13 June 2005

Busy as ever

IT's been so busy. Busy doesn't even begin to describe it.


Three weeks into the new job. Its a big learning curve alright. But
still, quite interesting to see in first person the workings of the NZ
state sector and be part of it.


Had a work-related trip to Rotorua last week. Day trip. Gorgeous day,
excellent views. Got an aerial view of all the snow-topped volcanos in
the Rotorua region _ Ngauruhoe, Tongariro and Ruapehu, which are anyway the biggest.
Only pity was there was no time after wrok to pop into the thermal
mineral spa for an hour or two. Would have done my weary old bones a lot of good ;-)


Planning for the house-warming next week (day after Nandita's 3rd
b'day.) July 16. Have to cook for about 50 people, I reckon (am not
making it a big bash this time around, nearly 100 people turned up for
the last one). Menu? I thought maybe idlis and pongal to go with sambar
and chutney. Then puliyore and yoghurt rice. Some sundal and payasam.
And may order some sweets. How does it all sound? The biggest trouble
will be to get the idli batter to ferment in this foul winter weather.


But having bitched about the weather earlier, have to say it's been a
pretty mild winter so far. Have been walking to get the train every
monring. I am up at 6 am to do this daily. Help, is this me? And as far
was the walking goes, am doing nearly 5000 steps daily (out of the ideal
recommendataion of 10000 steps for an adult). Hmmm. I can't see that
I've lost any weight yet!


Finally, the long-overdue hutch for Stapy is here (Rus is the one who came back, but we've now renamed Rus Stapy). She's happily ensconsed in it from today onwards.


Getting busy for Nandita's b'day too, on July 15. That's another weekend when there won't even be time to breathe, methinks. Plus Kitty, Mini and co are going to be here, so it will be full on.

8 June 2005

Tale of two bunnies

Russet and Stapalamala. These are the two latest additions to our family of four.

They're really cute, two-week old rabbits. Mostly white, with little patches of black. Absolutely adorable. Although they do shed a lot of fur.

Nandana's been going on and on about wanting a pet for the last few years and we've been putting her off, as a pet is a lot of responsibility. Especially, dogs and cats are too much work and money to keep. And what would we do with them when we zip off back home every couple of years? So, no no, no and that's the way it's been.

Till recently. Nandana was thrilled when we moved into our new house last month, as she had two other girls from school who lived nearby. And she was even more thrilled when she found that one of the girls, Sinead, had 6 rabbits at home.

We should have known.

Anyways, Sinead's parents wanted to keep only 2 of the rabbits (out of the lot, of which, Speckles is the mom). They wanted Speckles and one of her sons. They found another home for two of the other baby bunnies, with their dad, Honey Bunny!!!! That left only two more to go, and Nandana literally grabbed them.

She was on her best behaviour for a few days, hoping that would be enough to let us say yes to bring them home.

We hestitated, but then thought we should say yes. After all, my brother and I've had a variety of so-called pets, from calves to cats when we were youngsters in our grandparents' place in Chennai. And Shiv has also had his share of doggy pals when he was younger. A pet is a must experience in any youngster's life.

Plus there were other advantages too. The rabbits were vegetarian like us and were coming to us free. Plus, the only cost was the hutch. And we fashioned a run for them, quite a funny one, but effeective nevertheless.

And finally, we went over to Sinead's place and brought them over last Monday. Speckles was quite reluctant and I felt bad to separate the little ones from their mum. However, that's how it worked out.

Needless to say, long before the rabbits came home, Nandana had thought of many names for them. But I put my foot down and said Nandita should name one and she the other. She went for Russet. And for Nandita's choice, she came up with a lot of weird ones, so we decided to go for a real original _ Stapalamala. This was a word that Nandita earlier would use if she didn't know what word to use when she was talking. Like, she would say, I am doing my stapalamala, instead of puja, as she didn't know that word then. Or she would say, I am eating stapalamala.

So, Rus and Stapy they would be!

They seem quite comfy at home. And while I may have to do all the legwork at some future stage (like cleaning their poos, etc), for now, Nandana dotes on them and takes them for walks (yes, rabbits apparently do like to wear leashes and go out for walks) and spends a lot of time checking for things like if they've eaten, if they've done poos, if they're sleeping etc.

The last word: the day we brought the rabbits home, she was running up and down the stairs setting up things for them and muttering about how happy she was. One of the things she said: Oh, heaven has come to our house.

It's still the little things that children love.

7 June 2005

Typically NRIndian

Something a friend sent me. Although some of it is a little going overboard, most of it is very apt ...............Only substitute 'Overseas in the Western world' for 'USA'

There is more to being an Indian than eating Dal and Rice. Here are some examples.

Mother-in law:
In India - A woman capable of making your life miserable.
Outside India - A woman you never fight with, because where else you will find such a dedicated baby sitter for free?

In India - A boring human species, who listens more to his mother than you, and orders you around to serve him, his parents and siblings.
Outside India - Still boring, but now a useful human species that comes in handy when the house needs to be vacuumed or dishes to be done.

In India - A person whose house you can drop into any time of the day or night and you'll always be welcome.
Outside India - A person whom you have to call first to check and make sure he/she is in and not busy.

In India - A woman who gives you your underwear and towel when you go to take a shower.
Outside India - A woman who yells at you not to leave your dirty things behind when you go to take bath.

In India - A teenager, who without asking will carry your grocery bags from the market.
Outside India - A teenager, who suddenly remembers he has lot of homework when you start mowing the lawn.

In India - A lovely doll, who brings tears to your eyes during her marriage.
Outside India - A lovely doll, who brings you to tears long before her marriage.

In India - A person you are afraid of, and who is never to be disobeyed.
Outside India - A person to whom you pretend to obey, after all he is the one paying your college tuition.

Desi Doctor
In India - A respectable person with ok income.
Outside India- A money making machine, who has a money spending machine at home called "doctor's wife".

In India - A vigorous Punjabi festival dance.
Outside India - A desi dance you do, when you don't know how to dance

Software Engineer:
In India - A high-tech guy, always speaks in American accent, always anxious to queue in the consulate visa line.
Outside India - The same hi-tech guy, who does Ganapati Puja everyday, and says 'This is my last year in the US' every year.

A Green Card holder bachelor:
In India - the guy can't speak Hindi, parents of good looking girls are dying to hook him, wears a jacket even in summer, says he has a BMW back there.
Outside India - the guy can't speak proper English, wears jacket all the time, works in a corner shop in Manhattan, dreams of owning a BMW.

Tin bowl tale

Mmmmmm, nice. A three-day weekend. The first Monday in June is always a holiday, for the Queen's b'day. This is one day I don't mind shouting "Long live the Queen". We are all feeling nice and rested. I am relaxed enough to charge into the story of the tin bowl.


This isn't a new story or anything. And I'll bet that most of us have heard of it at one time or another.

It goes like this. There is a family of a husband, wife and their two children. The grandparents lived with them, but the busy couple had no time for them. And scant respect or consideration.

They were loathe to spend not only money, but also time on them. They considered their duty done if they provided enough for the old people to subsist. They'd just chuck them some food in a tin bowl (they didn't want to spend good money buying classy dishes for the old couple to eat from, you see).

And things moved along at this pace for a while. I am not sure if it was the woman's parents or the man's parents but that doesn't really matter as far as I am concerned. I feel all children have an equal responsibility to their parents. And I must say I have noticed many women wriggling out of it, quoting their husbands. In most cases, this is just an excuse. And an equal number of men wriggle out too, for whatever reasons.

Anyways, coming back to the tin bowl, one day the kids asked their parents for some money. What for? To buy a pair of tin bowls. And the parents asked them, why do you need two tin bowls? To which the kids said, Mom and Dad, it's for you to eat from when you grow old like Grandma and Grandpa.

Well, out of the mouths of babes........the parents were shocked, flabbergasted, speechless etc. I don't know why they were so surprised, as their children were only copying them. Maybe because when younger, no one has time to think or worry about their old age much, unless they are going to be old real soon.

Anyways, that was a rude shock for the couple. And after that , they made an effort to be decent to their parents. Which is all very good. And although it's not a `they all lived happily ever after ending', it's better than what it was before.

The least that can be said for the couple is that they at least had their parents with them and didn't ditch them on the roadside.

But the moral (don't all good stories have one?): if you dish out tin bowls to your parents, be warned that your children will give you more of the same when you are old. For, what you sow, you will reap, good or bad.


I am in a pretty relaxed mood, anyways. End of every job is always so. Winding down. Farewell for Arthur, Rachel and me next week. And after that, bye-bye to all the relaxing. New job begins Monday, June 20.