Crow(n)ing Glory!

‘You need a hair cut,’ I say, narrowing my eyes at what looks to me like a crow’s nest. ‘A group of crows can easily make nests on your hair.’

‘Amma, for your information,  a group of crows is referred to as a murder of crows!’ She laughs at me.

‘I change the reference to Rookery,’ I snipe, ‘if you remember your David Copperfield.’

‘ Ha, ha! My friends think it is real cool!’She grins compassionately, ‘and I do remember the formidable Betsy Trotwood! Reminds me of someone.’

I give up the argument but not the case.

‘ When will you get it cut child?’

‘Amma, I am referred as a scientist in the discussion groups.No children allowed there.’

‘Haircut!’

‘ When I wish.’

‘Please…!’

‘ Okay.’

‘ And you are still my child, scientist!’

‘Accepted.’

Then of course, the discussion veers on to the other child who is anything but a child- who can give  Aunt Betsy Trotwood a run for her money- and who would have looked coldly back at Mr Murdstone for two minutes flat any day.

‘How is that brat?’

‘You answered your own question.’

‘What is the latest adventure?’

‘That I miss my obedient child. The other is making me turn grey prematurely.’

At that juncture, the protagonist appears by my side and declares emphatically , ‘What is my role in it ? You are old already, are you not?’

I sigh poignantly. My  sweet scientist laughs uproariously from across the oceans, her crow nest hair waving about happily. My child flicks a dust speck off her perfectly done hair.

‘You need a hair cut,’ the child says, frowning at her sister.

‘Amma, NOW I know, it is time for a hair cut- she is abrasive but bluntly truthful ,’ says her sister.

‘Where does that leave me, eh?’ I ask, outraged, ‘Et tu Brute?’

‘You will pass,’ they console  me lovingly and  having dismissed me offhand, start boxing with each other happily.

*

 

 

 

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Of Krishna, Cowherds and Peacocks

“At least I am not a peacock,” says my little daughter cryptically, while eating her lunch.

I am astounded by that singular observation.

“Huh?”

“Well, considering that it was my second dance, I could have been given a more important role- this is of a cowherd, coming in and out thrice- showering flowers. The two peacocks get to move their necks!”

I conclude the following : she was in a couple of performances and she did not like the rather insignificant role of a background dancer, and was taking consolation that she was at least not relegated as a peacock- which, apparently were roles done by two unfortunate youngsters, who got to  just move their necks.

“Even being a peacock is fine. You get to stand on the stage, right?”

She looks at me as if I had lost my marbles.

“Amma! You would not have recognised me if I were a peacock- I would have had a beak and stuff! What is the point of being on stage when no one can see it is you?”

Indeed. She had a point there. Poor parents of peacocks! They will have to be content with the beaks.

“And I refused to have a moustache,” she adds casually.

“Oh, that would be rather nice!” I say.

This time she looks at me as if  I never had any marbles to begin with.

” I asked the teacher whether Krishna had a barber?”

I almost fall off my chair.

“What?” Coming from me, that is speechlessness.

“Well, Krishna gets to be without a nasty black moustache. When she said all cowherds must have this huge moustache, I asked why Krishna alone had a barber.”

“Did he? I mean, did he have a barber?”

She drinks her water. While getting up, she says consolingly, ‘Amma, teacher said, I need not paint a moustache on my face.’

I empathise with the hapless teacher . It would have been tough work  googling for barbers in the Dwapara Yuga.

“You will recognise me,” she says,” I come in three times and go back immediately in the Holi dance; but I will be the only cowherd without a moustache.”

I hug her and tell her that I would have recognised her in any role- even if she were a  nicely beaked peacock.

*

A Priori Assumptions

She is so close that I can touch her. Yet, she is so far away.

“Nice sweater,” I say, “Do the shoes match?”

“Of course not, Amma!” both say in unison; one little critic by my side and her sister, continents away. Perfect timing.

I roll my eyes. Yeah, I deserved that for asking  such a dumb question. The elder one thrives on Chaos Theory. The younger one matches her shoelaces with her earrings.

Soon I am immersed in how wonderful Physics is, how much she is loving the colloquiums, the study groups, the kind professors, etc etc..

“Did you wash the pillow cover ?” I ask, not able to bite my tongue in time.

Her bubbling flow is stopped for a moment and then she shakes her head and shrugs.

“Gawwwd! That’s all you could say?”

A small giggle comes from my side. The source, is hugging a plump,stuffed Unicorn.

“Ask her if she has washed that animal for ages?” The Physicist snipes, snarkily laughing at the rainbow coloured hug-toy.

“Amma washes it, when I sneeze,” retorts the little girl.

“As a matter of fact, when I started sneezing two days before, I too washed the pillow cover,” grins my elder one.

“And Amma, you know, this seminar on black holes…”

I rein in my mind which is bursting at its corners with neither gravity or anti-gravity, but with questions on whether her table was neat, shoes were polished, and whether all documents were kept away safe. Whether there were ants inside the bottle of snacks that I had given her. Very high level theoretical questions that needed experimental validation indeed!

“You are thinking about something else!” Internet is very powerful that she can see my thoughts from across the oceans.

“Did you eat those snacks?’ I ask sheepishly.

“Arrghhh! Yeah, I did. I shared them with my room mates too. Amma, you never let go, do you?In certain matters, you are exactly like Ammomma!”

“Only, she is not so pretty as Ammomma,”agrees the younger one.

I take the salvos bravely. I remember my mother packing cucumbers and tapiocas in my hand luggage without telling me. I also recollect my shock when the airport staff asked me to open my bag due to weird looking shapes within. Of course, they had grinned when they saw my mother’s choicest garden pickings. I had locked the check in luggage to dissuade her- my indomitable mother had countered with an easier solution.

And then I ask her why her selfie has her in a tshirt that I thought I had donated a few months before.

Two giggles break out in conspiratorial unison.

My mother’s blood had certainly found a way into the new generation. They achieved what they set out to achieve.

And I am so glad and grateful about that. Truly and deeply.

**

Refusing To Exclude

The learned author was cribbing about the immigration policy of a particular country. ” They are refusing to exclude students from the total immigration numbers,” he wrote.

I blinked.

‘ Refusing to exclude?’

What does that mean?

‘Insisting on including?’

The country insists on including students in the total immigration numbers..okay..now sense dawns..that means the other immigrants lose out, students are also restricted..okay. It took me a long time to analyse that one out.

Why on earth do we embrace the double negative?

(Never say never/hatred of the negative/negating the contradiction/paradox of the conundrum…ewwww!)

I refuse to exclude simplicity from thought, expression, and action.

*********

” Can an exclamation replace a question mark?” asks my little one, eyes furrowed.

I am flummoxed. I mutter that it might be a printing error.

” No, it is written by Enid Blyton,” comes the verdict. Mother might be wrong. Blyton cannot be.

For the past one hour, she had been asking about golden retrievers, scones and honey, and peat-moss for hens in that particular order.

I had managed most, except the peat-moss. I could not understand, what on earth, the hens would do with it.

I seek the help of Google Master.

An exclamation can be used to close questions depicting extreme emotions.

Example : ” What on earth are you doing! Stop!”

” You do not know everything, do you?” asks my daughter.

” No, I do not my dear,” I agree humbly.

I am game for using exclamation to express my extreme emotion!

I am refusing to exclude humility from daily life and learning.

Full Stop.

******************

Are We There Yet?

Picture 126

“Are we there yet?” My Six Year Old asks for the I -don’t-know-how-many-eth time.

I seriously consider designing a frequency counter for checking the regularity of this singular occurance.

” No, we are not there yet,” I say, with absolute composure.

The poor old man in the third seat pulls the muffler down his ears, tighter.

We have five more hours to the destination.

Sigh.

” Would you like this sweet?Grandma made it specially for you,” I coax.

My  little girl sniffs as haughtily as if she were Angela Merkel, who was being asked about the potential of the Greek economy.

” Biscuits?Strawberry flavour?”

I trained in the Amma’s-school-of handling-rebuttals-refusals and pukes. It should be made mandatory for every politician of this country.

” No”.

She is certainly a  good candidate for the post of spokesperson- of the US Gun control lobby.

” Ok, let us play a game. For every question you answer, I lose and so you get to eat a biscuit “, I negotiate.

It settles things comfortably.

Her brain analyses the complicated situation thus:

Amma asks questions-ok

I answer questions-great

Amma loses-excellent

I eat a biscuit-fair enough ( I was hungry anyway and this way my little pride is saved)

Question1: How many step sisters did Snow White have?

Answer: None

(Amma nonplussed for a moment. What the hell- this  wonderful answer took the cake!)

One biscuit goes into the pretty mouth.

Amma is rebuked for asking stupid questions.

Amma accepts that she has made a mistake. It should have been Cinderella and yes, baby knows the answer. Could she consider popping in another biscuit?Nah? Ok, fair enuff.

” Are we there yet?”

(Groannnnnn! I dare not look at the third passenger.)

Question 2: Which bird took Thumbelina away to the Prince?

Answer: I will not eat another biscuit.

Huh! Which bird, sweetie pie? Play a fair game.

Answer: Swallow and I am not going to swallow that strawberry biscuit. It tastes yuk. I also wish to puke. I always puke, do I not?

Amma prays to all the Goddesses that she knows; for patience.

” Are we there yet?”

To cut a very long story short, we were not there yet.

She plays games that people play, Eric Berne Style.

She makes the frequency counter conk off.

Amma contemplates jumping out of the plane for a moment. Then better sense prevails.

” Have you heard of name, place, animal, thing?”

” No.”

” Ok, this is the new rule. Think of an animal whose name begins with the alphabet ” I ” and do not disturb me with ANY question, until you get an answer.”

That gives me time to bring the frequency counter back to life. The third passenger recovers from his  induced coma. I recover my lost balance.

After five minutes of precious silence that make me realise the value of every wonderful , peaceful second, she asks…

” Are we there yet?”

” There is another game-it is called hot, hot, cold, cold. You have started to read..now find out  the word Baggage in this page. When your finger is close, I shall say Hot.If it is not, I shall say Cold.”

It takes care of some ten minutes.

Then she plays both hot and cold at the same time.

” What is the difference between baggage and luggage? Are we there yet?”

I do not know either of the answers. This time round, I pop in a biscuit and close my eyes.

The third passenger changes his seat.

My daughter tells me that she wanted to puke.

Was I ready yet?

*****