The Crow Vs Grandfather Dilemma

Is your grandfather a crow?

I don’t know how many human children can answer that question unless they were sired by crows, which is rare.

Every parent, grand-parent, aunt, uncle or friend remembers some gems of baby talk from the children in their lives. I remember swelling like a balloon fish  when the daughter sang her first song. I hadn’t known it then, but it was pure audacity calling it a song. It was gibberish, but precious gibberish all the same. 

The daughter had trouble saying “Tha” as a baby. She seemed to think that “Ka” and “Tha” were the same.  That would have been no problem at all if there was another word for grandfather in Tamil. It turns out that the Tamil word for ‘Grandfather’ has not one, but two “Tha”s. (“Thaatha“)

The child tried and tried and called him “Kaaka“. It was not an ideal replacement given that crows were inclined to respond every time and break their flight midway to answer her. (“Kaaka” means “Crow” in Tamil). So, every time, she hollered for a crow, the grandfather would answer, and the crows gradually learned to tell the difference. They had their little training programs written out that said, “If a child calls a crow when you fly over Latitude x and Longitude y, do not stop over. You are not welcome and will scare the child. Keep flying and stay productive. The resident grandfather there thinks he is a crow and will handle the situation. He responds to ‘Thaatha‘ and ‘Kaaka‘ ”

The crows and grandfathers were mutually happy with the situation, they waved to each other from afar and life chugged on.

The problem is that the training manual for the Crows has not been updated for several years now. Years passed, the child had a brother who is now stringing words together and this young man cannot say”Ka”. He can only say “Tha”.

Cars are Thars and Cows are Tows.

So, this little fellow stands in the garden and yells for a Crow (“Kaaka Kaaka!” he screams. The audience hears”Thaatha Thaatha!“) The crows fly on, while grandfathers respond.

All very confusing I tell you.  Both Grandfathers and Crows need new training packets.


Grandfather or Crow (?)
Thaatha: Grandfather
Kaaka: crow


Let’s end on a bit of a tongue twisters for children, crows and grandfathers (kuttis, kaakas and thaathas) shall we?

The Thaakaa Kathai

Thaatha-ku Kaaka kathai 

Kaaka-kku Thaatha kathai

Thaatha-kum Kaaka-kum Kutti kathai

Kutti-kum Kaaka-kum Thaatha kathai

Thaatha-kum Kutti-Kum Kaaka kathai

The Frog Said: PJ LOL

Humankind has to stop every now and then and take a breath to see what are the things that need to be passed down from one generation to the next. So far, story-telling seems to be the best way to make sure that essential details are passed down. Things that may be important years afterward like spiritual knowledge, or the virtues that are important. The only problem is we seem to be passing on a lot of stories, and not all of them are poised to stick for a million years. I mean marshal the facts: we have Mahabharata, Ramayana, Greek legends, Norse and Roman mythology that have been around for thousands of years. As if all this were not enough, we keep adding to the repertoire all the time: Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter etc. To this ever evolving and rich lot, we must add tales of real men and women like the unfortunate noblemen who have found his fame as the greatest gobblers of all time: The Earl of Sandwich

Yet, will all this be enough to prepare us for success a million years from now? Time for me to stop, take a breath and tell you where I am going with all of this right? Well, here is a startup that is operating on the premise that people will pay to send text messages to a potentially habitable solar system that is at least 17 light years away.

I quote from the article:

The messages are being beamed to Gliese 526, a potentially habitable solar system that is relatively close to Earth.
In addition to the text messages, which can be written in any language, Lone Signal will simultaneously send a message written in binary code — the language computers use to communicate — that contains basic principles of physics. The idea is that these principles apply throughout the universe and thus are more likely to be understood by an alien than, say, a text message written in English.

Every system’s design has a few assumptions. I am glad these are called out in the news article clearly. Binary code and basic principles of Physics can apply throughout the universe.

What will we do when we receive answers from these beings? Maybe a thousand years from now. Will our children know the lore of the anonymous text message that was sent to them hundreds of years ago?

pj lol

The aliens received the message, decoded them and got “PJ LOL” from the message. After years of research trying to understand its meaning and craft a reasonable response, we receive “DGKG DF@#JRJF”

Now what?

Once upon a time, a frog lived in a well…

PS: The UK government has now closed the UFO desk as well. (

Chocoleg Law Enforcement

It was one of those days when I was beginning to ask myself why we have made life more complicated in an effort to make it simpler. I was just tutting and clicking my tongue when I saw this news article. This child wrote a letter to the Vice President with a possible solution to the gun control problem. He suggested making bullets of chocolate.

How marvelous! It need not be chocolate, but it could be bullets of a different nature: a stinger rather than a killer. The bullets of the killing kind can only be obtained in limited quantity after intense background checks and so on.

If chocolate bullets work, why not Lego blocks in police chases?

Imagine this scary criminal heading out. He is prepared:  his car is ready and he grabs his gun. He decides on wearing his vibrams since it ought to help him if it comes to a chase on foot. Of course, he hopes there will be no chase at all, but hopes and dreams turn out quite different from real life. This criminal is about to learn this hard truth very soon.

After the deed is done, he sees that his worst fear is coming true. The police cars are clobbering  him. A hot chase later, a patrol helicopter appears on the scene and it starts raining down Lego blocks.

There is no way for the car to maneuver. What does he do? What does he do? He glances at his feet in desperation. The vibrams. That is what he must do, he has to go for a run.

Chocolego Law Enforcement
Chocolego Law Enforcement

The Scary criminal laughs and grabs his gun to take off on foot and what happens?

OUCH! Running on lego blocks hurt man! Ask any parent who has trod on the things at the middle of the night, and they’ll tell you. Left with nothing to do, he whips out his gun and starts shooting. For a second he is triumphant and then realizes that the gun has done nothing but spurt a fountain of chocolate.

“FATE!” he exclaims and throws down his gun as he stubs his toe on a Lego block of hideous proportions.

The criminal is caught and the watching populace cheer at the ingenuity of the operation.

Give a few minutes for a heli-based giant vacuum cleaner to suck up the lego blocks and spray water on the chocolate rivers to wash off the cars and life is beautiful once again.

Do you see any problems with using chocolates and legos for preliminary law enforcement? I quite like the idea.

The Queen Mother

The Mother’s Day gifts from the daughter are always a bit overwhelming. For days ahead, I am not allowed to step into her room or throw out any scraps of paper because they may belong to a piece of the gift she is making for me. I sigh and turn my eye at all the ensuing mess secretly enjoying all the effort that goes into the presents she showers me with.

This time, she said, I must be prepared to have the wind knocked out of me, for the gift would make me wish I was a Queen that no one would bother ever again. I really am not sure where she thinks that the most appealing thing for a Queen is not to be bothered again. I mean wouldn’t the Queen wonder why everyone is leaving her out of things? Imagine yourself to be the Queen. There is a dinner banquet downstairs and everybody arrives dressed immaculately, having wonderful conversations amongst themselves, and pile into the food without the Queen. What would the effect be on the Q’s psyche?

Anyway, I must say she got her wish. You see she made me a crown of a magenta color. Then, she went ahead and glued on large ‘precious stones’ on them. She gushed that the color would suit me splendidly and I thanked her for it. She was right – the color suited me perfectly. I blushed a matching magenta wearing that crown. Of one thing she was assured. With me in that crown, there isn’t a single soul who would think of bothering me!

Queen Mother

I wanted to wear the crown and go down to the Supermarket to see the effect it would have on people, but I chickened out. I just couldn’t. Like all windows of opportunity, the crown window was an extremely slim one. Risk it on Mother’s Day and tug the daughter along, there was a chance people would think me as a mom in need of an intervention, but could have escaped without being marched off to the loony bin. But, I let Mother’s Day slip through my fingers. I regret it a little now. If ever there was classic blogging material, that would have been it. I must make a note of that for myself for next year.

I am waiting to see if the husband would get himself a crown to call himself a King. If he does, I will need a little bit of help getting him to wear the thing in public, but I suppose it is worth a shot for a blog entry. What do you say?

Walking with Spirit to Dakota and Pluto

I’ve written about the pony before. The daughter loved riding that pony, Spirit, so much, that this was her entry for the Google Doodle.

Keena Google Doodle

I was pleasantly surprised at this entry of hers. She practiced it on her little drawing board multiple times over. It started off with a barn and then morphed into the all-to-do-with-horses theme.

Maybe an occasional day with horses could be her indulgence we thought to ourselves and arranged for another pony ride for her. But this time, they gave her a horse, and told her she could ride it herself. Tell the husband something like this and his inner hero rises automatically. “Don’t worry!” he tells her. “I will ride with you on another horse to make sure you are fine. Don’t worry!”

“But I am not worried!” laughs the daughter rolling her eyes perfectly at this (an art form that seemed to be have been honed over decades of practice, but it can’t have been seeing that she is less than a decade old)

Stung, the husband said, she did not know anything about galloping horses and he would be her savior if the need arose. So, the pair of them set off to get saddled and bridled or whatever else horse-riders and their mounts do. The first thing they were required to do was to fill a form asking if they’ve ridden horses before. The daughter proudly answered ‘Yes’.

The husband flashed his mind back to the time his parents had arranged for him to mount a well-nourished donkey that called itself a horse on the beaches of the dirty Marina Beach in Chennai at the age of 9 and decided to answer ‘No’. “That horse”,he said later, “used to stray off to eat peanuts and trash paper on the beach completely forgetting that a rider was upon it!”

keena riding

The daughter was assigned Pluto and the husband Dakota. Dakota was supposed to follow Pluto. The husband was to chase after the galloping Pluto remember? They waved their good-byes and set off. From here on, I enter the terrain of pure hearsay. The accounts of the husband and the daughter diverge a good deal, and I have taken the liberty of constructing my own sequence.

The husband says that Dakota seemed to think Pluto was his playmate and took great pleasure in tickling Pluto on his hind. The daughter says that Pluto was doing fine till Dakota annoyed him. Pluto and Dakota reached an impasse and one of the instructors had to intervene and send Dakota ahead of Pluto.

There was another problem: Dakota differed from the horse on Marina Beach in one respect only. It went for grass and not paper and trash, but that may be because the trail upon which they rode did not have paper and trash. It kept going off to eat grass and straying from the path.

The daughter had to take on the role of savior and had to shout out instructions to the husband on how to reign Dakota in and keep him on the path. The husband hotly contests this and says he knew all along how to go about horse riding, but did not want to yank at the reins for it might hurt the horse.

What can I say?! Potato – Potaato.


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