Sunday, December 30, 2012

Rookie Mistakes - 1

Having just arrived in Kochi after about three years, I tell my dad, 'I need to visit the bank, Pops. Is there a branch nearby?"
Dad, in an effort to show off how much Kochi has moved on since I last came informs me, "Of course. We have a local branch not five minutes away."
Me: Great! shall we leave in about ten minutes?
Pops agrees.
half an hour later
Me: Right. I'm ready. shall we leave?
Poppy, who's been waiting patiently for the past fifteen minutes (having been used to years of waiting patiently for the wife, sister, daughter,and other miscellaneous womenfolk in his life) nods away.
We head out of the lift and suddenly I find myself bereft of company. I look around for Dad and and find him heading swiftly towards to parking lot.
Me: I though you said the branch was five minutes away poppy, why are we taking the car?
Pops(looking at me like I was a few cards short of a pack): You want to walk? It's fifteen minutes away if we walk!!
Me (thinking to myself): eh? what a spoilt bunch we are... we can't walk for fifteen minutes?
Dad having given up trying to convince me that walking was a bad idea, trudges along forlornly with me. As soon as we step out of the apartment, I am nearly run over by a rickshaw with horns blaring. And the driver has the gall to then turn around and advice me on how to walk on the road- nearly running over three other pedestrians while he was at it. My heart rate was just returning to normal when a huge SUV which had no business travelling in a three feet wide road gently nudges me into the open drain running by the side of the road. Dad, the veteran Kochi traveller swiftly pulls me into a roadside shop (whereupon a shop assistant looked up hopefully, ready to make is first sale of the day - or maybe the week, even, judging by the fine coating of dust on the shop shelves) and just as deftly hops out and into the next shop.
We walk in this pop-in-hop-out fashion, while dad ably guides me though the end of the street filled with drivers who I'm convinced have walked straight out of Grand Theft Auto V (or is it VI? I've lost count).
At the end of the the road, I'm met by a scene that can only be called bedlam. Anarchic Bedlam! Cacophonic Anarchic Bedlam!!
Shouting over the babble, I tell dad "Gosh, it must be a serious accident. there are even cops in the scene"
Dad (shaking his head sadly at how totally clueless I was): That, my dear, is a traffic cop. He is directing traffic. And this, is what we call a junction. We need to cross now.
My jaw drops. We need to to cross this? Is he kidding me? I have manic drivers gunning for me from four different directions now. I close my eyes, ask the Lord to take good care of my children, and make a dash for it.
Three sudden brakes, two screeching tyres and six blue curses later, I have made it across with all my limbs intact. I can't believe it!! It has to be a miracle.
At the branch I am so shaken by my experience I ask for three glasses of water. And consume them (despite the fingerprints on the inside of the glass).As we are about the leave the branch, I turn around and tell dad  "Do you suppose you could go and get the car? I don't think I'm ready to die just yet."
Poor dad. Shaking his head, resigned to his fate of having crazy women dictate his life, he steps out to go get the car. I quickly avert my eyes as a two wheeler does his best to grind his toes to pulp. *gulp* Maybe next time I should let Dad decide how we travel.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

And the winner is...

But hang on, before I let you know, maybe I should draw it out, you know, like a grand reveal in a mystery novel.
So, quick recap - we had a cover contest, and you we supposed to help me choose which cover design works best. So far, good plan. Poll all set up. Baby Hamper all picked. No obvious flaws in the plan.
But then, of course  I didn't anticipate the wonderful thickheadedness of the person who'd designed the poll, who ate up the poll results of week one, at the start of week two, and so had to resort to some pretty dastardly deeds to get them results, but hey, you guys made it relatively simple for me.
From the Four Options, it was pretty clear that the 'Arjun Kumars' (Options 3 &4) were impression nobody. They were pretty much non starters. That left me with the '50-50' option - for those familiar with Tarrant's choice  or, for the desi  reader Bachchan's choice (yes, granted, it was hosted by SRK for a brief interval, but come on, the show was always the Big B's, wasn't it?) Options 1 & 2 ran neck and neck, and for the entire duration of the poll were too close to call - closer than the US Presidential elections, even. Thankfully, though,  it didn't have the hopes of a nation resting on the outcome. Just the blood pressure of my Publisher, who by now was getting seriously miffed about my shilly-shallying about with the decision. So I did the only thing I could think of (no, not deciding for myself, because that would be mean weeks of sleepless nights about having made the wrong choice) - I let Pickwick choose out of the two. And here's what he chose:
Option 2:

Congratulations, to all those who'd made this wise choice. For those who'd chose Option 1, don't lose heart. The only reason he didn't choose that one was because he's going through a 'I-Hate-Pink-And-All-Other-Girly-Stuff' phase. 
Now for the all important Winner selection. Again, tough one, but I chose Gita Gandotra! Congratulations! I have no clue who you are, and you made a choice which wasn't even in the running, but hey, your name stubbornly refused to land in the rubbish bin. I promise to track you down and deliver hamper and book to you. Hope you enjoy both. 

Congratulations to you too, Mr Publisher. Looks like you can stop popping those pressure pills now. 

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Cover contest

It's finally here! my book cover design! but good things come in fours, apparently.
so now I have four designs to choose from. And I'm horrible at decisions. So I'm going the desi way. Delegate. I'm throwing the decision open to the public. You, yes you, dear reader will get to have a say on the book's cover design. How slick is that, eh? (and less decisions for me). 

I promise one lucky winner a signed copy of the Book and a baby hamper (that would be a hamper with baby stuff in it, not with a baby in it, just to clarify.), as is the norm in these kind of contests. All you have to do is use the poll at the end of this post to vote for your favourite option. 
The contest is open for a fortnight, at the end of which the final cover design shall be revealed. (or, I shall be forced to make a decision due to a lack of responses *shudder*)

So without further ado, introducing The Book Covers:





You might notice that a couple of covers have Rajni 'Arjun'Kumar down as the author. Don't let that throw you or in any way Bias you. I assure you, my surname is not changing any time soon. Even if my publisher thinks I ought to be re-christened. 

PS: If you're wondering how I'm going to pick a winner, it's simple. I shall throw paper chits with all your names into the waste basket. The ones that miss the basket make it through to the next round, where the basket shall be moved an inch closer, and paper shall be tossed again. After much paper -tossing and basket moving, a winner shall be declared. Much like reality shows on the telly. Neat, huh? 

Friday, October 05, 2012

Late Start

...we are what you'd call 'late bloomers'. Maybe we get the seven-year-itch three years later. 

Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Mother of all Books: Everything you wanted to know...

...about the book! Well, not everything, You'd need to buy the book for that, you cheeky thing, but it's a start.

Right, so my book is being published. 'Great!' they say. 'But what is it about?' they ask.
Well, the book is about life, mostly. My life experiences. With the Baa Lamb. With Pickwick. (The Holy Terror wasn't in the picture yet). Our experiences as we stumble though parenthood. And finding our sense of humor along the way.
So here's the first of the comic strips describing our many experiences with this book release.

A typical conversation between Sense and the Baa-Lamb

Friday, September 07, 2012

The long road to Heaven

Well, I'm back from my holiday. I ought to feel refreshed. Alive. Invigorated. And I did. Until the plane ride back home. You see, Nice may be a wonderful place to vacation, but who would've though that getting there would be a challenge? Did someone sign me up for the 'Amazing Race' when I wasn't looking? When we planned this holiday, it was supposed to be a straight flight to nice and we'd be sipping Pina Coladas on the beach in no time. World economics and airline buyouts later, we were now headed to Nice  with a stopover in Frankfurt. Still, not the end of the world. We can handle it. The day of the trip dawns and in the flurry of last minute packing I hear the news that the airline staff has called a flash strike at Frankfurt! Noooooo!
Still, the ever resourceful Baa-lamb manages to speak to the airline and we will now take off some hours later with a stop over in Munich. Ha to you, Airline! Righty-ho... Nice, je viens! Sadly, lack of foresight on my part and lack of vegetarian meals in the flight meant that the holy terror (that is what we are calling the younger of the two offspring) was tired and hungry and she wasn't going to take it lying down. at one point, I thought the plane was going down, since she was quite determined to shatter the windows. We finally staggered into Golfe Juan at 2am in the morning. 
The next day, at a fairly sharpish hour in the morning (yes, the holy terror does keep unGodly hours), after a decent breakfast (and a minor mishap which saw the baa-lamb trapped in the lift for a goodish three-quarters of an hour), we contemplated the day's plan. By general consensus we decided to hit the beach 

Toddling off to the beach
The boats at the port

A storm approaches

Right, beach done, the afternoon was begging for a visit to Eze. Eze is a medieval village situated atop a hill, with the Jardin botanique d'Èze crowning it. The view from the top alone was worth the trek up twice (yes, once up carrying the holy terror, and then, having made the mistake of planting her on the ground, once more after chasing after her)


The view from Eze
Clear seas as far as the eye can see
I know, I should stop with the butterflies
One of the many wonderful art galleries

My plans for a lie-in were foiled second day in a row when this time, just to mix things up, it was Pickwick who was up bright and 'oily. Right, since we were already up, a drive down to St Tropez was the order of the day. I've already marked out the little villa along the coast I want to buy. Just awaiting the Euromillions win now:)

blue skies and blue seas

Day 4: *yawn* wasn't this supposed to be my holiday? Where are my lie-ins? Even the sun was taking a break today! Dragging self out of bed, the baa-lamb consults a train time table over coffee. Today we would cover Monaco and Ventimiglia in Italy (When on holiday with the Baa-Lamb, leave the planing to him.)

The Beach at Ventimiglia

more of the beach


Ah. The final day of our hols. I have promptly sent the Baa-lamb to the beach with the brats. I finally get my lie-in. 
The less said about the return, the better. The bally airline decides to call a strike again- this time in Munich! after threatening to offload us in Munich and keeping us on tenterhooks, the flight finally took off, hours later. This time, we were well prepared and the holy terror was out like a light, but the two other babies in the flight hadn't read the memo. They more than made up for the deficiency in decibels emanating from the vicinity of our seat. *sigh* I need another vacation. 

Friday, August 31, 2012

Loo Blues

It’s now more than five years since we moved to this city. That is the longest I’ve stayed in one place after my marriage. We are so accustomed to moving around that Pickwick still keeps asking me ‘When are me moving to a new house, Mummy?’  He thinks it’s perfectly normal to move houses like one upgrades mobile phones.

For me this has now become my second home. Not yet my first love, but more like a happy crush one thinks fondly of. But when we came here the whole thing was a bit of a culture shock.  Tiny things, that make you realise that you’re from a completely different world. Take loos for example. Yes, Loos. We wash. Here, they wipe. No really, I don’t get it. Do you say ‘Gee, I’m all sweaty. Let me wad up a bunch of paper towels, wipe my armpits, and a quick dab all over, and Voila! I’m all clean’? NO? Then how the hell is it okay to do that for arses? And there is no concept of floor drains in loos.  How the hell are you supposed to wash the floors of the loos?  And we’re supposed to be the third world country??

Speaking of washing, we, that is, us Indians are obsessed with bathrooms. We need more bathrooms. When we first came here, we went looking for places to rent. The estate agent showed us plenty of houses, mansions even with 5 bedrooms, a reception room, a dining room a conservatory  and one, yes, ONE  bathroom and ONE toilet! I mean what is it with these guys? Don’t they ever need a shower? Oh yes, I forget – all they need is paper towels.

I still remember my grandmum used to freak  out when she came to houses with  bathtubs. She was used to, well, wells and rivers and such. So when I explained the concept of a bathtub to her, she went ‘chee!  You lie around fermenting in your own juices? That’s DISGUSTING!’ (This is a loose translation for her words from Tamil.  The literal translation would have be banned from blog sites) Thank God I didn’t have to explain toilet papers to her, she would have disowned me.

We have recently invested in a small apartment in India. We are delighted with it. When people ask us about it, we say, ‘Oh, it’s not much, it’s just a 2 BHK, and the proportions are quite small but it’s got TWO BATHROOMS!’

Friday, August 24, 2012

Ballooning in the Cotswolds

"A place of outstanding natural beauty" the tourist blurb says. Well, I was about to find out.
The Cotswolds aren't too far away to drive from London. Took us about a couple of hours to get there, and straightaway, you know that the information brochure does not lie. It was like I was transported back in time. There isn't even 3G in this place! But what it did have was ballooning - and weather Gods permitting, we were about to take off, after eleven unsuccessful attempts at praying for decent weather over weekends.
The snaps simply don't do justice to the amazing beauty we witnessed during the ride.
Hot air to get the basket upright. We then had to scamper in real quick before we were untethered from the station wagon
Looks like an image from Google maps, doesn't it?

Clear skies with visibility right up to the sea!

Keeping us alight

One of the most beautiful sunsets I've seen....

We were treated to a spectacular show by Mother Nature
The man, the moment, all very moving.

We Landed in a field - in the middle of nowhere.  The  pilot had to signal  the balloon chaser (yes, that is his profession, I'm not making this up) with giant flames shooting up into the night sky to guide him. Don't even ask how we packed the balloon up!

who knew landing the balloon and packing up would be more adventurous than the balloon ride itself!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The heart of London

So I attended this photography course over the wee
kend. And all in all it was pretty neat. Most of all it reminded me what was so amazing about the city of London. There we were, right in the heart of the city, and this is what we spotted:

No idea what that contained, but what a pretty colour.
ie moment
My attempt at creating movement.
Hail-O, halo
A heron with a Mohawk