Ostrich in the Zoo
What about it? You ask. Well, ask my four years old who spoke of it.
The new uniform I got recently was one of the latest corporate Do-It-Or-Else policy for safe guarding their image. Apparently, they were not happy with the non uniformed attire that the staff wore and decided to change the uniform as a whole, for all concern units, at one go. The women on the administration side got to wear lovely grey pants with a matching striped shirt and a high waist short vest coat. The uniform was as cute as a button. It safe guarded the company’s front line image but not our back end image. I am sure you are getting the drift. I felt like a waiter at the Hilton. All that was missing was a tray and a cap!
Later on during the day, I sat with my gloomy face wondering how to avoid the costume. It made me feel like the waiter (sans the tray) and a club dancer (sans the music); at the same instant. Being blessed with a figure that has no rival, it was my destiny to be eternally frustrated at getting the things that I liked to fit me. My daughter and I were constantly fighting over what was proper to wear and the CORPORATE uniform was not helping. I had insisted on no short shirts or skirts; only to find to my dismay that my uniform was short of cloth by my standard and hers!
To dispel my gloom, I sat with her to watch animal planet. The documentary was on ostriches. It was truly engaging to watch with the ostrich sticking its head in the hole and the footage on a man being chased for getting close to an ostrich egg. We laughed all through. During the evening, I decided to try the outfit again to get used to wearing it to the office. I complained loudly on how the office has turned out to be a zoo full of animals with the new uniform. My daughter came in and listened to the conversation, while dangling her legs carelessly. Her father was keeping his silence at my appearance. He was well known for his tactless comments as I was for my temper. By mutual consent, neither of us asked an opinion nor offered one.
“Mummy, what is this new thing that you are wearing?’ she asked, skipping on the bed.
“A uniform. Do you like it?” I asked as I twirled around.
She looked up and she looked down. “I can see your bum. How come you get to wear a short shirt and I am told to change? This is not fair, Mummy. You should try wearing my clothes!” she huffed.
“Honey, this is my uniform. I can’t change it”
“Why not? Does your boss like to see your bum?” she asked in surprise.
Good question. Children say the weirdest of things!! I looked at my husband for help. He smirked. He had tried for the last hour to remain with a dead pan expression. He was clearly not succeeding.
“Do I look smart?” I asked with a sinking heart.
She thought for a while. One could see the tiny wheels turn around in her head while her legs returned to dangled in precision to reach a decision.
“Remember the ostrich, mummy?” she asked. I nodded hesitantly.
“You look just like it. All you need is feathers to make you beautiful. ”
And with this statement she disappeared into the kitchen and brought me a duster which was promptly tucked into the belt loop to resemble a feather tail.
My husband lost the battle to humour. He roared in laughter while I stood baffled trying to decide whether to feel insulted or humoured. I decided to get a blazer to cover the rear that needed the wonderful duster/ feathers. The next day at work, I was waiting for the comment I dreaded hearing so much… “A cup of coffee, pls…”
I kept muttering under my breath. The bosses looked all dandy and we subordinates looked like the waiters.
“Don’t you look cute like a button…” cooed one of my female bosses.
“Cute, my Ass...” oops, that was what started this at the first place…my a**.
“You look so dignified, like …like….” she groped the air for words.
“A waiter?!” I offered helpfully.
“That too…but the word I was looking for was…like a beautiful bird!”
“I bet the ostrich was beautiful to the ….” I thought a bit Who thought the ostrich was beautiful? Not me in a million years!!! I guess I was truly in despair. I hated my uniform. If only I were 4 yrs old…I could howl!!
I came home dejected. The first person I saw was my first born with a picture of a bird that resembled an ostrich. Cotton ball feathers were stuck all over it and she gave it to me with a big smile saying… “I think the ostrich is a nice bird mummy. It is big and fights with anyone who takes its baby away. You are just like the ostrich in the zoo… it is so big and beautiful.”
There was a loud snort and wail that resembled a laughter being controlled unsuccessfully, but that didn’t bother me. After all, my daughter thought the ostrich was great…sans the cotton balls…and the tall neck….maybe the big fluff rear….or the….. huge eyes.
Oh! Never mind….Ostrich in the zoo….
Fantastic Four and the Health Management Programme!
The four of us were always up to no good despite our differences. We were two girls and two boys with 10 years difference from the first to the last. Nothing alike in appearance and this in itself was the factor that enthralled everyone about us. Of all the things that we grew together with, this experience still has us cracking up.
At the age of six, my younger brother could cook a breakfast of eggs and toast for 6 people. Three eggs for him and one for each of us. If asked, “How come you got 3?!” his quick reply was “The cook needs to eat more!! Don’t touch my eggs!!”
As a food lover, he was always chomping on something or the other. He was heavy built and would not move his rear for anything other than eating and sleeping. My father was at his wit’s end on how to motivate him to exercise his body more than his mouth. The first brother on the other hand was no where close to what the younger brother was. He was tall ( 6 feet) , lean and always up to no good. One would always catching him teasing us girls or simply irritating the younger brother to tears. My sister was of an athletic build and I was plump.
My father was always experimenting on how to reduce one brother’s weight and to increase the other’s. He was health conscious and so he tried the food routine by giving my brothers the vegetable called Vallarika (white cucumber like thing) for breakfast. The vegetable was supposed to make the fat brother thin and the thin one fat. We, the sisters, sat wondering how the vegetable could decide on who is thin and who is fat! Every morning, my father would religiously cut it and present it like it was a watermelon to the boys. The boys would spend an hour trying to chew the veggie down while eyeing the tasty breakfast mum cooked for the rest of us. It added to our amusement and was always the reason for a fight.
After two days of trying the breakfast of just the veggie, my father decided that we were all to go through a round of Waterbury’s Compound (a tonic that claimed to increase the haemoglobin level and tasted like washing liquid or in chemical terms phenol!). Despite our loud protests, we girls were included in this round. The boys were happy. They now had something to tease us with. The compound was supposed to make us active. Apparently, holidays were not meant to sleep late and eat whatever while being lazy. By the end of the first week, we were united in our response to this health fad. Breakfast was a sorrow and gagging after this traumatic breakfast every morning was accepted as a norm. Nothing could be worse.
A week later while we were still reeling from the after effects of the healthy eating & tonic routine, Dad found a bottle of Dabur Chamanprash paste and decided to add it to the menu. The expressions on our faces were priceless. We looked utterly defeated and decided to sabotage this health routine “ All for One” we cried as the lean brother decided enough is enough. Off when the Waterbury tonic, down the drain, one evening and in its place a bottle of Thumbs Up stood firm. The next morning, my mother had pity of the boys and served them a good breakfast. With a stomach full of breakfast, my brothers were ready for the Thumbs Up… only to find that Dad broke the old Bottle by mistake and brought a brand new one just for three weeks! Yuckieeeeeeeeeee!!!
Not ready to give up, we dumped the content for the second time and this time kept challenging Dad to taste it for himself before forcing it on us. As the protests grew louder and the refusal to eat stronger, my Dad decided to set an example and one evening showed us how tasty the Waterbury compound was by drinking two spoons full of the liquid and downing a huge piece of the Vallarika. The Thumbs-Up inside was two weeks old and tasted weird at this point. After consumption, the expression of Dad’s face kept changing like a book of colours. It looked red first and then a bit yellow and finally green. In a few seconds, he rushed to the bathroom and a loud retching was heard.
We had succeeded in eliminating the drinking and the eating! HOME RUNNN!! We rejoiced for a few days at our brilliance… until Dad came back on the third day with a bottle of Cod Liver Oil and a spoon!!!
All we could say was YUCK! YUCK! YUCK! Time for a new plan….
Dear Old, Dirty Jeans
Dear old, dirty jeans,
I love you. You know I do… I really do. I have loved you, still love you and will keep loving you. You have been there with me through thick and thin… you have shared my grief and joy. You cried with me when I did and rejoiced in my happiness… we were inseparable… we were exuberant… we were loud… we didn’t care or in our language- we didn’t give a F.
I still remember how our affair started… 7th of august 2006- I joined room no 218 in Bhabha Hall of residence, NIT Jamshedpur. I knew this is the start of a new life with all that build up being made up about college life by the people around me- my family and friends but little did I knew this was the start of a whole new affair. You were with me even then but till then I had been at my home… the safe world where parents took care of the every single need- from toothbrush to examination forms. In that safe world I didn’t notice how beautiful and wonderful you were… besides you were not exactly ‘old and dirty’- my mother made sure that any jeans that I wore was not torn or old and neither did she let any of my jeans get dirty… you know how much she cares for me. She gave you to me- all new and fresh as I was leaving for Jamshedpur from my home.
So, I joined the hostel. I had clothes and I’d keep giving them to the hostel dhobi to get them washed. But there was something peculiar about you that I noticed… the dirtier you were, the more beautiful you’d look and it is true to this date- a dirty jeans looks much better than a washed one. It was then that the affair started… it was then that I fell for you. From then onwards you’d be with me all the time. Little did I realize at that time that you were a whole new chapter in my life.
You were with me when in the first year I studiously used to get up at 7 in morning to attend the 8 am classes… you were with me when I came back at 12 to have the disgusting mess food for lunch. You were with me when I attended the sleepy afternoon lab sessions and like the geek who had just passed 12th standard, kept noting those mundane readings of my experiments in my lab record.
Then I entered the 2nd year and you, my love, were still with me… I had grown in confidence. I started supporting mass bunk and had also started bunking on my own. You remember how I hated ‘mechanics of solid’ and ‘fluid mechanics’? I bunked a lot of them, got poor grades in those subjects but as you know we- you and I, had stopped caring for grades… who wanted grades anyway. I’ll live my life in my own ways.
Then came 3rd year… I was a little anxious for the placement season that was about to start next year and I knew there was too much to be asked for in my preparation for the interviews. But you, my dear jeans, comforted me with the fact that my state was shared by most of the 72 people of my class besides the fact that there was one whole year to prepare and we returned to our carefree ways. You accompanied me when I got up at 10 in morning having already missed 2 classes of the day; I missed 3rd classes in making up my mind whether or not to go to the class. Eventually I did turn up for the 11 am class and you were with me when Prof D. Patel of ‘production technology’ ordered me to get out of the class. Merrily we went to canteen after that… when you were with me, there was no question of guilt even after being kicked out of a class… such was our romance- we were so much lost in each other that we had stopped caring long ago.
Then I entered the 4th year- the placement season had started… I too had prepared my bit like everyone else… I was scared and this time you were too. No, my love, I’m not complaining… it was natural for you to get scared- after all you cared for me!! The first two companies to visit the campus for placement were big multinationals- after all it was NIT Jamshedpur. I couldn’t even qualify the written round… I had started to doubt my credentials. I had started to think if I had ever studied anything worthwhile… you were at a loss for words… those were troubled times for our affair- my faith in you had started to falter. But then came the third company- again a huge name in Indian automobile industry and I qualified the written… I kissed you and apologized for doubting your commitment… qualifying the written exam was my main concern and I had done that! Anyways that day as I was preparing for the GD and interview rounds, I had to wear formals- for the first time in four years… you looked offended and you were quite justified in being offended… I don’t complain. But I promised I’d kick the formals away as soon as I was done with the interview… I qualified the GD round, gave interview and was selected… when I got the news I came running back to hostel- it was party time… I kicked the formals away and the legendary romance resumed… it was sweet- as if we never had any troubled times in our relationship. The rest of the final year was fun at its peak… if there was a glass in which you could hold romance; for us, the glass would have over flown. You accompanied me whatever I did and wherever I went… you supported me and encouraged me as I slogged day and night as the organizing committee member of our national level technical festival. You comforted me when I was rejected by her during the cultural fest when I asked her out… “She’s a difficult person” you told me- “not very outgoing type”… and it was only because of you that I moved on.
Everything was going so well- we were cuddled up in each other but then suddenly- the last semester ended!! Alas, I was devastated… the college had ended. There were sad farewells to friends who had been my life for the four best years of my life… you held me in that tough time. How could I ever have done without you my love?
But now times have changed… our romance has to end it seems. Please don’t think any bad of me… please don’t. I still love you and will continue to do so but in a fight of stomach and heart- the stomach always wins. I had seen this coming since last one year but I was too afraid to tell you… but now I don’t have any option. I have to tell you. I am entering the corporate world darling- for me it’s the easiest way to earn bread for self. And the corporate doesn’t espouse much to people desperately in love with jeans… it prefers people in formals. No, I don’t like the formals… I never have and I never will but still I have to wear them. I have forcefully been married to the formals… it’s not a choice that I have made; it’s a decision that the almighty fate had in store for me.
In fact when you see from my side, you’ll feel- those four lovely years of love were never mine… those years were something that I had borrowed from the almighty. My heart bleeds in telling you this but that borrowed time of love has ended and we have to part our ways.
Hope you forgive me,
Just an observation
So there I was, a mother of two; who could not remember the last time she had a quiet house and sitting beside me were a group of four young adults (they insist on being called that at 19!) complaining of the boring days they had, during their two month vacation. The bus stop is always a great place to meet people and I strongly believe that conversation helps to build perceptions. Their outlook on the ordinary things in life looked so interesting that I couldn’t help the comparison that sprung to my mind. After half an hour of chatting, here are my observations.
[table id=1 /]
Am sure the readers have observations that are more quirky than the ones I have not penned down. Do share them with me… I got a bus to catch!
Golden Rules of Marriage
Everyone must know certain rules to keep one’s sanity from running away. Here are a few rules I learned along with my husband.
Rule 1: Avoid getting married in the first place. Divorce is an expensive affair. There are other ways to test endurance! Try Survivor!!!
Rule 2: Accept it….you are in for good! (You broke rule #1 didn’t you. Well these are just for people like you.)
Rule 3: Men- Don’t ask your wife to cut down her weight and volunteer to get her into a weight loss programme. Those who broke this rule are still paying for the gems, the gym, the dieting programs and workout outfits that will never be used in this lifetime.
Rule 4: Women – Unless you want your husband to get you the lawn mower for your birthday, please specify the gift that you will accept and the price tag that is approved by you.
Rule 5: Men – Always jot down her birthday, your wedding day, your first kiss and the fateful day that you met your “Other Half”. These will be useful to pass the pop quiz that you will have to take on any given day. Pass mark-’Aww so sweet!’ Fail –‘You don’t love me anymore…. (Accompanied by tears and more expensive jewelry)’
Rule 6: Women – Always jot down the numbers to the takeaways within two kilometer radius along with your mother-in-laws recipes. They will be handy when you want to hear “Just like Mummy’s cooking!” “Tastes like home!”
Rule 7: Men – when the wife says shopping, she does mean minimum two hours! It isn’t an easy affair either on your wallet or on your simple mind. Disappear if you don’t want to wait on her hand and foot, with statements like’ Call me when you are done/ Got some work to do/ Car needs servicing’
Rule 8: Women – Time and money are never calculated on the same terms. Time is minutes for men and hours for women; Money is less when they spend it and more when you do.
Rule 9: There is no such thing as a joint decision. One argues and the other dictates.
Rule 10: Messy days are over, get a maid if you want your sanity to be maintained.
Rule 11: Men – Do not criticize your wife on the household chore left undone. It is best to keep that opinion to yourself. Those who have violated this rule have found themselves stuck for life without parole, with all types of chores!
Rule 12: Women – Never ask a man to save you when the house is on fire and sports / global news repeat is on TV. The chances are you will burn to steak and he will come around ad time to see if the popcorn is done. It’s every woman to her-self. Violation of this rule has known to cause baldness in women. Most women were found pulling their hair out.
Rule 13: Children are for people who can take care of pets and don’t mind 4 am feeding time. For others, there are easy activities – bonsai, Farmville and Twitter. Caution: People who ignored the warning in this rule are often seen at a playground with defeated expressions on their faces and patiently watching the little tyke go through Jungle Bungle for the umpteenth time saying ’ Mommy, Mommy, Look at me, ….See me climb, Daddy’.
Rule 14: Men – Children, freedom and order don’t go together. Period.
Rule 15: The next door neighbour has everything that is perfect, no matter which corner of the earth you live in. Deal with it!
Rule 16: All arguments must be settled by Dawn next day. Men – Admit it, you can’t take care of the kids single handed while cooking, cleaning and working. Women – Enjoy the chaos with a cup of tea. Do the disappearing act if the apology is not in on time. Deadline is important.
Rule 17: Men – Nothing gets you more work than looking comfortable on a couch.
Rule 18: Women- It’s true; the way to a Man’s heart is through his stomach. It is a well kept public secret. There is no point fighting it. Check Rule #6 for more tips.
Rule 19: If you can’t convince them on the goodness of your diabolical plan….confuse them and then scare them. For best results, try this rule on the kids. It works wonders on confusing the Know-It-All and scaring the Dare Devil. There is nothing like a little confusion and fear to lick them to shape.
Rule 20: Do sit down for a cup of coffee everyday and say I love you to each other. It is a must since you broke Rule
# 1. Just kidding! It is a must since love really does make life worth living.
Women and compliments
What’s with us a woman? Why do we constantly need morale boosting, I wonder? Whether its a little girl of 7 years, a confident career woman at 30, or a mature woman at 50, we can never hear enough “I am proud of you” “You look beautiful in that” “Thank you for supporting me” “Thank you for taking care of me” “You are doing a great job”.
I was at a cousin’s house the other day. She has two children; a girl aged 10 and a boy about 4 years old. The girl was busy drawing something. During the course of the visit, she brought her drawing book to be admired. We praised her efforts. The little boy looked at her work and like all brothers laughed and rubbished her efforts. The poor thing had tears in her eyes, her world totally shattered. Angrily she said, “My drawing is good” which was replied with “No it isn’t” It all degenerated into the classic “Yes it is” and “No it isn’t” slanging match. Her father came in, was called to arbitrate, and said sweetly “Of course my love, your drawing is beautiful“. The smile on her face was ecstatic. Her father, the main man in her tiny life, had praised her efforts. She was in heaven!!!
My daughter in law will put on a dress and then spin and dance in the living room. While she is spinning she says “Look at me, isn’t my dress beautiful!” She is the classic independent, confident, grown up woman but there is a little girl deep down spinning around saying “Look at me, tell me I am beautiful”.
The men in our lives should know that they need to affirm and reassure their wives and daughters. If they don’t build their women up and make them feel safe, someone or something else will fill that hole. We don’t want TV or a magazine telling us what is beautiful or trying to fill that hole. The longer we wait for the man in our lives to start telling us that we are precious to them, the longer it takes for us to be fulfilled. It is really our souls that have been poisoned with insecurity – for all our lives. Doubt and worry are our constant companions, “Am I good looking enough?”, “Do I look fat?“, “Am I a good cook/home-maker?” “Am I failing at work?” “Am I good mother?” “Am I a good wife?”
Hey men, whatever might be the response you get to your compliments, please keep on at it. We need your encouragement to boost our morale.
Looney Looney Luna bars!
This is the story about my switch from one brand of energy bars to another with disastrously feminine results! (disastrous to me as I am a male and ‘feminine results’ are not what I am looking for to spice my life up)
‘Looney Looney Luna bars’ is a pointless short story I wrote as an exhaust for my vilifications. Enjoy! BURP
As a recreational runner, I am overly obsessive (if it is possible to be overly obsessive) about my pre-run and post-run meals, like most long distance runners are. To counteract the hundreds of calories lost during a long run lasting anywhere between 50-60 minutes, I invest a chunk of my earnings in energy bars and protein powders which are quite effective.
I was getting quite bored of my pre-run energy bar and hence I abandoned ship and changed loyalties from ‘Larabars’, which are compacted fruit bars made of dates, figs and various nuts to ‘Lunabars’, which are compacted bars made of dates, figs, nuts and nuts WITH A BETTER FLAVOR.
As I unwrapped my morning-pre-run energy bar and sank my teeth into it, I noticed something strange printed on the wrapper. CHOMP CHOMP. What is this? CHOMP CHOMP. Hellooooo!!! It said LUNABar – The whole nutrition bar FOR WOMEN!!!!!
‘What?????‘ I exclaimed!!!! ‘GASP!!!!!’ was another noteworthy verbal ejaculation. It surprised the bejesus out of me that this energy bar, that I grasped in my hand, and chomped on vigorously WAS FOR WOMEN!!! And the rascal of a store clerk never told me!!!!
My mind was in turmoil! It was like being hit hard with a battering ram that completely blows the wind out of you (along with a few rupture organs, if I am to be precise about the repercussions of being pounded by a b. ram…)
A few of the thoughts that went into my mind were: “Does this thing have estrogen?!??!?!” “Will it make my boobs bigger???” “Will there be major upheavals in my life every 28 days?!??!??!?”
“Hold on… just one cotton picking minute…. How can this bar be for women ONLY? Food cannot be gender specific, surely? I’ve had enough of this woman’s lib bullsh*t without them stealing my right to an energy bar? This is ridiculous!”
And it was ridiculous. I checked with the manufacturer. Apparently it’s marketed as a ‘for women’ product as it only has half the calories as regular high protein bars, the sexist bastard!
And thanks to this consternation, I was late for my run.
Two brothers (boisterous) + One sister (sweet) + One elder sister (held responsible for all 3) = Disaster
As children, my brothers (both are younger than me) were a pain in the rear. The elder one was always wandering off alone and the younger one refused to be forced into any kind of action other than eating. My sister was a sweet child with a flair for throwing a bucket of tears at the drop of a hat.
Brother number one and I were always at odds with each other. He would get into all sorts of mischief and I would get punished for not being responsible. If I was on the bus, after school, heading home, he was busy playing in the sand and missing the bus. Who got blamed for being irresponsible? –ME, of course. If I had a new shiny toy, he was busy taking it apart. When the toy was on its last screw, dad would always see it and I got reprimanded. Who got blamed for being irresponsible? – ME, of course.
However, things changed once my little sister and little brother came into the picture. It was fun to watch my brother get himself into all sorts of scraps. The most notable one was on a Friday when all of us were dressed and ready to attend a church function. All of us were required to wear white. My parents had painstakingly hunted white dresses and shirts for us and a stern warning was issued on consequences of dirtying our clothes. As usual my brother (9 yrs then) could not resist. My sister (4 yrs) and youngest brother (3 yrs) loved to drink Tang and were having a cup full of it. They were being careful in not tipping even the smallest drop on their clothes. My mother had finished a round of cleaning up of spilled drinks and dropped sandwiches and was running to get dressed for church. We were late and Dad was in a foul mood at being late. He kept muttering about how we were all tardy, irresponsible and always late.
He was impatiently pacing around waiting for mum. All of us kept watching him while we sipped on the chilled Tang. Brother number one was bored after waiting for a few minutes. He hated the freshly pressed white shirt and the neat hair style that mum had insisted he wear. Sneaking behind where the younger kids were sitting, he decided to have some fun. Seeing him behind them, I ran to stop any mischief, but all in vain. He jumped on them with a loud shout. With a rude start, my sister jerked and up went the cup full of orange juice to fall smack in front of the mischief maker’s new, white, freshly pressed shirt. Brother number two spilled his juice on my sister’s stocking. It was the only good one that she had. Everyone looked stunned for a moment. And then there was a loud wail. My sister began to cry over her ruined stocking and spilled drink. Brother number two was crying and throwing a fit saying “I want my Tannnnggggggggg……” He looked like he lost his best pal. I was running around like a banshee, with my hair plaited on one end and undone on the other, trying to locate a rag and a box of tissues. It was quite a scene.
My dad was blowing his top off like a pressure cooker on high flame and walked to my brother to take him to task. The mischief maker ran for his ears. My poor mother ran to wash the stockings and tried to convince my wailing sister that her white shoes would not be orange once she dried them. She also managed to silence brother number two with another glass of Tang. He decided not to waste any of the precious moments he got to spend with his beloved TANG and settled down quietly to sipping his drink. During this commotion, my dad managed to chase down our mischief maker and boxed his ears till they looked like that of an elephant.
My brother meekly sat with throbbing ears for the rest of the evening. He did not dare to trouble the younger children for the fear of a repeat on the Tang episode. To this day, we still laugh out when we think of Tang.
- Musings by Anney Thomas. She has a streak of funny genes that could make you forget day’s tension. She has reinvented her writing passion and is here to spread smiles through her writing. For her other articles click HERE
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It was a practice, and still is, to have a siesta in the afternoon. Children were usually put to bed with a stern warning that any interruption to sleep time would be hazardous to one’s backside. Such a warning would generally pass through unheard, unheeded and unthought of.
One afternoon, after a really tired morning, dad put us all to bed for a siesta. A stern warning was issued. Each of us silently vowed that we would not initiate a fight if the other behaved. The curtains were drawn, the room was dark and none of us could sleep despite the cool air tempting us. After half and hour of tossing and turning and hitting each other with paper planes, I sneak out and decide to turn on the TV at the lowest volume. Within a few minutes…. I was joined by the rest of the gang. All of us huddled together and sat close to the TV to watch the cartoons.
It is not in the nature of brothers and sisters to co-exist peacefully. As soon as the first cartoon was over, the boys wanted to see a robot cartoon and we girls wanted to see our favourite comedy. By then, my younger brother got hold of the remote and decided to watch Sesame Street which was clearly a baby show for the rest of us. A fight was in progress, three against one. Sofa cushions began to fly, chairs were jostled, my mother’s precious collectables became casualties to this Holy War and somewhere in between the running over and under the dinning table we all bump into dad.
Except for the TV….there was pin drop silence. Each of us looked dad and then at each other while thinking of an exit strategy. My dad looked like the rumbling Mount Olympus… someone has got to pay. His eyes were red and it looked like he had tried to pull out his hair. “ WHO?…” he asked …we didn’t wait for him to ask for a name, we began to point at the nearest person. Everyone was blaming the younger one and he was vehemently accusing each of us of provoking him in turn. Dad looked like he would explode. His face took to a darker shade of red. None of us saw it coming. In a second the TV stopped working and the main connecting cable laid in two pieces…. “No more TV. GO…TO…BED” he roared. We scrammed for our dear life and burrowed ourselves in bed.
The next afternoon, after more tossing and turning I snuck out and turned on the radio. Though it had a bit of static, the station was clear if you turned it on a bit loud. Going off to the further end of the room, I sat down and tuned in to listen. Within a few minutes, the rest of the gang walked in and sat tapping their feet and listening. It was a lovely 15 minutes before the static started to interfere and I began to adjust the dials. Soon enough, battle lines were drawn and a fight broke out. Everyone felt that they personally could sort the static interference issue. After a bit of jostling, a few screams and jumping from sofa to sofa like Tarzan in the jungle, my brothers stopped mid way when they saw Dad. My sister and I were unaware and still busy holding up the cushions against the attack from the boys. The silence got us to cautiously lower our cushion guards. Lo behold! There stood dad with thunder in his face. He looked like a Volcano waiting to erupt. His hair stood up on its own on the top of his head. He had a cane on one hand and an expression that spoke volumes on the punishment yet to come. “What is going ON?”…
Each of us looked at the other. And then all hell broke loose. Each of us spoke louder than the other to explain how it was not our fault and how the other refused to keep quite. While speaking we were still yelling at the nearest person for not being quiet and for telling tales. One can only imagine the effect of the bickering on my dad. After loosing sleep twice in a row, my father was ready to blow and someone was at the receiving end. One moment he was angrily shouting and the next, the radio’s power cable went down the balcony into the crowded bushes below the 10th storey building. Each of us received a hot cane to the rear before he roared “No more RADIO. GO…TO…BED...” We scrammed for our dear life.
The third afternoon, we decide that it was just not in our system to go to sleep on a perfect afternoon. With the TV and Radio out of the picture, the only other thing that we could do was to play Antakshari. Careful to shut the door behind us to control the noise pollution, we began to sing in turns. All was fine until my youngest brother got bored and my sister decided to sing an English song. An argument broke out regarding the rules, a scuffle began, words and blows were exchanged and I was caught in between the cross fire. No amount of Shhhhhhh helped. The coffee table was overturned, the vase with flowers was spilt and the jungle episode with Tarzan jumping over the pricy sofas continued until a loud roar stopped us to our tracks. Dad had woken up. This time, we were in this for good.
Dad looked utterly defeated with bags under his eyes; unshaved stubbles dotting his jaw and hair sticking out like static electricity had fun with it. Mum stood groggily at his side trying to focus on the issue at hand….US. Something had to be done. We froze. My poor father was utterly exhausted and he literally gave up trying to make us sleep.
Handing over a TV cable he said, “Watch TV…” and went back to bed …this time with some ear plugs on…
The family. We were a strange little band of characters trudging through life sharing diseases and toothpaste, coveting one another’s desserts, hiding shampoo, borrowing money, locking each other out of our rooms, inflicting pain and kissing to heal it in the same instant, loving, laughing, defending, and trying to figure out the common thread that bound us all together. ~Erma Bombeck
- Musings by Anney Thomas. She has a streak of funny genes that could make you forget day’s tension. She has reinvented her writing passion and is here to spread smiles through her writing. For her other articles click HERE
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Mummy, I Love You
I know it seems to be a fad to say Mummy, I Love You…and we reserve a special day to say so.
I always thought my mum was a bit timid, always solicitous and witty. As I grew up, I realized that my mum was unique in every way. She was not timid, she was just soft spoken and diplomatic. Having a brood of four and working is never an easy task. She was always busy, but she always took it in her stride that we were different and independent and this instilled a lot of confidence in me. Her witty comments were always a product of sharp observation. She would make us laugh with her observations and use it to correct us. It was her sense of humour that kept her sane.
She was geographically challenged. She had no clue as to where each road was or how we got to a certain place. Sometimes, she would be so deep in thought that certain things escape her notice. One such incident was when she was coming back from work one evening in my dad’s old Mercedes (Aka. the Merc). Being a car with a manual gear, it always took time for her to get the gear in place. That evening, while she was putting the gear in place, the car stopped in front of the signal and refused to stir. Poor mum, she was so hassled. ‘What to do?!’ She was not sure as to how she was to push the car to the emergency lane which was three lanes to the right. So, she tied up her dupatta and after putting the neutral gear began to huff and puff and push. I must mention at this point that it was a funny scene. The car refused to budge and mum looked like she has pushed a rhino.
A couple of young guys took pity on her and helped her to get the car to the designated area. A mechanic was called in and the problem got sorted within half an hour. She then drove home with all sorts of things in her mind. After parking the car she stepped out, locked the car and then walked straight into an electric post! The impact of bodily hitting a post was so sudden that she hugged the post to keep from falling!!
She thought she had hit someone and apologized immediately to the post. Only after the heartfelt apology did she realize that she hit a post!! An ordinary person would have lost their mind at this terrible stroke of misfortune –first being the car breakdown, second the pushing and puffing and now … hitting a rock solid electric post. But not mum. The first thing she did was look around to see if anyone had noticed her small mishap. Not a soul in sight. She continued her walk, this time carefully. She came home and said with a quite smile, “Listen kids, your dad’s KHATARA broke down in the middle of the road, I hugged a street post today … and am so lucky that the hugging incident and the apology that the post graciously accepted, was not witnessed by anyone we know.”
It took us half an hour to stop laughing at what she said and an additional hour to stop imagining her hugging the post. She was always able to take small mishaps lightly and this was really a gem of a quality. This gem always surfaced when Mum and the Merc were together.
Once, she was rushing and decided to take the infamous Merc to work. After inserting the key into the lock she found to her surprise that the door remained locked. She began to jiggle the keys thinking that the lock was jammed ….but no avail. She then went over to the other side and repeated the process with no success. Thinking that the car needed a rough push, she jammed the key into the lock again and jiggled it a bit. The door wouldn’t budge. She banged on the door and tried again.
Exasperated, she looked into the car to see if anything was causing the jam. To her horror, she noticed that the upholstery was a much darker shade of maroon and the small items in the car were not the usual ones we used. Then it struck her! She was trying to open somebody else’s car! Our MERC stood innocently a few feet away looking the same as ever. She looked around to see if anyone had witnessed the apparent attempt to break in….nope, not a soul in sight! She smiled as if she had forgotten something, started digging for something in her bag and almost ran to our car to unlock it.
That night she came home saying, “Kids, a funny thing happened today. I could have been arrested for breaking in…” and she explained trying to open the car and looking puzzled. Imagining her was really amusing. But seeing her enact the episode with the jiggling, the banging and the running with “I ducked out and ran to our car before anyone saw me….” was hilarious. We were in stitches. It was needless to say we roared over laughing all night. Poor mum, the Merc always put her in a fix.
With all these qualities, she is so unique. I know it seems to be a fad but I really mean it when I say Mummy, I Love You…
- Musings by Anney Thomas