Sunday, April 9, 2017

Just another day at the supermarket.

One day, I found myself at a super market. Actually a hyper market. You know, the kind of place where you go for 4 items and come out with 50, most of which you never needed in the first place. The vegetable and fruit weighing sections are generally the most crowded , with everyone clamoring to get their packets weighed and stamped, to be billed later.

So there I was , minding my business, selecting the vegetables and fruits, putting them into packets and throwing them into the cart. That's when I noticed, or rather, sensed him. A guy looking at me intently. I look at him too, and move away.

I wheel my cart over to the soap section, because as usual, there is stuff that needed to be bought a week back.  I see the same man again at the end of the lane, looking around as if searching for someone. "That's strange" I think to myself "Could he be following me?"

Taking tips from all those TV shows, I swerve through alternate lanes, when I see him again on the opposite end. He catches sight of me and walks purposefully towards me. Annoyed  and a bit alarmed by the unwelcome attention, I start walking to the billing counter,  when a thought strikes me and I stop midway.

"Hold on" I think to myself, "Why am I slinking away? He really needs to be put in his place. Some nerve he has, following me around."

I have enough practice, giving people a piece of my mind,  thanks to the teen brigade at home. Compared o them, this should be  a piece of cake.

So I turn around, just in time to see him approaching me. I put on my best scowl, and rehearse a few sharp sarcastic lines, and get ready to snap at him.

That's when he says " Ma'am, can I please have my cart back?!

Uhoh! His cart?!

 A perfect "Mother Earth please swallow me right now" moment.

I look at the cart and realise that I've left mine back at the vegetable section and have been wheeling his all over. I push his cart towards him. Red faced and sheepish, I manage to squeak out an "Ohhh I'm soooo sorryyy!" to no one in particular, considering that the annoyed gentleman is walking away as fast as he can. Of course he needn't have clutched the handle bar of his cart so tightly. As if I'd grab it now!

Ah well, it's been  just another day at the supermarket!

Friday, March 3, 2017

Oops, we did it again!

It is exam season here and I've been working extra hours in the kitchen to satisfy those "I'm hungry' cravings. Understandably, my mood's not that great. So yesterday was a holiday in between his exams and S was sleeping in. I was at my sudoku puzzle, sipping my tea and G, was busy doing what he does best , asking for the zillionth cup of tea. The point I'm trying hard to make here, is that Ive been working hard, very very hard, not hardly like certain people who I live with, would like you to think!

So there I was, listening to old Hindi numbers, and solving my Sudoku puzzle, when my mobile rang. Annoyed at the disturbance, I glanced at the number. Unknown! I generally avoid picking up calls from unknown numbers,because then I have to tell the caller who is generally peddling some scheme or other,  to go to hell, and I do not want to spoil his/her day and mine too.  But this call I did answer, probably because I was in the exam mood and hence jusified in wanting to give someone a piece of my mind. Besides, I've been working too hard for my own good.

Female Caller: "Mrs R?"

Me (in my gruffest tone, already annoyed at the audacity in presuming that I was a Mrs) : "Haan ji?"

Caller : "Mrs R, I wanted to know if S is coming to school today?"

Me(spluttering) : "erm..whaat?"

Caller, patiently " I'm T, his teacher"

Me,( in a total unrecognizable squeak)  :"Good Morning, Mrs. T. No, No, S doesn't have any exam" while my mind feverishly tries to recall his date sheet which he and I had glanced through two days back.

Mrs. T(really really patient) "'am, he has his Art I, Paper today!"

Me: "Are you sure? oops, didnt know. Thank you for letting me know. Sending him right away".

Mrs. T (In a very relieved tone) : "Yes, Im sureThank you," 

She kept the phone down before I could utter a syllable more. Yes, she is a very impatient lady.  I thought so too.

Knowing S would be  shocked, I sprinted off to wake him up, resolving to break the news to him gently.

Threw his bed sheet cover off and shook him, (whaat? that's as gentle as I can be) screaming "Get up, get up, get up, you have your Art paper today"

S : "Amma, don't joke, let me sleep"

"Seriously", I think to myself, " this child has chosen the wrong day and time to be like me!" 

Shook him some more till he got up, still in disbelief that we had forgotten about an exam. Both he and I were convinced that surely his teacher was mistaken. We pored over the date sheet intently and then looked at each other.  Oops, we had looked at next week's schedule. In our defence, who puts Art in between heavy duty subjects like Chemistry and Geography. Who?! It's all the school's fault. Always!

I pushed S to the washroom and sprinted  to the other room and barked at G : "S has an exam today, get the car out"

His eyes popping out assured me that he had heard and I sprinted back to the kitchen to make a sandwich for the boy. And then sprinted back to S and then to G again.

10 minutes later, they were on their way to school, and I heaved a sigh, partly from relief and mostly from all that sprinting. Thought for the day, sprinting in the morning is injurious to breathing. Please don't try it. 

Then I remembered thisand this (click on the links) and I chuckled. Nothing had changed much since then, and the Apple hadn't fallen too far, from this tree either!

I then practiced  a suitably chastened and apologetic expression to face G, when he returned from the impromptu school run.  He should be happy though, both S and I are not likely to forget an exam ever. I have it all planned out. We just need to print the date sheet in bigger fonts. Maybe color codes will help too.

Yes, that should work!

Yes, poor G, indeed!

Saturday, February 25, 2017

The Nostalgia Toast

Nostalgia on a toast!

I loved my summers, which we spent at my grandparents' place in Bangalore. My cousins from Bombay and Coimbatore, my two sisters, and I would spend a few lazy weeks, playing elastic, Hopscotch, bouncing a ball from a pillar and counting till we missed, playing hide and seek, and solving the crossword puzzle of the Deccan Herald and eating!
That crossword puzzle must have started it all. My cousin, and I particularly would compete to see who would get the paper first and solve the crossword. We would try to get up as early as we could, take a shower, gulp down our milk and wait for the newspaper man. Which was a good thing. The not so good thing was, in our eagerness to be the first, we sometimes woke up before 5am, and though my granny never showed it, I'm quite sure those tears i saw were not so much from happiness, but from despair. She must have thought "Oh no the brats are up, couldn't they wait till I had one tiny sip of filter kaapi couldn't they?
And ofcourse, being a grandmom who equated love with food, she had to think of a quick and filling pre- breakfast meal which would please us and yet not distract her from the cooking of the actual breakfast. I remember her in the kitchen, smearing slices from two jumbo loaves of bread, with homemade butter and chutney powder. While they would be toasting on the tawa, she would be washing the grinding stone for the chutney and setting the pressure cooker up. We would be given the very important task of getting the toasted bread to the table. The towers of bread slices would vanish in no time, and each one of us would be in a corner, eating, talking, fighting or reading and of course one of us would be solving the crossword puzzle while the other one would sulk and resolve to get up even more earlier the next morning.
Every once in a while, I make this, not just because I like it but because it takes me back to a world only I know about. My happy place! Today I made it almost the way my doddamma would make it, I curled up on the chair and I savored nostalgia with every bite I took. and Time actually stood still for a wee while.
This is a memory that uniquely binds the seven of us even though we are all in different parts of the world and I'm so glad for it. If this had a happiness quotient that i could rate, I would give it a perfect 100.

Grannies are the best, always!