Skip to main content


Showing posts from July, 2008


I ask Ash, as I towel him dry after a bath at night, what he will get me when he gets a job.A dress. He tells me.What else? I persist.Jetty (panty). He offers.I contain my laughter and ask again.School uniform and shoes. He promises.That is all that exists in his little world.***
We promise him a bicycle on his next birthday, provided he grows taller.And as I take him out on a walk yesterday evening, he tells me: "Amma, I have become tall now. Please get me my cycle."He never forgets a promise. And persists until he gets it.

The lil terror

I met Ashwin's teacher yesterday at school, after kindergarten school hours. I wanted to know about his progress after a week in school and also because he had told me that the teacher had tied both his hands with a rubber band. I knew he was upto mischief and that I better find out if it was anything major.
I watched, along with many other parents waiting outside the gate, kids from each upper KG class came out in a line, with their class teachers and ayahs in tow, marching towards the side gate. I went in slowly once the gates were open since I didnt want Ash to see me as I had to go to work once the meeting was over. Van drivers and ayahs were busy collecting their wards, and mine had left too when I reached LKG - C. The teacher told me apologetically that he had left. I told her I had come to see her.
She told me he is very restless and mischievous, so she makes him sit on a seat next to her table. Otherwise he is fine. He is getting his 4s and colouring right, and does them ent…

The pugnacious commuter

Monday to Friday are peaceful times, as far as the mornings are concerned. I mean, once the kids leave for school. The maid gets busy with her chores and I try to set the house and the cupboards and drawers in order, one at a time. But by the time I am through with making the bed and a couple of other housekeeping chores, it is time to have breakfast and get ready. If I log on to the net, I am done for. One site leads to another and there is no way I will get up until the powercut at 11 am. (Yes, that is something new for Chennai as far as I know, a one-hour power cut in the city limits and 2 hours in the suburbs.) I quickly glance at one of the newspapers before heading out with a song on my lips.
But not so the Saturdays or any days the kids are at home and we have to go to work. By the time I manage to flee to the bus stop - after mediating fights, promising chocolates, managing kiddie baths, barking instructions to the maid etc.etc. - my head is numb. I need at least the half hour…

Mira's day out

Once Ash leaves in the morning, it is Mira's turn to get ready. She
likes to have her breakfast in the balcony looking at the crows and
And on holidays, she likes to scrub the clothes before washing, the
way the maid does. And in the evenings, she need to "go tata".


The boy tells me histrionically the moment I reach home that he has a bad headache. "Where did you bump your head today?" I ask worried. "Nowhere. Vaava is talking so loud that I am getting a headache. I am going off to Ammachi's house if she continues so." "I have seen Appacha's shame!" he confides to me. As for his shame, he calls it the sotthu (property), a word he has inherited from his older cousin brothers. And he calls his bum chumbi. And when I apply his eye and nose drops at night, he tells me laughing: "Drops for my eyes, drops for my nose, drops for my sotthu and drops for my chumbi." He complains that the kids in school are not sharing their "Happy Birthday cakes" with him. And that the Miss did not give him chocolate. Unlike him who takes Arrowroot biscuits for his late morning snack, the other kids bring cakes and chocolates and cocoa biscuits. I try to make him understand that he can have cakes and candies when his …

The dragonfly and the pebble

I got the first love note from Ashwin's class teacher yesterday. Her name is Jothi, not "Faisala miss" as Ash made me believe in recent days.
"Dear madam, Please make him practise colouring at home. He does not do it in school. Also make him write the number 4 (standing line, sleeping line and cut)...."
That made me, upon reaching home in the night, sip tea and draw half a dozen shapes and pictures (octopus, dolphin and starfish from his new kiddie bedsheet). He however seemed lazy to do it on his own and insisted that I hold his right hand and guide him; my will prevails and he does it on his own reluctantly with a lot of white space in the circles and squares. Ditto about the number 4. He began crying and made me wonder if I have a child with dyslexia in hand (Taare Zamin Par has gone into my head).
I worry too much, says a friend. It could also be the fact that last year I had guided his hands through all his home work (a page each of numbers 1-20 and alphabets…

Occupational hazards

Calamities in the first week of school: Ash returns home with some other kid's schoolbag, unlabelled unlike his, and minus any tell-tale books or school diary and plus a snack box filled with chocolate chipped Hide&Seek biscuits. He comes home, opens the snack box and starts eating the forbidden fruit (cocoa-based snack).
A brand-new brief is missing. He tells me "the Miss" took it, after he attended nature's call. (The Miss is his class teacher. "What is her name?" I ask him. He replies: "Teacher." What is your teacher's name?" He says, "Miss".)
Mira comes home with a spare panty in a polythene cover that belongs to some other, bigger built girl.
V burns a hole in the pocket of Ash's uniform shirt while superceding me in the ironing business.
But on the whole, we like this new calm after the storm. The storm rages from 7 to 8 am when we get two reluctant kids out of bed, into the bath and on to the meal table. A van picks …

Spiritual awakening

As mothers are wont to do, let me also brag about my kids' achievements :) Be warned, these are the spiritual ones.
Ash can recite Psalm 23 in Malayalam - something his grandparents taught him. Grandparents are incredible - we never managed to teach him anything so far! And I dont think I byhearted "The Lord is my Shepherd..." until I was seven or eight and old enough to read the Bible's tough Malayalam on my own ( And I couldnt understand the 2nd line "Enikku muttundakayilla = I shall not want" in Malayalam. Muttu in simple Malayalam means knees and I didnt know why I wouldnt need my knee for the Lord's sake.)He tops it with "The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit" in Malayalam and makes a sign of the cross thrice.He refuses to go to sleep until he says it at night. And he insists on having the Bible open in front of him - as if he can read.Mira's impromptu prayers include "Please cure Achacha's itching" and "Please tak…

Search obscenities

This blog has also fallen prey to the sari below navel bug. Strange are the search items that draw people to a blog. While I can vouch that most the search words that make people stray to my blog are mundane ones, such as the Kerala chicken stew or those related to certain schools in Chennai that get mention here or the various ointments that Ash uses, this one today amused me. Someone in Bangladesh looking for a "mother sari below navel"! The worst my blog had been subjected to before this was "girls bathing in veegaland". I cant recollect any other.
I regret to say I cannot offer any picture or info on the above two.
A few other search queries I'd like to answer:
Lady Andal montessori school timings: Should be from 8.30 to 12 as is the case with most primary schools in Chennai. We start early in the day to beat the office traffic. The school traffic is daunting enough.
LKG admission in PSBB: start calling up/visiting the school office in October for the next acad…

Women's Only

If any of you ever come down to Changanacerry in Kerala's Kottayam district, dont forget to visit Orchids, a boutique run by Tessy Auseph. Her shop, reminiscent of Fabindia decor, stores designer saris, salwar/dress materials and curios - each item is carefully handpicked by Mrs. Tessy herself from "the most appealing sales outlets in the country". The prices might seem a bit high to some of us. But as my mil (in a Tessy Auseph creation below) and her tenant assure, the saris are head-turners when you actually wear them.

The shop is in the same premises as her old-style house, which seems equally tastefully done. It is at Vattapally on Market Road. She can be reached at 0481 2420564 for any trade enquiries.
I particularly liked the block-printed Kerala saris she had in stock. As for Mrs. Tessy, she is a polite and patient shopowner - a trait that comes in handy when dealing with finicky women customers who will ransack the whole shop before selecting one sari.
When she hear…

The big day

IT was Ashwin's first day at the new big school he is supposed to study the next 14 years. So I jumped out of bed at 6.15 am in spite of the fact that I had gone to bed at 12.45 a.m. because I had to cover his books with the wrapping paper and labels the school provided (despite the fact that the book pile had reached us a month ago); label his lunch box, water bottle and school bag; search for 2 passport size photographs of his and prepare a leave application because Ash had taken an extended leave on July 10 and 11 because he was down with a cold.
Yes, me and V are masters at last-minute jobs - such as searching for a pair of black shoes and black socks at a couple of Bata showrooms late yesterday evening, only to be told that the former was out of stock and we wouldnt run the luck of finding them in any Bata showroom. Guess all the early birds got their shoes well before the schools opened especially as Bata was offering a sipper free with every pair of shoes. I finally found a …

Kalamkari fad

An early morning ride on the kalamkari route.... The new carpet I picked up at Rasi Silks' Aadi sale along with two kalamkari bedsheets. All these years, I had resisted the urge to buy a carpet in this dusty city. And with a kid who is allergic to dust and dust mites. As for the kid, he spots the carpet under the teapoy first thing in the morning, removes the offending centre table and prepares for his red carpet welcome. He drags it all around the house, so I have no option but to keep it away. Back to carpetless days.Mira, in Ash's old shirt, rests/poses on the new carpet. Surprisingly, my inlaws who dont much care for cottons or ethnic fabric, fell for it and bought a carpet and bedsheet each. As for V, I have made him a cotton fabric fan. Coming from rainy Kerala where the average citizen swears by synthetic wear which are easy to wash and dry, he initially viewed my choice of clothes with disdain.Kalamkari clothing, bedsheets, carpets etc. have been in vogue in Chennai fo…

Queen of Spades

Before I proceed with my ramblings, let me thank each one of you who has called up, emailed, blog-commented on Ash's health and welfare. It feels great to know I have an extended family and friends' circle in blogland and cyberworld. Blogging definitely is a fun way for mothers to connect. Thank you all, Ash looks fine now. We are waiting for another blood lead test result to come on Friday - to see if his lead levels are going down, in which case he wont need medication.
Mira is getting used to her new school. V tells me he finds her sitting quietly on a chair watching the other kids cry. But then, she is a veteran at playschool having started school at one-and-a-half, because her mother couldnt afford to sit at home to take care of her.
She gets wholesome food too. V checked the menu yesterday. She apparently had kesari, biscuits and milk for breakfast, fruit juice for a later break and dal rice for lunch.
He tells me something else - that he is making friends with all the m…


Ash was discharged on Saturday night. The main peadiatrician at SMF said that they are hoping for a natural chelation since chemical chelations have side-effects. And anyway since his blood lead level has come down from 188 to 65 ug/dl in a week, and since he doesnt seem to have any of the symptoms associated (seizures, headaches, vomiting, stomach ache etc) and is at his active best, he doesnt want to intervene. He checked with doctors at Apollo and Child Trust and various other hosps in Chennai. He will also be checking with the docs in Vellore and letting us know what to do. And we can increase iron and calcium in his diet.
The suspect for the poisoning according to them is the siddha meds we gave Ash for 3 weeks.

But yesterday night, Ash developed fever, cough and vomiting. Vomiting and stomach are symptomatic of lead poisoning, so we will be going to the dr to check on these two counts. Dr. Thomas had let us go home on Sat bcoz ash had no symptoms.

A rare case

Ash is getting admitted in hospital today. His lead in blood is still cause for concern (though not as high as the earlier value) and warrants hospitalisation. The main doctor at SMF says that he hasnt seen a lead case in 10 years while the younger ones havent seen any at all. Most of the pharmacies also dont seem to have the medicines for chelation and the doctors are waiting for a couple of them to get back with what they have.Hoping for the best, and hoping for your best wishes and prayers. Until I get back, bye.

The reluctant preschooler

Ashwin's lead test results will be out tomorrow evening. If the levels are alarmingly high, Dr. Thomas wants him admitted in the hospital for IV chelation on Saturday. I do not know how long the hospitalisation will be, but it means I will have to take leave in a busy week at work. My inlaws leave on Tuesday. They have been waiting for the test result to come.***Mira has two hours of school this week. Save for the first day, she has not been keen on going. New place, new peers - she is not sure if she is going to like it! In the morning, she tells us: "I dont want to go to school. I want to go to church (that is where all the fun is right now!) ... No, keep the school bag back on the shelf." Today, the Gujju kid whose parents we had made friends with, was crying too in spite of being a veteran at playschool. That had Mira in tears too. When one child cries, the others join and soon there is a mass crying. And when V goes to pick her up, she sobs and runs to him. I hope s…

Tale of two tags

I have been tagged by Lijy to list 6 quirks of mine and by K3 to list my favorite literary characters.
I'd like to say that I'm non-quirky or just too quirky to list any 6. Or maybe my husband can enlighten me about my quirks when he has the time....

Coming to the second one - I won't say these are my favorite but these are ones that have stayed on in my mind.
1. Hester Prynne in The Scarlett Letter. I wont say I empathised with her, just that I admired her stoicism.
2. Rhett Butler (Gone with the Wind) and Heathcliff (Wuthering Heights): As someone here tells me, Rhett Butler is the kind of guy women would like to marry and Heathcliff the kind they would love to love. Maybe that is why!
3. The two men, George and Lennie, in Of Mice and Men.
4. Becky Sharp in Vanity Fair. A bit like Scarlett O'hara.
5. The Little Prince. One of my favorite books too.
6. Phantom. He symbolized the best of mystery, manliness, loyalty and adventure.

Looks like I liked the male protagonists more. …

Pre-schooler in college

The weekend had been hectic with two kids to manage. As V says, it is like having got a new child and we are still getting used to the new responsibility. And a great responsibility it is - to maintain the special care, balanced nutrition and great love that Ash's grandparents bestowed on him. He has been returned to us with a smooth shiny skin (save for itchy patches here and there) and a healthy body. They had taken care to make up for the absence of milk and non-veg food with fruits and other vegetables at regular intervals, a time table that we will struggle to maintain and the maid would love to shirk. We have to ensure that he gets his apple and juice when we are around, as we wont know if the maid fed him or not. And the kids are too naive to tell us if they got their share or if the maid ate them all up.Sibling battles and adult mediation is in full force once again. My head is numb when I leave for work or when I hit bed at night. We are hoping they will be too preoccupie…