Thursday, July 9, 2009

Interview with the Vampires

This tag is going around and I loved it. No one tagged me for this. No one ever tags me *sigh*

I ganked it from my namesake in Mumbai.

As much as I complain, praise and declare my love for my "just turned 5 Son" and "just turned 7 Daughter", perhaps a faithful reportage of my kids own words and actions will give y'all a sense how they interact and think.

ME: What is something I always say to you?
SON: Behaaaave! *makes exaggerated eye rolling motions*
DAUGHTER: I love you. *gives me a hug*

ME: What makes me happy?
SON:Singing in the shower. *giggles*
DAUGHTER: When I kiss you *kisses me*

ME: What makes me sad?
SON:Hitting your head! *makes wild and crazy whooping sounds and makes windmills of his arms*
DAUGHTER: When your legs hurt, like today. *kisses my left knee*

ME: How do I make you laugh?
SON: Singing in the shower. *now he is rolling on the ground with laughter*
DAUGHTER: When you tickle me *looks very serious*

ME:What do you think I was like as a child?
SON:A vegetarian.
DAUGHTER: I dont really know. *said very slow* ....IwantanAmericanGirlDollGymnasticsOutfitSetFromSamantha *said very fast*

ME: How old am I?
SON: A million *very serious*
DAUGHTER: Oldddddddddddd. When are you going to Billy to color your hair again?*very serious*

ME: How tall am I?
SON: 17 feet *said very fast*
DAUGHTER: 5 Feet or something. But Dad's really tall. He is the tallest in the family. *squinting at me*

ME: What is my favourite thing to do?
SON: Singing in the shower *makes dancing motions and pretend scrubs himself*
DAUGHTER: Buying Stuff *giggles madly*

ME: What do I do when you’re not around?
SON:You coooooook something.
DAUGHTER: Go to work.

ME: If I become famous, what will it be for?
SON: Wearing makeup. *jumps on the couch*
DAUGHTER: Singing *does some Hip Hop dancing motions and sings Romeo (Taylor Swift) into pretend mike*

ME: What am I really good at?
SON:Training *makes weighlifting motions and goes aaaahhhh aaaahhhhhh*
DAUGHTER: Doing Kick boxing. Sometimes you are and sometimes you ar'nt. Right? *squints at me looking skeptical*

ME:What am I not really good at?
SON:Singing in the shower *very serious and straight face*
DAUGHTER: Fixing things. *very, very, very serious and straight face*

ME: What is my job?
SON: Cooking and talking *runs into the kitchen and comes back waving a ladle in the air*
DAUGHTER: Stuffffffffff *looks very bored*

ME: What is my favourite food?
DAUGHTER: Vegetables

ME: What makes you proud of me?
SON:When you give me a pedicure. *jumps on couch and throws a pillow across the room*
DAUGHTER: After you are done getting a shot without crying. *looks very serious*

ME: What makes me proud of you?
SON:When I sing in the shower. *proceeds to sing Tomorrow from the musical Annie*
DAUGHTER: When I get everything right on my spelling test. *kisses me*

ME: What do you and I do together?
SON:You give me a pedicure. *massages his left foot while hopping on the right. Daughter pushes him over. Son falls down. Fight ensues. Son cries*
DAUGHTER: Go to the Mall. *looking hopeful*

ME: How are we the same?
SON: Same in a different way. *looks very puzzled*
DAUGHTER: We both have black hair. *swings her long hair around and around and around and promptly falls down from dizziness. Spends two minutes crying. I have to kiss her*

ME: How are you and I different?
SON: Mom I want Pancakes! *loud voice*
DAUGHTER: You wear glasses when you read. *soft voice*

ME: What is one thing you wish you could change about me?
SON:Mooooooom I want pancakes! *very loud and swinging aforementioned ladle*
DAUGHTER:You not wearing glasses when you read. *pulls my glasses off*

And I tag whoever wishes to take this up. It is fun.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Hunterwalli and the toe that hurts today

Nina is a very talented writer who writes some lovely blogs. I enjoy reading her work tremendously. Today she wrote a poignant piece about Life imitating Art and vice versa. Read it here. Scenes that bring back feelings, memories and thoughts happen to us more often than we realise. Why, this happened to me just yesterday!

Last evening I had a "Fearless Nadia of WadiaMovietone Hunterwaali /Robert Deniro Taxi Driver "you looking at me"/Ralph Macchio in Karate Kid " MOMENT. Yeah, all of them at the same time!

This was in a traffic altercation in my peaceful little suburban hamlet where a goose crossing the main street causes the 7 man policeforce to come out in full force with lights flashing... to protect the goose!

So anyway it is important that AN APE was being impatient and honking madly behind me while I craned my neck to make sure it was okay to make a right hand turn on a red light. He probably was upset because it was getting to closing time at the Zoo and he had to get back to his Apehouse before the zookeeper found out he (ufffff...the ape, not the zookeeper) was missing. The Ape was impatient but I was being careful because I had the kids in the car with me.

After the turn was made, the Ape forced me onto the road shoulder and stopped his Apemobile in front of my car. He clambered out of his car and rapped his hairy knuckles on my window. And then ofcourse he proceeded to make an ass of himself by yelling in my ear.

Needless to say by this point I was chanelling all three movie characters in thier iconic scenes... Fearless Nadia and Robert Deniro and Grasshopper Ralph Machhio.

I just looked at the APE with derision and narrowed eyes ... I was itching to be dressed in a one shouldered tigerskin dress, swing from a tree above him, bodyslam him and then kick his teeth in with my extremely overrated kickboxing skills. At this point I was mentally counting how many of his teeth I could knock out with a roundhouse kick and a left hook! However I was also wanting desperately to be zen. Zen won. YAY ME! Mr. Miyagi would have been proud. I smiled and shut the window in his face.

Ofcourse after the Ape left the scene, I kicked at a tree branch viciously in frustration and sprained my toe! I then hopped around on one foot howling with pain in the manner of PeeWee Herman on a Sunday morning kids show. It didnt help that my pesky kids and thier even more irreverent friend sitting in the back seat howled with laughter at that sight!

So many scenes, so many emotions from so many movies in 5 minutes. I even enacted a TV show. Guess I am also plagarising a life script as I move through it. Are the media walas doing it to me too?

Monday, July 6, 2009

The King sat in his counting house, counting all his money!

A blogger whose posts are clever, thoughful and very topical writes about rearing generous, balanced kids in a material world. A very thought provoking post. Go read it here.

Interestingly enough I was in the process of writing a post that covered the same issues... a financial education for my kids. I brought it forward in my long line of unfinished drafts because this topic is red hot in my house RIGHT NOW. Fortuitous or what?

What was the catalyst for this post you ask?

Well, an unexpected expense reared it ugly head a month ago. A weather related "act of god" (or something like that according to the insurance company) means that we absolutely have to buy a new car. Not the runabout small car which hopefully will continue to run for a few more years *fingers crossed*, but the family car in which the kids and thier friends are transported to thier million activies by "moms taxi company"! Right now as a one car family, we are absolutely crazed. Mom's taxi is also transporting Dad around and the taxi driver (yours truly) is exhausted! We need another car and we need it now.

In unexpected ways, the process of buying the car has begun the lessons of a financial education for my kids.

At "just turned 7" and "just turned 5" my kids are begining to understand delayed gratification just a bit. Not all of it but some bits. I think the crux of "a financial education" is understanding delayed gratification. The car is now the object of thier delayed gratification.

I have involved the kids as much as I can in the process and have told them we need to save up for a new car and must spend wisely in the next few months. The process of physically clambering into new cars at the dealerships, smelling the leather seats (dont ask) and taking test drives with us and being asked what features they would like in the car (son wants a DVD player, daughter wants a moonroof and large cargo area for her bike and picnic coolers) mentally and physically connects them to a tangible goal/reward for saving. I think it makes them as excited to save the $2 the tooth fairy gave Daughter as I am thrilled to save $25 because I only bought the items advertised on the first page of the grocery weekly circular (try it, works everytime). It has given them a sense of what money can do for them. It has made the concept of money more concrete in thier minds.

Ofcourse they have thier greedy moments when they need everything they see. The million peices of bubblegum and yet another Hannah Montana made in china T shirt that will fall apart after the first wash, and the sponge bob bubble maker that sputters to a stop when we put the bubble solution inside. That continues, but it is now sporadic not the continous whine it used to be.

Now we make plans of what we are going to do and what we need before we go to the mall. A carousel ride or the trip to the ice cream store is a given at the mall, but it is begining to stop at that. We discuss the merits of buying yet more "bear clothes" at Build-a-bear (the worst waste of money I ever saw) versus getting that DVD player option for the car. I think Daughter really gets it. Son gets it about 75% of the time.

I think something that has helped the process along fast has been that Husband and I have always tried to live with only what we love. We are very minialist in decor and collecting possesions around us. There are only three things we collect as a family. Clothes (because I love them), books and art (because we all love these). Every June and Jan, Husband and I literally take a trash bag room to room and will remove any item that has not been touched or loved in the last six months. What is removed is given to goodwill. The kids and the Husband make a big production out of the process of this donation. The kids have been watching and absorbing. Over the years, I think the kids will learn to live with only what gives them the most pleasure to be around. Ofcourse for right now the kids continue to keep thier million Barbies and Stomp Rockets and whatnot. Those trash bags arnt in use in the kids rooms... for now!

My father, an ex military man has a phrase he likes to use... shipshape. It means that whatever you have must be in the best working order, else it goes out the door. A great mantra for decluttering material or non material things from lives.

About generosity. Because the kids had not quite understood the power of money and how to be generous with it until now, we allowed them to build a sense of empathy with the less fortunate by doing things that didnt involve money. Things they could do by themselves. For example daughter said she could help sick kids by growing her hair for locks of love (hair over 10 inches is donated for wigs for kids with cancer). Son doesnt get that yet but he will... especially when we come to India in Aug and he notices the street children conciously for the first time. My daughter was reduced to tears on our last visit and she had so many questions which needed honest answers. This time I want her to start interacting with them in some way. I dont want the interaction to have a patronising flavor at all. I would like her to meet them as equals. She will learn and be helped by them in ways perhaps different from what they will learn from her, but it needs to be and will be a meeting of equals. (Any suggestions of how she can do that on a short term basis in Pune/Mumbai will be most appreciated). Groups the kids belong to, like Scouting is also a great avenue for them to learn to do things for the community. The kids need to learn that there are people who have much less than them. I hope it will make them appreciate thier good fortune later on.

There is a long way to go and much time to do it in... it is a process. And I am still learning myself!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Manmohan se Pyaar Hai!

She wrung her manicured hands, sindoor streaking down her Jolen bleached forhead, tears streaming down red rouged cheeks, her mermaid style draped Manish Malhotra sequined silk sari rippling against her anguished heaving chest.

"NAHIIIIIIIIIIIIIII NAHIIIIIIIIIIIII! How am I going to get people to understand its not THAT Manmohan I pine for, its THIS Manmohan"

Arrey yaar, not the sedate blue turbanned sardar in Sadi Dilli, I am talking about Manmohan Tiwari. He occupies my thoughts now!

And you have to ask... who is Manmohan Tiwari??????

That my friends is my guilty pleasure. I spend an hour on youtube every evening catching up with a desi show that has captivated my imagination. Captivated it in a "trainwreck but cant look away" kind of way. It is totally over the top, and sleaziness and drama and every cliche is guaranteed to appear. Even the sets and art direction are totally timepass in a good entertaining OTT way. The cast has a spunky protagonist, poets, wanna bes, mama's boys, social and career climbers, men who look like they will either start a fight or start crying at the drop of a hat/dhoti/sari, a villan and every bollywood cliche you can imagine. It is fun. It is timepass and a good one at that. It makes me laugh and weep by turns. Love it!

The show is "Rakhi Ka Swayamvar". The premise is The Bachelorette but knowing Rakhi and her propensity for drama shama it will have huge chunks of I Love New York. Lethal combination yaaron!

I have linked Part 2 of the first episode. That should set you on the right track to follow the show everyday.

I will be giving you my totally unnessary commentary as often as I can because I am that way... generous to a fault and I like y'all! hehehehe.

So will you watch and weep with me? Youtube is free everyday yaar. You gotta!

Some unnesecary kuchbhidotcom commentary on the first three episodes follow. Skip this if you havent seen them yet. But come back and read ya hear!!!!!! Else everyone gets spanked!

Who do I like the best? Thats where Manmohan comes in.

Manmohan Tiwari is T-O-T-A-L-L-Y adorable yaar! He is rocking the Khaike paan banaras walla thing in a lovely earthy and funny way, exactly how Amitabh Bachhan's persona should have stayed before he got all pompous and Harivansh Rai da puttar on us.

Yeah thats it... Manmohan Tiwari is Amitabh Bacchan as Manmohan Desai saw him through a camera lens!

Manmohan Desai... oh dear I added another Mannohan... let me count em... four!

If it was a hindi fillum, Manmohan wins hands down, but I think Rakhi is seeing dhoklas and dollar signs in the form of Elesh. Else she will be happy making paranthas for Cry Baby Face Pappu Punjabi Ingineeeeer Luv.

I dont like Luv one bit. Boring aadmi hai and too ghee and paranthas and mummy da laadla looking. Kaafi cliche type lagta hai. He looks like he drinks coffee at Dpauls at Janpath and goes clubbing in Gurgoan in a Honda City. Boring yaar... sorta like what Hritik Roshan would have been like without a good director.

I do like Elesh. He seems to have spunk and can laugh at himself. Besides I like Canadians cause they like Beer and Hockey and they live in a country with amazing environmental laws. Hehehehe.

As for Rakhi. Ladki smart hai. Us Maharastrian women are not called spunky for nothing :)

Is Shunyata a complete Zero?

Recently someone... whose mind I respect... wrote about Nirvana and the search for a state of Shunyata... something like tranquility/a state of stillness/balance etc. That is the holy grail for all the thinkers amongst us.

This is what I suggested that Shunyata meant to me. I reproduce it here. Tell me what you think.


Jaani, those who claim to experience shunyata are tripping on some very good ganja!

Chaos is soooooo not boring. Chaos and unpredictability of circumstance keeps my blood pumping and all of humankind striving for more.

To search for the opposite of chaos would be the death of us as a species. So I would leave the shunyata hunting to the authentic ganja smoking rastas amongst us or perhaps the laziest of navel gazers. I want progress of many kinds. Chaos leads me there.