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January 17, 2011

Madras Musings.

Ashu and I went to the Bombay Jayashree concert at the Krishna Gana Sabha. Fil had front row tickets and was begging us to go. I knew it was a bad idea to go with Antu. So Hd decided to stay home with her. Ashu was thrilled but after 45 minutes, she went to sleep. I had a wonderful time listening to Jayashree. Live. Wow! My first Margazhi Kacheri. Unforgettable experience.

Hd and I managed to watch Kamal Haasan's recent movie "Manmadhan Ambu". Was a pleasant watch but the last 30 minutes were horrible. I was squirming in my seat especially since we had a train to catch in a couple of hours and I was kicking myself that I decided to watch the movie instead of hanging around with my parents and saying teary goodbyes! We also watched Mynaa a couple of days earlier in the same awful theatre and loved it. The songs were wonderful. The performances were flawless. I felt the tragic end was so unnecessary but then it would have been an ordinary movie otherwise, I suppose. "Mynaa, Mynaa" is the current favorite song on non stop loop.

I listened to this particular SPB song many times on FM Radio whenever I was in the car. I had no idea what song it was or which movie it was from. After coming back to Zurich, I was you tubing the songs from Aadukalam and thats when I realized it was the "Ayyayo" song. And what a song! Sigh!

Talking about movies, let me list all the movies I watched on the plane while going and coming back.

Teen Patti (hated the end. Also I had watched 21. So was nt impressed)
Anjaana Anjaani (horrible)
I hate luv stories (was OK)
Udaan (brilliant movie. loved it)
Megamind (absolutely awesome. Must watch)
Thiru thiru thuru thuru (Tamil comedy. Was time pass)
Once upon a time in Mumbai (was good)

Can you believe that I'm now in a stage where I can watch movies on the plane instead of juggling two food trays in one hand while making a kid sleep in my shoulder and at the same time reading a book to another? I never thought I will get here. But I did. Yahooooooo!! Or may be it was because Hd was also flying with us and that there was Dora in the kids channel! Whatever! I am not complaining.

Shopping is such an exhausting experience in Madras. Uff. Especially being the Christmas/New year/Pongal season, there were oceans of people in every shop and theres no way I could take the girls if I wanted any shopping done. We stayed clear of Pondy Bazaar and Panagal Park after this one trip to a Jewellery shop to buy Golusu (silver anklets) for Ashu where Antu tried on a heavy gold necklace and tried to make a run for it!!

And whats with all the anti piracy laws when I see a shop right in the middle of a busy road selling DVDs of every recent movie? I mean he was selling "Tees Maar Khan" and I think it got released like half a day earlier!! I was trying to find some DVDs to teach Tamil alphabets for Ashu and the guy was asking if I wanted "Eesan"! I said no and the guy says "Neenga naalaiku varuveenga, Akka!"* to which I replied, "Naan varradhu irukkattum. neenga iruppeengalaa?"** and he laughs!

*You will come back tomorrow, Madam.
** But will YOU be here?

Hd and I managed to go out for one meal without the kids while in Madras at the new Japanese restaurant called Teppan at the Benjarong. Being vegetarians, we have never tried Japanese food before and if not in Madras then where else? The 9 course meal was just a fantastic experience. The main course was cooked right in front of us and the whole set up has been so thoughtfully designed. Another interesting restaurant we went to is Rasa. I fell in love with the menu when I saw "Thulasi Vadai" and "Nellikkaai Soup!" Yum yum yum yum Delicioso!

It was lovely to meet Itchy and the boys again. I was so jealous seeing Mr.Itchy's paintings on the walls. Immensely talented. The twins and my girls had their proper first playdate and it was a relief when the four of them kept themselves busy leaving Itchy and me to gossip! (I swear we did nt talk about you! ;) We managed to go out for a dinner too along with the whole jing bang family and it was such fun. I think I talked too much though. Did I even let you talk, Itchy?

I'm sure not all women do this. But I have this annoying habit of wearing some old salwar suits I keep in the cupboards in Madras every time I visit. I don't know whats in fashion and whats not and for the past so many years, its the same old faded green salwar kameez and the pale pink churidar kurta I wear, at least for the first few days before I go on a shopping binge. So theres quite a possibility that I might be mistaken for a maid! This one time a shop keeper refused to show me a box of hair clips because they were expensive and out of my range! ("Adhu ellam fifty rupees, madam!") You think I would be hurt? Nah!

You know what hurts me though? The clothing sizes! Whats up with them? I think someone up there seriously hates me. Let me tell you that it takes immense courage to even ask a salesperson to show you XL sized kurtas. And then you go to the trial room and try it and it does nt even fit you! And you are so mad and hate the whole world and come out cursing only to see the salesperson standing outside and asking you, "Shall I pack this, Madam?" Argh! I wish they built trial rooms with emergency exits! If this is nt an emergency...

And this one time I get inside an accessory shop and ask for glass bangles and the guy says "unga size illai, madam!"* I told him, "Kai la dhaanga pottuka poren, neenga kaattunga!"** Bloody hell!

*we don't have them in your size, madam.
** The bangles are for my wrists. So show them!

Madras is growing on me. While I was a staunch Anti-Madras at one point of time, it seems like every Madras trip is making me like the place a wee bit more than the previous time. I told the husband, "I cant wait to hit forty and become a true blue Madras Maami" much to his utter shock!

January 16, 2011

Long Live Grandpas!

I read MM's recent post and could nt stop grinning. Grandpas surely rock and its the same in this household where the girls think their Thatha is the best thing that happened to them after gummy bears! The girls don't even acknowledge my existence when Thatha is around. The only lap both of them fight for is their Thatha's. Ashu who is so restrained when it comes to showing her affection screamed a high pitch shriek and ran to my dad when she heard his voice at the door in Madras. She hugged him and held on to him like a lizard on the wall for five whole minutes! He is the one who tells them stories of his trademark "Singaaram Bingaaram". For hours. On the phone! No wonder Ashu says that he loves her Thatha the most in the whole wide world!

I know I'm being a total copycat but Im sure MM wont mind if I post the below photos. I have to because of the striking similarity. I swear they were nt photo shopped! :)


January 12, 2011

What did Ashu do in India?

Dont ask what a step ladder is doing in the middle of the living room? My wish is my grandpa's command!


In Mahabalipuram. Can you spot me?


In the crocodile park. I read that the crocodiles can jump. Is there one behind me? Tell me NOW.


I did nt succeed. But I did try climbing!



At the swimming pool in the resort we stayed in Cochin. Any chance to climb, I will!



A titanic moment in the house boat.



Feeding the fish from a wooden bridge in the resort at Kumarakom.



Holding onto my dear life! This was my grandma's idea of fun!



Now this is my idea of heaven!



For once, Im jumping in instead of climbing!



Who said an Oonjal cant be used as a jungle gym?


Climbing up to see what a water tank is!



Sitting on a terrace wall and wondering why theres no "maadi" in Zurich!



ps.
I was going through our India trip photos and was surprised that theres a pattern when it came to Ashu's photos. She truly "monkeyed" around a lot. I swear all the photos were taken in a span of 3 weeks and I had no idea that there was a theme going! ;)

January 10, 2011

Another one flies the coop.

Today was Antu's first day at play school. I was in tears in the morning. I felt pathetic for being so upset. God only knows how my mom let us go live in hostels and then let us get married! I dont remember being so upset when Ashu started school because she cried so much and took so much time to settle down that I had no time to think about my feelings. But Antu has been so excited and talking about this school non stop the last one month. "I am going to play school. My friend D is there.", she has repeating this a million times to anyone who would listen. After loads of deliberation, we as usual settled on a English speaking play school because of the comfort factor. And Antu will be starting two days a week to begin with. After dropping Ashu, Hd and I drove with Antu to her new school. We went in and I changed Antus shoes and she walked in. I was talking to the care givers for a few minutes, took a few pics and said bye to Antu. She waved to me and her dad and continued playing in the toy kitchen. I drove home and wondered about the point of my life staring at blank walls! One of the teachers called at 10.15 am to let me know that alls well and Antu is having fun. I cant believe Hd did nt think to hide the kitchen knives today!

So that Antu does nt feel bad, Im doing the same style of update as I did for Ashu.

What was playing in the car?

Antu's favorite "Kangal Irandaal". Hd switched on the music and this song started playing. We reached the school just when the song ended.

What was Antu wearing?

Ashu's old pants and a new full sleeve cream color top her dad bought her from London. Ashu's old sneakers and pink jacket.

What was she most excited about?

That she was going to "school" and that she is going to see D there.

What did she eat?

Milk, toast and quark at home for breakfast.

What was in her snack box?

The school gave her snacks. She said she ate bread and black colour nut!

Where is she schooling? Why this school?

Oooh! My chance to say that she's schooling in Switzerland! :) Its a small and sweet play school which is nearby and recommended by many friends.

How is Antu taking to School?

Like how I take to Jalapeno Poppers! Err.. like duck to water, I meant to say!

The day before first day of school.

It was a Sunday. Antu could nt understand "tomorrow" and insisted she wanted to go to school "now"!

The one thing that was more difficult than picking out the school itself.

Sigh! Dropping Antu and coming back to an empty house.

What I found most disturbing?

I called my mom after coming home and she did nt say "there! there!". Instead lectured me how to use my time when Antu is away! Cruella de Vil would have been more sympathetic, I tell you! hmph! Thankfully, my dad knew exactly how I felt and told me what a big mistake I have made by sending Antu to school. That felt good. :)

I picked up Antu at noon and she happily said bye to everyone, wore her shoes and followed me. This one just exists to break my heart. One tiny piece at a time.

January 06, 2011

Yathaa Sthaanam.

Sanskrit for "in its own place". I love the word. It fits us gypsies perfectly.

So much happened the past 4 weeks and I have duly forgotten what I wanted to write in the chaos of the past 2 days trying to settle into our routine. Its tough when the house is like an igloo and the daily chores beckon.

I remember this one incident which happened in Madras and I ll leave you with that. So we were coming back form Mahabalipuram and Hd wanted to get a cup of coffee and we stopped at the Cafe Coffee Day. We waited in the car while he went in. Ashu who is an avid reader these days read the name.

"Coffee coffee day? Thats funny!"
"Read whats written below, Ashu".
"A lot can happen over coffee?"
"Good Job."
"But what does it mean, Amma? What can happen?"
As always I gave my ready response. "You tell me, Ashu. Take a guess."
"Hmmm... The coffee can spill. Or the cup can break."
"ha ha ha"
"Am I right?"
"Absolutely!"