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Monday, December 21, 2009

Today, They Took My Scootie Away !!

Now, now, it really isn't that dramatic a situation . But then I wouldn't be a blue blooded Leonine, if i didnt make it sound dramatic at the least.

My older child is 16 now. When he was two and a half years old, we had bought a white Kinetic Honda. I had always fancied a bright red Kinetic Honda, almost tomato red. But when we decided to go in for one, they were offering a sort of a maroonish red and we settled for a white .

Then began the riding lessons. After dinner each night. The older boys in the building (all secondary school children) used to play carrom in the stilt area at that hour.   They gallantly offered to take care of the son, saying, "Aunty, yeh hamaare saath baithega. Aap scooter seekhiye."

So with the husband on the pillion, I pressed the accelerator. The sudden power that surged through the scooter stunned me. Then when I tried to take it forward, my hands were frantically clutching the brakes on the left hand and revving the accelerator on the right. The scootie moved forward laboriously. "See you are so fat, the scootie is not moving forward", I said, to the better half. In reply I got a well deserved 'thwack ' on my head.

'Girtey - samhaltey' I managed to go in a straight line, in the society compound, all by myself. Then for the next two days I practised with the son on the tiny kiddie seat. He used to enjoy pulling it up and settling himself. And I would  feel very nice and protective of him sitting up there.

The next problem was getting the scootie on its stand. I could manage the side stand, but could not manage to heave the vehicle on its rear stand. It was a "jor lagaake haiyya" exercise for quite some time.

Our housing society was atop a hillock. If going down-hill was difficult , revving up and coming uphill was a bigger ordeal.

The scootie and me were soon comfortable with each other. But one of my fingers used to be on the horn perpetually. The husband would comment that he would hire some one to race ahead of my scootie to herald my arrival and clear the road for me. That person could have a 'dhol' round his neck too and could go on 'dhum dhum dhumaka dhumm!'. More pearls of wisdom followed - I stand tall at 5 feet 10 inches. The husband said, 'If at any time you feel the vehicle going out of control, just stand, with yr feet firmly on the ground. The vehicle will pass on, on its own from between your legs and you have no fear of toppling'. So much for encouragement.

Once I had learnt to ride ,... ride / drive... the mind is muddled.   but I did ride it and drove people at home crazy.   I had set some rules for myself.  When I first started the trips outside the society, I had earmarked the colony entrance as my laxman rekha.  I would park it on one side of the street, cross the road on foot, finish all the purchasing and then 'aaroodh' on the scootie, would zip uplhill, to home sweet home. It took a long time to lierally cross the line so to say.  Even then for all the 11 yrs that i rode that scootie, it was always refulled by our driver. 

The Favourite Scootie Memory I have is of me, ferrying the kiddo to play school and back. His favourite cartoon serial at that time was "The Road Runners". I liked it too and we would both watch it on TV at home.

In this show, a wily coyote named Wilie Coyote, tries to do in a bird named Road Runner. The bird does just that, zip down roads and as he does so there is a typical Beep Beep sound that heralds his entry. It sounds more like PWEEP PWEEP.

It would fascinate and amuse my son, no end, when I would sound the Horn a-la -Road -Runner and go Pwweep Pweep as we went down the slope. Then he would take over shyly and press the Horn button PWEEP PWEEP. And we would both chuckle on our way to school and back. As he grew up other things were more on his mind, but even then a Pweep Pweep, to shake away an errant walker on the road, would bring a smile to his face. This is a special memory that we both shared over the next several yrs.

Today when the scootie, which was lying unused for the last 2 yrs was being taken away in a tempo, to the husbands office, all these memories came rushing through. In all their technicolour glory.

The vehicle will be sent in for major repairs and then kept in the office to run small errands.

I am waiting for my son to come home from college and whistle out a Pweep Pweep at him and see the smile on his lips and the twinkle in his eyes, once more. And for that moment he will be my two and a half year old , once more!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Mujhe Buddhha Mil Gaya

Today is the husband's 45th birthday. It seems not so long ago that we got married. He was 27 and I was 23. 17 years and 2 kids later, most times, I still feel as if i am in my 20's. :-)

Just this morning, mom said, 'Oh! yr husband is 45 today," I stood still in my tracks and retorted, ' 45?? that means i am married to an OLD MAN"

Monday, September 7, 2009


I recieved a mail today. From a close friend. A friend I had made while I was working. A friendship 20 years old. He is now settled abroad. On one of his recent overseas trip he met most of our common friends of that time. Of the early 90's. He sent me a couple of photographs taken when they had a get-together dinner there. About 10 of them. Some of these were known to me too. I used to work in the administration dept. So all new recruits had to approach me for processing their medical tests and other formalities. Thus, for them, besides the interviewer's panel, the only other  familiar face was mine. And at that time, most of us were handling our first job and were in our early twenties. So the friendships  were thick and buddy like. Also our organisation did not believe in the 'class system'. The bosses and their 'underlings' often shared a table and also there was pleasant interaction between folks of various departments.

After having quit my job 15 yrs ago, the only real friends I have today are the ones I made during my three and a half year stint there. I have this habit of keeping in touch with folks. It could be a once - a - year mail or a b'day greeting. Folks often rile me, saying that I probably have time on my hands, being a homebody and all that. But truly, I value the people around me and my relations with them. And all said and done, most folks do like receiving the odd mail and phone call, inquiring about their well being.

Coming back to the photograph and the mail. The mail mentioned the names of the friends he had met. As i was reading those names, the mind was conjuring up the images of those people. I have a very good and a photographic memory and i remembered the faces of some of these guys even as they had come for their first interview. Young sprightly engineers. Some shy, some extremely charming. Some of those mentioned in the mail, were my seniors in the organisation.  Very staid.

As  I looked at the photograph, in my mind I was recollecting some of our breakfast table gupshup in the office canteen. The PJ's we had giggled at. Memories of the office gatherings, after-office snacking, working on Saturdays..... The pictures were attached at the end of the mail. And i got a jolt. The faces had aged. There was the more than the occasional silver in their hair, in their side burns, in their beards. The faces were a wee bit paler. A wee bit jaded. I was trying to match the 'satrah saal pehle wala' faces with the ones in the picture. There was a lump in my throat. We were in our twenties then. And now are in our forties. So much time has passed.

But what was retained was the happiness in their smiles. Genuine smiles. Happy to be with each other at that moment. The pictures were so well taken and so real that I almost felt like walking into the frame, pulling up a chair and joining them in their chatter. And that I could not do so, troubled me. I felt extremely lonely and left out.

Aur kya likhoon.......

Friday, June 26, 2009

Pappu Pass Ho Gaya!

Yeah, the results are out and the son has cleared the exams with flying colours.


- A very pleased and elated Mom

Friday, May 15, 2009

"Will you join me for a cup of Coffee??"

If I told you that I drove around for two and a half hours looking for a coffee place in Bangalore and was unsuccessful, you would think I was plain stupid. If I then added that the hunt began at 11.45 pm in the night, you would probably understand.

After the MTR luncheon, on the 18th of April, we visited friends and more relatives. After we came back home we had a hearty 'pasta-in-white-sauce' meal. I mention the dinner menu to establish the point that the last packet of milk had been utilised in making the pasta sauce.

My wedding anniversary falls on the 19th of April. This was our 17th aniversary. A little before 12.00 we decided to go on a long drive to a 24 x 7 Cafe Coffee Day outlet, near the New Airport. It was fun to drive through the city's main roads, all silent in the night. The very places we had passed through in the morning and where we couldn't find enough place to park a car, were all empty and almost eerie. Suddenly we saw this group of 10-15 bikers, all with pillion riders. Some of them were travelling in pairs and some were racing amongst themselves. Suddenly the bike to our left revved up and did a wheelie. The front wheel of this bike was suspended in the air. The heart skipped a beat at this show of recklessness and false bravado.

Finally as we reached the airport we realised that we couldn't locate the coffee place. It had either shut down, or had shut down for the day. We turned back and decided to go to Koramangala. Another long and fruitless drive. By this time we were all ragging our 'daamaad' who was in charge of 'Operation Coffee Day'.

He admitted defeat and volunteered to take us to the sabzi mandi for a chai and 'bun' , added atrraction (at this place, at this time of the night/morning,) being , we could pick up the freshest veggies for lunch the next day....Or even upto the Manipal Hospital, outside which there is this chai ka thela. This suggestion was vetoed. The sabzi market was fine. But a Hospital - no no. Not a good omen . Then somebody suggested the railway station. Now we were all in the freak out mode and off we went to the railway station. No luck here too, as the vendors had been shooed away earlier on, because of the election bandobast. By now we were all ready to latch on to the next available cycle wala selling coffee or tea, bun or no bun. But the one fellow we found had a unruly looking bunch surrounding him. It had to be a an unruly bunch. Kaunsa 'sharif' group would be out at 3.00 am looking for coffee. One of us even suggested driving for a while more and picking up a milk packet from a milk van on the way to its first delivery and going home for the coffee.

Soon we were passing by the Leela and the Taj. So the Taj it was. It was a funny sight . Ten of us,including 2 kids, a 2 year old baby, and we adults, all equally perky waiting for our cup of THE brew. The Taj disappointed. The capuccino was luke warm. But it didnt dampen our spirits one bit. Not even the hefty bill.
Giggling like a bunch of teenagers, our motley group of maama, maami, bua, bhaanjas and bhaanjis, one daamaad and one grandchild returned to a candle - lit home. This candle part was NOT a part of our anniversary rendevouz. It was thanks to the Bangalore City Electricity Board, which also decided to participate in the celebration. Mercifully , by the time we tucked in, it also returned us the 'bijli' and thus fell the curtains on my 17th anniversary party. At this moment I could only say "Shukriya ji for lighting up my life!"

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Bangalore to Ooty

On the 20th of April we left Bangalore at 12.00 noon. Destination - Ooty. The distance between Bangalore and Ooty is around 300 kms and had gathered from friends and the internet that it would be a 6 hr drive approximately. I was a little apprehensive because it entailed driving through Bandipur and Mudumalai forest Reserves for a short stretch. Once about 4 yrs ago, we had driven from Waynad to Nagarhole Sanctuary. The roads were nearly non existent.

On the Bangalore - Mysore route lies the town of Chennapatna, where they make wooden toys, with lacquer colors. We bought a few for ourselves.

We did not stop for lunch, but grabbed a few burgers and stuff at a McDonald's Takeway , enroute. From there to Mysore, Nanjanguda and reached Gundlupet at around 4.00 pm. Drove on towards Bandipur. The roads are in good condition and it was a nice comfortable and scenic drive. The tall forest on either side, Bamboo groves, birds in myriad colours, signboards reminding us that we were passing through a forest where the animals had right of way.......Ahem!

We had been forewarned that we could have to wait in our tracks to allow a herd of elephants to pass. The most that we saw was a herd of deer and one lonely wild boar.

Then drove on into Mudumalai and with that into TamilNadu. The roads seemed much better here. It was a good drive with hairpin bends as we neared Ooty and we could see and feel the uphill drive through the Nilgiris. And yes the Nilgiris did appear blue. We reached Ooty comfortably by 6.30 pm.

The drive into Ooty was a fragrant one. The air was heavy with the smell of the eucalyptus. It was cold too. As we wrapped ourselves into our sweaters i ws reminded of my childhood when Nilgiri oil was liberally used to help ease a bout of cold and a stuffy nose. We checked in into the Meadows Residency in the Charing Cross area of Ooty, which was active and buzzing with stores. The Hotel is new and the rooms and the bathrooms were sleek and spick and span. While we were settling in they served us large cups of perfectly brewed, steaming hot coffee. Yes!! Complimentary!

We ventured into the markets. A 'What to shop for while in Ooty' search on the internet had revealed that sampling home-made chocolates and chocolate fudge is mandatory. And Kings Star Confectionery was rated the best. So off we went to King's Star. The chocolate fudge was the best of all the stuff laid out there. The children loved the Mint and the Fruit and Nut variety as well. The internet search had also listed a popular Chinese eatery 'Shinkows'. This place disappointed and we walked out immediatley. It had a lot of pork and beef items and i was not too comfortable

Dinner was at Chandan at Hotel Nahar. Good food, Chinese and Punjabi. A significantly large restaurant. Had several laminated pictures by Raja Ravi Varma, all of them my absolute favourites.

A brisk walk (it was sooo...... cold!) and we were back to the cosy confines of our room.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Travelogue continues

Day 2 and 3 were spent with family and friends in Bangalore. We went out to MTR for lunch. It was quite a nice experience. The coupons have to be booked in advance and you are allotted a time of arrival. We were ushered into a waiting hall for a while and then taken to our table. The service and the manner in which the food is served is simple but very organised.

As soon as we were seated we were served grape sherbet in silver glasses. Then followed the food. First the 'kismoori' - soaked moong dal, garnished with grated carrot, lemon juice salt, green chillies and tempered with oil and mustard leaves. Then poori and a saagu ( gravy wala veggie), badam halwa, mix dal wada and chutney, a vegetable curry,and bissi bele bhaat. The bissi bele bhaat was absolutely tasty. It is basically a mix of rice and sambaar. I have made it at home before, using the Bisi Bele bhaat masala mix, but the stuff they served at the eatery was too good. At this point we had to ask them, 'Aur kya kya items baki hain, Pet mein jagah khaali rakhni hai". Rasam and rice with a dollop of ghee, curd rice, payasam and fruit salad with icecream. A serving of 'paan' ended the meal service. While they were serving us, my husband got talking to the supervisor there, - "aap logon ne khaana khaaya kya?" he asked. He replied saying that they all eat by 12.00 noon, before the first patrons start arriving from 12.30 onwards. Wise move, this one. Little wonder, then, that they had a calm and contented air about them as they went around from room to room, from table to table, serving food. Like my Punjabi friend would say, "Unhonein bade pyaar se humein khaana khilaaya."

The Travelogue

A lot of planning, discussion, arguments and war of words happened before we finally left from Mumbai on the 17th of April. Mercifully, the date of departure remained unchallenged. The daughter's examination ended on the 16th of April and we hit the road on the morning of the 17th. 5.30 am to be precise.

We had planned to reach Bangalore by nightfall. Breakfast at a Food Plaza on the Mumbai-Pune expressway at around 7.00 am. Packed a couple of Wada Pau's for a mid morning snack. The son clicked this picture of the sunrays tearing through a hole in the cloud to light up Pune city.

Were in Belgaum for lunch, around 12.30 am. Back on the road in about half an hour. Lunch at Hotel Ramdev. This place has been around for several decades now. I still remember dining there as a kid when I accompanied my parents to Udupi during some of our annual vacations. Today it is a much more cleaner place and the service is quick and efficient, with palatable food too. When in Belgaum, the 'must-buy list includes a packet of KUNDA, a milk based delicacy and Dharwad Peda - both from any of the Purohit stores.

Reached Bangalore by about 8.30 pm. The roads are good and most of the time one is on the express way. Mumbai - Pune and then the Pune - Bangalore express way. The major hitch was when we reached Chitradurga. That was one rough patch, where the roads were bad and we lost a lot of time negotiating the heavy traffic. The roads were narrow too and we had to pass through the city as against travelling on a city-bypass highway.

The express way's have made road trips faster. But have taken away the joy of watching new places, villages flitting past you. It is a monotonous drive, but conveninent and comfortable. My daughter was fascinated by the colourful bougenvilla planted on the road divider for a long stretch in Karnataka. Whites, pinks, flaming oranges, magenta.........mmmmmm very soothing to the eyes, smarting from the grey of the roads.

After we crossed Davangere, the skies became a wee bit overcast. The children had a enjoyable time looking at the shades of green in the fields and the changing colours of the soil

Reached Bangalore in the night by around 8.30 pm, to a refreshing welcome by the rain gods and later by family with lots of affection, a warm dinner and a cozy bed.

A Vacation - 4,500 kms long

Yeah, that was the distance we covered during our drive thru some parts of south India. All in a period of a fortnight. We travelled from Mumbai - Bangalore - Ooty - Coimbatore - Thanjavur - Rameshwaram - Madurai - Kanyakumari - Suchindram - Trivandrum - Cochin - Kannur - Mangalore - Udupi - Goa - Kolhapur - Mumbai.

Two kids and two adults. Though during the course of the trip the adults sometimes behaved like kids and vice versa.

Because of the son's SSC exams we hadn't had a decent vacation all of last year. The 2 week break more than made up for it.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Sharing? Just Thinking ??

Two posts in one day!! Can't help it. Such priceless incidents. Have to document them.

Back to Goondoo and his bade bhaiyya.

My sister's neighbour gave Goondoo a box with 2 chocolates. Regular chocolates. After some time she called out to my sister again and gave her another box, this one, filled with assorted premium chocolates.

Bade bhaiyya went up to his mom and said, " Mom, can you give me one. I'll share it with you." She said, "I'll think about it."

Goondoo who was around, heard this, and ran upto mom with his box . He picked up the one remaining chocolate and said, "Mom, I'll SHARE too. You can take this (plain) chocolate and give me one from your box. "

Bade bhaiyya, retorted, "Mom said, she is thinking about it. (sharing) "

Goondoo : " Oh, She is just thinking about it?? Then I will take back my sweetie" He grabbed HIS chocolate , popped it in his mouth and went out to play.

When the Candy turned pale!!!

Goondoo's elder brother who is about 8 years old, was visiting his friend. The friend's mother gave him a box of candy. Small, coloured ( green and yellow) and flavoured candy. He came home and gave about 4 of them to Goondoo and 2 to his mom. So much for following the SHARING rules set by his mom.

Each day he would eat one OR none, COUNT them out and hide the box under his pillow. One day he told his mom, "My candies seem to be shrinking in size'". His mom didn't seem to give it much thought. After some time he came back, ' "They also seem to be loosing their colour. They are all nearly white'now" and he brandished the pale candies in front of her. This got her thinking. She thought and she thought it out. "GOONDOO!" she called out. "Did you eat any of these". "NO", he said.

She looked at him again . Goondoo said, " I didn't EAT any". ....................... "I just SUCKED on them".!!!!!

Monday, February 23, 2009


We have a family group on email. The group is called BIKINI. The story behind the slightly wierd name is funny. A family member goes by the name Mr. B. Kini. One day he received a parcel addressed as Mr BIKINI. When we decided to form our own family group consisting of aunts and uncles, nephews and neices, this name seemed apt. It was funny, and wacky.

We share a lot of news through this group email. One email addressed to this email id and family members across the country and across continents are updated. then follow opinions and comments. We share pictures, recipes and events in each others lives. and all stay connected.

My son who is in the 10th std this year, had his farewell party on the 10th of Feb. His classmates had decided to turn up in formals. Blazer suits and waist coats. Our young man, too, went all suited and booted. He looked very very grown up.

As is the practise, i posted his pictures on Bikini. Replies and comments flew fast and furious. One of my older nephews called up home and told my son, "arrey maine tuzhe bikini mein dekha"

The son replied cheekily, "par main toh blazer suit, mein tha".

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Examination Time

Was really busy with the son's prelimnary SSC exams. School Prelims and the ones held by the coaching classes. Practicals and Oral examinations begin on the 20th. Written examinations on the 6th of March. The son is busy studying and solving model papers. The mom is busy showering him with TLC

Will be back soon!!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

From Being Radha to Anuradha and RADHA Once More

On May 18 1998, I was blessed with a baby girl. I wanted to name her Radha. My father was very pleased, because his name is Radhakrishna. Both would share the name. I wanted to call her Radha, because i liked the name Radha. Just that one reason. The other 2 names I had shortlisted were Anuradha and Arundhati.

The husband was opposed to naming the child, Radha. After much prodding, he said that his secretary was also called Radha, and he did not fancy calling out to Radha at home too.

My favourite among the Gods are Ganesha and Krishna. But as opposed to the devotees in North India, who see Radha and Krishna together, in the south, it is nearly always Krishna by himself, who is loved and worshipped. I still wanted to name the baby, Radha.

Finally the husband had his way and the child was named Anuradha.

Last year we went to Mathura and Brindavan, where everybody sings the Radha 'dhun'. Even the rickshaw drivers, used to yell out 'RADHEY-RADHEY' so that the pedestrians would make way for them. Everybody greeted each other saying RADHEY RADHEY. There were shawls with RADHEY RADHEY, written on it. And my son who is older to her by 5 years started teasing her, 'Eh Radhey!, Radhey Radhey'. She would be quite angry with him, cry and then rush to beat him. He would run around the house, yelling Radhey Radhey.

And so it continued for a year.

Tomorrow, our building is hosting a BHAGWAD PATH. It will be on for a week, and a Swamiji of great repute, is going to unravel the glory of the holy text for us. It is my first exposure to the Srimad Bhagwad Puran. Today evening as I was getting things ready for the Kalash ceremony tomorrow, where 108 married ladies have to get a kalash from the temple, a neighbour called on us. She wanted Anuradha to play RADHA. There is a chariot readied for the occasion and Krishna and Radha will be 'viraajmaan' on it. And they will lead the procession to the temple, to get the 108 kalash and also the holy text. They will be dressed up by the priests who have accompanied the Swamiji. They are all from Brindavan I presume.

You can well imagine the scenario at home, I jumped in joy. The son chuckled and leapt up, ready to start the chanting game. I had to give him one of my dirtiest looks to silence him. The daughter - well she sulked and sulked some more. The husband comforted her, saying that he would be by the side of her chariot all throughout. She calmed down a bit when she saw me pulling out some pretty 'tikli' sarees for her. They are all laid out now for the panditji's approval.

My daughter, who loves living in shorts, capris and jeans will be decked up in all the finery of Krishna's consort.

Tomorrow!!...........well!!..... RADHEY! RADHEY!!

Thursday, January 15, 2009


In mid -December, Goondoo's older brother was ill with chicken pox. Goondoo was keenly observing the spots that appeared on 'Bade Bhaiyya'. Then one day he too broke out in a rash. That night when i called him, he rushed to the phone. 'Mhaave, (aunt) I have got the chicken pox too. I have got hundreds of spots on me but my brother has got thousands and millions', he said proudly of his brother.

After the usual quarantine period, Goondoo went to school today. The teacher told him, "We missed you! Are you alright now? "

Goondoo replied, 'I am fine now, except for these 2 spots here' and he pulled down his pants and pointed to the 2 healed chicken pox spots on his bottoms!

Thursday, January 8, 2009


This is an incident which took place when my dear son was a little kid. He was about three and a half years old and went to kindergarten. One day they were taken on a bus ride, by public transport. Their school believed in a hands on approach to learning. For Diwali they made greeting cards. We parents sent in self addressed envelopes with a stamp on it. The kids were then taken to the Post Office in their school bus. They had also taken a stool along with them. Once there, they all stood on the stool next to a Post Box and mailed their cards. Then they went in and saw the Postal Staff at work. When he returned home, he rushed to the door to check if there was any mail for him. When I asked him what he saw at the Post Office, he said, 'they all did THAK THAK with a round stamp.'

Coming back to the Bus Ride. They were all asked to get 1 Rupee from home. This was the cost of a Half Ticket from their school to Andheri Station. We were eagerly waiting for him at home, to narrate his newest experience. He came home all excited.

Me : How was the bus ride. Did you buy your own ticket?

He : (Chuckling) I did. But you know what, I told the conductor 'EK HALF, ANDHERI STATION, and yet he gave me a FULL TICKET.

He brandished the Re 1. ticket in front of our eyes.

It took us a minute to understand his amusement. And then it was we who were chuckling.

In his innocence the child had thought that a half ticket would actually be a ticket torn into a half.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


During the Christmas holidays, Goondoo (my 4 yr old nephew in the UK) was telling me about the gifts he had received from his parents, friends and neighbours. Chocolates, cars, an airplane, a reindeer etc. I asked him what gift he had got for me

GOONDOO : What can I get you, I am little.

ME : I want a Pink dress

GOONDOO : ( after some serious thinking) A pink dress costs lots of money

ME : So what!!

GOONDOO : So send us some money.

I immediately put down the phone.

Two days later I called him again and asked about my present.

GOONDOO : You want a pink dress?

A big pink dress?? You will have to come over and get it

ME : Oh! that means you've already got me one?

GOONDOO : Yes, But it's very long. It will come upto your feet. And you need not wear a pant below it.

Me : Thank you, Goondu.

I asked to speak to his mom. I was dying to know, whether there really existed a long pink dress
She said, they hadn't bought anything like that. She called Goondoo and asked him about the dress he had promised me.

He went to her cupboard and pulled out a pink NIGHTIE. PINK, LONG, BIG . I WOULD NOT REQUIRE TO WEAR A PANT BELOW IT.