Saturday, September 26, 2015


I'm still wishy washy when it comes to explaining procreation to the kids. When a man and woman get married, God gives them children is all that I'm ready to explain. Luckily they have not grasped some movie plots where children are born out of wedlock.  I have no satisfactory answers to their queries on why some people have more kids than others and some none at all. And babies are taken out through the C section, is my easy answer for another question. Until Mira popped in the question, who does the surgery for animals....
And today out of the blue came another question. "Do animals marry?"
Uh No.
Then how do they get babies?
Well, they choose their partners and marry.
"Who performs the marriage rites for them?  Do they have religions like we do?"
By then we have reached our lunch destination thankfully.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Good deeds

Ash has the maximum questions when I have the least amount of time. One is while moisturising him after a bath.
'Amma, if I do just one bad deed while doing good deeds otherwise will I go to heaven?'
'No. But if you do all bad deeds but repent and do a good deed before you die you will go to heaven.'
'That's not fair.'
'That's what Jesus said.'
'Hmm. What's there to eat in heaven?'
'You won't need food as only your soul goes to heaven.'
'But what about St Mary who ascended with her earthly body to heaven. Won't she need food?'
'Uh. Maybe not.'
'I wish they gave burgers and chips in heaven.'


The best thing about the aerobic exercises at the gym is when the trainer says 'relax 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8' !😄
The second best thing are the exercises lying on one's back when you have the choice of falling asleep on the mat!😴
The third best thing is the zumba dance. Oh macarena. You make dancers out of non dancers too. 💃

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Conversations at the lunch table

Conversations at the lunch table are getting interesting by the day. It's mostly a question and answer session between the children and the parent at home.
A recent (on most days the topic is the same - God/gods, Satan, death etc) conversation went like this:
Ash: "How do we do good deeds?"
'The brain instructs our heart and hands to act'.
'Oh! I thought Jesus told us to do good deeds, not our brain.' Mira's Sunday School education reared its head.
'Well, Jesus tells the brain to give directions.' I said not wanting to contradict her beliefs.
'But I thought Jesus sat in our hearts, not in our brain.' exclaimed Mira.
I'm a little confused and smile wearily.

The talk slowly turns into a discussion on religion and gods.
Mira: "Who takes care of the Christians in Dubai? Does Jesus look after the welfare of Xians alone and the other gods of his/her people?"
I had never thought of that issue but I tell her, 'Each God takes care of his own people, wherever they are.' I explain that the God of the Muslims and the Christians are the same, just that we call by different names. I quote the Bible to emphasise how we have all descended from Father Abraham.
'But if Jesus is the living God, why is it that he alone died while all the Hindu gods never died and are all living?'' Mira is doubtful. Like a good Xian I explain Jesus' death and resurrection. But the Hindu and Greek gods lived very interesting lives and they have a lot of fun too, I add. (Hindu myths especially of our very own Maveli come up at subsequent meal times. Mahabali's tale makes me very emotional.)
'My Sunday School teacher has told me ours is the true God and we must not pray to other gods.' The dogmatic learning they have imbibed makes me give up my good Xian garb and turn rationalist -- from all gods being the same to doubting the existence of a supernatural power. ''Gods are man-made creations so that humans don't become too bad, and try to be good.'
'Is there a separate heaven and hell for each religion?'
'Yeah. But Hindus believe in rebirth, so they don't need one. If you do bad things you will be born an insect.'
'Is there  heaven for animals too?'
Yup. I answer glibly not having given much thought about it before.
'Then our Bruno must have surely gone to heaven.' Bruno was dad's Labrador who died at the age of 13. The children had spent a few vacations with him.
'Our valiammachi (great grandma) will also surely go to heaven. But I hope she will live up to 120 and create a record.' Granny is 97 now; save for  difficulty in walking she is doing fine by God's grace.
'Do you think D-papa went to heaven?' That's their maternal grand uncle whom they spent some vacations with.
'I don't know.'
Later, while studying her social studies lesson on the earth's core, Mira asks: 'Is this red-hot core what we call hell?
I tell her to keep heaven and hell out of her school textbooks.

Monday, June 29, 2015

The Cosmos around me

Dubai is a melting pot of cultures. I come across people from all nationalities though a majority of the migrant labour here is Indian and filipino. Where malloos proliferated earlier one now sees Filipinos - in restaurants, shops, salons and gyms. Being greeted with an yes madame and a ready smile naturally brings a smile to your face too. The taxi drivers are Pakistani and skilled labor Bangladeshi.
I meet a Kenyan at the supermarket who wants to know how I cook banana flower, a young Algerian salesman at the car showroom whose selling skills almost makes us buy an suv we don't want otherwise, and Syrian, Sri Lankan and Egyptian ladies at the gym.
The latest of my international acquaintances is an Iraqi instructor of Arabic who takes tuitions for my kids. She left her homeland after the American occupation and her adopted country is very good to her and many like her. Her country is no longer safe unlike in saddam's time; he may have put some in prison but  provided them the safety to return home after a party at 3 am or leave their doors unlocked at night without fear of being robbed.
She tells me Indians are good people with good manners. Welcome to Dubai, she greets me warmly and gets on with her challenge of imparting Arabic in a month's time to two little Indians.

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Color tones

I met a Somalian lady in hijab in the lift the other day who asked me: "Are you from Ethiopia? "
I said: "No, I'm from India."
"Oh, I like your skin tone."She said as we got off and went our separate ways.
That was a revelation to me coming from a country where being white is an important criterion.
The hair stylist at the salon examines my hair and asks: Is it real?  It is too black.
She admires my curls while I admire her silky straight hair. To me it's too straight!


One good thing about life here is that the kids are thrown into each other's company more than ever. Though they profess not to like each other but only their cousins I hope this acrimony will ultimately result in a bonding that will last a lifetime. They play their little life games in perfect harmony and understanding.
Mira has reached a stage where her fascination for glitzy dubai has made way for vibrant India. She wants to go back in right earnest. Missing old friends, missing old school....