Roadtripping

We don’t travel as much as Red or I would like. It’s our fault actually…didn’t get the offspring used to anything but comfort so the mere thought of zipping along for 7 hours or more to get to someplace he can get to in 3, starts the ‘are we there yet’ litany and am not good with litanies. At all!

Although, my ‘put on your seatbelt’ and ‘use a tissue, ‘cover your mouth when you sneeze’ can rival even the most nagging kids on a ‘are-we-there-yet’ loop.

We tried to get him understand the value of such trips by talking to him about it and went nowhere fast. Kids of today don’t get enthused about seeing windmills-moving or otherwise. They’d rather make faces and take selfies with silly filters…thanks for making a entire generation drop a few IQ points Snapchat!

Rivers, lakes and flora are treated with a ‘Meh’ unless it’s truly spectacular and a hotel room counts only if they have a tv with the kiddy channels easy to find.

Last year we decided that there were going to be more trips in our future, more time spent travelling to get to the destination and to do a good mix of travel via railways and roads so the offspring knows more about India overall than which airport has the KFC counter and which doesn’t.

And so the 1st trip of 2018 was to be a road trip. And we were off! With little delays and all the double checks to see if the water and gas had been switched off and the milk and paper cancelled while we were out.

We decided to split a 14 hours journey over 2 days so the driving bit wouldn’t tire any one person out and we could also get to see places we hadn’t hit while we were growing up.

With all the breaks needed when a kid is chugging down juice and water and shovelling down packets of nachos, we managed to make pretty decent time and are now in a place I’ve never really had on my radar-Bijapur.

It has a lot of ruins and ramparts of the forts built during the time of a ruler by the name of Adil Shah.

Seeing the people is like going into a time warp. Middle-aged and old men walking around in Nehru topis and dhotis with signs of the present seemingly in the John Deere, Kubota showrooms and not the jewellery and sporting goods stores that have become a part of the landscape of what were earlier called the tier-two cities in India.

We got turned around in one part of the city at night and had to navigate through market places teeming with people and bullock carts and horse buggies. But the eagle-eyed kid who can never find his slippers could spot a Dominos pizzeria in the crowd. Go figure huh?

I haven’t seen a single Audi, Merc or Beemer yet. I have seen Bajaj Chetaks, Lunas and loads of cycles. A far cry from Hyderabad where I can come across a Triumph Bonneville, a Mustang and too many luxury cars to count just walking across a parking lot.

Not everything is well maintained but it has a charm and that’s what we wanted to capture and give the brat a taste of.

More to follow…next stop: Belgaum!

Patrick Bergin Had It Right!

Well his character, of Martin something or the other in Sleeping With The Enemy, had it right. There’s no reason why things can’t be kept in a particular (I mean PROPER) way. Just no reason at all. Barring the fact that Bergin (lovely old stud that he is) did play the role of a psychopath, his insistence on a neat and tidy order to things is something I appreciate. And how!

When I thought about having my own place, and my own kitchen in particular, I knew the size would be a toss-up. I wasn’t going to get my studio apartment with a wee loft for the bed and an open kitchen. I did however want a kitchen a la country rustic and pretty with glass jars labelled with blackboard paint labels, all facing the same way so it’s easy to know if you’re reaching for the dill instead of the rosemary or parsley or the powdered cumin vs the powdered coriander. If only everything was a dead giveaway like chilly powder and turmeric, then we’d be gravy!

Image result for chalkboard label kitchen jars

But with more people using the kitchen and in their own ways, it was deemed best (with a lot of difficulty…look down to understand the extent of the difficulty and you’ll know what I mean) that we stick with plastic, Tupperware and other things which may not be aesthetic and terribly eco-friendly but more than earn their keep by being big-time user friendly.tantrum throwing a fit GIF

I also like the idea of hand towels and face towels being used for… well the hand and the face…DUH ! rather than a bigass beach towel being used to wipe a tiny portion of one’s body. I can blame my father for this bit of idiosyncrasy outright because that’s what he instilled in me..there’s a grammar to everything aka the madness aint madness if you can justify it. So I justified it BIG TIME- matching sets of hand towels, face towels and bath towels. Each one neatly hanging on the rod and the spares nicely rolled up next to a small dish filled with potpourri. And it is nice too…for all of 30 minutes. Then the dinos eat the potpourri or else they end up rummaging in it and for a bathroom that stocks up 2-3 towels of each size, there’s usually nothing around when you enter it.

The loves of your life go and use the bath towel to wipe their faces and horror of horrors…either leave it on the bed, on the back of a chair or just leave it to slink to the bathroom floor in an untidy crumple.

And so it goes…you become used to necessity over emotions at times. Until one day you find the nth damp towel on the ground when it just takes a teensy second to make sure it’s properly put back on the towel rod…and you have a mini eruption inside. And the  you remember Patrick Bergin’s steely eyed, cold-smiled demeanor towards Julia Robert’s handling of hand towels and think…this guy really knew what he was doing!!

And then you think back to HOW long it took you to get the offspring to wipe his hands and face at all, let alone not wipe them on his clothes or on you and you figure you have a few more years to go before you break out the full-fledged psycho mode. Or do you?..

Image result for psycho mom meme

A Blog A Day- Day 2

I had hoped I’d have enough time and material to write again today. Lo and behold! The universe conspired to bring me a muse in the form of an annoying and kind of naive salesgirl who I’ve hexed from here to Kingdom come for her utter and complete lack of even a half-assed sales pitch and because she hurt my feelings…kind of.

See, when you’re carrying around extra weight, no one is more aware of it than you are. Partly because you’re living with it and also because people around you don’t let you forget it either.

Spouses make fat jokes, kid you about your big bites and even raise eyebrows if you so much as swallow a watermelon seed. Your offspring squeezes your lard each time he passes you by and thinks it fitting to tell you to eat less because you’re getting SO FAT!!

Note: the child in question is pretty young and no clue how close to doomsday he gets when he speaks to a woman about her weight. But then again the ‘foot-in-the-mouth-gene seems to be passed down from the paternal side ergo the kid didn’t really stand a chance.

Moving on, so a myriad of people make overweight people realize that they are in fact OVERWEIGHT; either knowingly or unknowingly.

Today’s incident was funny, sad and kind of made me want to throw a pie in the face of the girl who brought it all about. So it went like this- I accidentally knocked over a few packets of innerwear when I was managing a turn in the supermarket aisle while doing my mother-with-periscope-neck routine.

An eager beaver sales girl came running to help me pick them up thinking I was shopping for the said articles and took it upon herself to help me find stuff in my size instead of the smaller size I’d knocked over. Before I could tell her I didn’t need anything from that rack, she took a quick look at me and started off saying that the size I had was too small for me and she’d find the right one for me…and she did. Or so she thought. While my neck was still periscoping around for the offspring, this proactive child took out something which could have doubled up as the flag of an impoverished nation and waved it around to get my attention saying, “this will fit you!

I’m not ashamed to say I tore right into her saying that wasn’t my size at all and why didn’t she give help after it was asked for instead of bothering the customers for no good reason. And then I immediately felt bad, for this girl had a pout remarkably like what tots do when they’re denied another cookie, pool or t.v. time. So in sticking up for myself I had hurt her feelings. Ye Gods.

I went through the rest of my shopping in record time and MLM, sensing he should stop asking for every other piece of Hot wheels and chips, also came along rather demurely.

I guess I could have also rolled my eyes at the girl at the store and moved on but summers keep my temper brimming + there’s a perpetually chattering child along with his newfound love for IPL and Virat Kohli; tagging along more often than not. I was in no mood to be pleasant and embrace XXXL clothing because somebody didn’t get their eyes tested!!

In the words of the immortal Obelix-” I’m not fat. I’m just big boned, that’s all.’

Movie Review: Avengers- Infinity War

Note: Contains spoiler

Image result for avengers infinity war poster

This movie was massively awaited by me, MLM and a group of friends who team up and watch the superhero movies together and eat a good amount of nachos and popcorn in the bargain.

After a near miss of the entire movie due to a mix-up about where it was supposed to be playing and where we actually had the tickets for; it was quite an anticlimax to realize that the good guys didn’t win and the bad guy wasn’t entirely a bad guy. Just your friendly neighborhood megalomaniacal super-being who is hard to kill.

Ok..what’s good with it, if at all? RDJ doesn’t disappoint, neither does Benedict Cumberbatch or for that matter, neither does Josh Brolin, who is a pretty damn good Thanos courtesy his mo-cap suit and wires. And yes, everyone comes in at the right time, with guns blazing and bringing in a world of pain for the bad guys. I hooted, hollered and also booed in the end. It was that kind of a movie. Honest.

And now for the bad news- Thanos wins. Kind of. He isn’t the one who wants world domination for himself. He wants to maintain a balance so the overpopulated universe can live within its means and everyone (rich and poor) can have a shot at a good life. So while that sounds well…sound, how is it a bad thing? Well, Thanos goes around destroying everything he can lay his hands on to get the 6 Infinity Stones that can make STUFF happen. And boy! does stuff happen.

With a snap of his fingers, the gauntlet made up of the Infinity stones sytematically and yet randomly, kills half of the universe’s population. For the potential boo-hooers out there this include Spiderman, Doctor Strange, Mantis, Star Lord, Groot (why God why him??!!), Drax, Nick Fury, Falcon, Bucky Barnes (he had it coming), Black Panther (wipes copious tears!), Vision and the Scarlet Witch. Gomora having already been killed by Thanos to acquire the Soul Stone.

With the Hulk playing spoilsport and hiding firmly within Banner, Stark abandoned on Planet Titan; Thor mourning for Asgard and cuddling his new axe, Captain Rogers and the Black Widow looking befuddled and lost, it’s anyone’s guess what’ll happen next.

While it’s a ballsy move to kill off so many critical characters and have the movie close with the BAD GUY still alive and walking, it’s QUITE disappointing for those of us who have seen the Avengers movies ending with some semblance of hope, redemption and lots of bad guy booty being kicked.

Who knows? Maybe it’ll turn out that there was a parallel universe where this all happened and there’s a wormhole through which some Resurrection Stone appears which brings back everyone (the good guys I mean)…but that’s a Harry Potter crossover which may not go well with these super-powered lot. Or would it?….the universe may very well conspire.

Over and out.

Of Middle Fingers And Snakes

I recently changed my ride from a hatchback to an MUV. When I say recent I mean just a few hours ago.

I was picking up the offspring from school and he was happily frolicking in the backseat, bouncing with joy and making crinkly sounds in the plastic covers that I’d not had a chance to take out as yet. All in all he was a happy camper. And as the case is while he’s camping happily, he asks me a series of ‘Do you know’ questions. Today was no different.

We started with a question trap that I’d inadvertently fallen into when I told him I’d seen a monitor lizard cross the street very close to his school. After interrogating me about the size and the gaping maws and the venom of the said reptile, he gave me a disdainful look when I told him I’d only paused briefly while trying hard not to squish the lizard when it scurried off into the bushes. It, unfortunately, hadn’t stopped long enough to give me its life history and venom potency details.

Then began the story of reptiles and their offspring. We spoke of ovi and viviparous snakes; something I’d rather not have spoken of at all. All while I was enjoying the smell of a new car, listening to songs on brand new speakers…which apparently is the most apt time to speak of baby cobras.

Anyhoo, on special request he agreed to stop talking about king cobra babies hatching and killing grown people and then he threw me for a toss! Here’s how he did it-” Hey Ayu…do you know a boy in the 2nd grade showed someone the middle finger in school and then he got into trouble?!! Have you shown (he said showed but my grammar mode refuses to let me be ungrammarly) the middle finger to anyone?

And this is where you cross the realm from being a good, honest parent into one who lies to their kid because isn’t 8 too young to be flippin’ the bird?! Or talking about it?

I told him piously that NO I hadn’t and what did showing the middle finger mean anyhow? I was told very solemnly that it’s a very bad thing and kids can go to jail for saying it. And that’s when I had to know more about this oh-so taboo word that sent kids to jail. So I did a dramatic,” Oh no…really??!!” And pat came the reply-YES!! It’s worse than saying F***!! I never say F*** because you told me that saying F*** is a bad thing so I never say F***. Ever!!”

I think some days the universe has a smartass mode it activates just to give parents their comeuppance and to prevent them from being smug-knowitalls!

Alexa Mornings…

Red bought an Echo Dot for th house last year. Suffice to say it’s the digital pet. The offspring has bonded with Alexa quite a bit. I keep hearing his voice trilling , “Alexaaaa” on and off right from the time he’s up in the mornings.

Echo Dot has more capabilities that can be tapped into if you’re an US-based user. Lesser so in India. But apparently this year Amazon Music will be making its entry into the Indian market and then this kid will really go wild. Now there’s a Bluetooth sync with my phone and the songs which are saved on a separate song app or on my phone can be played. But we have to be far more hands on. And we’re all about remote management in this house. If we can just park our butts somewhere and just ask for songs to be played, it would be a pretty darn good thing!

This morning the offspring woke to a house with an absent father (courtesy a business trip) and he sat and pouted about missing the parent for a bit. And in an effort to cheer himself up, he turned the house into a dance club, playing Bollywood hits before 6:30 am. All courtesy Alexa.

Where’s the parental settings people? Is that in the next upgrade?

In the meanwhile, Kala Chashma gets looped sun up to sun down just because Alexa can!

Yo!

Ode To My Oddballs

My family is a bit kooky. And in that we’re perfectly normal I suppose. Since I don’t have a “fly-on-the-wall” access to my friends and neighbors’ homes, am assuming that their kookiness can rival and often outdo mine. Those who are painfully normal, I don’t know what to say…you are clearly the minority amongst us. I don’t know many of you so that clues you into what kind of people I belong with.

Take for example things I say to my kid quite often which others may jiggle their eyebrows at. A statement like, “Put on your pajamas and move your snake off the floor” is very probable and in fact was uttered while I was booting up the laptop.

My 8-year old coming to me and spouting the details of the Serval for durations which seem like eons to me also occur quite frequently. And suddenly phrases like “one’s life flashing before their eyes” don’t seem like such a phrase anymore…you can literally feel your hair and nails growing while the offspring drones on and on about small-big cats and suddenly segues into the Eyelash Viper ;yet another creature you had the pleasure of not knowing anything about till your flesh and blood decided you were pathetically uninformed about the creepy crawly and decided to make things right.

Recently, exactly 2 days ago, the Lord and Master (henceforth referred to as L&M) gave me a Fitbit smart watch. Am sure he was influenced by those unending ads on the telly which try to insidiously get inside your head and tell you to buy jewellery for the woman in your life. If not platinum, then diamonds and if nothing else works, go for the gold! Tis the season of bling after all!

So..Le Fitbit Watch-It monitors my heart rate (always galloping), let’s me know the optimum resting phase (so I don’t keep imitating a slug) and generally nudges me off the posterior so I can get moving in ways designed to help me. The ways I move that don’t help me much are my versions of tangos and weird jerky-dancing which I’m prone to break into as if in the throes of a partial seizure. But then again…Bollywood is in my veins and no dance is risqué enough, no dance is too weird and the more spontaneously you indulge in it, the truer you are to your people!

So this watch,which is waterproof, is helping me define new “health goals”. And yes, those would be sarcastic air quotes had I been speaking out loud. I am now suddenly very aware of not taking the stairs enough…the Fitbit reminds me that half a staircase has been climbed. How does one climb half a staircase anyhow?

I’m reminded that I haven’t had the mandatory 3000 mls of water I need to have on a daily basis along with the optimal amount of sleep I should be having. It’s all fine and dandy and maybe in time I’ll even grow into it, but as of 2 in the morning today when I felt a weird lump behind my back, went into the Princess and the Pea mode…I realized that I was sleeping with the watch on (for sleep monitoring purposes only) and the discomfort was making me thrash around, raising the “resting phase heart rate” to near-awake heart rates, steadily heading towards I’m going to be a solid beeyotch in a few hours if i don’t get some sleep” heart rate

And apropos to nothing; while I type this out the offspring is sitting next to me, still in his pajama tops-no bottoms and making hissing noises with the toy (miniature, thank the Heavens!) black cobra while he peers over my shoulders and takes dainty sips of his chocolate milk.

These are the oddities in my life. Thank goodness for that!

Now excuse me while I get my deep breathing done courtesy Fitbit…Breathe in….Breathe out.

OMMMMMMMMMMM