August Recap

The month of August is usually quite festive in this household. Both Red and TO have birthdays. Incidentally both had milestone birthdays this year- their 40th and 10th. Needless to say, the 10th birthday brouhaha was everything that it should be. Between 2 cakes spanning the loves of his life aka cricket and reptilian monsters which Hollywood makes tons of money out of; this child was left delirious with joy.

We also thought we should start a phase where the gifts would come in only from family and To start associating birthdays more with the fun factor, memories to be made rather than gifts to be counted. Check back with me next year to see how far we’ve come  down this road.

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The munchkins who keep the good times rolling!

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The usual suspects Part-1

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Trio from the usual suspects

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Birthday cake #1

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Birthday cake#2 that paid homage to Godzilla: King of Monsters

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The bouncy birthday boy in the background.

By contrast the 40-year old baby’s day was fairly low-key because Red had already done a stag trip to Oz at the start of the year and wasn’t in the mood to enter his naughty 40s with a bang (‘cuse the pun) in the presence of his in-laws and his father all at once! Hopefully this weekend we’ll be able to engage in some amount of indulgence for the grey and dignified Java God.

We’ve also come a bit of a distance as a family as well. Getting TO settled into another academic year comes with its own set of ups and downs and some amount of anxiety on our parts…chiefly mine. Apparenty when your kid becomes a fifth grader, everyone’s focus gets onto punting the child up to the next grade in middle school and the whole year ends up being a prep for the latter. Phew!

However, striking a balance is what we manage to hack for the most part so not too worried on that front. Being an Indian parent, it goes against the grain to *not* worry about your child’s academics or their potential areas of excellence. After all, what would we put up on our social networks if it weren’t for updates of the child taking newer and greater strides in some or the other field. Of course there are the endless selfies with the puckered up face that most of us instinctively seem to excel at.

Speaking of which, I have rediscovered Snapchat with a vengeance! The initial disdain at the airbrushed faces and the boughs of flowers over the head-filters has melted away and I quite enjoy looking at a smooooooth, blemish-free face and have realized that I wish my eyes were a nice irridescent color and not the browns that I’m destined to sport life long.snapchat-12868228883841078127944242142.jpg

TO on the other hand has gone so deep down the rabbit hole of cricket that I’m afraid he’s lost to the non-cricket loving junta. Luckily for him, he has a father with exceptional hand-eye co-ordination and inclination to listen to his soliloquies on the subject instead of the mother who looks for a pile of cushions to dive under to stop the flow of words from battering her already battered mind.

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Before the all important toss!

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The rare photo where the V sign didn’t make an appearance.

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And the fake smile’s back!

Red as always is the buffer between the two excitable entities that live in this house. He stays calm and collected and only loses his shit during tennis and cricket matches.

So as we gear up for a season of festivities over the next two months, am just happy that all the important stuff is getting ticked off properly and we’re back to the mundane bit where I just have to drag a kid out of bed and boot his behind out of the house on a regular basis and phone the husband with the usual, “when are you going to be home?” spiel. Bliss.

Have a good weekend…Salut!

Alexa…Get Me A Gun!

I got too busy catching up with my folks and forgot to publish this last night.

A little girl who’s become a part of our family of 3 was paying us a visit this evening. Needless to say with TO turning 10 and his cuteness factors dipping day by day; a chirping and twirling child always scores higher on the Awww scale. And they know it too!

TO was busy utilizing some unscheduled screen time when his little friend dropped by. After giving her some toys to play with, he snuck back to the living room to watch some inane crap that he’s very fond of these days.

When I asked for a quick sitrep, the little one promptly ratted him out and smugly waited till he came to play with her. Ah..girl power!

They played, they made a dinosaur park, fenced with dominoes and then they started tormenting my poor poor Alexa.

Now our Echo Dot’s a Gen One and getting on in the years. After going back and forth trying to decipher TO’s accent and then just going back to her factory settings, she now had to contend with understanding chipmunk. Because that’s how fast and perpetually talking 3 year old girls sound like.

Today Alexa had to shuffle between Baby Shark, Faded and Bulleya, which she kept interpreting as Imagine Demons’ Believer. After getting barked at by an increasingly annoyed munchkin and being spoken to by a giggling older child, Alexa gave up the ghost and just rebooted. That’s how she lets us know she’s not going to take our shit anymore!!

Soon after I was dropping a reluctant munchkin home. I’d already disappointed her by not forking over chips before dinner time and limiting the cookies to plain vanilla ones and nothing worth licking in leisure.

She was a bit miffed with me and to recover some ground with her I told her Red’s birthday was coming up and asked for gift ideas. She said, “Give him a gun. A big one.” Seeing my surprised face she added, “Give him some polos too. They come in green colors and they are nice to eat. Polos and guns are the best gift ever!”

There. It’s settled. Red’s going to have the oddest 40th birthday ever. Tons of polos and hopefully a gun. But maybe El Munchino isn’t too far off the mark. Look at Red instructing the flesh&blood in the fine art of aiming and shooting. Ah..out of the mouths of babes…

Movie Review: Judgementall Hai Kya

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Kangana Ranaut has been in the news for so many things in the recent past that any movie of hers is newsworthy mainly because of the gossip around the actor. Although, IMHO, she’s become typecast for her neuroses in the earlier movies; she still manages to deliver a believable performance as person who is psychotic and yet not entirely off her rocker.

Rajkummar Rao fits well into edgier characters as smoothly as he does the feel good ones. His turn in Stree vs ELKDTAL vs JHK are varied as they are well-etched and with their own distinctive feels. He is truly a good actor in every sense of the word. He belongs in each of the movies he does.

The disclaimer at the start of the movie is also something that’s commendable in a place like India where mental health issues are a huge taboo and a dirty secret that’s more liable to be swept under the rug than be tackled head on.

Onto the actual reviewing: The movie is engrossing but it’s no OFOTCN or Nobody’s Child. It is however, a thought provoking look at a life tinged by pain and feelings of not belonging anywhere and being heard by those who matter.

The direction is fairly taut with Kovelamudi dropping the ball only when Rao starts fessing up to all his crimes which were deemed as psychotic ramblings of a delusional woman. Kangana sometimes overdoes it with the wide-eyed stare of a person who lives in a parallel universe inside her own head. Sometimes the scariest people are the ones who remain calm on the surface but are churning with maladaptive thoughts and hallucinations inside; desperately hanging onto shreds of reality.

The ancillary characters mainly make up the comic element in the movie. Whether it’s a long-suffering, hoping-to-get-laid sort-of boyfriend, or the ineffectual, obese cop (Satish Kaushik) who perpetually keeps eating; adding to his weight and his inefficacy. Jimmy Shergill doesn’t add much to the movie; gravitas or otherwise. His cameo needed to be better fleshed out. And for God’s sake, why does Amyra Dastur get work? She makes very little impact. At least someone who could breathe some life into a role needs to be brought in. She fails to strike a chord with the audience at all. The opening sequence of the movie with the blood splatters, spills and the origami is actually more poignant than many things in the entire film.

In the end, Rajkummar Rao with his sociopathic turn and Kangana in her delusional avatar, carry the movie forward and take it a step in the right direction; making mental illness lose its stigma and helping people know that it’s *not* a dirty word.

Rating 3.5/5

Saturday Morning Conversations

I crashed by myself last night…was listening to music, sorting out playlists…everything you need head space for and which can’t always be done effectively with someone staring at you with googly eyes and asking, “what are you doing?” for the millionth time.

I avoided weird bedtime conversations but couldn’t avoid them during the next morning when someone decided to wake up and smell the roses with unbounded enthusiasm before his mother got caffeinated.

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Imagine having slept off to music spanning the decades along with conversations with friends on and off till the middle of the night and then waking up to the most #dafuq question one can imagine first thing in the morning viz, “How old do you think De Villiers is?” And on seeing my glazed, semi-blurry vision starting to go the angry, snorting bull way, TO preemptively turns his face skywards and says, “Why me?!!” Nothing quite like having your angsty moment stolen and impersonated by the person who brought it on in the first place.

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So on we went with the good morning kisses and inane questions till my brain cried out for coffee once more. Red being the coffee guy at home was hollered at and he promptly went and made some for HIMSELF and not me. There’s only a few things a woman can say to her husband at such times and I tell back on Barb#1 aka ‘ I gave you a kid, can’t you even get me a cup of coffee?’

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We are fond of our drama in this household. Be it me trying to bury myself under the covers so I don’t have to hear my kid drone on about some ODI post which Tendulkar decided to retire from cricket

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or trying to bargain for more screen time or me giving the evil eye to the placidly coffee-sipping spouse who’s going to need me to find his stuff for him soon; this is just how we roll.

Slainte!

Retroblogging#67

For anyone who’s wondering about the sudden jumps in the numbers on the blog posts, let’s just put it down to outright artist license and move onto the good stuff. Here’s another post which brought a smile to my face because life has interesting ways of teaching us lessons..

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Vengeance is mine, and I will repay.”

Or something to that extent I imagine must have passed by an old chappie’s lips when four loud, boisterous kids from his neighborhood would filch his precious stack of clothes pins and make them disappear day after day..

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The more he complained to his neighbors (the parents of the brats) the more clips kept disappearing. They’d go off the clothes line and end up in the oddest places, like the water tank. Which after a point of time seemed to verily have more clips lying at the bottom than coins in the Trevi Fountain!

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Anyhow, he’d rant and rave and often cuss at them, not that they gave a hoot! It was fun to see the crusty old man finally move his potato sack of a body off the swing and lumber after them. Else it was the swing where he sat, day after day and made it squeak and squeak as if it was his life’s purpose.

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The brats didn’t know that the irritable man who always told on them was actually retired and wanted nothing more to sit on his swing and sip from his stainless steel glass of booze that would remain undetected in that wettest of dry lands. So the sight of children causing a ruckus put a cramp in his guzzling plans indeed! And if he stayed compliant and ignored them, he would have to face the task of answering his not so little woman who would wonder about the regular disappearance of her clothes pins.

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Cut to present day- one of the brats is grown up now. Somewhat. When she finished her laundry today and went to hang up the innumerable little things that her child goes through daily, she found that she was YET AGAIN short of clipsies..!
How she gnashed her teeth and wished that for once her beloved dumpling would throw something else off the balcony or find other things to confiscate instead of the oh-so important clips…

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And while seething and doubling up the clothes (since there weren’t enough clips to go around) she thought of a curmudgeon whose clips she and her fine companions would to love to chuck into the water tank or use as marks to get badams off the tree.

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And then it came home to her…what goes around definitely comes around. And there was plenty more coming her way…!

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Retroblogging#23

Another one that caught my eye from the days of yore…

Right from the time my son was born, I was struck by how delicate he was. I knew babies are vulnerable and helpless but this one seemed to embody those qualities and more. He was a thin baby, weighing just on this side of an acceptable birth weight but he never lacked spunk.

That ‘scrawny’ baby’s learnt to run now and also balance himself on his toes to reach heights hitherto out of his reach.

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One thing that’s absolute about children is that you NEVER know what they’ll do next. If you think there’s a line they haven’t crossed yet, they always manage to cross it and then some! So if you threaten your kid with that ‘last straw that breaks the camel’s back’, you’d better be prepared to have a whole herd of camels waiting out there because your offspring will find plenty more straws and with it plenty of camels’ backs too.

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I used to think of little children (infant to toddler stage) as being fragile but it’s us as parents who’re the fragile ones. The kids are resilient and how! They fall, they bleed, they sprout bumps here, there and everywhere and they still keep going even after the tears have left tracks on their face.

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And speaking of tracks, while you may not need therapy to get over the minor cuts and nicks on your child; it definitely takes some doing to see your child hurt and you not being able to prevent it. And some things do stay with you. Whether it makes you a better parent or a hovering one is anyone’s guess.

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And by the time you’re over the initial trauma and your monkey is again gallivanting off for newer places to fall down from; you tell them what’s sure to become your motto in life- “Don’t cry! You wanna cry? I’ll give you something to cry about if you dare do something like this (fill in blank with your pet peeves about your kid) ever again!!!”

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And you go on. Both of you…sometimes with one chipped tooth, a brief black and blue mark and you with a near-paranoid obsession for stuff your child could hurt yourself on again. But you do go on.

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And before you know it, they’re onto newer things, more things they could make hurtful for themselves and with you still trying to be their life-long safety net and catch them before they fall. But that’s not to be…what is to be their ever-growing curiosity, activity and ability to bounce back each time.

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Amen to that! The rest will keep I suppose 🙂

P.S: At the time of this blog being posted MLM’s graduated to TO and has had 3 surgical interventions (nothing critical) which includes one broken hand being reset. And we’re still chugging along! Phew…

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When Your Friends Are His Too…

Red doesn’t value my opinion in many things. Par for course since he’s a husband. But my choice in music (Hindi, loud and boisterous to some throat warbling that I’m ok to listen to), movies and books is where his skepticism is the highest. I can honestly say he reads stuff that’s lightyears away from being on my radar. He reads fiction, non-fiction both but it’s a bit cerebral for me. I’m more of the whodunnit, whytheydunnit and aretheygonnacatchwhodunnit– kinda person.

Now I have a friend who he gets along with quite well. She’s smart. She READS. And she doesn’t read fluff- some of the traits that have endeared her to him more than others of my circle. A few days ago I happened to see a book reco from this friend of mine and ordered it because it seemed like something Red would enjoy and I wouldn’t have to tax my fluff-lovin’ brain much either.

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I’d just told Red that I ordered a book for him and his eyes widened in alarm! I had to tell him who reco’d it and he started breathing normally again. Sheesh! You give a guy Beloved to read once and he holds it against you for life! And this from a guy who enthusiastically read about ‘electric sheep‘! Bleh.

 

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

My kid thinks I’m blind AND dumb. If he didn’t, why on earth would he cut off a clump of hair that he couldn’t untangle instead of bringing it to his mother who’s so damn handy with a comb and also when we have a detangler spray handy as well? My face is going to have permanent indentations from all my facepalming.

Anyhoo, two days ago TO walks up to me very nonchalantly and asks for screentime access when I notice a lopsided part of his hair. On asking him what happened to his hair he goes coy and says “nothing” and then once I poke him on the bald spot he can no longer deny, he tells me how it was hurting him to comb his hair and he just cut it to make easier on himself. 🙄

After making it clear to him that a combover wasn’t something he should have to consider in this tender age, he agreed to get his hair cut so it would seem nice and even and less like male pattern baldness was setting in for a 10-year old.

At the parlor however, his desire to look funky had to be recalibrated because he didn’t have enough of floopy hair left on top to have a mohawk or even a mushroom cloud-like shape. What was inevitable was a bootcamp look. Ye Gods.

Am sure we’ll be visiting the stylist again, soon, for yet another hair dilemma. As I was telling someone yesterday, he went from pretty to butch in a single snip!

Retroblogging

I occasionally got back and read stuff I’d blogged about earlier. Sometimes I can see an evolution in the style of writing and at other times it seems either pedantic or boring. But this one is relevant even today, hence the repost. It was written 8.5 years ago on a day when I seemed to have been rather prolific or just didn’t want to actively parent and just hide away in my beanbag and keep blogging.

I was worried that I’ll be fanning my ignorance quite a bit by forgoing the newspapers altogether but a quick glance at them has assured me am not really missing much.

It’s not quite so much as news as an announcement of the end being near. Take a look all around- honor killings up, scams are in they heyday, political parties are the jokers with the Indian Government providing the 3 ring circus. What does get the space in the papers are announcements of the Fresh Faces in the city colleges where self-proclaimed celebs go and shake a leg and lecture impressionable young’uns on personality and grooming. While their grooming and personality (or lack thereof) is highly suspect or airbrushed for the print media 🙂

I sometimes read my papers a day late since my son loves to paper our house and Red always takes off with the Sport pages first thing in the morning. While gathering the papers from last night’s yay-ness I came across a news feature of a German porn star who died after her 6th boob job went bust! Literally and please don’t excuse the pun. Hmm…that did grab my attention because the girl in question really was just a girl and 23 years old.

Hell at 23 if a person can generate that kind of income, why not live it up? What good would 800 gms boobs (each 800 gms mind you) do to a person except make them more susceptible to gravity a WHOLE lot more? And now she’s dead. Fatal beauty anyone?

This isn’t a homily on the evils of x,y,z. It’s been so long since I read the papers and found something genuinely informative. And felt up to date on the happenings around me.

It’s either the verbal skirmishes between the politicos in A.P that make the front page or the Naxals or the scams…and honestly all they make me think of is that people are inept. They do just enough to show that they have Johnsons and then they back off.
I get it, the machinery moves slowly. But for everything? The people who have the most influence and the potential to actually act seem to be mainly posturing and and everything is just for show.

Want to get something done, throw down and the gauntlet and see where that takes you and stand your ground! Things aren’t that stable anyhow whether it’s in the state or the central government. Or for that matter for most things.

The last few ‘newsworthy’ things I remember reading about my city and state either involve political fluctuations, political gripes, suicides, dogs mauling infants, slums, citizens grievances against the local governing bodies. And the list bloody keeps going on and on.

And it’s the same thing the next day. It’s a template of sorts if you will.

Small wonder then that I play escapist and read the comics, smirk at page 3 and get right back to my books.

Cynical but it works.

 

What The F*** Did You Say F*** For?

Last Sunday TO had some of his friends over for a pizza lunch. It went just fine. All the complaints, tears, sulks, hurt feelings and booboos turned up bang on schedule at the 2 hour mark like they do with x number of kids under the same roof for a given amount of time.

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One of the little ones was happily lazing at the dining table, with his feet up on the opposite chair and drawing out the cheese from his pizza slice and his friend was peppering him with questions, one after another, with nary a break. And then this happened:

Child#1– Hey J…did you see..blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah??? Child#2– munch munch, chomp, chomp, chomp…No. Child#1– But it was blah blah blah blah blah blah. Child#2– chomp chomp, more pizza…munch munch. Ok. Child#1– It was so blah blah blah blah blahx10!! Child#2- Hey M..shut the f*** up! And there was a bit of silence for a bit. Only because the rest had their mouths stuffed with pizza.

 Child#1 comes over to me and says (sadly and loudly),”You know J said shut the f*** to me!!” Before I can decide whether I should have my outraged, sad, stern or even my controlling-my-laugh face, Child#3 goes, “You should NEVER say F*** because it’s a BAD WORD!!” Child#4 chimes in-” I NEVER say F*** because it’s not a nice thing to say F*** and I’m not supposed to say it! Child#1– “But J said F*** to me RIGHT NOW (and pouts)!!” And my very own Bratosaurus leisurely finishes the pizza in his mouth, burps and says “Parton me (he says ‘parton’ instead of ‘pardon’) and adds, “We should all stop saying F*** because my mother is right here!”

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The lesson here ladies and gents is this- always get the pan pizza with the thick crusts. Opt for the crusts filled with cheese if need be. It takes a while for these little yappers to get their tireless jaws around the whole thing. They can effectively talk AND curse with the thin crust pizza and spew half-masticated pieces of food all around in the process.

Here endeth the lesson.