Skip to content

What do you do ?

October 11, 2011

She was well dressed, middle-aged, looked executive, perhaps an infrequent train-rider.

The first look on her face as she was confronted with the ticket vending machine was a typical sight. Bemused, exasperated. She fought with the touch screen for a second and mumbled some expletives. I sat on the edge of my seat at the waiting cubicle, waiting for that cue, to jump in to action.

She turned to us and exclaimed in a low voice “What am I supposed to enter here ?!”

Turns out that I had a younger, fellow passenger edgier than I was. He sprang up, asking her questions about her destination and other likes, thumping away options and explaining to her in the course. The coin inserted, ticket printed.

He walked away concludingly shrugging “So, there you are. No witchcraft !!”. (that’s German for ‘rocket science’)

And she mumbled “ah, ok. Thanks”.


Err…. did that guy just now make himself feel good and her, stupid ?

I would have said “yeah! this IS a bit confusing’ at the end of it. That would be my method, to save her face, preemptive.


Office Humour

May 21, 2011

I was again at it, explaining to someone how India is more like entire Europe when it comes to languages and not like a dialect-ridden Germany.

I get upset beyond measure when I say “we have several languages in India” and pat! comes a remark “yeah… we too have Bayerisch and North German, Hessisch…, I know, the dialects”. So, to put a very strong point forth, I added “No…. they are real languages! You know, I can understand my husband’s language, but I cannot read or write it”.

My colleague quipped – “Aber da bist du weiter als ich. Ich kann zwar die Sprache meiner Frau lesen aber verstehen tue ich nicht!

(“You are way ahead of me. I can read my wife’s language, but I don’t understand her”).

Oh, the thinks you can think up…

April 27, 2011
“Think left and think right and think low and think high.  Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!”  ~Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Thinks You Can Think!

“Amma, I want a SIX!” came the urgent plea into the kitchen.

“What ??”

“I want a six, give me a six!”

“entha bEku magaLu ?”         (“what do you want, daughter!”)

“Six kodu, Oval-li haakule”    (“give me a six, to put into the oval”)

No clue, I look around desperately, now the tiny voice turning to a whine. Mentally I rewind and see what was happening when I wasn’t looking. Just where could a 3 year old put a six in ? Ah, the (round!) wooden clock with slots to stick in numbers ?

We go around looking for it. As I spot it in the bath and hand it to her, I realize how quickly these days of running my wild imagination wilder are flying past.

Probability Theory

March 24, 2011

There are moments when I believe that all is not lost, that he is still a little child.

At dinner, N1 talks about the reading competition at school, the lottery drawn to select one among the best 3, including him, to represent the class, and about Frau Möller saying that he will probably be reading next year.

And then he pensively says “I am 64% sure that I will be doing it next year”.

I ask him why 64.

“Because she said ‘probably'”.

I wished for that moment to last forever.

Not for the faint hearted

November 15, 2010


I have been following a few food blogs for a while now. Some for the recipes, some for the pictures, some for fun and some for plain inspiration to get up and cook something. What’s for lunch, honey ? had an exciting picture of plums recently and I suddenly remembered a little box I had forgotten in the car for days. I have been curious about crumbles ever since a friend introduced us to an interesting apple crumble. Since I am blessed with an (un)willing victim or two once in a while, I decided to go for it. Followed the recipe to the T and this came out of the oven!  This crumble is best served with vanilla ice cream. My intention is not always to torture my guests, but I do want to allow them to ‘experience their senses’ like the author of this particular one taglines. <wink></wink>


If you are about to say “Wow” “Looks yum!” or plain drool etc… let me come to the verdict part of it.

Victim No.1 – “It’s very nice. <pause> Can I have only the vanilla icecream ?”</pause>

Victim No.2 – “Incidentally the vanilla ice cream is GOOD!”

Personally, I liked it. On the v. rich side, but liked it. I will make it again, with a few changes. Less honey, much much less honey. May be a pinch or two of brown sugar to get the plum to behave better. Oats in the place of spelt flour. Much much much less butter. And whatever comes to my mind at that time. Oh yes, may be no plums !

Notes from a violin concert

May 22, 2010

I have this habit of suddenly launching into a scribbling spree when I am actively experiencing something that catches my attention. The latest happened at the ‘Best of Indian music’ festival. I started writing down my random impressions during the break out of an impulse. Have tried to copy down from my notebook, from the last page backwards.

The first one to come on stage was Ambi Subramaniam. It was ‘curious’ (I cannot say interesting, weird, strange or anything else, it was really ‘curious’ however wrong this usage may be) to watch that polite(-looking) young man play with such ease and concentration matching the beats of the veterans at his side. The piece presented was beautiful. From that to the lovelorn ‘Autumn Leaves’ by Bindu S. to Kavitha Krishnamoorthy’s Bollywood songs. ‘pyar hua chupke se’, ‘raah nihaaroon piya’ and ‘kya janoo sajan’… a sitting up and watching experience to begin with. It suddenly strikes me how difficult it has become to hold a pen, to pen Hindi. Suddenly, I am reminded of when I last wrote Hindi and it startles me to a sad mood. It was when I wrote down the Gayatri Mantra for our little friend’s last rites not too long ago. Unpredictable are the mind’s workings, what it decides to bring back at moments seemingly unrelated.The stage is getting filled up by the Leipzig Philharmonic Orchestra. The violins, Cellos, Drums, Piano, Harp… I actually am watching a Harp being played live today. I always wondered how they reach the other end of a Harp. I am about to find out. The lady playing the Harp seems rather nervous. I would think that she is really good at it to play with this Orchestra, then why is she continuously ‘practising’ without a sound during the break ? Hmm… she is pretending to play it while others are taking a break.

In the second part of the program, L Subramaniam starts ‘Shanthi priya’. My heart skips a beat. My brain seems to get heated up. There is a panicky rush in the mind. It makes me want to cry ! It makes me want to smile, it scares me, it makes me want to hold my beloved’s hand… such sad sad music. Mesmerizing. It makes me remember all the sad things in life and weep. It’s cleansing. At some moments I fear my heart would burst. What is it that music does to mind ? I wish I could ‘see’ the emotional havoc music creates. I am sitting here and listening to ‘the God of Indian Violin’!

As if he heard me writing this, he suddenly starts a jumpy composition. It’s what I like to call ‘twinkle toes’ music. Makes you want to get up swirl and dance, round and round. With the highs and the lows. With the falls and crescendos. With joy and abandon. True endless bliss. I am actually grinning.

Kavitha Krishnamoorthy and Bindu S. sing the Freedom Symphony. It’s grand, to say the least. It pounds away at your heart. They sing ‘Raghupathi Raghava Rajaram’, ‘vande mataram’… Gives me goosebumps. Reminds me of the Radio Akashavani Vande mataram mornings. (I) Used to get up early just to listen to it.

By now I am getting a hang of holding the pen and my handwriting is getting better. They decide to end the Shanthi priya. It’s a humbling experience. They say, when you play music, you feel God. That’s true for when you listen to it too. And when you listen to God himself, it’s truly divine.

PS: My palms burnt for 2 days from the standing ovation I joined in with others that night.

God and choco crispies live within us

March 22, 2010
tags: ,

I don’t know when that night N1 tiptoed in and snuggled up. Anyway, Sunday morning I opened my eyes and he was there. The attention hogging member of the family, N2, was up 2 hours before that and was shining and kicking in a different corner of the house.

I decided to make use of the opportunity of ‘our’ time with the older one. He watched curiously as I opened my palms and muttered ‘karaaghre vasathe Lakshmi, kara madhye Saraswathi, kara moole sthithe Gowri, prabhaathe kara dharshanam’. And I went on to tell him how we believed that different forms of God lived in our own palms, how it shows we are God ourselves, how it denotes our power to do what we want if we believe in it, how… (after all his team lost pathetically in the Hand ball tournament on Saturday and he vowed not to play a tournament ever again, why would I let go of a chance to pound on him the ‘I can’ theory. Mothers can be such opportunists, I tell ya!).

He seemed alert and listened intently. And then, in one sudden move, he got up and phoooot! he was gone, his voice trailing off… “weisst du was ? Ich muss jetzt gehen, es gibt Choco Crispies zum Frühstuck!!!” **

Thank God my mother didn’t know of choco crispies and my father found time to recite to us. And thank God there will be another morning when breakfast is something else!

** Translation : “You know what ? I must go now, it’s choco crispies for breakfast today!”.