Parsley and Thyme

Archive for May 2010

What’s in a name?

with 4 comments

It was bedtime. I had just read out to Chetu from his favorite story book, and switched off the lights in our room. As we continued talking in the darkness (Chetu, mostly. Only grunts from me) he asks “Amma, when I pressed that number on the telephone this morning, did it go to the police station?”.

Background. That morning Chetu’s again meddling with the telephone. He manages to dial a combination of numbers which, this time, results in a valid phone call. I am in the kitchen, blissfully unaware, getting lunch ready in a hurry as I am expecting my parents to drop in. Chetu comes running to me and holds out the phone (he has managed to activate the loudspeaker on it as well!) shouting, “Amma, I am speaking to Dada (my father) on the phone!”. I hear a male voice – so exactly like my father’s on the speaker – saying “Give the phone to Amma”. And I reply to the voice “Appa, where are you?”. The voice responds rather gruffly, “I am here only. What do you want?”. I reply, “What do I want? I am waiting for you guys to turn up, why are you taking so long?”. My “father” replies “Amma, this is the taluk office at Hoskote. Why are you eating my head? What do you want?”

I take one mean glance at Chetu who is still exulting with his “I called Dada on my own, I even put on the speaker!” and apologize to my fake “father”, hurriedly disconnecting the phone. It then takes me almost half-an-hour (in vain) to convince Chetu about the concept of “wrong numbers”. As I watch him again trying to make his own calls with the telephone, I make up the story about the police station. “Chetu, your call went to the police station, do you know?” I ask. And that’s the first time he listens intently. Immediately drops the phone to the ground as if faced with hot embers. He refuses to touch the phone again.

Cut back to present. I reply to Chetu’s question in the affirmative and again try to explain the concept of phone numbers. While I am on the topic, I tell him that every phone company delivers a book (telephone directory) where the phone numbers of people are listed. I say “Chetu, that’s the book where many different phone numbers are listed so that we always call the right people. Now what’s the book called…Let me try to remember…”

Maybe Chetu realizes at that moment how dumb his mother is to forget such a mundane thing as the telephone directory, and he chips in saying “Facebook…?”

Written by Kanchana

May 28, 2010 at 11:45 am

Posted in Chikoo, Humor

Stranger anxiety

with 2 comments

Little Chaitanya has a mind of his own when it comes to social behaviour. His reaction to “strangers” ranges from complete cold-shouldering of some, totally adoring a rare few at first meeting, to hurling abuses at the unfortunate others. While many of these little incidences have been tough for me to handle – popping eyeballs is not exactly my preferred way of mutual reciprocation while acknowledging people – they have also brought me the closest I can be to the utter honesty of an unconditioned mind.

Here are some situations that have occurred in the past year (in no particular order) that have left me feeling…oh well, confused.

Situation 1 : It is early evening. Chetu and I are playing a game of racing cars on our balcony.

Neighbor Aunty : Hi paapu, did you finish you afternoon siesta?

Chetu : Spit, spit in the lady’s direction. Which clearly indicates it is no coincidence and he is not doing it to get rid of a fly that suddenly flew into his mouth. Then does a kick-boxing action, again in the same direction.

Me : Sorry Aunty, he hasn’t slept too well today.

Neighbor Aunty : Exits. Sports the same sheepish grin as mine.

Situation 2 : We bump into old colleagues at a restaurant. We are meeting them for the first time since Chetu was born. Chetu is in his father’s arms, happily munching on the last mint candy his father bought for him.

Colleague : Hi Chaitanya.

Chetu : Ignores. Continues munching the candy and meddles with the candy wrapper in his hand.

Colleagues Wife : He (Chetu) must be keeping you really busy eh?

Chetu : Suddenly wakes up from his day dreaming. Throws the rolled-up candy wrapper in the wife’s direction. It just misses her by an inch.

Me, Hubby : Gasp in disbelief.

Me (to Colleague’s Wife) : Sorry!

Colleague, Colleague’s Wife : Sporting similar sheepish grins and promise to catch up with us soon.

Situation 3 : I am hunting around for a new housemaid. Two ladies have arrived at my doorstep for an “interview”.

Me : (After our discussions are complete) So when can you start work ?

Chetu : (Before the ladies can reply) Amma, we don’t need them! We have Renuka (my old housemaid) working in our house no?! If they come home, I will lock them up inside a jail.

All of  us laugh, for reasons not expressed.

Situation 4 : It is late evening. We are with a group of other people at the Ramanashram in Tiruvannamalai, listening to bhajans. Chetu is frisking around, looking for his favorite peacock feathers. A wizened old lady suddenly shuffles up to him and touches his cheeks. She then rummages around in her bag and takes out a few pieces of rock sugar which she offers to him.

Old lady : Take these few sweets dear, it is all I have today.

Chetu : Looks at me and replies – “Amma, we have lots of rock sugar in our house, no?”

Old lady : What does the little one say?

Me : He says he likes rock sugar very much. Thanks Aunty.

Situation 5 : A Tamilian friend of hubby’s comes home. Chetu is meeting him for the first time. Friend doesn’t speak Kannada, which happens to be Chetu’s only language of communication (atleast, we had assumed so!)

Friend : Hi Chaitanya!

Chetu : Silent. But we can see he really likes this friend of ours. He first parades all his favorite books to indicate his feelings. Then somehow realizes that the gentleman does not understand Kannada. So the little one slowly ventures out and talks to him the whole time – in lovely, broken English. Incidentally, that was the first day we heard him speak English.

The young protagonist of this story is all of three years old. Nevertheless, he carries such strong ideas, likes and dislikes that I sometimes end up having grown-up conversations with him. And that is when I have to remind myself to stand back and watch him discover the world around, on his own.

Written by Kanchana

May 15, 2010 at 11:55 am

Posted in Chikoo

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