Pet Peeves Maketh The Person

I almost wrote “maketh the man” and then reminded myself of gender neutrality (another pet peeve of mine) and changed it to “person”.

Anyone following my blog of late would have wondered if they’d landed on the same person’s site or not because I’ve gone slightly berserk with my template changes. And that’s the super-duper pet peeve I’m addressing today.  I NEED THINGS PERSONALIZED. And how! If it doesn’t vibe with me, I don’t get no satisfaction!

I think I can blame Livejournal for that. With icons for depicting different moods, being able to mention the place one is blogging from and the kind of music that one’s listening to at that time…they spoiled me. Of course they got in tons of spam as well and as a result it was ‘adios amigos’ but I miss a few of their blogging features.

I bring in lots of little (and often inconsequential) details to my blogs. To me- it adds to the ambiance. To another (read Red) it was often a WTF moment to know that I’d been listening to Waqt Ne Kiya Kya Hansi Sitam while ranting on a blog post. He always asked, “what’s the damn value add for me to know what you’re listening to if it’s not reflected in the words you’re writing?”

But we all have our quirks. Some of us more than others and some of us need to see something and make it our own. Whether it’s putting the world on hold while a new phone’s wallpaper and font is chosen or the blog’s template is changed for the nth time; it adds to a sense of satisfaction to see something and think, “there it is…that’s how we roll baby!”

Call it a quirk or a mini-disease, those of us who need to make things a part of our personality, need to have those things reflect who we are or what we’re thinking about, and get fidgety if we have to settle for something which is close but no cigar. Because damn it, we want the cigar!

Note: the author is *not* promoting smoking or any kind of tobacco usage. She however does have a thing (here we go again) for proverbs and liberally peppers her speech with them.

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Tech-Savvy Woes

I’ve written earlier about the advent of Alexa in our lives. Red was in the market for good quality speakers and was considering buying Sonos and then suddenly got his head turned by the cute lil dot that now talks to us in a STRONG American accent and frequently gets our song choices wrong because she doesn’t get us much. And that’s funny because the offspring has his own twangy accent that sounds kind of like Alexa and yet they don’t always communicate correctly.

Properly enunciated crisp diction rings her bells though. Take for example, MLM wanting to hear Ra.One’s Chhammak Chhallo. He yelled out into the general direction of Alexa, “AlexaplaymeChamakChalo” and pat came the reply, “I’m sorry. I am unable to understand you.” El Brato grumbled, “Stupid Alexa” and then yelled out to me, “Ayu…come and tell Alexa the song I want to hear. It’s not listening to me.”

And there I was, speaking to the dot, yet again, telling her to play Chhammak Challo, said with tight lips and no hint of any accent anywhere. And she popped up saying, “Here’s ChamakChalo from VishalShaker”. I swear there was no difference between her and MLM but someone must have a hearing problem somewhere so I’m still running interference for them both and waiting till he asks me to tell her to play ‘Rashke Qamar’. Last time he asked her to play the song she played Paula Abdul’s Rush Rush

For my troubles, I get to hear the dratted song on loop till my brains start to leak out of my ears. *rolls eyes*

Signing off!

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Music Vs. Melody

Getting MLM up in the mornings was usually a bit of a struggle. I tried all the methods my folks tried on me: stern wake-up calls after a point, taking the blanket away and even shaking him awake when nothing would seem to work. But because he’s made of sterner stuff and mainly because he cares two hoots about displeasing his parents; my flesh and blood would make like a snake and coil up good and proper and it was tough to get him to uncoil.

This child has always liked music. From sudden forays into Sufi-based stuff to Cars to jarring Bollywood beats he likes pretty much most things. They just need to be uptempo. For the past few months we’ve been waking him to music. Thanks to the advent of Alexa in our lives, the songs can be changed even if I’m not nearby and that helps because this kid goes through playlists like the Flash on steroids!

Anyhoo, after weeks and weeks of nothing but Bollywoody stuff my ears were begging for a change and I was determined to give it to them! A search for Indian raagas I hadn’t heard in a while got me to a beautiful arrangement of Raag Jaunpuri played on the Esraj by Pandit Ashesh Banerjee. And my ears felt blissful!

See, there’s a thin line between music and cacophony. One person’s music is another’s headache. Cacofonix has been a poster child for that for years. But not everything has a melody to it. Lots of notes can be strung together to make an arrangement that isn’t jarring but it doesn’t always uplift, soothe or invigorate. Now, I’m up there with most of the Bollywood song junkies here. Most songs I like and dance to at home are the stuff auto rickshaw drivers blare over their cheap, tinny, scratchy speakers. In fact, I heard my go-to song while travelling in an auto a few years ago and it never fails to disappoint or do the trick when I need to get out of a funk.

But a properly arranged and played melody liberates you…the gradually rising tempo, the adding of new, more complex notes and musical arrangements seem to mimic the cadence of your breathing, your exhilaration and finally your sense of joy or contentment. That’s not been happening with the daily dose of Swag Se Swagat and Kaala Chashma blaring on the speakers.

Still, once music enters your life, it never leaves. It may take twists and turns and you may find yourself in musical alleys of folk music, kiddy movie OSTs or even a Brahms lullaby but it never leaves.

Thank goodness.


are fun! They are easy and uncomplicated.

You watch them because you know there’s fun, drama, tears, shock, eye-rolling moments all packed in.

And because they are reruns, you never really mind pausing them, running errands in between or putting it off for another day. You know Rachel gets off the plane. You know Meredith and Derek will have their drama together over 11 seasons before he exits. You know Gibbs will keep head-slapping Dinozzo till he leaves too. Beckett will eventually say yes to Castle and he’ll keep being an overgrown baby.

And yet it’s all fun. And along with it comes the music. Grey’s Anatomy has some really good music; usually softer tracks but chosen very aptly. Castle has some good ones as well. Got reacquainted with this song after years. And this one too both from Castle’s first season. The song my kid loves to dance to at ungodly hours is courtesy an episode of NCIS.

So basically you’ve got a twofer…a relook at old favorites or at the very least, decent recreation and good music. That’s a good deal in my book any day.

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!


Riding In The Car With A Boy

I don’t have to drive my kid around much since he started going to grade school 2 years ago. By the time he gets home it’s usually late afternoon and then he snacks, plays, does his homework or has play dates in the community we live in so we seldom step out during weekdays.

On the weekends Red usually drives because he’s afraid for his life with me in the driver’s seat and prefers to have me and offspring prattle away while he navigates.

This week I spent a bit of time driving MLM back from school and our conversations were the kind that would make David Attenborough happy.

This Monday I was lectured at about piranhas, where they live, how they’re caught, killed and how they have super sharp teeth. When I mentioned the only factoid I had with me about piranhas being able to pick clean a full human skeleton in minutes, I was pooh-poohed and told piranhas didn’t eat people because they were smaller in size and only bigger fish like sharks ate humans.

Trying to regain some part of the conversation, I told him that piranhas attacked in a group and that’s how they were able to overpower people; I was told with a snappish answer that people shouldn’t swim in the waters where the piranhas live if they didn’t want to get eaten.  Rather a simple and smart solution when one thinks of it.

Yesterday on our way back from school, I was again informed at great length about the Yeti Crab. My kid has a way of bombarding me with questions, seldom waiting till I answer them to shoot out the next one. And so there was a barrage of questions about the lesser-known Yeti crab and all I could think about was the Yeti and so I tried to tell him why the crab was probably named thus. I’m beginning to think that I should just keep my mouth shut because he just refuses to believe anything I say, preferring to hear the sound of his own voice, monologuing away to glory. Great career as a t.v. host on some nature channel droning on about chameleons or Tsetse flies…

Anyhoo, I tried to tell him about the Yeti and he just blew away my words and said that’s so silly and the crab was probably name Yeti because it sounded like a “cute” name. Talk about your empirical evidence!

All said and done, this kind of talk makes a huge difference from the “are we there yets” that he normally churns out every 2 seconds while we’re usually travelling. But imagine having a mini-naturalist inside your car who wants to educate you whether you want to be educated or not!

In the meanwhile, here’s to a good weekend from me and mine and all the animals that are there in my car!

Relics of My Childhood

A good part of my life is nostalgia-ridden or driven.

I am quite in touch with the present and look into the future (aided by booze at times) but the past is quite bright and vivid for me overall.

When aspects, however minute, crop up from my childhood; it makes me quite cheery and I’m happy to trip back to school days and regale (not!) the Lord and Master aka Red about my experiences. He, in turn, is equally happy to tune me out and is careful to insert, ” Uh huh”, “Ohs” and “Really?” into the gaps in the near-monologue-y conversation that ensues.

A month or so ago, MLM got a Ring Pop in a goody bag and I was thrilled because when I was slightly older than he is now, I’ve pestered my mom for quarters to buy them from the gumball machine. And here was my kid about to go down the same road of experiencing an edible jewelry! My favorite is the grape flavor in case anyone was wondering. No? Onwards…

One of my crushes gave me a Ring Pop to show me he liked me and that the first ring given to me by any guy and also the only delicious one!

Another one of the things that I somehow liked playing with, and grossing my mother out at the same time, was Slime.

It was oozy, gooey and so much fun! So when I found some tiny barrel of slime in a toy store, I didn’t think twice and bought it for MLM and another one of his friends. Needless to say, the slime was a hit! It was fought over. It made its way onto some upholstery, a certain grandfather’s shirt and grossed out every sensible adult in the room.

I was telling Red this morning that of all the things I thought would endure over three decades, pop rocks, bubble tape, bubblegum lollipops and play slime didn’t even make the top 10. But it’s nice to see these things once in a while. They’re silly, fun and an unforgettable part of being a carefree kid.

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