The Scorpios

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Friday, January 28, 2011


With winter (err) setting in Chennai, and seeing the kids looking totally incongruous wearing shorts while playing outside, especially since it sometimes would become quite cold towards the evening, I banished all shorts to the back of the shelf and brought out jeans, trousers and other assorted full pants in the forefront.
Ojas being the fashionista he is, he would approach each day with the singular thought- shall I wear jeans right now?
Slowly, I have begun to notice that no matter what he is doing, whether he is half asleep or in the middle of a game, if I tell him, Ojas lets change dress, he jumps up immediately and rushes to his cupboard to look for the best possible combination of jeans and shirt. Not only does he select for himself but also for Tejas.
Even if he needs to change for the night, he approaches the task with great enthusiasm- getting a coordinated set for Tejas also.
Moreover, Ojas loves jeans on anybody. Everytime the husband wears a jeans, Ojas will ask- Dadda, where did you buy this?
So here I present, my fashionista pair, Tejas who often keeps his goggles perched on his head like he has seen Mamma do, and Ojas in his pair of jeans.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Are You Smarter Than Toddlers

Was the general theme for games for adults yesterday in the building. After phase 1 of the celebrations were over, the grand finale was making the adults do stuff that even kids can do.
We first had a round of talent show- Salad making contest for ladies. Since veggies are so priceless in the current scheme of things, we made the men make veggie jewelry. This entry was from the husband and his partner.

The kids conducted a quiz for us on the lines of Are you smarter than a fifth grader. Believe me, some of us turned out be smarter, but some of us were quite dumb!
We also gave puzzles for the teams - showed them the finished work and dismantled and made them complete the puzzle again. I had to stop Ojas from helping out the uncles & aunties in sorting out his puzzles. He even commented- why are you doing wrong!The pot breaking scene- Of course with adults screaming out wrong instructions & kids screaming out correct instructions, this guy was no where near the pot and aiming wildly at the car parked nearbyBrick walking- the partner places the bricks for you to walk on...race to finish and back exchanging rolesOjas is negotiating for a bronze medal instead of gold since he had already got a gold & silver. Tejas is content with what he got, as long as he also gets to keep the cup that Mamma got for standing in one corner of the throwball court. (pssst see me in white & orange in the background, in keeping with the republic day dresscode.
The logo on the medals were designed by kids in our flat.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Parental Control or Children Control

The husband and I were eating the Sri Krishna sweet mixture at a rapid speed. Ojas walks up to us, takes in the scene, takes the mixture bag and hides it behind himself.
We get busy with the TV.
He slinks towards the kitchen, Paati asks him- what is it?
Ojas says- nothing, it is all over.
Ojas reaches the kitchen, deposits the mixture pack there and comes out.
It so happens that Ojas loves mixture.

Ah well, Karma comes to bite me in my ample bum- many a times I have eaten a fistful of haldiram's nimboo masala mixture away from the kids'line of vision, if I believe it is not the right time for them to eat mixture.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Milestones- Father Mother Baby

It is amazing how Mother Father Baby games start on its own- like a milestone.
Pay attention to a bunch of kids playing in the room and you will hear snatches of conversation
Mother, I am hungry
Mother I am going to school
And more often than not, the one who is the Father, is not playing with the other kids inside the room- he is (tri)cycling outside the confines - like in the living room, or if the "house" is a secluded corner of the building complex then the father will be cycling in the open portion of the complex.
So they pick it up early in life that mothers feed when you are hungry and the father is always outside- in office or somewhere else but not with the kids or the mother!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Of Competitive Spirit and All

The weekend was a total fun-filled one with lots of competitions and races within the building complex. We divided kids into agewise sub categories and spaced out races for all of them.
We started with doing a drawing competition for the under 6 age group-drawing a typical scene within our building and colouring it. Then was banker race- slotting coins into the piggy bank.Laundry race- kids dipping a napkin in a kiddy bucket of water

And clipping them on to a clothes linePoliceman's race- racing to put sun glasses, cap and picking up a gun and running to the finish line

Vet doctor race- tying a bandage to a soft toy animal and running to the finish line

Between the 2 of them, they covered every race with first, second or atleast 3rd- except of course the drawing/ painting!

Apart from that we had various creative races for other age groups- Including setting the table in a relay race fashion- we placed a sample setting and the kids were to copy the same on the other side - the finish line

We had dart board, making your partner wear the shirt and button up, making a queen's costume using newspapers, reverse walking, hopping race, skipping race, banana eating competition, making smaller words from a larger word.

We had badminton matches and throwball match and a cricket match for kids with certain adults playing in their kids' team and generally bossing over any kid who clapped/ cheered unecessarily- so as if on cue, we ladies would start clapping and cheering like rowdies!

So in general all was fun and we have creative games coming up for the 26th also- this time for adults.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

What I Would Do

A few more thoughts post the post on parents doing kids' projects.

At school, we had SUPW & Craft as a subject- one that was graded A, B etc and not added to the total marks in ranking- thank God for that.

Because I was really bad. Every year we would get ambitious craft projects which I would find impossible to finish. I would take them religiously to school and work laboriously on them but finally, it would be completed by my Mom.

The teacher would grade me abysmally because of course she would judge that I haven't done it- considering the horrible, knotty, thready job at one end and a neat finish on the rest of the work. But then what could I have done?

Here I recall the horror tales of Craft class in school.

In Class 2 I was supposed to make a cross stitch table mat which I did maybe a bit- that got completed by my Mom and survived till recently. In class 4 it was knitting a scarf - I barely managed to complete one band that ties the scarf. Class 7 I did what is displayed below- all by myself- a cross stitch project which was the largest in my class and perhaps the largest project which I did anyday.

Class 8 we were supposed to crochet a shawl- I barely did a couple of lines and submitted my mom's knitted shawl- got graded badly for that- I was even asked to bring a knitting needle and do a sample pattern- I never did it of course and the teacher forgot to follow up with me. During the 2nd term, I did a lovely embroidery on a mosquito net cloth and made a table cloth and 2 side mats- it still is there with me. I got an A for that because the teacher had really seen me work on it.

I remember making 2 sets of table cloths- again partly. And I do remember embroidering a set of cushion covers, a skirt in bright yellow in class 9, which is still there somewhere- I had ironed the design on the cloth and worked really hard at it.

I guess it got easier in the higher classes as long as it was embroidery and cross stitch. But anything else, it would turn out a disaster.

Maybe today as parents we are more open about giving feedback. In today's context we do go up to the teacher and say I think this is too much for my child.

Where as during our student days, the teacher couldn't be crossed. PTA meetings were usually bad news except if you were a good student. And also education or rather schooling has become much more commercialised. A marketing game. The school / teachers have to look good in front of the customers/ parents and the parents have to feel good about the progress the child is making without of course compromising on the actual progress of the child.

In my kids' school, I find a lot of instances of teachers doing projects individually with the kids. There is a lot of hand holding and individual attention as againts our time.

At times I find it impossible to believe that my kids could have done that painting or some origami.

Well, I only wish there was such a balanced approach in my school days so that I wouldn't have to resort to underhand methods to submit my project!

What say my school mate NS? Remember those days? We, born to talented mothers couldn't really complete an arty crafty project!

Friday, January 21, 2011


Jaya by Devdutt Pattanaik is a retelling of Mahabharata in a text book-ish format. So much so I almost expected to find a set of questions and fill in the blanks sort of stuff following each chapter.

The book has madhubani style illustrations which are extremely well done.

The book begins with the description of the snake sacrifice conducted by Janamejaya- the descendent of the Pandavas. The snake then tells the story of the Mahabharata and brings out the difference between Jaya & Vijaya and I quote

"Jaya means pure victory— one where there are no losers while Vijaya means victory where someone is defeated. A victory without losers is a victory over one's own self."

The story progresses in the format of a narration by the snake to Janamejaya and each chapter begins with a dialogue addressed to him that represents the essence of the chapter.

Each chapter carries footnotes about alternate and regional versions and interpretations of the episodes which makes it even more interesting.

Extremely lucid style of writing.

The book is a keeper. I find it to be one of the best and complete narrations of Mahabharat that I have read so far.

pic courtsey-

Thursday, January 20, 2011

What Would You Do?

Let's say there is a project that needs to be done for school. Would you do it yourself or get the child to do it him/herself or let the child do it with guidance from your side?

Now suppose there is some internal competition within your building. With the possibility of getting prizes. Would you do it yourself and submit it on behalf of the child or would you let the child do it with or without your guidance?

Well, I pose these questions because we are in the process of organizing events within our building. We have told kids to come up with stories & logo designs for putting up on the medals that we plan to give away as gifts. Now one kid made a submission and I casually asked - did you do it? And he honestly answered - my mother did it because I have exams and because it is meant for age group above 6.

At that moment I had 2 choices- to keep the paper quietly and not consider it as an entry thereby not making any enemies or returning it to him asking him to re submit.
I was tempted to take the easy way out- keeping the paper with me so as to avoid conflict but my heart said - no that would mean sending out the wrong message to the kid. So bravely I told him- this is easily the best of the lot since your mother has done it. But then you are supposed to do it so could you please make something yourself, may be take your mom's help and then resubmit?

Simple, but it took me a lot of effort to do it as diplomatically as possible. I resited the urge to call his mother and explain my point of view. May be it means I will have one less person in the building who will look kindly upon me. But then I am glad I did what was proper.

Seriously I wonder whom exactly are they fooling? Themselves, their kids or us- the rest of the people or the organisers or the judges?

What I feel is that this is the best way to give a free hand to the kids. Guide them if you please but let them do it by themselves. The objective should not be winning but participating and giving their best.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Vandalur Zoo

After atleast a year of planning, we finally went to Vandalur Zoo on Saturday. Though we were dithering because of the expected crowd during the 4 days of Pongal. And plus Dadda didn't want to walk- err he might have aswell seen discovery channel at home if one doesn't want to walk.
This time I had used my sure sort stragety- Ramban- err, Ram's arrow- telling the kids Dadda is taking them to the zoo- so obviously they wouldn't rest for the entire long weekend until we actually took them to the zoo.
We reached the zoo at around 3-ish and thankfully there was a good cloud cover- so atleast for an hour we had a cool-ish walk. There were buggies that could be taken and they stop at strategic locations and then honk like hell to call you back, but then they are for the faint hearted who cannot do a 2 hour plus walk. I admit I was feeling a bit faint towards the end and and went on asking the kids if they were also tired. However, my little darlings braved on and had they said yes they are tired, I wouldn't have been of any help either.
We also did not do the lion safari as it is not really sure that you may spot a lion in the wild.
So the first stop was at the duck pond.- My family and other animals below... And then the langur monkeys and a huge chimpanzee who refused to come within camera range
The peacocks
Silver peacock
A very curious hornbill
A pair of majestic grey eagle and many colorful crested parrot like birds
And then there were deers, sambhar, bison, Ass, an otter even and assorted others whom we crossed in a haste to reach
The main attraction- lioness
and Lion
The tiger pair far inside

Here, take a closer look- this was the "hand wash" tiger as the kids put it- it was cleaning itself like crazy
And there he is again- pacing the far end of the enclosure
The white tiger pacingthe wall and roaring at intervals
Bears Jaguars .....and
Leopard- labelled as Panther- kids went on insisting that it was leopard and I guess they are right

Many many types of crocodiles, giant lizard type of reptile, turtles, tortoise, a giant squirrel, jackal, and snakes- cobra, python, green chameleonand assorted other snakes

A family of hippos with their vast behinds towards other
A herd of elephants in assorted sizes
A very cute faced pygmy hippo
A pair of giraffes
Zebras that were hardly visible
Lion tailed/ faced monkeys, an aquarium where we did not venture and a butterfly park that we did not care to look for and ostriches. There, I guess we have covered it all.
The zoo is closed on tuesdays and the entry fee is nominal. Value for money definitely. The lions and other large animals get into the cage at 5 pm so it is good to finish well before that. There is a children's park right in the beginning and a few refreshment stalls where you get cold drinks, kulfi, hot drinks, snacks etc.
Carry your own water. Lots of people carry a picnic inside. Eatables with plastic cover not allowed.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Proof That The Lessons are Taken Very Seriously

Middle of the night in his sleep...
Tejas- Mamma, what is 0 + 0

Ojas- Mamma, who is a painter
Mamma- who paints the house
Ojas- So is Dadda a painter?
Mamma- Ah, well, whoever paints a house and gets money for it is a painter

Mamma- now tell me who is an architect
Tejas- who builds house
Mamma- no he designs a house
Tejas/ Ojas together- no, that is interior designer

Mamma- Why didn't you eat the boiled egg

O/T- because that has a baby chicken inside

Mamma- No, boiled eggs do not have chicken inside. Only raw eggs....(then saw the raw egg in the fridge so added)- only raw egges that are not kept in fridge have chicken inside

Ojas- yes, only eggs that are in the nest have baby chicken inside...

simple isn't it?

why didn't I think of putting it that way

Friday, January 14, 2011

Never Ignore

Tejas would on and off tell me that I have to take paper to school, we have to cut paper.
So I would just tell him, ok, take the newspaper.
Not really taking him seriously.
And since the school sends sms for everything that they are needed to bring to school, I would just take it as a whim of his.
2 days ago, as I dropped the kids at the class, the teacher asked him, where is your newspaper cutting. And said, you never bring it.
And then the bulb glowed for me. I did not know where to put my head.
I told the teacher, my mistake, he would tell but I did not know it was a specific piece of news to be brought every day.
Quickly I went to the car and brought the section which had something on benefits of groundnuts and cleaning of the beach and gave it to her. She promised to send one for Ojas to his class.
If only I had paid more attention to it, I would have loved to do it all this while with the kids.
Anyway never too late.
I also think it is a wonderful idea because it gives the kids a wider perspective than what is being taught in curriculum.
And they like it when their piece of news is put up on the notice board.
I like the enthusiasm of the teachers. I only wish I had been told earlier

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

How to Nurture Super Kids?

Ok, from the moment I read the article, I was waiting for Kiran to do a take so that I could link that and write something. She was also part of the BBC panel on this topic. A thought provoking post there if you could please go to the link first.

And my take-
1. Super kids are not kids who score A across or can do everything, every activity. Super kids to me are good human beings first. They first need to learn stuff like sharing, empathy, caring, feeling for others, understand emotions- whether happiness or sadness or anger. My proud moments are those little moments when one kid of mine brings a set of night clothes for his brother or puts his brother's shoes back into the rack, or stop my hand when I try to dress a wound because according to him I might hurt his brother, or when they insist that they must share the lollylops with their friends. Yes, these are my proudest moments as a parent, because some where I know their heart is in the right place if they are able to do that.

2. Superkids do not just do academics. They also play. They also listen to music, learn music, watch TV, dance, or chat or just do nothing. I believe that for an all round development, kids must be exposed to different types of activities. Otherwise they will never discover what they may be good at. Ojas dribbles the football like a pro. At one point we were desperate that he doesn't coordinate well. The music teacher almost gave up on Tejas but today Tejas has been asked to sing a few lines in the assembly. I don't care what he does there- but atleast the teacher found him good enough to sing in front of the school.
What I like about their school is that they insist everyone participates. Perhaps I did not have a good face, or maybe I was too tall, or fat or didn't have a loud enough voice... whatever maybe the reason, I was not part most stage functions in school. I am glad my kids do not face that problem. Next year the kids take up theatre & dance as co curricular activities. And I am excited about it because theatre or dance is such a great medium of expression, it enhances your comfort with your own body. To me it is not just about academics- it is more than that.

3. Moms of superkids feel proud about their kids' achievements but they do not believe it is a matter of life or death if they do not come first in a race or such things and they never ever base a promise of reward on that. Parents of superkids also feel proud of any other kids' achievement infact.
To me it is more important that a child is sportive and accepts the fact that others may be as good or better than him in some aspect. I will never tell my kid that you are the best. I always say that I am happy you have done well. Once when a child was going on and on about how he is the smartest in his class because he got so many stars, I had to cut him off saying that so did others. Everybody gets stars. The fact was that his mom made him believe that he is the smartest and others are not. Which in my opinion is wrong. Because then, these kids cannot take failure.

4. Parents of superkids do not compare- You first compare among your children, then with classmates, then neighbour's children in other schools....and so on- it is endless. To me what matters is that as an individual is the child meeting all milestones. I face a problem at home. Both my kids achieve their milestones at different phases. It is natural and unavoidable that I go on high alert and start comparing even though I make a conscious effort to not do it.
But it also helps in a way that I know where to put my efforts because I do not want them to miss a chance of enjoying a pursuit because they are ready to give up at this stage. Ojas hated reading. He would falter at even the simplest words whereas Tejas just amassed words into his vocab. I pushed Ojas relentlessly and today he is hungering after books. My main concern was, I did not want him to miss the joys of reading, which was the reason I pushed- I used techniques, I used word spotting games, I used kindersite stories to make it fun. Basically, I followed his style of approach towards learning.

5. Superkids do not always score 100% in school - my husband did not, and neither did he get recruited in campus- he is a CEO today.

6. Superkids are not bookish- superkids apply. Superkids do and learn, not mug up and learn. Superkids imagine.

7. And discipline- superkids are disciplined, not regimental. As a parent, I do not encourage missing school. Because my focus is on building a lifeskill of self discipline. Today you miss school, tomorrow you go lax in college because of your "chalt hai" attitude and later on you miss deadlines in office, and do not take your responsibilities seriously.

8. In Life, it is not enough that you are a gold medallist and all that. What is the life skill that you have imbibed at the end of the day? Who cares about a degree that is locked up in your drawer. What do people perceive you as?

Mere itne deewane

3 male cats stalk the only female sitting on the car roof- the one on the left of the tree is the female.
She stares at any cat that dares to move towards her

Alone at last..the 2 contenders on the wall move away disappointed and our stud is back to staring at her....

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Honey Oranges

Can you guess the size of these oranges?

What do you think?

And how about now?

Honey oranges is what the store calls them. Very very sweet, kids love it and so do we.

Monday, January 10, 2011

My Little Helpers err Self Made People

Mamma's babies can totally bring themselves up now.
They have been insisting that they make their own rotis in their own chakla belan set.
Ojas makes about 2 in a session, he being more focused on gobbling up the raw dough.
Tejas is very quick, 6-7 and still going strong in a single session
He is faster than me in terms of numbers I guess and in fact one session, his rotis puffed up while none of mine did!

Both of them helped me with shelling peas this weekend.

Ojas insisted he do the entire thing on his own- said to Tejas- tell Dadda, I don't need your help. You go. I will do it fully.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Where Did That Come From

Ojas wakes up one morning, brushes, sits on the floor and says- kahan hai mera banana leaf? Banana leaf do (where is my banana leaf, give me my banana leaf)
Me- why? for wearing?
Ojas- No for eating?
Me- why do you want to eat a banana leaf?
Ojas- no to eat on eat.
Now where did that come from?
Was it something he dreamt?
Or was it the result of the Dinner we had with Boo family in on banana leaf in Banana Leaf Restaurant ?

Wednesday, January 05, 2011


Ojas- Mamma, don't put (your heavy) leg on me
Mamma- Ok, then shall I put vomit on you (and other unmentionables)
Ojas- kyon, tumko accha things pataa nahin hai?(why don't you know how to do good things?)

Mamma - What is the meaning of treasure

Tejas- anything that is found and should be kept at home

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

More Paintings by Hubby

The Ganesha that is mounted on the high wall that houses the loft in the kitchen 3 Paintings that cover the wall behind the TV.

My house is truly full.
Perhaps I will encroach the garden and build more walls to hang them paintings