Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Quite a Handful

I am nearing the one year completion as well as the 100th post celebration for my blog. Not yet but will be there soon, if I decide to start posting anytime now. Time to dust my brain and shake off the writer's block (I can call myself a writer can't I?) I told myself. If I don't get off that couch and start typing.. I will never reach the 100.
And then I read Prats blog. Prats seems to be a constant inspiration/fodder for me these days. She had written about being Nerd Momma... and I went on a trip down memory lane.
And I thought
  • About the time in first grade where I was asked to write words 10 times each and I wrote 1,2,3,4,6,8,10.
  • About the time in first grade when I flicked a 5 paise or some such thing off the living room table to go buy a Popsicle on the sly. (I of course could not keep a secret and ended up telling my mom the tall tale over dinner.)
  • About the time in 5th grade when my hand just would not heal from its fracture because it was time for the exams.
  • About the same time when my mom would ask me questions to see how well prepared I was for my exams. I would stand behind her asking to play with her hair and read the answers right off the book. Duh (I think my mom knew all the while, and the ploy was to get me read at least that once).
  • About the times I put my comics and novels in between my school books and read to heart's content! (My uncle caught me once, but was trusting enough to let me go if I promised never to do it again. As if!)
  • About the time our biology teacher would give us assignments to draw each diagram 5 times. She would send us all out of class and then would stand at the door and mark out books as we walked in. We always made sure we had a pencil and exchanged notes through the window right behind her. (I have never been known to do these imposition assignments).
  • About the time my history teacher in 6th grade made me sit in the front row unable to put up with my non-stop chatter.
  • About the time I refused to do the steps in my math problems claiming "Amma, I am sure my math teacher knows how to get the answer" (Prats are you listening)
  • About the time I wrote on my answer paper "refer to answer 10b" when the teacher had the audacity to repeat the same/similar question in 2 sections!
Seriously the list could go on.. this is just the tip of the iceberg like they say! But as the spirals of flashback start fading away and I take a look at Cheeky seeing a bit of me already peeking through! What did I get myself into? I could be a nerd (first try, the bullets for the list above) and stick to the rules and give out high sounding advice like my mom did! I know Cheeky is going to be rolling his eyes and going "What a nerd?" or I could let Cheeky have fun but fail to follow all the rules in school. You know what I will go through every time I need to meet the teacher! The same thing my mom went through "Your daughter studies well and her marks are good, but I want to talk about how naughty she sometimes is"!! Like she did not know already, hey she got to take me home!!
Sigh!! I do have a really tough life ahead as the Imp grows up!!
Meanwhile here is how we have been expending our energy these past few days... Painting.. Now remember I am a beginner but here it is for you to see. (A watercolor by yours truly)And this one by Cheeky. I drew the Pooh, but Cheeky decided the picture needed some clouds.. so thats what you see, Pooh lying under a blanket of clouds!Now I am off to go mope about how I am going to set the right example for Cheeky. Post Facto? And I cant even get the bullets to stay!! Boohoo!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A trip down memory lane...

No fodder for blogs.. or so I thought as I sat at my computer this morning. So time to vaccum the house, and clean the tub and finally iron some clothes - I cant remain in PJs forever can I? But no, I had to turn on the computer, and go to blog lines and read other bloggers...
This has sent me down memory lane.

UTBT wrote about Kootanchoru. It took me back in time to the vacations I spent in my grand parents home as a kid. I would go there every vacation as both my parents worked. Sometimes mom would join me too. In December my uncles and cousins who lived abroad would gather too. Summers were spent with my aunts, uncle and grand parents. On such occasions we would gather around my grandmom and she would mix the rice and give it to us in our palms for us to eat. She would make one big bowl of rice for all of us. Summer vacations when no cousins were around, we used to do this with my mum, aunt, uncle and me. As I was the only kid I got fed by mouth while the others would get the food in their palms. Then my uncle would always lie down put his head on my grandmom's lap and claim she was his mother first and my grandma next. I would argue till blue in the face about how I was younger and hence got exclusive grandma rights!! Such mean relatives I had, torturing a little kid like this.. but I think thats why I remember my vacations so fondly.. All the banter is truly unforgettable! Grandmom was so much fun.. she would play Pallankuzhi with me (an age old Tamil board game played with tamarind seeds for coins and thayam kattai for dice). Pallankuzhi is similar to Mancala (African board game) or Pits and Pebbles game. Summer vacations also meant, story time. Grandmom would tell me stories tirelessly till I fell asleep every night from exhaution.

Prats wrote about street vendors who come knocking in India. I would hang on to the balcony rails to peer at the street vendors calling out their wares in sing song tunes on the road every summer vacation. "Paper Pazhaya Paper" was the most common... The man who collected old paper would walk down the road many times every day. Today I haul the paper to the trash every once in a while. I finally stopped buying paper in fear of the disposal!! I remember the vendors who would bring stainless steel dishes and plastic ware to the door step. They wanted old clothes in return. How convenient. Rambler wrote about how he had a tough time getting rid of clutter.. and here was a great way to do it. And you would get these dishes/ plastic ware in return. When I started working I went to live with my grand parents for a year. I came home one day to my grandmom proudly displaying a plastic bucket to me.
"See does this look good" she asked.
"Did you carry it all the way from the store? You should have told me I would have got it for you!" I said
"No the pathrakaran gave me this" she said (the plastics vendor)
I knew there had to be a reason she was beaming so much
"What did he give you this for free?" asked I in all my naiveté'
"Oh no I just gave him one of your old jeans and he gave me this big bucket in return"
Old Jeans? I did not have any old jeans lying around.. I ran to my room and rummaged through my stuff and confirmed the gnawing suspicion. She had exchanged my brand new expensive stone wash jeans for a plastic bucket. And she stood there proud of it, beaming with happiness. I did not have the heart to tell her that was one expensive bucket!!
Cheeky had his first sighting of a street vendor when he was a year and a half. I hide from these persistent vendors. We were on a vacation to my parental home and were both playing in the car porch. I spied the vendor and tried to lure Cheeky to the back of the house, so that the vendor would call out and then leave disappointed! The vendor called out "Amma, Amma". Cheeky escaped my clutches and ran to the guy and pointed to the turn in the wall where I was hidden and said "Anga" (Over there) and He came back to me to say "Amma unna yaaro kupdara" (Amma someone is calling out to you). I had to come out of hiding shame faced and buy the stuff I did not need as the poor guy had not sold anything all day and I wanted to stop him from convincing me and let me go back to my playing ball with my now restless son. So I bought the jug and cups that he sold and it still lies in a forgotten corner in my dad's house!

Now thanks to all my fellow bloggers I am on a never ending trip down memory lane while my house lies in a complete mess!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Cheeky Rules!

It all started with one innocent phone call to R one evening! We were thinking about the July 4th weekend and deciding whether we wanted to make that trip to DC. Meanwhile Cheeky had been asking endless questions all day and I was truly tired. So I suggested to the geek to call R and find out what they were doing for the long weekend. After all I am always in the quest of finding more people to answer Cheeky's questions.

So we called R and Cheeky ran into the room. Once he heard Uncle R on the phone, it was his turn on the phone now! "Uncle R I moved to a new house. The house is called North Carolina" Uncle R remembers Cheeky of a few months ago, a Cheeky who quietly played with his daughter A and was so excited about cars that was all he could think about!
So the poor guy said "You know that is so close to Tennessee! "
"Really" went Cheeky his voice going over the edge and getting very squeaky in delight!!

The geek and I knew then that we had lost our chance to see DC. So after figuring out that uncle R could not come here, promises were made to drive to TN for the weekend. With a Cheeky bouncing off the walls excitement the details for the trip were finalized!

What details you ask? Well a few days ago I had gone ballistic and purchased all the ingredients for making a cake. Dottie is to blame of course, for she made it sound so easy - here. So I went to the store and got all the ingredients, despite all the sarcastic looks I got from a very amused GD (Geeky Dad). Now the persistent Cheeky wanted me to bake a cake to take to TN. Yeah Right, subject them to the tortures of my culinary skills!

So on the morning of the 3rd the cake was mixed and baked, cooled and frosted and even iced on! Then I had the flashing bulbs on my head..so it was tasted too..It seemed to taste okay, Cheeky was called on for confirmation and the verdict was given. So the cake was covered and kept away.

On July 4th lil A had planned a picnic lunch by the lake and after a romp in the water park (with all the fun fountain features), we went to sit by the lake and the cake was cut and dug into. It was declared yum.. by all the important tasters (the kids) and the beam on SM (Silly Momma)'s face was enough to light up the place!

But the fun was hardly over.. the evening brought a firework spectacle. We sat in the back yard watching the fireworks and next it was our turn to tune it up.. So we brought out our personal stash and dug in.. Cheeky had a blast while playing with the fireworks and at the same time being the firefighter with a stick for a hose!! He ran around extinguishing fires all evening! A bunch of tired kids made it to bed that night!

The next morning dawned with promises for yet another fun day. The boats had been spotted on the lake the previous afternoon and July 5th had been declared a day for boating by the unanimous vote of the kids. Parents of course were not consulted! Unfortunately after a morning of running from one boat club to another, it finally dawned on us that July 4th weekend was either very busy or closed! We could not find a single boat to rent! But not wanting to disappoint these little imps that rule our life, we went to the caverns at Lost Sea. The Lost Sea is part of an extensive and historic cave system called Craig head Caverns near Sweet Water, East Tennessee. The specialty is however not the crystalline formations in the caverns, but here is where you will find the largest underground lake in America (according to Guinness Book). We even got to go on a boat ride in the lost sea!! So the kids were appeased and brought back home after yet another tiring day of walking in the cavern on steep pathways!

The vacation was short and sweet, for after lazing around at home the next day we started home that evening, dragging a reluctant Cheeky along with a long face. And with the promises to meet up again soon! But the vacation was good fun, and Cheeky got what he has been longing for ever since the return from India. People!

Now Cheeky has another plan "Amma can you call Santa and tell him I want a steam engine with cars behind them?"
Amma "Its not yet christmas"
Cheeky "Thats ok you call daddy and tell him "
Right till its time for Christmas, Daddy can be Santa!!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Literary Characters - Top 10

The tag read Top 10 literary characters. It sounded like a blast, and I had to do it.. just then K3 tagged me to do it as well.. so here I go.

1. Scarlett O' Hara - Gone with the wind is one of my favorite books and despite her obstinacy I adore Scarlet. She is quite a girl. Many a times I have known to quote "Tomorrow is another day" and I have this picture of Scarlet standing at the stoop of Tara in my mind. I even read the sequel "Scarlett" but unfortunately the book tries to mellow her character and she loses her personality. So my advice don't read the book Scarlett. (pic courtesy: http://www.tonnerdoll.com)

2. Kundavai and Nandini - These are characters in Kalki's book Ponniyin Selvan. I read the english translation of this book and absolutely fell in love with it. It is a must read, the book is so beautiful and these are two strong women who rule the roost! The tamil version is available as an ebook at Project Madurai. Unfortunately I was not able to find an ebook with the English Translation. The translation has been done by Karthik Narayanan and he has managed to keep the original beauty of the book intact. I loved it, hope you will too - it is a series with 5 volumes.

3. Elizabeth Bennet - She needs no introduction. Anyone who reads Pride and Prejudice would fall in love with this character. I have read Pride and Prejudice about a dozen times and every time I think of Elizabeth Bennet I want to read it again. The Geek presented The complete novels of Jane Austen to me for our last anniversary (Now I know why I married him!!). Keira Knightley played the role of Elizabeth in the movie, she fit very well I thought! (pic courtesy: http://www.theage.com.au/)

4. Portia - Thanks K3 for the reminder. I had all but forgotten Portia and K3 reminded me! We had Merchant of Venice as part of our Syllabus in our 7th grade. Later that year, we enacted the play and I got to play the role of Portia. I really love the fact that she is a strong woman from Shakespearan times! And am really proud that I got to play the role! Now its been a long time since I read Merchant of Venice, I am going to find a copy soon and read it again! (pic courtesy: http://www.antique-print.com)

5. Jeeves - I have devoured every PG Wodehouse novel I could get my hands on. And I really love the smug, all knowing butler Jeeves. He does manage to put Bertie in his place doesn't he! I love the way he manipulates the Clueless Bertie while keeping him unaware that he is being manipulated!! In the novel Ring for Jeeves, he appears without Bertie when he is on loan to some Earl! (pic courtesy: http://bostonist.com/2007/07/21/snotty_yuptown.php)

6. Sherlock Holmes - How can you not like this detective? I especially love his flair for the dramatics, his theatrical acting and even his arrogance! I am also rather fond of Watson! "Excellent" cried I, "Elementary" said he!! A display of Holmes off-hand arrogance right there! In the movie Shanghai Knights (Jackie Chan) an English Inspector is called Arthur Conan Doyle. He loses his job and claims he is interested in writing detective novels more than his job as an inspector!! (pic courtesy: http://www.jewishmag.com/51mag/sherlock/title2.gif)


7. Charlie Chaplin - The movie Shanghai Knights brought to mind Charlie Chaplin. An English urchin in the movie is called Charlie Chaplin. How can we not fall in love with the greatest mime/ clown of all times? Charlie Chaplin acted in, directed, wrote the script and produced his own films. He was quite a genius! (pic courtesy: http://www.pembrokeshirevirtualmuseum.co.uk/)


8. Friends - Usha gave me this idea. I love the soap friends and watch it over and over again. I love all the characters there for a different reason be it Phoebe's shoot in the air idealism, Rachael's naivette, Monica's obsessions, Ross's nerd-ness, Chandler's sardonic humor or Joey's blundering on!! I just love them all.. they have made me laugh on many days when I have felt so blue! (pic courtesy : http://www2.warnerbros.com)

9
. Ford Prefect - Long back my cousin introduced me to the Hitch Hiker's galaxy and I fell in love with the book. The book is described as "a trilogy in five parts". Ford Prefect is the alien and the roving reporter for the whole book. He has been late getting home due to some transportation issues (late by 15 years). So he boards the space ship that arrives moments before the destruction of Earth (Earth needed to be destroyed as is was in the path of the new inter-galactic highway.. Earth was informed ages ago but of course paid no heed!). (pic courtesy: http://en.wikipedia.org)


10. Tracy Whitney - The heroine of Sidney Sheldon's novel "If tomorrow comes". Like all his heroines she is young, beautiful, and very smart! She is wrongly accused of murder and sent to prison! Once she is surprisingly released comes the story of the woman scorned! She avenges the wrong and turns into a con-artist, falls in love with another con-man and enjoys the life of scam and the thrill of a life of crime! (pic courtesy: http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/s/sidney-sheldon/if-tomorrow-comes.htm)

When K3 gave me this tag I don't suppose she thought I would get carried away like this! Well I adore books and I could go on and on ... However, in lieu of time (yours not mine) I will stop with just the two more. These are my favorite cartoon characters. They would have to be Calvin and Hobbes, and Dennis the Menace. They need no introduction, so I will leave it at that! I absolutely adore these characters and have a similar one at home (maybe pay back for adoring these characters so much and devouring all their cartoon strips for years!!) (pic courtesy: http://www.migrantweb.org)

This was a fun fun tag. I pass this on to
Vish from Fantasies of a lifetime
Suma from Alochaane
Prats from Retrospections
Noon from Wonder Noon
Friendly Stranger from Colors of Life
Akshatha Kamath from Life is a Cool Breeze

Have fun doing this tag!