I Took My Cats Out

When they (my twin granddaughters) were about 2 yrs or so I, along with their Nanny, would go out for walks with them. There was a phase when they loved face painting. However, they had never asked for a face paint before a walk. This day, they insisted they wanted to become cats and that we should take them as they were – Cats ‘Meow’!

On the way, they came across a lamp post and decided to sing and enact Hickory Dickory Dock… No amount of coaxing could dissuade them from performing their ‘action song’ using the lamp post as a Grandfather Clock! Much to our amusement (and that of the passersby), they went through the whole act and I decided I’d better click pics and preserve not just the memory but also the fun and laughter I experienced with them. Today, I’m so glad I did.

Nanaji and the Dirty Fellas

A baby has a way of making a man out of his father and a boy out of his grandfather. ~Angie Papadakis

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We have specific names for our relatives, to make it clear how they’re related to each other and from which side of the family they belong. For instance, paternal grandparents are Dada (grandfather) and Dadi (grandmother). So the moment a child refers to someone as Dada or Dadi, everyone knows it’s the son’s child. And if Nana (grandpa) or Nani (grandma) are used, everyone knows it is the daughter’s child.

The same goes for other relations. They are easily recognized as paternal or maternal relatives by the terms used to address them. There is no confusion about any relationship, unlike the common terms uncle and aunt or grandma, grandpa, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, etc. Each of these relatives is referred to by different names that make it clear how they are related to you.

To come back to my father and a few memories of our kids’ interactions with him. When he became a Nana, my kids and my sister’s kids called him Nanaji. The ‘ji’ is suffixed as a sign of respect for elders. As a father, he was a strict disciplinarian and had grown more reserved with the passing years. Everyone was still in awe of this man, who though mellowed with age, yet held a commanding demeanor, and a sarcastic sense of humor. 

My two boys learned to talk rather early, so their interaction with Nanaji began early too. By this time, Daddy had already transitioned to the grandparent level courtesy my elder sister’s son.

Daddy would use all his sarcastic humor on the kids, who just loved it! They were quick to retort and he would have his laugh. They often got into little ‘kiddie’ fights with him, and when we’d hear, “Dirty fella, I’m not talking to you,” we knew we would witness a wonderful, funny incident soon.

The First Grandson: Forgive and forget

One day, Daddy had a falling out with my elder sister’s son Hemant (pet name – Chiku). Chiku was three and a half then.

“Go away, I’m not talking to you, dirty fella!” says Nanaji to the scowling boy. 

Both walk off in a huff to their rooms; the grey-haired one hiding a broad grin and the younger one certainly miffed.

A few minutes later, a chubby face peeked into Nanaji’s room. He was ignored. The second and third attempts to reconcile were also met with a royal ignore! The fourth time, he came with a bunch of grapes as a peace offering. Nanaji refused to accept it, closed his eyes, and appeared to have fallen asleep.

Chiku stood and stared at him for a while. Then he decided it was too much. Enough is enough! He plucked two grapes off the bunch. Kept the bowl on the bedside table. Daddy was observing all this through his eyes that were closed to slits. He did not expect Chiku’s next move and thought the little guy had decided to eat the grapes himself. But his grandson had other plans. Before Nanaji could say, “dirty fella,” he deftly stuffed them into Nanaji’s nostrils and scampered out like a grinning monkey!

Thankfully, the grapes weren’t far in and he could snort them out easily! Then, he was in splits. He laughed so much. I can’t say what the dirty fella had expected, but I’m sure he hadn’t seen this coming. He crept back, confirmed it was a truce, and stepped into the room.

A while later, we saw them sitting together and eating the rest of the grapes.

The Second Grandson: Dirty is not good

Daddy would sit in the back verandah or in the back lawn and write when the weather was cooler in summer or warmer and sunny in winter. On one such day, Nanaji had an encounter with another three-and-a-half-year-old Ranjit (pet name Tintin), the elder son of yours truly.

Nanaji was immersed in his study and writing while Tintin played with his toys. Nanaji had an old, in fact very old, Bible which he loved, and in which he had written many notes on pages specially inserted into the binding. It had a thick, hard leather cover that was faded, well-worn for use, and cracked in places. It was open and lying face down on a table beside him.

Tintin sauntered over and looked at it. Apparently, he didn’t like the look of it. He screwed up his face and asked what book it was. Nanaji answered him without interrupting his work or looking up. A few moments later, he needed to refer to something in the Book, and well, it wasn’t on the table! he looked around and what do you think he saw?

“You dirty fella, what are you doing?” he exclaimed and jumped out of his chair to rescue his precious Bible from a washing.

Tintin had carried off the heavy, thick Bible and dunked it into a tub full of water, that was kept for two small tortoises Nanaji had bought for him. He was just getting into the washing part when it was retrieved.

“What are you doing, you dirty fella? Why did you put it in the water?”

“It was dirty so I was washing it,” replied the “dirty fella” blissfully unaware of the damage he could have caused.

Nanaji found the explanation quite plausible, and though he was worried about the Bible, he couldn’t stop laughing.

Once again, this little escapade didn’t cause major damage. Except for some notes pages getting smudged with ink (he used fountain pens which had to be refilled with ink poured out from a bottle!), so a wet page meant the ink would smudge. And, of course, a loss of Daddy’s personal notes. Apart from this, the Bible was not irretrievably damaged. We just needed to dry it out. This took a long time given the volume of pages! Thankfully, we had a few sunny days!

This was one time when the grandson antics got me a bit worried. I knew how much that antique Bible meant to Daddy. Besides its worthiness in its antiquity, it had been his companion and guide for many years. I thought that this time, the ‘dirty fella’ and his mom would have to bear the brunt of some annoyance if not anger!

I shouldn’t have worried and trusted the Daddy I’ve known since I was a girl. 

Though some note pages and notes had gone, Daddy didn’t worry much about that. He could rewrite them. But after drying out, a few of the pages were a bit crinkled like an unironed shirt and the cover looked more thumped and weary than it did before!

The third Grandson: A Lesson in Etiquette

Nanaji got a lesson in etiquette and right practice from yet another of his dirty fellas when he came on a holiday to Rajasthan. This time, it was Vineet (pet name Viny), not quite three yet. He is my younger son.

The days passed off fast, and Nanaji and the boys had a rollicking time. Then, it was time to leave. Our little one was over-eager to help. He tried to push and tug bags to a waiting taxi. Everyone was mightily impressed by the offer of help, as all the bags were too big and too heavy for him to even budge a centimeter.

Yet, he was lending the proverbial helping hand. He’d place his little hand on a bag being carried or rolled out! He hung around Nanaji, who once again saw through all the show, and was waiting to get his last laugh before leaving.

All the bags were stowed in the trunk. Mum was in the taxi and it was time to say the G’byes. Nanaji got into the taxi, but he didn’t close the door. Instead, he kept making small talk with his “dirty fellas.” We tried to hurry him but he kept stalling. Finally, what he was waiting for happened. Afraid that it would be too late, Viny took the initiative to inform his Nanaji about Rajasthani customs.

“Nanaji,” he said seriously, “jab koi jaata hai na, woh kuch de kar jaata hai.” (Trans: Nanaji, when someone leaves, he gives something and goes.)

Nanaji was thrilled. He got his laughs. He dug into his pockets and handed both the boys some money. It was customary, in those days, for elderly relatives to give the kids some money before they left. Needless to describe the glee with which the cash was handed over to mother dear (me!) as Viny rattled off all that he would buy with it, including a car.

I didn’t spoil his joy by telling him that he would fall a bit short of cash for a car!

Just for the record, he was thinking of buying a real-life size car… LOL

So #grateful for the memories.

“Love is the greatest gift that one generation can leave another.”~Richard Garnett

 

 

 

Two Minutes -tiny conversations

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The Two-Minute Wait

The twins were over eighteen months, and one-word or two-word conversations jerked along in English, Spanish, and Hindi. One day, Miraaya, the younger of the twins, wanted something, and she wanted it right now. She was getting impatient and I saw a tantrum coming up.

In an effort to stall it, I lifted my hand and patted the air gently and said, “Wait, wait,” and then, holding up two fingers, I continued, “Two minutes.” And I repeated that to make sure she got it.

“Two minutes?” she asked holding up two fingers.

“Yes, baby, please wait for two minutes,” I said emphasizing ‘wait.’

“Wait,” she echoed, patting the air gently the same way she had seen me do. I smiled in answer.

Whatever it was that had to get done, I forget what now, took longer than two minutes, but it didn’t bother me because Mia certainly wouldn’t know how long two minutes was. Well, that’s what I assumed.

The next morning, she woke up early and I went to her cot to greet her. She looked like a sleepy, disheveled cherub.

“Good morning, my little birdie. Morning, morning!” I said cheerily. She didn’t give the usual response. So I bent to hug her. 

“Wait, wait,” she said patting the air with her little hand, “two minutes?”

“Ok.” What now, I wondered highly amused. 

Then, laboriously, she hauled herself up and lifting her arms high demanded, “Dodi.”

She wanted me to carry her and used the Hindi word ‘godi’, pronouncing it her way. I lifted her out of the cot and put her down.

She took a leisurely walk around the house and came and stood in front of me.

“Morning, morning!” she smiled.

I had waited for more than two minutes! Was she telling me something?!

 

THE TWO-MINUTE ARGUMENT

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Amaara, the older twin can be quite assertive, most times, especially when she thinks she is right. Not one to give up without an argument or demonstration of some kind when vocabulary fails, she engaged me in an argument one day.

They were watching one of their TV shows and “The wheels of the bus” rhyme came up. She looked at it and knit her brows. The nanny had put on a different channel and the presentation wasn’t the same. The bus looked more like a van.

“Car,” she announced, pointing to the TV.

“Oh no, that’s a bus,” I said, deliberately baiting her.

“Car,” she insisted.

“Bus,” I stressed keeping a straight face, which was hard as suppressed laughter threatened to break free. She had taken the bait.

We bandied our opinions for a while until she lost her cool.

She drew her chubby little face closer to mine and in a loud voice and no-nonsense tone declared with finality, “Car!”

Unflinchingly, I brought my face close to hers and said firmly, but in a lower tone, “Bus!”

A staring match ensued. She was the first to turn away. Her little face showed confusion. She didn’t know how to react. She opted for diversion.

“Papa?” she asked.

“Office,” came my quick response.

“Mama?”

“At office, too.”

She repeated these questions a couple of times more. Then paused for a second or two. She had come to some conclusion. She leaned towards me again.

“Bus,” she said and smiled. I was surprised at how she resolved the whole thing. Small as she was, she acted like an adult!

I laughed and cuddled my little teddy bear.

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SLIP OF THE TONGUE AND GENTLE CORRECTION

We, the twins and I, were watching Gazoon, a cartoon featuring animals. It doesn’t have any dialogues or songs, so I had to do a running commentary and add tones, inflections, and drama to the whole show verbally. 

One evening, while the girls were having their dinner, Gazoon was on and I was going full swing with my narrative.

Hisssss...there comes the snake… he’s scary…oooh oh!”

“Scary…oooh,” and Miraaya brought up her clenched fists under her chin and faked a shiver!”

“Stomp…stomp…stomp…here comes the Elephant and there’s Cock-a-doodle-doo sitting on his head! Hahaha! So funny.”

“Cockadoo…doo, so funny,” they chorused and laughed.

“And what’s this? Someone’s coloring the clouds! Look, it’s a zebra…he’s painting the clouds.”

“Sky,” Miraaya quietly corrected me. She didn’t know what clouds were, she only knew ‘sky.’ So in her mind, I had made a mistake. I thought I’d show her clouds later and continued.

“Okay, sky,” I picked up from where I’d left off.

I looked at Miraaya, she seemed quite chuffed. I continued…

“Yes, and the giraffe is coloring the sky…” I got no further.

“Zebra,” Amaara quipped confidently. She knew she was right and her expression said it all. No scope for argument here.

“What?” I ask distracted. “Oh, yes, it is a zebra!” I laughed and they joined me.

I knew why I was laughing, I suspect they knew too! They’d won a point without any counter-arguments.

 

 

We Ruled The Skies

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Daddy was a great kite flyer. His passion for kites was so strong that to tell him to fly a readymade kite was akin to blasphemy. So as soon as #kite-flying #season would come around, there would be rolls of ‘manjha’ string, a couple of ‘phirkis,’ supple bamboo sticks, which he’d cut finer to make the frame of the kite. There’d be sheets of glazed paper (or china paper as some would call it because Chinese lanterns were made out of it) lying around the house. He would ask Mummy to make a pot of ‘layee’ (an adhesive made by cooking refined flour). Daddy didn’t believe in using the prepared glue available in the markets!

There would also be pieces of glass, which he would very strictly forbid us from even looking at forget touching it! These had to be ground and powdered and then, the manjha would be coated with it, making it lethal, literally.

Now, the entire process of making kites for the season would begin. What made it so exciting was the involvement of imagination… no ordinary kites for us. 

“Aur phir, Chakotri,” he’d address me, smiling delightedly, “what kind of kite do you want?”

The question would go to my brother too.

But my brother was more thoughtful about the kind of flying object he desired. Obviously, he was taking in other “technical aspects.” I’d let my imagination fly. I think I must have made some very impossible demands, in fact, I’m sure I did, but none would be brushed aside with a flat, “NO.” Daddy would work around my original design, changing it a bit here a bit there, giving me reasons how it would be a better kite with a little this here and little that taken off there. So he’d keep me happy believing that the design was mine and also produce something that would take off. Something that was nothing like what I had asked for!

The manjha was the most difficult part. I can’t recall the exact process but I know the glass would be powdered very fine. A difficult task and the male domestic help would be requisitioned for this, much to Mummy’s annoyance, because the only male help was also her kitchen helping hand. To get back to the manjha, the string would be dipped in some sort of gooey stuff and drawn through the powdered glass. This needed space so it was done in the backyard which was very big.

But, I’m drawing out this narration too much. Let’s come to the day we became the rulers of the sky.

So it goes that one day, my brother and I decided that our ‘pecha’ wins were not very impressive. Our kite flying sorties weren’t notching up as many kills as we wanted. So I went to Daddy with our laments. He listened patiently. If I had his ears, initially, now I had his total commitment to helping us to win the ‘pecha’ war!

“Abhi dikhate hain unko patang kya cheez hai. Arre, I’ll make you such a kite that they’ll run with their tail between their legs.”

Thus was fashioned a kite that was taller than I was, so it would’ve been over four feet. A lot of thought went into the dynamics of this monster. It looked like one to me. Then the question of manjha was raised by my brother and Daddy agreed that we needed string much stronger but not too heavy either.

Now don’t ask me what he did to get the right manjha, I don’t remember anything about that. I wasn’t included in the procuring or making of the string that would fly our champion kite. All I can recall with absolute detail and delight, even to this day, is the pride I felt as the kite soared majestically into the sky.

The first day we took it for its maiden launch, Daddy had in true ‘Daddy’ nature made it a picnic. He got Mummy to pack the picnic basket. In those days, I doubt if there was any home without the #wicker #picnic #basket. Our destination, a twelve-minute walk from home, was a small hillock. My job was to lug the picnic basket which, given my diminutive size, was big for me. Not one to complain, I managed to keep it an inch above the ground.

And then, I waited with bated breath for the take-off.

Smooth! 

It climbed against the wind like a dream.

As it made its way upward and onward, Daddy brought it into combat with every kite in ‘pechable’ distance. Annihilation was swift and sure. Our granddaddy of all kites dominated the blue expanse as it held steady, a tiny speck in the sky.

By the third day, word had spread and the regulars who flew their kites in this spot vanished, kite et al, as soon as they saw us coming up the hill with our giant. After the initial egoistic boost, I felt a bit deflated as we watched our kite do a drunken swoon as it sailed unchallenged and uninterrupted. It wasn’t fun.

We had taken away the fun from the entire activity. What should have been pure enjoyment and fun and games had turned into a battle of supremacy. Of course, I couldn’t elucidate all this, but I did comment on it.

“They’ve all gone away,” I said quietly. They’re scared of us,” I added with undisguised disappointment.

“Yes, daud gaye sare. Your kite is the king.”

Daddy had failed to notice that I wasn’t quite pleased with this dubious entitlement.

“But it’s not so nice without any other kites. It was so much fun on the first day,” I insisted in an effort to make my point. No one sensed how I was feeling. They were too elated with the momentary thrill of being the rulers of that small patch of blue. 

I had learned a lesson.

Later on, the realization would imprint on my mind that there is a fine line between healthy and unhealthy competition, and we must remember never to cross this boundary. Ever since then,  I have gauged the level of competition to set my standards and then I’ve competed with myself alone. In the bargain, if I outdid the others, it would be a bonus for me! If I didn’t, I knew I had to work on the weak areas and up my efforts. It was always a win-win situation. I either added to my wins and grew or I added to my learning experience and grew! I kept moving forward.

 

A bit of information about the practice of Kite Flying in India.

1. People fly kites on Makar Sankranti. This festival is dedicated to the Sun God, Surya and is celebrated by Hindus.

It is also celebrated to welcome Spring. Among many traditions and practices involved in the celebrations, flying kites is one of them. It is not clear why kite flying has become an integral part of the festivities.

2.Political…The first time kites were used in a protest was during the ‘GO BACK SIMON’ protest against the Simon Commission in 1927. The words ‘Go Back Simon’ were written on the kites which were then flown in the sky by the protestors. This could have possibly led to the practice of flying kites on 15th August, Independence Day, every year.

Kites are flown at Red Fort in old Delhi. This is where Jawaharlal Nehru hoisted the Indian national flag of Independent India, in 1947, and the tradition continues even today to commemorate it.

Lately, this tradition of kite flying on Independence Day, in India, has begun at India Gate too. Perhaps the activity has more to do with enjoying the holiday and adding fun to being outdoors. Many kites flown on the 15th of August, these days, do evoke the feeling of patriotism as they carry the tricolor of the national flag.

Since kite flying takes place as serious challenges too, apart from fun and frolic, PETA has been active in asking people to use safer string for their kites. I do agree with the use of a safe cotton string instead of the manjha.

PETA’s request: PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) has put in a serious request for kite flyers to stop using manjha which has finely crushed glass over it. this is dangerous for birds when they get entangled in the bit of manjha that are scattered when a kite gets cut and falls out of range or reach of the retrievers. It could even injure people seriously, especially unwary especially children.

 

 

 Glossary:

Manjha…the twine used to fly the kite. In those days it was reinforced string.

Phirkia kind of spool on which the twine is wrapped. It has elongated handles on either side which rest between the thumbs and forefingers.

Aur phir ChakotriWhat now Chakotri (Chakotri was one of the nicknames he used for me)

Pechathe act of engaging and cutting free an opponent’s kite 

Abhi dikhate hain unko patang kya cheez hoti haiWe’ll show them right now what a kite really is.

Daud gaye sareThey’ve all run away.

Pechable…a combination of ‘pecha’ and ‘able’. Coined by me to mean within striking distance in kite combat!

 

Happily, Everafter is a Choice

“Tell your children some good family stories, and you’ll be remembered for generations. Be the story, and you will live forever.”~Joy Clarkson

I trawled through my memories for stories, incidents, and anecdotes I could add to my collection of ‘paans’ and ‘giloris’ (tidbits) for my ‘#khaandaan ka paandaan, (the family cache of differently flavored ‘paans’), and as I did, I wondered about my need to recount little snippets and snapshots of our family life. I believe it is very important to know, if not all, then, most of the people (nuts too!) of one’s family tree.

But what’s more important to know is how they lived, and what ingredients were stirred into their lives that produced characters and lives so varied and diverse that one wouldn’t even know they were related if the family tree didn’t join them. It also helps to know which ancestor to blame for all the quirks you have!

I enjoyed listening to the yarns about my parents and older siblings. I also learned a few things; some ‘what to do’ things and some ‘what not to do’, and a bit of ‘left to do’ stuff. So was this the reason why I was going down the tunnel to the past? I mulled a while, and the outcome was the quote which opens this chapter!

Once again, I go back to where my story starts, with my mother and father.

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The Royal Indian Navy and the WRINS

“A great #marriage is not when the ‘perfect couple’ come together. It is when an imperfect couple learns to enjoy their differences.”~Dave Meurer

Daddy decided to join the Navy as a sailor to fight the war – WWII. He was only seventeen when he made this momentous decision, but more on that later. The British were ruling India so the Naval Force in India was called the Royal Indian Navy. The women’s division was known as the Women’s Royal Indian Navy Services, and the recruits to this wing were referred to as WRINS.

Having earned his commission in the UK, Daddy returned to India. He was in the signals division, posted at Bombay, now known as Mumbai. He bossed over some WRINS who were stenographers and made up his department. My story revolves around only this group in his office because it is important to the development of this narrative.

Daddy was a youth from rural Punjab, with an excellent physique and handsome face. Tall and dark, he fitted the bill to be a Barbara Cartland hero… “tall, dark, and handsome.” Needless to say, he was much sought after by women, including those in his office. He was quite aware of the effect he had on them and enjoyed the attention they lavished on him. The drawer of his table would be filled with chocolates; just one of the bribes to ensure they didn’t get a rough day at work! Daddy was a strict disciplinarian and low on patience if things didn’t go accordingly.

No matter how many times I heard this story, I never failed to marvel at the stupidity of these WRINS. Why on earth were they giving Daddy chocolates! They should have been receiving them from him!

“Ab woh laakar rakhte the meri drawer mein, toh main kha leta tha. Unko bola thodi na tha ki mujhe chocolate achchi lagti hai” (“They’d bring them and put them in my drawer, and I’d eat them. I never told them that I liked chocolates.), he would laugh off my childish contempt. I guess these WRINS knew the ‘mellowing’ quality of chocolate!

“Of course, you used to ask them to get you chocolates. And when they wouldn’t, you’d get angry.” Mummy was quick to correct him. The jealousy apparently still lurked within.

Daddy would refute that with a silent nod of his head.

This was the cue for someone to ask if everyone, without exception, gave in to this extortion. And I promptly did!

“Oh no, everyone wouldn’t. There was this small Burmese who refused to comply,” he’d say, his eyes twinkling.

We’d all turn to look at Mummy who’d be blushing and smiling shyly; another cue for more questions, and I’d shoot them.

“Why didn’t you bring chocolates?”

“Did you get a rough day at work”

“Didn’t you like Daddy?”

How many girlfriends did he have?

“Were you jealous?”

Whenever these #conversations took place, I sought the same information in different ways;  but the answers were always the same as was the accompanying bashfulness. Despite the well-worn, oft-told anecdotes, the interest remained fresh on both sides of the table; just as Mum and Dad retained the #timeless #joy of their courtship even though they had been married for donkey’s years.

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I listened and marveled, at the love that had bound these two very different people, with renewed interest. For every wrinkle, every gray hair that got added, with the passing of time, made it more amazing that the story could still evoke the same feelings which #youthful #romance had embedded in their hearts forever.

“Love me when I least deserve it because that’s when I really need it.” `Swedish Proverb

I’m not even remotely suggesting their life was Utopian bliss for them. They had their squabbles and bitter fights. As I mentioned earlier, they were poles apart in all things. And that’s what makes it unbelievable. Daddy doted on Mummy even though she drove him mad at times… most times. And she remained forever jealous and possessive of him till she died.

Theirs might not be an ideal love story as love stories go, but it had all the ingredients of which legendary romances are made. Boss and steno; rich-poor divide; North-South chasm; urban-rural culture chasm; language barriers (with in-laws), whirlwind courtship, parental objection, elopement, alienation; they went through it all and survived the tests! Taken in the time that they did all this, it is commendable. I’m talking about a long time back. They married in July 1947, in a small, conservative town in Punjab!

“Love is a verb. Love – the feeling – is the fruit of love the verb or our loving actions. So love her. Sacrifice. Listen to her. Empathize. Appreciate. Affirm her.”~Stephen R. Covey

I still smile when I picture Daddy teasing Mum, obviously savoring those long-gone moments. He’d look lovingly at Mummy who’d be as shy as a new bride as she smiled and glanced at him with apparent adulation. Yes, they sure had something special between them.

 

Glossary: 

Paans and Giloris: Paan is betel leaf with supari (areca nut) and other things added to it. Chewing paan is an age-old practice deeply rooted in India. A Gilori is also a paan, but smaller in size.

Khaandan: Family. Earlier it meant the whole extended family… a joint family… grandparents, mom-dad, including boys of the family (brothers) and their families.

Paandaan: A container that had the betel leaves and all the other things that would go into a paan. These were usually ornate; they could even be in silver and decorated beautifully. Families that chewed paan (especially the women) habitually kept these paandaans. They were usually found in the homes of affluent families.

 

 

 

 

GK…Forgotten

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My posts, The Messenger, and ‘Superstitions, Myths and Black Magic’ would be unbelievable to some, so here are more believable and interesting pieces of GK, which I know I knew but discovered I didn’t know much of now… does that make sense? I’m putting up a playful, funny, post today. #notseriouspost.

Do go through it. Like me, you might find that you didn’t know a couple of things or you’ve forgotten a few things. I’m sure you’ll find a thing or two that puts a smile on your face, so don’t skip reading; be a sport and go through it.

I’d like to add, the blogger is not responsible for any discrepancies or falsehoods. The blogger didn’t have anything to write about…mental block…so has posted a forward she received some years back (forwarded many times, I presume!)

General Knowledge – Forgotten!

In the 1400s, a law was set forth in England that a man was allowed to beat his wife with a stick no thicker than his thumb. Hence we have: ‘the rule of thumb.’

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Many years ago, in Scotland, a new game was invented. It was ruled ‘Gentlemen Only, Ladies Forbidden.’ And thus, the word GOLF entered into the English language!

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The first couple to be shown in bed together on prime TV was Fred and Wilma Flintstone. (Really? I find that hard to believe)

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Coca-Cola was originally green. (Yuck!

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It is impossible to lick your elbow.

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The cost of raising a medium-size dog to the age of eleven: £ 10,120.00 (this was the cost 11 yrs back! Do the math.) My dog Heidi died at seven so I have no idea.

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The first novel ever written on a typewriter was Tom Sawyer.

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Each King, in a deck of playing cards, represents a great king from history.

Spades: King David

Hearts: Charlemagne

Clubs: Alexander, the Great

Diamonds: Julius Caesar

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Math: 111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12, 345, 678, 987, 654, 321

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If a commemorative statue of a person on a horse has the horse with both front legs in the air, the person died in battle.

It the horse has one leg in the air, the person died because of wounds received in battle.

If the horse has all four legs on the ground, the person died of natural causes.

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Q 1. What if you were to spell out numbers, how far would you have to go until you would find the letter ‘a’?

Q 2. What do bulletproof vests, fire escapes, windshield wipers, and laser printers have in common?

Q 3. What is the only food that doesn’t spoil?

 

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Ans: (1. One thousand. 2. All were invented by women! 3. Honey)

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*In Shakespeare’s time, mattresses were secured on bed frames by ropes. When you pulled on the ropes, the mattress tightened making the bed firmer to sleep on. Hence the phrase: ‘Goodnight, sleep tight.’

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*It was the accepted practice in Babylon, 4,000 years ago, that for a month after the wedding, the bride’s father would supply his son-in-law with all the mead he could drink. Mead is honey beer and because their calendar was lunar based, this period was called the honey month. We know it today as the honeymoon. (Betcha didn’t know that!)

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*In English pubs, ale is ordered by pints and quarts. So, in old England, when customers got unruly, the bartender would yell at them, “mind your pints and quarts and settle down.” It’s where we get the phrase, ‘mind your P’s and Q’s.’

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*Many years ago, in England, pub frequenters had a whistle baked into the rim or handle of their ceramic cups. When they needed a refill, they used the whistle to get some service. ‘Wet your whistle’ is the phrase inspired by this practice.

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At least 75% of the people who read this will try to lick their elbow!

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You are living in a hi-tech world and you do one or all of these things…

1. You accidentally enter your PIN on the microwave.

2. You haven’t played solitaire with real cards in years.

3. You have a list of 15 phone numbers to reach your family of three!

4. You WhatsApp the person who works at the desk next to you.

You also WhatsApp your kids in the upstairs room!

5. Your reason for not staying in touch with friends and family is that they don’t have WhatsApp, Messenger, Facebook, Instagram, and maybe no email address!

6. You pull up in your driveway and use your mobile phone to see if anyone is home to help you carry the groceries.

7. Every commercial on TV has a website at the bottom of the screen.

8. Leaving the house without your phone, which you didn’t even have the first 20 or 30 (or 60) years of your life, is now a cause for panic and you turn around to go and get it.

10. You get up in the morning and go online before your coffee or tea!

11. You start tilting your head sideways to smile. 🙂

12. You’re reading this and nodding and laughing.

13. Even worse, you know exactly who you are going to tell a few things from here and quiz them about some others.

14. You were too busy to notice there is no No: 9 on the list.

15. You actually scrolled back to check if there wasn’t a 9 on the list.

And Finally…

Now you’re LAUGHING. The post wasn’t that bad after all…

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AND STOP TRYING TO LICK YOUR ELBOW!

 

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A Better Morning. A Proverb. And A Mare’s Snort!

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A street in Viña.

It’s a cold day… it snowed in the night and was snowing when I awoke. But now it’s stopped and I’m feeling the cold. My thoughts, as they tend to, travel back and forth to better memories of places or incidents; times that could take my mind off the cold by warming my heart. So, I read through my journal.

This entry brought a smile as it ended. I do recall that day.

 

A Better Morning

Well, it’s usually a good morning every day for me. So, I thought I should qualify that by a degree and add “Better” instead to the morning. Chilean mornings are different. The house is quiet, in fact, the whole world around our block and a couple of blocks away too are blissfully silent. Not even a squawk from the gulls. Probably, there are no gulls anyway.

How different from the mornings I experienced in a bustling city in India! The world there woke up before daybreak! At least the moms or women did, I presume, as I didn’t see many men hitting the kitchen to rustle up breakfast for the school-going kids or themselves at that hour.

I mean no offense nor a barb intended for the husbands. It’s just how it usually is in India. And with the waking would come the sound of a grand welcome ushering in a new day; the kitchen band struck discordant notes: clangs, bangs, whirs of a mixie and whistles of a pressure cooker.

What a contrast!

Here, in my room where I’m all by myself, it is certainly a quiet morning. I’m as quiet as a mouse. The only sound that you can hear is me shuffling about, the wooden floor squeaks under my weight (which is great!), and there’s the click of the bathroom door shutting; running water and the occasional thud/clang of me or a pan falling! Otherwise, as I said, I’m as quiet as a mouse. Is my tongue in my cheek?

In truth, I haven’t fallen down and I hope I’m not speaking too soon. But in my haste to get my hot cup of ginger tea… well, accidents do happen! You can’t hold me for that, can you? I don’t expect an answer. It’s plain rhetoric.

A Proverb

At my Prayer Breakfast, I got a verse from Proverbs for meditation. I was listening to the lesson: A Teachable Spirit. The verse says: “Rebuke is more effective for a wise man than a hundred blows on a fool.”~Proverbs 17:10 (NKJV)

Think about it. I had a lot on my plate as I mulled over the verse and attempted to plumb the depths of its meaning and the application in life.

Do I have a teachable spirit?

Do I walk in humility?

In all honesty, I’m not there yet, but I’m on the way. This tells me I’m not a lost cause. For today, that gives me hope and as I said, it’s a better morning… however, my tea got cold!

A Mare’s Snort!

I went to buy some vegetables yesterday. I walked down to the store not far from our place. I was halfway there when I saw a group of young women coming my way. One, in particular, caught my attention as she stared at me and tried to hide a snicker. I’m not very observant but since I was getting a snicker, I gave her a look-over too and passed by.

Nothing about her drew any thought; good or bad, funny or ugly in my mind. As we passed each other, I heard a loud snort of laughter… the kind that goes haw-haw-snort, haw-haw-snort! It reminded me of a horse… or a mare in this case… of Sandra Bullock in one of her movies where she plays this character who snorted when she was actually laughing!

I smiled and that led to silent tummy-shaking laughter. I’m glad she gave me a funny moment rather than a nasty one.

I knew what she was laughing at. First, I had on very loose trousers and a very loose sweater! And I walked awkwardly. Loose clothes so I could accommodate double layers to keep me warm. Also, so I could conceal the bulky waist support with rods in it and the knee support around my right knee. Add to that the collar I had for my neck. I am obese and I walk awkwardly with pain.

Although not justified, I can understand how some young people are insensitive to alien sights. And I must have qualified as one; a foreign face, ill-fitting clothes, and an awkward gait. But, a spoonful of humor helps the untasteful go down, if I may misquote a line from Julie Andrews song in The Sound Of Music.

Since I started writing, the weather has changed. The sun has put his hat on, hip-hip-hip-hooray! The sun has put his hat on and is coming out today. On that kiddish note, I sign out. It’s a Better Morning already!

Five years later, as I read this account on a cold day, my spirits are uplifted. I recall how it was for me then. Today, I’m not obese. I don’t have to wear my waist support with its rods, or my knee support and the collar daily. I’m not in constant pain. And though I know I’ll never be free of osteoarthritis; it’ll worsen with age, I’m filled with gratitude, praise, and worship for my present state of good health and mobility.

The sun hasn’t “put his hat on” and it’s still cold… but it is already a Better Morning!

“Every time you find humor in a difficult situation, you WIN!”

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Chile Diary – 16

The Native Returns

Friday, 9th April 2010

It’s a cold, cold day today! For me, it’s winter even though the Chilean calendar says it’s still Autumn. A chill wind started to blow last night and it was mucho frio. I had hoped for a sunny day as I have promised to put mehndi on Gabriela’s hands. The cold has got to my back and one spot, on the right, is acting up. I’m resting it out and hopefully, I’ll be able to keep my side of the promise.

Gabriela is a pretty, young and vivacious waitress at Manchester. She knows a bit of English so we talk whenever she has a moment to spare. Yesterday, she learned that I was from India and got all excited about henna art. Her grandfather is Arabic and he has given her some henna.

I’m not sure about the quality of the henna powder nor do I know how to apply mehndi (henna) with a wooden pen. That’s how the Arabs do it. In India, we use a cone filled with the mehndi paste which makes it easier to make the intricate designs.

Anyway, I’ve asked her to make a paste with the henna using a bit of water, lemon juice, and sugar. We use eucalyptus oil too while applying mehndi. But, Eucalyptus oil or any other essential oil is out of the question for her. In all probability, it won’t be available or then too expensive.

But it all depends on my back.

Last night, Ranjit found a beautiful apartment. It’s on 4 Norte, very central to the shopping areas and the spot where the office cab picks them up. The most important thing is it is on the first level. Second, it is bigger in area than the present one, which is spacious, and it falls cheaper too. Since I won’t be here when they move into the new place, I plan on seeing it before I leave. But one has to fix an appointment with the property dealer first.  So now, it rests on the dealer and the landlord.

On another note, on Sunday, we have an invitation from my friend Roxanna. They’re having an ‘asado’ (aka barbecue) at home and we have been invited too. I’m looking forward to that. I’ll tell you about it when we get back.

12th April, Monday, 2010

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Our gracious hostess…

The morning dawned grey and cold but the sun has put his hat on and is out now. Our lunch was fun even though it wasn’t an asado, as planned. I’m sure the joy would have doubled if I knew the language. I could have enjoyed the jokes more. Jokes can be made and understood better if not translated. A lot of the humor is lost in translation.

There were only two people who knew English; Gabriel and Raphael. Later in the evening, Gonzalo joined us. He also knows English. But there wasn’t much conversation because he walloped his food and got into the Table Tennis fray! Still, it was enjoyable. Roxanna is such a warm hostess and there was nothing left wanting in her hospitality.

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And it was a sumptuous meal… finger-licking good!

The food was made by her and the menu was: Mango sour (a pisco drink with mango juice) and freshly baked queso-olive empanadas for starters. The meal consisted: Baked pineapple chicken in a cheesy sauce, Beef pot roast, whole fried potatoes, fresh salad, Chilean pan (bread) washed down with a choice of wines, Sprite or orange juice. Dessert was a choice of three ice creams. This delectable fare was served in the patio which opens onto the lawn. Great ambiance too!

Post lunch, the boys got into table tennis matches as we, the girls, watched and cheered. Roxanna kept up a steady supply of cold drinks and iced water. Our wonderful lunch ended on a high note of joie de vivre on Sunday.

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Prime seats for the TT match…:D

Back at the apartment, the high notes mellowed as Ranjit and Manu got into their usual routine: phone, serials, movies mode which made any kind of conversation unwelcome. So I watched some TV, then occupied myself with turkey (pavo) empanadas.

This entailed cooking the ground turkey which would be the filling in the empanadas. I kneaded and rolled my way through the dough and folded and sealed the filling in the empanadas. Then I wrapped them in cling wrap and stored them in the freezer; When needed, heat some oil and fry.

We were to go back to the GH, but Manu went to bed so I decided to stay the night at the apartment. Good decision; I get the advantage of the net!

Tomorrow morning, I make one last visit to Roxanna’s place. She has, so sweetly, offered to color my hair before I leave. Honestly, no one has ever offered to do it even when I wasn’t able to go to the salon due to my back problems. I feel so nice and blessed with her friendship. That’s it for now.

This brings me to the end of my Chile Diary.

I fly out on the 14th of April. I know I’ll miss this beautiful city. Despite the constant fears of tremors and quakes I experienced, I’ll miss the “como estas?  and “Estoy bien!”

 

Glossary: 

Mehndi…….. Henna is called mehndi in India. It is applied in intricate designs on the hands, feet and even as temporary tattoos these days. Applying mehndi is a custom on many festivals and an important tradition of Indian marriages where the bride’s arms, hands, feet, and calves (at times) are covered with finely executed patterns.

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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

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Smiling comes easily to 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 color 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!

 

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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!