I've grown "flexible"!

Someone told me once, its good to look at any hitch in a positive way, instead of cribbing. So, when the worker from Chennai Corporation rang the bell and announced that the romp right outside the gate would be dug out for constructing storm water drains, I looked at it this way-finally, when the rain lashes out, I will not have to swim (kids in tow) in the dirty water.But I managed to ask the guy, how long would the work take from start to finish. Pat came the reply,'2-3 days madam', with a smile.

I should have guessed it when the guy smiled. '2-3 days' in government parlance means each day consists of nearly 100 hours. The guys who swung into action the minute the bell ringing guy disappeared from my doorstep, are nowhere to be found after digging out the slabs outside. The dug out debris has been heaped to form a little mountain right in the middle of the road, so I needn't suffer alone. Afterall, I have the buses, cars, two-wheelers and what not for hard-to-commute-company. The Government has this very generous policy and would never permit any one person to suffer ALONE.

But coming to the first line of this post....what's my positive outlook, you ask? For this I need to give a small flashback. While at school, during the sports hour, all I have managed is to take charge of the stopwatch, hold the bags and stuff of girls who ran, jumped, flung the shotput etc, assist the teachers by noting down names for inter school competitions and writing names in certificates. Others names, I mean. But now, the athlete in me has woken up with a bang. I do a long jump to cross the narrow lake(!) when out alone, and do a high jump over the wall, (after almost throwing the kid into the hands of my neighbour), and finally after safely landing,I blow a kiss to the toddler in his mother's arms who cheers me from his 3rd floor balcony! His mother even uses this high drama unfolding every other day at around noon time to feed lunch to her usually obstinate son.

The Wait is over!

...or that is what I thought, when the husband who usually starts at half past seven, declared that he would be leaving an hour early, (and cleverly dodging when I asked him if that would mean he'd be back an hour earlier as well!). This meant I finish cooking breakfast & lunch early which actually means I WAKE UP by 5.00 am!After packing the food and sending the husband off, I see the clock. Just 6.30 am and the kids are fast asleep. I could hit the pillow, I think...or use the time qualitatively to browse..Tada!I send out a little thanks to my husband's orgn who decide to prepone working hours thanks to the planned outages in the city. For a person with one little rascal pestering for a missing crayon and another (who could not even stand without support)trying to climb onto the edge of the sofa with his recenly tonsured head exactly the minute I sit to check mails, an hour of no disturbance from kids means time for myself! So I threw the idea of taking a nap out threw the window and went to have a quick shower with masterplans of reading atleast one post from each of the missed blogs (for over a year), posting a school related query in the parenting forum, and sending pics of recent kids to a cousin who has sent death threats for not doing so for a long time. I step out to quickly check the kids only to find the second brat wide awake, mosquito net flung in a corner and crawling quickly to reach his brother with the ulterior motive of waking him.I grit my teeth and stare at him angrily. The little ladoo flourishes one of his lovely smiles in return and hugs my legs tight.I put the baby on my lap and start rocking him, with the 'raa ra venu' song.. Because I don't sing very well, he slept immediately, and with him in my lap I write this blog:D
Just one of those joys of motherhood!

There's something supremely satisfying..

..when you get to bake cocoa flavoured biscuits for the first time, and ahem... they become a super hit. Also I wasn't very happy with the ginger biscuits monopolizing the "men" shape. And since I was bored baking the same old butter biscuits time and again, I hunted the net for a simple choc recipe. Since I was spoilt for choice with the numerous recipes out there, I brought out my own version. I didn't bother with the measurements at all. I had exactly 125 gm of unsalted butter in the fridge. I cut them into tiny pieces, and giving the blender a break, used my fingers to knead the butter with caster sugar, cinnamon powder, baking pwdr and few drops of vanilla extract. Then mixed the little corn flour that I had at home, about 2 tsp of cocoa pwdr and added as much plain flour as the mixture could absorb, to reach the consistency of chapati dough. Popped the dough into the fridge and took it out after couple of hours only to find the dough to have become like one stiff, heavy rock. I regretted a second for my stupidity, and then a tiny light bulb flashed and made me sprinkle some milk onto the mixture. Voila! Out came the rolling pin, the biscuit cutter and the oven trays, and the biscuits got baked at 180 deg c, for 15 minutes. (ofcourse I had to pre-heat the oven). Since cocoa tastes bitter, and I was a bit doubtful if the sugar I've added would be enough to counter it, I sprnkled some sugar when the biscuits were still warm.

I guess this is the first time EVER, I've made something without cup measurements. That's an achievement of sorts for a person who doesn't cook a meal without levelling off rice on the measuring cup!

Tamil Rhymes for children

Here are some entries for Tulika's Blogathon. The beauty of any song/poem, lies in the rhyming words in the original language, and the same gets bit disrupted in literal translations. There, I've given a lame excuse for my inept translations!

This "sanjadamma.." is one of my favourites. There are other versions too, but I've given the one which is popular in our household. When the baby is able to sit without support and tries to swing back and forth, we say:

"sanjadamma sanjadu
sayakkiliye sanjadu
kuthu vilakkae sanjadu
koyil puravae sanjadu
kannae maniyae sanjadu
bhushanamae nee sanjadu!"

sanjadu-sway/rock back and forth.
sayakiliye-colourful parrot
koyila purave-Temple pigeon.
kannae maniye-dear, darling
bhushanam-precious, valuable thing.

"Vikkal azhagi, vilayada pona
Vikkala vittu, vekkalai sumai"

"Hiccupping beauty, while going to play
sod the hiccups and pick the haystack"

This one is for when the baby gets hiccups. A tiny thread is held near the child's face and the rhyme is narrated thrice, while circling the thread around, so the baby gets distracted, and finally the thread is placed on his/her head, so h/she looks up and the baby's back is rubbed so as to wind him.

"chinna chinna motor
periya periya motor
naan virumbum motor
Naalu chakra motor"

Tiny, Tiny car
Big Big car,
My favourite cars
4-wheeled cars"

This rhyme is used for toddlers to help them differentiate small from big cars, or some such things.

(Edited after The PrintLover's comment with full verse AND translation. Thanks a lot TPL!)

"amma ingae vaa vaa!
aasai mutham thaa thaa!
ilaiyil soru pottu,
eeyai thoora oattu!"

unnai pondra nallaar
ooril yaavar ullaar
ennaal unakku thollai
ethum inge illai

aiyam indri solluven

orumaiye balamam
oathum seyale nalamam
avvai sonna mozhiyaam
ahde enakku vazhiyaam

"Mummy, do come here!
and give me a kiss,
serve food on the banana leaf
and swat the flies away

good folks like you
who else are in town
trouble due to me
will be none

I'll tell without a doubt
unity is strength
Advising is for welfare
this was prescibed by avvaiyar (tamil poet))
and this will be our way of living

"maambazhamam maambazham
malgova maambazham
Salethu maambazham
thithikkum mambazham
azhagana mambazham
alwa pondra mambazham
ungalukku venduma?
ingu odi vaarungal
pangu poattu thinnalaam!"

"Mango, Mango!
Malgova Mango
Mango from Salem
Very sweet Mango
luscious mango
Halwa like mango
Would you like to have some?
Come running here
We'll share and eat!"

Giving an intro to summer's delightful fruit, while emphasising on the sharing habit!


"Aanai vanthathu thoppula
arupparuthathu maambazham
Kuthirai vanthathu thoppula
kotti parichathu vilampazham!"

"An Elephant came to the field
and harvested mangoes
A horse came to the (same) field
and plucked a wood apple"

The mention of Yaanai (elephant) is enough to evoke those never ending giggles from babies!


"Meow Meow saar!
Milk kudikkum saar!
Naalu kaalu saar!
Orae vaalu saar!"

"Meow Meow sir
Milk's your favourite sir!
Four legged sir!
But only one tail sir"

Used to sing for toddlers running behind cats, trying to befriend them!

"Dosai amma dosai
neyyila sutta dosai
arisi maavum, ulundhu mavum,
kalandhu sutta dosai
appavukku anju
ammavukku naalu
annanukku moonu,
akkalukku rendu
paappavukku onnu
thinna thinna aasai
innum kettal poosai!"

"Dosa dosa
Dosa made with ghee
rice flour, urid flour,
mixed to cook the dosa
5 for dad
4 for mom
3 for brother
2 for sister
1 for baby
if someone asks for more
they get a scolding"

As is obvious, this one is used to enable baby to count backwards!"

I had absolute fun doing this. I do remember few more, albeit some like "thaa kuppi thanthana kuppi" and "amma kuthu dhimma kuthu" have some words which have no meaning, but babies gurgle with delight more for the sheer sound of them!

Can anyone guess....

... which track my train of thought leapt to, when I spotted (and bought) these?

Its amazing the way our brains could think of n number of things in split seconds. Oh ofcourse! in my case, there's an exception : when I'm hungry, my mind goes numb until my tummy is happy;)

So my Grandma was right all the way

"Girls should NOT speak loudly" rebuked my grandma every time I started a conversation. I accused her of being very partial and unfair. She shook her head wisely and said "Your voice is bound to shoot up by several decibels once you have a baby, so practise speaking softly" she declared emphatically.

Maybe grandma is right is what I thought when I, along with another friend went to meet H.
////Now, permit a little digression, dear reader-
H is a friend from college. She is one of those soft natured and gentle girls, whom one could turn to when in need. Only, one needs to have a really sharp ear, when on a phone conversation with her. "The handset wouldn't complain of aches and pains if you be a bit louder" we all used to tell her. But on or off the phone, hardly audible she remained.////
So, few years later, when we went to meet her, we had forgotten the block number of her aptmt. There were 4 blocks, all similar. Just as we were about to call her mobile, there came a deafening THUD. Followed by a loud, angry voice asking the child to behave and giving a huge explanation about how expensive things are. Though dumbstruck, we instantly recognised the voice, followed it and knocked at H's door.

Cut to present. This morning I stepped into the elevator with my little one gaily smiling at the only other person in the lift, and trying to reach for the elevator buttons from his buggy. I was using the oft-repeated, famous-word-of-late "NO" to him. And we got out on our floor. Few minutes later, I heard a knock on the door. It was none other than the man on the lift, flaunting a little shoe which I've seen not rarely. "Guess he kicked his shoe off!" he said, and much to my displeasure, added "I knew you got down this floor, so I came back down, and heard you the minute I stepped out of the lift and followed your voice."

Ofcourse I was not flattered. My flat is the farthest one from the lift. Tips for speaking softly, please!

Angadi Theru

T.Nagar is synonymous with mind numbing traffic/crowd, sweat, shops, pollution, commotion. One factor viciously paving way to the other. This Tamil flick Angadi Theru, (Market Place) is based on the lives of the young & vulnerable salespersons slogging at the multi-storey one stop shops in Ranganathan street.

The hero of the movie (remarkable performance for a debutant), forced to shoulder responsibilities after his father's sudden demise, discontinues his education and joins as a salesperson in such a shop. He is accompanied by his friend. [With the dhoti-clad, Lord Murugan worshiping owner of the shop being addressed as annachi, all sales people speaking Nellai Tamil and actress Sneha modelling for the adverts, it wouldn't take long for anyone to guess which shop is focussed here actually.]

The hero and his friend are thrilled to work in the air conditioned premises of the showroom after a brief stint of godown work. Their child like enthusiasm is checked by their greedy supervisor, who sqeezes every bit of energy from all the boys in the form of work, not to mention making passes with the girls in the name of punishment. With young boys and girls around, would Cupid's strike be far off? Another check in the form of seperating the boys from girls, by making them work in different floors. However the hero who by now is in love with the vivacious heroine (co-worker), decides to walk off from the job and decide to work along with the street vendors. How they pull off, and what kind of fate is instored for them forms the remaining part of the story.

There are 2 sub plots in the movie. One is how a jobless youth, cleans up the public toilet, collects money from every user (although that may not be legally right, he atleast makes it usable) and makes a living. The other is a lame person marrying a prostitute and sheltering her from trouble makers. Though a bit deviating (with the heroine's sister story etc) and a bit more gloomy than necessary, the movie spells optimism.

The movie is surely not one of those family entertainers. But its a revelation. Something on the lines of the inside story of all those big shots, who get away with everything, even after a film is made of it and all the stark realities beneath the flowery exterior are exposed. If not anything, one could learn what NOT to ask in an "annachi" shop. That you could get from pencil to pattu podavai far more cheaper than rest of India, is in itself an indication of how poorly the staff are paid. I really hope some social organisation (not the ones who cry foul at the venue of a fashion show) steps in and does the needful. As for the common public, I SO wish everyone could boycott the shop atleast as much as possible.

The hungry, tired and sullen faces of the sales staff, the strict vigilance of the supervisors in the real shop )on which this film is based) makes one believe their trials shown in the movie are not exaggerated.

Couldn't stop adding : when a Vinnai Thaandi Varuvaya manages to make this much noise, why doesn't a movie showcasing the hardship of a meagre wage earner make a similar mark? Also, I have a problem with the phrase "movies for masses/classes". Though not an assiduous movie-goer, I do understand what that means. But, I think the phrase is a kind of double entendre too. Cool movies appeal to the creamier part, while "uncool" hard to believe yet true movies fail to register the required accolades.