Wednesday, January 30, 2008

How to ask for roller-skates

Conversation at the table at lunch between grandson and grandmother: [Grandmother visiting daughter's family and spending some useful sessions with grandson, reading stories from MahAbhArata]
Grandson: See pAtti, you have spilt rice on the table.
Grandmother: Oh sorry, dear. (laughing)...I must have learnt it from you.
Grandson: Then where is my gurudakshiNa?
Much later in a whisper: pAtti, perhaps you can get me a pair of roller skates as gurudakshiNa?

Monday, September 3, 2007

Ever heard of ox-dung?

I got my son to read aloud a well-written article about global warming, in a children's newspaper. There was mention of transportation then and now - bicycles vs bikes, bullock carts vs automobiles. I explained pollution that results from engines, and was going to mention methane emissions, when he let us know about causes of pollution as he understood it... "yes, bullock carts also pollute...with, no...ox-dung"

Monday, August 20, 2007

Why complicate matters?

In India there is no dearth of occasions to observe in Government establishments: the birthday of some famous figure, the 'natural death' day of another, someone's 'assassinated death' day, a fourth 'samadhi day' etc. On many of these days, in these establishments a siren goes off at a certain time and one is expected to observe a couple of minute's silence or assemble to have an oath / a pledge administered. On a certain day in November the siren went off at 10 am at my workplace, and seemed unusually long and loud. The day before had been a holiday, and no one was aware of the reason for the siren. Several conjectures were doing the rounds: "...could be due to Osama bin Laden...", "Is it an air raid?", "May be there's a fire...", "Is it Indira Gandhi's / Rajiv Gandhi's birthday / assassination day?", "Or very simply it could be a test of the siren after repairs!" However due action was taken and the cause was later sorted out.
My son's school is co-located in my office premises. That evening, while recounting the day's happenings at school to his dad, my son excitedly said, "Daddy, we heard a loud siren today". "And what did you do when you heard it?", asked my husband. Replied my son with a puzzled look; "We shut our ears?"

One resource: Presence of mind

In a scene in a film where the protagonist unties the apron from around the lady of the house and I chose to ‘accidentally’ switch channels, my son asked: “Let me see what happens next”. My husband replied: “why, the apron went to the washing machine”.