Thursday, September 17, 2015

Updates from the virtual living room.

Did you know that slipping and falling down is funny when it happens to others, but extremely painful otherwise? Did you also know that the pain is directly proportional to the number of people who witnessed it? I am just adding to Murphy’s Law, because Murphy never fell down and hurt his ankle with at least 25 people watching him. Pretending that nothing happened and walking away without making eye contact is easy because the pain is already blinding.

Image Corutesy: Here
This happened to me when the week started, and I did not tell my parents. We have a family group on whatsapp so anything that is said in it, is like talking in our living room.  There are not enough emoticons in whatsapp that represent most common emotions from our living room, but whatsapp has certain limitations you see. It cannot cater to the emotional demands of every family. However, the shocked emoticon would have been used more often, if whatsapp existed in my school days.  If you are wondering why my parents should be shocked, you don’t know me enough. My report cards usually evoke feelings of shock. I sometimes wish that had I been a school girl now, I would just take a picture of my report card and send it on whatsapp before opening the door of my room. This way verbal abuse and emotional blackmailing could be avoided. The luxuries kids enjoy these days! Back in time, we had to make eye contact with parents on report card day. It was so hard I tell you.

I decided not to tell parents about the ‘great fall’ of this week because it was not as fatal as the one Humpty Dumpty had. However, I am the ultimate dumbo who  took a picture of my foot in ankle support and accidentally posted it in the group. Don’t ask what happened next.

I am kind of responsible for most some of the disasters happening to me, so I owned this one completely. Thanks to WhatsApp I didn't have to make eye contact and I also have options to send flowers, hearts, wine and beer to cool them down. And it is FREE ! Now it is all fine.
We have some upcoming holidays (perks of being in the Middle East) and a Switzerland trip coming soon. Real soon! Adding a cherry on that cold coffee with extra cream, this blog was chosen by Blogadda as one among the top five blogs in India under the ‘Humor and Satire’ category! How cool is that? That is cooler than Switzerland right now!

Well, there are so many things happening. The ankle should heal, packing is pending, and it is getting busy at office each day. I have to update my virtual living room as well about the progress I am making. I am doing pretty well in heels today ;-)

My son had been asking me repeatedly to show him exactly where I fell down. He likes my ankle support and wants to wear it too. Which means, he probably thinks once he stages a fall there he will get to wear ankle support too? Man, how his brain works! My son has widened my imagination exponentially over the years.

Hence I solemnly dedicate the blog award to him. 

Monday, September 7, 2015

Vacation, Onam and a Dress Code Disaster.

I am back after a three-week vacation to India, and boy what a getaway it has been! Braving the rains we travelled to Thekkady, Kuttikkanam and Kanyakumari apart from Cochin and Trivandrum. Then there was Onam, two baptisms in the family, a housewarming, an engagement party, catching up with old friends… Three weeks flew by like a dream with lots of food in it. By food, I mean meat and by meat, I mean red meat. Going by the red meat I ate in the last few weeks, I realized that I am not the same person I was maybe ten years ago. My younger self would feel guilty before sinking my teeth into that third cutlet, but now I am arrogant, unregretful and endlessly hungry.If that is the case, in another ten years I may become a cannibal.

The thing I hate the most about our vacations is the inevitable train ride between Trivandrum and Cochin. Being the Trivandrum person that I am, I was warned against marrying the Cochin guy, citing geographical hurdles I may have to overcome. Like all things we learn only from experience, this one was learnt in a hard way. Trains have been hell rides for me. I have tried to dodge the train by planning car/plane trips, but it has to be the train to get the collective approval from elders. Well. The train is basically a reminder that life is not a bed of roses; it can be a rodent infested compartment too. From the smelly curtains to the non-functioning fan/AC to the nosey aunty who wants to record the census of my family, I hate every bit of it. The only thing that is to be loved is the super economic ticket charges. IRCTC is slow for a purpose, my dear friend. It knows that you will wait.

Another remarkable achievement during the vacation was that a lot of badminton was played in the evenings. Cochin is known for mosquitoes that barge into our houses in large numbers in the evenings. If we didn't play, we’d be anyway doing something similar in action, which is swatting mosquitoes, so badminton seemed like a strategic choice of sport. Whenever I was not playing I stayed close to my son who was wearing a mosquito repellent sticker. Note to parents: If you want to visit Cochin, buy your kids mosquito repellent stickers and do not snub them during your stay there. Cochin mosquitoes can bite like dogs I tell you.

Mahabali. Image Courtesy: Here
For my son, this vacation had been immensely enriching. Like, the time he met Mahabali at the mall during Onam week. Now he points at random potbellied men and screams ‘Look Amma Mahabali!’
Ranbir Kapoor played Barfi in a two-hour movie. God knows how many times I played Barfi.

The vacation was not all rosy, though. There was a sufficient dose of embarrassment too. During our stay in Cochin there was a memorial gathering to which the in-laws were invited. According to the understanding I had with the hubby, we were not planning to go and were supposed to drop them and return to the mall. So I was dressed for the mall, in jeans and a loose top. Later, in an unexpected twist, we were forced to attend this prayer with no time to change. At the event, all people were elegantly dressed in pristine whites and other respectable colors. I was the only one, in jeans, loose top, unkempt hair, a small backpack and flat shoes. I wasn’t the immediate family so people did not care about what I wore, but I felt like being in a spotlight. Yes, I did get a few lame looks here and there, some with pity and others wondering if I wore skinny jeans at a memorial service, what I’d wear for a party. After I topped my plate with food and hid behind a pillar wishing that I was invisible, I realized how important dress codes are and how it can make you squirm with embarrassment.
Lesson learnt; when in India, always carry an alternate decent dress. You never know when you will be dragged into a church.

I consoled myself thinking about the day I spotted a Dominos Pizza delivery boy who turned up near our building, on Onam day around lunch time. Eating pizza for lunch on Onam day is far worse than wearing skinny jeans for a memorial service, right? 

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Project Broccoli.

 Two months of school summer vacation are almost coming to an end with just two days to go. People of Middle East who were on their annual vacations to India are back, with Oman International Airport Authorities detecting banana chips in almost every single suitcase going through their scanners. Here we are, the couple who did not go on vacation and enjoying the scorching hot summer, eating freshly imported chips, playing the sympathy card.
So now all our friends are back from vacation and official projects that have been dragged beyond its capacity due to the absence of key resources (that were partying in India), are back in full swing.  Little one’s school reopens next week, so that is when we will go to India. Well, his IIT JEE exams are not for another two decades and it’s not like alphabets and numbers are REALLY important for entrance examinations.

Annual leave is exciting, but the week before is a period of low in areas of sanity, self-control, emotional quotient and common sense. When these four key factors hit a low, then it is madness that prevails. When madness takes over, I am usually not seen in my best behavior. For example, one of the tedious exercises the week before travelling is emptying the fridge. Unlike a lot of people we know, we are unique in fridge matters. We do not store cooked food inside for more than a day, cakes and bread are a rarity on our dining table, but there are vegetables in its tray lying forgotten, grated coconut in the freezer, two sets of tomatoes I bought by mistake, and few other stuff ignored because ‘problem of plenty’. I realize that I am writing this when kids are starving in Somalia, and I am such a moron. One problem at a time, Anita, one problem at a time. Tomatoes and Broccoli.

Image Courtesy: Here

Basically, I can make yummy things with all the tomatoes and exhaust it completely. However, even though I hate to waste food, broccoli is something I wish got spoiled so that there is a reason to throw it away. I always get the grocery myself, but whenever the hubby does it, broccoli comes back with him. I never ask my kid to eat broccoli, because even my parents can’t coax me to eat it. Broccoli never was a reason we had Isaac Newton or Steve Jobs. 

Coming to think of it, this whole thing is a project in itself with a deadline in place. The only difference is, I am my own boss. Life, my friend, is a consolidation of mini projects. Who you report to (it should always be you) and who will report to you (kids) matter. Deadlines should be met. Spouse is an like an acting CEO (or so he thinks ). As I write this, somewhere in the corner of the vegetable tray of my fridge, the broccoli is (hopefully) changing color.

It's time I use my corporate expertise in this situation. The strategy to be adopted is, I will wait until the last minute comes. Then I will escalate the broccoli issue to the CEO who can take a call on the matter. By then it will be too late, the CEO will have his hands tied and is most likely to approve the suggestion collectively made by the board of directors (kiddo and me).

Hey, that’s how all projects run, right?

Sunday, July 26, 2015

The unusual hater !

Did you know that cars are females and they have favorite drivers too?

My theory comes with distinct evidence from 'The Fast and The Furious', in which a specific car performs best when the handsome hero drives it. This also proof that cars are females and why it is always addressed to as ‘she’. Sleek, shiny, elegant and comes in all shapes and colors. She behaves perfectly when there is a guy on the driver’s seat. Whereas when a woman drives, Madame gets pissed and does whatever is required to make the universe believe that women are bad drivers. Even some kitchen appliances hate women, but we will come to that later.

Okay, so all people secretly know that women are not the best drivers in the world. Trust me whenever there some kind of idiocy going on a busy road, my first instinct tells me that it is a woman behind the wheels. That’s also when I think I am a man in a woman’s body.  Well, even if I fast forward a hundred years women will always come second when it comes to driving, and this is not the woman’s fault. That is where my discovery applies – cars are women too and they hate it when women drive. Fair enough.

To begin with, I already know that our car hates me. Ever since I got a license it has been showing displeasure whenever I sat on the driver’s seat. For instance, five days after I got my license, she banged herself into an electric post (may be in an attempt to commit suicide) when I was carefully trying to park it. I should mention here, that in India I drove a Swift, and later practiced here in Muscat with my trainer whose car was actually a tractor in disguise, so when suddenly I drove an actual sedan, my calculations about its sensitivity was nowhere close to reality. This car actually does not even require a touch on its accelerator to move. You just have to think about going and it goes. Such is the technology built into cars these days and I am not used to such sophistication. So basically, it is not my fault. The car just decided to take full advantage of my unfamiliarity and this would not have happened if it was the guy behind the wheels. Being the forgiving person I am, I just let bygones be bygones and went on with my life. Meanwhile, in the basement parking, the car was silently scheming against me.

It is the peak of summer here and all we want from Middle Eastern cars is the AC. The hubby was at a different location that day for official purposes and I was on pickup and drop duty for the little one. By noon, the summer camp gets over and I walked over to the parking area in the scorching sun. As soon as I entered the car I  switched on the AC which blew hot air in my face. Such wicked humor I tell you. I called the hubby, who was in a meeting and he answered after I repeatedly called at least 576 times. I spoke about the AC and he had no clue, so obviously this car was missing its real owner. I still drove the car to the summer camp, at approximately 47 degree Celsius, and hot air blowing on my face. When the kid came in I had to convince him that the AC was not working and he started a mini tantrum. Completely drenched (in sweat), I looked like an extra for a Bollywood rain dance. Somehow the ride home was made and I reached the last signal before home. When it turned green, the car started jerking like crazy. Some sadistic morons started honking behind me and the kid looked baffled. I took the foot off the accelerator and the jolting stopped. I slowly managed to move forward and parked in the nearest available spot.

Image Courtesy: Here

It was the day before Eid holidays when a car is all one wants. On further investigation by an expert, it was revealed that there was a radiator leak. All this happens when on one day of all the years in Muscat the guy happens to be away on duty!

After two days, we managed to get it back from the garage.

I need a car which is male. Straight, young and handsome. Suggestions are welcome.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

The Hedgehog.

The worst mistake I may have done as a parent, may be reading the story of ' The Hedgehog’ to my son. The little guy who used to walk into rooms alone like everyone else is now frightened to go from one room to another, thanks to my story reading skills. He thinks there are hedgehogs hiding in our rooms, which I did not convey directly, so basically he has started reading between the lines and that should be counted as a milestone. Instead, I am facing a lot of flak from his Dad about misleading the child and other blah blah. In my defense, I was trying to improve his imagination and vocabulary by reading an actual story. I did not make him watch any Rohit Shetty movie and ask him to FIND the story!

Image Courtesy: Here 

The fear of hedgehog has turned out to be bothersome for all of us. For example, if I am sitting on the sofa watching TV, and I need my phone which is ringing in the other room, I can no longer ask him to bring it to me. He asks me to accompany him, so I’d rather get the phone myself. Moving from the sofa can be a really exhausting experience, and there is none other than the hedgehog to blame. The most brutal part of this whole ordeal is that I can’t even complain.

To be honest, I read a lot of children’s stories in my childhood and the ‘Hedgehog’ was not one of them. Until recently I dint even know what it was, I had to actually Google it. In the story that I read to him, it was mentioned that the hedgehog springs into action once the lights are out in the house. Aaron initially was worried that it was going to finish the milk he was supposed to drink next morning. Later he started wishing that it happened.

Stories are known to have strong impact on little minds and one can't unlearn it. I was actually having a fun time reading to him, because now he doesn’t ask unanswerable questions, like ‘Amma why is the ugly duckling ugly?’ I mean if anybody had the answer to that then half of the world’s problems would be solved. He was beginning to understand what I read and my horrible selection of stories is proof that one day I will be a producer in Bollywood.

One evening I was searching for his school bag but it was nowhere to be found. I walked into the living room and he was engrossed in ripping a car open with a screw driver.

“Aaron where is your schoolbag?”

He: “My schoolbag? Come with me ..”

He lead me to every corner of the house, and I obediently followed.  He quickly glanced at the places it is usually dumped in. Finally when there were no more rooms left he said,

“I think the hedgehog may have taken it”

Until then I hadn't realized the extent of the damage I had done. The hedgehog had started taking the blame for everything that went missing, and I am sure if it lasts long enough it will soon steal his homework, marks and girlfriends too. That night I tried to tell him that Jesus came and kicked the hedgehog out of our house and now it does not exist at all, I made the nervous boy a bit confused. 

For a while there was no talk of hedgehogs in our house and I was relieved. In fact I was secretly feeling proud of myself for having instilled in him the ‘Jesus saves us’ concept.

The next morning we were walking down the road and saw a bearded man coming towards us.

‘Amma, is this Jesus?’

Thursday, June 25, 2015


Crazy, crazy, crazy is all I can say about whatever happened this week.

My parents landed at Muscat last Saturday, and we were so overjoyed that we had a Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham moment right there at the airport, for everyone to see. Our family had patented PDA (Public Display of Affection) long before it even had a name. When we were younger, a taxi with jam packed kids used to come pick us from home to school. When the taxi came, our Mom hugged and kissed us before we left, and no, she couldn't have done it earlier. She never cared about who looked, and neither did we. It was our little ritual; hence hugging and kissing parents at airport when thousands of strangers looked at us was practically nothing.

My grandma was sick and bedridden for the last two years. Whenever I went to Kerala I visited her, come what may. There was little I could do for her in terms of my physical presence. Grandma's condition worsened over the last month, so ever since parents arrived, I noticed that my Mom was not emotionally active. I could also tell that her mind was subtly disturbed. On the 23rd of June, I had to go to a different office for official purposes. I completed around 4 pm, and even though my team was still there I insisted to come back. I found two others who later helped me reach home when I got that news we all were expecting, but not prepared to take in. 

Grandma passed away.

July is vacation time in Middle East and flights from Muscat to India are usually packed. Hubby and me managed to get two tickets the same day for them. My son was inconsolable, but everything fell in place, and Mom could be there on time and for all the rituals thereafter.

My grandma was a hardworking woman. She made the best of wines and pickles. She cooked and cleaned for a large family, with no help. Since wines were made by grandma herself, we tasted wines since school days, and as a result, any amount of wine does not kick me out of my senses. Alcohol does not turn me into a different person. Thanks to my grandma, store bought wines always come second in terms of authenticity and taste. Her mango pickles were so tasty, that through my hostel days my friends and I did not have any shortage of side dishes. I do not miss her for what she cooked, though. I miss her for the person I called ‘Ammamma’ whom I hugged so tight whenever we went to her home for holidays. She was so round, chubby and soft that it was like hugging a life sized teddy bear. Her face was so round we made lame jokes about it. The times my cousins and I fought with each other, to decide who gets to sleep next to her, are still fresh in my memories. It is the end of an era.

I have fond memories of grandma that smell of homemade wine, which I will hold close to my heart. The hugs and kisses she planted on my cheeks irrespective of place or the number of people around. 

Now I realize, yes, that was where PDA originated. I am just glad I dint shy away from those.