Windy Day Adventures

An evening walk during the Christmas season is uplifting for the spirit even if one’s nose glows like Rudolph the red nosed reindeer’s with the cold. I stop here and there admiring the lawns lit up with reindeer. They remind me of the patronus charms in the Harry Potter series and make me smile. If there were this many patronuses around us, the dementors would have no chance would they?

One particularly wind whipped evening, I was out on a brisk walk. Brisk, partly to get warm, but partly because the winds were pushing me along with vigor. I was trying to keep my umbrella from flipping, and I was more distracted than usual. I did not stop to admire the trees swaying in the winds, and only managed to skittle away when a largish twig or two broke off from the branches above. 

When I stepped into the house a few minutes later, I said to the son, “ I saw the drunken polar bears lying on their sides, while the penguins huddled together like they do during the harsh winters in the Antarctic!”

“What?!” He said laughing. He looked happy and warm epitomizing the Hygge sentiments the Eastern Europeans gave us a word for. He was reading a book, listening to music and munching cookies with warm milk. His hair was plastered down and looked almost kempt (not unkempt but not exactly tidy).  I, on the other hand, came back with half the hair on my head pointing towards Iceland and the other half making a distinct beeline for Patagonia in South America.

It was after a dog out on a walk with its owner gave me an annoyed bark that I snapped to my senses and folded the umbrella. I had been wielding the umbrella like Captain America and his shield, and having as much success as a muggle producing a patronus charm. The winds were making me stagger and I hadn’t noticed the poor dog out on its evening walk till I almost walked into said dog. I stopped and looked contrite enough for the dog to give me a lopsided nod of the head before proceeding. The absence of the umbrella dance, and the amused expression on the dog’s face seemed to tickle a nerve somewhere, and the rest of the walk took on a gentle humor of its own.

The Christmas decorations were having a whale of a time in the gale force winds, and I was bursting with the joy of this whimsical take on the Christmas decorations in the neighborhood. I wondered what the deer that usually graze nearby thought of their patronus like brethren. Were they worried by the bright polar bears, chipmunks and Santa Clauses? How would it be to really fathom what the animals thought of us and our customs, and our lifestyles? I remember reading a short story by Louisa May Alcott a while ago on a girl who could talk to birds.

“Here is a riddle for you! The polar bears are lying drunk, while the penguins ..”

He gave me a mock-sorry look, and said, “Let’s get you warm – the cold has gotten to you maybe?” he said shepherding me away from the door lest I ask him to step out.

I pointed to the window and the son guffawed at the drunken-bear-penguin-dance take on the Christmas decorations on the lawns in the neighborhood. 

P.S: Wind Classifications

The wind classification charts that I managed to look up once I was safely tucked in bed after feeling had crept back into the extremities said that the winds outside had been either a level 7 or level 8 wind meaning gale force winds.

T’is The Season To Be Grateful

Every year end, by the time Christmas rolls around, the husband and I look like the crumpled and frazzled dolls hanging off the hastily put together Christmas tree ourselves. This year too, we had fallen to our usual folly of not co-ordinating the Christmas gifts between us for the children. I stealthily went off and hastily piled up a bunch of things, so that come Christmas morning, there is something under the tree. As I gift-wrapped the presents, late one night with the children safely tucked in bed, I was reminded of one of Miss Read’s sensible sentiments on Christmas – she is one of my favorite authors for a reason:
The thing to do, is to get absolutely everything in the summer and lock it in a cupboard. Then order every scrap of food from a shop the week before Christmas and sit back and enjoy watching everyone else go mad. I’ve been meaning to do it for years.

The day before Christmas, the husband waved a suave hand in my direction with the loving parting words, “So, you’ve got the kids for the day right? Right! I am off. “ His eyes gave me a look deep with meaning that said, “I got to go and get the gifts”, to which I gave him an equally meaningful look that said, “Don’t worry! I got them all gifts. Just buy the milk.”
We’ve been married for 15 years and understand each other perfectly, and so obviously he thought I was admiring the cow-lick on his newly combed hair (blog post waiting to be done), and tootled off bringing gifts for one and all, and no milk.

The result being that we were all feeling thoroughly spoiled for Christmas. After surveying the pile under the tree, I felt that we had gone overboard again. Did I really need those noise-canceling headphones? (The resounding answers did seem to warrant them, I’ll grant you that. ) Maybe, the motto around Christmas should be: if we were bindle stiffs, what would we need? Bindle stiffs, I was curious to learn the term, are those who carried their clothing around in a bundle.


I started on my Children-in-Africa lecture, when the children must’ve realized that it is better to take pre-emptive action before this lecture turns into a vegetable-praising healthy-eating fest that cuts into their hot-cocoa-under-the-tree dream. They pronounced mid-way that they were donating half the gifts (piled neatly on the left of the table ) to the poor. I noticed the particularly angelic and noble expressions on their faces as they made this solemn announcement, and stifled an urge to laugh.

I was glad of the opportunity to relax around friends once Christmas had come around, in the warm regions of Southern California. Days spent laughing, chatting, reading, playing and goofing off are like balm to the soul, and we reveled in the warmth of good companionship, and not being ruled by the clock.


As the year wound down, I realized that politically, speaking, it may have been a tough year, but we have much to be grateful for.
Bill & Melinda Gates foundation’s newsletter was uplifting and I was glad to end 2017, on a grateful and hopeful note.

I wonder if you have read the book where the hungry caterpillar expresses its thanks to every living being it comes across. If not, it is a marvelous children’s book, with Eric Carle’s signature illustrations and wonderful message: Thanks From The Very Hungry Caterpillar. 

As we head into 2018, it already promises to be a year in which we shall be called upon to remember such simple things as being kind to every living being and to care for our environment.

“The Television”

The husband is back from a fortnight-long business trip and the whole household sighed with relief, joy and exasperation when his smiling face greeted us.

That sigh of relief was mine.
Those whoops and shouts of joy that woke the neighbor’s cat and caused the squirrels to fall out of their trees was the children’s.
That exasperated sigh that was drowned in the cacophony was the Television’s. Anyone would be exasperated if they were rudely told that their quiet time had officially ended.

In our household, the Television is one that does its share of work, usually without complaining, though we know how angry it can get when pushed up against demanding work schedules. Take the time it decided to go on strike and fumbled the husband mid-stride:

This time, the television had a break too during the husband’s trip. You see, I am hopeless at getting the various things to work – there is Netflix and Amazon and Xfinity and Roku and Google TV and Apple TV and You tube. I am vaguely aware that these are all different things, but like the daughter says, “Poor amma – she has lost the battle the moment she calls it ‘The Television’ instead of lovingly calling it a TV!”

With the Television out of the running race of entertainment options, other activities gallantly stepped in to fill the void. We had a marvelous time together: taking walks in the golden autumn sun while entertaining friends and family, making beautifully shaped dosas and pancakes, whipping up thanksgiving feasts just because, cutting and pasting paper, preparing for a science fair, decorating our christmas tree. We did everything except television-watching. Which is what the children missed the most (after their father of course). So, the first words to escape their mouths after the vociferous cries of welcome were yowled was, “Could you get Netflix going again? Amma tried and tried, but she just couldn’t.”

The husband shook his head looking shocked, “Do you mean to tell me, you spent two weeks including a long week-end without TV?”

“Yes…of course! But we had a nice time right?” I said smiling at the angels who came on walks dressed like Panda bears and impersonating hawks.


“Well…let’s put it this way! We had a good time because Amma was happy that ‘The Television’ was not working, so she made sure we did fun stuff.” said the daughter rolling her eyes, and quoting ‘The Television’ like she has seen many fine teenage heroines on Television do. The husband gave me a look that said, “To think a mother would put her children through this!”

As Netflix came to life, the children enveloped him in warm hugs and embraces and the husband looked pleased. He swelled as it isn’t everyday that he is made to realize what a true hero he is to them.

I turned to the toddler son and asked him, “Who should give you a bath today? Appa or Amma?”

I was already whistling up the stairs sounding like a milk cooker out of breath, a book neatly tucked under my arm, when he shouted his answer: “Appa!”

My Hero!

Yule-Tide with Ms Riviera Robinson & Mr Dawdles

Mr Dawdles and Ms Riviera Robinson had wonderful holiday seasons. Ms Riviera Robinson had a stylized, personal seamstress to sew her clothes for the Yule-Tide Ball. She wore a pretty blue gown with pale blue flowers. The straps made of satin were most becoming on her brown shoulders and the blue proved to be a perfect compliment to her eyes. A competent, if talkative, accessory designer helped her with her final touches. When the earrings were clipped on, and the necklace pinned in place, she was already starting to know that she was going to be a big hit at the Party. By the time, the maroon waist-belt and shoes went on, she was looking beautiful.

Mr Dawdles had neither the time nor the luxury of the personal seamstress, and the talkative accessorizer, but he had a personal shopper, and hair stylist. The personal shopper hopped from one store to the next in search of the right attire. Mr Dawdles also had remarkably less accessory needs and has obliged to go barefoot to the ball. I don’t think he minded. His hair, he cannot complain about either, it is cut perfectly unevenly and along with his drooping eye, gives him an almost appealing aura.


Mr Dawdles and Ms Riviera Robinson were both dressed attired and oversaw a party teeming with children, good music and bonhomie.

The dolls came home to be dressed for a Doll Party in the toddler son’s classroom. Riviera Robinson was last year’s doll. The daughter tried for days to put together some good clothes with scraps of paper and stapler pins, to no effect. Then one evening, I trooped into the house after a particularly long day at work. We had been at an all-day offsite conference with no admirable distractions during the day, and I was craving nothing more than some mindless hmm-ing and aha-ing before flopping onto the bed early. All hopes of flopping into bed early were dashed with one look at the severely disappointed set of children.

The Doll had to be turned in, fully clothed, the next day and all those papers and stapler pins had come to naught. Left to my own devices, I would have poo-ed and baa-ed the thing off, but I could not bear the look of disappointment on the daughter’s face. Neither could I bring myself to brave the cold, and the winter shoppers after that long day. So, I cut up an old skirt and sewed on a make-shift dress. As the dress took shape, the daughter revived like a sunflower in the rising sun, and found accessories for her. All the while, the toddler son bubbled and bounced around offering plenty of talk, sometimes related to the Doll-Dressing-Disaster, but mostly not. The next day when he walked into his classroom with Ms Riviera Robinson on his arm, there was nothing short of admiration for her, and he beamed happily.


This year, he asserted his personality and said his doll was to be a man. Able seamstress as I am, I didn’t feel I was up to stitching men’s pants and shirts. So, off I was, on a cold Sunday night (The doll had to be turned in on Monday, if it was to attend the party) looking for parking, and silently cursing the sexist doll industry. If you want to dress up your girl doll, all you have to do is stroll into a store’s doll section and pick out clothes of your choice. If you want your daughter and doll to wear matching clothes, that too is available, for a nominal price.  If your doll is a man, well, tough luck!

I was looking lost and desperate amidst the beautiful girl doll clothes. I had the whole week-end to clothe Mr Dawdles, or Mickey Mouse, as he was then known, and I fritted it away admiring fall leaves and unnecessary thoughts about falling leaves and their mortality.

I wondered whether I should wrap him in white cloth, paint glasses on him and send him as Mahatma Gandhi. An older lady, with a friendly face, came up to the doll section and exclaimed, “Oh! Are they still doing those? I remember doing that project for my daughters years ago. Heavens! They even look the same.” I poured my heart out to the poor thing. I told her how I could not manage to tailor pants and was thinking of dhotis. “Or”, she said, piping up to the theme, “you could go even older, and dress him as Julius Ceaser or something with white cloth draped about his shoulders.”

As we were talking, I cradled Mr Dawdles a bit and she stopped mid sentence. “This doll looks about the size of a preemie baby.” she said. That was it. A preemie baby it was. So, that is why Mr Dawdles wore preemie baby clothes that said, “Mommy’s Little Monster” to the ball. I did not have time time to make shoes.

Schools, these days, make the parents work very hard.

The Decorative Bug – Part 2

Every year as I walk by homes where the residents have gone to great pains to celebrate and decorate their house for the Holidays or Halloween, two things happen.

One: I take a tiny hammer to the brain and give it a rap  – right there on the skull where it ought to remind you to say “Ouch!”

Two: I convince myself that I should indeed decorate the house and I get started like a damp fire cracker. I make a lot of noise, sizzle about a bit, generate a lot of smoke and then die out without doing anything brilliant.

The Brilliant Firecrackers hobnob with the Wet One
The Brilliant Firecrackers hobnob with the Wet One

Year after year, I tell myself that the next year I shall be the dry fire cracker, and shall delight all around me with my brilliant sparks and I try. Only, I have never been the creative do-it-yourself-er. The maximum brilliance my pumpkin carving has reached was posted on  the blog five years ago. (  The eyes were gouged out with great difficulty and the smile was anything but.

The Pride of our Efforts
The Pride of our Efforts

I’d call it a childish attempt, if I had not seen the attempts made by children and how vastly superior they were to my own. Not only that, for a week after that brave attempt, I was sore in muscles I did not know existed and I cheesed the pumpkin-carving after that. Only pumpkin craving remains now. My neighbors put me to shame with attempts like this:

The Neighbor's Pumpkins
The Neighbor’s Pumpkins

Last year, I steamed out of the house like a tank engine and came back with Halloween decorations that will make my house dazzle and not just that, uplift the whole neighborhood. I know my faults, so I went in for foam stickers with a bit of sparkle on them. We stuck spiders on the garage door and some foam stickers on the door. It looked beautiful and frightful enough. We even had a few children come and coo.

For the whole year after that we have had partial Halloween decorations – the foam stickers refuse to come off and the spiders stuck on the door remain there (well, some of them fell off on their own, the others remain, joined at times by their live brethren). The cobwebs are entirely natural and add to the aura of the place.


If you ask me what I did for Christmas, I will gallantly point you to the lights hanging outside. They have simply not been taken down ever since and we have blue and white icicle lights twinkling  all year through. They light up the space for the spiders well enough should they need a little help. The thing is, I was so proud of our lights that I refused to take them down in January. Then, by the time February rolled around, my enthusiasm for Spring took over and the lights were forgotten.

The last time we had put up lights, I almost died of heart failure for one, and the husband almost fell off a six-foot ladder for another, so I was not going to take this brilliant easy lighting system down in a hurry (I notice I haven’t written about it yet, and probably should. A thrilling tale and I wish to do it justice. )

What horrors do you wish to inflict this time? You ask. I am thinking and rubbing that soft spot in the skull for ideas. I may go in for the tablecloth decoration once again. I bought one of those Halloween themed disposable tablecloths and stuck them on the door. I was so pleased with myself with that one.

I tell myself every year to buck up one of these years and try my hand at decorating something nice for Halloween or Christmas. How I admire people who have that creative bent of mind?  Sigh.

The Stud, The Husband & The Illusion of Control

Sometimes a short step away from the daily humdrum is all it takes to rejuvenate one. That is what we did as we nestled into Mother Nature’s arms with hot tea, scrambled eggs and a view of a scenic lake with some of our friends. As we saw sign-posts for Lucerne and Nice, I told the children about how beautiful Lucerne in Switzerland was and there, I saw a sign-post saying, “Welcome to Lucerne – The Switzerland of America” I am not sure what the sign meant, but it was enough to get us laughing. The Switzerland of America is not a happening place.

On the way back, we decided to go in for a horse riding adventure. Well, as far as adventures go, I am not sure Throttle, Stud, Mary, Peanut and Hummer could provide much, for they were the sweetest, gentlest horses I ever met. Not that I hobnob with horses much, my equine knowledge ranks somewhere along with acupuncture pressure points – which is to say negligible. But the daughter is a great fan of all things equine and so, there we were, 4 children, a friend and I, taking a saunter on a ranch with horses. The husband was staying behind with the son.

It is true that I am not one of those effervescent animal lovers. I love reading about them, I like being around them if they are tame enough and keep their distance from me and I would hate to see any kind of cruelty directed toward them, but there you are. I don’t cuddle and nuzzle up with dogs, I don’t frisk about with cats. I patted my horse with the same reserve. I was told his name is Stud. He was a tall, chestnut colored horse with gentle eyes. I asked the trainer if he is mischievous, for I have not the faintest idea as to what I will do if the horse decides to ‘take off.’ I was assured that  tall and hulky as he is, he is as gentle as a lamb and wouldn’t run if I wanted him to. (I had no idea then how prescient those words were.) I patted him with a sigh of relief, for though I am not friendly with very many lambs to know the extent of their gentility, I do like them. I can now say truthfully that I made eye-contact with a Stud and he reciprocated with a gentle nod of the noggin. I was moved, and when moved I resort to saying things like ‘Come on dear! That is lovely dear.’ The husband thought I was referring to him and looked up quizzically, but I shoo-ed him off. I had another Stud to attend to. An equally gentle, calm stud albeit silent. Silent but communicative hloke.

Studley - the horse
Studley & I

We learnt the basics of steering a horse and getting it to turn left and right and so on and set off. Me, on my dear Stud, and the others on theirs. As long we were on the dirt track, there was no problem at all. Stud kept a steady pace and walked happily enough. The lady who was guiding our little procession (let’s call her Equena shall we?) then decided to take us on a bit of a wilderness saunter and off she went from the dusty path. Stud was all enthusiasm and snorted and neighed affectionately as he made after her. I was glad too – I like flowing rivers and green meadows spotted with wildflowers. I was just getting into the steady rhythm of bumping along and taking in the scenes, when the bumping-along stalled. I looked down to see what the matter was. Stud had made for a succulent grass patch and refused to budge. His nostrils were flared, his eyes drooling and he was tugging at the grass. “Come on dear. Now now. “ I said. But for all the attention Stud paid me, I could have been talking to the grass. I nudged him subtly. By now, our little troop of troopers had gone ahead on their horses, while mine was eating heartily.

Equena turned around after a few minutes and saw what I was grappling with. “Well – give him a strong one on the sides and make him move.” she said. I gave him a feeble one, and Stud showed me who is horse and grazed on.

“Umm..maybe he is hungry, should I let him eat first?” I asked her.

Now, I shall divulge a small nugget of equestrian wisdom: Never let on that you are not in control of your horse to others. Only your horse should know that.

Equena snorted disbelievingly. Stud snorted sincerely. I was sitting there thinking that I could really do with some snort-training, when Equena came up to me and said. “Honey! Look at me. “ I did.

“Not you! The horse.” she said and continued. “Let’s get on shall we?”

“Now honey!” I was working hard at keeping my gaze away. It is the polite thing when your Stud is getting a dressing down in public, what?

“I am now talking to you honey.” she said pointing at me. I looked at her obediently. “You are in charge of the horse. Don’t slacken for him. He has just been eating his fill in the barn. He doesn’t need any more grass. Show him who is in control!” she said.

Her words inspired me. Stud was in for it. I was going to show him who was in control. “Come come my dear! “ I said kicking it gently. Then, I kicked a little harder. Stud gazed up at this newfound discipline and shrugged – I know what you are thinking. I can see your skeptical eyes boring into me telling me that horses don’t shrug. But I tell you they do. Especially a horse who is deciding whether to act like a mule or a respectable horse. He thinks – shall we have some fun with this novice rider, or shall we go on and lure her into a false sense of control? I know this part of the thinking process so well. Being a mother makes you sense these sort of things in a jiffy. Luckily for me, the gentle soul that Stud is, decided to lure me into a f.sense of c.

The rest of the trail was spent in variations of the following:

Come on dear

That is quite enough you’ve had to eat

Please please! No need to eat now. Let us go.

Go on. Go on dear. I will let you eat plenty in a few minutes.

Don’t graze now. You just ate a tuft of grass.

When we finally tumbled back to the barn, I had had quite enough with the food talk. The husband was standing there and smiling in exactly the same way that Stud smiled when tugged away from the grass.

Tumbling in with the horses
Tumbling in with the horses

“You guys hungry? There is a Mexican restaurant that doesn’t look like much – but the food is pretty good.” said the husband by way of greeting us.

“How did you know that?” I asked.

Stud shrugged. I mean: the husband shrugged. I truly am getting the stud and husband confused, aren’t I?

“So what do you say? Shall we go now, or after dismounting the horses?” he said with another Stud-like grin.

I like gentle souls. Especially, those who lure me into having an illusion of control. “As soon as we dismount the horses.” I said firmly, the light of decision-making gleaming upon my shoulders.

A Nefelibata’s Santa Claus Myth

I rarely save the works of art that my children produce. For one, there are so many, and for another, while some of them are hilarious, they are no masterpieces (yet! – I read somewhere that good parents don’t say things like this and always leave the doors open for whatever the future might bring. If the future springs the brilliant artist, I don’t want to be the lousy mother thwarting the Sotheby’s auction, do I?)  So, I have no way of comparing the drawings of the six year old daughter to see what hidden psychological messages were in there. According to this news article, deciphering a six year old’s drawings can give us remarkable insight into their minds.

I tried analyzing the work of the 3 year old son, and I could make out nothing. He asked me to guess what the picture he was holding up was, and I told him it looked like a very shiny pig or a jellyfish. He cackled loudly and said that he tried to make a pink christmas tree. I don’t mind tapping Freud from his grave and asking him to interpret that, but I am pretty sure, he’d choose to remain dead.

Jellyfish or Pig or Pink Christmas Tree?
This is my drawing of course, because I did not save the original one – but you get the gist.

Anyway, this brought an interesting question to mind. What if I interpreted my own drawings? I had in a recent drawing placed a house on a dog’s tail (which was kindly brought to my attention by a reader later on)

See house on dog's tail?
See house on dog’s tail?

What would that mean in the light of the latest letter to Santa? The daughter had asked for a dog. She very well knows there is no Santa for the past few years at least, but just plays along to see what she can get.

Regular readers of the blog know that the request for a dog in the household rears its head every now and then. It is usually silenced by me (a trifle vehemently at times) or in a more wishy-washy sort of manner by the husband, who then looks sorry when confronted by me on what he meant by saying, “Maybe we will think about one in a few month’s time.”

“How many months?” asks the daughter expectantly

“What do you mean by months?” I say pushing a couple of daggers out of my eye sockets, and the husband scurries for safety.

Hitherto while asking for a dog, she had relied on techniques such as “You don’t have to do anything. We will look after the dog.”  (By saying ‘we’, she includes the toddler brother who stands around nodding enthusiastically without having the least idea as to what it takes to have a dog in the household. The few occasions he has been in the presence of one has been spent like a monkey on a tree with a lion prowling down below) The matter gained traction again a few months ago and I wondered where the renewed vigor was coming from. Now, I was getting the old oil, “Oh! Don’t you miss not having someone to cuddle up with, now that we are all grown-up? Hey! You know what might help? A dog!”

It was only when I went to talk to her teacher a few weeks ago that the mystery was unraveled. Her teacher had told them how to form a convincing case, say, on how to get a dog, and she assures us that she had never held a class in such rapturous attention. Apparently, she had told them to come up with points that will help their cause, for example: come up with what the other party will gain out of the proposition. The daughter, having racked her brains, could easily see how I would poke holes in the We-will-look-after-dog theory, and went in for the psychological wringing.

Well, I was not buying it (yet). Let me explain why. There are some images that cannot be easily wiped from one’s brain. Two vicious specimens come to mind. Both of them were not more than 5 inches in height, long and had tempers like vipers about to be curdled in whatever-vipers-are-curdled-in and bites like adders. To their considerable repertoire of talents was the fact that they could smell like hounds ( which they were), and ornamental nose though I had, it was completely useless in detecting dogs hidden behind bushes. The results had been extremely disturbing. A physical education teacher of mine, once saw me leg it up 67 stairs at one go in the pouring rain and opined that the best way to train me for the forthcoming Athletics Championships was to set a couple of dogs after me. Not pleasant I tell you. Not pleasant.

Now, I know that dogs in the United States are extremely docile beings and rarely bite. But I am not sure I can move past the canine horrors of my past and embrace a dog in the household.

More than any of that,  I am not sure I need another living being to look after, I have 4 large fir trees, 3 fishes, 2 children, 1 husband, 1 apricot tree , 1 cherry tree, many plants to nurture and often have visiting parents. Maybe the Myth of Santa has to be officially busted this year, I thought to myself and peered at the letter below the tree and saw amendments.

There, in brackets it said: (I know my mom will not like a dog, so can I have some king doh if not a dog?)

I like this pragmatism even though she is lost in the clouds of her imagination, an imagination liberally spotted with unicorns and dogs sometimes. (I found an interesting word that means just that by the way – Nefelibata)

Santa Followed Us!

Here is wishing all of you a wonderful new year! For those of you who noticed the quiet blog, I have been offline on a trip to India and the Middle East for the past few weeks. The daughter was sick with worry about whether Santa would know where to find her, since she was to be away during Christmas. She left letters and cookies under the tree in our home in the US (‘Just in case’ she says!) But she need not have worried. We knew a manager who worked at one of Santa’s factories and arranged for Santa to drop his presents off for the children halfway across the globe in our hallway in Chennai.

You know? If I were Santa, I’d be quite flustered with all the last minute changes that he had to deal with last year.

1) The lists changed in the last minute. For a whole month, there was something on there, and then the day we were leaving for India, a new list appeared with a bunch of cookies. I had to physically ban the milk, since we were scheduled to be away for over 3 weeks. ("Huh? I Changed my mind" – the daughter shrugs her shoulders when quizzed about the change in list contents!) IF I were Santa, I would have stuck around and shrugged my shoulder too, but he didn’t. He was very accommodative of requests procuring items from the local markets at short notice.

2) The location changed. There was a large Christmas tree with an updated list and a post script saying, "Santa: We will be in Chennai for Christmas for this year." I mean. What?

A number of questions arose in my mind. First of all India is ahead of us in timing. So, technically, by the time he read the note and zipped past time-zones, he would already have been late, but he wasn’t!


The daughter and her cousins spent all afternoon on 24th cutting up pieces of paper and coloring them to be Christmas tree and decorating them with stickers and bindis. Santa behaved admirably and left the gifts for them under make-shift paper trees that made for endless days of fun.

Happy New Year!


(Image from Google Search)

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?!

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