A lazy mom and a busy ant


It is a Saturday evening. School holidays start in just 72 hours. Yippee!

Lassitude has set in. The kind that only a mom would understand; the laziness of not having to complete chores and run tight schedules of pick ups and drops, of lunch boxes and classes. I smile as I sit in front of my computer trying to write.I am in a relaxed frame of mind after all. I am waiting for the words to flow and clamour for attention at my fingertips.

As I wait for the deluge of words, my eyes are drawn to a scurrying movement on my laptop keyboard. I see that it is a tiny ant with a small piece of thread in its mouth, streaking across the keyboard, as if he has a flight to catch.


I am fascinated by this creature, who is always so busy and so full of purpose. All ants seem to be busy all the time. They seem to know the value of time. The ant is probably shuddering at how I am seated, sloth-like, and not putting my time to good use.

The ant looks for a way out of the keyboard. He rushes this way and that. After a while, he disappers from view.

He is one determined little ant, and I am sure he made it home in time, to put the black thread to good use. Bye bye little ant.

Round and ‘Lound’


Earlier this week, I was watching a movie, when a commercial for Oreo biscuits played. Watching it made me remember a funny incident that happened with my little nephew, as told to me by my sister.

My sister was busy working, when my nephew went up to her and said, “Ma, I want ‘lound’ biscuits (his ‘r’ comes out as an ‘l’ when he speaks):).

My sister replied, “Sure baby, I will get you Oreo biscuits.”

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Image credit – http://www.huffingtonpost.com

My nephew said, “Ma, I don’t want Oleo, I want  ‘lound’ biscuits.”

My sister explained that Oreos were also round in shape, but my nephew insisted.

Finally my sister separated the two sides of the Oreo biscuits and gave them to him.

My nephew said, “I want four biscuits.”

My sister gave him four pieces, a little puzzled by his request, and then went back to work. My nephew went back to his toy cars and vehicles, making vrooming (vlooming…..) sounds.

A couple of days later, when my sister was putting away toys in my nephew’s play room, she found a toy bus, whose wheels had fallen away.  My nephew had placed the four Oreo biscuits in place of the wheels of the bus…!

Of Grammar and Haircuts


It’s a lazy Sunday afternoon.We are at my mom’s.  After a sumptuous Indian lunch, my sister and I are in food- induced bliss. Our eyes close involuntarily. From sitting positions, we are suddenly stretched out on the bed.

The kids are, as always, energetic and bubbling-over with enthusiasm. The decibel levels drop as the body’s ears work their magic and shut down external sounds in preparation for sleep.

I snuggle into the quilt, as it’s a grey, cold day. My sister must have also dozed off. We are suddenly woken up by my little nephew’s sweet voice. My sister and I wake up at the same time, to see him talking to my children. He is standing by the dresser, his back turned to us.

He says, “Mom, I cutted my hair.”

Pat comes the reply from his mom, “It’s not cutted my hair, it is cut. Can you repeat that again – ‘I cut my hair’.

My nephew replies, “Mom, I cut my hair.”

And that’s when he ambles over to the bed, with a pair of scissors in his hand, pointing innocently to the middle of his head, where he has cut off a little hair.

My sister jumps up in alarm and admonishes him. Then she asks, “Why did you do that?”

With his eyes open wide he replies, “I don’t like the girl-hair style.”

Hmmm…from grammar-teacher to strict mom to worried mom, it is fun to watch the switching mom roles my sister plays to handle her four year old!

Moms & Snack boxes


I don’t know about all you moms out there, but when my kids were in kindergarten and primary school, it was a big challenge to decide what to pack for their recess snack boxes and lunch boxes.

Some years, the teachers made it easy by giving a list of snack food categories for the week like Monday – fruit, Tuesday – salad etc.

But when the teachers did not give this list, I racked my brains. I am a fairly good cook but my kids would constantly come back and tell me that their boxes and meals were boring, and that their friends brought fun stuff.

So, once a week I would give them some potato wafers or Indian savouries for their snack boxes, to crank up the ‘cool-mom factor’ a few notches.

There have been times, when I have been asked to call their friends’ moms for certain recipes. They were happy when I made those dishes, but still felt it was not like their friends’ moms cooking. Phew!

I learned a lot of new recipes, and have evolved and innovated over the years. Time has flown, and the kids’ tastes have changed.

Now each time I pack their snack boxes, my teenager says, “Could you just give me fruit and salad. Don’t want any junk. I want to eat healthy.”

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Courtesy – en.wikipedia.org

Hmmmm…so it is back to square one. Monday – fruit, Tuesday – salad….maybe I should just pull out the nursery teacher’s schedule.

How soon time flies…and how soon the kids grow up!

Not a cent…


A couple of years ago, my son came up to me, and asked if he could start getting pocket money on a regular basis.

I asked him if he needed to buy anything?

“Yes, I need many things. So,  I thought I would plan out what I need, and buy it with my pocket money”, he said.

We agreed on an amount, and a few chores that he needed to do to earn a portion of the pocket money. The deal was signed.

After a few weeks of saving up, one evening, he came to me with a list of things he wanted to buy.

So, we went down to the local super-market, and a stationery shop. 

My son looked for all the items he wanted, noted down the prices, added, subtracted, deleted and prioritized…and then guess what?

He did not spend even a single cent!

I asked him for the reason.

He mulled over my question and said, “Things are so expensive, I have to plan better.”

I smiled. Kids…give them their own money and they are loath to spend it!!

Of chipmunks and genes…


I am trying to concentrate on the document in front of me, but the children’s voices float towards me, breaking my flow of thought. I try to get back to work, but their decibel levels continue to rise. I decide to give myself a break, and walk over to see what they are doing.

They seem to have learnt about this new application on the iPad that can be used to produce music. Both of them are rapping, the same silly phrases over and over again.

I tell them that this continuous repetition reminds me of a game we used to play as children, which involved the players saying, ” 1,2,3, Luck, Luck, Luck”, each time a player spotted a water body like a pond, a lake or a well. We played this mostly when we travelled.

My children hear me out and ask me to repeat the chant…1,2,3…! Unbeknownst to me, they record my voice on this app.

Very soon, they clutch their stomachs and roll on the floor. The reason? The app can render your voice as a Chipmunk, or as a Monster, or from a faraway place etc.

Their mom as a chipmunk truly tickles them. Tears roll down their cheeks as they picture their mom this way. I laugh because it is contagious, but don’t find the chipmunk-mom voice funny.

My son asks me, “Mom, don’t you find it funny?”

I say, “Not really. I find the way you laugh funny.”

My son then says, “I know for a fact that I have atleast one ‘Self-developed Gene’ that I don’t get from either you or Dad. It’s my ‘sense of humour gene’!”

I laugh now, totally tickled by what my son just said.

Boomeranged


‘Mom, children and food’ – one could write books, and more books on this topic.

“Chew slowly, don’t swallow without chewing, don’t place your book where your plate should be, vegetables cannot be scattered around the plate with the claim that you’ve finished your food. Don’t do this and don’t do that.”

From baby food to mashed vegetables to staple Indian food, my children have now reached a stage, where they ask for food, yummy food, all the time. So, I am happily learning new recipes.

With my new found happiness, I am glad to note that the children’s taste buds are ready to try and explore different cuisines.

So my husband and I have decided to take the children out to sample different cuisines whenever we can.

Mom’s observation – It is very difficult to stop a child from speaking out what is in his or her mind.

We start with Indian food, but from a different part of the sub-continent. It is a fine dining restaurant and I hiss warnings till we are seated. I keep telling them the dos and don’ts. I also tell them, “If there is a dish that you taste and do not like, do not make a face or say that you don’t like it. Instead, say, “This is interesting”, and I will understand.”

The children took my tips to heart and as we moved from starters and soup, to the main course, both kids would look at us and rate each dish – this is very good, hmmm this is interesting, and sometimes THIS IS VERY VERY INTERESTING (the ones they didn’t like at all).

We had fun and I came back satisfied. At least they had tried something new.

A few days later, I had friends over for dinner. The table was set.

One of my friends asked my son, “What has your mom prepared?”

My son peeked into each dish and gave his rating – this potato fry is very good, this stuffed bittergourd curry is very very interesting don’t try it, the starters are excellent, again, the stir-fried veggies, that’s interesting, skip it if you want.

And as my friends looked puzzled, I explained the ‘interesting story’ that had so beautifully boomeranged on me.

What do we truly own?


Many years ago, when my daughter was around four, one of my cousins had come to visit us, with her son, who was the same age as my daughter.

The children eyed each other and then slowly left the comfort of their moms’ presence and decided to play and explore the house together.

We lived in an apartment complex, on the 20th floor. The view was fantastic and my daughter pointed out the beach and the trees to her cousin. Then she pointed to the garden below (belonging to the complex) and said proudly, “See that’s my garden.”

Her cousin was not to be outdone. He said, “No, this is my garden.”

“No, mine”, said my daughter firmly.

The boy was tough as nails, “IT IS MINE”, he screamed.

“Miiiiiinnnnnnneeeeee”, my daughter shouted right back.

Stamping feet and tears threatened. Both kids pitifully pointed out to the garden below and claimed possession. It was a question of toddler egos now, both stood firm, eyes blazing with indignation writ large on their faces.

As moms, we knew they would quickly come to blows! We quickly separated and consoled them, each of us assuring our child that the garden belonged to him or her.

I laugh at the memory now. But seriously, this set me thinking.

What are the things that are truly ours? When we live we covet, possess, buy and own. We hoard, we stack, we trash and we buy more.

When we leave this world, we take nothing with us. Every single thing that we possessed would have become like the garden in the apartment complex, belonging to some one else.

What we will probably truly own is space in the hearts of people we loved and who loved us back, the wishes of people whom we may have helped, the sunshine we brought to somebody’s life maybe!

We will never truly own anything else.

Cool Secrets!


I have guests for dinner today, and as I spin around my kitchen, the air seems cooler suddenly, despite the heat from the cooking range.  I quickly realize that the refrigerator door has not shut properly.

I push the door gently and smile, as I remember something that happened last summer.

The kids had their summer holidays, and they played, watched TV, fought, played board games, argued, wanted food, went swimming, wanted more food, fought, had pillow fights, and wanted more food.  Their energy was exhausting.

Their cousins came to stay for a few days and they fought harder, it was girls vs boys, they sulked, they wanted food, they wanted more food and watched TV, played games and fought.

Just like kids everywhere, trying to make the best of their holidays.

On one such day, I could sense a difference in the kids’ rhythm.  They seemed excited and I caught them whispering; whispers that stopped when I walked in. My ‘mom antennae’ were on high-alert.  They scurried about the house and counted their pocket money. They visited the kitchen many times on the pretext of getting a drink of water.

The little ones were threatened by their bigger cousins to keep the secret, whatever it was.   I could sense that they were planning a midnight feast. What fun!

I envied them their treasured secret, the joys of planning and the thrill of anticipation, as they winked and hugged and high-fived each other. I wondered where they were hoarding their eats for the midnight feast.

Predictably, the little monsters pretended to be quite sleepy, and went to bed early, giggling and nudging each other.

The household wound down.  I was still reading a book, when the clock struck twelve.  I could hear smothered giggles, hushes, whispers and more giggles.  I gently opened the bedroom door, to see the midnight troopers walking towards the kitchen, with a reading light showing them the way.  All of them settled down on the kitchen floor. I couldn’t see them any more, from where I stood.  But I could hear their whispers and the fun they were having as they tucked into all the hoarded goodies.

When the sun rose, I saw the team of midnight-snackers, fast asleep in their cute night suits, their innocent faces relaxed in sleep, their long lashes forming fans on their cheeks. I could imagine how they would wake up and remember their midnight escapade and talk about it for ages.

When I walked into the kitchen, a cool wave of air hit me. I realized that the kids had not shut the refrigerator’s door properly.  I saw telltale signs of the feast, drops of chocolate syrup, crumbs of bread and potato wafers, bits of chocolate chips.  I smiled.

They only woke up in time for lunch.  I could see their eyes gleaming with joy, as they looked at each other knowingly.  Their own secret, which they hugged to themselves.

Simple moments of pure joy.

Messi needs to know


My son is growing up so fast. Like every other little boy, he has moved from toy cars and planes, to building blocks and Beyblades, to Ben 10s & Transformers, to Rubik’s cubes and his own glider invention, to football.

The flavour of the season is definitely football and  it looks like this season is going to last a while.

His toys,  and his sketches for his invention are forgotten, as he runs down to play football the moment he is back from school.

He is learning the lingo of the game, learning to identify players; comes back with spiked hair dunked in sweat, and is building loyalties. It is sweet to watch his indignation after a game with his friends, when he feels the other team won only by breaking the rules.  Another phase…..

This morning, while I sipped my coffee, I felt two little arms wrapping themselves around me. It was my son. We hugged each other a good morning.

His eyes then lit up. He said, animatedly, “Mom, do you know about the ‘sliding-side-slip’ tackle in football?”

I said, “No.”

He then launched into a detailed description of the technique, demonstrating to me its finer nuances and how his opponent would be left wondering where the ball went.

I nodded and asked, “So, where did you learn this? Who taught you? Did you learn it from Messi ( my son’s idol)?”

He replied, “No, no, I invented this tackle, it is fantastic.”

I am struggling with laughter now.

He then said, “Maybe this will help Messi also. Messi needs to know this. Can you send him an email?”

Yes, Messi needs to know! ….I laugh quietly to myself.