Ladies, we need to talk. Again. For years now, I’ve been getting your travel itineraries, your bank/credit card statements, your phone bills, your job applications/CVs, your online shopping lists, even your missives to long-lost friends, etc. etc. because, it seems, a hundred or so of you believe you have my email address. *Deep breath*. In the beginning, I worried. I worried about you guys missing out on stuff. That I’m receiving so many of your private/important documents. I used to write back diligently, saying, ‘Yo, you’ve got the wrong email address’, and feel that glow of having done something good. But those days are long gone now. I’ve reached a point where, unless it’s a question of life-or-death, I don’t bother. I figure, if you couldn’t be arsed to properly remember or type in your own fricking email id, it isn’t my problem. Mostly, though, I don’t even notice them anymore. I just blindly go delete delete delete when I see random bills, office memos, PowerPoint presentations, etc. addressed to me from organisations I’ve never been a part of in my life.
However, you’ve succeeded in getting my attention. Again. Because now, I’m getting marriage proposals that ought to be going to one of you. And really, I draw the line at that. Is nothing sacred anymore?? Every morning, I open my inbox, and there they are, another four or five ‘expressions of interest’ from men viewing your profile on BharatMatrimony.com. I kid you not. Every day. I do feel a tinge of pride on behalf of us female DivyaKs (I’m sure you male DivyaKs are very attractive as well, no gender discrimination meant) everywhere… this is one popular profile. But I digress. I’d like to point out that I’m a much-married mom of one, and I, for one, don’t want any more expressions of interest from matrimony-seeking males. That part of my life is (thankfully!) done and dusted. No more, thank you.
But there you are, a lovely, talented, sweet woman whose only faults are having a) a wretchedly common first name, b) an equally common last name/initial, and c) an annoying inability to remember your own email address properly. And you can’t even be blamed for (a) and (b). Yet, you’re sitting there, day after day, staring at your email inbox wistfully, wondering why, why none of those matrimony-seeking men are interested in seeking matrimony with you. And scattered across the internet there are all those men, at least about 20 by my last count, staring at their inboxes, wondering sadly why this Divya isn’t interested in their expressions of interest.
And the wedding nadaswarams fail to play for another day. *wipes away a tear*
You see? You see, DivyaKs? This isn’t a joke anymore. You miss a phone bill, your company calls you. And you probably don’t want to see your credit card statement anyway. But this, this is a question of the rest of your life! You may never meet the man the you’re meant to be with because you didn’t check your email id properly while filling in an online form! This is tragic stuff, y’all. And let’s face it. This isn’t You’ve Got Mail or something, alright? You’re not going-to-meet-the-guy-anyway-because-you’re-destined-to-be-together-and-already-know-him-but-don’t-realise-it’s-him-until-the-last-five-seconds-of-the-movie. Because if that was our lives, we wouldn’t be on BharatMatrimony or Tindr or PerfectMatch or whatever, see?
So get your act together, ladies. This stuff is important. Check. Your. Email. Address. Repeat after me: “My email id is not your email id.” Stop signing me up for stuff I don’t understand or care about. Stop trying to marry me off to random men, when all the while, your Prince Charming is out there, pining away, staring at your profile. *sniff* Go! Change your email so you can be with him!
And please, for the love for holy matrimony, leave me out of it.
1. Wait until all the laundry baskets in the house are overflowing, and household members are starting to complain about running out of undergarments/towels/pajamas.
2. Sort into piles –> whites/dark colours/light colours, and pick the one that’s the biggest and/or most urgently required by said members (e.g. kid has no more clean undies = do whites).
3. Stuff as many of the clothes into the washing machine as possible without the warning light coming on. Or so that the machine can still sort of spin around. Yes, it’s tragic that there are still whites remaining the basket, looking at you accusingly because they know they’re not getting cleaned until next week, but hey, you need the machine to keep working, right?
4. Allow the clothes to sit in the machine for a few hours after completion. just sort of… resting. C’mon. They’ve just been spun round and round. They’re literally wrung out. I’m just giving them a chance to recover before grabbing and pulling them all over the place again.
5. Transfer the wet (and rested) clothes into a basket. Now, depending on my distraction/multitasking level, they might be allowed to ‘breathe’ in the basket for a little while before being hung out to dry. Who said that works only on fine wine?
6. Hang the clothes out to dry in the balcony, and put clips on each of them. This process can take anywhere between 10 minutes (adult clothes) to eternity (little, tiny kiddie clothes… this is possibly the hardest part of motherhood that no one ever warned you about).
7. Allow the clothes to hang out on the balcony for a while. Fresh air and sunshine are good, no doubt. But use your discretion. If it appears like the birds are starting to use your towels as a soft and comfortable perch, or that your clothes are developing a fine layer of dust on them, it might be time to bring ’em in.
8. Drape the clean(ish), dry clothes over the sofa of your choice. My favourite is the single seater right by our balcony door, but of course, the furniture pick is entirely yours. Prefer a side table or the couch? Go for it!
9. Fold the clothes when the sight of them cluttering up your drawing room finally starts to get on your nerves. Or when unexpected guests arrive. Whichever one happens first. Now allow them to perch, neatly folded and sorted, on the center table, waiting patiently to be put away. (In case of the unexpected guests, transfer to bedroom).
9 B. If folded clothes have not already taken residence on your bed, transfer them now.
10. When it’s time to go to bed, you may either a) actually put the clothes into the cupboards where they belong (least likely) or b) transfer them onto the dressing table (most likely) where they will remain, and be used as needed.
11. Watch sadly as the laundry baskets refill at frustrating speed with the exact same clothes you so slowly and painstakingly washed in Steps 1 to 10. Return to Step 1.
Moms, have you seen this one? If you’re like me, you’ve probably learnt to tune out whatever nonsense your kid insists on watching on YouTube. I usually just ensure she’s watching something kid-friendly and then block out the rest. But recently, the words of this rhyme filtered past my defences while the daughter was having her half-hour of YouTube time on the tablet (i.e. kid nirvana). Did I just hear what I thought I heard? Five strict mommies jumping on the bed? Uhm… what?
YouTube nursery rhymes are, of course, for most part, the absolute dregs. I’ve written on this in depth in the past, and won’t repeat myself. Suffice to say, the channels that advertise most aggressively, and therefore are most likely to be clicked by your YouTube video-surfing toddler, are the absolute worst. It’s like they set aside all their resources for the pimping and keep nothing at all for the actual content.
But, even by those low standards, this one is… uhm… strange. So you have five mommies jumping on the bed. There appears to be no cause to call them strict mommies — if anything, they seem to be all about letting their hair down and par-taying — but, apparently, strict they are. You have a grinning kid who calls the doc each time one of the mommies falls off the bed and bumps her head (you get the feeling she’s enjoying this role-reversal a little too much). At this point, you start to wonder… are these moms drunk and on a bender? ‘Cos lil monkeys falling off and bumping their heads… kinda understandable. Mommies, strict or otherwise, with such poor physical coordination? One too many bottles of wine would seem the most likely explanation for both the jumping and the falling (is that why they don’t seem strict too? Alcohol tends to do that). As an aside, who is this wonderfully available doc in these rhymes who picks up each time the mommy/kid calls with the exact same complaint? I must find me one of those.
But I digress.
Now, this is important — watch closely to see what happens after each mom has bumped her head. That’s right — she goes back to her regularly scheduled housework, like a good, chastened homemaker mommy. Her head hurts like a bitch (bump plus hangover… ouch), and she’s learnt her lesson. No more silly shenanigans for her! She’s going to stick to nice safe, ladylike activities like cooking and ironing and cleaning.
And that’s when it hits you. This video isn’t really strange at all. It might look like a silly, badly-animated nursery rhyme for kids, but it’s really a finger-wagging cautionary tale for mommies not to stray too far from the kitchen. No more mommies jumping on the bed! Except, presumably, with Daddy (oh c’mon, I know you were thinking that too). But only, of course, once she’s served him a nice hot dinner.
There. Aren’t all you good, strict mommies glad I brought this important video to your attention? (There are multiple versions for you to watch, in case you feel the message hasn’t hit home strongly enough with just the one). Now, please excuse me. I do believe there’s some housework I need to go finish.
There’s this tiny food stall on a by lane of R.A. Puram, off C.P. Ramaswamy Road, that sells noodles and biriyani and the like. I’ve never paid it much attention until recently, when my brother pointed out its signboard to me. It said: ‘Titanic Fast Food’.
Given that the fact that the stall is about the size of the cardboard box my refrigerator came in, that title is a tad incongruous. Ironic, even. But, I told my brother, good for the guy. He might be small, but he dreams big. Real big. He might be a roadside vendor, but his aspirations are palatial. Nothing wrong with the owner of a cardboard box wanting to be a Titan, you know? It’s praiseworthy. Motivational, almost. I was almost giving myself goosebumps at this point. Then my brother told me to look at the sign again.
Here, I even remembered to take a picture for once, so you can see it too:
See that, on the left side of the signboard? Right beside the picture of the chicken rice? Yes, that’s an image of the Titanic. The ship. And yes, it’s sinking. Like, tilted-at-45-degrees-and-heading-for-the-ocean-floor sinking. If this were the movie, it would be the point at which Rose is on the raft and Jack is freezing his skinny butt off in the water and Leo fangirls everywhere are shedding copious tears.
Not, you’d admit, the most appetising image. Not particularly motivational either. Because now we’ve gone from Titanic Fast Food, the grand, imposing, colossal seller of roadside biriyani, to Titanic Fast Food, the roadside seller of biriyani who is doomed to sink without a trace.
I found myself coming back to that question I ask so often in this Kadais series of blogs: What was he thinking?? Why would you want to equate your business with catastrophe? Why would you want to give your customers a sinking feeling before they even begin to eat?
I mean, I’d understand if he’d used a picture of the Titanic as it was when it first sailed… majestic, a feat of human ingenuity and engineering. Yes, it did eventually sink, but it was pretty awesomesauce to start with. But why, why would you want to show it mid-tragedy, semi-sunk?
Unlike all those previous times, I’ve got nothing. Zilch. I have no explanations of the possible thought process behind the name. Except for one thing — he did get my attention. I may not ever actually eat his waterlogged biriyani, but I certainly won’t forget this roadside vendor who, apparently, adds a dash of disaster to dinner.
May his (food) cart go on and on…
Note: This was originally written nearly two years ago for Toddler Talk, but was eventually not used because it was deemed too poop-filled by my editor (and rightly so lol). I’d forgotten about it, but found it recently while clearing out my old laptop and decided to share. Thinking of writing a follow up piece on post-potty training woes too, hence the part 1 :)
Nothing prepares you for how poop-centric (and to a lesser degree, pee-centric) your life becomes when you have young children. There are the jokes about changing stinky diapers and all of that, but nobody ever tells you how much time and energy you will spend thinking about and worrying about and, yes, analysing poop once you have a kid. (If you’re already grossed out at this point, you may want to consider not reading further).
It begins, of course, with that mythical first-poop, the meconium, which all the parenting and birthing books prepare you for in such excruciating detail. Then once the breastfeeding begins, you constantly worry – is my baby peeing enough? Is he pooping enough? Because, since god didn’t see fit to make our breasts transparent and marked neatly in ounces and ml, you never really ever know for sure that baby is getting enough. The only indicators for the anxious breastfeeding mom? Weight gain, poop and pee. And since you can only weigh baby during doctor visits, guess what you have to go on every day? That’s right. Poop and pee.
Then the solid food adventures begin. The first time you see orange poop or black spotted poop or green poop, you have a minor cardiac event. Then you recall – oh yeah, baby had carrot or raisins or spinach the previous day. My daughter made life even more interesting for us. She pooped ridiculous quantities while being breastfed, to the point that I was panicking and taking her to every paediatrician in the city. Then once she was on solids and formula, she decided to swing the other way and not go at all for days. So in our household, every day with a normal motion for baby is a day for celebration. Grandparents anxiously enquire about it over Skype. Daddy calls from office to get an update. It’s big, big news.
But nothing is bigger than the Potty Training travails. Beginning roughly from one-and-a-half until whenever your child sees fit to poop in the potty, your life centres around this major (non) event of the day – going (or not) in the potty. There’s a reason why there are a number of books (“Bear goes potty”), videos (“Dora teaches potty training”) and more on the subject in the market. This is a Sisyphean task. The funniest products would have to be the peeing dolls (they don’t have – at least I think they don’t – pooping dolls because, presumably, of the grossness factor). These little dollies usually come with their own potty and all you need to do is, er, supply the water (yes, I studied them in detail at the toy store, and yes, I considered buying one. Don’t judge me). No, actually, scratch that. The funniest product would have to be the singing potty I found in one store. I couldn’t find any button to make said potty sing, and asked the bored-looking salesman why. He perked up as he explained to me that the potty only sang when it was peed or pooped on. He turned it over and showed me the little music box at the bottom, with a sensor. “See? When susu falls on it, music will come,” he said enthusiastically. “We were (indicating the other staff) also confused at first.” I admired the mechanism and thanked him for his help, and tried very hard not to think about how exactly they solved the mystery…
Of course, all these products are merely props. The hard work is done by the parents who sit with the child every day, trying to make using the potty seem like so, so much fun. There are kaka-susu songs. There are sound-effects. There are games and stories. Usually all of this descends first into wheedling (“please kanna, will you just try sitting on the potty?”) and then into frustration. That’s when it’s usually time to put the potty away for the day. There’s always tomorrow. And the day after. And the day after that…
(When you’re all out of ideas, you can even try letting your child watch you when you visit the little girl’s or boy’s room. It serves to set an example, say the experts, and let’s face it, privacy in the john is a thing of the past once you have kids anyway. For the record, my daughter enjoyed the experience immensely and provided running commentary the whole time. I’ll spare you the details.)
It took me weeks to get my kid to even sit on her jungle-animal themed potty for more than 10 seconds at a time. Then, unfortunately, it became clear that I’d succeeded too well in making it fun, because she started treating it like a chair to sit and play on (and stand on. And jump on. And throw toys into). Then she’d carefully stand up and move away a few inches before doing her business. It was months before there was actually any, er, contact between potty and said business. Even then, it was mostly accidental. I still celebrated like I’d won the lottery.
The day we have our final breakthrough, we’ll probably throw a party. Watch this space, because you’re all invited.