Tag Archives: fun

The confession

Last month, we had to go to a friend’s home for a house warming party.  My son was going down to play with his friends and I told him that he had to be back by 6 pm, so that he would have enough time to wash-up and get ready!  Our conversation went something like this.

Son: So, where are we going?

Me: To Aunt L’s house.  She has moved to a new condo, so she has called us over for dinner.

Son: Oh! Aunt L?  Hmmm…(he seemed to be in deep thought).

Me: What?

Son: I have a confession to make.

Me: Sure, tell me. (….wondering what was coming)

Son: You know that there is a small hillock near Aunt L’s old house?  About four years ago, my friends and I walked up that hillock.

(My friend (the said Aunt L) had already told me that these kids had been going up and down the hillock and had asked them to be careful, as they could get hurt).

Me: Yes, I know. Aunt L has told me.

Son:  But that’s not it. Once, when Aunt L was not there (she is usually watching us), the five of us went up the hillock, and went through a small gap in the fence.  We found ourselves outside the condo.  There was a grassy slope, some trees, and at a distance was the next building.  We high-fived and came back into our condo through the fence.  Are you mad at me?

Me: I am not mad, but it could have been dangerous to go out like you did. You could have got hurt.

Son: Mom, it was a long time ago.  I wouldn’t do that now. OK, bye!

I smiled and imagined the scene. Five little imps, up for an adventure to conquer the hillock, and see the world outside.  I can imagine those giggles, the shared camaraderie, and the imagined ‘big’ conspiracy.  I wonder how much they had planned, and who amongst them took the call to get them all enthused and going.

Image result for children climbing up mountain clipart

Picture courtesy – Can Stock Photo

Five children, 7 to 8 year-olds, best friends,  in their shorts and t-shirts, scrambling up the hillock, quickly sneaking out through the fence, their hearts thudding in excitement at this sudden adventure, reaching the other side, looking at each other, and sharing looks of glee and sudden giggles, and then their thudding hearts reminding them of home, parents and fear, and the scramble back to the other side of the fence, back to safety, to the known and to the comfort of home.

And this is how it will be for our children.  As parents, we will never know some of the adventures that the children will embark on in their future.  They will try to conquer their fears by trying new things, sometimes they will do something because it is cool, sometimes they will do things that will help them reach their highest potential.

 

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.

Of piggybacks and a sack of salt

If you are an aunt or uncle, a grandma or grandpa, an older cousin or a mom or dad to young kids, you must have, at some point in time, belonged to the Piggyback Club.

I still remember being given piggyback rides by my Dad and Uncle.  Mad spins in the living room, and a gentle drop from Dad’s shoulders to the soft couch!

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Courtesy – http://www.canstockphoto.com

And it was never enough!  Where I grew up, we called this ‘Uppu Mootai’, which translates to ‘Sack of Salt.’

During my childhood, along with the small convenience stores – which sold just about everything under the sun – street hawkers were quite popular too.

They hawked their goods in different sing-song voices. I remember the man who sold ‘greens’, who had this cackling voice. We could set our clocks by his loud voice, he was so punctual.

Then we had the vegetable seller, who had a push cart that was loaded to the brim with colourful and healthy veggies.

Then again, there was the man who sold salt. He usually came once in a fortnight, and had a deep but loud voice, which said, “Uppu, Uppu”, meaning salt, salt. He called out with no modulation at all. The periods of silence between each of his shouts was precise. Uppu, uppu..pause pause pause..Uppu, uppu.

The salt man usually carried the salt in a gunny bag that was slung on his back.

When children were given piggyback rides, the adults carrying them probably looked like  ‘salt sellers’.

The name has stuck. Even today people use the name Uppu Mootai for piggybacking.

The little boy in the school bus

This weekend, I met a boy who used to  take the same school bus to school as my son did.

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      Courtesy – http://www.clipartpanda.com

I was so happy to see him. He has grown into a smart boy of ten.

The incident that I am about to narrate goes back to when my son and this boy were 3 to 4 year olds.

Every afternoon, when the school bus would drop off my son at our lobby, this other boy would put his head out of the window and say, “Aunty Nimi, your son troubled me today.”

When I asked the bus attendant, she told me that my son talked a lot, but that he was not really doing anything else. So, I relaxed.

Each time the boy complained, I told him I would take care. As my son and I walked home, I would ask him to stay quiet and not chatter away!

After a few days, the boy stopped complaining. I was very relieved. 

Then, after about two weeks, one day the boy called out to me again. I knew what was coming. I braced myself!

This is what he said, “Aunty Nimi, today your son DID NOT TROUBLE ME.”

I grinned in relief, so did he. He waved. I waved back.

Mind the Gap

I was reading an article this morning about the London Underground or Tube, and a funny incident came to mind.

A long time ago, more than fifteen years ago, I used to work in London.  It was my first trip outside India, and everything was fascinating and exciting.   I saw places that I had only read about,  and got to try all those food items that Enid Blyton wrote about in her books.

I learned about the Tube, and how to Mind the Gap and the pronunciation of certain words, which i had until that point pronounced differently.

My colleagues, who were already based there, took my enthusiasm in stride.

I must have been about a week old in London, and my colleagues and I were getting back to our workplace from a meeting.

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       Courtesy – http://www.telegraph.co.uk

We took the Tube. The escalator in that station was very long or high, whatever the measure used.

I had just learned the rule that people who wanted to walk up the escalator walked on the right, while others stood on the left.

My colleagues told me that it was a thrill to walk up this longest escalator and that we would  time ourselves. I was very excited. Being the only lady, they asked me to start first.

I climbed, briskly, wow…it was exciting, and huff…puff…, I was struggling. The snake went on and on. I could not slow down, as my colleagues were behind me, or so I thought.

Like the wolf in the Three Li’l Pigs, I arrived on the top, a mass of huff-puff. I looked at my watch. Yay!

I turned around to look for my colleagues for a high five. Imagine my shock – all of them were travelling up on the left side. They caught my glares from above and shook with laughter.

I have such wonderful memories of London. It remains one of my favourite cities.

Slow on the uptake

I am out for lunch with my friends. We are a noisy bunch, as we tuck-in to yummy food and girly gossip.

Just before we say our byes, one of my friends and I visit the powder room. I wash my hands and look for paper towels. Can’t find any; but there is a dryer. So I place my palms under the dryer, waiting for warm air to gush out.

Hmmm…no warm air. Upon closer inspection, through the translucent glass of the so-called dryer, I see a roll of paper towels.

“Ah! A paper towel dispenser”, I say.

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       Courtesy -www.shutterstock.com

My friend then tells me that it is sensor-operated, and that she had tried waving her hands before the sensor to activate it, but in vain.

There is a symbol that shows a palm, and below it is a small button. I press the button, and one paper towel comes out.

We laugh.

Then we discuss why the sensor doesn’t seem to be working. My friend shows me how she waved her palms at the machine. I wave my palms frantically.

We laugh and proceed to take our bags. There is a gentle whirring sound. We turn around to find that the machine has sensed all those waving palms, albeit slowly.

The machine is spewing out paper towels, one after the other, almost like a saree. We are in sudden shock.

We are close to the machine, and afraid that it will start spewing more if it senses our movement.

Like a pair of guilty children,  we back out with minimum movement.

We come out, catch each others’ eye and burst into fits of laughter.

Candy fight

Last weekend, my husband and I had gone out to lunch at an Indian restaurant in our neighbourhood. In most Indian restaurants, sugar-coated fennel seeds, cumin seeds and sugar candy are usually served after lunch, as mouth fresheners.  As I chewed on the cumin seeds, my thoughts flew back to my childhood.

While we were growing up, there were some yummy candies and sweets, which we usually bought on the weekend.

There was Egg Candy, named so because it looked like an egg. The candy was so big that once you popped one into your mouth, you couldn’t talk for a while. The other was what we called ‘Kamarkat’, made of jaggery and peanuts.

However, one of the more popular ones was the ‘Jeeraga Mittai’ or Cumin Candy, which was cumin seeds individually dipped in coloured sugar, to make millions of colourful, tasty beads.

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        Courtesy – http://www.thehindu.com

These candies were usually sold in packets of 100 gms or 50 gms.

When I was in class 2, one evening, as my sister and I walked home from school, my sister showed me a gift given to her by her teacher for having aced her spelling test.  The gift was a colourful fish-shaped box that was packed to the brim with colourful bits of Cumin Candy.

My eyes grew big as I saw the fish box. It was made of coloured plastic that looked like stained glass. It was so beautiful!

I asked my sister if she would share it with me. But she quickly tucked it away. I tried my best to get it from her. We ‘struggled’ our way back home; my sister defending her treasure, and I, focussed on snatching it away.

She was taller than I, and kept waving it out of reach. Finally, when I could take it no more, I struck her hard. She complained to my parents, and I was ticked off.

My heart pined, not for the candy but for the box. I wished fervently that my teacher would give out such gifts. The candy box consumed my thoughts that whole week. Later, my sister relented and gave me some candy, but I wanted only the box.

After about a week, when my Dad came back from his Sunday vegetable shopping, he called out to me.  He had bought a candy box for me. It was the most beautiful butterfly ever.

I treasured it for a long time.