Friday, October 29, 2010

One More Time

That's how you say it.
I learnt that from my grandson.
For what he wants he insists endearingly - wommore-time - And we do not have the heart to say NO.
mostly it's to watch a Mickey Mouse video.
Do you remember the packet of Haldiram's roasted moong dal from the photo in my yesterday's blog. Well today I opened that packet, just a little bit and had a small helping. I then took just one more. I promised I would stop at the third. Not much left after that in the packet. No point storing it. I went ahead and polished it all off. It is meant to be single serve sachet. Right?

Just one more time
just one more time
How come I never feel that way when I am exercising or taking a walk or cleaning a shelf?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Pickle Sachets

When we were in Jayanagar an amazing ice-cream shop opened in 4th block called Baskin Robbins. What was amazing was that he gave us small plastic spoons and we could taste as many flavours as we wanted before buying one. Dream-come-true for me and my daughters. We would go into this air conditioned shop – a rarity in those days – and take our time. We would try the funny purple, green, red flaked and orange flavours!!
Today large MNCs and local ones all offer trial packs. I think they call it single serve sachets.
Shampoo, soap, water, hair oil, noodles, tea, biscuits and pickle … you name it and you find it, in convenient single use packets. Pantene or Chik or Sunsilk? Can’t decide? Try them all and then decide on the brand you like.


  • Works well for the traveller who wants something for just a day or two.
  • Works for the thirsty college student in the metro as he picks up a water sachet for Re. 1
  • Works well for the roomies who have a storage problem. Unopened single serve packets are bundled into one shelf and used at will.
  • Works well for the poor rickshawalla who cannot afford to spend a day’s income on the economical 250g bottle of shampoo. His family of 5 makes do with two shampoo sachets every Monday.
Single serve sachets are a great find. An amazing corporate step that finds approving nods from the rich and the poor. Here’s to single serve sachets the great equaliser!
Only, I cant stand the glossy gutka packets lying in nooks and corners of the city. Wish someone would come with biodegradable sachets.
Aah! That would be nice.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Help me

Can someone cure me? I have this malady called ISS. Nah, it has nothing to do with Mallika Sharawat or HISS. I caught it long back. Maybe when I was 10 or 12. It’s called Immediate Slotting Syndrome. I look at a thing and mentally go right / wrong. Way back I would enjoy biting into a white Chicklet. Suddenly ISS would hit and I would give it away with a sigh.

 Find the right place for everything

We are driving down a road and I see MARY QUEEN SCHOOL only the Y has fallen off! So I go bad, that mars the school name!
After that we see a family feeding puri-halwa to the hungry and I smile in approval.
O, look at that boy on the scooter zipping away ignoring the red light … bad.
Lovely decorative lights at the shop. So inviting. Good
Aaargh! Can someone save me? I know this is wrong. I shouldn’t be doing this …
Oops! There I go again.
Actually there was a short one week phase when I was cured. Let me tell you about it. I listened to a very spiritual and inspiring guru. He told us nothing is wrong or right, it is our thinking that makes it so. So actually everything is in a faintly grey zone. 
So I am in this all grey mood.
My husband offers to drop me to my friend’s house in Malleswaram. Suddenly he asks me, straight or right? O no, now I need to choose. I need to say right and wrong? I dawdle and he misses the turn. Finally we entered a one way – Bangalore is full of those – and drove around for another 10 minutes before we reached her house.
The next day we had to select two sarees. When I am afflicted with ISS I just go yes, no, no, yes, no, no, no, as the salesman pulls out sarees. After 6 minutes I look at all the ‘yesses’, again I go yes, no, no, yes and within 15 minutes my purchases are made.
That day I was in this grey tone. So the sarees were good, not so good, little good.. Aargh, how do I choose? I picked the beige with red and black border and a pastel green with small buttas but was not very sure I picked the best. What about that maroon one? Or that peacock blue with zari border? Oh! It was all grey.
ISS has its benefits. But really I want a cure from ISS.
Any ideas?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

All thumbs

Who would have thought that this massive, tall, cold, iron structure would symbolise romance and love? The structure by itself is nothing romantic.

But the place has gathered an aura. Everyone who comes there is enveloped by the charm of happy feelings and sense of abandon.

My husband and I were blown away too.

Feelings have a way of gathering.
Every topic of conversation is like glue or a magnet. You start a topic and similar stories will follow… chipak chipakke… back to back. One accident story brings on 6 more. One MIL story brings on 30 more. One office story brings on 100 more.
I am exaggerating. But you get the picture?
So that should be true of happy stories too. And jokes. We like to laugh. But not many of us are good at making people laugh. But when laughter is in the air, you can laugh at anything. We just got to place laughter in the air.
It is like this. Yesterday I tried online banking. I know you have done it all many times ... but for me it was my first faltering step in that direction. When it comes to banking and keeping track of accounts I am all thumbs. But this was internet. My field. Safe ground...or so I thought! Well I went through all the motions and successfully logged in and logged out. Then I though I would do it again and transfer a surprise gift to my daughter. Well when I tried logging in the second time I got ACCESS DENIED.
I can login only once a day?? How silly! I was all red and furious ... when coolly my husband suggested 'Check the Password'. Aaargh. I had used my gmail password!
That really set me laughing. Soon we found many things to laugh about. That's when we started looking at our photo collection too.
so here
One joke should bring 10 more.
Logically it did.
But, Looking at the dismal collection of comments for my blogs, I am all thumbs about more things than internet banking.

Monday, October 25, 2010


All dances of Kerala are fascinating. During a trip to Trivandrum in 1991 I saw a vigorous Kathakali performance. An artist began by applying make up on stage. The others were ready. There were men who had taken female roles. The kathakali dancers gave an energetic performance. Finally the main dancer told us how the paint is removed with coconut oil. The oil leaves their skin preserved despite the thick paint. The Kathakali dancers appear larger than life. Their flowing clothes, large head gear and colourful face makeovers capture our mind and attention. I have a photo … will scan and upload later. I have left behind the photo albums in Bangalore. If you have a digital one you are willing to share, do send it across.

Another dance I recollect is a slow moving Onam dance. I saw 8 dancers in traditional Kerala attire moving around a tall lamp. Sorry no photos. But the scene was mesmerising. I remember they sang their own songs too.

Yesterday we drove down to IIC for a quiet evening. While admiring a photo exhibition we got talking to a gentleman who told us about this Kutiyattam by Kapila Venu. We could hear the drum beats and they kind of drew us into the darkened auditorium. I had never seen anything like this before. The stark stage had three drummers, a lady sitting on the mat and keeping time with cymbals and a wonderfully elegant dancer held the centre-stage.

The drums were very different too. Two large pots had taut sheets stretched across the opening on top. The pots were placed in wooden stands. To use their traditional names, Mizhavu was kept in Mizhavana. Two men played on these by beating lightly on the stretched sheet. A man stood with an ornate drum hanging from his left shoulder. A tall brass lamp was the only decoration.

Radiant in a typical white with gold border saree Kapila held us captive. Live music by the percussionists was enthralling. Kapila danced the story of Sita’s exile in the forest, the birth of the twins, the meeting of Luv-Kush with Rama and her trial by fire. With no song or words to help her, with just the rhythmic beat of drums, Kapila with studied attention and grace enacted, danced the entire story. It was truly amazing.

IIC hosts a number of such cultural events. the entrance is free and the experience uplifting.
You know sometimes we see a dance and can somehow never forget it. Have you had such a memorable moment? Do tell me.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Touch the sky

Hi all of you. Did I tell you my grandson was here visiting me? He is two and a half and he has opened up a whole new world for me. There were many things we did together when they were here for a short ten-day-stay.
We listened to goofy baby till I knew every word that was coming. I enjoyed waiting for Goofy to come out of the time-machine as baby Goofy, and then waited for him to cry, and then have yummy milk - my grandson adores milk - and then the little song that goes top-top-bottom-bottom-middle-middle-middle. We took some time to figure out that song, and then Goofy goes Buurrrp.... look why dont you watch the video. HERE
We pulled out all the colour pencils and made a loooong train. See we have used caps and a sipper too to make the train as long as possible. Here he is telling the crayon "Don't fall"

We placed cap on cap to make a tall pillar. Suddenly he held it above his head. He was trying to touch the sky Oops, He WAS touching the sky.

He played cricket and generally waited for one of us to fetch the ball. Here is one of the rare instances when he did that himself!!

He would tell us this story about Diego and the Kuala bear with dramatic pauses and action. He shows us how Kuala crawls in the tunnel.

O We had the most awesome time. Wish we could meet more often. Being a long distance grandma is only a consolation, not the real thing.

This is something I like to tell him. This is perhaps what he already knows. No matter what you do, how crazy your dreams ... You are never alone.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Bargaining, How not to

A whole lot of odd jobs needed to be done. I made a comprehensive list.

• New curtain rods fixing
• Nails for artefacts
• Wall mounted fan
• Pulley clothesline to be wired
• A door that did not shut
• Two window mosquito meshes to be fixed

You get the picture? These were small jobs that not many handymen are keen to take on. Finally I got a carpenter who agreed to do this for me. Azad studied the list carefully, made various calculations. He worked out costs for material and labour. Then said that he would do it for Rs. 4200/-.

I am in Delhi and a seasoned housewife … like any self respecting Indian woman worth her salt … I bargained and brought down the total cost to 3600/-.
Woh bhi khush. Main bhi khush.

Azad promised to come the next day. He did. And began work in earnest at 8 in the morning. It was easily going to take him a few hours. Soon he got busy and I dipped my nose into my computer, checking mails, blogging and completing assignments.

Meera has mailed. She reminds me of our annual contribution to our favourite NGO. What would I want to support? She asks. I dash off a reply, putting my name to one of the causes on their list and hit send.

At half past twelve, the carpenter asks me for a broom. He has completed the tasks.

• New curtain rods are fixed and he has put up the curtains too
• Nails are in place and artefacts adorn the walls
• Wall mounted fan is fixed and working with the wires tucked neatly in metal clasps
• Pulley clothesline is wired and oiled too
• The door shuts and the latches are relocated so that they function
• Two window mosquito meshes are fixed
• A wobbly table is now stable

The work is perfect. He picks the broom and sweeps the places, leaving the floor nice and clean. Anything else? Azad asks me with a smile. I bargained with this wonderful man for 600/- denying him his due while I got my money’s worth. And here I am sending out a few thousands to an NGO which would use a part of what I send for a cause.

I am feeling guilty at my bargaining prowess.
Am I crazy?
I sometimes feel all this charity is a sham to cover up our guilt of not giving worthy people what they deserve.
I say
Don’t give charity.
Don’t bargain.
You employ ten or twelve persons for various jobs everyday. Pay them what they ask for.
That is charity. Not towards them.
But towards you.
towards your healthy soul.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Weekend goodness

Every weekend the papers carry better-yourself articles. They have wonderful tips about how to think, have glossy hair, woo a girl, get a pay raise and become thin. Do you? like me… devour these articles with vigour? Do you feel slightly dissatisfied with what you are and how you are? Say, ya, this idea is good. Monday you discuss these great tips with friends.
By Tuesday the verve kind of subsides.
Thursday you have forgotten how inadequate you actually are.
It’s weekend again.
And again you read all these wise people and feel
Gosh, I just need to be better than what I am.
Does this happen to you too?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

What timing!!

I will be meeting my grandson and daughter after 2 years and guess what...
I have fever. My joints hurt. I dint know I had so many!! I walk like a clown as my knees dont bend. Gross  ... What timing!
I can barely walk and the doctor calls it flew
well Ok flu
bad joke I know
anything to keep up the spirit
and tell me why
When every country fends for itself we call it Common Wealth??
hey, you got a joke?
anything to make me smile?

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Gandhi Jayanthi

October Second
Gandhi Jayanthi.
How many have you seen?
You know when we were young we would sit before the TV and piously watch re-runs of the Dandi march. The quick walk, the strong movements had us mesmerised.
Then it was Richard Attenborrough's Gandhi. We got confused between the two images of Gandhi. The actor and the real fused and formed a single broad picture.
Today .... We think of Munna Bhai?
And frankly we need some of that happy Gandhigiri in our lives now. That may just be the single panacea for all ills. I plan to watch the movie again.... a simplistic one coat for all kind of solution....a nice world to be in.
and by the way
I think Bapu would be more happy if we drank but abstained from violence in thought and action. Rather than the opposite, as we have it these days.
Ahimsa was the strongest message he gave us. Can we attempt to make Oct2nd Official Non-Violence Day? No police attrocities, no warfare, no dismissals, no wage cuts, no...

Friday, October 1, 2010


Everybody in India is talking and thinking about the Ayodhya verdict. This poem of Prasoon Joshi says just what we actually feel. Please listen to it. I give the youtube link.

I am so overblown by it that I just had to do it in English. My version does no justice to the stunning beauty of his language. I only attempt to convey the lines in English. Aahh! It's awesome.

Kisi ne kuch banaya tha - in English

A thing was built, a thing is built
A temple here and a mosque there
They did not ask me then, they do not ask me now
Always resolutions are made, and we just notified
A thing was built, a thing is built
Where have I the time from the Wheel of daily grind
I know not whose temple it is, whose mosque
I know not who tangles fine simple threads
Whose tactic it is, whose obstinacy I know not
A thing was built, a thing is built
They tell me, it’s yours, take a look, here please
They tell me, go ask, it is important tarry not
But my needs, they are just so different
Stop, Think, Wait, put not us into defined moulds
Tell me, who brings this glowing cinder into my yard
A thing was built, a thing is built
If a storm lies in Hindu, if the tempest is Musalman
If a storm lies in Hindu if the tempest is Musalman
Come then let us, Tempest and Storm, as one, achieve new marvels
Come let us attend to some important questions
Dark corners there are many, let us lamps make, of torches
Now real pain will talk, that lay hidden in our souls
A thing was built, a thing is built

India emerges stronger. Asia emerges stronger.