Parsley and Thyme

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Aham Brahmasmi

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Chetu’s introduction to the metaphysical and the possibility of Self-realization has begun quite early. Or should I say rather early. This weekend, his father came up to me with a twinkle in his eyes after having given the little lad his bath.

Father : You know I have introduced Chetu to the concept of the Self. I have told him that at the core, he is God himself.

Mother : Okayy…

Chetu (shouts in the background) : I am God, I am God.

Cut to playtime. Chetu is messing around with his friend Pranav, a sweet little boy of the same age (almost 5).

Chetu : Pranav, you know you are not a human being.

Pranav : Eh?

Chetu : Yeah you are not a human being, you are God. I am also God.

Pranav : Give me your cycle.

Mother : Mmmfmf…

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Written by Kanchana

January 2, 2012 at 9:02 am

Posted in Chikoo, Humor, Metaphysical

What I like at school

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Me : Chetu let us count the number of blocks you have here.

Chetu : 1, 2, 3, 6, 1, 5, 9.

Me : Chetu, have they taught you counting at school?

Chetu : Yes.

Me : Do you enjoy it?

Chetu : No.

Me : Hmm, then what else do you enjoy at school? Drawing..?

Chetu : Yes, I like drawing. Drawing, yes.

Me : Then, what else do you like?

Chetu : (Pauses for a few seconds and then replies) Tiffin.

Me : What?

Chetu : Tiffin, tiffin, tiffin. I like tiffin at school.

The next few minutes has both of us on the floor laughing and crying. Simultaneously.

Written by Kanchana

August 12, 2010 at 10:33 am

Posted in Chikoo, Humor

What’s in a name?

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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

Is health on your agenda?

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Multigrain biscuits for those between-meals hunger pangs. Fat-free butter substitutes that a lean-and-mean master chef swears by. Sugar-free pastries that aid in sinless indulgence. Vibration based “walkers” that can help you lose weight even while you are snoring. Mouth sprays that bring in a “healthy” aversion in you to even the most tempting of delicacies. A thousand (probably a million) more ways to force your body to entice the mythical fountain of youth and pristine health.

It drives me crazy – the hugeness of this universal “stay healthy” revolution. Sadly, it sucks in even the most sceptical into its vortex sooner or later. Ofcourse, when we are on this topic, how can I exclude the mass hysteria called “walking” that has so many supporters. So, allow me to digress a bit, and share my woes.

Of late, it pains me to notice that even the social circles people choose to be a part of, is, for the most part, driven by their “healthstyles”. That statement comes from my observations on those days of injudiciousness that I decide to pay an early visit to a park near my parents’ home. Only for some fresh air. And ending up with a whole lot of frustration instead.

Now, once I enter this park with little Chikoo and my parents, it takes me little time to guess that most friendships in the area have happened during the morning health routines initiated by these disciplined health addicts. And to me, these walkers at the park represent the state of humanity in all its wholeness. They are a microcosm of the bigger world that I have witnessed outside.

To start off with, they have got every square inch of the park covered. Like commandos in a Z-level security team. As I don’t conform to this aggressive treatment of what could have been a lovely morning walk, I decide to explore the natural beauty that spring has so lovingly showered upon this confined area approved of by humans. I want to saunter around slowly, to let Chikoo take a closer look at the flowers that have caused the lovely riot of colors and the varieties of butterflies fluttering within reach. But the health worshippers have other plans. I am guided by a force that is unstoppable, though not unseen. It happens to be these groups of 2,3 or so (the maximum size of the group is dependent on the radius of the stoned pathways) walking enthusiasts that completely determine the speed and direction of my exploration. They flay their sweaty arms like not-so-colorful British soldiers and move in a military centrifuge, leaving no room for deviations by people with different ideas. Like storms, they take in everything that’s in their path. Even small children, who by nature, are rebellious and give the toughest challenge to this unspoken rule that I call walk-like-a-martian. My mom calls out from afar and asks me not to let go of Chikoo’s hand. “Be careful, they will walk over him”, she says. I stifle the urge to ask her if she might be unwittingly supporting the cause by giving into their rule. But she’s already taken.

By this time, I am already regretting my first decision of the day. After a few more feeble, unsuccessful attempts, I decide that being an onlooker in this Roman Colosseum would be safest and perhaps more entertaining. I try to herd Chikoo to an available seating. Voila, there’s none. They are all taken by those who are in the finishing stages of the military exercise. Nevertheless, the military seems to have some compassion towards those who are looking for a seat. The retirees are treated less combatively and I am allowed to make little stops each time I spot a seat. Whew!

The retirees at the park amuse Chikoo to no end. Well, me too to be honest. The only difference between us being that he looks on with absolute bewilderment at their current occupations on the seats while I am trying hard to hide my guffaws. Some are lying down flat, heaving their sack-like, renegade tummies to obedience. A few others are playing safe and trying out breathing exercises that makes Chikoo exclaim, “Amma, uncle sneezing!”. I sush him and wonder whether the subject of his scrutiny was more embarassed than I am. Another bench has two elderly ladies discussing their daughters-in-law. One says, “Swalpa bittu kodabeku avalu” (“She should be more adjusting”). To which the other replies, “Naanu nanna sose ge adanne helthini, elli keltare eegina kalada hudugiru?” (“I am always telling that to my d-i-l, but do these modern girls listen?”). I realize why these ladies were so eager to find a place to sit down, and had disappeared from my view right after they entered the park. Well, the mouth needs exercise too and who should know that better than women, huh? 

I finally find an unoccupied seat and run over to secure it. While Chikoo’s attention is consumed by the countless tamarind pods that have fallen down on the grass, mine is firmly held on the people who pass me by as I plonk down on the bench. Again, the characters are colorful. Some are loners who saunter along with drooped shoulders and bent heads, dragging their improperly shod feet on the stoned pathways, totally unaware and utterly dispassionate of the world around them. Then there are some who are set to catch all the attention. These men (mostly) walk with huge strides, clapping their hands in unabashed loudness that makes me squirm. If clapping your hands is an exercise, then shouldn’t one do it more often at home instead, say while appreciating our loved ones? Which will also aid the social cause of creating a more peaceful atmosphere that a park is usually associated with?

A couple of elderly men pass by, discussing the day’s news. The tussle of importance is between politics and cricket, depending on which one is the stronger flavor of the moment. “Dravid nodidra saar henge kai kotbitta nenne match alli?”(“See how Dravid failed us during yesterday’s match?”), asks the gentleman who walks like he is treading on hot coals.My mother has now joined me on the bench and she explains “That gentleman has a knee problem since years”. I ask her if she is acquainted with him. “Yes, he is a doctor and gives us health tips from time to time”, she replies. Now I am left wondering why these so-called “health tips” have failed to work on the gentleman himself, but I decide to postpone further questioning for the time being. “Aiyyo, nodade doctre. Hidee match alli one exciting moment iralilla!” (“Yes I did doctor. There wasn’t one exciting moment in the entire match!”). Then they give out some cricketing tips which, they predict, will ensure consistent success to the Indian cricket team. Too bad they weren’t in the fray when the team was desperately looking for a coach, I tell myself. One distinguishingly balding gentleman pauses his walk for a few minutes to talk to my father, after which my father too decides to join us on the bench. “What were you talking to him about so intently?”, I ask my dad. He says, “That man knows atleast a dozen alternative therapies and he was just telling me about an accupressure therapist that he has discovered”. Interestingly, I observe that this gentleman diligently walks over to a vendor stationed outside the park selling cups of green-colored liquid in various hues, and downs a couple of them before he goes back home. The liquid vendor, my dad informs, is able to sell out all of the twenty or more bottles of green juice that he brings over to the park every morning. And no, my parents themselves have never mustered the daring to try it out.

It is time to go back home and I am left with quite a few impressions. For one, I would love to think that these so-called health fads were non-existent while I was a little girl. Though I am accessing from a 20-year old memory to try and find traces of these “health” trends as I was growing up, I find none. The parks that I used to visit as a young girl only had families who would go there for some relaxation amidst nature. So peacefully absent was this “race” to get healthy then. And I think that was because being healthy was then an unquestioned way of life. Walking was natural – you would walk to your friend’s house, your aunt’s house, anywhere. Even if they were kilometres away. There were more cyclists then than there are now. They never considered it a big deal to cycle to office, or to drop their precariously perched children to school, or to accomplish a multitude of errands on their cycles. For many, the cycles weren’t even their own – there were small garage-like cycle renting shops in every locality which would let you rent out a cycle at the rate of 1 rupee an hour. Based purely on trust.

Falling sick was also accepted with the same openess as being healthy. It was considered natural. I remember going through my childhood almost without any allopathic medication. Colds and coughs, the occasional family visitors, would be coaxed away with a locally brewn concoction called “kashaya” – a boiled mixture of milk, wild turmeric and pepper, sweetened with honey. Even the more serious illnesses were treated with some amazingly effective home remedies. Most of all, relaxation was not something that you chose to “acquire” from outside – people were somehow, just happy, just contented.

Oh well, all this thinking has made me hungry. Time to munch on some high-fibre, zero trans fat, diet biscuits. See ya soon.

Written by Kanchana

May 28, 2009 at 11:05 am

Posted in Humor

Tagged with , , , ,

They “rose” to the occasion

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While the Sri Rama Sene activists are still enjoying their five minutes of fame, I was just tempted to add my two cents to all the discussion that’s been going on, and on, and on… Last week, I came upon this news item from the Times of India on what Pramod Muthalik had to say to Mrs Renuka Chowdhury’s verbal emesis regarding his V day ultimatum :

” Being a bachelor does not mean that I do not know anything about love. I am born in a cultured family. I love my parents, sisters and brothers. I welcome her to Bangalore on February 14, as she intends to come here.” 

Ummm… Mrs. Chowdhury’s comments on his bachelorhood and consequent ignorance of some matters of the heart seems to have really dug into the gentleman’s self-esteem. Though I think Mrs.Chowdhury is going so ballistic with this one that she often gives the impression of an offended school bully, I thank her for the amusement that she has provided me with her statements on otherwise routine mornings.

And I am totally amused by the fact that of all the statements that the Hon’ble Minister has made against the Muthalik man, the one that he chose to reply to seems to be so strongly connected with his sense of self. I mean, what are the odds that a happily married man with say, seven children, would organize an army of uncouth and presumably jobless youth into revolting against PDA ? Funny huh ?

Though I possess no great affection for the mathematical angles of probablity that this previous question may invoke, my feminine intuition goads me to say “Absolutely nought”. And this next statement on the news piece left me in greater splits than the entire explanation of righteousness given by Mr. Muthalik :

However, he did not comment on whether he would accept a rose given by Renuka with sisterly affection, if she were to.

Now, nobody confirmed with Mrs. Chowdhury first, but I guess the joke was lost on this magnanimous man. If she would indeed like to experience what it feels like to have an absurdly protective brother who roams around town ready to marry his sister off to the first guy that he spots her with on Valentine’s Day, I daresay she will find no other man like Mr Muthalik. Ever.

Written by Kanchana

February 11, 2009 at 11:27 am

Posted in Humor, Life in General

Ikea job interview

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Written by Kanchana

October 5, 2008 at 11:42 am

Posted in Humor

The scent of a potato

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A German group has devised a “smell-phone” (er, cellphone) that can send smells along with your messages. Apparently, there is going to be a tiny chip within each phone that will have more than 100 scents which you can choose from. Research on this technology has been underway since 8 whole years and the geeks think they can release the technology by 2010.

That sets me off to do some mental imagery of my own. You know, gotta prepare meeself just in case this thing really sees light of day ? For starters, it is going to be so easy to get back at someone I despise. I might just mislead them by sending a message which reads, “You are an angel”. And when the prey presses the read button on the phone, he/she will be bombarded by the smell of dog turd. Ouch. There could be retribution in other areas of life as well. For example, it happens to be one of those days when I have had a fight with hubby and am not in the mood to reconcile – I might just send him a message which reads, “I am at the beach and I don’t miss you”, along with the scent of ocean breeze. Tch, tch evil woman.

Well, blow me down, I has got yet another idea! Wishing someone on a joyous event can be so much more genuine – I could just send them a lovely floral fragrance with my congratulatory message. Yes I can be pleasant too! Or I could cover up my absence at a boring family rendezvous by messaging the host with a whiff from my daily deodorant. They won’t miss me all that much then. And I can miss all those pesky questions alluding to why I don’t do something productive with my life.

Well, needless to say, during all situations of vengeance messaging I run into the huge risk of being reciprocated on similar or worse terms. But who cares – I atleast have the consolation of having got there first! And the possibilities are just limitless.

‘Tis indeed time to wake up and smell the roses.

Written by Kanchana

May 28, 2008 at 2:18 pm

Posted in Humor

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