We are like that only

We Indians have unique traits which contribute to our unity in diversity.

Being Indian, they are ingrained in me too.

We are good people and if something bad happens somewhere, we do not look the other way. We stop whatever urgent work we are rushing to and pause to stand and stare.

Stand and stare it is.

And make conversation.

Picture this guy who has lost an arm in a bike accident and is bleeding profusely, crying out for help.

We will stare at that rare spectacle to etch it in our memory..,.the horror of it to be narrated in great detail….with a lot of empathy and sympathy, to all and sundry.

We will grumble why someone hasn’t called the police or the ambulance, and that the car driver who hit this bleeding chap should be hanged.

We are good people. We don’t get into trouble. A lift to the hospital would mean getting your name taken down as a witness.

That would be wrong as the car driver who hit him should have taken him to hospital and been a witness. After all, he’s the one responsible.

The conversation generally goes like this (This is mostly imagination a I’ve never actually hung around to listen to what people have to say)….

Very bad… this is really bad..

The biker was driving in the middle of of the road and bikers should always stay to the side.

He must have been drunk also and speeding also. Now his recklessness is going to cost his family dear…..no helmet also! People don’t obey rules nowadays …

Thank God he was alone…and the tyres didn’t go over his neck. He’s really lucky, yaar.

These car wallas are stuck to their mobiles. That idiot must have been talking and driving….now look what happened.

I keep telling my son not to talk on the phone while driving his scooter but he doesn’t listen only.

He looks young…definitely not married. These immature kids are reckless and have no sense of responsibility.

It looks like it’s his right hand, and he won’t be be able to work looks like.

How he will he look after his old parents now….

it’s better to walk or use a car or bus…..bikes are too dangerous. Even if you drive properly someone will come and bang you from behind

See he is bleeding so much and the ambulance and police have not come till now. The poor man may die till they arrive.

Somebody should give him some water atleast. It is so hot! ( He is carrying his sumptuous tiffin box and boiled water flask in his bag, but it doesn’t occur to him that he does).

You are from Premier tower no? I remember seeing you in the lift. Myself Mr Save.

I work on the 20th floor and I saw you get off on the 15th. You work for Putanjal Pharma na? I know because their office on the 15th floor. They own the full floor na….very big company.

Your medicines are really good but verry expensive.

Anyway your share prices are doing good. Only pharma is doing well in the pandemic. People are buying Ayurvedic kadhas and churnas. Yesterday only I bought 200 shares.

We are a small company…not like yours. We were selling cosmetics but no one is buying them now so we are selling sanitizers.

People are not going out na so they are not buying lipstick. Only some madams working from home are buying.

Let me know if you want sanitizer, I’ll give you half price. Minimum order is ten pieces but for you I will give one also. Same building no. We should help each other.

Chalo, I’ll be late for work.

And this rain is also not ending only. It has been raining continuously and we have water cuts because it’s raining in the wrong place.

Thank God it is not raining now. The poor chap would have got drenched and died of high fever.

Things are getting from bad to worse. I’m telling you, the world is going to end soon. Look at that poor guy….all are looking and nobody is helping…. chalo I have to go….

Today is the month-end and the boss will fire me if I don’t finish my reports. The figures are hopeless… that’s because of the pandemic, but the boss doesn’t understand.

All red lines adding to my worry lines.

He sits in his house and enjoys chai with his family and we have to travel to work and risk getting hit by reckless drivers.

Come let’s start walking…

————————————————See the traffic jam….this side the accident has blocked the road and on that side….the fools are slowing down their cars and bikes to have a look. What is the use of looking….nobody will do anything.

They only want something juicy to tell on their phones or when they reach their office ….or to feel sorry for the unfortunate fellow’s bad luck… or to offer a prayer.

What is the use of prayer after the fellow is dead…..but people are like that only. When you are alive they won’t bother and when you die they will come from all parts of the world for your last rites.

I can’t risk my family’s wrath by getting involved with the police. We are decent people.What would the neighbours think if the police arrived at our house….

Look, somebody has stopped his car. Oh it’s a girl…. there… in the white top and blue jeans….Arre I know her. She is that Shetye’s daughter….looks like her only.

Yes, she’s the one who feeds the stray dogs in our colony and causes such a nuisance.

They say she has thirty cats in her house. Her neighbour is my sister-in-law’s auntie’s cousin’s uncle’s son.

He doesn’t want to live there only. He is searching for a new house because horrible smell is coming from her house. But no one is ready to buy his house. Poor fellow!

The society warned her so many times. She is not listening only.

I’m telling you she is not eighteen also. She must have fought with Sheyte. She is living with her boyfriend and the thirty cats. What a shame….at this age! And her boyfriend is no good. That day I saw him bringing a crate of beer.

Now also he is not driving. Must be drunk only! Good he is not driving otherwise they also would have been another accident.

And living alone at this age…. does she even have a license … the police will catch her.

Parents nowadays don’t bother to see what the kids are doing. They are totally spoiled.

The way they are hauling that fellow he is going to die anyway.

Now if there is a police case what will happen…

On top of that she has that boyfriend in the car. If people come to know Shetye’s name will be spoiled. I am not going to tell anybody, but people will come to know.

That guy is unconscious…he must be dead also…

What is the use of doing all this ….and how will they clean the blood in the car….and her white top ….she will have to throw it away only.

Forget that their family name will be painted black.

Now they are honking so loudly…. this honking should be banned…this noise can affect your heart….

See people are so good….they are making way for them to go. I tell you people in our city are verry helpful..

Lets go….the drama is over…

(This kind of traffic jam happens every other day in Mumbai….so when the traffic slows to a stop, we presume it’s an accident.

The Indian system is specially designed to deter people from helping because you get dragged into court cases for years as the witness….. till as they say your chappals get torn.

As for me, I wouldn’t stop to stand and stare but I also wouldn’t do nothing beyond that.

What would my family think of me if I got involved with police….

What God thinks is another matter altogether…)

We are like that only.

Bee in my bonnet

My home is guarded like a fortress…..no living specimen (besides bacteria, viruses and other minuscule mean little nothings) can enter…except of course when we let them through the front door.

But unfortunately, with the lockdown, the pest control guys were not allowed up, and when they were, we would rather let in pests than humans.

The net effect was that we spotted a tiny cockroach by a spider….and more spiders.

These may have made their way in surreptitiously through our front door….. on one of the rare occasion when it was as opened…. and we quickly took care of the ones been found.

Then the 🦟 started venturing in and robbing my children’s sleep. But we couldn’t figure out how they made our house their home.

The only thing I’m mortally scared of is a reptile, that on rare occasions, makes it’s entry from the main door….the reptile…..It-who-must-not-be named.

But one day, when the family had gathered on the living room in full strength , watching whatever out daughters were watching (always BTS), my younger daughter let off a 1000 decibel shriek and climbed on top of the other one, wailing away.

I know that scream…it generally means a fly or something other insignificant creature has made it into the room. ( I don’t blame her ….she had stepped on an anthill as a kid and had survived an attack by an army of red ants).

So I calmly looked around trying to spot the culprit, position my chappal for a good swat..

But there wasn’t any.

It was then, in the middle of the sobbing, I heard a faint buzz. It couldn’t bee…. but there it was…in flesh and blood!

Someone deserved a firing for leaving a net open.

But a bee on the sixth floor….

It definitely was a 🐝 …..my son was very confident it was a queen bee…but I think it’s below her majesty’s dignity to venture into humble human abodes, and she must be too busy making babies anyway.

That picture is from my son’s English textbook which he is reading now…came in really handy!

While the others argued over whether it was an army bee or worker bee…. my single minded focus was that it shouldn’t be allowed to be…anyways, the fan blades took care of that….and slowly but surely, calm prevailed, and all was forgotten.

The next day, as we were gathered together for some fun time as usual, there was another buzz and the earlier day’s evening played over again.

Someone smartly switched on the fan and it was the end of another bee

. I am non-violent ( except when it comes to tackling my impossible son), so I wasn’t really happy killing bees. I’d rather keep them out along with all other six and eight legged creatures.

So, we inspected the window glasses and nets to check if anything was fixed in the wrong order…..but no, everything was perfect.

It was then that we spotted them…

One blazing gaze from my husband and my son started bawling, “I didn’t do it”.

He had managed to scrape a line with his car or be-blade or whatever else it was he was using, but he had grown out of that now.

The problem turned out to be something else.

The fierce summer heat had broken the pigeon nets tacks and a cute little squirrel had been making an appearance every day…waiting for his daily serving of 🐿.

The guy’s sharp claws were responsible for the bees’ entry.

But there was a bee in my bonnet. Where did the bees come from?

I mean I know they came in from the window, but we’re on the sixth floor and there are no hives around.

At least I thought they weren’t.

Then I remembered my fifth or seventh floor neighbour ( I don’t remember which…it was four years ago..) calling me to ask whether there were bees outside my window.

There must have been….except that I mustn’t have spotted them…..a couple of them must have found the squirrel created holes…..after four years of buzzing around🐝🐝

My broken house

Yes it isn’t misspelled. My heart is fine…it’s my house that’s broken…atleast for now.

It started with my healthy son (that’s what they call overweight kids in India). climbing on the antique sofa to fix his dartboard.

My son has no idea of his strength….the antique piece’s beautifully curved legs gave in and the thing collapsed onto the floor.

Hearing the loud crash, my husband left his in-house office and came bounding out….horrified.

One would think he would be happy to see his son was still in one piece, but no, his heart was blown to smithereens.

Nothing is closest to his heart than his collection of antique furniture and to see such a beauty destroyed was more than he could handle.

I rushed to get a Sorbitrate to ward off an impending heart attack, (although I know reports show his heart is perfectly fine) but then he recovered and his face went from bright red to normal again.

Knowing what was coming, my son used his most potent defence and began to bawl. My husband thinks boys shouldn’t cry, (I I think otherwise)..so he got majorly told off.

My son is clever…clever than me atleast… he said, “Dada, it’s not my fault. That sofa is very old… it must have weakened with age…that’s why it broke… Why don’t you get new furniture…”

That got us all laughing and the not so little guy escaped.

Our sofa was shoved into a corner, waiting for the COVID vaccine to revive it. And as for our living room, we rearranged it. We had to make sure everyone gets a comfy seat to watch TV, and it is now resembling a furniture godown.

I like to keep my house clutter free. So normally, anything that’s brought out has to be put back in the respective drawers once it’s work is done.

Anything that is lazing around since nobody needs it is promptly despatched to the maid or the housekeeping staff depending on usability.

But now priorities have changed. So in came the Xbox followed by a huge trampoline.

My daughter wand a series of them so she can jump and flip from one to the other, but I told her to visit a trampoline park…,post COVID of course.

The next thing to give way was the microwave. Mine bakes and grills besides warming food. It’s a twenty plus year old relic but one I simply cannot do without…. primarily for the humble task of warming food.

I couldn’t order a new one because I had a spare in the old house. But I couldn’t get that one either as we weren’t allowed to go there….and most importantly we couldn’t risk entering the tenant’s home and contracting the virus. The possibility that they wouldn’t let us enter their house was another matter.

So I reconciled myself to painstakingly warming up food on the gas stove every time my hungry family was hungry and prayed for my microwave to receive God’s healing touch.

Them there was the time our kitchen shelves and trolleys started misbehaving one by one. They were used to the gentle touch our our maid and protested against our super rough treatment by collapsing and disintegrating.

Calling out trusty carpenter was out of the question …he was probably snoozing in his native place anyways.

We would have called our trusty mechanic for the microwave in normal times, but we were in no mind to call him as we were in the no-risking-the-virus-catching-us-at-any-cost-phase.

Then the curtain rod came crashing down. This time I was the guilty party, so I kept it quiet.

Our curtain rod is vital. It does more than hang curtains. It’s the monsoon season, where clothes don’t dry for four or five days. I’m very finicky about letting the moisture dry out, as I don’t want fungus in the wardrobe. Fungus happen to be our number one enemy.

We don’t have neighbours peeping into our bedroom and we rarely close our curtains. But loss of clothes drying place was a major catastrophe.

We had to make do since we didn’t want to invite the supposedly COVID carrier carpenter into our kitchen.

The problem was solved however. Our bedsheets would hang from the living room rods….no one was visiting anyways. It reduced the light and made our hall look like a dungeon but we had to make do with that.

Then the bathroom partition gave way. We had no idea who caused it but I was starting to wonder whether we had a poltergeist in the house Everything breaks down at some point….but unknown forces seemed to line up against us.

This time my screwdriver-averse husband and my screw-loving son put it together.

My husband decided to be useful and he also repaired the leaking mixer bowl. This was getting better!

I was back to my contented-despite-the tons-of-work phase. Of course, the dusting, sweeping swabbing and drying clothes were assigned to the kids. My husband did the dishes. My mother was in charge of the kitchen. My duty was to chop stuff and teach my son. Teaching my son is no easy task you see, and I was actually doing the bulk of the work.

But the relentless COVID attack continued. This time my darling son had broken a flimsy piece of plastic the opens the flow of the water purifier. Not his fault, as he needs to dangle to access the water.

Anyways, I had to boil gallons of water and I finally relented. This time, we would call the first outsider home…..the Aquaguard guy.

The guard called up to say he was on his way and I morphed into Hitler. I ordered my kids and my parents to their respective rooms. My husband and I frantically cleared our kitchen of anything outside the trolleys and by the time the chap arrived, we donned our masks and welcomed him to our empty kitchen.

The job was done, we sanitized each square millimetre of the kitchen again and spent a considerable time putting things back.

We had done it! We had got an outsider into our room and gotten away with it!

I thought our ordeal was over but there was more to come. There were random things malfunctioning like the gas lighter, the ceiling fan,the laptop… but Amazon came to our rescue.

The latest is the Airfryer…. the source of sumptuous and healthy no-oil chicken fry for my kids….

We have figured out that if the Aquaguard mechanic could enter the kitchen, the Airfryer guy can too.

Our house is now wining the battle with COVID. We have our SOPs in place to deal with virus threats from outsiders……and keeping the insiders safe…

My 620

It started with someone posting a query in our WhatsApp group on whether the latest retail giant, (purportedly set out make Amazon look like a shopping mall) was delivering to our place.

Even our garbage liners are shopped online, and since lockdown we had gone 99.9% online….everything delivered to our lobby ….except for the gaonti (local Indian breed) chicken and eggs.

Anyways, I’m always on the lookout for discounts and have no particular affinity to any online shopping site.

I went about very carefully. I avoided perishable items like lettuce and spinach as they might deteriorate on the way, given the supply chain issues.

After detailed scrutiny, I ordered two shampoos. The average consumption of shampoo in our house is about three large bottles a month for my three kids (including my hair loving son) and a tiny bottle for me….. my husband is thankfully not into shampoos, most likely due to the near absence of hair….but anyways to get on with the story…,

My order was promptly accepted. I paid online, not so much because of trust, but habit and more so that I wouldn’t have to change out of my comfy nightie and go down to the gate to pay.

The site did say something about things being delayed due to lockdown or something to that effect…so I didn’t bother much and forgot about the whole thing for the longest time.

Then one day my daughter, (she is very particular about which particular version of which brand she favours at a particular particular in time) came ranting about her shampoo being exhausted. I offered mine, but she flatly refused, saying mine is not worthy of her hair or something to that effect.

I had a vague memory of having ordered fresh supplies, so I went through my considerably long Amazon order list and a considerably longer BigBasket list but came up with nothing.

My memory is quite pathetic but my daughters’ cosmetics are something I dare not forget.

Then it struck me. I went to the giant’s website…..(they hadn’t even come up with an app yet) and there it was.

Well, nothing is delivered to my house in COVID times.

The delivery guy calls up and I direct him to leave the stuff at gate 2. I get an email or SMS or both saying the goods have been delivered.

Then the guard at the gate guard calls up and then the lobby guard calls up and package is collected from lobby from my good husband. There is no way a package can be delivered and not be registered.

So I berated myself for trying out the new guys, who apparently hadn’t got their act together and proceeded with the long process of recovering my 620.

It wasn’t a big sum and I could have just let it go.

But this was wrong, especially when the major stakeholder was one of the world’s richest men.

Their helpline left me helpless. So I resorted to my favourite means of communication….email.

I prefer emailing to phone calls as there’s a recorded trail.

So I found a CS Head I could write to, and wrote as threatening a letter I could,but he turned out to be a machine and gave me an automated response blaming the whole thing on covid.

Nowadays everything is blamed on covid supply chain issues, and I understand they are genuine….but you can’t pass off undelivered goods as delivered and fend off your consumer.

If there’s anything that puts me off online sites, it’s these recorded responses.

I sent a few more mails and got a complaint number. I had hit the jackpot!

But it came to nothing as I got another mail saying the issue had been resolved and the complaint had been closed.

This is priceless (no pun intended).

I was being told that my issue had been resolved, and the complaint was closed….a wonderful way of dismissing issues. Works for them, but what about me?

11th June
11th June

A computer answering again…..now I was determined to have some fun!

As far as checking the status in refunds, the status still showed that my goods had been delivered. How enlightening!

Now this sounded human and I was optimistic for a change.

Something clicked. I got a call from a guy speaking broken English or Hindi or both….I couldn’t figure out which, but he said I would get a refund.

I was busy rolling out rotis for my hungry son who has a bottomless pit of a stomach..,and unfortunately I simultaneously revived an IVR call stating “Aapka samay hamare liye mahatvapoorn hai…samay paanch minute”.

(Your time is precious to us…wait time 5 minutes)

I held on for five minutes…after waiting for three and a half months to hear about my 620…I was prepared to listen to their IVR for ten hours if not more.

What followed was a disappointment. That’s an understatement. I don’t know what it is about me but I always get into trouble with corporations whether it is Airtel or Suburban or Jiomart.

It was Airtel call center was informing for the fiftieth time that they were cutting my outgoing services for non payment of dues.

Our payments are automated, and they had been claiming that the dues were outstanding for fifteen days or something of that kind….don’t keep unimportant stuff in my memory.

I totally lost it, mostly because it wasn’t JioMart, and threatened to cut the line myself and move to Jio Fiber ( although I was really unhappy with the Jio guys at that point) …. if I got one more phone call from them. That did it. After three months of harassment, Airtel didn’t call again.

Anyways I got a real call by a JioMart call center guy.. by a chap with broken English who told me my money will be refunded.

I had cracked it!

I kept checking their site for any intimation of refund, but there was nothing.

Then I wrote ….again….bombarding them with stink bombs.

There was a helpline which said press three for refunds. I got an SMS link and it went straight to my order details which showed my my refund had not been received.

They have taken frustrating customers to an entirely new level and I hope things settle down soon.

On 7th August a miracle happened. I got a call from an employee who escalated the issue to the manager who gave me his WhatsApp number and ended my quest for the 620.

I will keep my end of the bargain and email him this story.

Covid in the wind

COVID has been swinging moods like nothing else can.

That’s normal for me… my moods swing once every two years or so. But I realised that compared to mine, the rest of the world seemed to be see-sawing like one of those gigantic monsters in the entertainment park.

When I heard about an innocuous virus in a place called Wuhan I’d never heard of . Somehow the name seemed to rhyme with yawn . Must be a really boring place, I thought.

Viruses are very good at bungee jumping from animals to humans….from SARS, MERS, swine flu and bird flu once in a while to keep the world on its toes….. but they all die a natural death.

I made a mental note note to cut down on non veg stuff and not help bungee jumping viruses.

Then came the exponential growth in infections and fatalities. I’m not good at maths so I checked on exponential.

I realised it meant multiplying at an increasing rate, like the population of India. That was too bad. These viruses would soon be choking our cities and living spaces.

The only thing one could do, I thought, was stop consuming animals. But that’s easier said than done …..

Then came the news that those bugs has taken flights and crossed the oceans.

This was getting dangerous. The virus had marauded Italy and the rest of Europe. (Italy had itself to blame because they went about physically hugging their Chinese friends in a gesture of solidarity ). Although well intentioned, this bravado would cost them dear.

Suddenly, the whole world seemed to be bowing down to that tiny little despicable thing and it seemed humans no longer ruled the world.

We probably never did, but we will never admit it.

The world was going into a shell, shielding itself from the virus … the one without a cure or a vaccine.

Recession hit, livelihoods were lost, hunger and pain, all from that invisible bug we couldn’t master.

World war looked like a picnic in comparison.

Our normally lax government acted lightening fast and promptly put on the brakes.

We were now in the dreaded lockdown.

We celebrated by banging pots and pans in a coordinated effort at cheering up our medical and government staff…who would dare to go where no laymen would.

Of course this was a ripoff from Italy where they had synchronised singing, but it would not do for Indians to sing in tune, and pots and pans gave higher decibel levels.

My son is very clever. He knows when opt for the fight or flight mode…… as do most children I suppose.

My son had a gala time bashing my steel plate with my metal rolling pin with such force that at the end of fifteen minutes,( it was supposed to be ten, but there was no stopping him) he returned the thing with a neat hole in the middle and ran off before I could get a hold of the rolling pin.

We were feeling very upbeat as if we had destroyed the virus by our noise pollution.

The funny part is celebration runs in Indian blood. So people went about in morchas( large gatherings) armed with drums and banjos and conveniently forgetting about social distancing. This defeated the purpose of this exercise but we are like that only.

Then the news on Dharavi started pouring in and we Mumbaikars surrendered to our fate. It would have been impossible for a human to make it through Dharavi by-lanes without the virus making itself at home in their sweaty bodies.

To the full credit to our BMC, Dharavi cases petered out and raised our hopes.

There was this N95-only-for medical-phase and we were responsible people not wearing masks.

Then some genius came up with face coverings

The tables turned and one could be ostracised for NOT covering your face.

I wish this had happened earlier as thousands of American Trump followers would have been saved.

The poor masses couldn’t afford the valve equipped masks of the rich.

They resorted to wearing their masks at half mast….below their noses…..protecting others to an extent but exposing themselves.

Assuming that distancing was all that was required, the rich restarted their leisure and sports activities, feeling invincible.

And when the mighty Trump was getting along without masks, the rich took off those stifling N95s and socialised with abandon.

In Mumbai, as the virus spread, slums were turned into containment zones and sealed off. But the poor desperate for livelihood escaped the porous boundaries and reported to work.

The high rise societies clamped down on all kinds of help even as the BMC said they had no power to.

The lovely manicured hands that had never come in contact with detergent, had to give up on nail paint.

Not to mention child labour, of which I plead guilty.

But beside the maids, there were the ultra rich carriers that escaped scrutiny.

People paid through through their noses to cover them with the best protective masks. But there was a clink in the armour. They had valves which vented out the wearer’s breath with the force of a vented dryer.

Their colleagues, blissfully unaware of the danger let both their masks and guard down.

Ditto with the walkers and joggers. The Indian government hasn’t yet woken up to this danger.

Now the maids were paranoid about working in high rises… and the people in the buildings fought tooth and nail to keep away the maids.

Unwilling to use those valve-wala masks, Google took me to muslin masks. Not the best protection but atleast you wouldn’t choke to death.

The mask was absolutely necessary because people like me were looking down at the irresponsible masquerading unmasked from our windows…it wouldn’t do for us to go unmasked.

I received a photograph of my husband busy on his phone…unmasked.

That he was six meters away from another living person did not cut ice…and I got him to try the muslin masks . The only issue was they were made of baby material with giraffes, monkeys and watermelon prints. Fortunately my kids thought them cool n my husband got some zig zag lines and polka dots. So the matter was resolved amicably.

Then came the day we got the first covid case in our complex. I don’t quite recall which lockdown phase it was, since there were so many….

Everyone went into panic mode again.

My kids were not allowed to go down…and the walkers and joggers vanished.

The first case was almost asymptomatic and it was business as usual again….till the next…and the next…and the next.

I of course decided not to venture outdoors at all given my low immunity and more so because of my aversion to dressing up…..and unwillingness to give up the joy of bra-less freedom.

We were managing happily in three sets of clothes each and I was wondering why our cupboards were so unnecessarily stocked.

Then our little world came crashing down.

My daughter and I achieved the nearly impossible feat of getting fever at the same time……from two different causes.

This was an unfortunate coincidence to say the least. Her’s turned out to be tonsillitis and mine some low grade fever that vanished with a paracetamol.

That was a traumatic time to say the least. We were covid negative but we could potentially turn positive attending to our daughter in the hospital.

Anyways my daughter was back any the walkers got back to their walks again.

My maid too agreed to come back as we didn’t have the coronavirus and things got back to the new normal.

We repaired our son’s bicycle and he stepped down for the first time in four months.

There was nothing to it… wear your face covering, don’t chat with your friends, and your fine. My very obedient son did just that.

My chest swelled with pride to see my son follow orders when other kids had the popular mask -below -the nose- position or were running with gay abandon with no face coverings.

I don’t blame the kids… some of them had totally unbreathable cute looking Mickey Mouse and Superhero stuff. Choosing a mask is like choosing the colour of your car. Once inside…. you can’t even see it. Mine was sporting his muslin monkey comfortable one which I was proud to have discovered.

His joy unfortunately was very short lived.

The next day came the news that my son’s friend’s parents were COVID positive. I don’t think the word positive goes well with COVID….but that’s another story.

My son’s world turned topsy turvy again, although he claimed he hadn’t even met the boy.

My kids were back to lockdown although the rest of the country is being unlocked.

We got an ominous post saying there are three cases right now and another will mean our building being sealed…So now I’m looking out of my window at unmasked people and cursing them for the potential disappearance of our maid.

May the vaccine be with you!

My standup comedian

Shawn’s jokes are mostly  forgotten 
They’re spontaneous 
There’re original
They’re hilarious
But it’s that moment
And then they’re gone
Out of my memory
The other day
While studying 
Name two solids
I said
Hindi book
Maths book
I didn’t mind
I knew
He knew 
The right answer
We moved on
To liquids
I didn’t ask
About the gases
Is his favourite subject
It’s easy to be funny
What does a pigeon give birth to
I ask
I want to hear 
Young ones
He says eggs
There’s a picture 
Of a caterpillar 
And leaves 
in a container 
With a mesh
The question is 
What will happen 
After  a few days
There’s no water

His anwer
The leaves
They will die
Because they’ll be
Eaten up
Then there’s English
What is the plural of sky?
That’s wrong
It’s skies
No he says
It’s sky
There is only one sky
Atleast in his world 
Social studies

There are two sets
Of clay pots
The picture from 
His textbook

The answer 
The pots are made
For storing 
Different types of things 
His answer
The potter
He made some
And some small
I ask him why
He wrote this way
He says
If you were a potter
Wouldn’t you be bored
Of making the same pot
All over and over
I guess we too
Are meant to be different 
We were meant 
Not to be the same
Why would our potter
Make all children
The same
Over and Over
Some think he’s rude
Not knowing how
To speak to elders
I do try
To tell him
But I know
In his own way
He’s trying to be funny
In him mind
All are equal
His parents
His grandparents
His classmates
His teachers
His friends
His cousins
The beggar
Be it the laundryman
Or the garbage collector
They ring the doorbell 
And ask for him
He speaks to them
He makes them laugh
If not anything 
With his piggy snort
His anger
He cries
To get his way
Or for sympathy 
When hurt
He’s getting there
A joker
He wants to be
A fine one he will make
I think
His jokes are all forgotten
But now I’ll preserve them
In this blog
So he can laugh
At his own
When he grows

If he still
Wants to be
A standup comedian 

The deadline

Like all
Responsible parents
We too have 
A deadline
It’s strict
You could get
A rap
A shout
A kneeling down
Or worse
If you’re not
Back home
In time
The rules
Can be relaxed
By half an hour
But not more
He’s found a solution
He doesn’t ring
Our bell when late
Beyond the
Half an hour
Off he scoots
To his grandmother’s
His nana
Then comes the call
I’m not surprised
He didn’t see 
The time he says
He’s afraid
To come home
Let him be
Let him stay
We give in
He comes next day
With his big smile
All is forgotten 
The next day
Off again 
To his grandmother’s
This time we
Put our foot down
Send him
Right back home
The bell rings,
He’s there
His eyes full of tears
And who’s there
Behind him
But his grandmother
His nana
Let him be
He’ll not do this
Another time
We must obey
His grandmother 
His nana
Then there’s the day
His grandmother 
Is waiting 
With a stick
The doorbell rings
Not my fault 
Says he
I way playing 
My eyes on the ball
How do you expect 
For me
To move my eye 
On the ball
To the clock?
My mother tries
To repress her smile
To appear stern
She gives up
He’s safe
He’s let off 
One more time 
Then it’s bad
He’s absconding 
We can’t find him
We’re concerned
He lands up
At dinner time
Why didn’t you come
For lunch we say
Oh I ate
At my friend’s place
His mom had made
Pao bhaji
That won’t do
We tell him 
You must inform
Whose house you’re in
I’ll surely will
He’s let off
Another day
Not to be seen
Till evening comes
We send our daughters
To look out for him
Ask the security
Whose house he’s in
Call his friend’s mothers
There no sight
Of him
Then he comes
Ready to cry
Why didn’t you
Tell us
Which friends house
You were in
Like we told you to?
No mamma
I would have told
I wasn’t the whole day
In anybody’s house
I was 
In the clubhouse 
Now the clubhouse 
Has a phone
But we give up
And he’s let off
Once again
He is late
My friend’s ball
Got lost says he
I was being good
Helping him
Find it
His tale is true
He doesn’t lie
As usual
He’s let off
My daughter 
She complains
You never
Let us off
It’s difficult 
With his humour
What to do
If his friends mom
Wants to feed him
So his son will eat
I’m no longer worried
I know he’s responsible 
Won’t get in
Any trouble
If he does
His friends will come
And inform
And most importantly 
The vacation
Is over
It’s back to routine
The timetable
Monday to Thursday 
Straight from class
Friday to Saturday 
Extra time allowed
So now we are at peace
My son and me
We have to study.
But then that
Is another tale….