Seated on window but next to a casual labourer who insisted to picking up the sugar/ sauce pouches etc from my tray... Infact he proved to be quite entertaining otherwise. They were a group of 4 and he requested a girl in his group to pick up a beer can. She did and the air hostess screamed at her because she knew that the guy was asking her to pick up a beer on his behalf. While he was drinking whiskey. The airhostess would have given the beer but for the fact that they did not want him to mix his drinks. When tea was being served, he requested for whiskey again! And while the craft was preparing for landing, he stood up on his seat to pick his luggage from overhead. The airhostess actually came and slapped him on his bum!
6. Seated next to a software guy- he considered himself to be a reporter of sorts perhaps or Karan Johar in the rapid fire round-
he fired questions like- who is your favourite actor (along with 4 choices- all the khans predictibly), favourite actress, favourite movie, favourite city..... all the time unaware of the fact that I was trying to hold my breath and pinch my nose as his mouth was stinking...he infact shook me from my (fake) sleep to show th city when we were landing

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Mischieve Makers

We Love shopping too

The Fate of the Telephone Wires

It's Massage Time
Since Mamma so badly wanted a girl, who would have made a better looking girl

I like to be well read

There are other things that make good seats- upturned high chair or laptop bag - with laptop inside preferred
Too hot, switch on the A/C

The beginning stages of the A/C louveres being removed

We love junk food- like our Mom

Mamma's little helpers

The initial stages of emptying the shoe racks