Lulu came into our lives when my daughter was 7. Lulu needed a home, and my daughter needed a friend. From that day, to this day, these two have remained bonded in a way I cannot explain. Lulu is no more. But she will always be with us.
I was told that dogs at home, absorb all the negative energies of their human family. Whether this is true or not, I cannot say, but it was heavily vindicated in our household. The kids hardly ever fell ill. There were only two humans who frequented our house that Lulu hated. She would bark, growl and complain incessantly till they left. Later one was found to be a thief. After that if Lulu did not like someone, neither did we!
Lulu left us with deep and profound lessons of love and living.
1) Sit in the sun. It’s healthy, and a great source of Vitamin D. Let your body tell you whats lacking.
I complained to the vet that Lulu sat in the sun for too long. She told me to let her be. She feels the need for the healing sun and she takes it.
2) Stare at open spaces. Dream little dreams. Let your imagination run riot.
3) Play with your younger sibling. Years later, when he/ she sees the picture they will love you more.
4) Chat with your parents’ friends. You might learn a few things.
5) Kiss your kids!
Love you girl!
6) Cuddle with your loved ones! It leaves you with a warm squishy feeling. – Hugs!! Dont forget hugs!
6) Take a nap when you want to.
7) Sit with your siblings and friends. Pose. Take pictures. Make the most of the time with your friends.
8)Complain – make your disapproval known. You never know, one day you might save a life.
9) Be who you are. You will leave behind loving memories. No one will ever forget you.
My daughter is already in college. This year the son spreads his wings too. And come September we have an empty nest, empty rooms and two desolate dogs. These dogs already have my love, but now they are going to be the sole recipients of crushing hugs, spur of the moment outbursts of violent cuddling. That’s how I intend to make up for the two missing kids, who kissed them on the mouth and let them sleep with them, even if they had rolled in poo. And I don’t think my kind of love is what the dogs are looking for. Most often they see “the look” in my eye and run far away.
Both the kids have done IB. (International Baccalaureate). It’s a fearsome, two-year program. I tried with my daughter, really did, to understand the way they study, the way their subjects are structured. I gave up, within 2 minutes. Physics paper 1 and paper 2. Paper 2 is alternate to lab. (How can you alternate to lab?) English did not have any textbooks. Why? Because it wasn’t literature. It was not even grammar. “What is it then I asked?” She said “Mom, I am buried here in a mess. I have a 500-word essay to submit, another mid term due and 3 assignments to complete. I cannot explain this ++++ to you!” I backed off hurriedly, and after that I would enter her room with extreme trepidation. There would be assorted files all over the place, with scary looking scribbled papers poking out. Each paper had the value of 2 years of hard work.
I really felt bad for them kids. We had it so much easier in life.
We had 49 students in our class, not 15. We had more friends.
Our classes were called standards, not grades.
We had one class, not multiple divisions.
The teachers’ knew us. They did not have to hold up our I cards to see our names.
We HAD no I cards. Our faces were our identity.
Gurkhaji knew each child’s going-home schedule. Fernandes bus child, BEST child, Mommy pick up child etc. Unknown security guards did not monitor our entrances and exits.
We had school from 10 am to 4 pm. Not unearthly hours of 7 am to 4 pm.
We had throw ball and athletics. No fancy tennis and basketball courts for us.
We had one PT teacher. PT stood for Physical Training. We did not have a fancy team of PE teachers. It was never Physical Education for us. It was just plain fun in the sun.
We were known by our names. Even to the office staff.
The teachers knew the records of our pranks and academic falls and rises. They did not have to look us up in fancy filing systems.
The teacher, who taught me in KG class, had also taught my 10 years older sister in KG class, and my 10 years younger sister in the same class. They did not change every “Semester”.
We had terms and not Semesters.
We got a holiday in pouring rain. We did not have to rush to school to show our sincerity.
We played honest to goodness interschool sports, in semi playable grounds. Fancy in-house tournaments were never organized for us.
We were hit at least once by our teachers, and our parents applauded it, instead of marching into school with cavalry and names of politicians.
Our parents could never enter school for the heck of it. Corridor walking parents were not allowed.
We beat each other up and took care of our problems. Parents never heard of our issues.
We did not have fancy canteens, catered by fancy restaurants. Infact we did not have a canteen.
We had a huge garden to play in. Not a rugged concrete passage.
We had ranks and marks and percentages. We did not have grades and percentiles.
We had 2 tests, mid term Exams and 1 final exam, which determined the status of our promotion to the next class. We did not have TOK, EE, IOC, IA, II, WL, PP, CAS, and other combinations of vowels and consonants.
A while ago, someone questioningly pointed at the husband’s dark circle, and in answer he scowled and pointed at me. It was a very deep and profound statement, delivered with out a single word being said.
He has been having sleepless nights – Because I snore. Loudly.
I remember a weekend out with my grand mom and grand dad. I must have been thirteen years old. Just before we were retiring to bed, grand dad called me out and took me in a corner, and whispered conspiringly, “ If you feel you are hearing a steam engine at night, don’t get scared. It will only be your grand mom snoring.” I remember snorting with laughter, till I fell asleep.
It’s that same sound that jolted me out of bed one night. It was a fearsome growl mixed with deep sonorous snores. Nothing soft and gentle about it.
The first time I heard myself, I woke up and jumped out of bed, with my eyes still squelched shut. I was looking around for an intruder, my mind running all the moves of kick boxing, that I had ever learnt. The husband, who was obviously awake, said “Come back to bed. There is no one else in this room. No one will dare enter. You were snoring and sounding like a wounded lion.” And he went back to sleep, before I could start snoring again. I was wounded too and really worried, because I was getting these terrible bad vibes of being thrown out of the room. Which was okay by me, except the bed in the other room was not very comfortable.
Snoring is not the only thing I inherited from my grand mom. I inherited her dark circles too. Most days my eyes look like I have been socked a good one. My nights go something like this – “ I am snoring? Oh! Good Lord! That’s for oldies. I am not that old. Oh! Boy! I better loose some weight before I turn 40. It will be really difficult to after wards. No wonder those jeans don’t fit me. Should I buy new ones till I loose weight, or hang on to these. Hang? Hell! I forgot to hang the kid’s uniform in his room. He’s going to charge around. ……. “. And so on and so forth. The mind is running all over the place when awake and making the oddest dreams when asleep. So – of course I have dark circles!
Something had to be done about the snoring, My friend swore, that her husband’s snoring almost disappeared after he started doing yoga. So I started too. Except the teacher loved to talk. Incessantly. And all about how great he has become after he started yoga. It took all my newly found yogic calm, to not assume kick boxing positions, in lieu of yogic positions.
I have learnt what I need for my snoring. It has definately helped. Now I’m trying to get hold of my dog Oreo. He sounds like my co-wounded lion, when he sleeps. And he sleeps practically the whole day and chases rats the full night. I’m trying to teach him yoga. The bugger keeps running away. And just as well, because he looks at me judgementaly, like I have lost some of the brains on the floor, while doing the inverse yoga moves.
Have you been hugged lately? It’s a wonderful feeling.
I am new to hugs. I would give a half – hearted one and let the person go, till one day my daughter’s new friend, met me for the first time. She immediately got up and gave me one of the tightest – I wont let you go soon- kind of hug. I was surprised and I admit it took me a few moments to reach out and hug her back. I also admit that I was a bit taken aback and thought it was a bit much, but when I left the room and went into my own, I remember feeling this fuzzy warm feeling, like I have never felt before. It was a I ask for nothing back – hug.
I have always hugged and cuddled the kids. And it has held me in good stead, because even now at the threshold of adulthood, they are still easy to hug, and now I need it more than them.
I have a cousin. He always hugs as a greeting. A nice warm, huge hug, accompanied by, a hearty laugh. His eyes light up, his never- been – cut moustache curls into his cheeks and, we all get left feeling so very special.
So often when I am at a loss for words, I just give a hug. What can oft repeated words convey that a hug cannot?
So all you mommies, daddies, husbands, sisters (Mine is awesone! She hugs and kisses,) please go out there and hug your loved ones. Life is too short. It’s a matter of one second to let go of your inhibition. And the returns are unbelievable.
Maybe one day you will convert a non-hugger like those kids converted me!
Many years ago we lived in a small cottage. My family on the ground floor, and a big fat snooty woman, her arrogant husband and their nice children, on the 1st floor. Opposite building had, assorted kids of assorted ages and dispositions. A mad gardener who had pyromania, a piano teacher, assorted movie personalities, and a few undescribable human beings.
I wanted my kids to learn some of the same elements of wildness, that I had, and, which had turned clumps of my mother’s hair startling white. So the kids raced around barefoot and ate with dirty hands, climbed trees, cycled at dangerous speeds, rummaged in the overgrown garden and of course lived with assorted animals.
We had one dog, and another walked in our garden leaving his siblings with their mother. He was all furry and cute and was promptly adopted. The lady upstairs had cats – lots of them. They slunk around all over the place, hissed at my dogs and drove them batty. So much so that when my daughter went up to play with her kids, one of my dogs kept guard, giving her warning barks- telling her not to get too friendly with the cats. We kept fish, but they ate each other up. Many other dogs ran amok in the compound and my dogs would take off randomly, to the beach. We had direct access to the beach, which was also an invitation for more wild dogs.
One day the kids ran in, highly excited. There was a gaggle of them kids. (I felt so proud looking at my dirty haired, filthy nailed, muddy faced kids..!!) In her tiny hands, my daughter had a small baby parrot, looking all disoriented and bewildered. We immediately fashioned a large basket, tied up at four ends, looped up the rope and hung it high on our, open-to-sky balcony. We were reluctant to close the bird in a cage. It was a fledgling, could barely fly, and we all feel in love.
Nippy (for he loved to nip at my gold earrings) soon grew, as did the blood lust of my younger dog, Teddy. When we realised he could fly, but could not stay up for too long, we had to put him in a cage.
For flying practice, Nippy was taken to our closed living room and left to experiment. He would flutter, rise to the ceiling, try to sit on the fan (switched off obviously) and then land on my shoulder, climb up my neck and nip my earrings. We were both in love with each other.
Soon Nippy was desperate to fly all the time. We all wanted Nippy to be one with the wild, and so we started leaving the cage door open. Until one day I saw something, which had my heart beating in my mouth, and my knees as weak as a limp cucumber. Nippy would step out of his cage and stand on the door, giving the skies a good, once over. Teddy would place himself strategically right under the door of his cage. He would smack his lips and then hang his jaw open. Just hoping that the bird would fall into it. At this point Teddy made direct eye contact with the bird. Open mouthed and slack jawed I moved closer and saw the little bird’s heart beating wildly in panic. His little beasts were moving as rapidly as a flag in high winds. I promptly shooed the dog away to the other side of the house and had him kept with the watchman. I had nightmares of waking up one day, and seeing small birdy feathers and a few bones on my balcony, and Teddy sitting in a corner and looking like – well like – a dog, who has swallowed a bird.
One day Nippy was gone. I admit I looked hard at Teddy, opened his jaw and checked, and all that, but apparently, Nippy had flown his (makeshift) nest! Teddy was bereft for days.
We have since shifted, kids have grown, so have the dogs, but I still look for Nippy across the skies when I hear parrots every morning. Teddy of course had plenty of wild dreams, when he would smack his lips and paw the air, thinking he had killed that damn unreachable bird.
The gaggle of them kids, have grown. Some become film heroines, some doctors, and my kids still have fond memories of those wild days.
The sea has always been a part of my life. I can be called fanciful for saying, that when in need of guidance, I would stand next to the sea and get my answers. I have never regretted all those decisions taken on the basis of these answers.
I visit Bangalore (now Bengaluru) quite often. The local care taker’s wife is an amazing cook. So intermittently I will post recipes from her kitchen.
This is Rekha. Most of the ingredients she uses are from her village. They are fresh, and have an aroma, not found in the markets here.
Peanuts 200gms. (Raw with skin. Not roasted)
♦Try and use the best quality and freshest peanuts available. You cannot use salted or roasted peanuts in this recipe.
Green chillies 2 large ones
Tomato 1 large or 2 middle size ones
Kadi patta (6 big ones of 8 to 9 small ones)
Mustard seeds Appx ¼ teaspoon
Sambhar masala ½ + ½ teaspoon
Haldi ¼ + ¼ teaspoon
Dhania powder ½ + ½ teaspoon
Oil 4 to 5 tablespooons (dont worry, it wont be floating in oil)
Onion 1 small – chopped
6 pods of garlic crushed
Kadipatta 6 leaves (No. I have not repeated by mistake)
Red chilli dry 1
Crush the peanuts.
De Skin them. The old fashioned Indian way is the best.
Make a paste of Tomato and kaddipatta (the first lot), with a little water.
In a kadhai (indian wok), add oil. Let it heat then sprinkle the mustard seeds.
Add onions and garlic.
♦Nope , I have not missed the kadipatta and chillies both green and red. Rekha adds them after the onions have roasted, so that the chillies and kadipatta does not burn.
Once the onions have roasted, add the red and green chillies, and kadipatta.
Add the crushed peanuts. Add salt. And haldi, dhania powder, sambhar masala. At this point add the first half of the given quantities.
Roast the peanuts for a few minutes.
Add the tomato paste.
Now add the rest of the masala – ie: haldi, sambhar masala, dhania powder.
Cover the dish and cook for a good while. The peanuts should cook.
Check for salt and serve hot with Jowar Roti.
♦Please excuse the picture quality. The Bangalore weather, does not lend to continuous bright sunny moments. When Rekha was making this dish, it was pouring outside. The air got nippy, and as the aroma of the food rose up, we started thinking of this peanut curry with hot soft Jowar Roti.
Do send comments on this one. Rekha will be very pleased.
Amsterdam had me dumbfounded and the first day my mouth was hanging open, like a teenager confronted with a pop star. Its a city of pleasures, and sins. Cycling and food. Walking and museums. There is a museum for everything – Handbags and purses, Hemp and Marijuana, Rembrandt and Van Gogh. We did not visit any museum. The three short days were spent discovering the streets of Amsterdam, and cycling all over the city. Its great, because the amount we ate, we put on no weight.
We stayed in the Hotel Okura. It’s a little away from the heart of the city, slightly secluded but by no means boring. In fact the bars and pubs near the hotel were buzzing with mad FIFA spectators. (Holland was playing again’st Australia.) The crowds were dressed in Orange and they were all out on the roads. Our hotel had the most happening bar. Great music and great drinks.
Coffee Shops. This according to me, is the biggest draw. Joints are available everywhere. I mean you have to go to a coffee shop, which are everywhere. This hilariously sells absolutely no coffee. Only joints of various kinds. From the mild to very severe. We took one the last day. The mildest one. With great great apprehension. Nothing really happend, but as I was told by locals later, for a good high, one should go towards the local areas and get one there. It was very peculiar experience for us. Standing on the road and smoking a joint – legally.
Condomerie. Forget the kids, even we were educated. Massively if a bit inappropriately. This shop has only condoms, usable and unusable. They have a window display they change often. You must go in and buy one. http://condomerie.com
Window Shopping. Amsterdam is known for window shopping. You must have heard of the women, dressed up– um! actually dressed down and displaying themselves behind windows. We did not enter any of these. There the kids put their foot down (much to our relief). In fact we were having an inner fight between embarrassment and intrigue. They are to be found in the red light district. Unfortunately I have no pictures. It was’nt allowed.
Cycling. Cycling is a must in Amsterdam. It’s the best way to see the city. We cycled every where. All hotels provide cycles, or you can hire them. Everyone drives almost the same type of cycle. 50,000 cycles are stolen per year, so the fancy ones are taken out only for recreation. The only problem we encountered was quite hilarious actually. We had trouble finding parking for cycles! It’s safest to lock them again’st poles, and poles were normally taken!! Everyone in that city is armed. The cycle locks are so huge heavy and vicious, one twang across the head and Whoosh!
We saw beautiful houses by the canal. Small but so gorgeous. One day we bought some cheese and wine and saddled up, and cycled to Vondel Park.
You must pick up Cheese. Amsterdam is known for it. The shops themselves are very interesting. They offer free tasting. I loved the “old amsterdam” variety.
Heineken Experience. The old brewery has been turned into a museum of sorts. (This is the only one we went to) One gets a nice 4D experience, water sprinkles and all.
We ate in road side joints as well as 5 course meals.
Maoz. Must eat. Located all over the city, a super duper cheap and massively filling meal.
Hotel Okura. Five course meal. Fabulous. Even more fabulous for non vegetarians.
The bar in Okura is very lively too.
Cooking Class. If you like cooking, book a class in Taste Of Okura- Hotel Okura. Even if you are not staying there. And if you prefer vegetarian, let them know before hand. They accomodate.
And that’s the summary of our memorable Amsterdam trip.
NOTE : If going with kids, make sure they are adults or atleast somewhere on the way there.
The biggest mistake I have ever made was to loose my license. No – Actually it was not making a copy of my license.
And because I had lost my license, and of course the RTO did not have records of the 5000 odd licenses they make per day, I had to apply for a new one. It’s online now – By The Way. For all ye people who looked at me with pity, and said “You had to go to the RTO? Why? I sat at home and it was sent to me” Yeah! Lucky you! But I had to go for it! Tsk!!
Online dates were not available, so I decided to do it the old fashioned way! Through an agent – which was a driving school. When I signed up, I was given a badly printed-paper with road signs and laws and bi laws and side laws and the works. On the day of the test I went through it with a smug smile, thinking – ‘what the heck, its all common sense.
Needless to say it wasn’t as easy as, just going to the RTO and filing the paper and sitting for the tests. I was told my date was for the day before and I would have to go to an officer (who would definitely be a stern fat man, sitting in an air conditioned room with few more fat sweaty people running around trying to please him). I was told to say I was unwell on the scheduled day and could not make it and to please allow me to do it today. All bloody lies. I was hale and hearty and drinking beer.
After this I told the man that I was doing no more favors for him. Either he does this dirty work or I move on. At one point he said he was obliging me –(Obliging me?? Him?? I was paying HIM money! I was funding his next paan, cigarette and drink!) It’s at that time that I threw the papers on the ground and stalked off. (And had to explain later, why my important documents, had shoe prints on them.) Needless to say he came running behind me, saying he was only a mere sub agent, not in his hands and all the regular blah blah!
Now the RTO looks very, very impressive- the new one In Andheri. One cannot see it, from the main road, because all roads to the RTO are closed off. How do we get in? Through a by lane, with an illegal entry via a non-existent U turn. Yes – This leads to the RTO!!! I was roaring with ironical laughter.
Once you get in, it’s the same old office most of us have been to. Sweaty people holding thin grainy papers in their hand, milling around, agents shadily standing in corners, tobacco stained betel juice coloring the “DO NOT SPIT” signs, and office windows with clerks permanently on lunch break.
The learners license test was done, and I passed!! Of course it was all common sense, because nothing, which was shown in the printed-paper, by the agent, was asked in the test!
On the day of the driving test 30 days post the learner’s test, the agent came to us, very surreptitiously and asked us to go the adjoining plot, to give the driving test. Why was he whispering, and looking around shiftily like a drug dealer, I will never know. But I must say I was intrigued! Maybe the local Don had just given a test too? Like I said – “Everyone” now has to give a test!! (SMUG SMILE)
The “test” plot was a death trap! It was a huge ground. Dogs were running around and chasing – Goats! The “Test” road was a huge stretch of quick sand! There, exists (hopefully it hasn’t fallen since the week before) a tin roof shed, the size of a single bed! Approximately 50 people were standing underneath it. (Bombay lends its own laws of mathematics). This shed was next to a stinking toilet, very thought fully displayed as GENTS and the other one as LADEEZ. I heard somebody saying there is no water in the toilet. Which made me laugh again – at the irony behind it all. For – it was pelting with rain, and broken buckets were installed under the shed to catch the leaks and they were over flowing. Discarded tires were filled with rainwater, and old discarded bottles were swimming in the muck, but no water in the toilet!!
I was finally giving the test. Ladeez first you see! It thankfully wasn’t in the quick sand road. I was told to reverse. I put the car in gear and was about to reverse, when the instructor(?) says, don’t press the accelerator! The car was stinking and all I was thinking of was boiling my hands sterile, so I just did what he said. After a few feet, I was told to move ahead and stay on the left. Again changed the gear and without pressing the accelerator, I moved ahead. Before I could brake, the clutch slammed down, the car braked and I was told to get out! I had passed!!!!!! I really cannot say what I felt, because I was numb from the experience. I don’t think I will quickly get into road rage again, its not the fault of the drivers on the road, because as long as you know which gear is what, thou shall be passed.
I am waiting for the license to arrive by post. This time I shall be keeping the copy with my jewelry in the safe deposit box.
My teenager is a “last minute -er”. Technically she is no longer a teenager. And she has gone for her first unsupervised coed holiday. Exams got over a week back, since then it has been difficult to get her out of bed, unless, she hears of a party or night out! Then she is ready within minutes. Time obviously waits for no one. It did not for her too.
I kept saying pack bags, “Yes ma! I’ll do it” I was hearing that in my dream for days! I am sure she was too!
This was how her day went – for a 4 pm flight for which she HAD to reach the airport by 2.45pm.
She wakes up.
Starts throwing clothes from the cupboard into the floor, and from the floor into a bag, (which was changed twice) Then she dashes off for a shower, which amazingly takes only a few minutes. But that’s because it’s to her benefit.
Madam dashes off to a suburb 10 km away to get a form signed by her dance teacher for her CAS hours, without which she will not qualify for her IB diploma. BTW this form was printed and ready to be signed five days ago. Meanwhile her brother re packs her bag. The poor chap will wince if he sees the state she brings it back. I can visualize him, shaking his head in disgust.
She arrives and sits for lunch. When I chide her for doing things and the nth second, she – without any regret, bats her eyes at me and says “Mamma you know I do things last-minute. You should be prepared!”
We scan her form, to upload to CAS. The scan of course takes longer than it should. And but obviously even the WI FI is slow today.
Finally it’s uploaded and strung up in her school system, then my child starts hunting for the teachers phone no, who has to approve the forms. She decides to call him on way to airport.
We all walk down to bid her a goodbye. And we realize she has not printed her ticket. Again the printer throws a tantrum and does not print. She now has to use her PNR and considerable charm to get into the check in counters.
She leaves and I crumble into a ball of exhausted heap. I suddenly hear a whizzing sound come from my work table. Her ticket is now printing itself!! I am sweating and very willing to swap my three-year old niece and nephew who make me run behind them for hours, in lieu of this exhausting teenager.
You can see me in an hour at the foot massage parlor.