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August 30, 2007


I ll be off the Internet from tomorrow. See you all, 3 weeks from now. Already I have truck loads of blog posts to catch up. At this rate, I think I ll be glued to my laptop for weeks after I reach Zurich.

Mad Momma - Please restrict yourself and do not post more than once a day! ;)

Poppins - Have a great time in Europe!

Tharini - Please don't change your beautiful headers before I get a chance to see it! :)

UTBT - Good luck with the Potty Training. May the force be with you.

Moppet - Mail me how Moppet settled down after the India trip. I would badly need some advice after reaching Zurich!

Art, Itchy, Kowsalya and other Madrasis - Hoping to chance upon you folks in Madras if I ever get out of the house!

Kiran aka Party girl - Go rock and tell us more!

Kodis Mom - Since no one has, I bid for the Monster. Provided you take Ashu. We do have more patience when it comes to other peoples children, don't we? ;)

Gauri - A little belated Onam wishes. And counting on you for more craft projects.

Ceekay, Noon and Rbdans - Hows it going the 2nd time around? Cant wait to catch up with your posts and find out.

Collection of Stars - Good luck with the beautiful beginning of terrible twos, threes, fours, fives,... and welcome to the club!

Just like that - Onam wishes to you!

SM - You moved without telling? WHERE? Please mail me. *Nobody tells me anything these days. sulk*

Dotmom & Mnamma - I'm hooked to your blogs. I cant wait to catch up with all your posts.

Orchid - Hope alls well and we get to read you soon.

Something to Say - So any luck on the Veggies? I ll even pay you for a surefire tip!

Rohini - I'm sure you would have written just one post, if at all, when I check your blog again. And no, that's no good! Write more!

Premalatha - I cant wait to know either! You would mail me, would nt you?

And all you Mommies - Will miss you and hope to hog your comment boxes soon. (If I have left out some mommies, it is nt intentional. I just could nt come up with a clever one liner, that's all!)

And all my favorite bloggers - Will miss you all too and please email me if theres a dirty debate going on. Would nt want to miss it for the world! (Any reason to get out of the house and find a browsing center!)

Sorry folks for not linking. Crunch time as I have still not finished packing. Check out for the links, if you want them.

Today is Boo's 2nd Birthday. Sorry Boo, no time to throw you a party. But you have been the best thing that has happened to me since Ashu and is nt that saying something? And all you readers give me the energy I need to write. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

August 28, 2007

Update on Ashu at 28 Months.

I don't know if its the age or being in India, but Ashu is a different child these days. I would nt know where to begin to describe her. She seems so grown up at times.

She talks. A lot. She uses sentences like Poonai Ottamaa Odi pochu (The cat ran as if in a race), Paati kindal pandraa(Grandma is pulling my leg), Thatha engayo poita (Thatha has gone somewhere), Biscuit mattum porum (I want only biscuit), Enakku onnum vendaam (I dont want anything)... Its a sweet shock every time she says something new and I make her say it again and again until she gets tired of it. I literally rolled on the floor laughing when she said Paati kindal pandraa. It was totally unexpected.

She is just like the annoying son of my friend who would say, "Amma lets go home", whenever they visited my house. As soon as Ashu scans the hosts house and finds no one of her height, she starts telling "Amma lets go home" and goes to wear her shoes. I am seriously thinking of buying a new book or a new toy before we visit someones house to keep her occupied. Anything to avoid the embarrassment.

She of course is fully potty trained except for the nights when she uses the diaper. She takes off her pant by herself, goes to the toilet and sits on the potty seat and does the job. She even volunteered to clean the potty seat, but I declined.

She has become so adamant and so stubborn that Im really hoping that its only a temporary thing thanks to my dad and she ll be okay once we go back to Zurich. If not, Im planning to send her right back to India on a plane. Alone.

Everything is a struggle these days. As soon as I say "Ashu come here", she ll run to the farthest corner away from me and stare at me from there as if daring me to come and get her. I stare right back at her and its all a downhill from there. Loads of tears, lots of shouting,... all for a simple "come here". So imagine the bathing, dressing, eating, drinking and the other dozen things.

Shes unpredictable with kids. She loves their company but when it comes to sharing the toys, she shares with some and fights with others. Hugs some and pushes others. Snatches things from some and gives away to others. Very confusing.

"Sorry" used to be dime a dozen. Now she rations it. If she hits me or others and I ask her to apologize, she stares at me and zips her mouth. 9 out of ten times, she wins!

Yes, my baby girl who I was very proud that shes non violent has started hitting. I don't know if its the school she picked it from or just another milestone, but she is hitting. Unnecessarily, that too. I have pleaded with her, begged her, scolded her, shouted at her, gave her time outs, hit her right back, advised her, blackmailed her, bribed her,... but nothing seems to work. Its not frequent but its there. Enough to bother me.

She goes from this high energy, laughing and playing kid to a crying mess in less than two seconds when shes sleepy. One minute shes playing peekaboo with me and the next, shes crying her lungs out. I don't even have the time to change her into her pyjamas. She cries as if someone tried to strangle her. This is one thing I don't understand at all about her. WHY?

She has clearly started voicing her needs. And no one in the world can changer her mind. If she wants me to accompany her to the terrace, she wont stop nagging until I go with her. I have no choice. If my dad takes her to the bathroom, then only he should help her wear her pants. Not I. If my mom fed her lunch, then only she should clean her mouth. Not I. She will wear her shoes herself. She will pluck flowers from the garden herself, she will close the door herself,... She has clear ideas of whom should do what. And she ll throw a fit otherwise.

She wont talk or sing rhymes or even say her name to strangers. Most of the times, the strangers just happen to be my uncle, aunt, cousins and friends. They already know her name anyway and just have to take my word for it when I say that she knows her ABC's and can sing "Twinkle, twinkle little star".

For the past 16 months, her diet has been almost the same. She has not added anything new. Im not bothered anymore. One can only try so much. But thanks to this trip, at least my dad now knows what a stubborn kid she is when it comes to food. I don't have to hear him lecture me on the phone on what to give her anymore. I hope!

Sometimes, she says things like "I don't want you", "go away", "I don't like you" and breaks my heart. She did nt go to my dad or talk to him for a while when he came back after a 5 day trip. My dad felt horrible. Forget the teens, Im more scared of her turning three!

She would nt walk two steps. She ll say "Thookiko" (Pick me up) after walking for 2 seconds. I hated walking and whined "Thookiko" until I was 5 or 6 years old, I think. So no use complaining. Fate has a cruel sense of humor.

Last night while taking to Hd on the phone and narrating Ashus antics, he told me that Im complaining a lot about Ashu these days and I have nt told him one good thing about her since I left Zurich. I hope you did nt read this post, dear!

August 27, 2007

The Amazing Chola Temple.

Today I went to the 12th century Airavateswarar temple in Darasuram built by the Cholas. Just a few miles away from home. Since it has been declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, work is progressing to renovate the temple and since so much money is flowing in, it is being maintained superbly. But the temple itself is just amazing. No words can describe its beauty. The sculptures are out of this world. I visited the place twice within 2 weeks and I was just speechless both the times. The amount of details that has gone into it, the amount of work and labor, oh my God! And to think that even with so much technically advanced world, we have problems to move a rock from one place to the other and here 3000 years before, this temple has been built as if someone just flicked their finger and by magic, it appeared. Every nook and corner has been sculpted. Theres not a plain surface. The pillars are carved, the steps are carved, the gopuram is amazing, the windows have intricate designs, ... Theres the mythical animal Yaazhi, elephants, bulls, horses, snakes, folk dances, yoga postures, radha krishna, ganesha, muruga, ... There was this carving of lord Ganesha in one of the pillars. The ganesha was only an inch tall but the details were just amazing. Then there is this big statue of Goddess Annapurni with a vessel in her hand. If you flick on the vessel, you get a different sound even though the statue is made of one stone. Then theres Saraswati with a wisdom eye in her forehead, theres a huge Nandi, ... I was spell bound. A sculptor would have spent his entire life time just on one pillar, I guess. Awe inspiring, really.

I could nt help but remember this chocolate shop in Zurich which was opening shortly and for 6 months I saw the men with drills carving the shops name on stone at the entrance. And they had just about got the shape of S on it. And then to see such a temple built 3000 years ago with just uli and suthiyal (chisel and hammer), its unbelievable. And to think that I spent thousands of Euros seeing the roofs of Sistine Chapel and the statue of David and went gaga over them but never had the inclination to visit this landmark temple in my own backyard. I am glad I did it now. I am super glad.

My home town is a temple town. The name itself means that you will see a Temple tower from any angle of the town because of the number of temples crammed in this small town. If you have the habit of touching both your cheeks when you cross a temple like I do, then your hand will be permanently on your cheeks if you are in this town!

This is the famous Kumbeswarar temple where Ashu gave a banana to the temple elephant and took blessing from the elephant bravely while I stood a good 5 feet away!

This is the Sarangapani temple, the tallest in town.

And these are some of the Darasuram photos.

The rest are here. Check them out.

August 22, 2007

Terror Thatha.

I have seen my share of grand parents. But no one can come close to my father in the annoyance scale. Oh.My.God. I cant even begin to tell you what I have to put up with, day in and day out. I'm either going to leave Ashu here and escape. Or take Ashu and run away and never ever come back. He always, always keeps an eye on her so I cant even talk to him two sentences straight. He either interrupts to tell something to Ashu or gets up and runs to rescue her from I don't know may be a piece of paper which might fall on her head and hurt her badly. He sleeps when she sleeps. So no time to talk then. He always has her in his mind. Did she drink milk, did she eat, is she sick, is she better,... You begin to tell him some incident and he ll interrupt with a dozen Q's that you will scream your head off and leave the room.

"So dad, today Ashu climbed the stairs and..."

"Did nt u go with her? Why did you let her climb the stairs on her own?"

"Listen dad. when she went up, she saw the rain and..."

"Did she get wet? Why would you let her get drenched in the rain?"

"No dad. Listen please."

"Was the terrace door locked? Did she go out? Did she slip and fall? What was your mother doing?"

*screaming my head off and leaving the room*

If Ashu hits me, he checks her hand for injury.

When she throws a tantrum, he does whatever she wants.

He ALWAYS picks her up when she wants him to and always carries her everywhere. I have never seen them walk together even two steps.

He sits if she orders him to and stands when she asks him to.

He expects all of us to do the same.

This one time he was holding a piece of plastic paper between his lips for I don't know how long because she asked him to and screamed whenever he removed it.

When I am channel surfing and Ashu turns her head to the voice of some kid talking in a commercial and I do the grave mistake of changing the channel, I get a lecture from him about how Ashu will never be the same again because of this negligence.

He calls me a sadist if I give her time out.

He walks out of the room and sometimes even the house when I am scolding her.

According to him, we should nt let her do anything she does nt want to.

He clears all the toys that Ashu has scattered as soon as she leaves the scene because he does nt like me making her clean up.

He complaints that she eats little but also wants me to stop feeding her when she says enough.

Ashu has been drinking milk straight out of a cup instead of a sippy cup since coming here. But he gives her the sippy cup whenever my mom and I are nt looking.

Hes disappointed in me as a mother.

He wants me to be patience incarnated even when shes at her atrocious worst.

I should never complain about her.

If she is good, its because she is born that way. If she is bad (according to me) then its because of me.

When I think enough is enough and call him a hypocrite, he says "
I did stupid things. But you don't have to do the same". Its hard to control myself from strangling him after such statements.

He always sees only the good side of her. Even if she throws a dagger at his heart, I guess he ll compliment her on her perfect aim before taking his last breath. (I would nt be the first to rush him to the hospital anyway!)

August 20, 2007

Train travails.

We were on an overnight train journey recently. My mom, Ashu and I. When Ashu was little, we only traveled in 2 tier AC compartment as it was comfortable to sit with Ashu in my shoulder, if she woke up in the middle of the night, without the middle berth. In the 3 tier AC, I have to crouch and sit and also the berths were nt as wide as the 2 tier AC. But this time, since shes older and mostly sleeps though the night and more importantly since my dad has retired recently, we traveled by 3 tier to save money! Its funny to observe the people around. This family of a husband and wife and 2 teenage daughters were sitting near us and as soon as they sat, the mother asked her husband loudly ""why did nt you book in 2 tier?" making sure everyone heard her. As if she had no idea until she sat on her seat! Yeah right! Then to make sure everyone knows she has traveled in 2 tier, she goes on to describe how 2 tier compartments have curtains, reading light etc... Her husband did nt utter a word. Then she said, "2 tier la waiting list aa?" as if to find an excuse. Whatever makes you happy lady! And after all this, she slept in the lower side berth. If I hate one thing on trains, its the side berth. Especially on a 2 tier AC. Criminal waste of money and its a torture to sleep there with a child.

This train trip to and fro was interesting to say the least. Ashu successfully for the first time in her life used a Southern Railways train bathroom!! If this is nt a milestone for an Indian child! Especially because she was wearing a diaper but insisted on using the bathroom. Who am I to stop this beautiful beginning, albeit the stench? On the return journey, there were lot of kids and Ashu was having fun saying Hi and asking "whats your name" to all the kids and their mommies! But she would nt say her name when someone asks. The Aunty who sat near us asked Ashu what her name was for 2 hours but she would nt budge. She would tell her dolls name but not hers. The little devil! Anyway, she went to the adjacent seat and was looking at a baby there. I was standing near her. The couple gave her some chips and she was force feeding them to the baby instead and I was asking her to stop. There was man in his late 30s sitting in the opposite seat and gestured Ashu to come near him. But she shook her head. He gestured again and she shook her head again. Then when she was feeding the child the chips, he started to tickle and pinch her in her waist and she wiggled and moved away. Though I wanted to take this harmlessly, I disliked the guy immediately. So I sat in a vacant seat near Ashu instead of going back to my seat. The guy tickled and pinched her a few more times and Ashu said "NO" in a loud voice and moved away from his reach. I asked her to thank the Aunty and leave. When she turned, the guy clicked a photo of her in his mobile phone. Ashu blinked at the flash and ran away to my mom to our seat. I was seeing red. I told him ""You should ask me before taking a picture". He immediately said, "No, no! Its only flash". I glared at him, muttered "yeah right", thanked the couple and left. I told my mom what happened and called him all possible names. The instant lie bothered me more than the act of taking the photo. I mean, my dad has a very similar reliance handset too and it makes a loud "klang" sound and a bright flash while taking a photo. And you cant just use the flash in it. The porukki rascals instant lie made me so mad. Since it was only my mom and I, I did nt want to pick a fight with him. Even then, I could nt sleep peacefully the entire night and at 3 am when Ashu got up and lied on my tummy, she said "Oh Nein! Uncle peekaboo pannaraa" and I saw the guys head disappearing. Gave me the creeps! It used to bother me that Ashu does nt go anywhere on her own and wants me to accompany her whether its a plane or a train or a restaurant. She would nt just wander away to explore. Even when I ask her to go to the next seat and say Hi to a child, she ll ask me to accompany her. Now I'm thankful that she is shy. The fear of the unknown is scary as hell.

Edited to add:
Thanks everyone for the understanding and concerned comments. Makes me feel better now after sharing this incident. Like a coward, I always give people the benefit of doubt and even now I'm not sure if the guy was a pervert or not. May be the entire thing was harmless and I am reading too much into it. Its better to be careful so I would stay away from creeps but I need proof before taking a violent action. Hence the passive reaction from my part. If he had even remotely crossed the line, alone or not, I would have shown him what would happen if he messes with me or my daughter.

Also, Ashu is not very much used to the touchy feely thing and she does nt even like family members hugging or kissing her when she is not in the mood. Ever since we came here, she has been swatting peoples hands whenever they came to touch her cheeks. I told her not to push people away but to say "please don't" when she does nt want people to touch her. So she has been saying NO to my grandma, aunt, uncle and cousin whenever they tried to touch or kiss her. Hence the NO to the guy in the train as well. I never thought she would face such circumstances so early in her life.

August 15, 2007

Days without internet.

The Internet connection went kaput and its driving me crazy for the past 10 days. I was pretending that it was ok and I can live without blogging for a while but I was shaking inside and felt as if my head would explode if I did nt catch up with the mommy blog world! My dad of course thinks I am insane and I suspect he willingly disconnected the Internet to save some money for his retirement fund. Hd and my sis calling everyday and asking if the Internet is back did nt help much either. So what was I doing?

I got up at 9 am and switched on the TV. Mom would give me a cup of tea and I would channel surf sipping the hot ginger tea. Then would take a shower reluctantly and since my grandma eats a proper meal at 10 am, I would give her company and eat rice with sambar, rasam, butter milk with 2 kinds of vegetables, Appalam, Vadaam, 3 kinds of pickles, etc... while chatting with my grandma, swapping stories about how our knees are hurting, how tired we get often, how difficult it is to raise children, etc.. She is 94 and went through 12 child births. Then more TV while I sit on the Oonjal and slowly drift off to a semi conscious state, thanks to all the food. Sun Musics occasional good songs like "Uppu kallu thanneerukku ekka pattadhu"(Karuppusamy Kuthagaitharar) makes me open my eyes. Then I complain Im bored till I drive my parents crazy. Hd calls up and I complain how theres no Internet, nothing on TV, no books and how Ashu is nagging me for Dora while my dads stupid DVD player would nt play the multi region DVD. Then it would be tea time again with home made murukku, then kuzhal, ... and probably a game of Pallankuzhi with my Grandma, if Ashu lets us. My mom also makes Onion Oothappam or bajji, pakoda to appease my boredom hoping I would shut up if my stomach is full. Then some more TV, watching young children sing and the old morons criticize them harshly. Some name calling later, its back to Sun Music and its loosu VJs and the occasional good songs, "Vizhiyil, un vizhiyil"...(Kireedam)

None of the Tamil channels would telecast any of the Sivaji songs fully much to my disappointment. Usually the Tamil channels show the trailer of the movie with bits of songs, scenes etc... before the movie is released. Then on the day it is released, they show full songs, comedy scenes, action scenes, etc... Then the day they review the movie, they show most of the good scenes in the movie. A week later, you would have seen almost the entire movie and 6 months later, you would see the whole movie on some channel on Diwali or Pongal, "mudhal muraiyaaga"! But not in the case of Sivaji. I so wanted to see the songs and my nagging was an all time high that my dad whose last visit to the theater was when "Manaalane mangaiyin bhagyam" was released, took me to the movie. He was squirming on his seat the entire movie while I enjoyed the songs. Now next month I have to squirm in my seat while Hd watches the songs. An okay movie since I went with very low expectation. Rajini sure rocks! "Avaluku vandha vaazhva paaren" - my moms comment on Shreya.

A bottle of Bovonto in the evening in the garden terrace while mom feeds Ashu looking at the parrots, sparrows, crows and eagles flying in the sky. Later, the children from the neighborhood come home and entertain Ashu. More TV later, its dinner time with Idlies, Dosas or Chapathis. Then phone calls with Hd and my sis, complaining about my dad and how he does nt care about me, how Ashu has become a total brat, how my mom gets on my nerves,... Then of course, TV until midnight. Unakkul Naane...

August 05, 2007

Half way through...

I so wanted to potty train Ashu when she was 21 months old before we left for Zurich. That did nt happen of course. Then I began some half hearted attempts in Zurich but they got us nowhere. Then the trip to the US happened and she started school, so I did nt want to burden her with one more thing. Ok ok, I did nt want to be burdened. I have heard from friends that its easy peesy to potty train kids in India but somehow did nt quite believe it. I mean what magic is there in India? Its the same effort everywhere and if the kid is ready, then its easier anywhere, right? Wrong! Because my stubborn kid is trained already. In flat 5 days. I don't even know how that happened but I said no more diapers and asked her to tell me if she wanted to use the bathroom and she did. There were only a few susu accidents at first and also she did nt want to do potty in the toilet. She asked me for a diaper when she wanted to do the big job. I thought its going to be tough to break her. But a lot of encouragement and compliments did the work and voila! Its bye bye diapers during the day. I'm still making her wear in the night, got to figure out how to train her for the night. Shes such a sleepy head that waking her up in the middle of the night and taking her to the bathroom is out of the question for now. Baby steps Boo, baby steps! :)

So here are the reasons it has been easy to train her here:

She is 28 months old and ready.

She is able to wait at least for a minute to use the toilet. She has bladder control. High time, anyway!

The bathrooms here are so convenient compared to the dry bathrooms abroad with a drain only in the tub. The "squat anywhere you want" type of bathrooms here are the best!

With this warm weather, she can take a shower after every bathroom break if she wants and I don't have to worry about her getting a cold. Also she can roam around in minimal clothing.

My mom and the maid, obviously! I would nt have the strength to do this if not for them.

The peer pressure. I don't know a 2 year old in India who is not potty trained. Ashu is a black sheep among them!

I ll be here at least for 3 more weeks and hopefully there would nt be any huge change for Ashu, so she can have a routine.

So there. The day I thought would never come before her 3rd birthday has come. My daughter is potty trained. (by day!) Do yo know how bad it is for the environment to use disposable diapers? ;)

August 03, 2007

Aadi Perukku, Sapparam, River Cauvery and fear.

Ashu pulling the Sappara Thatti (Sapparam) today on the occasion of Aadi Perukku. I remember buying the plain wooden Sapparam from the street vendors and decorating it with color paper, garlands and pictures of Gods and Goddesses and pulling it on the roads proudly in this same road when I was young. It does feel good to be back home, just the four of us, Ashu and my paternal grandma. I feel as if I am a child again and afraid that any minute now, my dad will ask me to get ready for school! *shudder* Thankfully Ashu reminds me that I'm the all powerful one now! Shes talking nineteen to the dozen and our heads are spinning listening to her. If my dad has any dreams of having a peaceful retired life without anyone bossing him around, hes sadly mistaken. The little Missy is making him jump through hoops and he is being a willing partner. She takes him to one of the rooms and asks me to get out and bangs the door on my face. Waves bye to me happily if I threaten her that I'm going to go back to Zurich. Few times a day, she switches allegiance and sticks to my sister. Sis is leaving tomorrow and I'm sure Ashu is going to miss her a lot. She also remembers the 2 boys and a girl from our neighborhood who used to play with her 8 months back and is having fun with them. For the first time, I let her go alone with the boys to their house. The older boy who is 9, carried her around and was baby sitting her in his terrace while I stood on our terrace and sneak peeked. OK, I did nt let her go fully but its a start! :) I find it so heart warming to see the children here completely unsupervised, running around and going to friends houses and having a wonderful time. So trusting, so innocent and so ignorant of the bad world out there! I am not sure if I can let go Ashu as easily as these parents have. But its so good to be in such an environment at least for a while. I pray to River Cauvery on this auspicious day to wash away all our fears and grant a safe world for all the children. Now let me go and gorge on the masal vadai, puliyodarai, coconut rice, curd rice and crisp vadaams! So long! ;)

August 01, 2007

We are like this only.

I don't know how it all started. May be my moms enthusiasm for life or my dads passion with life but we have always looked forward to each day with utmost pleasure and wondering how we can make someones life happier by doing something. It might be just some silly thing like writing a note or helping with sisters home work or folding the laundry but everything will have a surprise element to it. When I was a teenager, I would nt fold the laundry or help my mom around the house even if she begged me to. But the minute she went out to do some shopping or to visit a temple, I ll start planning on how to surprise her when she came back. I remember when I was 13, I wanted some drawings for my chemistry record book and my sister would nt help me. I cried the whole evening and went to school the next day without taking the book with me. I was planning to tell the teacher I had forgotten the book to get an extra day to do the dirty work. Then during lunch time, my sister comes to my school in a cycle on a hot day and gives me the book with neat drawings. It was always the surprises which made our lives so special and so extraordinary. My mom would cook a storm without telling us, my dad would buy a puppy and surprise us. I would get first rank in some exam but would give the report card with a sad face to my parents to see the look on their faces when they saw number 1 written on it. There was a never a dull moment in our lives.

Off to college and at the drop of a hat I would leave the hostel and take a bus to go home which was five hours away. Since we were living in office quarters, I would go to Dads office first to surprise him, Then call mom from his office and tell her that I'm going to leave the hostel and will be home by evening. After a minute, I ll be knocking the door and she ll say "Enna dee idhu"(What is this?) when she seesme. Numerous occasions like these but it never got boring. We four always tried to do better than the other when it came to surprising. Fast forward to 3 years back when I was in Swiss and my sister came to India from the US to attend her sister in laws wedding. My parents and she were going to have so much fun and this would be the first time they would be together without me. I was fuming inside but whoever thinks of spending a fortune on a flight ticket to attend sister's sis in law's wedding? People don't even attend their own sis in law's wedding these days! Then Hd asked me "why don't u go". I wanted to but felt it was nt right. But he insisted and when the surprise element was thrown in, the old me could nt resist. I say old me because my marriage had killed my surprise instinct thanks to my in laws who associate surprises to lying! A year after our marriage, they visited London and we went to pick them up at the airport. I told Hd to hide and I went to them and told Hd could nt make it as he had a meeting and welcomed them. Then Hd came from behind and surprised them when immediately my mil told him "She lied to us, da. She told us you have not come". My face well and that was the end of old me when it came to my in laws. Thankfully, Hd caught the infection and we lived happily ever after surprising the hell out of each other every birthday, anniversary or any other occasion. Anyhow, I booked my tickets to Chennai. Yes, to attend my sister's sis in law's wedding. I had to tell my dad as he had to pick me up from the airport. My in laws were traveling that day so they could nt. So I landed on a Saturday midnight and my dad and I stayed in a hotel. Next day, we went to my sister's In law's house and when my sister saw me, she was speechless for a whole minute and that's saying something as no one in this whole wide world has seen my sister speechless even for a second right form the moment she was born! :) Thankfully, my mom was in another room. I went and stood near her. But she totally did nt see me but was looking at my dad who had just entered. Then I said "Mom?" and she turned and saw me and she was so shocked that I was afraid she was having a heart attack. Conveniently, my BIL was not in the scene so I got to surprise him as well but he was nt blown over. He said he was confident that I would never leave my sister alone with my parents! Wise man, he is! Then of course since I had paid so much for the ticket, I went on to surprise my cousin, my aunt, my uncle, tom, dick and harry as well and was talk of the town for a while. Got a gorgeous Silk Saree from my sisters MIL as well for the wedding, So I would say it was Paisa Vasool! ;)

Then of course this time. I have never surprised my dad big time. And decided to do it this time to honor his retirement. I roped in my sister as well and the stage was set. She decided to surprise her In laws as well since by now you might have guessed what a loony bin family we are! As my In laws are nt the type, I pulled them in for the execution stage. I needed someone for transportation as well, you see! :) So after hazaar phone calls, chat and mails later we booked our tickets and could nt wait for the big day. And it all happened way much better than we had anticipated. After the surprise number one with sister's In laws who were totally blown over, we moved on to Scene 2. My dad was in the entrance of our house talking to his brother and my mom was at the back of the house talking to her cousin. My sister hid in the car while Ashu and I got down. My uncle(Dads younger brother and my favorite uncle!) and dad were shell shocked seeing me get down with Ashu at 8 o clock in the night. My dad took Ashu from me and literally ran home to surprise my mom. That's how our minds work - how to surprise the next person in the relay race! Anyway, my sneaky uncle who was sure I would nt have traveled alone, went to the car and took a look inside expecting my FIL or Hd when my sister popped out. From Switzerland he could take! But from the US! And the both of us!! He went ballistic! We shushed him and ran home when our clueless mom was walking back from her cousins place and saw us. At first, she was nt sure if it was really us. But then, a mother knows her brood does nt she? She let out a scream when we shushed her and ran up the stairs as my dad still does nt know that my sis has come. Poor dad was looking for my mom at home when we all went up and he was showing Ashu to mom and exclaiming when my sis went behind him and closed his eyes. The indecipherable scream from my dad when he saw her was just priceless. My mom was still in shock and for 2 minutes, she did nt even remember the existence of Ashu who was sitting on the Oonjal(wooden swing) and laughing out loud seeing the drama unfolding around her. My uncle, aunt, my moms cousin, my grand mother and dads office assistant joined in and the cacophony lasted for an hour. My mom just could nt sleep the entire night.

On the 31st, there was this gala party with a huge crowd and all everyone could talk was how Mr.V's two daughters surprised him on his retirement day and what a lucky man he is to have such a wonderful family and also had such a successful career. Tears flowed everywhere when they said their good byes to dad. We of course could nt stop smiling at the feat we pulled much to their surprise! As you would have known by now, this family is full of surprises, folks! What to do, we are like this only.
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