The Ugly Sweater Party

In an effort to snap out of all the melancholy that set has set in, in the past week with brutal incidents and heavy reading, I looked for news other than the shooting and the gruesome and the inconsiderate. What drew my eyes was sadly this:

My nerves are weak I tell you. They can’t take the brunt anymore. 2012 was supposed to be the year. 12-12-12 was a huge anti-climax for those who fervently believed the Mayans and that Earth would vanish in a huge apocalypse. Now, these scary samaritans are going after 21st Dec as doomsday.

In the meanwhile, office parties and the holiday season is setting in like every other year. I love the holiday season in general. I usually get in the Yule-tide spirit and can be found ho-ho-ho-ing with my children in a fashion that has Santa drawing up his training programs on ‘Correct Laughing Techniques’. But does any of that make me cringe at laughing? Far from it. I draw inspiration from all the finger-pointing, keep a firm upper chin and continue smiling through the holidays.

I like themed parties in general, but this one went too far in my opinion. Everywhere I turned at work, there were these huge signs posted in purple.


Event Dress Themes – Ugly Sweater!!!

Get in the holiday spirit by wearing an ugly sweater to work!

Bing something like this on me and my brain stores it somewhere for processing later on. I walked in to the office the other day, and there was a lady wearing a sweater I would positively recoil at if I saw it in a store. The sweater had large multi-coloured squares on it. Brown, yellow, mustard competed with pink, cream and red. Each box had a different pattern on it. You know the snowman and the mapel leaf and the snowflake and such.

ugly sweater

Naturally, the fertile mind that mine is put two and two together and I asked her, "Oh! Is today the Ugly Sweater Christmas party?"
"No! That is not for another 2 days." she said. Clearly, this was one of her better looking sweaters that I slandered.

She pouted a bit and then sat there not saying a thing. All this not talking was making me quite uncomfortable.

"Oh! You were wearing a very Christmas-y sweater, so, I thought today was the Wear-your-Christmas-sweater-to-work-party." I finished meekly. But there was no denying that she had read the same sign up and down the office too and my attempt to water down "Christmas sweater" for "Ugly sweater" was not much of a success.

I muttered "Nice bright sweater!" and beat the retreat before I had the acorns plucked from her sweater and thrown at me.

Sigh! Next time, please just say Christmas Party won’t you?!

I hope this pain will one day be useful

Ever since I heard of the mindless violence inflicted upon Elementary School children, I have been really angry and sad.

I was wondering how to address the topic with my Elementary School daughter and how to tell her that we will be there for her and that there are horrors in the world inflicted upon the innocent (without alarming her). This article tells us to use an age appropriate mechanism, but my husband and I were still not sure how to go about it.

Finally, when we picked her up from School, we asked her in as casual a tone as possible whether anyone told her anything at School. Her answer surprised me. She became defensive and blurted: "But it was not my fault Amma. Nylan was the one talking to me. I was only listening to him, but my teacher thought I was talking and she turned my card over as a warning. Did my teacher tell you she flipped my card over for talking?"

Inspite of the fact that I had cried in outrage while ranting about the whole shooting incident at CT just a few minutes before, I  couldn’t help smiling.
"So why did you not tell your teacher that you weren’t talking?" I asked her.

"AMMA! I can’t get him in trouble. I can’t tell-tale on him! So I just took the warning, but in the recess I told him not to talk to me when the teacher was talking." Apparently, the Code of the Elementary School Goers is quite rigid with respect to tell-tales.

As I thanked my stars for the ability to hear such a wonderful tidbit of her life in School, my heart went out to all those families and friends grieving for the loss of these children. The tale of the recess untold, the code of their friendships unraveled. May their souls rest in peace.

May their little souls also guide our misguided policy makers to make a decision that is not only right for the country, but for innocent lives everywhere. I hope this pain will one day be useful.

perfer et obdura; dolor hic tibi proderit olim
(Be patient and tough; some day this pain will be useful to you.)

Walking on Water

You know how it is when you are growing up and folks (mostly parents, aunts and uncles) are always telling you about how life in their day was stern and earnest. The ‘You-youngsters-have-it-easy’ theme was an all-time favorite. They would gas on about how education was something they loved and why we should not be complaining about how easily education is served on a platter to us. How in their day, they had to walk across the town and then catch a bus that had no seats or fuel(sometimes): all to get to a school, that did not have teachers or roofs?

I always envied their stories. Because the most I could tell my children was that I had a wonderful childhood. It was true that it rained 10 months a year, but that was not nearly as bad as it sounds. When young, splashing in the rain and singing songs while walking up and down the hills was really not tragic. (I’ve tried the martyr theme with this and it fell flat, because I could not keep the glee of the good-old-days from my voice)

Which is why I am almost jealous of this class of students. Imagine this:

Septuagenarian Great Uncle: Youngsters these days! Pah! In our day ….
Kid: Huh? Telling me something grandpa? (unplugging music from ear)
Septua. Great Uncle: Grunt! Humph! You youngsters have no idea about the kind of lives we led. The perils we had to face in order to procure an education. There we would be waiting for the bus to come to the village. There would be a bus only once every 2 hours. So, if we missed it, we had to walk to school over 1.37 miles away. How long to stand for the bus?
A sound like a whistle of steam escaping a tea-pot draws the attention to the wistful sigh that the uncle just let go.
Kid: But you told us you whiled away time playing marbles at the bus-stop.
S.G.U.: Well…yes! But only while waiting for the bus. And when the bus did come, do you think we could waltz in and sit on the seats?
Kid: Why would anyone waltz into a bus, unless you are performing the bus-boarding-scene in a Broadway show?
S.G.U: *Completely ignoring the smart observation regarding buses and waltzes* Then…we had to study really hard. The homework we had was meant to make us think. Not like you – having free time to listen to music and not studying.
Kids: Really?! So you had to play with marbles while you waited and had a bit of homework, but did you have to walk on water for your homework?
That is our assignment you know?
S.G.U: What?
Kid: Our assignment: Walk on Water.



Ha! I could pay to capture the expression .. Sigh!

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