Sunday, January 29, 2012

And mamma has to travel

Now that Mamma's book is out, Mamma has some travelling to do in order to promote her book. This travel takes her to Delhi this week, from the 2nd to the 5th. And the brat goes to Lonavla for his first overnight trip ever on the 5th and returns on the 6th. He has been very excited about this to the extent of packing every toy he possesses in a huge suitcase with a token Tshirt and one underwear to satisfy the requirements of being modestly clothed on said trip.
He was also, quick to notice that Mamma's suitcase, with adequate warm clothing, given that despite her obvious layers of subdermal insulation mamma does shiver in the slightest breeze, was being packed with clothes.
He perched himself on top and watched the process. Many clothes were being packed. Mamma is not, in keeping with the rest of her, a light packer.
"Mamma," he finally piped up, in a woebegone voice. "How many days I will not see you?"
Mamma's heart suddenly broke realising that this will be the first time ever in eight years that she would be spending a night away from the brat. Suddenly, her big boy doesn't seem that big after all.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

So. Mamma gave a speech.

The brat was woken up Sunday morning, spit polished and poured into his clothes.
"Where we are going?"
We're going to St Xavier's college, in town, because mamma has to give a talk.
"In a college? With big chillun? Yu're a teacher?"
No, mamma assured him that she hadn't taken up the noble profession and this was a one off. Mamma, Pappa and brat took themselves down to the car where the questions continued.
"Whachyure going to talk about?"
About Twitter and blogs and facebook and India Helps.
He nodded wisely.
"Nobody knows about twidder and facebuk and IndiaHelps."
Erm. They do, but they want me to tell them more about it.
"Bud wai dey aksed you to come an talk. Yure a gud talker?"
Much speechlessness followed.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Of birth months and nomenclature

The brat has been chuckling through Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Charlie and The Great Glass Elevator for some days now.
Before proceeding further let me get down on my hands and knees and thank the heavens above for transforming this complete non reader into a mildly interested reader, which on a Richter scale of one to 10, came periliously close to nine for me.
So, the other day, he sang the Augustus Gloop song for me, as sung by said knee high Oompa Loompas and wondered aloud.
Wot means Augustus?
I tried to get into Roman emperor and August and pre-eminent and all of which I needn't have bothered with.
So, he wuz born in August. For the sake of ending the discussion, I nodded as I pressed at the lift floor buttons.
And I wuz born in d monthof October.
So dat makes me Octobus Manral. I laughed. He continued earnestly. Mamma, will it be Octobus Manral or Octopus Manral.
Move over Bruce Manral and Krish Khan Kapoor, Octopus Manral is the new nom de guerre.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Mere Paas Maa Hai

There is a lot of bravado that goes on in the playground with everything from cycles, to playstation games to cricket and slam attax collectible cards to whatever it is that chest puffing can be inspired by.
Ergo the other evening when we were down in the park, me doing my regular perambulations of the premises with one ear cocked out to listen in on any murder and mayhem happening in the vicinity of the tykes, I overheard a hot headed discussion taking place between the brat and a fren who is more a frenemy.
"I haff PS2 and PS3 and PSP," said frenemy yelled at brat. "You have only PS2."
"I have Gameboy. I have hundred Playstation games. You have?"
"I have 100 cards. And Sachin Tendulkar gold card. You have?"
The brat drew himself up to Shashi Kapoor levels of Deewar dignity. I feared he would say, can you repeat the question. But no.
"My mudder wrote a book. Yer mudder wrote?"
Haay Mera Bachcha. To borrow a hashtag from the wondrous Aneela.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Reluctant Detective is here

Available on flipkart, indiaplaza, infibeam, crossword and pre orders for signed copies on

Check for details.

And go forth and buy. Please. I humbly request. March into the nearest bookstores and thump your. fist into convenient surface and demand a copy. Now. This minute. Ah well. It is an ungodly hour now. The night watchmen might get startled. Go this weekend. In droves. Buy multiple copies. Gift it to folks you think need some laughter in their lives. They will bless you. And more importantly, I, debutante author, of the trembling knees, will bless you.
Sent from BlackBerry® on Airtel

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Does Child Protection go too far in some countries....

I have been following this curious case for a long while now. The case of two children, both Indian nationals, being taken from their parents by the Norwegian Child Protection Services and put into foster care until they are 18, and in separate homes. While the reasons behind the children being taken away into custodial care are not clear, and one can only sympathise with the parents, it did lead me to do some reading up on the Child Protection Services and the definition of children's rights according to Norwegian law and did find it rather fascinating.

Children have the right to express their opinion from the age of seven in Norway. Parents are not permitted to spank their children, even on the rare occasion, This country was the first to appoint an ombudsman for children 25 years ago.
If a child is in an atmosphere of domestic violence or abuse, the Child Protection Agency has the right to move in and take the child out of the home and put the child into foster care.
While the intentions behind these policies are surely commendable one can only wonder how easy it must be to lean over into the extreme. Apparently even the UN has noted with concern the number of children in Norway who have been taken away by the authorities and placed into foster care. In fact, online groups like these are trying to bolster public opinion against the kind of pressure placed by the Child Protection

What are your opinions on this?
There are these horror stories one reads and shudders. A 13 year old boy managed to send out some emails asking for help, to be rescued from his foster home. ""They give little food to me, and I am hungry. Nobody wants to talk to me or take care of me in the foster home, and I feel completely lonely here. Please help me get back home to my mother, or please help me find a lawyer so that I could sue the child protection services."
Another story talks about how a Polish girl just didn't return home from school one day because she had been going to school sad, and the authorities thought that was reason enough to put her into foster care. "Polish newspapers wrote that Norwegian child protection services take as many as 300,000 children away from their parents, presumably immigrants, every year."
And here is more.
As parents, what do you think of this? All I can hope for is that the Bhattacharyas get their children back soon.

Monday, January 02, 2012

And a Happy New Year to you

The brat went to his first day at school in 2012 today. The previous week and a half had been a riot of Christmas partying and lunches at nanna's house and his cousin's down for the New Year, more relatives down for the New Year from mamma's side, a New Year's party, much joy and merriment and gluttony and no studying and gifts being showered on him by all and sundry and naturally the prospect that all this must end and the drib drabbery of the school home tuition homework routine would start again was quite a mood dampener last evening.
Especially when reminded the school bag needed to be packed. He draped himself listlessly on various items of furniture and didn't do much packing as mandated.
Mamma took the bag, checked the books, diary, pencil box for pencils sharpened to a point, sharpened the ones that weren't, packed the bag and the book. He emerged to attach the Barcelona keychain received from doting great aunt onto the bag zip and disappeared back into the other room where he was having Spiderman kill some million people off.
After a while he waddled back into his room where I was getting his clothes in order for the next day. "Tomorrow I go back to the third standard?"
Yes, son, I informed him much to his dismay.
"Wai?" he said piteously, "My budday is over and New Year is over. Everything is one year more. I should go back to the fourth standard."
No, I assured him. He had to go back to class three and there was no escaping it.
He emerged from school this afternoon, sullenfaced and grumpy. "What happened, son?" I asked.
"Wai you dint tell me we are 12 years today. I wrote leven years. I had to rub out everything and write all the dates of my worksheet again."