Wednesday, December 31, 2008
And I say...as Ojas & Tejas say so often...
Thank You God...
-for the days we spend together as one family, even though they are very few in number...
-for the lovely school the kids go and enjoy...
-for the few blissfull, carefree, jobless holidays we take, even though it is just Pondicherry we go...
-for the wheels we drive, even though the petrol costs are going skyhigh...
-for the prawns that came swimming in, even though the ones that were ours fled the farm...
-for having help at home, even though daggers are drawn most often...
-for having my people at home once in a while, even though I crib for more Hindi speaking people around me in Chennai...
-for the business, even though I crib that the Hubby spends more time there than here...
-for the clothes that I have bought inspite of cost cutting drive...yes yes I am very shallow...
-for the fact that my TV addict hubby is painting our house even as I draft this post...and therefore we can experiment with bold and new colours...as now I have a painter on hand who can repaint it if the results are not appealing...(watch out for our modern art, free style foyer coming soon)
-for the kids excelling academically, even though they did a laugh-worthy show on sports day...
-for my reawakening of gardening self...which means my knees go weak at the mere sight of flowers or plants
-for the blogger meets and the lunches with friends
-for Barbeceu nation, Kabab factory, Promenade, GRT, Residency...and for the friend who introduced me to the first one!
-for a certain Continuous Talking Team that made up for lack of conversation opportunities
-for the long phone calls with friends and relatives and mom...and a few business trips to Delhi, even though I have managed to miss many parties over the year
-for blogging off course that gives a free reign to my thoughts
Here's a virtual toast to 2009 as it arrives!! Welcome!
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Monday, December 29, 2008
2. Lip reading- Speak voicelessly and the kids guess what I am saying. Most used words like- dadda, mamma, ...Gets lesser scores than (1) above though.
3. Colouring- we are getting good at that slowly
4. Making mini rotis on the mini chakla belna
5. Guess what's in the tiffin box for that day- keeps their mind occupied while I shove the breakfast into their mouth
6. Illustrating stories for each other as per Mamma's practice.
7. Helping Mamma in the garden- most annoying though as they water the cacti liberally and regularly uproot the solo tiny tulsi plant
Friday, December 26, 2008
First take a pot....
Rather, first make a pot...And then we prepare the pot and sow the seeds
Thursday, December 25, 2008
While the tree stands in constant danger of being destroyed by the kids-in-awe, it sure is a lovely sight.
Hubby wanted to get a potted tree which we could leave in the garden but somehow the fake one looked more ornamental.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
For they had come a little late and where seated 2 floors above.
She searched hard when the parents' game were getting conducted...again in vain as her Dad was too shy to join or else by the time they reached the ground, the game would have already started.
And many years ago, her sister participated in a toffee picking race. All the kids gathered their toffees and ran whereas she remained at her place and gathered more toffees.
And a few years ago, her brother would cry himself hoarse for getting medals and being the youngest in class would often be at a disadvantage in terms of sheer strength.
Cut to present. The same little girl who is now a Mom drops her kids off at school and returns home to come back back right when her kids' slot is ready to go.
They arrive late thus and cannot manage to get a seat in the front, but could stand right behind where her kids were seated in a group.
Mamma recalls how annoyed she would get at not being able to spot her parents and also remembers the entire point of carrying the camera- to be able to blog about it eloquently.
So she edges past the crowd, round the "arena" and braves being shoved away by the organisers and waits right at the finish line so that she would get a clear shot of the kids in action.
Ojas had to go as an airline pilot with a cap and a picture of an airline hanging round his neck.
So Internet savvy mamma googled for an airpane outline and created her own version of the same using the back page of a brochure and coloured the various parts painstakingly using bright marker pens.
For the cap she asked the Security for a (new) cap from the stores.
And Mamma thought she could pitch in for her sons to win. She stood at the finish line and waved a hi to Ojas so that he would run fast towards her. But he never looked to her side. His was a sprint and well, he didn't even bother to cross the finish line. Lingered on the other side of the ribbon until he was pulled out.
Tejas was the little Santa who had to put his toy into a satchel and run. Trust him to aim for the toy he liked and he changed tracks, Luckily that child was faster and Tejas escaped being out for foul and put his toy into the satchel and managed to be last.
Two horses to bet and both come last!
Proves that they are just like me- shine academically but poor performers in sports-exactly unlike their Dad.
And no, we did not participate in the parent's game- the Dad was not game for it.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
So what should a clueless Mamma do?
Google for it.
This was the starting point and this gave me ideas for the head gear.
I had decided to tie ribbons or paper streamers to a belt and put a red polka dotted bandana (already available at home) for the head gear - which was incidentally called as ladybird by Ojas. One day while driving to work I was debating with myself how I could improvise on the octopus costume as I essentially wanted something that will stand out rather than stay limp on the sides.
So what is long and thin and stiff ...balloons off course. I was amazed at my inspired thinking and so were the teachers.
So 4 balloons, the legs and the arms make the 8 tentacles of the octopus .
For the penguin, I decided to get a plain black shirt which would be worn over a sleeveless plain white t shirt. As luck would have it, I couldn't get a plain black full shirt anywhere. I tried making a waist coat with the black garbage bag and failed miserably with my limited seamstress skills.
So I had to settle for a full sleeve skivy style high necked black T shirt and I wanted to cut it from the front to make it look like wings. But then the stingy side of me overtook my creative side and I settled for stitching a sleeveless T shirt onto the front of the black t shirt This coupled with a white pajama and a cap covered (very shabbily) with a white and yellow paper to make the headgear- eyes, beak and all completed the penguin.
Monday, December 22, 2008
Alas, there are strong arms and happy faces but the rest is all missing.
For my dear husband is absolutely embarassed about dancing in public. Even if I manage to drag him to the floor he will look somewhere else and dance while I would be making eyes at him, hinting him to dance with me.
For someone who cannot sit still when music is being played, it is quite a dampner when the partner doesn't share the same sentiment. And more than that the other couples dance romantically with each other and you see what you are missing.
I was very keen that the hubby and I dance on our engagement night. So I suggested that both of us enrol for a formal class and get the basics right so that the onlookers (yes, it's always about onlookers, always about log kya kahenge) could sigh- what a lovely couple, what perfect coordination, what chemistry... I pictured a salsa, or the good old ball dance. Doesn't hurt to be prepared for your engagemnet party like the celebrities do.
But the husband vehementaly refused to make an ass of himself in a dance class and proceeded to make an ass of me everytime we happen to step on the dance floor.
Therefore to my rescue are these safer forms of dancing guaranteed to be non judgemental-
1. with kids- mine or anyone else's will do.
2. with the gang of (girl) friends- matching steps with steps, ho-halla, hangama and generally have a good time expending those calories.
Friday, December 19, 2008
What to see when you are with kids-
1. a (wishing?) well at the entrance
2. A bullock cart - a luxurious one with cushions and all
3. The lovely fish pond 4. With a bridge right in the middle that leads to an artefact store5. A potrait artist
6. Swing with the ethnic background
7. Balloon shooting range & hoopla
8. A garden restaurant with lovely terracota lamp I have set my eyes on- hopefully next month in my garden
9. Cottages with shopping opportunity
10. Push carts
11. And the food in the restaurant next to the fish pond- if you are lucky you get a seat overlooking the fish pond.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Well, I use the left hand wherever there are control issues- I am more comfortable controlling the bike or cycle with my left hand so I can easily leave my right hand free while riding, or minute activities like threading a needle and probably a host of other things which I have not really noted.
And I note Ojas has been picking up his left hand for writing. While he is often forced to switch to right hand I am of the opinion that it should not be forced on him. His teacher mentioned that she has not focussed specifically on directing him to use the right hand because the hand orientation develops only after 3 years of age and the experts say it is best not to force the child to switch to right hand as it leads to emotional and physical problems and overall making the child feel inferior - a bad handwriting is just one of the resulting problems of forced switch to right hand. They even have problems in learning to tie their laces, telling the time, using the computer mouse or simply opening the autolock on the door - I have noticed Ojas finds it a challenge to open the autolock or that he was slower to learn to open the tap.
And here are a few ambidexterity exercises - the Greeks encouraged it as it was invaluable in war.
And off course- all is not just about left handedness- there is also left sidedness which means it is possible to have a dominant left side in any part of the body- eye, foot etc
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Ojas & Tejas were to do a lot of pincer grip activities to help them build their pencil hold. So like any other self respecting Internet user, yours truly diligently surfed the net (meaning the below post is a copy paste from various internet stuff) and came up with the following suggested activities. The italics are my thoughts for each suggested activity.
1. Use large tongs to transfer pompoms to a bowl, use sugar cube tongs to transfer beads between bowls, and then tweezers to transfer small flat shapes to a bowl.
I can truly picture my kids poking each other with teh various tongs I give- they will love the tweezers I am sure.
2. Use a large & a small syringe to transfer liquid between containers
Mmmh and have them mess the entire home with their penchant for playing with the dreaded liquid
3. Pouring liquids through funnel/ strainer
Lovely- another water activity
4. Sort beans of various sizes into separate heaps
When in doubt...ask. I just asked them- will you play with beans? They answered- no!
5. Spoon beans into bowls
See 4 above
6. Use a small spoon and place one marble in each section of an ice cube tray
And what do I do when they ask me for ice the moment they happen to notice I am carting an ice cube tray in their direction?
7. Painting. Try to alternate between large, stubby brushes and smaller, finer brushes. The smaller the brush is, the more control they need over their hands. Also try getting them to do some painting with cotton swabs. This affords some really fine work and allows them to develop their pincer grip; needed for learning how to write
First the Mom needs to develop her brush hlding skills- let me start with the eye liner brush
8. Peg Puzzles.
Already graduated that stage. Now what!
9. Playdough. Children will get some great fine motor skill exercise out of Playdough especially if you add some extra equipment such as rollers and cookie cutters.
Gulp. Not yet very hot on play-do. Only Mamma loves it. And who uses those delicate instruments- apna haath jagannath
10. Cutting. Bring out the scissors and some old magazines and let them get to work. Cutting requires a lot of coordination. For younger children who are just getting used to manipulating scissors, you can buy them without any metal. They are sharp enough to cut through paper but not much else.
Now that's an idea- we are already learning to cut our way through chips packets.
11. Threading. Buy some beads to thread or use some colored pasta and string. This activity requires a lot of control and a steady hand. Perfect practice for fine motor development.
Hmmm. I can picture the cries of frustration. (from Mamma)
12. Blocks. Start out with larger blocks and move your way towards the smaller variety. The smaller the blocks, the more control they need to develop. But be careful not to introduce blocks that are small too quickly – they will only get frustrated and give up.
Okay. On the knees, get set, and go and fish them out from everywhere in the house.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
The students were in a computer lab taking turns at the limited machines. The Girl gets up so that The Guy may take his turn. He sits down on the chair and stands up as if he has been pricked in the butt by a hidden needle saying "Aaa, it's hot"
11 years later, Mamma sits on a chair. The child cries-"Mamma that's my chair"
Mamma gets up and the child proceeds to sit on the chair and cries- 'Mamma garam kar diyaa... thanda karo" (Mamma has made the chair hot, cool it down now)
Monday, December 15, 2008
The Black Diamond Retriever
And I did not know dogs were such great inspirations. The entire day the kids act as if they are duggy or huggy and then ask me for food. So I "throw" imaginary food at them and they jump and snap it between their teeth together with the sound effects of teeth hitting together.
Huggy was discovered gnawing at a shoe one day.
So when the kids were having their meal they were pretending to be Duggi or Huggy and thereby eating as a Duggi or a Huggy.
Ojas was Duggy. After sometime he said now I am Huggy.
When I gave him his food , he says, no Huggy is eating shoes.
Friday, December 12, 2008
And to my dismay, the short stories end at such points that they leave you with an empty feeling- a feeling of lot of things left unsaid and a wish that there were a few more pages tying the ends with filler information instead of letting it remain all symbolic and open to extrapolation.
The stories are all steretypical though, Americanised Bengalis yearning or not yearning for Calcutta, Marriages, and a sense of dullness and monotony in their lives. Don't these people lead lives that one can call interesting at all? Makes one feel that there is a lot of things to be sad about. Stories that make me want to instantly turn pages and reach the end to check who died or cheated or lost everything ultimately.
Go here for a better appreciation of this book.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Wawel Tiki Taki dark chocolate- with a soft crunchy coconut based filling. melts in the mouth. best eaten in room temperature. refrigeration hardens the filling.
Wawel Kasztanki- dark chocolate, soft crunchy wafer based filling
Ghirardelli Dark chocolate with Raspberry filling- rich luxurious dark chocolate, jammy sweet raspberry
Riesen chocolate chew- chewey caramels, goeey fillings, ultra smooth, combo of dark outside, caramel inside
Grupo Bimbo Karameladas Pop-caramel popcorn... yummmmmazing
Solidarnosc Golden Pralines- assorrted bag, loved the coconut inspite of myself, and pista.
Bourniville chocolate range from India- yumm..dark chocolates..loved the almond best! And so I was buying them and Ojas asked me - Mamma is that chocolate. I lied - no baby it is book.
So he points at the picture of chocolate on it and says - is this book? this is chocolate.
At home they were having that chocolate. So I asked what are you eating?
They answer- Book!
Meanwhile..there is a toy fest on at Landmark citi centre & spencers upto dec 31
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Meaning now Mamma will brush for you.
Tejas points at my brush and says- That is Mamma brush - and continued to brush his teeth on his own.
Yet again I screamed at them.
Ojas- Mamma, nahin shout karo
Cuss word of the month- You Rascal
Mamma- What did you say?
Tejas- Rats bolaa, Rats outside.
Tejas, You broke this?
Tum baat mat karo, Tejas gussa ho jayega. Walks out of the room.
They make their own puris now. And give them to me for frying. Surprisingly they turn out pretty ok, except a little thick at one edge. I asked Tejas to shift a little away from the gas.
Tejas- Fir Tejas kaise puri banaega? (Then how will Tejas make puris)
Their penchant for arguing and eating fruits are confirmatory tests that they are their father's sons. I await the day they will argue the pants off my hubby and avenge their long suffering Mamma.
They tell illustrated stories to each other copying Mamma- tell the story while drawing something on paper as I do. And believe me the quality of their drawings are only a little worse than mine
They insist on wearing their own clothes especially at bedtime- means a lot of cries of frustration when the sleeve cannot be found by the hand or the buttons don't come together
They even insist on squeezing out their own toothpaste- which means excess if the tube is new and a lot of time waste if the tube is getting over
Ojas/ Tejas- Vaa da rascal
Dadda- hey talk with some respect for me
O/T- Vaango rascal.
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
EMI....run of the mill story...too similar to Gandhigiri theme...but well woven..found it boring in parts
Transporter 3- Thrilling...Go watch it..for the hot hero and the bad guy! I am told even 1 & 2 are great!
Visit to Pondy- a wedding...the only positive thing about it being that I get a chance to dress up and wear my new necklace, dinner at Promenade- a yummilicious buffet at Rs 460/- all possible non veg stuff included...loved the bow shaped pasta in pesto sauce and an array of desserts.. i only wish I had the space for the spongy rasgullas...as I write this I am regretting why I didn't squeeze a rasgulla in also..:(
Monday, December 08, 2008
K- I never told anything.
Panditji- no, whatever I am telling you told.
Me- gritting teeth- you have to repeat the mantras after him.
Panditji-after performing certain rites- Now you should give me 2 cows
K- he he, ok...whatever...ignores...gets distracted
Me- ?? at the way K was ignoring the Pujari's blatant request
Me-later-to K- he meant you need to give him some cash in lieu of this particular rites.
Panditji- translating one of the 7 vows - There is no life without wife
Brother - whispers to K- actually Panditji's wife kicked the bucket last year...giggle giggle...
Wish you a Very Happy Anniversary K!
Saturday, December 06, 2008
Or the one in which the to-be-married can roam around town without looking over their shoulders because they are now officially engaged.
Happy Engagement Anniversary K.
Friday, December 05, 2008
She rode (expertly) round the campus with her pillion rider and finally turned towards the corner to park the bike.
As luck would have it, she forgot how to brake and was frantically searching for it while the dude riding pillion screamed on asking her to stop.
At last she found her senses and pressed the (front) brake on the handlebar quite suddenly, just a few inches before a ditch, and brought the bike to a screeching halt, causing the pillion rider to fall against her back in a true Bollywood bad-guy-good gal-bike- sudden brake combination fashion.
The guy jumped off the bike and with a violated look on his face exclaimed- What are you doing?
I am not saying that was the beginning of anything...
Thursday, December 04, 2008
My favourite booth was the smell & taste one- for obvious reasons...
Smell: Tiny matkas and cups filled with aromas- clove, dettol, vicks, powder, flowers, garlic, ginger, coffee...and so on and covered with perforated silver foil. Well, a test for my senses also. And to my delight the kids remembered what they had smelled and tasted more than what they had seen and heard!Taste: Testing the taste buds- the four basic tastes- sweet, sour, salty and bitter... Identifying the flavour type- Mango, Lime, Orange & Pineapple and types of major fruits...
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
And in my opinion, there were too many wake-up games....Well, I had not gone there is the first place to sleep so it was totally unnecessary and hilarious so to speak. I was intent on trying to guess the objective of the game and was a trifle disappointed that it was just wake-up- no team building or any such thing.
I remember a classmate of mine used to say- we are adults, if we choose to sleep and not pay attention, it's our loss. There is no point forcing someone to listen to you.
And more than that, I have come to the level where in if there are gender differences, it is more out of choice than coming from the workplace.
The participants were intended to be corporates so role plays that are "home" based doesn't solve the objective.
Yet another experience that left me disillusioned with these over rated programs.
So this was one of the games..
What we had to do- One person is the mirror, the other is ..well..not the mirror.
The mirror needs to do what the other person does.
So I am the mirror and this guy does a few gestures that I imitate.
Then he hitches his pant up.
I do the same.
He- No no no I didn't do that...my pant is lose....
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
Mamma mentions unabashedly- Baby, Doctor ke paas.
Ojas recalls quickly that just a few minutes ago he had stumbled on the staircase and as far as he remembered Mamma had done nothing of that sort to merit a visit to the doctors. So he quietly goes to the shoe rack, puts on his sandals and bides his time by the main door.
Tejas follows suit because only fools and the slow ones get left behind.
As Dadda & Mamma walk out of the door, Ojas & Tejas follow them. Dadda lies effortlessly - we are going to doctor baba, we will come back and take you for a round.
Ojas gives a look which said- are you kidding? Give us a round after you come back past midnight, judging that you are leaving at 11 o'clock in the night?
Instead of protesting he pointed at his legs and said- Ojas also doctor, Ojas chot naa!
Mausi asks- will you go to the doctor?
Mausi- will you take injection?
Ojas- defiantly yes
While Mamma and Dadda think to themselves that another brilliant excuse has flown out of the window.
As if, just to burst this myth, there is an opportunity to visit the doctor the following week and both of them realize the truth that not every doctor visit culminates in an injection and the stethoscope chek up is quite fun.
Monday, December 01, 2008
दस choti chidiyaa khaati थी अनाज
एक udd के chalee गयी
baaki bachay नौ...
And so on we used to sing the backward counting game. And in my imagination these birds who would fly and sing and eat grains would be sparrows as those were the birds I had grown up seeing.
Unfortunately these birds are no longer so common.
I am afraid my kids would grow up without experiencing the joys of watching a pair of sparrows- the one with the dark patch on the chest being the male and the lighter brown one the female, making their nest out of twigs, leaves, cotton and thread.
Sturdy nests that would be built inside our homes on precarious spots every summer on ventilators, behind light bulbs, inside empty cartons, lofts and even on the fans making it difficult for us to switch on the fans and neccesiating the sad destruction of those nests before they got a chance to complete them.
We siblings would even attempt in helping with the construction- climbing up chairs and stools to place twigs that would fall off near their nests but those would be rudely pushed off by the suspicious birds.
And not to forget the constant chirping. Every morning the Dad bird would tap the windows frantically to be let in and the Mamma bird would "pace" inside the house chirping loudly to wake us up and allow the partner in. Wonder why hey didn't sleep inside the nest together!
We would leave all windows open inspite of the summer heat just to allow them their passage all day.
The summers use to be alive with anticipation. And also filled with dread. We would be ultra-careful before switching on the fans as we had experienced birds cut by the fan- some of them inrescuable and some of them were nursed back to health by Mom using our ever available homeopathy medicine Arnica.
The sparrows would never re-occupy the same nest next year- what a waste of perfectly usable homes and construction material.
I have removed used nests of perfect shapes - triangles- taking the shape of carton corners and well- nest like also- using dry twigs and padded with soft cotton.
The joys of watching the mamma bird hatch the eggs vigilantly and Daddy bird getting food and out of habit picking more twigs some times.
And then the eggs would hatch out and the tiny chirps would fill the entire house- for their size, they have a voice box that would carry throughout the house.
Mamma and Dad would go in search of grain and feed the hungry, wide open beaks the entire day.
We would again attempt to climb and leave rice at their nest-step and those would be thrown back literally on our faces- they really do not accept alms.
The Mamma bird would be especially bold though after becoming a Mom. She would at times brave into the kitchen and hop on the floor to pick up grains.
And then the training for flying would start. What an organised effort from the Dad & Mom. They would chirp encouragingly and the little birdies would try their best - sometime found lodged between the window grills and picked up by us- soft, cuddly, cute balls of fur, so delicate..
And one fine day the birds would fly the nests and the parents would circle their haunt for a day or so and leave...
Friday, November 28, 2008
We fail to defend ourselves...
Be it a large scale well executed one or a so called minor badly planned one.
Where is strategy?
Why the repeat attacks?
Why are we targets?
Where are those who go on hunger strikes for inter state issues, intra state issues or even world issues?
It's not about blasts in a city like Mumbai or Delhi or Bangalore. It is about all of us. Everything ploughs back to the country in effect.
We can fight for every thing except critical emergencies.
Come a natural calamity...
We are yet again unprepared.
Continuous rains... (that's the dustbin that floated to the middle of the road)
Cities waterlogged... People wading through the water- these are our main roads in posh coloniesPoor visibility for motorists...this is at 5.00 pm Vanishing Pavements...And Contrasting Signals -While one road is dry the other side is waterlogged Trees fallenA median broken down at various points to allow water flowWater that does not soak in inspite of supposed rain water harvesting...
Water invading homes, farms and our prawn farm... And that's the Raj Bhawan- what an equalizer todayEconomic losses...
No water supply...
It's happening to people whom we know or who have touched our lives in some way or another.
Our heritage sites are targetted...and we can only talk about it.
We can't get the basics right....
So what are we really talented at?
Oh Wait! Is that the dark clouds leaving and white clouds struggling to defeat it?
Thursday, November 27, 2008
One morning in an MBA classroom workshop....
The students are being taught about the importance of eye contact in a sales call and asked to practice with their partners.
That was easy peasy as, by luck or design they selected same gender partners or friends.
So the challenge was to look eye to eye with someone of the opposite gender.
By luck and design the Lecturer selected This Girl & That Guy to role play in front of the class of 50 students.
For a whole minute that they to look eye to eye perhaps for the first and the only time.
The giggling girl and the supposedly feeling demure guy performed for the audience and it is but natural for the lecturer to consider himself responsible for what happened some 6 years after that day.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Stingy Mamma had budgeted for not more than Rs 80 for 1 ride each. She ended up shelling out Rs 220 for 4 car rides and 2 bike rides.
And the next day we went out for shopping and Ojas asked- are we going for a drive?
I promise it is addictive if a child takes to it and also for the parents.