Category Archives: My Little One

This one is about the sole reason for my existance – my little angel. My daughter!

A tra la la outing

When little girls don’t need taking care of, and before they become teenagers – when it gets too embarrassing to be seen with parents – there is this lovely phase when you become pals. I mean like real giggly pals who do girly things together.

It so happened that on Saturday hubby was not in town, so M and I had to find ways to entertain ourselves. Having nothing better to do my 7-year old and I set off to for the most happening mall in town – Express Avenue, rather the EA.

Kala Khatta Ice GolaSince M was hungry, and I had promised her a surprise treat, we headed straight for the food court. My objective was to get a special chocolatey doughnut from a little doughnut store that I’d read about in the paper. But when we got there she spotted the ice lolly kiosk. We watched gleefully as the man pulled out a disc of ice from his ice box and put it in a machine that shaved it into little flakes. With a gloved hand he picked up the flakes, give it a little shape and poked a stick into it. Then he put it into a glass and spluttered orange syrup (for M) and kala khatta (for me) into our respective ice golas. We found a cozy nook to sit and “mmmmmed”our way through the lollies. M’s lips turned a shade of bright orange and mine turned dark maroon. We grinned and showed our coloured teeth to each other. We were mighty thrilled that we had not chosen the green flavour, whatever that was, because then we’d look like monsters. A lady seated next to us ordered just that and we watched with unabashed interest to see if her lips would turn ugly green. Much to our disappointment it did not, but then we noted happily that her tongue and teeth has indeed turned monster green. Ha! Silly choice! Not smart like ours. We just looked like we had lipstick on. This done, we packed a chocolate doughnut with vanilla ice cream filling and another one with strawberry filling. These were to be shared with the family.

Then we were off to our favourite store – the Body Shop. M loves the store, not just because I’ve told here that all the products in there are not tested on animals, but also because there are quaint bottles in every shelf with the label ‘Try Me’. So M feels obliged to try it. I mean when its sort of pleading with you – why not try it? We obliged and tried most of it. By the end of it our cheeks shimmered pink, our eyes shone blue and our eyelids were emphasized by a subtle shade of pink. The backs of our palm were lined with little streaks of various lipsticks and lip liners. From our wrists arose the fragrance of myriad perfumes ranging from flowery to chocolatey. In the end we picked up a bottle of organic, forest friendly shampoo and walked out totally pleased with ourselves. I’m sure the mirror in there must have sighed with relief – since we had spent a good part of an hour giggling into it and admiring ourselves! Not to forget the patient sales lady who had given up hopes of us buying anything and jumped like a startled rabbit when we told her to bill the shampoo.

Ah! An evening well spent, giggling and doing girly things together. We went home with wide grins on our face. Smelling, I’m sure, like nothing on earth. But absolutely at peace with ourselves.

These are moments I will cherish and treasure in a secret chamber in my heart. I’m not sure how many more such outings we will have. But I know these sweet memories will keep me going, long after such innocent days are no more…

Mommy to a 7-year old granny.

I can never stop feeling guilty about this. My only child growing up amidst boring adults (like yours truly) and transforming into a child mature beyond her age. Not only does she spew words of wisdom that I feel certain are beyond her understanding, but also does things that make my heart take a tumble and say ‘isn’t she too small to do this?’

Just yesterday, I was down in the dumps at the thought of starting yet another freakishly hectic week where I’d have to juggle work, irate clients, meeting deadlines, solving inter office issues, picking and up dropping her from school and to sundry classes on various days of the week, folding clothes, managing meals and other issues at home and somehow keeping calm through it all. She rolled her eyes at me and said well its not too bad being an adult. At least you get to do your own thing, she admonished. Just try sitting in a class room during a free period listening to PT sir yelling NO TALKING, FINGER ON YOUR LIPS, or having to ask permission to pee when you just have to go so very urgently, or to drink water when you are so thirsty.  Or trudging up 2 floors for art class, and then 3 floors for computer class and so on.

Yeah well, when she put it this way, my life did not seem so bad!

Last week, when I stayed late at work for the third consecutive day, I was filled with guilt and dreading her call asking when I would be home. She did call to ask and I honestly answered that I really had no idea. She complained that I always did this to her – making me wallow some more in guilt. Then she called back after a bit saying she’d had her dinner and also done her home work – had I finished my work yet? A little later she called again and sternly advised me against ordering and eating some junk for dinner. “I have a surprise for you. Come home and eat my surprise!” she ordered.

I did as I was bid and somehow staved off hunger till I got home at 10 pm. By then the little princess was tucked in bed. Her adult worries buried under her pillow, her face peaceful in her sleep as only a baby’s can be.  My guilt rose up as tears, as I kissed my sleeping baby. Then I freshened up and went to have my dinner.

There, on the table, waiting for me were two smiley rava idlis. With green peas for eyes, carrot for a nose and a cashew for smiley mouth. And a little strip of paper on which she had scribbled ‘I love you amma’.

I did not know whether to laugh or to cry.

So I just ate. And cuddled up next to my little adult.

Shopping at Linking Road and suchalike pandemonium

I went Bombay. Alone. I mean – ME. The one who is capable of losing her way walking from the living room to the bedroom. Me. I went alone. Much to the chagrin of my family. They were pretty sure I would not be able to find my way out of the aircraft – let alone anything else. So a dutiful friend was assigned to pick me up from the airport and handhold me until it was time for my meeting. That part went off well enough. He picked me up. We stopped by at his work place – Tao Art Gallery – which apparently is India’s largest private art gallery. It was dark and silent and I drooled at the paintings without worrying about displaying my complete ignorance of art. That done, we took a cab down to Mahalaxmi where we met another friend for breakfast. After chit chatting for about an hour, it was time to catch a cab and head for the Bandra-Kurla road where my meeting was. I was to drop my friend back at his gallery on my way so he got in and explained the way to the cabby who nodded his head intelligently. When he got off at his designated stop and I instantly felt alone in a big, strange city. Anyways I settled in with my google map in hand and my friends’ instructions in my head. All the landmarks that google and my friend had said – passed by. So I was reassured that I was on the right track. Just then the cabby turned to ask me ‘so how do I get to BKC?’ I was of course flabbergasted! Why on earth did he nod so vigorously if he did not know? I told him to ask someone – since I had no clue. But he was one stubborn mule. He refused to stop and ask! He just kept going and the landmarks faded away. Unfamiliar road names zoomed past. I started to panic. Ask someone I yelled every two minutes. Finally he paused near a mechanic shop and stared. He expected me to ask – it seemed. But if I had no clue of the roads how was I to understand directions? I did ask – and the man assured us that we were totally in the wrong direction. He gave long winded directions to my driver, who set off – getting grumpier by the minute – in the said direction. About 15 minutes later, we were back where we started.  We had gone a full circle! This time we asked an auto driver. This man also proceeded to assure us that we were hopelessly lost. He in turn gave his directions. My man nodded intelligently – yet again. And we were off once more. In the meanwhile the friend called to check on me. “Not lost na?” he hoped. My pride would not let me admit it. In fact, almost there – I told him. Another 20 minutes later I saw a Citibank Building that was marked in my google map. But it was on my right while the map said it should be on my left. So right road, wrong direction. We went around the road, trying to turn and somehow the chap managed to lose his way again! God knows how we found ourselves on a national highway. Another ask-for-directions halt followed and another knowledgeable auto driver guided us. By now my driver was almost in tears and very upset with me for taking him all around the city! (Sure blame me buddy – but just get me there.). Finally yet another auto guy guided us right and I reached my meeting venue – just 5 minutes late. I rushed into the building and called my client. She asked me to come up to the 3rd floor lobby and wait. I did that. And waited. And waited. Then I messaged her. She called me asking which 3rd floor I was in. We discovered that I was in the wrong building! I had to go across to the high rise next door to the one I was in. How embarrassing!

Anyways for all the chaos it took to reach the place, my meeting went off rather well. Post the meeting and lunch – I had plenty of time to kill before catching my late evening flight back to Chennai. So I decided to go to Linking Road for shopping – again as advised by my friend. I asked my client for directions and she drew me a fool-proof map (no pun intended here). Armed with that I took an auto to Linking Road. Fortunately this driver seemed to know where he was going. Unfortunately he was in a hurry to get there! He swerved and twisted and turned and weaned his way through heavy traffic at breakneck speed. At one point I think the auto turned so fast it went up on two tires. My entreaties to slow down fell on deaf ears. It was a good 15 minutes of gut wrenching ride! The minute I spotted the footwear shops lining the pavement I yelled for him to stop. What a relief it was to get there in one piece! I walked down the crowded street and had a look at all the wares. A second and third round followed before I ventured into a shop to buy anything. The first purchase were two lovely flowery sandals for my princess. Next stop – footwear for myself. Just then the husband called to check on me. When I told him where I was, he was appalled. Be careful, he begged. Don’t get lost and head for the airport quickly – he ordered. This was followed by a call from my client – to check if I had reached my destination safely. What a reputation I had managed to create! Anyways despite all their fears I spent another hour walking the streets. Then I took an auto to the airport.

There I settled into a corner with a book and a sandwich. Before I knew it, it was time to board my aircraft. As I buckled myself into my seat I congratulated myself. Not bad. It was chaotic and hectic, but I did manage on my own. Bravo!

When I landed in Chennai husband and my little princess were waiting for me. I got a big hug from my baby and this and this.

Perfect end to an adventurous day?  Definitely.

Momma is off for a day

Amma don’t leave me and go said my daughter for the 100th time. This while we were in the middle of studying for her EVS test. Right after we agreed that India is a peninsula not an island. Pearly tears formed in her eyes all of a sudden and threatened to flow down the soft cheeks.

My heart gave a little tug. Cancel the damn trip to Mumbai, wipe those tears, give the child a big hug and just stay at home – it screamed.

But the mind did not relent. She is old enough and will handle your absence better than you think – advised the mind. Anyways it’s not like you have a choice. It’s an official trip not a joy ride. It chided me.

I sat there torn between wanting to give in to the child and taking a tough stance. After all, how many more years will she say that to me? Probably in another year or so if I tell her I’m going for a day – she might grin with relief. Or she might not even react, just shrug as if she couldn’t care less. Or worse, I might come back after a day and ask her if she missed me and she might say ‘oh you were not at home yesterday?’ I shudder to think how much pain that will cause. I hope such a day never comes.

For now, I’m important in her life. And I’m basking in that feeling.

I hug her and say, what if you were going on a school trip and I start crying ‘Baby don’t go! I’ll miss you.’ She paused in her whimpering. Even the flow of tears down her cheeks seemed to pause. You mean you’ll cry if I go on a school trip? She wondered incredulously. “Are you a baby?!” she chided me. No, I reasoned, but then you are not a baby either and you are not allowing me to go.

Silence. As she pondered over this for a few moments.

Ok! She relented angrily. Go if you have to. But… I’ll miss you amma. She said and those tears sprang up again. My heart went all gooey again. With an effort I diverted her and we delved back into the world of peninsulas and straits. Soon we were giggling over something and all was well again with our world.

As I prepare to leave my six year old and go away for a day, I wonder who is more affected by it. She or me? And if, as I’m sure it will, a day comes when she has to leave me and go on to build her own life, how oh Lord how will I ever handle it?

Annual day and all that

Today was my daughter’s annual day.

Of course our kids coming on stage is a special moment. Even if they just come up on stage and blink their lines away we would still go “awwwwww” and feel all mushy. But today was extra special for two reasons:

1)    My daughter M was playing the lead role in a play that was scripted by me!
2)    She was going to do her first ever solo performance (a bilingual puppet show)

The event was being held in a large hall with a makeshift stage. The surface of the stage did not seem very even to me. M had to wear a blue sari (as she was river Cauvery) in the play. I had nightmares about her tripping and falling on stage! I could hardly sleep last night worrying about my baby (why?!).

Butterflies flew around in my stomach as I fretted about her forgetting her lines. Her puppet show involved a monkey that spoke colloquial Tamil and a Chipmunk that spoke very British English! She had to switch from one language to the other and that’s hard enough for adults. I wondered if I had given her something too tough to do. It was of course too late the change the script. So I simply fretted.

Meanwhile, me along with a few other parent volunteers, helped create the backdrop for our Cauvery play. We collected saris in every possible shade of blue. M and I made little fishes and paper boats. Then we put up a dark blue background and put waves of light blue saris on it. We stuck boats and glittering fishes on that. Our task over – we stepped back to survey. To our highly prejudiced eyes – it looked like the cutest thing since stuffed teddy bears!

Today dawned bright and early for me. At 4am I slipped out of bed unable to worry any more. I did some vigorous work out on my stepper and had a calming cup of tea. Well… I was as set for the day as I would ever be!

It was time to wake M up. She awoke on my sixth desperate wake-up attempt. At 6:15 am it was still dark and she could not accept that it was morning. We went to the balcony and yelled at the sun for doing a shoddy job. Finally he peeped out from behind the buildings and spread some light around. Humph! Better late than never we said as we went in to bathe and get ready. Sari was draped after breakfast. And she looked like a little blue school teacher. Of course she insisted on jumping and dancing in it. I ran around behind her pleading with her not to – worrying all the time about her tripping.

It was time to leave for school. We were the first to arrive (ok fine call me a paranoid mom!). Other nervous parents arrived soon enough. And we all assembled in the green room. Cacophony ensued as kids grinned and commented at each others’ costumes (there was a Narada, a king with a feisty mustache and a sage Agastya – who were all simply too adorable!). We mothers were trying to give them last minute instructions over and above the din!

Finally the teachers chased us out.

I sat nervously and wrung my hands until my husband calmly joined me just as the invocation began.

Soon it was M’s turn with the puppets. My heartbeat was so loud I was sure the entire hall could hear it. M marched up on stage grinning and began with a “vanakkam” in such a colloquial Tamil accent that the audience warmed to her instantly! She simply cruised her way through the show. Not forgetting her lines and switching effortlessly from Tamil to English… and left the stage to a fantastic ovation! I heaved sigh of relief and shared a proud grin with my husband.

Two acts later it was time for our ‘All Izz Well Cauvery’ play.

My script being staged for the first time. I confess it was a proud moment for me. The kids were wonderful as they giggled and bungled their way through the play. M had a long dialogue that she said with great élan! The play ended with a peppy All Izz Well number (based on the song in 3 Idiots – sung by us parents). The audience clapped appreciatively.

Ah it was over! My first script staged. And my baby did not trip and fall. All Izz Well that ends well. Whew!

The love affair continues

Rain and I. We had one of our deep, quiet moments this morning. I sat there in the balcony with my cup of tea and felt his tender kiss like droplets on my cheeks. I watched as he dropped down on the puddles in the road and created busy little whirlpools of happiness. Tiny droplets of joy that grew bigger and bigger and merged into yet another growing whirlpool of joy.

You really love to spread the joy don’t you? Now I’m ashamed that I ever doubted you. How could I have ever suspected that YOU would ruin my little princess’s birthday party! How could I? I don’t deserve those kiss like drops, what I need is a lashing for doubting you!

Thank you so much dear Rain God. (Or whatever forces that are up there. I do not understand why, but I’m so so grateful that you are being really nice to me and allowing me to indulge in my little whims and fancies.). Thank you. Really. I mean it.

In case you’re new here and don’t have a clue as to what I’m blabbering about. Please read this one first.

It was like the Rain God held his breath for my little princess. A tentative sun shone through the clouds on Friday. And we kept fingers crossed. Saturday morning dawned bright and sunny and cool! It was really a perfect winter day in Chennai! Not warm. Not cold. Not raining. Not humid. Not hot. Just perfect! So it stayed all through the day as we gleefully got the terrace cleaned, summoned the electrician and got extra lights fitted. A cool breeze kept us company all through the afternoon as we worked to make the terrace presentable. By evening – it looked dreamy!

The party itself? It was incredible. It just took off from the word go! My brother – the sweetheart that he is – was in glorious form. He had the kids running and dancing and screaming merrily. He organized impromptu games and twisted twenty odd kids around his little finger. They were ready to do whatever this funny man said!

It was absolutely perfect. The music and my brother set the mood. The kids were dancing, singing, running, laughing, giggling, playing…and my brother was the hero of the day. He really pumped up the spirit and kept the high octave maintained right through! Princess Mahima had a ball so to speak. She could not stop grinning from ear to ear. It really was her happiest day to be surrounded by her best friends and to be having so much fun!

Sigh! Yes it was perfect. I could not have asked for a more fabulous day. Thank you to all the forces that made this day perfect. Thank you to all the friends who remembered and called. It simply was an amazing day. And yes…my love affair with the Rain God continues…

Did I tell you…at around 12 am on Sunday morning it started raining again and has not stopped ever since. Call that uncanny? I call that a ‘out pouring’ of love! :)

Dear Rain God,

I’m a big fan of yours. In fact I’m in love with you.  I cannot imagine life on earth without you.  I always wonder how you look so dark and grey and angry and yet when you send down those showers it is so calming.

Having said that, I now come to you with a strange request. I wish you would stop raining in Chennai just on Friday and certainly on Saturday. You see its my baby’s birthday and we plan to have a party on the terrace. I’m sure you understand why having an indoor party for kids is tough – i mean, just imagine having to shove 22 hyper children into a room?! It’s the psychological equivalent of leaving 22 merry bulls in a China shop – so to speak.

People say, why not rent a premises. I don’t want to do that – because:

a) these venues are time bound and I do not want to keep looking at my watch all through the party

b) they offer a fixed and boring menu – so  can’t fit in stuff that my baby likes

b) the theme parties that these places host are rather sad…not my style. If I have original ideas, why not use this opportunity to implement it?

So that’s the reason my heart is set on the terrace. But if it rains – it will all be damp squib. Please please please be nice and don’t rain just on those two days.  I love you and ask so little of you. In fact, usually I’m the first to say rain rain come again…

I know that if push comes to shove I will be able to hold an indoor party. But my heart is set on an outdoor one.  And my heart wears blinkers! If it decides on one thing its so so so difficult to accept an alternative. Don’t blame me for it. You’ve got to have a chat with Brahma on this one. It’s a fault in the creation process. Not mine!

I also don’t like to offer bribes to get things done. You know how people say I will break 10 coconuts or I will do this abhishekam or that. I say, if God’s take a bride then why not politicians! So no bribe. But here are some things that could earn me brownie points:

a) this one’s gonna be a totally eco party. No plastic (except the chairs ). Good for earth and of course good for you!

b) all the return gifts are eco-friendly and they have all been bought from charity organizations. The proceeds of these will go towards special needs children

c) like every year, this year too i will donate one whole day’s meal for children in an orphanage.

….No I don’t do all this to impress anyone. I do it for myself – simply because I want to. And because it makes me feel more human. I do not announce it. But I had to tell you – just in case it helps you change your mind.

So well, please consider this an appeal from an ardent fan/devotee/mother…and please don’t rain on Friday and Saturday. Please.


Yours truly,

A desperate mom

Hear yey hear yey…the princess turns six!

Oh my God! I know it sounds clichéd when I say that time just flew by. But yes time did just fly by! Was it SIX years ago that the little princess was thrust into my arms, all pink and indignant at being wrenched out of my womb? Feels more like yesterday! Wonder where all those years went. Huh?

So now she is a little lady. Not a baby any more. That’s the hardest to accept. She reminds me very often these days that she can climb down the stairs herself. I don’t have to hold her hand all the time! She can take spice (and how!)– so I don’t have to give her dosas with honey – she will eat it with molagai podi (the spicy chutney that we Tamilians devour). Er…she has also figured out that boiled carrots are not the yummiest thing in the world. “How about a bhel?” – she tells her dad as she abandons her plate of carrots and beans…while I try to give them those now infamous killer looks. She has also learnt to roll spaghetti into her fork and eat like a lady. However we do often throw the fork off and pretend they are wriggling snakes and worms that we are gleefully devouring. Muaahhhh ha ha!

She will eat her meals with spoons only. Does not like to get her hands of icky and messy. (But of course my little princess!) And, by the way, she needs at least 4 spoons during the course of the meal. Icky spoons will not be reused.

So yeah. She has grown up. I might say that several times more in this post. I need to keep saying that to myself, you see.

It was her idea to have a princess party for her 6th birthday. Actually the idea mushroomed when she started doodling her self portraits – a cute stick figure with loooooong Rapunzel type hair, a crown and a gown. Always. Everyday. If you ask her why does that Mahima have a crown – she shrugs and says very matter of factly “Because I am. You keep telling me.” Ah so I do. I hasten to correct her. “You realize you are the princess of my heart. Not a real princess.”

“I know mom. Otherwise I would have drawn a golden crown with all sparkly, shiny things in it – like how real princesses wear.” She reassured me.

That clarified. I felt at peace. While she always has her head in the clouds at least her feet are grounded in reality!

So did I say, she is growing up? And fast! It’s hard to put my finger on it. In so many little little ways she demonstrates that she is now a little lady. She will not appear in front of her father unless properly dressed. Whoa! That’s a new one! I still remember having to run after her around the house with a dress, begging her to wear it. Now I have to draw the curtain once she is out of her bath. Jeez, when did that change happen? I never realized it! Sigh. Yeah. She is growing up.

We’re preparing for her birthday party coming up this Saturday. Everyone at home talks of nothing else. I’m nervous now. I want my little princess to have the happiest day of her life. I wish I could make it a magical evening for her. Just to see that smile in her face. Just to see the laughter in those eyes. Just to hear her run around and scream with joy at the sight of all her friends. Just to hear her talk about it for days. Just so that she would hug me with joy and entwine those little fingers around my neck just once more. I wonder for how much longer she will do that? Next year she might be too embarrassed to do it. I will savour each moment this year.

Yeah well, so what if she is a little lady now, she is still and will always be my little princess.

G for genius?

I would rather its G for Girly. G for Giggle. G for Grumble. G for Good. But not Genius. It seems these days everyone wants Einstein’s for kids. They don’t want kids any more. By the time the child is three – they are packed off to various classes including chess, dance, skating, music, dance…. Oh did I forget drawing, painting, abacus, mental arithmetic, spelling, handwriting.

Gone are the days when kids could run around in knickers, dig into sand, chase butterflies and so on! These days they are so adult well before their time.

When I was doing the round of playschools for my daughter – I was appalled at the number of schools which assured me that my child would be writing by the end of one year. Playschool – I ask you! The child is barely 3 at that time. But its amazing how many parents are impressed by the credentials of such schools. They gleefully dump their kids into these torture chambers where they are made to read and write at an age when they should be drooling and doodling!

I once attended a seminar by some organization that claimed to develop the right brain of the child (Or was it left brain? I forget!). They had video footage of six month old babies who could recognize alphabets and colours and even add up numbers. While I yawned through it, other parents watched with their jaws open. At the end of the presentation I rushed out to preserve my sanity – while other parents made a beeline to buy the CD which cost no less than 25000 Rs!

I fail to understand the logic of why the child must learn something ahead of time. How does it matter if the child writes by three? He or she will only actually need to use his/her writing skills in UKG. So what’s the whole point? And why is it so critical that the child must recognize alphabets and numbers at 6 months? They will eventually do so right? Why not let them observe and learn at their own pace. In fact, the geniuses we exalt today were all left alone to observe and learn at their own pace! Surely the Einstein’s and the Ramanujams were not forced to read, write, count and draw before their age and mental make up demanded it.

So are we creating a generation of geniuses or are we creating minds that mature and consequently rot before their time? I suspect so. We can expect a lot more intelligent criminals to surface in the society. A lot more kids who do not fit into the mould. A lot more frustration at a lack of purpose and direction in life.

I feel sorry for parents who feel compelled to send their children to this class and that. Yes children adapt. Yes they learn. And then what? Are they ready to raise these geniuses? I think not.

I for one am happy to let my child laze around and do things at her pace. Smell the roses, catch the butterflies, watch the snails, believe that there’s tons of cheese on the moon, decide that 1 + 1 becomes 11 chocolates…

Well…you get the drift. Not many parents would agree with me. For they are pressurized by their peers and they do not want their child to be left behind. I hope I maintain my resolve. At the moment things are pretty normal and I’m G for so so so so Glad! :)

The dog collar

Each day I learn something new from my little one. Ok, she is going to be six (!!) and not so little any more. (But for me she will always be the helpless little baby that was thrust into my arms!) So I’m constantly amazed at the words and ideas she suddenly throws up on me. They catch me unawares and most of the time I blubber and blabber. But one thing is for sure – I always want to answer her honestly. As much honesty as she would understand that is.

It’s been decided, by the way, that she will marry in a Church. Because she prefers the Cinderella like white gown to a sari and more importantly, she loves the idea of a wedding ring. (Don’t ask me who has been telling her all this. Not me. We perhaps have to thank the Disney Princesses for this!) Anyways, we seriously discussed the idea of her marrying in a Church and have agreed in principle that it should be ok with us all. She can’t however decide between Kishan, Atul and Ananth! Sigh! Yeah life is full of tough decisions, right.

Ouch…I’m drifting away from the focal point of this blah blah.

First, a little background to the uninitiated. I have stopped wearing my ‘thali chain’ for various reasons ranging from feminism, freedom of expression to dislike for gold ornaments…but lets not get into that now. Despite entreaties from my mother – who thinks this is total blasphemy – I decided to stick by my decision.

One day, when we were reading one of those fairy tales – M turned to me and asked me why I don’t wear my ‘thali chain’. I said I don’t like it because it’s too heavy around my neck.

“But how will people know that you are married?” she asked me perplexed.

“Why do people need to know?” I ask back smartly.

“What if some uncle thinks you are unmarried and gets married to you.” She wonders, her eyes going round with concern.

“Hmmm” I pretend to think about it while my brain absorbs the question and decides whether to laugh it off as a joke or take this one seriously.

“And…then what if you have a baby with THAT uncle. Then what will I do?” she continues her train of thoughts, while I’m still trying to think of a clever way to answer.

I’m now aghast! I wonder who has been feeding her such stuff. We don’t even watch soppy soaps on TV at home!

“But sweety, you forget that I know to talk. I will tell that uncle that I’m already married!” I say deciding to put her alarming concerns to rest.

“But amma why can’t you just wear a thali chain?” she asks – still not convinced with my answer.

I mull over how to answer this one. From the balcony I see a dog on a leash, its owner pulling it one way and the dog trying to go the other way.

“Look at that doggie.” I point out to her. We both peep and look at the doggie for a while. Amused at the way the master and dog tussle with each other.

“Ah…I know amma, when you wear that thali chain do you feel like that doggie?” Asks M – startling me, as always, with her perception.

I grin at her and we both break into a giggle at the vision of her father and me having a similar tussle.

But jeez! The kid never fails to amaze me! How on earth did she get that dog collar thing?!