Thursday, October 16, 2014

Past talk

The blog has become a thing of the past  in this age of facebook and whatsapp and whatnot. The kids are whatsapp savvy too, snatching the phone from me to chat with their dad, granny and Liza aunty (my friend they met in Dubai) - mostly as recorded audio. I often tell myself I should write about them but put it off and then forget.
A term has passed in school and they havent passed them in flying colours, so I had to meet some of the teachers on Open Day.  Ashwin was talkative and distracted at times in class while Mira was meticulous yet slow. So I am making it a point to ask them what they did in class each day. Yesterday as me and Ash walked to the hair salon to get his mane trimmed, I asked him casually if he still talked and disturbed others.
"So what do u talk to your friends in class?" I ask him.
"How can I remember something that happened some time ago?" he retorts. " Can you tell me what you talked to Liza aunty on April 1?"
I am speechless.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The lost smile

Reading newspapers these days fills a parent with anxiety. Numerous incidents of child sexual abuse are reported on a daily basis. The worst and most worrying among them was the abuse of a little girl in a school in Bangalore. A place that every parent expects their wards to get safety becomes the scene of abuse and worse still, hushes up the matter until there is a public hue and cry.
How much can one explain to a little girl? How well can she keep herself safe? Mira tells me that she has received instructions from school about bad touch and avoiding strangers. So much so that she avoids smiling at the regulars too. In fact, of late she doesnt like to go to shops because strangers smile at her!
Little girls are forced to forgo their childhood and be conscious of the world around them - not to look at them with wide-eyed wonder but with alertness and suspicion.
The poor little boys get sidelined in this effort to protect little girls. They are equally susceptible to abuse and mentals scars. Are we living in a more unsafe world now or are we reporting things that went unreported when we were children?

Friday, June 27, 2014

Snapping away

Some shots from Dubai-Sharjah -- tasting Lebanese food, at the Sharjah aquarium, ice-skating rink at Dubai mall; our new home, the renovated Trivandrum airport; Buhaira corniche; toy train in Sahara mall, setting up our new home; fish watching.

The single parent

A lot has happened since May 19, my last post for the blog. On May 19, V joined a company in the UAE. So now I act the single parent trying to bring some color and cheer into my kids' lives, the way their father could do. The only possible colour I am adding is an occasional movie at the theatre next door. So in these few months they have seen Drishyam, Frozen, Rio 2, and Bhoothnath returns ( and booked tickets for Bangalore Days as I write this). The only other outing is the morning mass at church on Sundays; the Sunday school after mass brings some cheer to their lives when they get to study and play with their friends there.
After school closed for summer vacation in April, they attended a week's vacation bible classes, something they really look forward to. Lots of fun activities, good (junk) food and friends that they dont feel the intense kathri heat.
Then came 15 days in their grandparents' house in Chandanapally, a rural set-up where power cuts and thundershowers were the order of the day. The single parent then descended on them and flew them off to Dubai where the other eager parent awaited us. The first week was spent at their cousins' place, so the second week in our new apartment seemed too tame and boring for them. Only Mira loved it to an extent as she spent her time sweeping and mopping. It was good there was no TV as they found time to do other things.
Living in Sharjah in an apartment facing a corniche and park was fun. One didnt feel that one was living in a desert. There is more greenery than what one gets to see on Poonamallee High Road in Chennai. On many days we went for a walk in the Al Majaz Park and gazed at the skyscrapers across the corniche with their twinkling lights. The worst of summer hadnt set in, but it explained why glitzy malls were the main source of entertainment.
Malls, malls everywhere but not a place to sit. The walking tired me, for one had to either keep buying or looking around. I learnt to go to a nearby mall on my own by taxi. Most of the cabs are driven by Pakistanis with a string of four names. My smattering of Hindi came in handy. I even managed half a day out with the kids to the Sharjah aquarium on my own.
The best part of my vacation was meeting friends from college I hadnt seen in two decades. Friends from my colleges in Changanacherry and Tambaram who took pains to meet me and entertain. One friend we visited in  her Jumeirah villa boarding the Metro and sleek buses. The Persian cats at her place made the day for my kids. To my regret, I couldnt meet my oldest friend - from my childhood days and a part of my college days - in all the hustle and bustle. Our mobility was also limited as V hasnt yet procured a UAE driving licence; the shift from right-hand drive to left-hand drive.
Coming back to Chennai after two weeks was tough especially for the kids - leaving cousins and their dad. I bunked the first day at work unable to take the kathri heat and the commotion and filth on the roads. A month into my post-vacation life, I am once again a hardcore Chennaite taking in my stride the heat, the water crisis and the rude auto drivers.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Ash at 10

Ash in his classroom on Annual Day
Ash and Harry Potter,  at Domino's Pizza.
Mira with her neighbour and friend Viona
Ashwin turned 10 last month. He wanted a small party, so we arranged one at Domino's Pizza and called a few of his friends and some of our relatives. Mira had a party at McDonalds when she turned 8 in September so he insisted on one too. Anyway, he was damn happy.


Miriam sometimes conveys her thoughts through pictures... This for her dad. By the way, Vinod has got a job in Dubai and left this week, so we are alone here right now. Nanny L is back, so that is a huge relief.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Life in the absence of a maid

A couple of stressful months have passed since the departure of the live-in maid. My hopes of getting my favourite help L from Kerala immediately were dashed when she kept postponing her trip to Madras. I guess she needs to finish some chores back home but now she has promised to come in November. I wait like a "vezhaambal (hornbill) for rain". This note finds me terribly exhausted trying to be the superwoman - cooking, washing, mopping, and the numerous unlisted chores that are needed to make a home presentable while keeping a job with unpredictable work hours and the equally unpredictable commute.
The kids, after the initial enthusiasm to help, groan at the mention of mundane chores. Mira would rather cook than do things she can actually do. Right now, I have a temporary cook to do dinner so that the kids dont have to remain hungry till I return.
Meanwhile, we enjoy life as a family more without a stranger eavesdropping into every conversation or watching every action of ours. The kids keep us entertained with their comments on life as they see it.
Yesterday, after watching the latest Shahrukh hit "Chennai Express", Mira tells me: "Amma, the good kiss is between noses (as in the Hindi movies) and not between lips (as in some bad English movies)!"
And recently when V and me fell of the bike (but without much injury, save for some aches and pains), the kids were concerned. V, who likes to talk sentimental, asked them: "What will you do if Appa and Amma die? 
Pat came Mira's asnwer: "We'll go to Jessy aunty's house.
Jessy aunty is V's cousin, who has come to live near our place. And the kids love going there to see her and her college-going daughters. 
As for Ash, he is getting very materialistic. He tells V: Appa, if you are alive when I am in Class 10, please get me...." That is another 5 years.
And this time, on a trip to their grandparents' place in Kerala, granpa asked Ash to massage his feet. 
"Our rate for massage is Rs.3000. Since you are my granpa, I can bring it down to Rs. 2500," quipped Ash.