Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Kitty Went Tappety Tap

This is me, Gingerbread a.k.a Ging. I have been trying to get my paws on the Mad Moggies Blog for quite sometime now, but mommy guards her laptop far too zealously for my comfort. So today when I saw her rooting about in the larder, I thought I would seize my opportunity....Carpe Diem and all that jazz.
* licks paws in glee*
* cocks head wondering what to write next*
*Swipes whiskers & snout to get thoughts in order*
Most of the time, the Moggies feature mommy's take on things..Can't complain because she is the artistic one in the house and does manage to post honest representations of life in our corner of the world. Like the fact that the three of us are weird cat people who live in a world of our own. And the Martian-Venusian wars which she and dad wage on each other from time to time, which shakes the house down to its foundations and makes me scurry under the bed for cover. Thankfully, these skirmishes are short-lived because none of us moggies can stay mad at each other for long. Come to think of it, mom and dad are more feline than human, albeit larger and fatter cats.
Mom does have an edge over dad, mostly because in true cat style, she can sleep hours and even days away...Crawl back and forth under the bed to play peek-a-boo with me. And besides, she almost always figures out my thoughts by just flicking a glance at me. But I digress.

The point I was going to make was that while mommy reports most events with fair accuracy, there are times when she gets some of her facts wrong. For instance, she actually believes that she fights hard for her Alpha position in the moggie household.
*bares fangs in toothy grin*
Poor Mommy!!!
She does not realise that she is alpha only because dad and me want it that way. Life is so much easier....Food appears miraculously, there is always fresh water in our bowls, no cobwebs in corners, clothes are regularly laundered, the larder stocked and plus, she is always around to give us our belly rubs...You get the drift?
Neither of us would seriously consider fighting her for the Alpha position. If we did, it goes without saying that dad would have been the Alpha in the house. Sometimes, size does matter you know.
But dad and I love to annoy mom at every given opportunity. She is so easily bugged and there is nothing that amuses us more than the sight of her huffing and puffing about the house, muttering to herself in indignation. Just so that we can heckle her, dad plays the fool in the middle of a serious conversation or pretends to goof around when he has a chore to attend to, while I make it a point to nap on her favourite jeans, claim her chair for myself or sometimes even play kitty football with her scrunchies and spectacles. I can't tell you how much we manage to irritate mum between the two of us.
*wicked grin*
Though I must say that mommy's disappearing acts do throw things off gear.
* Eyebrows knit into a frown*
I do not know where she disappears to or how she manages to live without us...but I hate it. Missing mom means I am home alone the whole day and left to my devices, which basically means that I sleep all day long and am ready to play by the time dad gets back home. But, by then, all dad wants to do is sleep because he is way too bushed.
Mommy says that she and dad HAVE to go wandering just so they can put Whiskas kibble in my bowl. Yeah right. As if I didn't know that Whiskas came off the shelves from Spencer's next door.
*shakes head in disgust*
But, of late mommy and dad seem to be take turns to go wandering.....One comes in and the other takes off. A most unsatisfactory state of affairs!!!
And to think I, the only real cat in the house, am the one who never ventures out at all!!!

Ging never managed to complete her diatribe because mommy chose that precise moment to emerge from the larder. A glance at the recalcitrant kitty on the keyboard was enough activate the mommy antennae which immediately honed in Ging and got her hauled off the keyboards. In her defence, it must be said that she did bring down the house with her caterwauling and even attempted diversionary tactics like clawing the furniture but guess what folks? Not even a teeny weeny dent on the mommy resolve!!!
However mommy, not wanting to crush the budding writer in Ging, graciously agreed to post her semi finished piece...And peace finally reigned in the moggie household.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Catch 'Em Young

It was just another day at work. I sat in my 'conquered' cubicle, pretty much like the proverbial camel, mulling over a project plan for a forthcoming event. Ideas flowed fluidly, gliding with ease over the gravel bed of reason...Words eagerly tripped one over the other, as my inspired fingers raced to keep pace with my thoughts. I was a woman possessed and it was, to put it mildly, a very pleasant place to be in. A lot like basking on the sun kissed beaches of a tropical paradise with an extravagant frothy cocktail in one hand and a gripping book in the other!!!
But unfortunately for me, this happy state of affairs was not to last. ..
"Rekz, there is a call for you......" yelled my colleague from the next cubicle " It is from the Hare Rama Hare Krishna people"
* eyebrows and ears perked up all around me*
My colleague can barely conceal her surprise nor can the many other ears, which seem to have sprouted miraculously on the walls around me! Not that I blamed them. The last thing anyone would associate with me is an affiliation to a religious organisation.
Sure I do have my own brand of spirituality and commune frequently with God, but my conversations with the powers that be are not conducted within the preview of any religion. Sighing, I walk over to my neighbour's cubicle to find out what ISKON could possibly want with a pagan like me...
" Hello...Is this Rekha Nair?"
I reply in the affirmative.
" Hare Krishna"
Now how do I respond to that, I wondered. Various possibilities flit across my mind - Namaste.. Shalom Aleichem..Hail Mary..Om Namah Shivaya.. But, even before I could run through my mental list of greetings to pick one which would best represent my spirituality, the lady forged ahead..
" Madam, would you like to contribute to our programme..we want to give books and magazines to people "
A Literacy Campaign!!!....While I had heard of and was highly appreciative of ISKON's Food Programmes for under-privileged children in schools, that they also ran literacy programmes was news to me. It wasn't that I objected. Oh no, I didn't. I am all in favour of any organisation, regardless of its religious orientation, which would help raise the learning curve of the uneducated millions in our Country.
" Madam, we will give spiritual books and magazines to children and to prisoners so they will become better people"
The little gears in my head came to a screeching halt.This was not a literacy programme...It sounded more like a recruitment drive to me!!!
'You want to distribute your literature to underprivileged children? The books and magazines which ISKON publishes? But why? "
" Oh yes, it will be ISKON books and magazines...we want to do this for the children so that they will find God, learn values and become good human beings"
" What makes you think that they don't have a God already? Or values for that matter? Or that they are not good human beings?"
" You see, many of them are from poor houses. Their fathers are normally drunkards, who beat them and their mothers every evening. These children live in poverty and most of the time, there is no one to take care of them or teach them good things...So we would like to help them"
" But surely, their mothers will teach them to pray and about God. Don't you feel ISKON can utilise the funds to help improve their lives? From what you have just said, it would seem that the problem is poverty and not a lack of religious instruction. So, wouldn't it be better if you gave children books that would help them learn something useful or conduct employment oriented courses or try recruit volunteers who will spend time helping these children plan their futures?"
" Well Madam, we are already running the Akshaya Patra Scheme which feeds many children each day....Now, we would now like to spread word of Krishna in the same schools"
" To be honest, I think your 'Feed the Hungry Child' scheme is wonderful because it fills hungry bellies. But, I am not very sure of your 'Propagate ISKON Movement".... I am a firm believer in the 'Teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime' philosophy and think that ISKON as a organisation can do a lot more good if they focused on equipping under privileged children with life-skills "
"But madam, are you not a Hindu? It is not wrong for us to spread the teachings from our sacred books and about our Gods....People from other religions do it...So why should we not?"
Obviously the young lady is an ardent member of the 'Hinduism Bachao#' movement, which sincerely believes that all other religions have a single purpose to their existence - To augment their numbers in multiples either by large scale conversion or by sustained procreation!
" But why should we? Others may or may not be doing so...But does that mean we should also mimic them? Why should we also get on the "My God is better than Your God' bandwagon? Do we really need to foster our perceived religious differences on the children?"
" No, no Madam, you have misunderstood...If we do not spread Hinduism and keep it strong in the hearts of the followers, we will soon die out...Madam, we will become like the Jews before the birth of Israel!!! "
* deep sigh*
" My dear girl, we come from a country which has religion oozing out of almost every little Galli## and screams at us from a gazillion commercial signboards. It is integrated into our daily lives..So how can Hinduism or any other religion for that matter just fade away? Considering that we live in a secular country, don't you think religions should be promoting a little more tolerance, mutual respect and responsibility, rather than try drive the religious wedge deeper into young impressionable minds?"
But, it would seem that I was not making the smallest of dents on her Hare Rama Hare Krishna Armour.
" If you don't want to contribute to our program, just say so..I am not willing to compromise my mission listening to your words"
Indeed it would seem that there ain't no such thing as free lunches in this world..Not even when the Gods ordain it!!!

# Bachao = Save
## Gallis = Little Street ways

Monday, August 25, 2008

Meet Quasimodo

I have always wondered what Quasimodo looked like...No, not Hugo's hunchback...But the Durrell pigeon!
Although the hunchback of Notre Dame was a character that wrung my heart,the Quasimodo that caught my fancy at a tender age, was the pet pigeon young Gerald (Durrell) adopted from the Rose Beetle Man in " My Family and Other Animals". Those in the know, would probably remember the repulsive, waltzing Quasimodo who thought it was human until it laid an egg one fine morning and rediscovered the joys of being a pigeon.
The story of Quasimodo fascinated me as a young child...So much so that one of the greatest regrets of my adolescent years was the lack of an ugly, fat, pouffy chested pigeon that waddled after me, cooing frantically to be carried along. In vain did my mother did point out that our three killer mutts - Scott, Sasha and Liza- would have gleefully gobbled him up and probably burped their satisfaction in the face of my indignation...But nothing, absolutely nothing, would deter my juvenile fantasies. Little did I realise that this was to become a dream come true, albeit many years later.
Late last evening, I staggered back into my pad after yet another rough day at work. I had been at the printing press all day, to watch the first prints of our Annual Report come gliding out...But instead, the machine broke down and, despite hours of tinkering by the red-faced, sweaty service engineer, it showed no signs of coming back to life.
I was disheartened, stressed and exhausted...And all I needed was a hot shower, some scalding soup in a giant mug and my bed. As I ran the water to the right temperature, I was startled by a loud crash right next to me followed by an eerie "kuurrrrrrrr". Half expecting the wicked snake beastie of my dreams, I wheeled in fear and anger, only to discover that the metal service window in the bathroom had opened out. Rather surprising since I had always assumed it to be jammed tight. As I stood on tip toes and tried to shove it shut, I was accosted by yet another eerie "kurrrrr"...Only this time, I could discern an enquiry in it as well...As if to say " oh hello, there you are...I have been looking for you". Intrigued, I clambered on to the WC to check who my rude caller was and was rather surprised to meet eyes with a pair of unblinking, luminous brown ringed eyes set in an iridescent face.
Once more a gentle "kurrr", only this time it sounded a lot more loving and as if he was indeed very pleased to see me. I try shooing him away so that I can get back to my scalding hot bath but Quasimodo was a pigeon with a mission and was not leaving in a hurry...How incredibly inconvenient. This is why one needs to be very very careful when wishing for things - Especially when the object so desired is a character in a book!!! You never know when such fervent wishes can assume life and can come back to bite you on your backside!!!
It wasn't that Quasimodo was ugly. On the contrary, I found him to be quite the average pigeon except for that manic look of grim determination in his bloodshot eyes which for some reason made me very nervous!!! I wondered if he would fly at me and peck my pert nose off my face if I shooed him with greater enthusiasm. But even so, I could not for the life of me imagine showering under the watchful eyes of a crooning pigeon with manic eyes. To be honest, Quasimodo's rather long drawn out "kuuuuuurrrrrr's brought to my mind a picture of old Gollum, of LOTR fame, on the rock by the water side looking for his "preciousssss". And so, I shut the window in the face of violent protests and much agitated wing flapping from Quasimodo's side.
Now, did I mention that Quasimodo was a bird on a mission??? Well, when QM realised that the window into the bathroom was off limits, especially when I was engaged in my ablutions, he decided to seek alternate routes into my room and my heart. Just as I was mopping up the last of my soup with a hunk of freshly baked bread, I was once again startled out of my skin by the sight of the manic red brown eyes peering at me through the windows that overlooked my bed. This time, the pigeon was not to be fobbed off. He pranced about on the ledge cooing in a rich contralto and when that failed to melt my flint heart, he pouffed his feathers in sheer indignation and cooed harsh abuse at me. I remained impervious to his demands for long, as I huddled under my covers and buried my nose in Shashi Taroor's 5$ Smile. I even tried faking sleep but Quasimodo was implacable and went on with his part coaxing-part scolding routine on the ledge, just a few feet away.
When it seemed that Quasimodo was here to stay, I had no choice but to open the window and initiate dialogue.
" ok, listen, I know I wanted a fat, ugly pigeon following me around like Mary's little lamb but that was over 20 years ago....For chrisakes, I was just a dumb kid in school who was carried away by Gerald Durrell & James Herriot ... "
" kurrrrrrrr" * his loving look caresses me*
" No, no...what do I do with you??? I don't even live in Bangalore....And you cannot come back to Chennai with me...Besides, you've arrived too late to be considered for adoption....there are no vacancies for the part of the ugly, noisy bird in my life now!!!"
" kurrrrrrr"
It would seem that nothing I said was getting through to Quasimodo!!!
" All right, I will leave the window open and you can stay just one night...ok?..Just one night!!!....You will not come inside the room or mess it in any way...ok?"
Surprise of surprises, it seemed that Quasimodo didn't want to come inside as yet, for the offer was all that was needed to put an end to his cacophony on the window. He perched atop the window, which granted him a vantage view of my supine form under the covers and cooed himself to sleep.

In the morning, Quasimodo was still atop the window... cooing to me from the moment he sensed movement under my covers .
Despite my stern resolve, my heart is touched by this feisty little pigeon who so obviously wears his heart on his wing!!! I crush some crumbs on to the window sill for him as I munch on my toast, a gesture which Quasimodo acknowledges with a little nod before joining me at breakfast all through which, he listens gravely to me about my day ahead.
Despite all my growls and protests, I have a sneaky feeling that Quasimodo is not to be turned away..Like it or not, this is one little dream come true which I will need to live with...everytime I am in Bangalore....
And guess what? In the cold light of morning, it doesn't seem to be a terrible proposition at all....

Saturday, August 23, 2008

3 Men on an Elephant.

Life, these past many weeks, has been an insane roller coaster ride.... Tight deadlines, frayed tempers, long hours at work, endless cups of coffee,power games,cold chewy sandwiches, angry bosses.... It has been a situation which called for blood, sweat and buckets of tears!!!
But as the saying goes every dark cloud has a silver lining and in my case, it was the appearance of three visitors from Poland - M, C and R - , so christened to preserve their anonymity.

The trio, whom I also refered to as the Amigos, reminded me of a bunch of noisy jackdaws as they rattled away to each other in Polish and then, struggled to help one another translate the gist of their conversation for me. For you see, the amigos were not very fluent in English. But, after spending close to 3 months in India, both M nor R had thrown their inhibitions to the wind and were quite determined not to allow a mere trifle like language be a stumbling block to their socialising. A task which, unfortunately for them, had not been very easy because " In Indiiiiiiyaaaa, pipple speak English too fast...too fast...too different....!!!", as M plaintively informed me the morning we were introduced.
However, they didn't seem to have much of a problem understanding my speech and so, most days after work, the amigos would eagerly wait for me to put in an appearance and then, quickly pounce on me for conversation over endless mugs of tea, coke and some whiskey. I don't think their Polish-English Dictionary would have been thumbed all through their entire Indian sojourn as much as it had been this past week.
Now, I normally am not the most patient of persons when I am caught up with a project and socialising is the last thing on my mind at the end of a hard day at work. Or when I have homework to do. But the first evening I spent the with the Amigos proved to be so incredibly hilarious and their hospitality so warm, that I actually began to look forward to our noisy conversations.

Of the three, M was clearly the leader and the patriarch - a total riot..rambunctious...gregarious and very often the spokesperson for R & C. While at the other end of the spectrum towered R, who was the baby of the group -enthusiastic, incredibly puppy like and with a yen for Kung Fu, vampires, zombies and all such manner of horror and violence!!! R hates Hollywood movies because " They all haf happi endings...hero kill villans....marry heroine...lif hapili evr afta" but he actually downloads Bollywood movies which he finds amusing. And stuck somewhere in between was C, who must be the closer to my age and rather reticent although he did possess a wry sense of humour, which is often lit up our conversations like a sudden sun burst on a dark rainy day. C is a self proclaimed pessimist although he had no qualms about visiting India without medication for the famous "Delhi belly" and even worse, eating Pani Puri off the street carts. Now if I devote more space to C than the other two, it is simply because C inevitably comes up with the most outrageous ideas....Like wanting to carry away a giant Indian cockroach, a 4 inch bug, back to Poland. All my arguments of him being locked up for eternity in a dank polish prison as a suspected proponent of biological warfare fell on deaf ears and C blithely made me promise that if I were to stumble on a giant bug, I would faithfully bottle it as a gift for him. * violent shudder*
M, R & C had an opinion about everything they had encountered and experienced so far, from the mad Indian drivers & rogue Tuk-Tuk drivers to the soggy bread croutons in the spicy Tomato soup and other Indian food and of course, the trademark Indian 'Yes-No' head wobble. While they were more than willing to satiate my curiosity about Poland, they themselves had a gazillion questions about India, the people, customs and the pantheon of Gods and Goddesses we worship...which resulted in what I am sure will be some of the funniest conversations of my life.
" aaaah, excuse me...Reeeekha...I haf a qustion for u...sori, it is ask?
The eager expressions on C's & R's faces made it abundantly clear that this question had been debated beforehand by the amigos.
" Ok...I will try to answer it"
" eerr, yesterda you wear deeffrent dresss...aaah...that is saree?"
" errr, yes...I went for a friend's engagement and so was wearing a sari"
But the amigos were not listening....for some reason, the discovery had excited them greatly because the three were jabbering away to each other in Polish.
" You have been in India for 3 months and you don't know what a sari is??"
" I am heere few days...I come Sunday....R & M here far 3 mondhss"
" Ahh, we see saree...but we no know it wife ask me " You Take peekture of butifuul womann in saaree"..But I know no if I haf"
" I buy saree bak to Poland...I have gilfriend, sistar, 3 coosins, madher to gift...I show u....U see?"
R's enthusiasm takes me by surprise. While all the foreigners I have met in India so far, have most definitely been both, enchanted and intrigued by our national costume but I had, to date, not met anyone who purchased 6-7 at one shot!!! Visions of the women in R's family wrestling with their saris as they attempted to drape it around them in accordance to R's hand written instructions flit before me, bringing a smile to my lips!!! Needless to say, it is quickly suppressed as R walks back into the room with an armful of packages, which he dumps on the couch for me to inspect.
" But these are salwars....not sareee"
" This no sareee?.....wat u call?" *round eyes and mouth a wee bit ajar*
" No these are not saris...they are salwars...There is a long shirt top with a drawstring pant under and maybe a shawl"
" aaaaaahhh" R hastily scribbles down the name for future reference. I debate educating him on the finer nuances of the kurtas and pyjamas of our world - salwars, churis, punjabi pyjamas, short kurtis, long kurtas, anarkalis, kaleez, so on and so forth -but then decide to spare his grey cells!!!
" I buy saaree to tak bak wiz me to Poland.."
" Oh....for your wife or your friend, I guess"
* startled look* " nein, nein.....Faaar meeee....I wear Saaree in Poland" * delivered in a very emphatic tone*
Good Lord, C was a cross dresser????...For once, words failed me!!!....The amigos, esp C, must have noticed the look of absolute shock on my face because he hastened to explain
" I wantt saaareeee......mmmm....weeth trrouser undar....menn warr in Indyaa?" * expectant look* " I Dalhi....Heesar....I seee" * note of defiance slowly creeps into voice*
I try to think of the politest way I can let him know that the only men I have seen in a sari were the hijras at the traffic signal!!! And they most definitely did not wear pants under ....But there was no way out because by then, R and M also are looking at me enquiringly awaiting enlightenment!!!
So this is how the now legendary preachers of yore must have felt when faced with their first prospective converts!!!
" err, in India, women wear wear dhotis which is tied waist down..the only men who wear saris are the transvestites and cross dressers....and well, maybe a traditional gay.... I really don't know"
And with that fell swoop, the chattering amigos were silenced!!! The silence which ensued was awkward and deafening!!!..To break it and the fact that there were three pairs of eyes in different shades of blue boring like gimlets through me, I hastily opened a magazine on the table to desperately search out the picture of a sari....But instead, I came across an advertisement for men's ethnic wear which C pounced on with unholy glee.
" thar thar...saaree far men..." * broad beaming smile*
I am so relieved that I cannot help laughing...
" That is not a is a sherwani...."
R dutifully jots that down as well, as C grins with self satisfaction...
" I war tat in Poland........Arabian shoes with curl" *gesticulates an extravagant curl for my benefit* " I buuy shoes also"
I just cannot help but smile at the picture C paints for me.
" ahh, we go to de zoo park come? "
" Oh I am sorry M but I am meeting some friends for breakfast....I would have liked to but...."
" ohhhh, no problem....we go...I ride elefant...and take peekture....many in my phamily be envy" * broad toothy grin and smug satisfaction writ all over his face*
I just cannot help but beam back at M....How could I not at someone who so enjoys the small, simple things in life with childlike enthusiasm?....
M, R & C will remain etched in my memory for a very long time to come...for their warmth, their sense of adventure and the open minds with which they embraced India....
In fact, every time I hear the word Amigos, I know I am going to be assailed by visions of my three noisy kurta clad Polish friends merrily perched atop an elephant, clutching on to a bottled bug for dear life!!!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

ETA's World

" rekhaaaaaaaaa....come....come...come....push..."

My eyes almost pop out of their sockets as I am thrown off guard by the imperious commands hurled at me in that oh-so-casual tone...So much so, that it actually takes me a whole moment to digest the unceremonious demands!!

There are very few in this world who would venture to requisition my services with such high decibel arrogance. Those that do are, either very brave or plain stupid. But unfortunately for me, neither word exists in ETA's world.

ETA, the youngest born of my karmic sibling Pradeep, has a simple philosophy for life - " BE HAPPY"....A lot like Mumble, the super cute pengiun chick in Happy Feet. But for ETA to be happy, ETA must get what ETA wants. And in this moment in time, all ETA wanted was to play on the swings.

Since we were at a social engagement which kept her parents busy with their many responsibilities, the crafty ETA had no qualms whatsoever about recruiting any hapless passerby into service.

" rekhaaaaaaaaa........push...push....come....come...."

Cornered, I had no choice but to lumber over and help her on the swings.

" Fast...Fast....Fast...."

" No ETA...not Fast...You will fall off"

" No holding tightly...see.....Fast...Fast...Fast"

" No, no....what if your hands slip and you fall off?"

A look of surprise crosses her face for a fleeting moment as she wonders how the chains which she has clasped in a vice grip in her teeny tiny hands could possibly slip out of her stranglehold. But ETA being ETA, was not the one to waste time or brain power on trifles. She must have concluded that I obviously was a moron who had to be suffered because apart from flashing a quick " what a dumb ass" look at me, ETA did not deign to reply.

" Fast...Fast....Fast...."

Now, she was beginning to remind me of a cheer leader at one of the famous Kerala boat races!!! But her enthusiasm is infectious and I am carried away by her rhythmic chants. Hastily muttering a prayer to the powers that be, I gently accelerate the tempo of ETA's swinging.

But is the cherub happy? Oh no, she is not!!!

" Fast...Faaast....Faaaaaaast...."

I am now almost convinced that the murky depths of ETA's gene pool contain a rogue chromosome or two that traces its roots to the backwaters of Kerala!!! A true blue mallu myself, I am all too aware of the tenacity and resourcefulnes of anyone remotely connected with my homeland and I decide that it would be well in my best interests to fall in line with ETA's wishes.

*sigh* I must be aging faster than I thought I was!!!

Soon ETA is air-cruising at a speed that meets with her approval.
" ETA, aren't you afraid?"
Once again, that "dumb ass" look...Seriously, is there nothing I can do right??
Thankfully, the feel of the wind tousling her hair softens ETA a wee bit and she begins to murmur her happiness to the world
" ETA happy.....Not SCARED!!!....ETA happy"

Okieeee, point noted...No Fear in ETA's World!!!

But this put-down does not register fully as I have finally tasted the success I was hoping for, after having failed to impress ETA with my 'Concerned Aunt' act earlier on.

'Safer to quit while you are ahead' suggest the voices in my head and like a fool, I try talking ETA into retiring indoors for lunch. However, ETA treats my query with such acidic scorn that I hasten to continue pushing her and this time, without much sound byte. But the peace was not to last.

Obviously ETA's happiness was impeding mine and besides being hungry, I could swear that my biceps were beginning to bulge!!!

" ETA, shall we go find mama?"

*cold silence*

But, spurred on by a rumbling stomach, the Alpha Moggie was not to be deterred......Come on folks, I am not the alpha for nothing, am I? I decide to engage her in conversation and steer her indoors, in a moment of distraction.

" ETA, do you know who DSK is?"

" my friend"

" your friend? why?"

" he gimme teddy bear......"


" do you speak to your friend?"



She directs a long suffering expression at me. Boy, I am so glad she is just 3 and cannot divorce me or sue her parents for making me a part of the family!!! But thankfully, ETA decides to take the higher road

" Saturday"

My jaw drops a few inches, as I stare at her in utter disbelief...... willing her to admit to her blatant untruth. But, ETA is oblivious to my glares, and continues to enjoy her ride..

" ETA, do you know who I am?"

" yes"

" who am I?"

" rekkkkhhhhaaaaaaaa" *accompanied by a diabolic MUHAHAHAHA kind of laugh*

Now, I am the one distracted from my mission.........

" rekha......just rekha?? no auntie?"


I am rather nonplussed by this little niece of mine, who remains as cool as a cucumber as she announces her intention of calling me by name and not with the much desired Auntie epithet attached to it!!!

" ETA, how can you call me rekha?"

" rekhaaaaa....rekhaaaaaaaaaa....rekhaaaaaaaaaa"

The little imp grins wickedly at my discomfiture. As I mull over this new development, ETA waves what she considers an olive branch at me

" Satheesh auntie????"
*rolling my eyes in sheer exasperation*

For once, the Alpha is out-matched!!!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Kitty Interrupted!

" Where's Ging?"
"Must be sleeping on my favourite rug.... on the porch!!!" * distracted frown as I search for pans to clatter*
" Yes, you are right...She is snoozing on your rug!!!...If she wants to sleep, why did she even get out of bed this morning"
" Oh, she came downstairs with me to let in the maid....Did a quick run of the front yard to make sure the boats had not vanished in the dead of the night....She even did a tyre count!!!...Snuck around to the back yard to check if any of the trees had disappeared overnight...meditated in front of the heap of leaves in the corner....checked on me as I mixed the dosa batter in the kitchen and finally, went off to snooze" *Pheeeeeewwww.....*
The boats, by the way, refer to our cars which are strategically parked on either side of the gate so as to curtail robber entry or exit. ...One of the moggie strategies to secure the house.
" Sometimes I wish I could get inside her head and see what goes on in there"
* blank stare* " Now, why would you want to do that?...I mean she sleeps, eats,hangs out with us, goes for walks and sleeps some more...Isn't it rather clear what her priorities in life are?? and us..Not necessarily in that order....And besides, you should think about getting through your morning ablutions and getting your backside to my breakfast table"
But, Dsk seemed to be bewitched by the sight of the irresistibly cute kitty, who from her masticating jaws, appeared to be dreaming of a romp in a Giant Whiskas Tub. Did I ever mention that the only thing Ging eats is Whiskas kibble??? no milk, no fish, no chicken...Just Whiskas!!! What a cat!!!
" Well, she is such an intelligent cat..she understands everything we tell her and she communicates well with us...So I wonder what she thinks of when she is sleeping..I mean it can't be that someone can be brain dead for most part of the day and super intelligent the remainder of the you think that she thinks about us in her sleep as well?"" hmmmm....yeah, maybe......." But b
efore I can voice my opinion on the convoluted workings of Ging's mind, I am rudely cut short by an unholy screech.
And into the kitchen strode Dsk with a truculent Ging in his arms. Obviously, he hadn't been able to resist kitty's charms and had, much to her dismay, had scooped her into his arms. But our Ging has a mind of her own and never takes kindly to being picked up for a cuddle on our terms. Especially not when she is zzzzing. So, there we were in the kitchen - me watching the battle between my underlings while my pan merrily smoked away, a struggling wild cat a.k.a Ging who was hollering her displeasure for the whole world to hear and a determined Dsk, who was rather clumsily trying to hold on to Ging.
Ging, of course, won the skirmish and nonchalantly strolled over to the sofa to resume her nap, leaving a disgruntled parent behind.
" See, this is another thing I do not understand about her..She likes to be with us and never wanders away from the house but she just won't allow us to pick her or carry her...why is that? None of our other cats ever behaved this way??"
I was quick to soothe Dsk's ruffled feathers " Well, it depends...maybe she had a traumatic kitten hood and finds it difficult to trust us humans..."
But my voice trailed of as Dsk trains a disbelieving look on me " What are you saying???...That she may have issues with intimacy? I thought that was a psychological reaction exhibited by humans traumatised by abusive relationships??"
" Yeah, so what makes a cat very different?? If she is intelligent enough to understand and communicate with us, why should her psyche not bear emotional scars from the past? I mean"
* misshapen eyebrows knit into the most alarming frown ever*
" Well, I don't know....I mean, she has no issues demanding things from us or bullying us or any such thing...So why only react when we pick her up???...This is why I say she is just like you!!!...Temperamental & Possessive of her space " And with that parting shot, the normally placid gamma moggie marches out of the kitchen in a huff....
*deep sigh again*
I should have quit while I was ahead, which was approximately about the time when I was pre-occupied with mashing the lumps in my dosa batter rather than leap into an argument about kitty psychology!!!

I must have been a tube light in my last birth.....Because going by the frequency with which my rather large size 9 foot ends up in my mouth, it would seem that my self preservation instincts always kicks in a tad too late ....
Seriously, where are my guardian angels when I need them??....On an extended tea break???.............Is anyone up there even listening???

Friday, August 15, 2008

The Choco-Banana Kickass Ice Cream

India's 62nd Independence Day dawned nice and bright in the moggie household.
Well, I am not entirely sure if I should use the word 'dawned' because it was well past lunch time when the three moggies bestirred themselves from their warm bed. In our defence, it was one of those rare days when the three of us were at home with nothing much to do other than entertain each other and since we had no particular plans for the day, catching up on sleep obviously took precedence over everything else.
I guess most others, in their senses, would have hit the beach or the mall for the day but hey, we are just 3 unambitious little crabs who are quite content with food, drink, our home and hearth...and of course, moolah in the bank.
* Big broad grin*
The three of us eventually woke up and as we were lazily stretching ourselves, we decided to stop mourning the lacks in this country we call home and get into the spirit of things. Over Cinnamon french toast and steaming mugs of coffee, we debated plans for the day.
" I wonder why they ran Jodha Akbar in the morning!!!...We could have watched it if it was telecast in the afternoon..All the movie theaters will be running full, so there is no point trying for any movie...Do you want to go the the mall?"
Dsk is not exactly the epitome of enthusiasm. An evening at the mall tailing his shopaholic wife is not exactly his idea of a celebration but then, the jam packed theaters and auditoriums leave us with very few options. Ging, who is lounging about on the sofa, faking sleep, twitches her tail to indicate her displeasure.
" Well, I don't have much shopping to do....And I really want to cook because I am tired of all the eating out I have been doing these past few weeks"
The two moggies perk up a wee bit, as Dsk plaintively adds " Even I don't want to eat out.......I haven't had a decent meal in such a long time....Its been ages and ages since I ate rice and your delicious curries"
The way to a woman's heart is indeed through her spices and saucepans as the wily Dsk knows all too well.
" Hmmm...maybe we can eat dinner early and go out for a drive...actually I feel like making something nice...let me fry some nethili (anchovy, I think) for dinner and perhaps make some parippu (lentils) to go with the rice"
The sheer joy on my martian moggy's face is a sight to behold.
As I get about clattering my pots and pans, Dsk's cell rings...Its mommy dearest commandeering his services to go refrigerator shopping. Driven by my greed, I am now up to my ears in dinner preparations and send Dsk off to fulfil his filial obligations.
In no time, the parippu, rice and nethilis are taken care of...And kitty and I are back on the couch, T.V guide in hand to check for interesting programmes to watch. There is nothing the two of us can agree on and since Ging stubbornly refuses to allow me to watch what I want, I have to rack my brains for an alternative.
" Let's make ice cream" I purr to Ging , who has absolutely no clue as to what ice cream is, but signals her willingness to try something new.
We race over to the fridge to check for ingredients, only to discover that most of our carb and fat rich food ended up in the trash can long long back....When the house was declared as a Low Fat Zone!!!...
But did that deter us? Oh no, it didn't!!!
Out came the low fat milk...and a few mini bars of toblerone... and some reaaaalllllly awful chocolate my husband's brother gave us over a year ago. Don't ask me why the awful chocolate didn't find its way in the trash can. If I remember correctly, our traumatised taste buds demanded that the offending chocolate be put out of sight immediately and so it got stashed it away at the back of the refrigerator. Anyway, I was hoping that the toblerone and the milk would redeem it now because we seemed to have nothing else to add to our ice cream. Or so I thought, but as I melted the chocolate in the milk in a hot water bath, my eyes fell on a bunch of overripe bananas and decided to blend them with the chocolate milk mixture!.
" Now, what goes in?' I ask my moggy assistant, who's eyes are gleaming in unholy glee. Talk about qualitative bonding!!!
We hit the fridge again and this time, Ging flicks the Amarula bottle with her tail. Hmmmm...Amarula with chocolate and bananas? If it had been Bailey's or Kelley's, I wouldn't have thought twice about it.... Amarula, I am not so sure about. But Ging is rather insistent and nose butts me into submission. And in goes a generous dose of Amarula.
By now Ging is on a roll...She heads for our liquor box and comes up with a bottle of Ballantyne's whiskey. I think she wanted Rum but had to settle for whiskey instead but hey, I wasn't complaining and so, in went a splash of rather fine whiskey. And that was the end of my assistant's inputs. The liquor fumes must have got to Ging because kitty now staggered to the sofa and collapsed into a limp form. I add a dash of cinnamon to the mixture and blend it one last time before putting it in to freeze.
Even with the freezer set at the coldest, we need to wait a couple of hours to see if our ice cream even sets!!! I cross my fingers and say a little prayer to the Kitchen Gods above, because I hadn't the faintest idea as to how our creation would turn out. Ging is obviously a lot more confident. She plonks herself on my lap and licks me comfortingly
" Not to worry mommy. If it sets, we'll call it ice cream. If its wobbly, then it's going to be a souffle...And if it is God awful unpalatable, we will blame it on the horrid chocolate"
*kitty winks* Now that is what I call moggie sense!!!
A few hours later, sporting an expression of absolute contentment after his scrumptious dinner, Dsk dug his spoon into the choco-banana-liquor ice cream under our watchful eyes..Yes, ice cream it was because the concoction set pretty well indeed!!!..And we needed no words of praise..The ecstatic look on his face said it all.....SIMBLY KICK-ASS!!!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The World's Largest Trash Can

Hallelujah...I have attained enlightenment!!!..

I have realised one of life's great truths!!!

That India is nothing but a giant trash can.......The largest in the world in fact!!!

When I woke up this morning, I had no premonition what so ever about the discovery that awaited me. A few hours later, I was at the airport desperately waiting for my boarding call.
Not that I had places to reach in a hurry, but only because I was desperate to get away from my litter rich surrounds and the gut-racking stench from the toilets nearby.

Perhaps it was the lack of oxygen.
Or the catatonia of a sleep & caffeine deprived brain.
But, as I held my breath and feverishly counted the moments all the while staring mindlessly at an over-turned cup of coffee on the floor, it struck me rather forcibly that we were all the rather hapless residents of a giant garbage bin

* Defiant expression which dares anyone to challenge the C.R.A.P theory*

Protest all you want, people...but the cold hard fact remains unchanged.

India IS a garbage can.
Or, even worse, perhaps, when you consider the urine, excreta and spittle that accost us every single day.
365 days of the year.

This is in addition to the rotting heaps of various other forms of organic and inorganic litter that we have to deal with on an average day.

So, what does that make us??

The creepy crawlies that blithely wallow and make merry in the muck and filth??

Yeouwh...What a thought!!!

But those are the only creatures that come to my mind when I think of dirt.
Just imagine us as repulsive little squiggly worms and maggots or the buzzing flies, all of which not only hover around the crap, muck and rotting filth, but also have no compunctions in fostering it.

Sure there are those of us who preserve every single apple core, plastic bags, bottles and teeniest scrap of paper for proper disposal, but that is such a small minority. The rest just seem impervious!!!

I glance around at the people around me, most of whom are well dressed and engrossed in their papers or their thoughts.
None of them look even remotely affected by the malodour around us.

I contemplate taking over the P.A system and expounding my C.R.A.P Theory to the lesser non-thinking mortals. But thoughts of the padded cell and shock therapy deter me!!!

Maybe another day...when I am drunk silly on Tequila shots...
*Deep Sigh*

Before I rush off to board my flight, I decide to toss the offending coffee cup from the floor and some others into the dust bin.

As I make my way out of the terminal, rubbing sanitizer into my palms, my attention is momentarily caught by an effervescent reporter on T.V. who is gushing about all the things India can be proud of as she celebrates yet another Independence day!!!

Seriously, is there no end to the crap attack??

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Love's Labour Lost

I was right!!!
Don C has proven to be a bounder and a rogue to boot. I am absolutely delighted at having been proved right and I haven't been able to restrain myself from crowing over the hapless Ging since this morning. To my credit, I haven't as yet traipsed about performing my incredibly annoying victory dance!!!
I had been so engrossed in mollifying Ging over the past couple of days, that my otherwise sharp E.S.P had not had much of a chance to pick up the changed vibes around the moggie household. True to form, Ging and DSK seem to have sworn a feline oath of silence to keep me in the dark. But Don C who was not privy to the moggie oath, proved to be the weak link in their deception.
This morning as I was clattering about clumsily in the kitchen while Ging went about her daily morning patrolling of our back yard, Don C put in an appearance. Instead of settling himself on the back-yard wall as was his practice, he bristled at poor Ging and, before I could train the dirtiest of my glares at him, lunged at her. Not in a fit of passion as I first imagined. But in sheer aggression. And much to my surprise, Ging turned tail and ran in for cover.
Perhaps if Don C had not sighted me emerging from the kitchen, brandishing my ladle with obvious intent of smacking his rump, I would have been able to catch the final outcome of this rather surprising chase. But see me he did. And that was reason enough for him to rethink. And retreat.
I found Ging cowering behind my french crystal, trying to put a brave face on things. But the cat was out of the bag & love's labour lost!!!! *tsk* *tsk*

A Chip Of The Moggie Block

DSK maintains that Ging and I are two of a kind - stubborn, independent, way too sensitive for our good, demanding, temperamental, possessive of our space, childlike at times, blah, blah.... and more blah. *sigh*
Like most doting fathers, he tends to lay all her faults at my doorstep while hogging credit for her virtues. *Raises eyebrows*
I can argue my case till I am blue in the face but he just doesn't buy my theory that Ging is a rather potent cocktail of genes, inherited from my mother and mother-in-law.
But if I were to be absolutely honest, I would have to concede that there are some traits that kitty and I have in common. We are both very strong felines.... Intensely loyal, incredibly loving and generous to a fault...We can't bear being dirty or un-groomed and frown most fiercely on Body Odour & Bad Breath....Most of the time, we know what we want and go right after it...And, we rarely give up....We kick loads of butt... And run for cover when the tide turns against us..We both are, also, hurt easily and take time to forgive!!! This last quality I discovered just last night, when I got home after a 3 week stint in Bangalore.
After a heady day at work where we popped champagne in celebration of a great moment at work, I flew back to Chennai and reached home after a pig out at my favourite Mallu restaurant.
Note: Yes, I finally got to eat my favourite fiery fish curry!!! * Big toothy grin*
As I alighted from the car still smacking my lips, I was stopped in my tracks by the sight of a little fury glowering at me from her post. Her eyes flashed fire...And wrath was writ all over her stony face and ramrod straight body!! Even the sight of her favourite parent after 12 hrs of seperation failed to soften her. Without as much as acknowledging my presence, she stomped off indoors and despite all my plaintive pleading and cajoling, she spent the night on the couch .
Perhaps, the morning would bring on a thaw. But as the cock crowed, the kitty remained relentless and continued to dole out loads more of the cold treatment. And if I thought the sight of DSK trotting off with his overnight case, leaving her all alone with me, would crack that icy facade or melt the little heart of steel, I had a second thought coming my way. Ging, obviously, meant business!!
I never realised that making-up could be such a pain. And for once, I sympathised with those who had borne the brunt of my ire in the past - deserved or undeserved.
Dismayed, I whined to DSK all the way to the airport. And long after.
But all my cribs sailed right over the rather busy gamma moggie's head, which clearly meant that it was time to roll up my sleeves and take Ging head on.
So, after some more apologising which ricocheted off her iron resolve, I pointed out to Ging that it was just her and me all by ourselves for the next couple of days....That she now had a choice between self imposed loneliness which could be rather cold or the fun times with mommie with lovies, hugs and cuddles galore.
And then, in the face of continued kitty resistance, I decided to hit the sack and let her stew.
It would seem that Ging did some serious thinking....And decided to cut her losses before she lost control of the situation. Because as I wandered happily in the land of nod, I suddenly sensed little kitty paws pattering on me and kneading the flesh on my back. I opened one eye to find the feline brat astride me, staring down at my supine form assessing which body part of mine would be ideal for a cozy snooze.
For once, I didn't protest.
Did I mention that Ging also takes after me as far as natural intelligence went????

Friday, August 8, 2008

Caffeine For The Tech Moron

Yes, I am a self proclaimed Tech Moron. And I firmly believe that one day the machines will rise against the human race, reducing us to nothing but a snivelling bunch of fearful slaves. Blame it on what you will - An overdose of morbid Sci-fi or on James Cameron & Arnold Schwarzenegger of Terminator fame.... But, this remains one of my unshakable theories about life which, so far, no-one has managed to budge me from....
But there are occasions when I am forced to hunker down to pay my obeisances to Technology. Like when I discovered the joys of the Internet....Apart from helping me track down and connect with faces from my past and my loved ones, the Internet also shrank my world in a way I never thought possible.
All at once, I could write to my heart's content & share it with the world....Hunt for recipes....Track down terrific reading material...Research anything under the sun....But, the reason I am truly appreciative of the Internet is because it has also brought into my life, some wonderful cyber siblings of all ages, sizes and shapes....
OK, so I am on a uncharacteristic nostalgia trip. ...
But hey, its 2 a.m and I have just received a great huge slice of rich, gooey chocolate fudge from one of my cyber sisters...So, sue me for gloating !!!

...* Big Big Toothy Grin*.....
This is Jeethu's creative instincts at work....And as a pick me up, it beats Black Coffee in an I.V.... anyday, anytime !!! .... Now tell me if you can, in all honesty, ask me to can my smile??? You can't...can you???

On a more sober note, I just realised that it is not very often that I acknowledge and thank the wonderful people who encourage me to keep writing..The confidence that some of you have in me, scares the living daylights out of me!!!
So here's to all you wonderfully warm 'Coffee Shots' who make the sun shine all the more brighter on me......My little virtual artist Jeethu & my dear friend Vicky who periodically seek [and almost always fails] to transform me into a tech savvy writer........My dear friends Prasanna, Vids, Vini, Shail, Roopa, KKay, Vidu......My mentors Toby, & Udayan....And, all the wonderful people who keep coming back to visit the Moggies...

Thank you for the hand-holding you do. And God Bless.

P.S: Just in case you do not find your name in the list, please do not assume that I am unappreciative of your support and affection......Unfortunately, I am not getting any younger and as much as I hate to admit it, age is most definitely taking its toll on my poor grey cells.....

NOTE: All images in this post are the exclusive property of Jeethu and cannot be reproduced without the express prior written permission of the artist!!