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Category Archives: Family

Closing Ceremony for the Golu games

Yes, today marks the culmination of 9 days of glorious (golu-rious) celebration in the Hindu calendar, aptly named Navaratri, meaning Nine Nights. While we have typically let other not-so-important priorities get in the way in past years and largely let this festival pass us by, we weren’t as successful this time. For reasons that were mostly made up and contrived, we decided to celebrate Golu this year after a reasonably long gap. 

Ironically, today is the 10th day of a Nine-day festival, called Vijayadasami (Vijaya – victorious, Dasami – 10th day) and that’s when the curtains come down on those Golu celebrations for the year. And for the record, its officially a festival for women, of women, and by women!

As I was putting the wraps on those dolls, I couldn’t help but wonder whether all of the effort that had gone into the Golu was truly worthwhile. I honestly think the event has lost its sheen, the celebrations have become passe. This time around, it was hardly a social event, which kinda defeats the whole purpose. There were folks trickling in every other day, but no real gathering as such. The Sundal, which is one of the few benefits that the guys get out of this event, has now just become boring! No, don’t get me wrong, its not like its gone down in taste or anything but expectations have gone up and the poor Sundal hasn’t kept up – even if it comes in a variety of shapes and sizes every day, it just doesn’t seem to cut it anymore for what has now become a greedy, International palate.

And to top it all off, the festival now has zero entertainment value for the vast majority of us. But despite all this, there is so much labor that goes into organizing the whole thing that it feels like you are hosting a Superbowl party every day for those nine days. Just 2 problems though: 1. There is no Superbowl and 2. No Chips and Salsa, or beer either. Sorry, this is still very much a religious, rich-in-traditions kinda gig, so we can’t have none of that.

But it wasn’t always like this. Looking back, I can recall times when the festival was actually a lot of fun. Clearly, it had to do with expectations back then when we were kids – pretty girls decked up in the finest traditional clothes, singing their hearts out for a bowl of Sundal and some freebies that got doled out provided the entertainment. Setting up the Golu itself used to be exciting, and you tried to get creative every year by weaving in the latest fad into your Valley of Dolls – sometimes it was a cricket stadium in town, or a fancy park, or the new Metro in town – basically, something folks could relate to. Yeah, that sure was a lot of fun! Simple expectations, Simple needs I guess?

In any case, I think the event needs some sprucing up, some spice added to the variety, and I am not talking about just the Sundal. Maybe they should consider having a theme for every night and have folks lend color to the theme.

A game night maybe? How cool would that be? Yeah, we have these dolls on these shelves etc, and you can take a good look at em, but really, lets get down to a nice round of Pictionary…or Taboo, if that suits your fancy? The food could use a face-lift too. Don’t get me wrong, Sundal is great and healthy and all that, but come on…in a world where are all frying our way to cholesterol hell, how can you not have some of those deep-fried bad boys? And throw some good dessert options for good measure. And they really should do something about the entertainment – maybe a Salsa night? Other variants? The ladies up north seem to have figured this out a long time ago – and thus was born the Garba.

So yeah, the southern cousins needs to act, and act quickly. The occasion is too good to pass up, and unless something is done, it’ll just wither away. And while they are at it, I hope they find some fun ways for the guys to get involved too, beyond just unpacking and packing dolls.

Curiosity spared the Dog?

We all know why the Cat died, right? Curiosity killed it, of course. That seems a little unfair though, no? I mean, its not just the Cat that’s curious? For reasons that’ll become obvious in a bit, this proverb has piqued my interest in recent times. So I decided it was time for some extensive research on the subject, which these days amounts to running about four queries on a Search engine of choice. And if that research is anything to go by, the experts tell me that the true origins of the proverb aren’t traceable. Go figure!

I guess it helps that the Cat has nine lives? I’d like to think that they get killed a few times, say 3 or 4, and eventually learn their lesson and stop being curious so they can live happily ever after? Maybe that’s why Cats were chosen as the victims here? Really, after having seen dogs and cats up close, it is quite obvious to me that Dogs are way more curious. If there was anyone that need to be taught a lesson for being curious, it would have to be man’s loyal canine companion. Anytime you walk in the door, Z will absolutely want to know everything you are carrying. It could be a bag, a box or even a ticking time bomb – does not matter, we will want to sniff it to death. And if the said subject is moving, then we will practically go crazy trying to figure out what it is, why it is where it is, how many different angles can we approach it from, will it attack, can I eat it etc – just an endless list of questions. It is why I think God gave Dogs their long snouts, don’t you? They really were meant to be probes that help to satisfy their curiosity. When was the last time you saw a Cat with a Snout? Good, so we agree?

If you don’t, I am sure a walk with Z will put any doubts to rest. She will stick her nose in every possible bush and want to explore it inside out – I’ve actually followed her into some of these bushes myself, and I kid you not, there is absolutely nothing there. Yet, we could pass the exact same bush tomorrow, and I know we’ll go thru the whole ritual all over again, and with the same excitement and passion as our very first trip to that bush.

And don’t even get me started on any wet spots on the road. The rain is bad enough, but if the spots were left behind by another four-legged friend, then I might as well get a chair and sit down. The walk is about to come to a grinding half, and we aren’t leaving anytime soon. We will need to thoroughly analyze every single whiff and trace the family tree of the dog that had dared to relieve itself on the street. Yes, in a weird sense it is a tad repulsive but when she’s your own, its also somewhat endearing because you realize this is one of the few effective ways they have to relate to each other.

Yeah, so curious or not, Dogs are adorable after all! I am glad Curiosity decided to go after the Cat instead 🙂

Miss the Mrs.

She had gotten in the cab and barely turned off our street, and I was already missing her. Its not like we spend every waking minute in each others delightful company – on the contrary, we hardly spend any time with each other thanks to the hectic work schedules that each of us has. But when it hits home that the significant other is not going to be around for the next couple of weeks, how much time you actually spend together hardly matters. The emptiness in the house suddenly becomes very discernible. You are thinking about all the little things that she does, says or reminds you of – seemed like small things then but not so trivial now, as it sinks in that she’s not around. And here, less than 24 hours later, I am already counting down to her return.

Of course, misery loves company – and I know I am not alone in feeling the way I do. As her cab drove away, Z sat herself down by the living room window, watching her leave. And maybe I was hallucinating, but I could swear the look in Z’s eyes was pleading and longing for the cab to come back, and for A to come home. I was secretly hoping Z’s wish would come true too, but of course, I knew better, so no such luck. Z refused to budge from that spot for the rest of the night, she dozed off right there. And since then, every time she hears the sound of a car door shut, Z runs off to the main door to see if her favorite person is back, and comes back disappointed of course. She is such a darling!

And if Z is missing her, clearly V doesn’t want to be left too far behind. Hardly a couple of hours after A had left, V promptly wakes up in the middle of the night and starts asking for the mom. Its like she senses in her sleep that A’s gone…she scans the room and realization sets in. The gentle ask for Mom gradually becoming a wail, a scream with increasing intensity. In my infinite wisdom, I try to sing to see if that will calm her down. What was I thinking? The screams only get louder, a very explicit signal from V asking me to stop – the cacophony is clearly more stressful than Mom being gone. Thank God for the iPod – Jack and Jill not only went to fetch a pail of water last night, they also helped lull V back to sleep. I owe you one, Steve Jobs! Her sleep was very disturbed for the rest of the night, and its clear that she can sense it. And today, she simply went and sat next to Z by the living room window, with the same longing look. They looked adorable together but I also felt really sad for them because I can see how much they miss her.

On the bright side, the cook and the maid are having the time of their lives – with the boss not around to tell them what to do or watch over them, work seems like a picnic as they chit chat way to glory. I couldn’t tell exactly what they were saying in Kannada earlier this evening, but I am quite convinced they were making fun of me as I sat there there drinking my tea. They probably see the dazed, lost look in my eyes and find it an entertaining topic to discuss and giggle over. Who knows, maybe the maid is blogging about it right this moment.

‘A’ holds the fort at home – juggling all of her work stuff and yet managing to keep things in order on the home front. I don’t know how she does it, I don’t know where she finds the energy to do it every single day, but she does. As for me, just commuting to work and back seems like a big accomplishment for the day. So I can only look on in awe and wonder as she goes about her chores and still manages to find the energy to hang out with the family at the end of the day. Clearly, we all appreciate having her in our lives and everything she does for us, which is a LOT. And on days like this when she’s gone, the difference she makes in our lives is that much more telling. Come back soon A, we can’t wait!

I am usually the one that does a lot of the traveling and its probably our first time with the kids and everything that the spouse is gone on such a long trip. And now that I have the privilege (?) of putting myself in her shoes and experiencing what she goes thru every time I travel, I can see that it is sooo NOT fun! So those of you that travel frequently, spare a thought for the significant others in your lives as you read this, we owe them big for more reasons than one.

And the angel turns 2!

Dear V,
You walked into our life (Well, more like crawled at that point) a little over 6 months ago, and since then, you’ve really been the center of it all. And how fantastic that change has been! Life seems to have a higher purpose now, a lot more meaning than academic excellence, corporate accomplishments and material gains – things that were so important at one point all seem so trivial in comparison now. I know I was told to always expect that, but actually experiencing that change has been very fulfilling (one of the classic ironies in life, I guess!) and humbling.

Well, today, my dear little angel, you turn 2 and A and I couldn’t be more thrilled that you have accepted us and allowed us into your life. You have given us more joy and satisfaction in these last 6 months than we have ever experienced, and for that, we can’t thank you enough. I know it was all very confusing when you stepped in the door – and I am sure you wondered who these strange people were, why you were in their house and when this ordeal was going to end. I truly hope those fears have now settled. I know the early months were a little rough, but I want to assure you that you are now in a safe and secure place, a home where we deeply care about you and where your mom and I plan to utilize every ounce of our strength and energy to give you the happiness and the joy that you so fully deserve. We are very proud of you, sweetie, you are such a pleasure to be around, so effortlessly bringing a smile to people’s faces. I am thrilled that you are not shy, that you mix so well with people. And I am speechless when I see how brave you are – whether it was feeling at home from day One, or allowing Zoey into your life, or even going off to school all on your own right from the start. When you trip and fall and hurt yourself, I am so overwhelmed that you are able to shake it off quickly and move on as if nothing happened. I sometimes wish I had the strength and resolve that you do – as you can tell, I am trying to learn from you on that front. I mean that will all my heart.

I know Appa has his imperfections, so trust him when he says he is working on those – but on the bright side, you have such a wonderful and caring Amma that more than makes up for all of that and more. And if that isn’t enough, you have an equally caring set of grandparents too – mummymma, paatti and the 2 thathas, and an amazingly loving circle of friends and family. You will soon get to know them personally and see how much they all adore you. And together, we all look forward to the many more milestones we will celebrate and cherish with you. Thank you for accepting us into your fold, dear V, and making our lives so much more meaningful and worthwhile. Happy Birthday, my darling!

Damn Sudoku!

Every time I visit home, I get this incredibly special treatment from Mom. She treats me like I deserve to be treated (yeah!), and my wish is her command. The day begins with a nice, steaming cup of Mom-made Leo filter coffee and a copy of “The Hindu”, the local newspaper, to go with it. It is one of the reasons I enjoy coming home. Trust me, no matter how far you get in life, this is one pleasure you always yearn for.

Lately however, things seemed to have changed. My mom has this fascination for something that is getting much more of her attention than I ever did – the daily Sudoku puzzle in the paper. Thanks to this monster, I neither get the paper (she will solve every Sudoku puzzle she can get her hands on before she lets go of the paper – the rest of the stuff in the Newspaper is irrelevant apparently) nor my early morning coffee. To say she is addicted to Sudoku would be an understatement. And if she steps away for a second and I so much as glance at the paper (I could be looking at some old issue from the previous week, and it still wouldn’t matter) and she will reappear with a fury that can shake the bravest of men. All you would hear is a “Don’t you even think about touching my Sudoku!!” Yeah mom, THAT is what I was planning to do. Please, give me a break!

Really, whats with the whole Sudoku craze? Don’t get me wrong, I do like solving those puzzles, and I think they are fun. But the kind of excitement I see around me – is it for real? What is it about this puzzle that’s driving this frenzy? I wonder if someone is making any money on this addiction. There has gotta be some compelling business proposition in there. I can’t wait for crazy contraptions to show up at Pondy Bazaar that are based on it. The day that happens, I’ll have to start foregoing my lunch and dinner at home as well, not just the Coffee. Poor mom will be so buried under all of it and we’ll probably end up getting the local Saravana Bhavan to deliver our food every day. Come to think of it though, that might not be so bad after all 🙂