Saturday, May 26, 2018

Happy Meal

We were having breakfast at McDonald's by the beach.

Viv (to Xena) - When you're in secondary school, you can work here during your holidays.

Xena (excited) - Really??

Viv - Yes. And Mummy and I will come here and you can serve us food.

Xena (thinking) - Oh, I cannot serve you food.

Viv - Why not??

Xena - You will have to give me a kiss and a hug first.

Amen to that. 😃😍

Friday, May 18, 2018

Going loony

No no, don't go by the title of the post. Though it sounds very similar to my previous post's title, I'm not about to inflict another stunning "song" on you. This post is about entirely something else.

Like almost the whole world, I was a big fan of Hergé's Tintin comics as a kid. Well, even now for that matter. The only difference is that now I know that the author's name is not pronounced 'herj' like I did as a kid, but air-zhay.

I couldn't wait for Xena to get started on Tintin. So when I found out that a neighbour was giving away a lot of books, including five Tintins, I JUMPED. Not just with indignation that someone should be giving away their Tintins, but also with excitement. You see, my Tintin collection is probably still at my parents' house in India and considering the number of times my sister and I had devoured them as kids, I don't think they are in a state to be used by Xena. So I JUMPED and got the Tintins from my neighbour.

With a flourish, I handed them to Xena. I waited with bated breath for her to fall in love with them instantly.

She read a page and a half and then returned them to me.

"I don't understand anything." She declared.

Of course. I should have known.

Even though they are comics, I'd momentarily forgotten how grown-up they are. There is a lot of geography and politics and social commentary and other elements I was unfairly expecting a 7-year-old to grasp on her own. So I told her how much I used to love the books as a kid, and read one out to her. It took us about an hour to get through about 10 pages because I was pausing and explaining literally every dialogue and every scene, and also answering questions like "Is this a bad guy? Is that a good guy? Why does Captain Haddock love whiskey?"

So over a few days, we read and re-read all the books together. Slowly, she started to laugh at the parts that I had laughed my guts out when I was a kid. It started to feel like a worthwhile effort. She would giggle whenever Thomson and Thompson made an appearance, or sympathise with poor Snowy and the number of accidents he had.

"Mama, Snowy is not really talking. He's a dog. He can't talk. But he can think. The speech bubbles are showing what is is thinking, not what he is saying." She 'explained' to me. I nodded.

And now, finally, she's on her own. Consuming Tintins at such an alarming rate that the library can't keep up. Thankfully, like me, she's also re-reading them a lot.

Last week, I popped by the library and got her 'Explorers on the Moon'. Unfortunately, they didn't have the prequel — 'Destination Moon'. Nevertheless, she was thrilled to see a new one. We have been reading it together because it has way more complex concepts than she has gotten used to. And because she hadn't read 'Destination Moon', she needed a lot of background information.

The other day, Viv was reading it to her while I was making dinner and a thought struck me. Did Hergé actually write the two Moon books before the 1969 Moon landing? As a kid, I had never really given it a second thought, but now I was dying of curiosity. So I flipped to the first page to see the year of copyright and I almost fell down in shock.

Not only had Hergé written the books before Neil Armstrong and co. got to the Moon, he had written it even before the Space Race had started, even before Sputnik I had gotten to space! A quick Google search revealed that the Moon books were printed in strips between 1950 and 1953, and converted to books in 1954. I'm still reeling from the accuracy shown in the books, given that space travel had not started, and people didn't know much about the Moon, and there was no Google.

Even though he had consulted aeronautics experts in order to write the books, a lot of it was his own imagination and extrapolation of things people had not seen or experienced, e.g. the details on the Moon, the blobs of Captain Haddock's whiskey floating inside the spacecraft and how astronauts on the Moon would be 'hopping' instead of walking.

What a genius.

And oh, I also found out that after the Apollo 11 landing, Hergé sent Neil Armstrong this picture as a gift. Hilarious!

Thursday, May 17, 2018

You drive me crazy

You know how some people enter your lives and change it forever? I had that happen to me recently.

So a bewdi of the bar emailed me sometime ago with the subject 'Not a stalker'.

I found it and the rest of her email hilarious. After exchanging a few emails, we met in person a few weeks ago and bonded over Bollywood crap and motherhood woes. I wasn't even all that surprised to know that she's from Bangalore. My blog and Bangalore really do have some pichhle janam ka nata, even though I have never lived in the city. In fact, the majority of my inner circle in Singapore is comprised of Bangalore folks that I met through my blog.

I was fascinated to discover that her store of random Bollywood trivia far surpasses mine. And then I found out that it's not just limited to Bollywood. She also sent me a video, which has changed my life forever. Which, if not shared here immediately, would be a grave injustice to inhumanity.

I am proud and honoured to present the life-altering song 'You are a doctor; I am a driver'. I can assure you that Vennu 'It's my life whatever I wanna do' Mallesh can't hold a candle to 'legendary producer, director, musician and singer Mr. Rajkumar'. (Not my words; this is exactly what the YouTube description says.) However, it may come close to the 'If you come today it's too yearly' song by the other legendary Rajkumar (who, btw, is definitely a doctor and not a driver).

Here you go. This kind of driver a day can really keep the doctor forever away.

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Billions of blistering Bollywood barnacles

I was working on my computer with some random 90s' songs playing in the background. Xena was doing her homework.

Thanks to Youtube's autoplay feature, suddenly 'I am very very sorry tera naam bhool gayi' from Chand Ka Tukda started playing.

Xena started bobbing her head to the beats. All of a sudden, she stopped and looked up.

"Mama, this song..."


"Signora Bianca Castafiore can sing this to Captain Haddock!"  

Sunday, May 06, 2018

I'm shook

Every Monday morning, after I pack Xena's snack box, I stick a little sticky note on it. It usually features a random drawing with a speech bubble wishing her luck for a test, or just to say hello from mommy.

(Hey, don't judge. I drew these at 6 in the morning, ok?)

She really looks forward to my notes and from what she tells me, some of her classmates do too. She diligently brings the notes back and gives me constructive feedback on whether the drawings were cute or not, and what I can do to improve them. Sometimes she asks me to explain things, like what the motion lines that I sometimes draw around the arms and legs of the characters indicate. 

Yesterday, I was looking through one of her classroom workbooks that the teacher had sent back. She had to write three words ending with -ook, and draw a picture to show one of them. I was so amused (and impressed) to see that though she could have easily drawn 'cook' or 'book', she chose to go off the beaten track and drew 'shook' using the motion lines we had discussed.

Takes right after her dad, I can see.