Monthly Archives: July 2016

Cow couture

Many, many years ago, when I was probably seven or eight, we were visiting my grandmom, who lived on a small hillock.

My grandmom’s house was the third house from the right, in a long row of around 12 houses. The houses had no fences separating them. Instead, jasmine plants, rose bushes and gorse bushes usually formed a natural divider between the various houses.

The town has typical English weather, and with no machine dryers to dry out laundry, the idea was to take advantage of sunlight to the fullest extent possible.

The moment the sun’s rays touched the hillock, freshly washed clothes and semi-dry ones from the previous day would go on the clothes lines. If we ran out of space, semi dry clothes would be spread out on the bushes.

If it was a bright, sunny day, then by late afternoon, the clothes would dry and smell heavenly – that smell that’s unique to freshly washed, and sun-dried clothes.

Anyway, I am digressing a bit here. On this hillock, a local shepherd grazed his sheep and a few cows every day.

He would drive them to the hillock in the morning. During the day we would see him on and off, sometimes sitting, sometimes taking a nap and sometimes tending to the animals.


Courtesy – http://www.cliparting.com
On one such bright and warm Sunday, all our clotheslines were fully packed, with some clothes on the bushes. One of those was a small pretty frock belonging to one of my cousins.

One of the shepherd’s cows was grazing close to the bush which had the frock, and when the cow shook its head, the frock slid into one of its horns.

The cow was totally oblivious to the frock, and kept grazing. Each time the cow moved, the little frock moved up and down.

We were all in splits. The next step was to get the frock, without startling the cow.

The bravest members tried all the tricks they had to get the frock. By this time the cow had probably sensed that something was amiss, and took off down the hillock.

A few people ran behind the cow, trying not to scare it. The shepherd was coming up the hillock, and helped retrieve the frock.

He spoke to the cow, as if to calm it down. The cow went back to its grazing, and the adults went back home. The kids stayed back to relive the whole incident.

Advertisements

Digital surpriseĀ 

My son has just come back from school. He usually washes up and spends 10 to 15 minutes playing games on the iPad, after which he eats his evening snack.

However, today, as I watch him, he skips the washing-up part and goes for the iPad directly, to quickly check the status of one of his games.

I ask him to go wash up. My words seem to fall on deaf ears. I repeat in various modulations –

1. The polite voice

2. The polite but slightly louder voice

3. The polite, firm and loud voice

4. The threatening voice

He pleads, I relent. I go away to attend to some chores. Ten minutes later he is in the same position, totally oblivious to anything but his game.

I walk over, and take away the iPad. He gives in without a word, as he knows the rules. He mumbles a sorry.

 As I take it away, my hand accidentally presses the iPad button a couple of times.

And suddenly, creeping into this little scene is Siri’s voice, which says, “I’m sorry. I can’t help you with this.”

Courtesy – news.softpedia.com

We both look startled, and then burst into peals of laughter.

e-Stranged!

The phone alarm rings. One of those mechanical sounds that are meant to goad you into action. I turn lazily, and open my eyes gradually to adjust to the bright light of day.

The first thing I do is check my phone for messages, emails and the other notifications that I have enabled.

I wake up with a jolt. There are no red circled numbers near my message or Whatsapp icons, not even near the email icon.

Something must be wrong, I check the WiFi icon, the curved tree is in full bloom. Then why have I not got any messages? I am almost tempted to shake my phone, but reboot instead.  Even after the phone comes alive again, there are no messages.  Nothing has changed!

      Courtesy – http://www.dreamstime.com

I ask my husband to send me a test message. It arrives immediately. I am still suspicious, how could I have not received even a single message or email? That’s like a ‘first’.

The statistical probability  of this event baffles me..! I check the Internet, everything is ok.

I accept. I give in. The impossible has happened. It is possible…I smile, I go on with my day.  But believe me I feel strange!

Have you had any such experiences? Would love to know.

Magic words

A few days ago, I was looking for a story for one of my son’s school projects, when I chanced upon a collection of stories from The Arabian Nights. As I flipped through its pages, I saw the story of Alibaba and the forty thieves.

It brought a smile to my face, as I recalled a funny incident from when my son had just moved to Grade 1 from kindergarten.  

During an activity class in Grade 1, the children were asked to answer a picture quiz. My son gave his answers. 

When he got back in the evening, he told me about the picture quiz and then asked me, “Mom, what were the magic words that Alibaba uttered to open the magic cave?”

Courtesy – http://www.cartoonstock.com

I replied, “Open sesame.”

He smiled and said, “Oh no! I got that wrong.”

I asked him, “What did you write?”

He said, “I wrote that the magic words were PLEASE and THANK YOU.”

I couldn’t help laughing. He looked quite hurt. 

He said, “In kindergarten we were taught that the two magic words are – say ‘Please’ and ‘thank you’. So I thought that Alibaba had used these same magic words to open the cave.”

I was in splits. I tried to imagine Alibaba standing in front of the cave and saying, “Hello cave, Open please. Thank you!”

My son sees the joke now…and laughs with me when we remember it.

Bubble of contention

The school day is over. Both kids are back home; each unwinding in his/her own way –  music and TV, evening snack, general banter and at times a detailed outpouring of something exciting that happened in their day.

After lazing about, my daughter gets down to school work, while my son comes back drenched in sweat, having played with his friends.

A wash later, he has joined his sister in their room. I am at my computer, working away.

My mom antennae suddenly perk up. I know that the tenor of voices from the children’s room has changed. They seem to be running in the room, and yelling.

In a few minutes the door opens and I find my daughter chasing my son, who seems to be hiding something under his arm.

 Investigation shows that the bone of contention is a piece of bubble wrap paper that had come with my daughter’s new calculator.

Courtesy – http://www.dreamstime.com

Both siblings want the bubble wrap to pop the bubbles. As with all sibling fights, their fight takes on various dimensions.

I intervene. I confiscate the bubble wrap, issuing orders for it to be left on my desk. 

The storm passes. Both of them head back to their room, glaring at each other.

I am alone now. I start popping the bubble wrap.  Perfect….

Truly one of life’s simple pleasures.

Signature Story

Recently I had to sign a set of documents.  The documents required my signature in more than 40 places. Phew..

I signed the first few with a flourish, then the brain switched to automaton mode, after which, when the brain grew tired, I was unsure about my signature anymore. There was a disconnect. I had to stop and give myself a break. I was tired of signing repeatedly.

Rewind back to when I was around fifteen. On the last page of my school rough notebook were hundreds of signatures I would try out. Which signature would capture my true personality? The effort went on till I was in University and had to open my first bank account. There it took form and shape.

Courtesy – http://www.clipartpanda.com

This little bit of art would be exclusively mine, my passport to identification. The little squiggle would allow me access to my money! 

I have seen people whose signatures are like art, some who merely print their names, some who write one alphabet and then draw what seems like a heavily spiked graph.

I remember my dad’s friend whose signature looked like a duck – so creative. 

Though it’s not so much fun anymore, it was a lot of fun at one point.

Do you have a ‘signature story’? Would love to know.

The Evening Gossip Brigade

The balcony of my mom’s living room overlooks a line of trees. Each time I visit my mom, I realize that the foliage has become thicker. The neighbourhood cricket training ground – that was once clearly visible – is now completely obscured from view.

But the trees provide their own entertainment.They host, what we call, the Evening Gossip Brigade.

My mom and I usually stand at the balcony at around 5.45 p.m. Hundreds of birds descend on these trees. Crows, mynas, sparrows and many more that we cannot see.  Squirrels also flit about from tree to tree, seemingly boneless.

By 6 pm, the cacophony starts. The Evening Gossip Brigade kicks into action. We wonder aloud about all the cawing and chirping. Maybe they gossip about their long day, the places they visited, the availability of food or the lack of it, general health issues, nest discussions, love, friendship, petty fights….!
Then again, if one observes closely, there are a few loners, who sit away from the Brigade, lost in thought. Is it age or loneliness? We wonder.

There is a lot of movement between the trees and the various branches. And slowly, as if by magic, the decibel levels drop. Another bird day ends. One by one the chirping birds quieten down for the night.  Except for a few birds that are clearly outlined, the arrival of twilight casts many shadows and the birds merge with the foliage.
Now and then, a small chirp or caw can be heard, maybe little baby birds asking for their moms.

The night is upon us. We wish our little birds a good night and head indoors.