Grandma’s Tales – Piggly

PIGGLY SMELLS THE ROSES

By Joy Clarkson

Acknowledgment – Thank you, Mia, for planting the seed of an idea for this story.

“Dada, Dada,” Mia called out as she scurried into the dining room and made for the corner, at which end of the dining table Dada had set up not only her permanent seat for meals but also a workstation where she’d sit and write.

Mia came and stood beside Dada who looked up from whatever she was doing into Mia’s serious and troubled eyes.

“What’s the matter, Mia? You don’t look too happy.” Mia nodded her head up and down. Dada waited.

“Dada, my lil Piggly has lost his snout!”

“Lost his snout?” Lil Piggly?” This was the first time Dada had heard about a lil pig called Piggly.

“Yes, Dada. Lil Piggly has lost his long snout,” she repeated gesturing with her hands in case Dada didn’t know what a snout was.

“What can I do Mia? Do you want me to help you find the snout?”

“Yes, let’s find Piggly’s snout,” she said, happy and relieved, as she took Dada’s hand in hers.

“Where’s Piggly? I need to ask him some questions,” Dada asked seriously. This was a serious case. Who ever heard of a pig losing its snout!

She pulled Dada out of the dining room and into the corridor that led to the bedrooms.

“There he is,” she said pointing a finger.

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“There he is.”

“Ah! I see him and he’s not looking very happy. Piggly, can you tell me where you lost your snout?” asked Dada

“Oik, oik,” said Piggly sadly, “I don’t know.”

“See,” piped Mia, “he can’t even speak properly without his snout. He’s saying ‘oik’ instead of ‘oink’!” And she looked so sad Dada thought she’d cry any minute.

Now Piggly, that doesn’t help much, does it? Let’s see, can you tell me all that you did this morning?”

“Well, I played in a muddy puddle. It was so much fun! I rolled around in the muddy puddle and splashed and jumped…” Dada interrupted him.

“And what did you do next?”

“Oik, farmer Longbottom took me to find truffles. I did a good job of it. I’m sure he’s pleased with me, oik, oik!”

“And what else did you do? Where did you go?” asked Dada.

“Oik, oik, I was tired and took a nap. I didn’t go anywhere and I didn’t do anything else.”

“Can you take us to the muddy puddle and the place where you found the truffles?” asked Mia.

“Oik, I can,” said Piggly eagerly. He did want to find his snout.

So off they went to look for Piggly’s snout in the muddy puddle. Dada used a pitchfork to dredge the squelchy, muddy pool for the missing snout but found nothing but slimy leaves and a few pebbles.

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Dada used a pitchfork to dredge the squelchy, muddy pool for the missing snout but found nothing but slimy leaves and a few pebbles.

Then they trudged to where Piggly had searched for truffles. It was a lot of searching as they had to go over a large area. They were quite exhausted by the time they had finished their search but had still found nothing. No snout!

Mia, Piggly, and Dada, who was not so young anymore, sat under a shady tree to catch their breath and rest their aching legs. No one spoke for a while. They were all lost in their own thoughts. And then the silence was broken by a big…Achoo! Achoo! Achoo!

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Then they trudged to where Piggly had searched for truffles. They were quite exhausted by the time they had finished their search but had still found nothing. No snout!

Piggly had a sneezing fit.

“Do you have a cold Piggly? Said Mia, as she patted Piggly gently.

“No, I don’t,” he replied. “It’s an allergy. It happened earlier today when I was sniffing the roses. I think I’m allergic to roses or flowers or pollen or…dear me! I’m so miserable, I could cry! Oik, Oik, Oik.”

“You smelled the roses?” said Dada sitting up straight.

“When did you smell the roses, Piggly?” asked Mia.

“You never mentioned it earlier,” mumbled Dada annoyed.

“I forgot,” wailed Piggly, “I just remembered when I sneezed. While farmer Longbottom rested under this tree I strolled that way…there. There’s a patch of wild roses down there. I sniffed them and …Achoo! Achoo!” Piggly had another sneezing fit.

Dada took Mia’s hand and both of them hurried in the direction Piggly had pointed out. A short run and they came upon a beautiful sight. The patch of roses!

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A short run and they came upon a beautiful sight. The patch of roses!

“Be careful Mia, these roses have nasty thorns. You stay here and I’ll look around for Piggly’s snout.”

Though Dada was very careful, but still, she let out a yelp now and then when a thorn pricked her. And then, Mia heard Dada shouting…she had found the missing snout and was shouting for joy.

“How are we going to put back Piggly’s snout?” Mia wondered aloud.

“We won’t,” replied Dada, “Dr. Horsense will do that. Come on, let’s hurry.”

Later that day, after Dr. Horsense had fixed Piggly’s snout right where it belonged, Dada and Mia went to see how lil Piggly was doing.

“Oink, Oink,” said Piggly happily, when he saw them. “I’m so glad I’ve got back my snout. I’m never going to sniff around roses again. Thank you, Dada. Thank you, Mia,” said lil Piggly as he trotted home.

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“Oink, Oink, I’m so glad I’ve got back my snout. I’m never going to smell the roses again.”

The story of the story:

Three-year-old Mia, one of the twins, came running to me at my ‘workstation’ and said, “Dada, Piggly has lost his snout.”

I said, “And who is Piggly?”

“My lil pig,” she replied.

From then on the story unfolded as we went around the house…to the places mentioned in the story above.

‘Oink, Oink, it was fun finding Piggly’s snout!

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Perfect Moments

I call myself, the chef-on-the-run. No, I’m not a professional chef I’m a home cook! Do I get a kick out of calling myself a chef…No, I get a kick out of calling myself a chef on the run! I love to cook and when I’m cooking I prefer to be alone in the kitchen. If anyone wants to hang out with me they’ll have to listen to the music/songs I’m listening to or hear me singing or watch whatever it is I’m watching, spasmodically. I can make a few comments…crack a joke or two…but I just don’t do chatter, gossip, or grumble when I cook. There have been times I’ve had some company that I had to tolerate…but fortunately, those times have been rare. I get to decide, in the kitchen, how much conversation is enough, and what topic is discussed. Happy, witty, humorous is always more welcome. But all said and done I’m happiest working in my kitchen alone. Those are perfect moments for me.

Mornings usually see me in a rush. I have deadlines to meet…and not only in the kitchen. Diet restrictions to adhere to for the chef herself, two little girls, and/or anyone else in the house. Add to that the challenge to not get boring with repetitive meals. I need to be alone and not disturbed.

These days, however, I have umpteen interruptions. Many conversations that run from ‘serious’ concerns to funny, silly singing. There are little dance sessions or calisthenics…and through all this I juggle with spoons, forks, ladles, frying, sauteing, boiling, chopping, grating, whisking…but thankfully not burning anything…yet! And do I hate it? Do I get upset by it? Do I chase out the interrupters? My answer is an emphatic  – No!

Some days back, I had to make a yakhni for a Chicken Yakhni Pulao, boil & peel baby potatoes to make a herb potato vegetable dish, and there was cucumber to be grated and squeezed of extra juices to make a yogurt based relish. This meant grinding some things, tempering too and cutting the chicken to the right size. Not much if one starts working in time. Remember, I work with deadlines. But, I didn’t start in time! That meant – absolutely no interruptions.

So, in keeping with Murphy’s Law, I had an extra dose of them!

This pic will bear testament to what was happening…I was cutting onions into a pot on the fire…at least, I thought I was, my eyes weren’t on what I was doing.

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I was totally involved with a serious job of “putting the babies to sleep!”…listening and commenting on reports of “babies making stinky poo,” and  on “changing babies’ diapers.” Then there was the question of whether to apply “vaseline,” or “oil!” One advocated vaseline and the other oil. This is just an example of one interruption. There were many more of those. But you have to pay attention when two-year-old, actually 27 mths, girls ask you for advice! Or want you to approve of what they’re doing…especially with their babies! And trust me, it takes some time to answer the same questions twice and answer twice you must!

I wouldn’t have it any other way. These are the perfect moments of my day. These interruptions are actually memories in the making. Precious memories I wouldn’t have if I didn’t allow some onions to fall outside the pot, or turn off the fire to pick up two little, curious girls to show them what was cooking. To allow them to touch and smell or taste what I was cutting. To answer their queries patiently. And play hide-and-seek every time one calls out, “Where is Amaara?” Or “Where is Miraaya?” Or doing a hop, skip, and jump to some rhyme…even becoming the “Fi, Fie, Fo Fum” monster who wants to eat someone’s “tum-tum.” Let the deadline hang over my head…let the half chopped veggies lie on the board…let the broccoli steam a bit more (I’ll puree it for soup) I must go stomping after two little, squealing girls to devour their tum-tums!

But the deadlines threaten! I ask the twins for respite…no, I beg for respite and “two minutes” of rest. They permit it repeating after me, “two minutes rest. Dada’s tired,” to stress the time limit. Sure enough, they’re back again. However, I’ve managed to do quite a bit in those ‘two minutes’ which were actually thirty minutes! Thank god they have no sense of time as yet and can’t read a clock! This time, they open the lower cupboards and forage for strainers. They know exactly which cupboard, of the two, and which shelf they’d find them. Soon, I had two “astronauts” strutting about in my kitchen, ready to take-off to the moon. I facilitated ‘take-off’ and they zoomed off to the moon. If I thought I had bought a significant amount of time with that, I couldn’t be more wrong. Both were back in a split second.

“What now?” I ask.

“Dada, make you a Super Baby,” demanded Amu.

“Mia also,” the other one quips.

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I heave a sigh, walk out of the kitchen to get those ‘SUPER’ stickers that would change my babies into ‘Super Babies’ so they could fly to the moon! Three small circles of red, blue, and yellow do their magic and they zoom off again. I hoped they’d stay on the moon for the day…in vain!

One came zooming back shouting that she didn’t want to go to the moon. So I asked her where she wanted to go.

“You want to go to Jupiter,” she announced seriously.

So, I agreed that was a good choice and sent her off to Jupiter. If you’re wondering about their knowledge of planets…thanks to Bob the Train and his planet adventures on youtube!

Finally, I was free to finish off with the cooking and all that was left to do was clean up. But I shouldn’t have bothered. The space travellers returned without their astronaut headgear and I ordered them out as I wanted to clean up. They dashed out. That was fast. I was impressed. I should have known better…

They were back in a jiffy with their brooms (their mom had bought them the whole cleaning paraphernalia – brooms, mops, the floor brush etc to keep them away from the big ones :D) and quickly identified the dirty areas.

“Here, let’s clean up the floor.” Mia takes control.

“Yes, let’s clean up,” echoes Amu.

“Amu, there’s a carrot,” Mia directs her.

“You cleaning a leaf,” replies Amu intent on a piece of spinach. They usually use “you” when they mean “I.”

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I grab my phone and click a pic! My work was done for now. The floor was never my job anyway…the cleaning woman was in the house!

Grand-daughters are such a delight!

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A Letter

My Dear Beta,

How are you? Thought I’d do the old fashioned thing and write a letter….oh! we call it mail these days…:) I think this quote says it better….“What a lot we lost when we stopped writing letters. You can’t reread a phone call.” But then I am a sentimental fool and being from a past generation only compounds it…LOL

I’ve had quite a restless night and am feeling a bit drowsy this morning. Even my cup of nice, strong ginger tea couldn’t raise me up. Guess a cold shower will fare better! I suppose too much of time on one’s hands is not good for the mind…….I thought about that too, about the connection, and figured it out…..the hands dig up old memories and skeletons long buried…idle hands..:) Whacky eh..??

Hopefully, things will settle down and I will finally be on even keel. Too much has transpired too soon…back-to-back, and it is telling on me…age, I suppose is finally overtaking my mental capacity and strength….the fight seems to be dying down. Still the morning brings hope, it’s the evenings and night that dash all hopes while I battle loneliness. It’s a sunny day today, clear sky so I guess we get some respite from the rain.

I enjoyed a rickshaw ride in a drizzle the other day. It was early morning and I had to withdraw cash for the maid’s pay. Threatened by heavier showers, I scurried to the ATM….but remembered too late that muddy puddles and speeding cars were also on the way !!!!!!! Pachaaak…pachaaak………:(

Oh that’s a rhyme….unintended poetry LOL

That’s it for now. I’ve had my tea and shall read the paper.

Love…Mama

Glossary

Beta……..son

rickshaw……..a three-wheeled cycle carrier. It has a cushioned seat behind the rickshaw driver which can comfortably seat two people. It is canopied and offers some protection from light showers.

pachaak…….a Hindi word to convey the sound of splashing water.

The Little Joys of Grannyhood

I have always enjoyed my conversations with my grand-daughter, who is now four. The other day she wanted to Face Time with me and she sat down and talked about many things: her best friend, her baby sister who will be born next month and so on and so forth. She calls me Daadi. All of a sudden she changed course and asked me:

“Where is my Papa’s papa?”
“He’s in heaven, Aly.”
“Is he with Jesus papa?” She refers to Jesus that way quite often.
“Yes, he’s in heaven with Jesus papa.”
“But why did he have to go to heaven?” Aly hasn’t seen her grandfather (Daada)
I wasn’t sure how I should answer that. She knows he died when her papa was a boy. So I wasn’t sure about what she wanted to know. I guessed she was asking why he had to go so soon.
“I think Jesus wanted him in heaven for a reason. So he had to go.”
“He did? So, now is my papa’s papa my Jesus papa?”

Where did that come from? I wondered. I guessed she must have seen garlanded photographs of parents who’ve passed away, in her Hindu friends’ homes, where the family pays obeisance to them and presumed that dead parents become gods.

“No Aly, he’s still your papa’s papa, your daada, who’s in heaven with Jesus.”
“Okay,” she said thoughtfully, then added, “Does he miss me?”

Oh! that wrenched my heart. I wanted to hug her, she looked so sweet, as she gazed at me on the screen, waiting anxiously for an answer.

“Sweetheart, he does. He misses you a lot and is so happy when he looks down and sees you.”

Her face lit up and she beamed a 1000 watt smile across the miles that lit up my heart and soul.
The joys of being a grandma are indescribable. Ever so often she says or does something that bursts upon me with the joy of life; of living: the joy of inexplicable blessings!