Monday, 13 April 2015

A new avatar of Musings...

I started this blog sometime two years ago and posted stuff about Raks and the very many quaint things that I came across in Mylapore. But I haven't posted anything here since October due to many reasons. As always work commitments topped the list and the fact that Raks has suddenly grown too big for my blog.

Too many people have started telling me that she just might disown me if she finds out that I have been blogging about her.

It started with an innocent conversation with my sister while we were on the way for some retail therapy.

"You know that blog about that birthday party....

"What birthday party?" asked Raks

Until then she was lying cocooned between two big bags of clothes that had been making the rounds in my sister's car (purportedly bound for the laundry for about two months... if I say any thing else about that she might disown me too!)

The minute she heard the word 'birthday party' she put her head between the two seats and started following our conversation...

"The birthday party when you feared that Raks might be a vampire and bite everyone..."


"I didn't say anything about her being a vampire..."

"Mummy! Do I look like a vampire?"

"Of course not sweetheart, Chithi is just joking!"

While I gave murderous looks to my sister whose 'narad muni' job was well underway, I tried to pacify my daughter.

"Whom did I bite?"

"No one... not for a very long time,"

"Then why are you lying..."

"I am not. You used to..."

"Two days ago, that papa came home and bit me and you didn't even support me when I was hurt... you supported that papa,"

"But gugu that papa was 1 1/2 years old and she didn't know what she was doing..."

"What else have you written about me?"


And she went on and on... and then she began to count the things that she had against me...

"You know Chithi, one day amma dropped appa's phone and Ipad ...."

"And there was that time when she took me on the bike without my father's...."

"One day she lied to someone on the phone that she was driving while she was only making dosai..."

And so it went on... until I bribed her with a trip to Funcity. And while she happily hopped on from one game to another, my sister observed that in the near future I should probably take down all these blogs before Raks learned how to access them.

So to cut the long story short, I will henceforth write about life in mylapore and the art of making vadam and vaththal.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Raks and the baby

I know I have been away from this space for many months now (you can throw those brickbats at me. I totally deserve it.) But it is quite difficult to function like an octopus. With one hand on work commitments and the other hounding bloggers to contribute their lessons and translating Ponniyin Selvan and having nightmares about tamil spellings.)

If you are wondering about the 'baby' in the title of the blog and trying to connect it with my disappearance from Musing - you are wrong. No. I haven't had a second baby, though my niece did. And consequently Raks has become a certified aunt (I am not going to divulge what I have become).

Coming back to the baby. Here is a list of reactions that Raks gave out right from its birth -

5 hours after birth - It's a girl! It's a girl. Now I can do makeup for her....

8 hours after birth - I am going to show the papa my new nail polish and trying to wear three different shades at the same time (reasoning was that we have ample fingers and toes for all shades)

9 hours after birth - Papa! Look at my new nail polish. Check out my favourite skirt. Do you like my hair style...

One day after birth - Why is papa not looking at me?

Two days after birth - Give the papa back to her mother. Don't pick her up (This directive was for me...) Give the papa on my lap. I want to take her walking (eyes rolling... Raks she is not a dog...)

Four days after birth - What does aishu do with the papa when she closes the door? Can we give papa my favourite gooday cookie? No. Chocolate. No. Kinder Joy. Emphatic No.... Papa wants only milk! (Horrified expression!). Yes. Yuck!

Five days after birth - No one is giving papa to me (general wailing) for which my mother-in-law listed the number of babies that she had taken care of including herself. And her reply to this was... well I have taken care of many babies too - Two Ganeshas, one Krishna, two hanuman and two barbies...

Ten days after birth - I have a couple of options - Rosie, Lily, Teressa... Which name do you like?

Eleven days after birth - Why is no one giving the papa in my hand? I can carry the baby too (even while she was holding the barbie doll upside down by the hair)

Twelve days after birth - I will do make up for the papa. Wait... wait... Let me get the makeup kit.... (after a short while that involved a few acrobatic maneuvers to get to the top shelf and take the make up kit that I had camouflaged behind an old cardboard box) she hurried to the room in top speed only to find the papa drinking milk. How can you always drink milk? Don't you want to do make up?

Fifteen days after birth - Where is the milk coming from? Is the papa drinking bournvita like me? Why does it like the milk so much? (and a million more questions about the mystery milk)... I want to bathe the papa... I want to show Chota Bheem to it... I want to rub oil to it.... I want to tell stories... Oh no! Papa is again drinking milk...(boring!)

After almost a fortnight of watching and observing Papa, she remarked, "Papa is quite boring Mummy. Why does it drink milk all the time? At least Barbie papa does make up with me."

Friday, 11 July 2014

When Raks tried to hypnotize

Raks trying to hypnotize us
While I was writing something very important, she came all the way to my desk on her tippy toes and slid a hand to grab the audio dock. While I pretended that she was invisible, she proceeded with her plan.

"Your eyes are getting heavy."

"You are feeling sleepy."

"You will only listen to me now."

While I struggled to keep a straight face, I was also curious to know as to what she is going to turn me into. So I pretended to fall asleep. Man! Her gleeful expression at my hypnotized state was worth it all.

She thought for a while as to what to hypnotize me and decided on a dog.

"You are a dog."

"You will bark as a dog."

And since her hypnotizing has worked so very well, I started barking. After barking for a couple of minutes, I came out of the hypnotic state and asked, "What happened?"

With a bemused smile, she patted my shoulder and said, "Mummy, you have been working so hard. You just fell asleep because I gave you a massage." Saying thus, she tried to massage my neck, while I pretended not to notice her ecstatic expression that declared, "Eureka! Experiment successful! Let me try it out on other people now."

So while her father was reading the paper, she formulated her plan. Since I had hidden the audio dock from further hypnotizing experiments, she had to make do with a brinjal that had a long stem.

She slowly inched towards him with the brinjal hidden behind her back and proceeded to charm him.

"Appa, what are you doing?"

"Reading paper."


Then with some studied deliberation she brought out the brinjal and proceeded to hypnotize him.

"Your eyes are getting heavy."

"You are feeling sleepy."

"You will only listen to me now."

Since I had forewarned him about her latest experiment, he quickly caught on and got hypnotized. Was she ecstatic or what? 

"Appa, you are a duck."

"You are going to quack like a duck."

So he quacked, rather violently that made her change her intensity of hypnotism. Swinging the brinjal rather hurriedly she said, "Duck, quack slowly."

So he quacked slowly. She looked as if she had achieved her life's achievement.

Now that the experiment with hypnotism was successful, she proceeded to try it out on her grandparents which didn't work. I don't think she was much disappointed by it because she believed that she had her parents under thumb (literally!).

It was a day rather like any other school day where I had scheduled about two hours in the evening for reading, homework and writing.  In the meanwhile,  she had successfully extracted the audio dock from the hidden hollows of my desk draw, while she pretended to sharpen her pencil at my desk. Armed with her powerful astra, she came and tried to hypnotize. This time around, it was not about ducks and dogs. It was truly about survival.

"Your eyes are getting heavy."

"You are feeling sleepy."

"You will only listen to me now."

I pretended to be hypnotized, all because I was curious about what she would make me do now. 

"You will do my homework now."

"You will put the TV now for me."

Aha! Very clever indeed. Was she in for a surprise or what when her hypnotizing failed and I made her do the homework. She shook her head a couple of times and tried to check my eyes. After the homework amidst much sighs, she wanted to watch Ninja Hatori to perfect her ninja techniques that included lessons in hypnotizing.

Friday, 6 June 2014

Random Musings with Raks

With the summer holidays winding down, there are precisely five days to school. And I do confess, I am counting the days, when the school would reopen though I have been sporting a long look for her benefit, whenever we hear the words 'school and reopening'.

When you are working from home, you might as well take a holiday with the kid when the school closes for summer. I almost did but then I couldn't.

Now imagine me, sitting there thinking furiously as how to 'landscape a beach house' (an article for a client) and here she was, "Amma! I have changed my mind."

"Softscape...hardscape... local plants... what? What have you changed?"

"I don't want to be a teacher when I grow up. I want to be ninja."

Ding.. Ding.. Ding.. Ding...

I forced my mind back into landscaping but soon found Oggy's Shah Rukh Khan voice streaming through the brain followed by Shakthi Kapoor and Paresh Rawal.

"Billae... Kaha hai tu"

"Mummy.. what does billae mean?"

I was rescued from Oggy's mindless chatter by an advertisement, when raks made a momentous announcement that rendered me obsolete and redundant.

"Mummy! I know how to change channels."

Drat it! Now she does need me anymore to do the honours.

Chota Bheem and his gang of friends were rescuing someone amidst basic lessons of a kathakalli dance. Raks rushed inside to don some make up (lots of powder on the face and the rest on the mirror) and tried to recreate a very scary eye make up. For the next ten minutes, I was treated to a kathakali + ballet + bharatnatyam mix performance and whenever she traced my eyes lolling back to the laptop, she rolled eyes and gave a scary stare. I diligently clapped and was rescued by an ad.

"Thapad padega Henry!"

"What is Thapad amma?"


After switching off the TV with some ingenious maneuvers from my end, I settled her down with a book, hoping that I could write at least two more lines.

"Mummy! I don't want to be a Ninja."

"Landscaping... what to plant? Are they available in India... Stupid google..."

"Mummy! I want to be a astronaut."

"Huh! Astronaut. ok. Great. Now read your book."

"Mummy! Look at me. I am space walking..."

Yes. With my dupatta tied to the end, she was moon walking on the bed.

"Mummy! Let's play monopoly."

"Mummy! Let's go to the park."

"Mummy! Let me tell you the story of when oggy married olly."

"Mummy! I am practicing ballet, please play swan lake."

I chanted my private mantra, 'five more days and blissful school' and crushed a private dream (where I had a magneto type of helmet on that aided me to work with a TV that was blasting away) and closed my laptop after setting an alarm for 5 AM next morning.  That just about sums up what we did this summer.

Sunday, 18 May 2014

A Date with Godzilla

The last movie that we saw together was 'Conjuring' that successfully scared us to bits. This time around, we opted for a monster flick - Godzilla. 

The movie opens at a mine site where they have discovered a huge cavern, which is actually the belly of a godzilla and the possibility of the escape of one of its eggs. Next scene, we have Joe, a scientist, worried about tremors that are coming in the nuclear plant. Along with his wife, he races to the plant and predictably his wife is stuck inside the plant and he has to shut it down. (Who asked her to go down there in the first place, especially when there are tremors?)

20 years later, Joe's son Ford is coming home to his wife and son. In the middle of the night, Ford gets a call about his father being caught in Japan near the quarantined area where they had lived once. From here on, the movie becomes a possible script for a tamil/hindi serial, where the Godzilla gets a larger than life role as the 'slapping mother-in-law'. 

My son, your mother died here 20 years ago. I am going to take revenge...

Ford thinks that his father is a mad scientist but he still tags along when Joe unleashes the great 'amma sentiment'. They make their way to their old home and find that it has become an extension of forest. But hey, the floppy disks are there on the desk and Joe pockets them as evidence. Soon, they realize that the air is clean and remove their masks. Next they get captured by the patrolling soldiers and are taken to the nuclear plant. 

At the plant, Ken Wantanabe (scientist who is studying the creature), is looking clueless as Godzilla comes alive, after consuming all the radioactive elements. (It might be handy to have one in India too, now that trigger happy morons are riding the nukes) They try to kill him with electricity but they fail. (And they had 20 years to study the creature!) Joe dies of injuries and tells his son to go home. Now here is where I thought that Ford would say, "Papaji! I will avenge your death. Main usse godzilla ki khoon pee jayonga!"

But no, Ford agrees with his father and makes his way home. Ken Wantanabe in the meanwhile has cleverly deduced that the Godzilla is either on its way to eat, mate and kill (in that order).

While the Godzilla was on its way, to answer a possible mating call, I took about five minutes to check on Raks and to post a status on Facebook. And what do I see when I look up? Not one, two but three Godzillas! Ok. There are three godzillas fighting around or mating. I really couldn't make out the difference. 

The hero Ford wanted to honour his father's last words - 'Go Home'. But these pesky godzillas have their own agenda and are trying to sabotage his mission. Finally, roused to anger, Ford gets irritated and he whips out a... (here it is) a pistol. What nuclear warheads, machine guns, tankers and bombs couldn't achieve, Ford's small pistol does. 

Every time, he has a close encounter with the Godzilla I expected Juliette Binoche to make an appearance in the clouds or superimposed on the Godzilla's face. 'Son! Please take revenge.' But no. What a waste of a talented actress? She was hardly on the screen for two minutes. But no worries, the TV script of this film will have an emotional outburst from the mother, which will run for two mega episodes.

Ken Wantanabe is yet another talented actor wasted in the movie. He looks clueless and scared most times and has no idea about the creature that he studied for 20 years. And what's wrong with the Godzilla's mouth? It opens it with an effort as if a superglue has been applied. And in the end, the Godzilla becomes a dragon and unleashes dragon fire! Very impressive!

So did I enjoy the movie? Oh yes. I literally ran back to the screen during the interval, after getting some snacks because the guy next to me was farting all through the first half. And I wanted my dear darling sister to enjoy the 'sugantham' for the next half.

Saturday, 10 May 2014

A blog that raks should not read...

I have been missing in action here, for some time. But until the schools reopen, a better part of my time is spent getting beaten in monopoly, chess (literally pelted with the coins) and acting as an inadvertent target to rak's archery practice. So a blog detailing about our adventures (or not) will follow next month. Until then, I am sharing a blog that raks should not read, at least until she is mature enough to laugh over it :)

When I was young and not-so worldly wise my parents would take me to the beach but not near the water, because 'Beach is closed now. It closes at 6 PM everyday'. And I believed it.

Well I don't begrudge them for lying to me, as I have given a free rein to imagination when it came to such excuses, especially with raks. I just hope that she does not find out about these, in the near future or at least until she is mature enough to forgive me -

  • The TV needs to charge for eight hours before you could watch it. 
  • After 6 PM the POGO, Cartoon Network, Sonic, Nick... etc. will not play.
  • The uncle downstairs will get very angry, if you play the 'dhol' after 10 PM. (He is stone deaf btw)
  • Bhuvana acharya will know telepathically, if you hide the breakfast in the fruit basket and claim that you have eaten it.
  • If you spoil your new t-shirt with water colours, the shop man will not sell you another.
  • The cable man will permanently remove the kids channel section if you watch TV for more than three hours.
  • Chota Bheem will come home and give you a gift, if you wear the tshirts that I had  ordered online, just for you (right after that tantrum).
  • Drinking milk will make your hair grow.
  • That maroon t-shirt came in my dreams, sad and depressed and asked you to wear it.
  • Mummy is going to the doctor, for just one hour. (an excuse that she increasingly refuses to believe, even as I write it :))
  • All toy stores are closed due to elections (that's been going on for a month now)
  • Your mother will know telepathically, if you sneak towards the fridge and take out the ice cream
  • Chota Bheem might come home one day, if you finish the lunch within one hour's time
  • We are not going anywhere near Apollo Hospital. We are done with vaccinations and injections. 
  • Appa will hand over the remote within five minutes

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Raks and the Pshycho

Well she has been pestering us to get one for a while but I hesitated, "What if she goes off with the Pshycho somewhere?" But Raks promised ever so faithfully and had the sweetest of the smiles plastered on her face that we gave in as usual. Pshycho was a pink beauty with a basket in the front and the picture of a barbie and she fell in love with 'her' the minute she saw it. She ran through the shop and immediately claimed her prize and refused to climb down even as the shop assistant wanted to bill it.

My husband was all for a red beauty that was a size smaller than the pink. It had a sturdy frame, broader tyre and when I pestered him, he gave the real reason. It was small enough for raks to ride inside the house. Aha!

"She can ride this inside. It will be safer."

"How long can we keep raks cooped up inside the house?"

I watched him shake his head and wondered what this man would do when his daughter wanted to go away for college or when she got married. Will he be a 'Steve Martin' from Father of the Bride? My doubts got confirmed even as he tried to get raks out of the pink pshcyho and get her interested in the red one. But there was no budging her from the pink.

So we got the pink pshycho home but my husband put in a few terms and conditions of his own.

Tring! Tring!

"Amsu! Do you want a lift?"

And our domestic maid looked dubiously at the pink pshycho and shook her head.

"Come. I will give you a lift."

Since the distance from the hallway to the kitchen was just probably six paces, our domestic declined but yelped when one of the balance wheels went over her feet. Put out by her refusal, Raks instead took ganesha, hanuman and krishna for a ride. She tried to get our grand aunt of 80 years onto the phsycho and was elated when she obliged her.

For about a week, she rode to glory within the small confines of the hall and mastered the phsycho. She gazed upon it first thing in the morning, right after the bath and even when she was eating. She even fed 'her' a morsel or two.

After about ten days, Pshycho made a debut on the road with my husband on tow running after her. And no one was safe to walk sideways as Pshycho went about demolishing piles of garbage, dead leaves and even a stray dog or two that thankfully jumped aside when raks shouted 'move'.

"So how did she ride?" I asked my husband

"She goes down with that cycle only with me." he said cryptically

After a couple more rounds of road cycling, Raks declared me redundant and not to mention obsolete when she claimed that she could ride on her own to school. And she went about making that announcement to just about everyone startling our auto driver who took it seriously enough to plead his case. She felt sorry for him perhaps so she acceded to take the auto until she was in 4th standard (right now we are UKG)

I mentioned this to my husband and he agreed with Raks to my surprise. Raks was double elated and went on to blow kisses and to write a thank you letter for him with watercolours. Thankfully she didn't hear his comment in the end, when he said, 'From 4th standard onwards I will take her to school."

Oh yes! Definitely a 'Steve Martin' in making.