Monday, November 22, 2010

Two orange cups

I enter home with a frown, unsettled from the latest catastrophe in my life. I banged a shopping bag on the baggage counter and broke a bottle of soya sauce in it, which got my favourite capri stained. I then drag it all the way to my apartment, staining the floor and the lift. I pick up a newspaper, lying aimlessly between my apartment and my neighbours' (the paper wala is trying to lure one of us to subscribe by dropping the newspaper on no man's land but both of us try not to succumb to pressure). I decide the dates of the newspapers are old enough to dump the leaking bag. I open my home and see the floor cushions stacked rather untidily, arranged so different from how I had left it. I get the scare of my life seeing papers on the dashboard and so neatly pile them up.

I try suppressing my mania for orderliness and rush to the second bedroom to look for a cloth to wipe stains at the door step. I see clothes left on the clothesline since a week. He told me he had washed them a week ago. I tell myself and grunt wondering how long does it take to fold clothes and why has he not. I don't find a cloth but do encounter a cockroach and try exterminating him/her out of my home.

I suddenly realise the door is open and rush back with a cloth lying in front of the wash basin.
It looks dusty but soya sauce is going to make it dirtier so I compromise and wipe the stained floor.

I hate the way the apartment looks and move things here and there to make my presence felt. I suddenly feel like a stranger and uninvited. Tears stream down my cheeks and I start looking into the refrigerator for a chocolate (great antidepressant) but then go for salted gooseberries (helps when you got low BP). I start tracing for my presence around. I see my pics on the dashboard but I have gifted him those so that seems a thumbs down. I see no clothes of mine lying around and that's a thumbs down again.

I finally decide to cook and switch on the lights in the kitchen and there in the corner of the granite table I see two orange cups. The cups we have tea in. He had left mine next to his I felt an unexplainable pleasure surge to my head and make me delirious. He thinks of me every day in this kitchen when he makes tea and cooks, I said to myself with pride. I began humming and cooked dinner.

He came home and we were merrier than ever. He loved the food and joined me to wash the plates. He looked at the cups and said "You know I think of keeping one back inside the cupboard and then get lazy, it's a pain to take it out each time you come". The humming in my head stops and I realise that's just the way he is.

Not that he loves me any less ;)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Animals are beautiful people

Mary had a little lamb.....little lamb....a little lamb.. It's fleece was white as snow. Well I could not find a lamb so here is a kid ( That's how a young one of a goat is called .. remember we learned it at school :P )

Well I was christened Mary and my dad never got me a little lamb so when I found one on the streets of chor bazar mumbai I thought I would pose for a pic. Every antique seller had a goat or two outside well fed and fattened for sale to slaughter houses. I love playing with young ones of animals like I do with human babies too( we are animals too!!). They are so cute!!!!! So here's Mary with someone's goats.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Pen Fights and other games

These days I am reading a lot on how children think and I came across the Piaget Primer for beginners. Piaget's contribution to developmental psychology and cognitive psychology is tremendous but that is not what I want to discuss here. I won't bore anyone with theoretical inputs but for those interested in research concerning children or interested in children, this is 'The book'.

I have already discussed about play patterns of children in an older post "Lets' play". Children learn a lot by playing (though as adults we concoct plans to steal this pleasure from them). Play to child is as inevitable as gossip to adults. In the right sense both can be enriching. Beginning with imitative play where children derive pleasure from imitating our actions to make believe play where children pretend to live the outer world through games , children progress sequentially through developmental stages through games. It culminates to a stage where a child invents his/her own games and decides rules for them too. Big or small, logical or non sensical these games are dear and mean business to a child.We all have fond memories of such games we played in childhood or observed others play.

These are excerpts of some games, some heard some seen and some experienced.

Piaget described a game played by shepherd boys of Valais using 'Y' shaped sticks as pretended cows. The 'V' part of stick was taken as the horns of the cows and the lower part of 'Y' became the body of the cow. The game involved pushing and throwing of one cow by the end of the game.

I studied in the middle east and we had no pleasures of climbing trees , date palms were not ideal climbing material, or playing in the wild. Every game I played was within the concrete walls of my house or the pathways surrounding my building. I remember boys in my school playing pen fights. I never understood what the game was like but reading about the Valais reminded me of this game.

Students played this in teams of two. Each had a pen and the kind of pen added to the prestige. Some used ball point pens because if they fell they caused lesser harm than ink pens. Some used ink pens confidently, sure they would not drop them. The arena was the desk and the player like rodeos sat at two ends of the table. They pushed pens with their fingers and the whole game was more like the Valais cow fight. Pens flew off table, fell over a pen overthrowing it and boys cheered around as if in a Colosseum. I never saw girls playing this and never did a girl kiss a pen saying it was her lucky 'pen fight' pen but the boys obviously practiced these traditions with rigour. To me it was just waste of ink and pens. Now that I look back it explains to me the nurturing instincts in men towards games that involved power, authority and violence, maybe their pens represented themselves, their pride and even in silly games these emotions and ideals manifested.

The silliest game then was called 'gold spot'. There was basically a catcher and all the players huddled together with the 'den' and on the utterance of the word Gold spot all ran as far as they could and froze . Now the den in seven steps was supposed to capture one of the person and he became the new catcher or den. We even had people breaking their bones in attempt to jump high and capture their preys in less than 7 steps. I got no clue why the game was named Gold spot and who invented it. This was a mixed game with both boys and girls but you never found boys above the age of 10 playing it. I don't know why girls enjoy hopping and why boys hated it.

The craziest of all was 'crocodile, crocodile can we cross the golden river'. Too long a name for a game I would say. Here the game had a crocodile who would prevent people from going to the golden river unless they provided an object with a colour he/she asks for. The squealing and screaming as we neared to the crocodile frightened the life out of me though I knew it was a just a game. Girls went hysteric, more than boys, worrying over shades of colours while for guys silver and grey meant all the same. More than the crocodile the girls ended up fighting over whose shade was the perfect one. Maybe this was a forerunner for the shopping mania women were to enter in future.

I personally feel we carry over these games with us into our adult life and release them once in a while. Do you? Share your child hood games and how you relate to them today. It could be fun.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Moooooonica.....Oooooh my darling!

Monica a.k.a Moni a.k.a the younger nun, all are names of this humble personality who gave us abode when we were transiting from Mumbai to Bangalore. A cheerful being, who breaks the stereotype of a nun being stoic and ascetic. I am sure you need a great a heart to serve the lord.

Bhuji was sure I would like her convent, with its birds, trees, animals and farms, because of yours truly being a 'country' fellow. And to say without doubt, I did like it. Her convent at Carmelaram, en route to Sarjapur, away from the Bangalore crowd and madness, sky rises and dingy lanes, was a welcome change. To some extent we found the place as alluring as Kamshet.

We spent three days at the convent, with prayer and tranquility and got the much needed sanity to start our new journeys. Though the convent is a place for prayer and worship, and we would not want to project it as a Home stay, we were kept is great comfort and care by the sisters there and we feel indebted for it. Here we give you a sense of the place, with Bhuji adding the much needed charm and perspective.

A beautiful morning

A pond full of water lillies

The calm & docile Bianca ('White' in Italian) , a hound, was rescued by the convent.

Blacky, was not that approchable

A scary looking any hill

Lemon tree

The Chikku girl



A variety of bean I saw for the first time.

Gooserberry upclose

Gooseberry, long angle

Never seen a Jack kissing the ground

And where you could pluck a coconut standing on the ground.

Same goes for the Ram-phul

Ram-Phul in macro

Cutie pie

And here we give you Sr. Monica and as we said before, she's a darling.

P.S: I trying to help the convent to get a regular source of food for the pigs, which would basically be the leftovers from the cafeterias and canteens of companys or hotels, in and around Sarjapur. The convent is ready to come and pick it up from the company or hotel. If anyone of you would be able to speak to the admin guys in your company or spread the word around, as an act of charity, or can suggest any other option, would be a great help.