What’s in it for me?

What’s In It for Me? … another post at Parentous where I talk about my kids when they were teenagers


Who but a teenager would think that if he hid his report card the parent would not find out?

And they believe in magic. It is not surprising to me that Harry Potter and Twilight did so well. Who but a teenager would think that if he hid his report card the parent would not find out? And who but a teenager would actually believe changing 30 into 80 on his class test paper (it’s just two deft strokes of the pen) would work?


Read the rest here




From Delhi to Chandigarh, for the book launch

Nothing in our lives happens without drama, not even a simple trip to Patiala.  I think Peter wrote his principle “Anything that has to go wrong, shall and will go wrong” by observing families like us.

We love each other to bits, and would actually blow each other into bits and love each and every bit fiercely and with equal intensity.  That is us …

The trip to Patiala happened thanks to the extremely young and dynamic publisher, Mr. Kunal Marathe of Authors Empire.  He assured me when he took my manuscript that he would be a publisher with a difference.  He would go out of his way to treat his authors well.  My initial reaction was “Yeah right!”

I mean, this is India, and publishers are doing us, the underpaid imaginative breed called authors a huge favour by printing our books right?  All authors know that!

And then he did the unthinkable.  He announced that he was LAUNCHING my book with huge fanfare.  It was unexpected, this is my third book out in the market and never has such an offer of a book launch been made to me.  I mean, which publisher has offered to launch my book?  For free?  And made all the arrangements for a book launch?

And I refused.

Yeah that’s me, perverse, impulsive and without a grain of common sense in my brain.  The reason for refusing was that I was to go for a vacation to Kufri with other bloggers like Hitchy, Monika, Shail and so many others.  I am a blogger at heart, I love the immediacy of blogging.  I can say stuff and get reactions immediately.  I love interacting with other bloggers on Facebook.  I love being politically incorrect, and stating what I feel.  That is what blogging is to me – and the blog world has opened its heart out to me in all these years.  And one writes and gets comments immediately.  And of course I love bloggers meets.

So I said NO.  Hitchy you may please take a bow and feel flattered 😛

Ishaan my first born and often my worst critic pointed out that I was being insane.  He’s a fine one to talk, the header of his blog says he loves weird aliens.  But he dinned sense into my head.  So I ate humble pie and rang up Mr. Kunal Marathe and said  that I have cancelled my vacation to be part of the launch.  Mercifully Mr. Kunal Marathe thinks I am old and therefore wise and gives me respect.  So he kept his opinions about my initial reaction to himself.

And then second born Kartik decided to act up.  He declared that he could not get chutti.  I bravely resisted the urge to put him across my knees and spank him.  I wanted to but he is 5’10” and still growing and I am 5’1″ in my socks, so I regretfully shelved the idea.  The thought did cross my mind …

Vaise he can take chuttis for parties, for after party recuperation, for other things.  But not for my book launch.  Ahem.  I let it slide, reminding myself that they were grown sons and had lives of their own.  See – I am not alwayj thinking of myself only!

Then he condescended to tell me that he would take a half day so I had to book the journey in the evening.  So I booked us by Kalka Shatabdi.

On given day I get up bright eyed and bushy tailed to find junior has taken chutti.  Ahem!

And he has also taken my car and gone to get himself dented and painted.  Wow!  I needed denting and painting myself, but had to grit teeth and make do with a home self done manicure and pedicure.  And various other things to make myself presentable.  After all, the publisher had told me that I was to meet the royalty.  Age shows you know … and you have to make the extra effort – no, not to look young, but just presentable.

He came back at 12 and I perked up … to no avail.  He took older son and left and both of them resurfaced just in time for lunch and general exit to railway station.

Merey Do Anmol Ratan

the two boys

See – I am not alwayj thinking of myself only!

We, like total Delhi snobs, citified and spoilt to the core, first stopped at Starbucks, picked up coffee and snacks.  After all we were leaving Delhi for two days!  And then landed up at the station – in time.  And tackled the massive flight of stairs.  Why oh why dont they have escalators?  I just managed that huge flight of stairs thanks to the caffeine in the Starbucks coffee and then passed out – literally passed out in the train.

No, boys,  I am not alwayj thinking of myself only!  I am old and need to be taken as such!

Yeh drama nahin hai

Whateva …

And we travelled to Chandigarh.

The sons did me proud.  Someone came and requested them to give up their seats because his wife was just going back home after a chemo session.  They got up immedately and gave up their seats – just like that.  I protested

Yup, that one time I waj thinking of myself only

I was washed out, my heart was pumping fit to burst (I need more cardio in my work out) and felt insecure.  They scolded me and shut me up.  Proud of the two of you idjuts.I regret not being able to talk to our fellow travellers, there was a story there – a story of courage, of ordinary heroism, of human spirit.  But I felt too tired to talk to them and get to know it.

And then what did the boys do?  They hung around me, sitting on the armrest of my chair and talking to each other.  They slowly made me feel better and more comfortable.

Just like that …

Until we reached Chandigarh

To know what happened next, read these posts …

Get Me to the Book Launch in time

The book launch of Chakra, Chronicles of the Witch Way

Circle of Life

Oh I simply love the songs of Lion King, remember Circle of Life?  Can anyone who has seen the movie ever forget Simba’s huge eyes as he takes in the world, along with the background score by Elton John?

Sigh …. It reduces me to mush!

Cut to the present.  Circle of Life in the Phoenix Household … Well it turns everyone into anything but mush.

However nice and sweet the parent (autocrat) is, just the parental role has the dumb and hapless subjects (children) … well you can call them prisoners/minions and whatever else you may want to name them, chaffing against authority.  Just being parent, you tread on their corns.

And how.

I was anything but the nice and sweet parent.  I am bossy, snooty and anything but reasonable, unless I get my way.  So there!  Boys, I do admit it, but if you rub it in, I’ll screw your happiness.  I still hold some aces, remember that!


The first thing one got as a New Year gift this year was Accu Check.  For the healthy young readers (Oh how I envy you) it is a home diabetes test kit.  One has to puncture a finger, and put a drop of blood on the test strip and it crunches out a number for you.  That all important number tells you how many sins you can commit with impunity in your diet for the day.

Day 3 of returning home from the hospital.  (Kid#1 is in Dubai.)  (Kid#2 is sitting on the bed watching me trying to puncture myself.)  I suffer no martyr complexes; I do not like injuring myself – even if the cause is as noble as my own health.

Kid#2 : Let me do it

Me : You don’t need to test your damn blood.

Kid#2 : What? Why should I?

Me : (Surprised) Exactly.  So why do you want to do it?

Kid#2 : (Rolls eyes) To you.

Ah, okay.  I hand him the darn kit and show him the finger.

Kid#2 : Stop being rude!

He punctures me and smears a whole lot of blood on the strip.  The machine goes ballistic and crunches out Er: 6 or some such thing.

Kid#2 : Oops we have to do it again.

Me : (Naively) Okay

It was four more stabs to three more fingers later that I realized I was victim here.  The old parent was being subjected to torture.  He was using the damn kit to settle some scores!  Damn, I should have learnt my lesson after he took my damn blackberry away two summers earlier!  Circle of Life  


Kid#2 : What’s for dinner?

Me : I think I should avoid dinner.  Some soup would be great.

Kid#1 : Minchow?  We have Minchow soup.

Me : Ah I love Minchow.  Its tangy.

Kid#2 : Ma can’t have it.

Me: Why?

He mutters something suspiciously like “Because you like it,” as he flees the room.  Yeah yeah, I guess I must have stopped you from gorging on too much cake or eating chocolate before bed sometime in the past.  Circle of Life.

CASE 3 (Yesterday)

Kid#1 : There is nothing tasty to eat at home.

Me : So go out, get something good and don’t bring it home.  It is too tempting.

Kid#1 : (Ignoring that) I am going to bake something.

Me : (Keeping quiet.  If I protest, it will aggravate him to the extent of dishing out a five course meal which I can’t eat.) Mmm, Hmmm

I switch on Anthony Borden.  If I have to suffer, I may as well suffer well.  I try to ignore the sound of batter being mixed, the oven pinging, though the smell of chocolate brownie baking reduces me to a puddle of drool on the floor.

Kid#1 : I love the smell of baking that fills up the house

Me : (wishing that the Crucio curse could be inflicted on people in the muggle world.) Don’t you think the brownie is burning?

(It wasn’t, but I HAD to give back some …

I got a miniscule portion of the cake, which was promptly taken to their rooms in the first floor.  I was left on the ground floor inhaling the smell of freshly baked brownie.

Circle of Life








Not Every One is Tim Allen

See what a steady diet of Tim Allen does to us!

Kid#2 is a Mechanical Engineer now. Well the first thing he did was get himself a tool kit

I kid you not, he got it and did a dance! It is the same dance I do when I lose some millimeters from my derriere or the DIL does when she is trying out a new dress!

And a Williams hammer

Apparently in the land of tools, Williams is God. It must be for the price a simple hammer from that company is sold. We used to make do with a simple iron head attached to a wooden handle.

And now he is eyeing a damp patch on the wall. He is asking how much it costs to get wood planks, he is eyeing more tools like a power hammer and a planer

And I am being supportive, though I do have moments when I have qualms about the roof falling on our heads. Tim Allen did all that and he survived. So did the house.

I hope we have a budding home improvement guy at home.

I do!

Wait! Was it Tim or was it Al who did things right?

Tim Allen is cute …

Any way Che Sera Sera

My Victory Dance

Well I tried, and I tried and tried to be a saint, to not dance a victory dance over the ashes of painful memories

Naah Forget It!

This is my victory dance, and I am dancing it.

And if I step on toes, break a few bones, draw some blood, it does not matter. I have to have my dance.


To the person who told me that my sons would grow up to be losers, since they did not have a Dad –

You misjudged me and you misjudged my boys. I never said that your kids would not amount to much – but they have NOT! Why? They had a mom and dad! They should have been like Sachin Tendulkar or Shah Rukh Khan, since they did not have a broken home.

I did not tell you to STFU then, but you made me cry. You made me sit up nights staring at the boyish figures asleep in bed and wonder if what you said was right. To be afraid that may be what you said would come true.


To the person who said “Ek din muh chupa kar royegi, koi aansu ponchne wala bhi nahin hoga” just because I listened to the boys and believed in their dreams instead of being negative about them. I am laughing, I am smiling, I am living with them in their dreams. And of the dreams that did not succeed – well we lived them too. I have not hidden my face and wept, I have never needed to.

Any crying and full on drama that happens at the Phoenix House happens openly. Oh we have wars – but no heartaches. Even at the peak of temper we know we love each other and belong to the same family.

To the person who thought I give my sons too much bhav and they would grow up spoilt and pampered. That these boys I adore would use me and throw me. Hey they are my sons, and they love me as much as I love them, so fuck you.

And to the various suitors/prospective husbands who thought, rather expected that I should

a) Give them my complete salary
b) Bring up their kids
c) Send my boys to hostels because their kids came first
d) Look after their parents and leave mine

All for the dubious advantage of having a husband – what for, I don’t know

Look me in the face and answer the question

Did you really think I was dumb?


Who’s the WO – MAN eh?

This victory dance is because now both my sons have graduated, got good degrees and have reached adulthood without being delinquents, commitment phobic men, drug addicts or alcoholics INSPITE OF ALL THE FUCKINGLY CREEPY PREDICTIONS MY SO CALLED FRIENDS AND WELL WISHERS DISHED OUT

And Then The Fight Happened

Case One

“Have one kid, you become a parent. Have two and you become a refree”

Have adult kids … you still want to be a refree, but they will have none of it.

Younger dude has relapsed into teenhood. He has anxiety attacks, feels depressed because he is never going to amount to much, since he isn’t going to be a millionaire. SHEESH! Is this cue for me to feel like a failure because I am not a millionaire?

Kid#1 : Coming up with the only male solution to this : Let’s go have beer.

Kid#2 : Naah, I don’t feel like drinking.

My jaw hit the floor, as I opened the medicine drawer.

Never . In . My . Living . Memory . Has . Anyone . Refused . A . Drink . When . Feeling . Low

This was serious.

Kid#1 : Yeah! (Pushing him) You refusing? Let’s fight then!

Kid#2 : Angrily shrugging him off : Leave me alone!

Kid#1 : Fight me and I will.

Me : Stop it the two of you.

DIL : Let them! Wanna bet my husband will win? MY BABY STRONGEST!

Both of them angrily to us: You stay out of it!

Then they had a go at each other, a really intense one. The furniture and doors are still intact, mercifully. The thermometer I had taken out isn’t.

The depression is over … and they have gone for beer. MENS!!!!!

Case Two

DIL is eating muesli for dinner – she is counting calories.

Me : Eyeing the left over slices of banana : Are you finishing that?

(It would be a perfect guilt free desert)

DIL : Aggressively : Don’t look at that! I am going to finish it.

Me : Backing off : Its okay, just asking.

What’s biting her ass?

Kid#1 : (The Residential Peacekeeper) Why are you being aggressive?

DIL : She started it!

Me : ?????

DIL : Defensively : I am not wasting it.

Me : Sulkily : I only wanted a bite.

DIL : With a sunny relieved smile : Here, take all of it.


Case Three

Kid#2 : Poking me in the stomach while I am doing something all important, like playing Empires and Allies on Facebook, while sitting on the bed.

Me : Angrily : Don’t poke me.

Kid#2 : Cheekily : I will

Me : Don’t!

Kid#2 : Poking me again : And what will you do?

Me : Losing it and slapping him hard.

Stunned silence in the room.

And then Kid#2 starts to laugh.

Kid#2 : Jeez Ma, is that the best you can do. That was such a cute slap.


Sunday morning fun

I switch on the TV and get a black screen. There is no snow, no blue and no picture screen. Just a black screen.

Me : Scream! My TV does not have power

Kid#2 : It has power but something is wrong with it. It does not work.

Me : How?

Kid#2 : I dont know, voltage fluctuations must have burnt some part

Me : When did this happen?

Kid#1 : Don’t you know? I think that was Tuesday.

And it is Sunday today …….

Me : Hot damn. I wanted to watch some TV

Kid#2 : No you dont. Anyone who does not need a TV for four days does not need one.

Me : But I wanted to watch news

Kid#2 : Utube hai na

Kid#1 : Vaise bhi, we call your room the honeymoon suite. Solid bed, great airconditioning, no TV, door always locked

Me : ???????? Go pick on someone else, I am going back into my “honeymoon suite”

Damn they should have informed me that the damn TV broke. I could have gotten it repaired over the week!

A “Nest” Meeting

And I met Shail Mohan of Shail’s Nest. Hence the “Nest” meeting.

I was sitting in office hardly working when a chat window opened out.

“Hi Ritu” popped up. It was Shail Mohan. Now I know Shail Mohan. She is someone who writes fantastic humor and is a big fan of Wodehouse. I like Wodehouse and I like her stories. Of course her poems zonk me out, but then serious poems zonk me out any way so I don’t hold such things against someone so nice as to make me laugh. Hence I replied “Hey Shail, wassup” or some such thing. “Can we meet?” was the question, of course worded ever so politely. The question should have been “When and how do we meet?” I was not going to miss out on meeting a weaver of some of the most profound tales I have read!

It turned out that she was in Ghaziabad. Now Ghaziabad is closer to my home than Trivandrum is. Which meant that if I swung in a chutti, I could meet her. Of course I am lousy with Geography and directions. When I was a kid, I remember writing that Nile flowed through Greece and then pleading with Godji to make Nile change its course. I have also driven to Apno Ghar in U.P. when I meant to go to IG airport at Palam. So I was a wee bit intimidated. I could, like Starship Enterprise, boldly set forth, but where would I reach? Thankfully Kid#2 and Google Maps stepped into the breach. We left nothing to chance. Kid#2 opened Google Maps on my … well, his blackberry and downloaded the app on my phone too. Shipra Mall, a place close to where Shail was staying was the place we rendezvoused. Ruchira of Nirjharini was to meet us there and Abha Midha of Daffodils, who lives in Faridabad was keen to go too. So I picked her up and off we went.

Shipra Mall is amazingly gracious a place. It is a mall, alright, but it has a certain old world charm. It is spacious and leisurely. None of the frantic feel that malls in Delhi, Faridabad and even Gurgaon have. I liked it.

The funny thing is that we were the first to reach even though we lived the furthest from Ghaziabad!

Ruchira was the first to come, and I spotted her far away. She can’t be missed. And then came Shail. The impression I had of Shail was (1) A thinker (2) Shy (3) Easy on the smiles. I got two out of three right. Shail is quiet, soft and easy on the smiles. She definitely is not shy! And she is pint sized 😉

In the picture above we had her standing on a stair to come up next to us. Of course we put her with Ruchira, who is tall 😈

Then we settled down for a leisurely lunch (which we forgot to order) since we had so much to say to each other 😛

The waiter was requested to take the pics, and he willingly obliged. So lets forget/ignore the fact that we did not order and say that the waiter was too busy clicking us to serve us food.

Nothing like some (as Shail puts it) “refined sunflower oil” on a hot summer day 😉 😛

The food at Pind Baluchi was good, the company better. And Shail was sweet enough to get us all books. She gifted me one called “The Male Brain”. It is a fascinating insight into the working of a man’s mind, though I do feel that its unfair to explain away everything that a person does by listing hormones and neurons … but it does simplify male thinking a lot.

Here Abha and I are holding on to our gifts standing right next to that awesome door of Pind Baluchi. Sigh … now I want my front door to be like that, its so ornate … but I digress

And I wanted a photo with the Pind Baluchi Babaji, I always did. This time Kid#2 and I got one clicked 😆

To people who have put up the question on FB … this is the younger one and he has not written a novel. But he writes the most awesome poems, most of which are edgy and serious. They stump me.

Abha wanted to go once we were done with lunch (or that is the impression I got). But my son actually enjoyed the lunch. Makes me think that we are not old biddies after all! And that we are fun and witty. He suggested coffee … and hit off totally with Ruchira, both of them lamenting the fact that they have difficult and bossy older siblings. I kept shut, I was the older sibling 😛 Could imagine my brother joining in LOL

We exited Pind Baluchi and landed up at Barista. I did try to get myself a chocolate excess, failing which a slice of apple pie, failing which a cold coffee with lots of cream. Sadly Kid #2 was with me and vetoed all of that, All I got a standard issue cold coffee. 😦

It was a delightful afternoon. I love meeting blogger friends.