Digital surprise 


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.

Where did the years fly?


She is in a hurry, always in a hurry these days, with a hundred things to do and projects to finish.

She looks into the shoe cupboard for her sandals; her patience wears thin, as she peers into the jumble of leather and canvas and laces.

I offer her mine, one of my flat sandals and she throws me a grateful look, but her feet are too big for my sandals, at least two sizes too big.

My daughter, when did she grow?

It seems like yesterday, when she was the size of my lower arm. Only six months back she fit into my sandals…wow, my throat catches as  she breezes out, her bag slung across her shoulder, the last remnants of breakfast still in her mouth, books in hand, her mind already away in her world of school and friends and projects.

The cute chubby girl, who loved Barbies and playing with doll houses, is now belting out pop, jazz and Bollywood numbers. The giggles are now replaced by LoLs.

There was a time when her world was our home and I, her mother, her ‘go to’ person for every silly thing.

Now, while I am still the ‘go to’ person, her universe has expanded. It is colourful and vibrant, filled with busy days, lots of fun, lots of study and lots of music and talking to friends.

I wait for this girl to come back from school and share her day with me. At her own time. She comes into the kitchen and starts a conversation. She sits at the small kitchen table and chit chats. She just wants me to listen. Her words meander with her thoughts – she shares pages from her day, laughs at funny things that happened and enjoys the food I’ve made.

Now, she pauses, and asks, “So, how was your day?”

We talk about my day. Then she goes back into her world of books, music and friends.

We go out for girls’ evenings out. We shop, we eat out and come back happy.

So much has changed, as my little angel has grown into this beautiful young girl with a great sense of humour.

She still has time for the big hug before she goes to bed, an all-enveloping hug thay says it all.

I am so proud to be her mother.

Another Day Begins


I am on my morning walk.  I enjoy the cool air as it envelopes my face.  The Sun is still an orange tinge on the horizon.

I see other joggers and walkers.  Some are techie-joggers, they have devices strapped to their arms and their wrists, measuring various parameters.  They are on a mission, say their serious faces, burn, calorie, burn.

Cute little dogs are on their morning walks too, pausing here, sniffing there, enjoying the smells of dawn.  Their owners stretch themselves, sometimes walking, sometimes trotting with their pets.

The drone of vehicles has started on the main road, as I leave our building. Early morning office-goers, trim and proper, in their formal attire, well groomed and ready to take on the day, with their laptops and papers and smartphones.

School-going children waiting at the bus stops for their buses. Teens listening to music, the younger ones chattering away, some other ones still half-asleep, clinging to their moms.

The last-minute breakfast-munchers, quickly biting into a sandwich, as they get ready to take on their day.

One set of people going into the tube station, one set coming out, both sets in a hurry, smoking, eating, talking into their phones, but hurrying.

The newspaper vendor, doing brisk business, as everybody wants to know what’s happened in the world, while they slept on.

The caffeine-lovers, who sip large-size take-away coffees, as they walk.  I want my coffee too, but I have to finish my morning beat.

When I reach the stadium, all these thoughts vanish, as I watch people whizzing past, walking at alarming speeds, jogging and some even sprinting.  A few stretch, a few curl, a few twist, a few climb, a few hang….on the exercise bars.

I join the ‘serious‘ now. Meeting my fitness goals for the day. The Sun is up and about.  I finish. I guzzle water.

I head back home.  The frantic office-goers are now replaced by older folk, who are on their morning walk; men and women walk back, swinging their tennis or badminton rackets, after energetic games.

The vehicles are noisier, the Sun is warmer, the trees are greener, the wind is warm.  I reach home. I measure, I note.

I turn my attention to the rest of my day.

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.

Frenemies!


I was in the supermarket last week doing my shopping. As I walked down the aisle that contained baking items, I saw two teenagers, a girl, who was around 15  and a boy, presumably her brother,  around 13.

They were deeply engrossed in reading a long list of items, which they had presumably come to buy. I smiled and went back to my shopping list.

Suddenly, I heard hoarse whispers and some heavy shuffling. I turned back to see the siblings engaged in a silent argument, they were wrestling with the shopping cart and then, the boy tried to snatch the shopping list from his sister.

There was the sound of tearing paper as the list gave-in to the pressure of being pulled at from two sides. It split exactly at the middle, probably because it had been folded there.

The boy walked away, with his half of the list, to get another shopping cart. The girl turned away in a huff, with her half of the list and the shopping cart.

I was quite amused by now and as I did my shopping, I kept bumping into them, in turns. After sometime, I caught the girl staring at the list and moving it away from her face, and then bringing it close and inspecting it. At that moment the brother  walked into the same aisle. He also looked puzzled.

Curious now, I watched. Both of them did not want to give in. They stared at each other for a while.

Finally, the girl said, “Give me the list, the paper is torn midway, and I can’t figure the item written, where it tore.”

The boy smirked and refused.  The girl assumed her elder sisterly tone and said, “Suit yourself, you will have no part to play in this treat for mom then.”

The little brother watched and suddenly, he walked up to her with the cart, threw all the items from his cart into hers, and took out $ 20 from his pocket and shoved it into her hands.

He said, “Take that. I am doing this for mom and not for you ok?”  He walked away.

The sister smiled in victory, she joined the two pieces and said, “Oh! It was cinnamon.”

Now with her ego appeased, she ran after her brother and said, “Ok, I’m sorry. Please? It’s no fun without you.”

The boy slowly nodded, they high-fived, and then walked away with their shopping cart.

After about twenty minutes, as I stood in line to pay, I saw those siblings leave the supermarket, laughing and talking.

I smiled. Brothers and sisters, now friends, now enemies.

Coffee, me, myself Part II – Enter the dragon


I have to warn you that if you want to drop by at our home between 7 am and 8 am on a weekday morning, you may not meet me but a fire-spewing dragon.

I am a night owl, and when the Sun actually rises, it is still midnight in night owl world.  Imagine being forced to wake up at midnight every morning to send your children to school.Featured image

The strong filter coffee jolts me awake. With my hair tied up in a grim knot, I am ready to take on this mad hour in my kitchen. My brain is processing four completely asymptotic threads of activity.  Within the next 60 minutes I have to process six different lunch & snack boxes in various combinations to meet individual requirements. The four burners on my hob are working full steam, now cooking, now boiling, now frying.  I am like an octopus, my hands moving with precision, stirring the contents of one pan &  tossing another. All it takes is one moment of inattention and the dosa is burnt, sugar goes in where salt should have gone….you get the picture?

Sounds from elsewhere in the house indicate that the children are awake and fighting over that most precious morning resource – the bathroom. Suddenly the tenor of those voices change….there is a full blown pillow fight. I reduce the flame to simmer on all burners and run to play referee. I moderate and resolve. I am rewarded with two titles simultaneously, ‘mean mom’ and ‘best mom’. The burning smell from the kitchen has me sprinting…not too much damage, thankfully.

Breakfast, lunch and snack items are produced and stacked on the kitchen counter.  I carefully check if I have colour coordinated the hand towels with the right boxes. No pinks and girly colours for my boy.The kitchen looks like a gale just blew through it. Water bottles are filled and I look at the clock. 7.55 am….Phew!

My son walks in at that precise moment with a wail, “Mom, I need 10 pictures of vehicles for a class project.”

I yell at no one in particular, “This is the icing on the cake”. 


I shoot off prints and cut the pictures & hand them to my son. My body is now emitting steam. 

The children start their breakfast. My son positions his book where his plate should be; his hand moves at a weird angle to shove food into his mouth. My daughter’s hand has paused midway to her mouth as her eyes devour the book she is reading. I let out another volley of ‘mom-pletives’ and the pace of breakfast consumption improves. This is followed by another round of yelling to ensure that the kids have remembered to take all their stuff.  In all this chaos, my husband remains calm, focused on the newspaper, totally oblivious to the mad household erupting all around him.  Finally everybody is ready. I let out a huge sigh of steam as each member leaves the house.


 I have the feeling of having completed a high-intensity cardio workout. Wonder why the weighing scale shows no change ?