Amma made our birthdays special. Well they were special anyways because having twins is rare. It wasn’t one person celebrating it was 2, Also the school didn’t have twins so they were always intrigued with 2 kids celebrating their birthdays on the same day.

Amma stitched our birthday frocks. She had an old sewing machine.I remember she fetching matching buttons, contrasting cloth pieces, coming up with her own designs. I remember to this day, she sitting up late to finish a frock for the next day’s birthday.

When we were no longer small girls, we protested and asked for frocks from the local shops. But it is now I value the time amma put into making each of those frocks.

She also baked cakes- I guess once we had double decker cakes. She conjured up elaborate meals – curd rice with apples and pomegranates on top and bisibele bath for lunch  !

There were school friends that gave us everything from flowers from their garden to fruits on our birthday. Like S, her mom maintained a lovely rose garden, an envy for many of us. Her mom sent a small bunch of roses from their garden to decorate our plaits on our birthdays.And remember she sent not for one, but 2 girls

and then there was another S. In Neyveli we had huge gardens. So while we were in the  3rd, this girl got us gooseberries from her garden for our birthdays. As kids, we loved eating gooseberries , the uncooked ones. They were so common in T.Nadu,  we made varieties of pickles using them .

When we were in the 6th grade or so, we stopped dressing in “color dress”  to school on birthdays.

 I cannot remember how my older siblings celebrated because once the twins arrived, I guess me and my twin sis stole the show.

…Tomorrow my facebook timeline would be filled with birthday messages..However the ones celebrated in school will remain special always

so lurkers, be nice and wish me tomorrow, will ya ???




My science story

This dates back to the 80’s when we were in school in a small town in Tamil Nadu, Neyveli. Education then was very different from what it is now. Today kids are taken to icecream parlours to understand tastes, so they taste sweet, sour, bitter etc etc and get to learn. Learning is therefore a fun based activity now. Back then the fact that amma and appa managed to send their 4 kids to a private English medium school was a big thing in itself, forget the activity based learning.

We took pride that we never took tutions. Our tutor was at home. Armed with a B.S.C in Math,Physics , amma took a keen interest in all  that was in our books.

I remember.Amma used to bring a bowl from the kitchen, hold it high and then loudly say :This is concave . She would pull another and show us what convex was.

And then the NCERT books had some questions starred at the end of each chapter. Those were not touched by the teachers. Amma , after sending us off to school would sit and solve those questions. Apparently the starred questions were tougher than the usual ones.

I remember once amma took out a big chart paper and divided it into squares to arrive at an answer- probably an answer to one of the starred questions

And then when we were 10, we were told that we would have inspection officers at school.So we were asked to bring new books, decorate our classes, get some simple practical things done around science. Amma got us balls of varying sizes- signifying the sun , moon and the earth- we were demonstrating the solar system.

The story goes that when amma was at hospital delivering us, the twins, she left the elder kids(akka and anna) with her mom. Akka’s grades dropped significantly. So Amma got her elder daughter writing , tutoring her right at the maternity bed- what with two new born twins to be fed and taken care of.

Amma was this towering personality- she stayed a house wife all her life. But with her impeccable English , she was often asked by shop keepers and office goers in Neyveli -where she worked.

Amma does it to this day too. Today she is 69. She hums a devotional song, but if you went closer, you would notice her pull her spectacles and solve the sudoku in the morning newspaper. This has become a daily ritual.

My elder sister has been lucky. Her daughter spends her after school hours in amma’s company.So I have often seen amma prepare questions for her, copy notes for her first grand daughter.

Amma could have been anything – from a banker to a teacher . Back then the competition too was less. But amma chose to stay at home and tutor us .

Last evening, my 3 year old asked me to play cricket. As the bright red ball rotated , I got reminded of the solar system and the balls we took to school.

Traversing Bangalore

Today the boy and me visited Rajaji nagar after a long gap.We took buses for both the to and fro journey.South Bangalore is home now. But my memories of Bangalore go back to when we were kids and visited my grand parents near the Lalbagh area.The area now has changed with flyovers. The shesh Mahal which was a old house back then with a cock at the top, is now a commercial complex. I stared hard at the new building. Back then it was old, very very old.Thankfully the Lalbagh remains , as one of the old prides of Bangalore.

The Vasavi Vidhyaniketen is where I did the PUC from. Now I can barely recognize the building. They now have a string of degree courses happening within the same building.

What I remember about the Hebbal area is that the train from Neyveli to Bangalore passed by this place. We were fascinated by the sapota trees within the army campus that we passed by.Somehow the train was stopped for a good 10 minutes or so at this area, we used to say : train stopped at outer – outer meaning outside city limits.

Malleswaram is another area I can barely recognise. My! such massive  flyovers.A lot of loitering read dating was done around Malleswaram.What has remained are the cane shops that sell cane furniture.Somehow amidst such massive changes is one shop- the one that sells the cane furniture opposite the police station that remains.

Ironically, I took a bus at the same choultry where our wedding was conducted.Opposite it is a huge Metro construction.A few years back, we could see the famous ISCON from  our own terrace.We no longer can.

I am not a migrant that moved in here for a job.I have seen this place as a kid,I have walked the lanes of the Lalbagh  garden with my grandpa and my cousins and siblings during summer vacations.  I have watched bands playing music for Ganesh chaturthi sittiing in my grand ma’s balcony.We have shopped at a certain shop for my sisters engagement , which again I passed by today

Everything from the glass house to the Nataraj theatre playing Tamil movies in Malleswaram brings back memories

A lot of memories- that of childhood(Lalbagh area), the first work place (i.e Malleswaram), my parents home(Rajaji nagar),the city station,the Domlur area(for computer courses) is associated with Bangalore

….so much so I feel I have lived here for ever.

The Road side MBBS

I push aside a dirty nebulizer and take my seat next to another mom. She is dressed in Indian comfort clothing  – i.e  a dirty nighty with a cotton dupatta across her chest. She also has a woolen scarf that cover her head. I presume, looking at her scarf that she is a new mom, someone that had a baby in last one month or so. This is how new moms are covered from head to foot , in rural India

My son, a little shy refuses to take seat and stands  , watching a little urchin boy hold on to the dirty nebulizer.My son has never seen an object like that before.

I presume these are wives of autorickshaw drivers and construction workers that work in our area.

This is the clinic that we have been frequenting in the last one year or so and thankfully , has worked wonders. A few years back, when we had birthed our boy in a swanky hospital at Jayanagar, I smirked at this road side MBBS and doubted the degrees attached to his name. We once visited him when the boy was an infant, for a nappy rash and he gave us a very weird look when we told him the baby goes to a daycare and is dressed up in diaper all day.How could  I blame him, if all day he treats urchins that run naked on the streets

Since then we have come to trust him. We have visited him for colds, fevers, coughs, for my migraines and even for certification on school admission forms – all for a mere 70Rs !

This works best for me- I rush on barefoot, no searching for a parking lot or depending on the husband.

This is one doctor a lot of us in the apartment depend on – from the Readdy family that moved from the U.S to the TamBrahm Iyer that has a strong-American-hangover-and-dresses-to-work-in-Denim-chaddis/shorts

..and I begin to realize it doesn’t matter if you don’t have a string of phoren degrees or a twisted angrezi accent.All that matters is that the medicine works. It works magic !