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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A Reason To Smile…Grandma speak

“…….Spend your life with people who make you smile, laugh, and feel loved.” –Roy T. Bennett

Smiling comes easy for me. I find numerous reasons to smile…some given by people; people on the streets who smile a ‘Buenos Dias,” at me or an unexpected “Ciao,” as I exit the elevator. A friendly wave and ecstatic grin from a shopkeeper, who I visit quite often, as I walk past her shop. The elderly concierges in the building who give me a broad grin as they wish me the time of day adding, “Como Estas?” And then so many memories from the past which come up and make me smile…a lot. Yes, there are many reasons to smile and I don’t have to go in search of any…they come to my doorstep and I just let them in.

The best reasons, though, in the past six years have been my granddaughters. And more so in these last three years, I’ve had the pleasure of living with my twin ‘nietas‘ and watching them grow. They’re two years and eleven months. Just watching them at play, or engaging in conversation with them is enough to make you laugh, smile and wonder what you have done to be so blessed!

Why, just last night, they were enacting the “Mary & Joseph & special baby Jesus” story, as they call it. They decided I should be a part of the play and informed me that I was the angel Gabriel! It all went well until the time came to go to Egypt to hide from the “naughty, naughty, wicked King Herod.” They took a donkey and came to inform “Gabriel” that they were fleeing.

“Where are you going?” asked ‘Gabriel’ as she looked up from the serial she was watching on Netflix.

“Joseph is going to Nazareth,” replied Mary (Mia) and her expressions conveyed the urgency of the situation, “And I’m going to Bethlehem,” she said in the same tone, as she waddled off quickly, wrapped in her blanky that she wore like a dress! (a reason for giggles…soft laughter…smiles!)

“But why? said Gabriel. (another reason for…soft laughter…smiles!)

“Because Herod cannot find us.”

(Just one of the many reasons for soft laughter…smiles…and that warm feeling of love!)

And then there are the feeling proud (beaming smile) moments too because of small accomplishments like these:

As we waited for our food to come to the table my Energy Capsules 2.11 (as I call them) came up with this lovely work of art.

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Amu drew a smiley…with ease and speed…it was so easy for her to execute the circles and even add the little dots in the eyes!

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Mia preferred to colour and I think, for her age, she has executed it very well. Keeping within the lines is difficult for kiddies her age and she’s done a fine job!

And so it’s just one of those things…smiling! It makes the day brighter, it makes the heart grateful, it cheers someone up…including you…it makes the good better and the bad bearable. I can never forget what my MIL and her friend told me the day after my wedding.

“One is never properly dressed if one doesn’t wear perfume,” said my MIL as she gifted me a bottle of Madame Rochas perfume!

Her friend, Mrs Rudra, quickly added, “And also remember, one is never properly dressed unless one wears a smile!”

Well, though I didn’t lack in both those departments…I always wore perfume or eau de cologne and there was never a dearth of smiles; I had an abundant supply…still I carried the advice with me. It was given with love and I received it with love and respect.

A smile, even through my tears, has saved the day every time. Whether from a memory or a smile from across the room or street…it brings peace.

You have a choice…to live lighter, happier, more grateful and less fretful; more patient, tolerant, and with better self-control. There’s always something that can bring a smile to your heart…look for that reason and you’ll find it.

Smiles… Just keep them warm, heartfelt, kind, understanding…and friendly!

Campo Granja Educativa Con Con- The Petting Zoo

This visit isn’t a recent one. I didn’t have this blog at the time we visited, but I came across some pictures of our visit and here they come. The ‘petting’ zoo, as the name implies allows the children to pet certain animals like a kid or a bunny. They are also encouraged to feed some, under adult supervision, of course! One does have to be careful with the geese…and some very hungry goats and alpacas.

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The zoo is spread over a large farm and has a good number of domestic animals and birds. I’m not sure if ostrich comes under the tag ‘domestic,’ though! It’s a nice place to spend the day with kids. They have a small eating place and an area where one can hold small parties…like birthday parties!

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Apart from this, there are other interesting features like showing kids a live beehive and how honey is extracted. Allowing the kids to pluck ripe fruit off the trees…three per child…and no employee from the zoo stands around to check. They trust you.

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There’s the horse wagon ride around the farm as well. Adults enjoy it as much as their kids do!

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And cable rides too for the older kids.

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Then there’s a traditional oven where fresh bread is baked and each child is given three rolls of hot, soft, buttered bread in brown paper bags. The aroma of baking bread enhances the experience by highlighting the ‘Campo’ (rural) surroundings, besides, one is quite hungry by this time and ready to take a bite.

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And while the kids played and ran around enjoying the fresh country air and open space, some of us relaxed among our feathered and four-legged neighbours, some went a shopping for little mementos at the tiny shop on the campus.

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Before we knew it, it was time to drive back home. The little ones were flushed with joy and that signed off the outing as a huge success and a day spent well.

Joy Over The Weekend- Picture Speak

I usually do not go for a walk on Sundays. My Sunday mornings are dedicated to getting in shape and ready for church. I get back from church half an hour after mid-day if I don’t stay to chat over a cup of tea…and I’m ravenous by then having had breakfast at 8.00 am. Anyway, what I’m saying is by the evening, I’m in such a state of languidness that a walk in the evening, which is routine, is scratched off my list! But, not so this past Sunday. I did go for a walk… and on my way back I ran into the twins and the parents. Amu, one of the twins, wanted me to go for another walk with them and wouldn’t take ‘no’ for an answer. She took my hand in her little pudgy, warm hand… and trust me, “no” was definitely not an option…my heart was all mushy and oozing love! I went along. And I’m glad I did. You’ll know why when you see these pics! The videos bring out the fun, though, too bad I can’t upload them here! But you can hop over to my facebook page http://www.facebook.com/dstepladder2hope That’s where I’ll be uploading them.

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The park by the sea. Always full at weekends and holidays!

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“Driving in my car, feeling like a star, driving down the street in my car…vroom, vroom!” That’s their song as they go “driving like Papa!”

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The corner with the slides…and on weekends the shops and game stalls too!

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Time to return the cars and go home…

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…But not before buying some flying propeller discs.

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We did want to get a cup of coffee at this cafe but opted to get dinner instead at a restaurant close by!

Needless to say, I was quite ready for bed when we got back home. I was a totally contented Gramma!

But I did have some ‘flops,’ literally on Saturday. These pics will tell you about it.

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I decided to buy some empanadas and a slice each of ‘Yogurt Diet Berries’ & ‘Nueces Kuchen’ for lunch. The parcel of dessert sitting on the parcel of empanadas slipped and fell to the ground!

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Two knives and some scraping and putting together… and I had a decent enough slice of yogurt cheesecake and walnut pie to dig into!

I have to mention an old gentleman in a hat who was watching the fiasco on the street and said comfortingly: “No se preocupe. Estara bien!” (Don’t worry. It will be ok!)

How wonderful to run into such people when you think your dessert is lost!

 

 

 

Picture Speak

It was six in the evening. The sun was lower on the horizon. The moon, all three-fourths of it was up in the sky. Caught between the palm trees in the park…

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“Agua…mucha agua,” say two little voices in total awe.

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A few steps the other way…the moon is like a pearl entwined!

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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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The First Step in the Pursuit Of Knowledge

In my day, we started this ‘pursuit’ at the age of four. Yes, at four! I’m talking about a time long ago – over five decades back. And four was considered a very early age for school in those days. My mother was jittery about sending us to school…on the first day…and the next few days as well. In those days, nobody could even dream of sending a two-year-old to school, away from home and the watchful eye of parents, grandparents, and maids. We had no pre-schools or play schools as such. We stepped into LKG or Lower Kinder Garten. This was our pre-school. From here it would be UKG – Upper Kinder Garten and then at age six into first grade, or Class I, as it was called back then.

“I felt abandoned- watching my mother leave me with strangers. I’ll never forget that feeling. Then I had very happy years at school.” -Claire Sweeney

I can vividly recall how abandoned I felt as my mother gently prised my fingers to release her hand so she could wave goodbye as she walked away. I felt abandoned. I was scared. But the rest of my memories are of happy days at the various schools I attended. We moved a lot as my father was posted out often which is why my elder sisters were in a boarding school.

Two is the new four now!

I watched as my twin granddaughters went through the rigors of being woken earlier than usual…dressed and bundled off with a bag on their back. Cute bags with their names and everything inside name tagged. Two-three pairs of clothes, socks, and some diapers! (The diapers apart from their age is another big difference between then & now)

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I was excited and kept chanting, “It’s a big day today. It’s a big day today…you’re going to play-school,” as I followed them around with my phone in hand, clicking pictures. This grandma loves to preserve memories on film.

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Both parents did their bit with preparing them for this eventful day. Everyone, including the nanny, was a bit anxious.

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They are so tiny! As a mother, I went through the whole gamut of emotions when my sons were ready to enter the portals of knowledge. Things had changed, from my days, and the entry level was Nursery, a class before LKG, at age three. So I was very nervous when my elder one left to walk into his class at three. If he was nervous or scared, he didn’t show it at all; neither in his actions nor on his face. I was the one in knots! And when my younger one was ready for school they had lowered the age to two and a half for Nursery! That did things to me that wrenched my heart and twisted my stomach and jangled my nerves. In the present moment, I found that I did not suffer ‘that’ sort of pain as I watched the twins but a new kind…different…dull, heavy, aching, coupled with pride, joy, and a bit of relief (I know that sounds selfish!) that I was the Grandma and not the parent. It left me free to record more memorable moments for me to relive over and over again!

And then it was time to load the bags on their little backs…the load they’ll be carrying for a long time henceforth! My heart ached for these little babies. Amaara was fine with it from the get-go but Miraaya changed her mind…she went from WOW!..to OW, OW! in one second!

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Then it was time to leave. I asked them to pose for a picture at the door…they did better, they spontaneously sang with actions: ‘When you’re happy and you know it…’ This was a bonus. I videoed them! A short time later they were out and the group of mama, papa, nanny and the VIPs got into the elevator. I said bye-bye and hurriedly clicked a pic, just in time, before the doors slid shut. One of them, Miraaya, was crying! It had begun…the pursuit of knowledge.

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At school, Amaara took up where Miraaya had stopped. However, a phone call forty minutes later from the teacher laid all our apprehensions and worries to rest. Both the girls were playing and enjoying themselves. And before I knew it, they were back…all smiles and in one piece! Except for some hair pieces, that had kept them from looking like little Shih Tzus!

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These are the priceless gems of Grannyhood!

“You’re off to great places. Today is your first day!

Your mountain is waiting, so get on your way!” -Dr Seuss

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