Monthly Archives: May 2009

Just Dance

Oh, Ellen!

You, I love. You make insomnia worthwhile. You make me incontinent with laughter.

Enjoy, dear readers. Ellen DeGeneres at Tulane’s 2009 Commencement Speech.

Found on Amit’s wonderful blog.


Filed under Uncategorized


Venue: Breakfast table

Arvind: When are we going to move?

Puzzled Mom and Dad: Uhh…move? We aren’t. Why?

Arvind: Unless you clean up this messy house soon, I would really like to move.

*Sigh* We have gone terribly wrong somewhere. Arvind complains of inhospitable living conditions if there is an undie on the floor. Armaan starts sweeping the floor with a broom as soon as he enters the house. Nothing rocks his world like a vacuum cleaner.

We thought we were passing on real values. Not tripe like cleanliness and that being next to godliness and all.

Guess what Mamma has been doing all day? Guess who can eat their dinner off the hardwood floor now?

Hope you’re happy now, neatniks.  Enjoy your frozen pizza. What? You thought you were getting real dinner after my blood, sweat and toil?


Filed under Uncategorized

Notes From Deutschland

1. This is the country most compatible with my control freak heart. Seriously, how do you not love a country where every bus and train station will tell you the exact friggin’ number of minutes till your bus or train arrives? Its like Deutschbahn just knows that I will develop palpitations if there is a one minute delay. They are taking no chances on my mental health and they have earned my lauw.

2. I have such an antenna for the uptight German. (No, not all of them are. I testify to this, having drunk copious quantities of beer and having sung in inebriated glee with German companions on many-a-decent German street.) Latest victim was  a Reputable Type With a Job in Finance. He is so excruciatingly polite that it leaves me no recourse but to mess with his head.

He enquires in a strained, polite tone (such as you reserve for people you are forced into unholy proximity with when you travel coach) what I do for a living. I paint my bureucratic life is broad, boring strokes for about half a minute and wait till he relaxes enough to sip his coffee before I move in for the kill.

“Being a stripper was just really tough, y’know, what with the poor pay and two kids and all.” Sipping wine is so much more fun when you’re watching someone trying not to splutter their coffee. I recommend it.

3. I will never be cool enough for Berlin. Like N.E.V.E.R. We wander into this uber-cool club where we are almost denied entry for not being able to tick off the following boxes.

a) Had a sex change recently. I have almost-tits and some 5 o’clock shadow. My voice and demeanour are right off The L Word.
b) I can wear a poncho with a cowboy hat and look ridiculously cool instead of looking like wierd, misplaced Joan Baez wannabee.
c) I will arrive in a shiny, golden/flesh coloured body suit with tits painted on. Because I am fabulous and artistic, I will let totally random people feel me up/lick me as I cruise through this realm that I so own.

Yes, my harem pants and I were both begging to be incinerated and put out of our misery.


berlin 2

4. Dear God, I have forgotten how to flirt. Please tell me its the sleep deprivation or I will have to slash myself. The bartender brings me a glass of wine – compliments of Adam Levine lookalike from across the bar. AL cocks his head in utterly adorable manner and raises his hand unsurely in greeting.  I smile wanly because frankly – those harem pants are feeling kinda tight around the waist. Normally by midnight, my waistline needs the elastic comfort of my jammies and the gut responds to green tea. Yes, I’m the Cinderalla story you never want to hear.

Anyway – AL lookalike comes over, pulls up a barstool, makes polite PC with Schminderella’s buddies and sheesh! is articulate and really funny.  Schminderalla is in an uninspired semi-coma and is pulled aside by concerned colleague who points out that AL looks like err.. AL and in case I’d had too much to drink, he felt compelled to remind me that my correct age was 33, not 63.

I might have wept some gentle tears on his shoulder. “Sweetie,” he says comfortingly, “Live a little while your boobs still live in the Northern hemisphere and your hips aren’t screaming for replacement.” ( You will correctly gather that we’re close.)

“But I was good at this! I was!” I wail inconsolably.

I was. Just like some people love a great crossword, I love the challenge of a great flirt with a smart cookie. I won’t be caught dead batting my lashes or swinging my hips, but I love the verbal thrust and parry, the volley, the pace and the impeccable timing of a charged exchange. I love the sparkle in my challengers eyes when that rejoinder zings. The way I feel just a tiny bit more nerve-ending tinglier and alive because of this random connection.

It ain’t cheap when you’ve made it an art. But it ain’t an art if you’re in a coma.

Ultimately, I was more seduced by the thought of my suite. A king size bed all to myself. Watching MTV and raiding the minibar without anyone screaming for Cartoon Network. And the seemingly impossible, mirage-like fantasy of 10 hours sleep. Adam Levine in the flesh can’t beat that.

Dear God, these are new levels of pathetic, but nothing some cyanide won’t cure. Please to oblige.


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Happy Mothers Day all you sassy mums out there! A special HOLLA to my mum, Ammamma Gone Mad and my precious grandma whose Indian name is Never Very Normal To Begin With  – but damn! I love her.

In Norway, Mothers Day is celebrated in February. Thats Norwegians for you. They’d prefer an aneurysm to doing thing the way the rest of the world does it.

Mothers Day in sunny May? Just lame. In freezing February when you can’t crawl out of bed without losing both your legs to frostbite – why, how dandy!

The boys were good to me – knowing fully well that NOT being good to me would involve untold misery and suffering for months – and the possible cancellation of their birthdays. Yes, we know how to toe the line here, we do.

So breakfast in bed it was. Breakfast preceded by spread-eagled-single-in-bed bliss. (Unless you co-sleep, you can’t understand the utter joy of aforementioned position).


Ciabatta, fresh from the oven - and kiddie yoghurt!! Arvind's touch.

The card and flowers were hugely appreciated, (and the Viking can do some serious food deco!) but the paper was readily given up in favour of war-whoops, cuddles and yoghurt in bed. Do not try this at home – ever.

On the other hand, whats some food on our winter coloured sheets when one is the proud recipient of this smothering bliss?

Enough with the cuddling, woman! There are important calls to be made.

Enough with the cuddling, woman! There are important calls to be made.

Yup, I thought you’d see it my way;-)

p.s. In case you’re wondering about the haute-not couture, it hit the runways in 2002, a mere few days before Arvind opened his eyes to the world. This ratty rag of a robe has bravely gone through hitherto unexplored hospital corridors and survived its copious share of Ejected Body Fluids. But – its also the ratty robe my babies buried their noses into when they needed my familiar scent; the fabric they clutched at with their tiny little fingers, in lieu of a security blanket;  the warmth they crawled into during cold winter mornings.

Six years down the line, its soft, worn and icky – pretty much like the mother I’ve become!

p.p.s Can totally imagine my mother with her hands to her forehead, going, “Ayyo! What is the HOLLA business? Some new bad word she’s picked up or what? Deyvame!” Eyes will roll heavenward as she wordlessly beseeches the gods to make her daughter less of a potty mouth.


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Childcare Update

*Poorly-Disguised-Gush Alert*

The toddler progresses wonderfully at 19 months. We haven’t been convinced of this fact since he mostly says bæsj/appi (poop) and tiss (pee) a lot and since when did that represent progress? So, for our reassurance and your reading pleasure, here are some highlights from the parent-carer coffee fest:

Are these sheets an artistic representation of bird droppings or the wayward pencil strokes of a deranged mind? Apparently neither. He painstakingly says, “Eye. Eye. Nose. Mouth” while creating fridge art. He is obsessed with tith (teeth) and sheeks (cheeks) and insists on drawing those too. Though you couldn’t see that even if it came and bit you on your sheeks.

Sometimes, he will sit in a corner by himself and be heard chanting, ti, elleve, tolv (ten, eleven, twelve). We are not worried. The first nine numbers are a total crock anyway, right? Right.

He is a muy social animal. So is a chimp, you say. Or a meerkat for that matter. Like any good chimp, he  plays well with others, shares, laughs when Bill Maher comes on TV and wiggles his bum with the rest of the group when they sing “Boogie Woogie”. He has been tried and found guilty – on rare occasion – of sandwich theft and umm.. rearranging the occasional face. (This could be the Bill Maher influence) We are told that this is well within the range of Acceptable Toddler Misdemeanour. So there.

Norway has but this one gentle language – Norsk. In Norwegian terms, our son is almost a linguistic prodigy given that he has a handle on three. Here is a choice selection of words he knows in these languages. Poop. Pee. Snot. Yes. No. Bum. Food. Hungry. Thirsty. Milk. Flower. Peekaboo. Kiss. Hug. Boobs. Bye. He’s ready for life in the global wilderness, donchya think? Hell, he’s probably ready to date. (Oh, like you haven’t dated guys who could barely grunt, “Wow. Boobs.” No? My bad, then.)

He eats well. He wields his spoon and feeds himself. He will decimate anyone who insults him by offering him a sippy cup. The hot pink IKEA plastic glass will do just fine, thanks. His bowel movements give no cause for concern. (Great. Now I won’t lie awake at night. Though I’m touched that they actually cared to note this point down.) This could be due, in part, to eating copious amounts of sand (sand=fibre?) while he’s in the sandpit, and the occasional urge to guzzle dirty water. Dude, sand pies aren’t real pies. Is this so hard for your 19 month brain to comprehend? D-uh. Bet the chimp would have figured this out.

My son is a big, fat singing fake. He belts out the last two words of each line like, “Back Sheeeep” or “Li Star”. Belted out with such gusto and volume that you’d truly think he was a rockstar. He applauds himself once he’s done. (The self-esteem is straight from the Padré.) My son, a pretend rocker. I can’t live this down. If he didn’t love Abba (Hunny hunny, Mia Mia) and his KISS t-shirt, he’d be loooong gone.

Intrepid. Their word, not mine. While most kids are sticking to the sandpit, the swings or their carer, Armaan is apparently out there exploring the outer boundaries of his school, babbling to the older kids and making the rounds. Total absence of anxiety – stranger or otherwise. Stars in the Viking’s eyes as he pictures his youngest – an explorer – trooping to the South Pole in true Amundsen style. Horror clouds the mother’s eyes as she imagines the knee-high shit that “intrepid” boys can wade into.

He is always happy. Till he’s not and then its Game Over. Put your weapons down, retreat quietly and no-one gets hurt.

The Princess Di of Daycare. He goes around hugging everyone and blowing kisses randomly. If he finds you to be seriously cool, he will plant you a wet one right on the lips. Now we know why he’s been sick all winter. All this making out is probably like a toddler STD. Am I on to something here?

There is a meerkat resemblance, there is!

There is a meerkat resemblance, there is!

Now look closely. See what I mean? Meerkat!

Now look closely. See what I mean? Meerkat!

Image courtesy:


Filed under Armaan

Early Morning Cuppa WTF

I had the honour of dropping Arvind off at school today. And by honour, I mean I was dragged on my heels through gravel at an alarming velocity. I swear I could hear my pumps screech, gasp and breathe their last.

I see a distinctly South Indian/Sri Lankan looking mother dropping off a cute kid. Arvind informs me that the cute kid’s name is Sindhu. I go over to said mother, introduce myself and ask if she is from India.

From Thanjavur, no less. (No, thats nowhere near Assam. Its central Tamil Nadu and Madrasi heartland. I refer you to MiM’s post)

I tell her that I am a Malayali, who can manage a few filmy phrases in the neighbouring states vernacular – Tamil.

“Oh,” she says dismissively, “you look like such a North Indian. I wouldn’t have imagined that you were a Southie.”

I stare at her, gobsmacked. Looking like El Grande Twit.

Ms. Thanjavur, who is all about great conversational antenna, goes on: “You have straight, coloured hair and the way you dress and all..I was sure you were from up North. And you know how it is….” she tapers off in a conspiratory tone with a huge smile.

Shot pans to where I stand, still in El Grande Twit zone, clearly unaware of how it is.

“Oh, you know.. with these Northies, it can be okay sometimes and then it simppply won’t work out. Anyway, its soo good to meet another South Indian.”

Ms. Thanjavur glides away.

Mallu-with-straightened-hair-and-apparently-North-Indian-air left feeling compartmentalized, categorized, judged and incredibly pissed off.

And no, I didn’t say “likewise”.


Filed under Culture

Shootin’ the Breeze

Mi Casa, 8 p.m.

I am hunched over the Mac preparing a memo for my annual assessment. Just one of those events I insist on shitting bricks for as a matter of over-achieving principle. I’ve never had a bad assessment, my boss is only the most fabulous boss on earth, yet there I am on the eve of A-day, nerves-a-grated and knickers in a twist. (Yeah, thats really not as hot as you’d imagine, even though I have very nice knickers thanksverymuch)

Arvind, who still insists on making up his own homework (because neither school nor parents will give him any) is making up sums (“Whats a google plus thousand, Mamma?”) and trying kindle an interest in science in his ignorant mother (“Do you want me to draw the insides of a butterfly for you?”) You get the drift.

I do the usual nodding, hmming and hawing that all parents are familiar with, but all of a sudden there he is, his face just a few inches from mine.

“You look tired, Mamma. Do you want me to give you a massage?”

Without warning, tears spring to my eyes and I’m too overwhelmed to respond. For weeks, I can go around thinking that Arvind can’t/won’t hear a word I say or that he is far too lost in his own world and thoughts – till he displays the full extent of his empathy and perception and knocks his ole Ma over with a feather.

His tiny, gentle palms rub my shoulders and caress my back. Its heavenly is what it is. His feathery touch rubbing his mother’s aches away. I sigh and lean into my lille mann.

” One day, sweetheart, you’re going to make some woman really, really happy.”

“No, I won’t,” he snorts, “I’ll want to play Wii all day and that’ll make her mad as hell!”

Aaaaand….he’s back.

My babies hand in hand

My babies hand in hand


Filed under Arvind speaks