Tuesday, May 01, 2012

How old is 'old'...

When we are middle aged we have a different perspective on the memorable incidents of our past. Recently my daughters and I were recollecting the day's events on the day Prime Minister Indra Gandhi was shot dead by her bodyguard early in the morning at her residence.

Our daughters, one 6 years and the younger 4 years old were in school by the time my husband rang up from office that the PM was confirmed dead according to his colleagues in Delhi though the state radio AIR was insisting that she was being treated in the hospital. Needless to say this news had caused the immediate stoning and stopping of all public transport and all the schools closed their gates at once as is usual in our state, with no concern for the children who wouldn't have an idea about how to reach home. All the stay at home mothers were hard pressed to think of safe ways to bring the kids home from school who had been earlier dropped by school rickshaws which had stopped pying on this news.

As the school was just one km away from our home, I thought I could go by walk with my neighbour and bring our kids home. Just a few yards on our way, we saw our daughters walking their way home with the neighbours' daughter who was in 4th standard at that time. On that day, I was so relieved that the older girl managed to bring our kids home safely.  But now I shudder to think that the 'older' girl was only nine years old at that time and not so old!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Superstar in Our Home!

Our old washing machine was making a lot of noise while doing its job. We called in a serviceman who recommended changing the whole set of mechanical parts to stop the noise.

The repair work was done and the machine was operating smoothly with hardly a murmur when my husband came in and noticed the absence of the usual loud banging noises.

He commented tongue in cheek:
"Look the Superstar Rajini is here instead of Prabhdeva and Lawrence who were here till yesterday! And the movie is running more successfully with minimum movement from the hero! "

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Got change?

This happened in the same trip where three families travelled together. When we vacated the hotel room we found out that the advance paid had far exceeded the hotel bill. All had taken our seats in the vehicle while my brother-in-law stayed back to settle the bill.

The owner of the small town lodge had gone out and only his assistant was at the cash register which contained hardly any cash. This was not one of the computerised lobby of a big hotel in a posh city. All accounts had been written down in a notebook and all receipts were written out. So the assistant at the reception table said that he had phoned his employer who would arrive within the hour to give us back the two hundred bucks he owed us. But we were in a hurry to set on our return journey and all were thinking of ways and means to solve this problem.
When the assistant was asked if he could borrow cash from the neighbouring grocery shop, he did so and found that they too did not have the two hundred bucks but only a five hundred bill. No change!

One of the family party looked at the shop on the other side and started , perhaps these people might have the change...' It was a barber shop (Hair stylists in big cities) and my husband said promptly,

'Where is he going to find so much money early in the day, he might only offer to shave (mottai) four heads free of charge and collect the two hundred bucks from the lodge owner when he comes back!"

All broke out laughing! The driver who had been observing all the cracks made by the passengers throughout the journey almost rolled on the floor laughing and said between spasms of laughter. "Sir I might have to get admitted in the hospital by the time I drop you all back, just because of stomach ache resulting from the non-stop laughter!"

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Eating out!

We used to travel quite a lot when we were small. Every two or three years my father got transferred and so we had to pack and move to the new place. Besides these travels we used to go to our native place almost for every school holiday. Added to these travels, my parents, especially my mother, loved travelling and took us on trips to new places for sightseeing every other year, as described elsewhere.

After my childhood, the same pattern repeated albeit in a grander scale as my husband and I were moving between states rather than districts. Our family covered the sightseeing tours offered in the faraway places in the last year before we moved to a new place. In between we had to make a long trip to visit our native state for weddings in the family or celebrating festivals together.

In all these trips, one aspect of the travel has changed through the years. My mother used to take a stove and flour in the car boot, to make wheat, ragi or rice dosa. This way we were assured of hygienic meals wherever we put up for the night.

For the first day of our journey we used to equip ourselves with lots of rice and pickles. Tamarind rice always won hands down in my mom's list as it could keep even for two days. Idlis with milagai podi was the favoured choice for breakfast or dinner that day.  She used to pack a bundle of dried banana leaves to serve them on for the numerous members of our large family. Two ground sheets were packed for us to sit in the shade of a tree on the roadside in case we hadn't reached our destination before mealtime. At that time I used to complain about the cold idlis, the wrinkled dry leaf that served as plate and the ants that tried to crawl on to our picnic sheet. In retrospect I realize we were following a 'green' way of life with disposable organic packing materials!

The hotels we ate in served food on green banana leaves, used only once and readily disposable as wandering cattle 'recycled' them as their food at the back door ofthe hotel! We trusted enough to drink the water they served. Maybe pollution was not a problem back then! In fact till we moved to Chennai we never boiled drinking water, using 'thetankottai' to get clear water from river water.

By the time I got married, the travel meals consisted of food packets prepared for the three meals of the 24 hours journey by the loving relatives in whose house we were staying. I can never forget how my mother-in-law got up at 4 o' clock in the morning to make parcels of idlis for breakfast to eat on the train and packets of lemon rice, curd rice, potato curry and pickles for lunch! She really spoiled us daughter-in-laws by behaving more like a mother to all of us:-)

Sometime during this period the Indian trains served hygienic albeit tasteless food from their pantry cars. This prompted us to tell orrelatives not to go to the troule of preparing meals for our train journeys. But we did miss the tasty home food as we ate the insipid train food!

Nowadays, hygienic  and tasty food is available in the motels and inns on the roadside and packaged drinking water is everywhere. The train food has improved cosiderably too. The idea of eating only home made food has given way to eating out as often as possible even when we are not travelling. What a sea change in a few decades!  Already ready-to-cook and ready-to-eat food packets are available in all the grocery stores. At this rate in another few decades there would be no home cooked food at all and the only people who cook their own meals would be health freaks who like to eat only 'fresh' food!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Dog's years?

When my relative turned forty her husband presented her with a gold chain.
When he heard about it my husband quipped, ' naarpathu vayasile naai gunam'*so a chain is a very appropriate gift!'

* It is an idiom in Tamil meaning, At forty man's character resembles that of a dog, with barks and bites an everyday occurence.

Monday, May 10, 2010

TLC for Teeth!

I was getting the breakfast ready and peeped out of the kitchen to see if the family was ready to have hot dosas as they don't eat cold ones.I saw my husband brushing his teeth and turned away saying,'Oh, you are brushing your teeth?'He spat out the foam and started saying something. I waited to hear what important info that couldn't wait till he finished brushing.He said,'No, I am just caressing them one by one!'

Sports Day at Antsville!

One day I was drawing the anti-ant chalk pesticide along the sides of the wall in the living room and said to my husband,
'I keep drawing these lines (Lakshman Rekha brand pesticide chalk stick) but the ants keep crossing them!'
My husband said,
'Maybe they think you are holding a hurdles race and drawn the lines for them to jump across!'