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…

The Summer Of Broken Glass

I have words buzzing around in my head most of the times. Some times they come out as blogs and at other times they come out as stories. They’re all stories at the end of the day. Here’s one written primarily as a short story. Cheers

THE SUMMER OF BROKEN GLASS- A VERY SHORT STORY

It started with a tinkling sound. Followed by a deep silence. So deep you could reach out and touch it. She hated silences like that. They were eerie and there was never anything good at the end of it; of that you could always be sure.

This entire summer had been tinged with what stray but nearly regular occurrences of glass breaking. Had she been superstitious, she would have pegged them as happening due to mal ojos. Her brand new Spanish classes kicked in at its convenience she thought wryly.

From her mom’s favorite vase to the beer mug, to the little Dresden shepherdess that she had labelled as super lame; each thing broke with a bang, a smash and there always seemed to be shards of glass shimmering on the floor…dangerously pretty.

She once had a couple of those shimmery pieces jammed into her big toe and while it didn’t hurt that bad; they sent shivers down her spine when she tried to probe the wound. It had taken forever to get the splinters out and then hobble around with her toe wrapped up in gauze. Lame, lame, lame!

She shook her head to clear the fuzziness and sighed in frustration about having to clean up glass YET AGAIN. Getting up to get the broom from the closet, she heard a muted kind of smash-crunch behind her. She turned only to hear the cocking of a hammer and the barrel of gun level with her face.

Her last thoughts as she saw the finger press down on the trigger were about the stupid glass…the memories that distracted her from running and hiding or even calling 911…stupid lame glass she thought, while looking into the mal ojos that were the last thing she ever saw.

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Finis

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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Parents: Reblogged

This post is more than 13 years old and when I was apparently going through an e.e.cummings phase:

the last 2 days have been quite a lot of fun. reason? took my parents shopping. it went something like this-
Me-ma why are you eyeing that suit ka kapda? you want it?
Ma-na re. expensive and i dont really need it now( eyeing it summore)
Me-mum! stop ogling it already and take it.
Ma-noooo. i dont need it now…have enough suits.
Me-but you dont have this color, oh lord! wait, i’ll get the drool bucket!
Ma-beshi bokish na( zyaada mat bolo!) but the color does catch your eye doesnt it?
Me-mammaaaaa, he’s about to make the bill, it’s a lovely color, you dont have it.BUY IT NOW OR FOREVER HOLD YOU PEACE! 
Ma-why do you have to dramatise everything to this extent.i dont want you to spend so much on a suit right now. i said no.
Me-ok. calm down. i wont force it on you if you dont want it.
Ma-dint i say i dint want it.
Me-ok bhaiyya, we wont take it. baaki sab ka bill bana do.
Sales guy-ok ma. amma you want the blue one?
Me-no she doesnt, she said she doesnt want it.
Ma-such a fuss.FINE! if you insist…bhaiyya, usko bhi bill mein jod do. (turning to me)-not a word out of you and DONT TELL YOU FATHER!!!!

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Last nite with the pater-
Me-this is for you! surprise!! you may thank me now.
Baba-is this black? you KNOW i dont wear black! it’s got front to back embroidery. it’s too much!
M-it’s not baba, you dont have something of this kind. Ma& i thought you’d look gooood in it.
B-it’s BLACK!
M-it’s not. take it out of the cover and see it in the light and you’ll find that it’s…
B-ok it’s blue but what are all these triangles?
M-it’s made from jute and the latest style.
B-alright,alright. dont breathe down my neck. let’s go the shop and let me see if anything catches my eye.
M-alright. exchange it. why bother that your only offspring went and bought it for you out of love and affection.
B-uff! chup thaak ma.
M-maaaaaaaaaa. baba’s being mean.

so off went the happy family to the dukaan. once inside-
B-can you show me all the dull,no-jhango colors and designs you have?( that’s what he meant i know it!)
Salesman- sir, yada yada yada.
B-NOT THIS ONE! it’s black. it’ll make me look like a sabarimala pilgrim!
M-how many of those ppl do you know that wear 1800 ka kurtas to the pilgrimage?
B-chup!
after many agonizing minutes later.
B-i think i’ll keep the one you bought, the salesman said it’s the latest design and i really dont have anything of this type. and i think i’ll take the black one also. it kind of grows on you after a while. it has a certain class to it.
AND DONT TELL YOUR MOTHER!!!
M-of course not!
once we got home-
M-maaaaaaaaaaa! guess what baba did. you 2 deserve each other..fickle shoppers. god gimme strength!

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Zoo Diaries

We’re a family with a child. Children like animals. Animals are fun to observe and usually even the smallest of cities will have an animal enclosure for the tourists. So while the idea of animals being caged bothers me, it seems to also be a way to get the kids up close and (im)personal with the creatures they usually watch on Animal Planet or Nat Geo.

Here are a few glimpses of the zoo visit Padmaja Naidu Zoological Gardens at Darjeeling.

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The Gift

My husband isn’t a person who does a lot of things by himself for others. He doesn’t give “of” himself consistently unless it’s for his son. For TO this man does everything I expect and then some. But neither does he wait around for others to ‘do unto him’. He takes what comes his way, if he wants more, he helps himself; if he doesn’t then he doesn’t. It’s very cut and dry and without hidden messages to decipher.

A few weeks ago I told him that instead of the family road trip that we’d planned out in this month, I wanted a few days by myself. And he agreed. He did it gracefully is what I’m focusing on. ‘Me by myself’ would have meant either I go off for introspection, fun, vegetate in a place outside my home or stay put and have the home and hearth to wander around in. I chose the latter.

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T.O almost exclusively travels with me. I have more time on my hands and it’s easier to align my trips with his time off from school but I’ve been wanting to make TO more flexible about where he travels, with whom and basically not get too rigid about anything in life. And the first ever father-son mini-vacay took place. They’re in Goa right now, our-once-every-year-holiday-spot while I vacay at home. And it’s been blissful.

I didn’t need to be away from them. I needed to be with me. And that’s not any feministic, soul searching claptrap. Sometimes you really don’t want to have to do anything beyond what you want to do. And I did exactly that. My indulgences consisted of switching off the daily alarms (yes..I have more than one) and just potter around the house while listening to everything from this to this. And no, I didn’t get drunk out of sheer joy. Alchohol did not touch these gabby lips once. And it’s nothing to brag about. I just didn’t feel like it.

I cooked. I sang. I did my usual minimal housekeeping because let’s face it, I don’t go on a cleaning frenzy till my folks are due to arrive and I need to maintain appearances about being a tidy housewife. But it’s been lovely and I’m actually looking forward to having these two back and hearing all about their stag trip that’s been full of fun, grilled fish and loads and loads of chatter and most of all, bonding.

So while I type this out, drink my unsweetened coffee (in your face sugar!) and sigh contentedly as the lovely cool breeze flutters the curtains all around, I’m going to go on record and say that for his services to preserving the sanity of this mother, I’m going to ease off on the nagging front with Red for as long as I possibly can. I’ll crack in a week, if that long but such gestures need a get out of jail free card and this is his.

Salut!

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.

Movie Review: The Secret Life Of Pets 2

Coming Soon Movies - Cineplex Cinemas Australia

If I was to purely think in kiddy terms then this movie is amazeballs! I have two constant movie partners- one for grown up movies and one for the kiddy (quasi) stuff. This movie falls more into the latter but since there’s still at kid inside us who clamors for popcorn at the movies ( ooh me! me!), it suits the grown-ups just fine too.

Picking up where the first one left one, The Secret Life Of Pets-2(TSLOP) is a very organic segue into the turns the lives of the pets humans take purely because of actions of the hoomans that abound.

Bringing back everyone from the first movie and adding on a few more characters, the movie isn’t a laugh-a-minute fare but it’s entertaining for sure! Especially with your own little hooman by your side.

Here’s how it goes- Max has to deal with making room in his life and apartment for a few more people in Katie’s life and in the process, grow up some more. Adding more flair to the movie as always is Snowball, the crime fighting bunny, Gidget the Pomeranian and a gruff Harrison Ford in the form of Rooster- the old farm hand (dog).

Take your kids and enjoy a big tub of popcorn while these pets romp around and do what they’re best at…bringing a smile to our faces.

Rating: 3/5

Book Review: The Bad Guys

The Bad Guys Book Trailer (Scholastic India) - YouTube

Good friends not only listen to you when you need to vent, go shopping with you, they also recommend books that make you laugh till you cry and till your offspring is rolling on the floor, clutching his stomach saying “Stop, stop..I’m going to barf if I keep laughing!”

Got introduced to this series by a good friend who was cleaning house before she migrated to a different continent. These books were intended for TO but I like reading all sorts of books and find that children’s books are a balm for a day when everything seems like of lopsided and heavy.

So we dipped a toe into The Bad Guys and liked it SO much that we plunged headfirst into it. Brought to life by Aaron Blabey, this series is so much more than just a kid’s book or an illustrated one. It’s hilarious, tres tongue-in-cheek and show’s a delightful level of snark in the author’s nature.

So if you have a child whining his head off about being “booooooooored”, then hand him this book and tell him to go whoop it up or do one better; read it to him/her and make a laugh-till-you-cry moment with Mr.Wolf, Mr.Shark, Mr.Snake and Mr.Piranha who are trying to make the world a little better than the rest of the maligned members of their ilk.

Cheers to your inner bookworm!

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PS: Thanks Nams for the book reco…my credit card doesn’t thank you but the ROLFing child totally does!