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!

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!

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.

 

 

Waiter..There’s A Fly In My Soup

Well…there may have been a fly and there may have been a waiter and there definitely may be some soup somewhere in this universe. But this morning it was just me and TO, sitting at the dinning table while it was still a bit dark out.

He was all agog about going to his cricket class after having a break of 4 days. I made him a quick breakfast of toast and jam and was just lurching towards the coffee mugs when suddenly this happened: “Ayu…come here please!” Ayu duly went and was faced with the crisis that would lead to humanity being at utmost peril…a portion of a bread that wasn’t covered with enough jam!

TO-” my bread is empty here. Me- it’s not empty..it just has less jam. TO- but it’s almost empty…that spot has jam but this corner doesn’t have any jam at all!”

Me (going back to the kitchen and gripping the butter knife the way Carrie’s mother held the cleaver)- “Shall I put more jam for you then? Why don’t you eat the rest of the other bread while I put more jam on this bit?” TO-” I want to eat it all together Ayu. I’ll wait till you put more jam. That’s it..a little more to the right, no..that’s going out of the bread! Yup..a little more to the left…perfect! The whole bread is covered now. I can FINALLY eat in peace!”

Me, bleary-eyed, sleepy and caffeine-deprived, ” Am so glad I could take care of your jam emergency baby. Nothing makes a mother happier than stuffing more sugar into her kid and being micromanaged into the art of spreading jam on a piece of bread.” And pat comes the reply- You’re welcome. Kissy kissy”

AAAAAAAAAARGHHHHHHHH!

The Housewife Chronicles

Note: The author knows that women put up with the vagaries of the hoomans they live with whether they are working inside the home or outside of it but it does seem a little tougher to escape said hoomans when you’re chiefly inside the home. You either have to buy a ticket to the tropics (minus the drama of the song) or buy your hoomans one and get yourself some METIME.

So the latest hurdle to hit this cozy household was one of milk. Yup, that’s M-I-L-K. Why did milk become a crisis as it were? Well our earlier milk vendor who sent us yummy, delicious, thick milk in good quality glass bottles (yay for the eco footprint reducers!) was unable to provide the milk due to some operational hitches. And the milk delivery stopped abruptly.

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I got back home from a trip to my folks’ place to find my husband saying “fix this” and a child who’s a food critique par excellence in the making; his terse and discerning palates lead him to say, “Yuck, this is disgusting” and that particular item is deemed unfit and doesn’t cross his lips again. Ever.

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So a bit of a background about my two masters- they are fussy eaters. Not an extensive palate. Extremely limited fare goes down their gullet but that must be consistent and be the same-ish. And if you ever need a bit of a feedback about what may or may not be making the dish taste good or bad the answer comes back in a way that redefines being succinct for all eternity- “Doesn’t taste good” OR “tastes good”. And you’re left trying to decipher what the bleeping eff you’re supposed to take back from the exchange.

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So when I went back to an earlier brand of milk we used to have before our new favorite, Red came to me with a scrunched up face. And for an-almost constant poker-faced guy a scrunched up face can signal the beginning of the Apocalypse. This is how the exchange went-

Red- Is this the new milk? Me- Umm no..this is the old new milk..hee hee, we used to have this brand before we switched to the latest thing. Red- We did? Why? Doesn’t taste good. Me- You liked it earlier. Red- Don’t like it now. Too thin. M- OKAY…how does it taste though. R- I don’t like this..it’s too thin. M- $%@#$^@#^@$^. Red- get something else for tomorrow.

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Similar exchange with TO- “Ayu…the chocolate milk doesn’t taste good. Me- it’s the same as it always was. TO- No it’s not. Can I have juice? Me- No, we don’t waste food, finish this and I’ll get you something different later. TO- Add some chocolate sauce and put a straw in it like Ma (my mom) does. This is weird. Me- Weird how (because, yes…I’m that much of a masochist). TO- IT.IS.WEIRD.” Nuff said.

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So after having a couple of mind-boggling, eye-popping experiences by seeing the prices of the stuff out there and even contemplating buying a damn cow to please the two ogres I live with, I finally got a brand home that’s passed muster with OGRE#1. Am waiting for OGRE#2 to wake up and put me out of my misery and give me his trademark thumbs up approval for the new milk brand.

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If that doesn’t work I’ll just interview the milch cows of Hyderabad and see if anyone wants to generate milk customized to the taste buds of two (semi) high maintenance males who seem to get hungry and thirsty the moment they see my face. If that doesn’t work either they can live offa Soya milk because I’ll be saying MOO to you!

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P.S: how do people inherit food genes?! Baffles the mind.

Happy Hump Day…

My day started a bit sluggishly. Alexa was chirping her annoying wake-up alarm that Red sets up but rarely wakes up to. I wanted to pretend that I had no To-Dos on my list and woke Red up and told him to get TO ready for school. And he did. TO even brought me a cuppa and gave me a kiss before leaving for school…ah the luxuries of life!

Certain days I am charged up to tackle things and tick stuff off lists to an extent that it surprises me. Red calls it my “caffeinated” state. I imagine it’s a bit more annoying to him than my usual levels of caffeine infestation (?) but it is what it is.

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I washed my hair, fueled up the car, got groceries and am halfway down the Must-Do list#1 and looking to make a solid dent in the Must-Do list #2.

Being a SAHM isn’t a chore. We run the place. We have more leisure than people realize, especially if we have the run of the house to ourselves entirely. But that can also lead to complacency. You could start streaming stuff while you do dishes, or sort laundry and some days you’ve binged watched an entire season of Bones before realizing that 2 laundry hampers are not empty and your husband doesn’t have clean shirts for the next day.

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But I have something egging me on…this week ends with the last day of school for TO. And then it’s a mini-vacay at my folks’ and back home before we figure out what to do with our time.

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Things will eventually fall into a more sedate pattern and more often than not, I’m going to be sprawled out on the floor next to him, licking the business end of a spoon while we snort down ice cream and watch some inane movie for the 99th time.

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So before that state of languid bliss (pshaw!) descends for the next 2 months, I’d like to get a feeling of accomplishment under my belt..however minor. Otherwise my days usually are exactly like this; on loop!

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Happy Humps To You!

The Magic Of Coffee

Caffeine is defined as ‘an alkaloid compound which is found especially in tea and coffee plants and is a stimulant of the central nervous system.’
I, on the other hand, would call it the life-giving and life-sustaining elixir which enables me to tolerate my fellow man, open my eyes in the morning without wishing a piano fell on people around me; basically not putting a hit out on people who keep me from my coffee.


Take this morning’s scenario- TO has trouble getting up in the mornings. So do I but I have been given the divine duty of getting my kid off to school ergo sleep can be sacrificed for the joy of knowing he’s boarding the yellow bus. Anyhoo, after what seems like eons in getting him to get out of bed and the zombie-walk to the loo where he can brush, he decided that *now* was the best time to lie down flat on a skateboard and S-L-O-W-L-Y roll his way to the dining table that was maybe 5 feet away.

Why, one might be tempted to ask. Well apparently the flesh and blood wanted to have his morning milk ‘on the go’ as it were.

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In such moments, coffee is the most glorious of gifts. It prevents you from turning into a banshee, dumping said cup of milk onto otherwise lovable offspring’s head and as the caffeine enters your system, you feel calm and barely-there tolerance pervade the space around you.

I do agree, I might have a wee addiction towards the bean. It has been my constant support for more than 26 years now. It has got me through many a thing. Kept me from throwing things at odious people and throwing odious people off other places.

A few weeks ago I was asked to cut back on milk and caffeine as a part of a “diet”. That it didn’t work out is a given. I took to lingering in the kitchen gazing at the cupboard where the coffee is kept. I sniffed the coffee powder a few times a day and wished I could mainline it. Yup…total junkie.

But all jokes aside, we all have our crutches in life. Some worse than others. Of all the things I could be doing, coffee seems to be the most benign.

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The Changing Face Of Things

I belong to the Wren&Martin generation. It was ground up, chopped, blended, diced and shoved down our throats till the knee jerk reaction for anything pertaining to grammar and syntax meant reaching for our copy of W&M to confirm its accuracy.

Fast forward a couple of years when colloquialisms rule the roost. There are differences in the way English is spoken all over the world and idiomatic speech is how people prefer to express themselves. Well most people barring Mr.Tharoor because once he starts tweeting or talking, the crusty old Brit vanguards of the language are left scrambling for their copies of W&M and the Oxford dictionaries to unravel the mysteries of his verbosity.

Adages too have undergone a change. The majority of the essays written by middle and high schoolers about women usually had the cliche- ‘the hand that rocks the cradle, rules the world’. In the last couple of years I’ve realized that the ‘hand that wields the ladle, rules the roost’. And let’s admit, you might as well get control the home and hearth before heading out for world domination.

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Having control over the ladle means a lot. Essentially it means whose taste buds get precedence over the others, how spicy or how bland will your food be, can you switch it up food wise from time to time or do you stay old school, tried and tested. Who has the ladle also plays out in how the kitchen looks and where the “essentials” are placed for the cook.

Sharing a kitchen is often harder than sharing clothes or even a home. Important stuff happens in a kitchen. There’s a power play of spice placement, the cutting boards even right down to the size of the blade and kind of knife that’s going to be used.

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I have been raised by 2 VERY particular people. My mother taught me to keep a separate knife for fruits. She also has a separate paring knife for those things which need paring (Duh!). She uses a rather biggish cleaver for the meat and small knives for everything else. There is no ‘one size fits all’ in her kitchen. And that is something I’ve imbibed as well.

But if person who views all knives the same way and essentially looks at functionality and nothing more, your carefully pigeonholed knife arrangement goes for a toss; bringing waves of discomfort not akin to a bout of OCD. Because there’s been a break in the order of how things are done, how you feel they ought to be and the fruit knife ends up reeking of garlic is not what you need when you’ve reached for the musk melon for a mid morning snack. Before you know it, you want to draw a line down the kitchen and divvy up the space so you’re not sighing in frustration about the other cooks who (mis)use spatulas and leave the wooden spoons soaking in water for hours.

Let’s face it, food is important. How it’s cooked is even more so, where the ingredients are kept; all that matters. I don’t want to go all Patrick Bergin on things but even then it’s only natural that there can be only one Queen (or King) Of The Kitchen. And that is me!

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When The Males Go the Ice Cream Route

Normally we find depictions of girls and women gorging themselves on ice cream as a way to take away the blues or mend a broken heart. Well we find that in depictions of life in the Americas or the non-Asian part of the world.

Indian women, with their funkier palate eat deep fried grub, things served with liquids of dubious origins et al but on the whole, ice cream works. It really works. Especially the ones with the semi-liquidy, fudgy centers…ummmmmm. But getting back to the matter at hand, even males are resorting to drowning their sorrows in ice cream when they feel the twinges of heartache and gloom.

Case in point- MLM and his usual playmate (a 4.5 yr old girl) who we are going to call A were playing happily when another girl arrived on the scene. Let’s call her S. Now A almost exclusively plays with MLM and might have wanted a change. Who doesn’t? And S was without her usual posse and came upon MLM&A and wanted some girl time so she and A hooked up. Where was MLM you ask? Sidelined. Without a glance.

Now before you get onto your ‘awwws’ for him I want you to know that when he came to know A he kind of severed all ties with the rest of the buddies he had and only occasionally stooped to say a hi and hello. So he kind of had it coming but given that they’re all kids and kinda dumb about life we’ll overlook all social transgressions.

So he trudged home, told me he was sad and had a big, pouty underlip to prove it. He moped here and there and finally zeroed in on the freezer and picked up a small tub of ice cream, picked up the biggest shovel-like serving spoon we had at home carved out a chunk of the ice cream that left only a teaspoon of it in the bottom of the tub.

When I came rushing into the kitchen to stop him, he made his most determined “fake-sad” face and said “I need ALLLLL to this to feel better”.

Whaddya gonna do? So I grabbed a spoon and joined in…I wasn’t about to let double chocolate chip get away from me!

Cheers!

 

Get Your Placebo Groove On!

“This is the follow-up post to this one. Both were written a while ago…am currently meandering down nostalgia lane at a less than sedate pace.”

I tried out a detox routine for a day. I did it all day yesterday and let go of my precious java (the drinkable kinds not the geeky one) as per the norms of the routine. And before I get to my observations on this I want to get on my soapbox for a few sentences and just say that our bodies are precious. We literally aren’t going to get another one. Might as well take care of the one you have or at least love the taste of the grub you put into it if you aren’t going to maintain it in a manner that gets you the most mileage. Because it’s no fun to be an adult and feel like you’re compromising on things on a regular basis especially highly personal things like food. It’s just NO FUN AT ALL!

Back off the soapbox and down to reality- I can’t lose weight. I can’t diet effectively. I need a whole new infrastructure and logistics around me to exercise in a manner that I want before my body becomes fit again. I have two adorable lumps at home- husband and child. They are lazy, complacent and very loving so me trying to be a hardass falls flat more often than not. The husband can’t be bothered to find stuff-essential stuff, on a regular basis and usually forgets things if I’m not around to marshal it all into place where he can trip over it and therefore remember to take it with him on his way to work.

The child needs work because he’s a child and doesn’t know a thing about the world. Loosening the reins at this juncture means he grows up to become his father, the less than attractive aspect of him i.e., and more work for me when I’m older and menopausal. Sounds like a recipe for murder at first glance.

Anyhow, various factors get in the way of my getting into the gym, working out, walking, dancing- whatever! On a regular basis. And while none of those factors are critical, I still haven’t been able to offload them courtesy the lumps I mentioned. So the looking better, feeling better has been taking a hit consistently and my perseverance has eroded over the years. Easier to be an overweight housewife in soft track pants watching tv while I fold laundry or vacuum the couches. Not a very sad or dreary existence. It needs to be done and I’m the one who has to do it. Period.

I thought trying out a detox might “fix” the problem, as it were. Give me a little edge or boost before I start the actual process of toning, slimming, getting fitter. But I realize that I don’t feel all  that different. More than anything else, the thought of actually doing something and getting off my cellulitey butt had me feeling better. Honestly, my body doesn’t feel so much lighter today than it did before. Whatever minute differences there are, are too slight for me to keep investing this kind of money (not cheap this treatment) on a regular basis.

But the fact that I tried something out has done more to release endorphins for me than a lot of stuff of late and that’s where the placebo factor comes in. I feel better without having done much to aid an existing condition of sorts. I took something akin to therapy and just the thought of it made me “feel better”.

We all need some placebos in our lives at times I guess. One less crap to flush out of our systems at the end of the day.

And what about my chubbiness aka lard? Well I’ve got a nice new playlist that makes me want to dance so I’ll get my jogging shoes on, pop the headphones in, ignore my kid and just walk. Not fast. Not slow but just walk.

You have to play with the cards you’re dealt. Mine is telling me to take a walk. And dump some dressing (low-fat) onto veggies next time rather than blitz them into a homogeneous mess of a juice that I tell myself is “helping me”. A honey-mustard piece of lettuce never hurt anyone 🙂