Category Archives: Amusing

Exactly what the title says. Join in for a good laugh!

Conversations in my loola family!

Currently we’re operating on houseful mode. There are eight of us in 1200 sq ft of space and its an effort to not tread on each others’ toes. Conversely, there’s never a dull moment. Conversations are like telephone cross talks. Remember phone cross talks that used to happen about a decade ago? The hilarious telecom service malfunction where you’d be talking to someone and suddenly you’d both hear two other individuals talking to each other. Then in between you’d try to speak to the person you were speaking to originally and discuss the cross talk that is going on while the cross talk is still going on. It’s a pity that that such entertainment does not happen any more because you know, the telecom service has obviously pulled its sock up and spruced up their services. Digitised it or whatever horrid things they do to put an end to genuine entertainment.

However, if you want to hear such cross talks happen you can always pop in to our place, especially in the late evenings when the family is present in full strength. Let me introduce you to all the members first:

  1. Television – this box forms the central character in our home. Everyone wants to spend time with this box.
  2. 99 year old great grandmother (my father-in-law’s mother) – who is mentally agile, but physically rather weak – as is understandable given her age. Her constant and only worry in life is that we may neglect to feed her and she may starve to death. Henceforth referred to as GGM.
  3. The caretaker nurse who looks after the above mentioned grandma.
  4. My father-in-law a dedicated chemical engineer lost in his world of formulas
  5. My mother in law – whose only weakness is the telephone. Once she begins talking into it – she forgets the real people around her
  6. My husband R– who feels the perpetual urge to stare at a screen. If its not the television, it has to be his computer monitor.
  7. Me – Oh, several eccentric characteristics, the biggest trait being that I dislike loud noises. Loud conversations and loud television get my blood boiling like nothing else does!
  8. My 8-year old daughter M – Well, as the only child around, she practically rules the house and twiddles us all around her teeny finger. When demands don’t work she resorts to tears. That’s one thing which makes the family stop whatever they are up to and rush to her rescue! M’s favourite pastime, is to quarrel with her father over the TV remote.

So you have the classic setting. And conversations at our home usually go like this:

MIL (on phone) – giggle giggle and she said…blah blah blah,

TV: blaring blaring blaring and R staring staring staring

M: C’mon you’ve been watching TV forever, when do I get a chance to see?

FIL (also on phone) – you know I think the water is too saline…

Me: M come and do your homework

GGM: I only want rice and curd for dinner

Nurse: It’s only 6 o clock. Your dinner time is 8 o clock.

GGM: Oh…ok. But I still want only rice and curd and maybe pickle

MIL: giggle giggle…how can she behave this way…

FIL: I have told them to set up a desalination plant…

R: You do your homework then come watch TV

M: Nooooooo. I don’t have homework

Me: Nevermind about homework, you’ve got to study a bit

GGN: You can even give me rice and curd and rasam as a side dish. This morning’s rasam was nice.

Nurse: Yes yes they will give you everything don’t worry. There’s still time.

MIL: Ok…I’ve got to go. Oh my god. I’m late!

FIL: I gave them a cost estimate for the desalination plant also

R: There see mom is calling. Study time

TV: blaring blaring blaring

M: But ma please, I did not watch TV at all today

Me: Oh that’s good because neither did I. Come here, we’ll sit down and study.

GGM: (looking at my MIL who has finished her phone call and is all set to go out) – Where is she going?

MIL: I’m going for a music concert.

GGM: Concert?

MIL: Yes there is a Sudha Raghunathan concert at the Sabha. I’m going for that.

FIL: (has finished his phone call) I will also just go for a walk

M: Appa let me just see what’s coming in the kids channel, then I will go away.

R: Ok. But that’s it. Don’t continue watching.

GGM: If you all go away who will feed me?

MIL: (pointing to me) – she is there at home.

FIL: I will also be back, I’m just going for a walk

GGM: I just need rice and curd

MIL: Yes I know, you don’t need a cooking expert to give you rice and curd. Even M can give you. Don’t worry.

M: Ah! My favourite cartoon. Oh and I’ve been wanting watch this episode. Appa pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease let me see just this one.

R: That’s cheating

Me: M I said NO TV. Come here and study.

M: But ma all my friends have seen this episode and they keep talking about it.

MIL: Ok so I’m going. Bye

FIL: Bye. Call me if you remember some groceries needed for home

R: Buy me some bananas

M: Amma please can I watch this episode?

TV: Blaring blaring blaring

GGM: Why is everyone going out? Who will feed me? I don’t want bananas. I want rice and curd.

Nurse (pointing to me): She is there.

Me: M are you planning to listen to me or not?

R: She is so smart, she has managed to snatch the remote from me.

M: Amma please…

Me: NO

GGN: (talking to me): I just want rice and curd

Me: I know, don’t worry I will give you

GGN: I don’t need anything else, just rice and curd

R (now on skype with a Russian pal): kak dila!

M: See even appa is not watching. Can I?

TV: Blaring blaring blaring

GGN: M come on say some slokas. Sing Lambodara

M: Amma! Not now!

Me: Why not now? You need to practice what you are learning.

TV: blaring blaring

R: Dai meynia pajalusta blah blah blah

GGN: After you sing. I will eat. Just rice and curd with rasam.

Nurse: Yes, yes they will feed you. Don’t they give you food on time everyday?

M: Amma! Look Chota Bheem has gone to Egypt. He is going inside pyramids.

TV:  blaring blaring

R: Ah can you get me a glass of water please

Me: CAN YOU LOWER THE TV VOLUME! I CANNOT EVEN HEAR MYSELF THINK!

M: (jerks into action, lowers volume): But amma, Bheem is explaining about pyramids and I can’t hear.

GGN:  Just make sure the rice is well cooked. If it’s hard I can’t eat.

R: Hey just give me water know?

M: See now I can’t hear anything

Nurse: Yes she knows

Me: It’s ok if you can’t hear. You’ve seen this episode a million times, you know the dialogues.

GGN: But she is standing here. Not cooking. Who will make my rice?

Nurse: Oh my God! Why do you worry so much!

R: It’s ok. It got my own water. What’s for dinner?

M: Amma! Look Bheem has found a Mummy inside the pyramid.

GGN: See everyone is worrying about dinner

Me: Ah! This episode is over. That’s it. Off with the TV and its study time

R: Shall I make pasta for dinner?

M: Yayyyy I will make pasta with appa.

Me: No. You will study.

GGN: I want rice and curd

And so it goes on. Everyday. Can life be more interesting?

 

Blame it on…

Usually ‘weather’ is the bad guy.

You can blame it for anything. Fever, headache, cough, stomach bug, toothache, bad hair days, tasteless food, bad mood, chipping nails, lack of sleep, feeling sleepy, depression, exuberance, shopping sprees, feeling like dressing up, feeling like not dressing up at all, laziness, muscle pull, acidity, hair lice, weight gain, weight loss, over confidence, lack of confidence…yup…the weather is the reason for everything. And the best part is – it can’t even come and defend itself. So go ahead blame it all you want.

But at home they’ve found a new culprit. My homeopathy medicines.

For some reason no one at home trusts homeopathy. They scorn at those little white balls, the sweetish white powders and the transparent liquid that’s given as medicine. I’ve been having a thyroid problem for years now and have done nothing about it. I used to take tablets before my daughter was born – because they told me thyroid could affect fertility levels. But then after her birth I stopped taking those dreadful hormone pills and have felt absolutely fine ever since. However, mom kept insisting that I do something about it and finally, after 6 years, I went to the homeopath and got myself those little white balls.

So now if I sneeze, feel hot, feel cold, have frizzy hair, have a tummy upset, acidity, stub my toe, have no appetite or feel constantly hungry, have a headache, feel low…its all because of those dreadful white balls.

It’s reached a point where I’m afraid to say how I feel because then someone will immediately tut tut and say ‘must be those homeo medicines’.

I began to notice then, that we do this a lot. This blaming something for everything business. And that ‘something’ is usually ‘something’ which cannot stand up and defend itself. It gives us an easy way out. It seems like a rational explanation for everything. Its logic is irrefutable. Just blame everything on that ‘thing’.

You are absolutely perfect and beyond all blame. If anyone is to be blamed, its your stars, your fate, the weather, your body structure, your karma…and if you find nothing else your homeo pills.

Squeaky ball and giggles

Over the weekend we were cleaning my daughter M’s cupboard and I found an alien shoe box and shoved it into a corner. Grumbling about the junk M manages to accumulate. M sat on it. Squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeak! It shrieked and startled us both! We both exchanged looks and her expression was so cute and funny I broke into giggles. She grinned and sat on it again and…squeeeeeeeeeeeak! And again. Squeeeeeeeeeeeeak! And again. Squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeak! Then we took it out of its prison and it squeaked indignantly out. Ah her old favourite squeaky ball. I remember having picked it up from a pet store when she was less than two! It’s one of those doggy ‘fetch’ balls. I fell in love with it because it was this bright pink colour with cute little bones popping out from it. Simply adorable. And I remember her playing with it for hours together. Playing exactly the way a doggy might have played. Asking me to throw it and then fetching it herself. Over and over and over again we did it. Until its squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeak filled my being and I could not hear anything else any more. Perhaps out of frustration – I might have put it in a box and shoved it into her cupboard.

Now that we had rediscovered it – we fell in love with it all over again. We played fetch for some time. And its familiar, happy squeak filled the room. It had this funny way of squeaking. You press it and it goes all squishy and shapeless then gradually it expels its squeezed breath going sqquuuuuuuuueeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaak un-squishing itself eventually. It should have been annoying of course, but I don’t know why it was so funny. M and I giggled and giggled and rolled on the floor unable to contain our laughter. Then her eyes lit up with mischief and we thought of a hundred whacky things we could do with the ball…

Her grandpa was having his mid morning siesta. We quietly sneaked into the room and tucked squeaky under his pillow. Then we stood there trying not to break into giggles while we waited from him to turn and for squeaky to do its thing. And turn he did in a few minutes.

‘Squuuuueeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaak’ it went loud and clear. Grandpa sat up confused and startled – not just by the squeak but also because of two totally whacko girls standing there and giggling like there’s no tomorrow!

Grandma was our next victim.

She was in the kitchen grinding dosa^ batter. We squeezed in squeaky’s cheeks and threw it at grandma yelling “catch patty*” before she could react it she caught it and it went ‘squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeak‘. Startled she screamed “eek” and threw it away and ‘plonk’ it landed on the freshly ground dosa batter. Grandma was of course livid that we messed up her dosa batter! She whacked our butts – while we shamelessly giggled and giggled.

The maid was next.

She was swabbing the floor with her back to us. We quietly placed squeaky behind her – knowing that she would step on it. And she did. And it went “sqquuueeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeak!”. The maid went “aiyooo yamma diiiiiiiiii” and so on. We of course giggled and giggled.

Her dad came in then from a meeting. We did not even need to discuss the plan. We just knew what gig to pull on him. She cajoled her dad into coming and opening a certain game site for her. And sweetly dragged him to the computer chair. By then I had placed squeaky there. He sat and it went ‘squuuuueeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeak’ and we went giggle giggle giggle.

The entire household was giving us tolerant smiles. No one of course was really amused. It was like grin and bear it. M and I kept breaking into explosions of laughter all day as we recalled each of their expressions when squeaky did its thing.

Now squeaky has mysteriously disappeared from our sight. No marks for guessing who could have hidden it away! But what the hell…all that giggling helped. Whoever said that laughter is the best medicine is absolutely, completely, totally right. :)

PS:

*Grandmother in Tamil

^ Dosa – Fluffy rice pancakes

Facebook – the new family astrologer

A fussy cousin recently got married. Her parents heaved a HUGE sigh of relief. For the past three years they’ve done nothing but look for a groom for her. Here’s the statistics:

  • Prospective grooms seen: 3987
  • 2% disqualified on grounds of very long nose
  • 1% broad nose
  • 1.5% Sissy voice
  • 5.5% too dark
  • 5% too fair
  • 5% too tall/lanky
  • 5% too short/stout
  • 15% too many siblings
  • 10% overweight
  • A whopping 50% were shunned because of the possibility of the mother-in-law being too nosey.

The family desperately consulted astrologers, did rounds of temples…but the perfect son-in-law was just too elusive. But then… magic happened.

Or should I say Facebook happened!

She had seen this guy some 3 years ago on Facebook and he sort of matched all her criteria. But she thought nothing more of it – until three years (and over a thousand rejected prospects later) she stumbled upon his profile. His status was still single and to her now desperate self – he seemed more than perfect!

Viola! Contact was made. They sent each other toads, hearts, cause requests, indulged in Mafia Wars, found out which of the 7 deadly sins they belonged to, discovered what they were born to do, found out how Tamil they are, explored how Cool they are, discovered each others’ kissing style… Thanks to all this and over innumerable chat sessions they discussed likes, dislikes, habits, quirks…he even found her extreme fussiness endearing.

Well…the good Lord makes all kinds I say. There certainly is one for everyone!

Parents were informed. Both families instantly (might I add gleefully) agreed. The girl’s highly orthodox parents gave up the idea of matching horoscopes (they tried BTW – this one did not match). They were simply relieved that she had finally approved of someone. To her credit – he is a terrific guy and his family is highly endearing.

Gossip circles had much to talk about. The wedding hall was a bustling advertisement for Facebook. You could hear the word whispered as people chit chatted. The young lot gushing over it and the elders puzzling over this new matchmaking gadget! One conversation I overheard:

Old orthodox lady 1: “They did not see ‘jadagam’ (horoscope) of the boy and girl first, they saw something called Facebook.”

Old orthodox lady 2: “Oh is that like those wedding website shadi.com and all that?”

Old orthodox lady 1: “Must be. I think this one is even better. It matched their horoscopes too it seems!”

Old orthodox lady 2: “Ah these days computers can do anything.”

Old orthodox lady 1: “Yes yes…mmm Facebook… I will ask my daughter also to register there. She is also 27 now you see..”

Old orthodox lady 2: “Certainly you should. And see you don’t even need to find an astrologer to see jadagam and all. You will get a smart ready-made groom.”

Then the two ladies sighed and looked fondly at the couple…even as whispers of ‘Facebook’ continued around the hall.

Ho Ho Ho

I really love this time of the year. The weather is perfect in Chennai and the festive spirit in the air is palpable. Somehow people don’t look so grumpy anymore – and that’s a big relief. But a strange epidemic takes over the city at this time. It’s a new phenomenon that’s been happening over the last two years…

I call it the Santa fever. You can see Santa’s in every street corner. They come in all shapes, sizes, colours and attires. Scrawny ones with just their false bellies sticking out. Dark, hairy ones. Most of them have ill fitting suits. For some the trouser rests well above the ankle. Sometimes the sleeve dangles well after the hand. At times the buttons strain around the artificial belly and you can see the lump of cloth they use to create the belly! Well… you get the drift. They all walk around with sacks of…hold your breath…promotional literature! There’s one Santa asking you to try the fantastic offers at Pizza Corner. Another one wants you to buy Christmas goodies at Macrennet Bakery. Another one insists that you shop at Saravana Stores. But the best one I have seen till date is one Santa who handed over pamphlets of a beauty parlour!

At first my daughter was excited to see the Santa’s. But after about four – she even refuses to look at them. They’re like street lights in every corner!

If you’re walking down the road and you bump into one – try to find the first escape route. You’ll see their tacky plastic face masks in such disturbing close up. You’ll notice its ends tearing off. And suddenly a hairy, grimy hand will flutter out of the outsized suit and try to pinch your daughter’s cheek. What’s horror! We both run for our lives.

Last night – after one such encounter :

“Amma is there a real Santa? Or are there only dressed up one’s?”  asked my perplexed daughter

“Yes. There is a real Santa. He stays up in the North Pole and its not possible for him to meet every child that’s why he asks people to dress up like him so that every child gets a chance to see Santa.” Says me smartly

“But I want to meet the real Santa. How will I know he’s the real one when I meet the real one?” M continues to worry

“The real one will not wear a mask. That’s how you will know!” I said the first thing that came to my mind.

“And will the real one give me a piece of paper or will he give me a gift?” she probes further

“A gift of course!” I assure her

She was silent after this.  So I assumed the topic was over. Today it came up again!

They had Christmas party in school. And apparently Santa came to give them all gifts.

“Amma you told me a real Santa will not wear a mask and will give me a gift. So when school Santa came I was happy he was not wearing a mask. He also gave me gifts. But when I was sitting on his lap I pulled his beard. It came off! Then I saw it was not Santa – it was Chelsea’s mother!” said my worried daughter

I was horrified!! “Oops! You pulled her beard in front of the whole class?” I asked

“Not fully ma. Just a little bit – but I could see it was Chelsea’s mother! So is there a real Santa?” She said, going back to her original question!

Don’t ask me how I wriggled out of that one. It was tough! Sigh. Whatever happened to the sanctity  of Santa? If hairy men, scrawny men and overweight women can all be Santa’s – how do we get the child to believe? Really! So when the child asks us pointed questions all we can do is squirm in our seats and go  “heh heh heh”…

Sweet as laddoo

I hate going to parlors. Somehow it’s the most uncomfortable thing in the world for me. And just my luck the parlor closest to my home is located right opposite a mechanic shop. So just imagine… I walk out of the parlor after threading or waxing. My skin still smarting and me trying to look all cool and nonchalant – the guys in the mechanic shop stop their work and stare. Then they turn to each other pass comments and laugh raucously. Just the confidence deflator I need! My façade of confidence crumbles and I scurry past like a mouse. The whole experience is a torture for me!

However social etiquette demands that I do not wander around looking like a hairy bear. So I subject myself to this torture session at least once a month. I was there last evening. Dreading that first sting when the lady starts the threading process. At that point I want to stop and scream and slap her – like the whole thing was her fault! I wonder why I get these wicked urges?

So there was me last night sitting in the chair like a lamb waiting to be slaughtered. And while I waited for the lady to attend to me – I looked around to pass time. The first thing I noticed about the lady next to me was her big belly. It lay exposed – with all its stretch marks and other sundry marks – like a lard of ugly flesh. Like it did not belong to the body – but was just placed there. With difficulty I pried my eyes away from her belly to her face. She must have been 50 something. She was getting a hair massage done. And this is what horrified me the most – she was eating a laddoo. It was one of those giant Tirupathi laddoo types. She was munching it slowly, happily. I mean how one can eat inside a parlor – completely baffles me. What with all the hair and dust floating around! Eeeeeeeeeeek. And worse, how can one do it when one’s own hair is getting massaged? Amazing.

One good thing was the woman took my mind off my own discomfort. While I closed my eyes and subject myself to torture, I could hear her talking to her attendant. She was positively rude! Talking to the girl in a gruff, man-like voice and telling her how to do her job properly. All this with pauses to munch that endless laddoo. Then suddenly her phone rang and it was incredible how she changed her tone of voice. Suddenly she was oh-so-saccharine-sweet. Even sweeter that the laddoo nestling in her palm. She literally drooled into the phone and profusely (sweeeeeeeeetly) thanked someone for thinking of her and calling etc. After a few minutes of exchanging pleasantries she clicked her phone shut and then went back to snapping at that girl. Like a chameleon she could change the colours of her personality with such ease! I was amazed.

Finally my torture ended. I opened my tear filled eyes and quickly dabbed them with a tissue. (Ok I don’t know if this happens to everyone – but the threading pain causes my eyes to well up! Damn embarrassing!) I turned to look at the woman. She was still munching her laddoo! Her head was inside a bulb-like structure with steam coming out of it. I paid and quickly scurried out hoping that this machine would smoke out devil from inside her head and transform her into someone sweet – just like her laddoo.

Oh, I’m but a slave!

One day I decided to switch off my mobile phone. Actually it switched itself off when the battery ran out. So I said tiddle dee dee and went on with life. Working peacefully without disturbance. Until…

A panic phone call from mom to my office landline (how she ever got hold of that landline is still a mystery). “Are you ok?” was the first thing she asked me. I pinched myself, jumped a few times. Yup – all vitals working fine. Me ok. Wassup at your end? I asked her flippantly. “I have been desperately trying to reach you since morning! Why is your phone unreachable?” She chided me.

“Ugh..it’s out of battery. Tell me amma, what’s the problem?” I said immediately concerned

“Problem? Who said there is a problem?” asks mom, still irritated.

“Then why were you trying to reach me so desperately?” I wondered

“Oh that…you know our banana plant at home…well..its got its first batch of fruits! Yeah! A whole bunch of tiny bananas!” She said excitedly.

I was like “that’s it? You were desperately trying to reach me to say that?” My turn to get annoyed.

“Well…yes but I got worried because I was unable to reach you since morning.” Mom said a trifle sheepishly.

“Oh c’mon ma we just spoke this morning at 8 am! Why must you panic! Ok let me get on with work now.” I said disgustedly and put the phone down.

A little later my boss called me into his room and asks me if I had checked my mails. I shook my head saying I was busy with so and so work and did not log on. He sighed and said “go check your mail. Everything is now sorted out though.”

I checked mail. Panic mails from the most annoying client in the world. All to the effect of agency is being uncommunicative. The concerned executive is unreachable. All the work has got stalled because the person cannot be reached. This kind of attitude will not be tolerated. How can any deadlines be achieved at this rate…well…you get the drift. So I picked up the phone and called the dude.

“What’s the panic?” I bark into the phone.

“I could not reach you. Something urgent!” He blubbered

“What is it? My phone was out of battery and I was out all day.” I lied efficiently.

“Well…that layout you sent me yesterday…it’s approved. I need the artwork by tomorrow.” He said like it was the most urgent thing in the world.

“Is that all? For this you sent all those mails? And why din’t you simply communicate this by mail instead writing all that nonsense.” I yell – for this had now become a big issue where my boss had to intervene and ‘sort out’.

“And how have we missed any deadline? You will get your artwork tomorrow.” I screamed before I slammed the phone on him.

Next a call from my mother-in-law on the office landline. It seems my daughter had been trying to reach me and was now crying because she was unable to talk to me. So daughter comes on line and we coochie coo a bit. After I have pacified her I ask her why she was trying to reach me. “Amma what is that Dress up games site? I want to go online and play that game. You have not bookmarked it in Firefox – so how can I find it!” she accuses me.

That sorted I try to focus on work. My brother calls on the office landline. “Are you ok?” he asks me concerned. “Amma was worried and she called me 10 times today to ask if you had called me for anything. She was not able to reach you.” He explained.

I sighed. “Yes I spoke to her. My phone was out of battery. Nothing to worry.” And then we exchanged sibling notes on why-is-mom-so-unnecessarily-worried before we finished the call.

Another phone call from my mother-in-law comes. A friend has been trying to reach me all day. She finally, somehow got my residence number and left a message. I call the friend right away! It was my schoolmate Devi – she was down from the US and was in Chennai for just a day. She had tried reaching me all day in the hope of meeting me. She was off to Bangalore that night – but had some other plans for the evening. So no hope of meeting her. I was disappointed. I would have loved to meet her. We chatted a bit and then I vaguely promised to try and make a trip to Bangalore.

I realized then that I was a slave to that instrument called the Phone. People controlled my life through that phone. My day was shaped by that phone. I shall hereon and henceforth label it my Master. And me the humble slave shall always keep it charged and ready to take orders!