Wake up!


Parents from around the world have different parenting tricks up their sleeves. Tricks that have been honed to perfection, through repeated testing on their offspring.

One of the most successful parenting tricks is the one that gets kids out of bed in the morning. I have heard many stories about parents in the tropics, who would switch off the fan or the aircon, and then allow the intense humidity to engulf the sleeping- innocents and jolt them awake. Parents in cold climes would probably snatch the blanket to get the kids to wake up.

My Dad was a strict disciplinarian, and when we would hear his footsteps approaching, we would usually know that it was time to wake up. He would say ‘Wakey, wakey’, in a cheerful voice, and we would groan, ‘Morning Dad’ and wish that he would leave the room, so that we could sneak in some more shut eye.

Only when I became a mom of school-going children did I realize that every parent needs to have a strong ‘waking-the-kids-up-skill-set’ – an arsenal of various tricks – good and mean, cheerful and stern, loving and angry. And on any particular day, the parent has to use the best mix to goad the children out of bed.

Courtesy – http://www.pexals.com

This morning, when it is time to wake the kids up, I decide on a cheerful morning wake up call. I decide to whistle like a bird, interspersed with wake up, wake up in the same tone. My daughter groans and buries herself into her pillow. My son is woken by this musical bird sound and looks really irritated. He says, “Mom, can you stop that sound, please? It is really loud.” And then my ever-considerate son looks at me with half open eyes, and feels maybe that he has hurt his mom, and says, “It was quite melodious actually, only that it was loud.” I laugh and give him a bear hug.

Without skipping a beat, he says, “What’s for breakfast mom? I am famished.” I head to the kitchen to start my work. Another day begins. It is business as usual.

Music & Lemon Bee hoon


Yesterday, I happened to hear a song from a new Bollywood film, and was hooked!  I played it repeatedly, and needless to say, the song stayed with me through the day and into the night.

This morning, as my husband sat down to have his breakfast of Lemon Bee hoon, the song lodged itself in my brain again.  I told my husband about the song, and played it for him.

Morning craziness being what it is, I soon got busy with my chores and went looking for the ten-odd things that go missing every morning – read socks, notebooks and paper ….sigh!

When I got back to the table, I asked my husband (about the Lemon bee hoon), “Did you like it?’

And he replied, “It’s okay. Nothing great about it.” (about the song).

“Is it really that bad, does it lack salt or should I add more lemon?” I asked, feeling quite deflated.

My husband’s eyes widened in surprise, when he realized that we had been talking about different things.

“Oh…did you ask about the Bee hoon? It’s very good!” he said.

I smiled.

The same song has come roaring back into my head again.  This one will play itself out in my head till the next song gets in.  And till then, this song will always remind me of Lemon Bee hoon.

Street Food Stop on The Highway


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We are on the Mumbai-Pune highway. There is a nip in the air when we leave our hotel, but as we leave the outskirts of the city and hit the highway, the sun is bright and blinding.

Traffic is not too heavy at this early hour. The droning of the car on the highway lulls us into a semi-sleep, where one is in a state of hazy awareness.  Trucks whiz past carrying perishables, petrol, and all kinds of goods that people seem to require. The Radio jockey’s voice on the FM talks to us, modulating, sharing jokes and presenting the next song.

Once the sleep cycle is broken, I watch the lush greenery and the mountains. All trucks have a painted notice on their rear which say, ‘Horn OK Please’.

By the time I wonder what this means, we stop at a gas station in Lonavala, a hill station on the Western Ghats. The gas station also has an assortment of stalls, and vendors, selling street food.  Lonavala is famous for its ‘chikkis‘ (peanut candies), and we buy a few to take back home with us.

As we walk around to stretch our legs, my eyes catch a stall selling ‘Dabelis‘.  My mouth waters, as I eye them. My stomach is  full from the heavy breakfast I have already wolfed down.  However, my brain is ready to make more space to accommodate a ‘Dabeli‘. I mean, how could it not.

 For those of you who don’t know, a Dabeli is a very popular snack food/street food from India. ‘Dabeli’ literally means pressed.  A patty made of boiled potato to which a special ‘Dabeli’ masala is added is topped off with pomegranate seeds, roasted peanuts, chopped onions and coriander leaves. This patty is placed inside a toasted burger bun. The burger is topped with ‘sev’ (a noodle-like fried snack made from gram flour)

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I sink my teeth into this perfectly made ‘Dabeli‘.  My taste buds enjoy its sweet-sour taste, and the ‘crunchiness’ as I bite into the pomegranate seeds and sev.  This is absolute joy.  I eat the ‘Dabeli‘ and watch other travelers, who have also stopped by at this gas station, to buy water, to stretch their legs, to eat snacks.  I wonder if I will ever see these people again, I wonder who ordained that we would all meet here, at this gas station, on this particular day.

As I watch, some of them get into their coaches and cars, to drive away to faraway places, probably to meet other people, or to end this journey. Maybe even to begin new ones.

I wash down the ‘Dabeli‘ with a perfect ‘masala chai’ and walk back slowly to the car…as the highway beckons.