One Mad Hen with a Green V

“Did you go to <fill in any place where parking is a pain> by any chance on Thursday afternoon – the day before the long weekend?” the husband asks.

I was astounded. How did he know? I admitted I had, all the time marveling at the Sherlock Holmes in him.

“How did you know?” I ask

He grins and waves a parking ticket at my face. I don’t know how I manage it. I look around for all the signs that say it is okay to park in a particular spot. I pay for it. Display on windshield. I hassle innocent bystanders and ask for reassurance that my parking is not going to get me in trouble and two weeks later, I land a parking ticket. I grin sheepishly and gulp at the amount. I could have gone ten times with that money.

So, you can imagine my trepidation when I had to spend three days on the University grounds to drop off my nephew. To make matters worse, the first thing folks told me when I landed at my nephew’s university was that parking was a pain and if I was not careful, I would have a windshield full of parking tickets for my collection. I was not pleased.

The day dawned bright and early and there I was entering the University grounds, my eyes peeled for parking signs. I promptly circled the main area six times in a clockwise direction (And once in the anti-clockwise direction before realizing halfway that it was a one way street and hastily turning around. ). Moving on, I figured that at this rate, none of us would get anywhere and I dropped the nephew and his father in the general vicinity of a map and headed to the parking garage.

I parked in a spot marked ‘V’. ‘V’ for Visitor.  I paid for the parking slot and strode out of the Garage. Ten steps on, doubt crept in. What if ‘V’ stood for  ‘Van’ or ‘Viscosity’ or ‘Valedictorian’? The stride faltered, the pace slowed, and I found myself looking doubtfully at the garage. Luckily for me, I also saw signs for a ‘Parking Office’ and I headed there.

When in doubt, ask. So, I stood in line and headed to a desk clerk.

He was drinking in, his morning cup of creamer and coffee and fixed me with a stern glare. Folks who work at Universities have a way of doing this to you even if they work at the Parking Office I tell you.

As is my wont when fixed with the stern glare, I gulped and asked .” it okay to park in a spot marked ‘V’?”

“What do you mean marked ‘V’? Were there ‘V’s on either side of the spot?”

“NO, there was a ‘V’ in the middle.”

“In all my years of service here, I have never seen a spot with a ‘V’ drawn in the middle. You had better head out and see that there are ‘V’s on either side.Otherwise, you WILL get a parking ticket.”

I nodded, and understanding that my allocated time was up, headed back up to the garage.  I ran up the stairs and huffed and puffed up to my spot. I had seen wrong. There was no ‘V’ in the middle of the spot, but on either side. So, I headed back to the Coffee & Creamer desk clerk to show him a ‘Thumbs up’ sign. He grinned and said, “Then fine!”

Luckily I did not have to stand in the pesky line again, but the man talking to him was startled for a moment. Clearly whatever he had going just then was not falling under the category of ‘Then fine!” and he looked at me with a facial green that was pure jealousy.

I turned my back to exit. But you know how they say that when you exit the royalty, you must never show your back, or you shall pay? I paid.

“Just make sure, it is a green ‘V’ and not a red ‘V'” he said to my retreating back.

Green V Parking

There are 26 different alphabets in the English language to choose from. Twenty-six. Why not pick an ‘A’ or a ‘Z’. No. They have to go for a red and a green ‘V’. Damn all parking signs. So, back to the garage and up the stairs and past the cars I went to make sure it was a green ‘V’. I emerged from the stairs and what do I see? A cop standing near my car. Not this time young man, not this time. Please. So, I ran hard with my backpack flapping against my back and breathing like a charging rhino.

“Please *puff* officer. I just *pant* went to verify whether *pant* I had parked in the right spot. *puff puff pant pant* He said a green ‘V’ was okay.” I glanced down and saw that I had not erred. I had parked between the lines showing a green ‘V’ on either side.

The Officer looked like he’d seen the idiot of the day in the morning itself and laughed out loud assuring me that it was okay to park there as long as the ticket was displayed on the dashboard.

If you remember, I urged folks to wear sensible shoes while going to drop children in college, and that is partly because in my enthusiasm to not get a parking ticket, I kept parking in the same garage in the green ‘V’ spots. This garage was in the centre of the University and if one needed to walk 2.3 miles to see something, so be it. I was not budging.

If I get a ticket for this, I swear to God, I will be one mad hen. One Mad Hen.

Unleashing Teen Potential

Ask me what I have been up to and you would find me fumbling for words. There has been much going on that had me reaching for tissues (No, I don’t have a cold, I mean of the nostalgic type)

I am not much of a sappy writer, but I must admit the past weeks experiences tugged at my heart strings like no violinist has tugged on his violin before.

You see, I went with the nephew to admit him to college. The same bundle of a baby that I sniffed at the day he was born more than 17 years ago. It reminded me of how much wisdom I have gained over the years, that I did not go and meet his would-be class mates for the next 4 years and tell them all about how he was the most beautiful baby I had ever laid my eyes on. In fact, I did not even tell them that he recognized and smiled at me within hours of being born. (I know since that it is gas, but try telling a teenage first-time aunt that)

As I walked the grounds of the University, I could not help feeling inspired. The campus was sprawling and the faculty seemed to be filled with competent and motivated professors. The atmosphere was one which had me reaching back longingly to the recesses of my brain where I had loved lolling in the library and reading up on random topics. Not only that, the University library was named after one of my favorite authors (Dr Seuss) and I got to take a picture of his statue

 Dr Seuss with the Cat in the Hat
Statue of Dr Seuss with the Cat in the Hat

The University grounds were large and impressive and best of all, filled with Eucalyptus groves and one singing tree. Oh! The lure of Eucalyptus leaves : it brought back some extremely pleasant childhood memories. I grew up in the Nilgiris where Eucalyptus trees dotted almost every hillside.  I sniffed around the campus inhaling the scents every opportunity I could.

Great thoughts seeped into my mind as I took in the scents. For example, I wondered why on Earth I had not thought of wearing sneakers instead of sandals. Here is a tip to all readers going to drop their kids in college : please wear comfortable shoes.

Eucalyptus Grove
Eucalyptus Grove

Walking around the campus and taking in the trepidation on the young, eager faces ready to start college was … well, priceless. But what really sealed the deal was the number of times parents worried about what the children would eat at college. After the thirteenth time the topic came up, we decided to fatten the boy up before dropping him off in his room with this:

The Pizza Test
The Pizza Test

Unleashing teen potential maybe the University’s concern, but I have no doubt they have a solid foundation to start with. Watching this pizza disappear in minutes was enough to convince me that great things are possible.

Here is wishing the College-going-lot all the very best.

Rainbow Dash

I was waiting to break into my new running shoes. Like a child waiting to play in the rain, I cast loving looks at the shoes every now and then and vowed to get up early the next morning and go for a run. Maybe my excitement rubbed off on my toddler son, but he was up before the lark and waiting for me by the shoes before my run. “Amma. Thum Amma Thum. Thunning Amma Thunning. Shoos thunning.”

(Lexicon: Thum: Come, Thun: Run, Shoos: Shoes)

My shoulders sagged a bit, but he had an enthusiastic-puppy-look about him and so off we went. The pair of us running with a stroller in hand. It was my plan to bundle him into the stroller a little way in and then run. But the fellow had plans of his own. He ran with his little steps by my side. I could walk, but he insisted I thun with him. So, I than. For this pace of running I needed no running shoes, but it was wonderful.  He kept running, then squealed and stopped to see a passing truck. We ran again. A few feet on, there was a pile of dry leaves. We both jumped in there, squashing the leaves and listening to the crackle under our feet. This run was not going to be measured in terms of distance, that much was certain. We crushed the leaves underfoot till a yeti couldn’t have gotten a crackle out of it anymore. We ran some more and spotted a children’s park nearby and made for it. We chased birds, played in the swing and walked back – the toddler a spent force, but still refusing to sit in his stroller.


Rainbow Dash
Rainbow Dash

As we walked back that beautiful day, the sun burst forth with a few well chosen sprinkles of rain and we walked home under a glorious rainbow that the child said was ‘Ennow Tash’ (‘Rainbow Dash’ is the name of a pony princess or some such thing that he is forced to watch with his older sister. This famous Rainbow Dash has a wiki link: I am sure this will become  a  problem later, but for now he is proud he knows about Rainbow Dash, the pony princess.

When I read this article about an artist collaborating with her 4 year old son, the story warmed my heart. It reminded me of that run that became a rainbow dash and how what I planned turned into something far more meaningful just because I was willing to let go. Maybe, if we relinquish control more often, we will find joy in different ways.


The Tongue-Tied Commenter

The father is an obsessive news watcher and every season sees a different upheaval.  The news, for its share, never ceases to entertain him.

I remember, years ago, when he had his opinions typed out and sent to the newspaper. He beamed when they were published in the newspapers. He proudly showed the piece of paper on which he had typed it out using the pen-name he had given himself so people would believe him. I suppose it was something, given that the editors combed through hundreds of letters to the editor and posted a select few.

The advent of the Internet might be a blessing in many ways, but it has made this man’s life busier than ever. There is new content being posted all the time waiting for his review and approval. How many articles jostle for his comments and views? It is tiring work sometimes, but the septuagenarian keeps at it. He painstakingly lingers on the keyboard, his face screwed up with intense concentration, and uses his index fingers to type out his thoughts. As his comments rush out, his tongue peeps out of his mouth to see a bit of typing action. It means he is focused. Before long, one sees scathing remarks, where his dry wit shines through. It is a pity Literature students don’t comb the comments section on Indian newspaper sites. The prose there is littered with the profuse, the exaggerated, the new word that came through in the word-a-day email: it is all there and more. I have tried telling him that there being no limit to the real estate on the internet, all his comments will be published, but he shakes his head sanguinely and explains to the idiot child, “No. That cannot be true child. If that is the case, how come my comments don’t appear immediately? I get an email stating that the comment has been approved, which means that only valid points are being published.”

There is another change: he now boldly uses his own name, links to his Facebook profile (much to the mother’s chagrin, since they have one profile and it looks like she is typing the theses. “As if I have no work!” she says disapprovingly). A change that I am not exactly proud of, given that India’s tolerance seems to be dipping.

The last time he visited us, the 3G scam was the topic of conversation. This time, it is the sliding value of the Indian Rupee against the dollar.

The markets have been volatile as a result of which the Indian rupee lost about a third of its value. Inflation has been on the rise and Indian economists are clawing at arguments and counter-arguments to see what the solution is. The father, the commenter, has been writing furiously on varied sites about how the country came to be in such a sorry state with all the time he can spare. Sometimes, another octogenarian somewhere will ‘Like’ his comment, and that evening he is a pleased man. “I told you people read all the comments.” he says.

The Commenter

Even he had no comment to make to this posting however.

The Madhya Pradesh Unit of the Congress ( A leading political party in India) came up with the argument (pasted below) for the sliding rupee and was evidently so pleased with itself for thinking up something this brilliant, that it went and posted it on Facebook for all to see:

“The value of rupee is the same in India… Only the value of dollar has increased… The value of rupee has not fallen. How many of you people go to the market to buy dollars? How many of you come back with dollars? The value of dollar has increased only for those who buy dollars.”

A great philosophy that is not being given the credit it deserves. But such is life. I am sure that the father would have thought up something appropriate on the topic by the time I roll around in the evening, but till then, the article languishes without his comments. It seems a pity since it seems to be taking heat from a large number of people and there might have been a chance of someone reading his comments on the subject.

I saw this meme on my google plus feed and thought it most coincidental that it should appear the day I am writing a post on comments (I could not find the original author of this one to credit him or her, but I truly laughed at it….so, whoever you are, thank you.)


%d bloggers like this: