Thursday, December 17, 2015

A Letter To Santa Claus



A heartwarming letter to Santa written by Benedict Cumberbatch. I came across it on the internet. I do hope I'm not infringing on any copy write. Here are excerpts from the letter. It touched a chord in my heart.
(Benedict Cumberbatch, is a British actor best known for his role in the BBC television show Sherlock Holmes. He has also appeared in Hollywood films such as Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, War Horse, Star Trek: Into the darkness, and The Hobbit: The desolation of Smaug, and The Imitation Game.) 

Dear Father Christmas,

So my friend has asked me to write to you...I must confess it's been hard to know what to say. Mainly because like most adults I feel preposterous asking anything of you because our time with you is done.

Now, we get our presents, control our own fates, take responsibilities for our own actions, and live in the world we have created....so it's not for us to turn around and plead for your help with the environment, the migrant crisis, the NHS, education food banks, human rights, fundamentalism and wars. Though God knows we need all the help we can get with all these man-made problems and more.

And it's not that you aren't compassionate and full of joy. You're great. Inspite of you being changed into different colours for corporations and being bastardised to represent materialism gone mad - despite probably originating in some season based pagan druid ritual a million thought miles from requests for spontaneously combusting hoverboards.....kidadults cynically pointing this out after having their moment of belief in you are wasting everyone's precious time. Because you are not for them. You are for the children. Children who need some magic in a world where the borders between innocence and responsibilty, playful imagination and cold adult obstacles are continually shrinking.

This is what I'd like to ask you to help with. A little more time for children to be children. Stretch the moment of magic and playfulness. Distract them from the realities of a world gone mad so that they can laugh with their breath rather than sob with their tears. Especially those caring for family members, or suffering illness, hunger or poverty. Especially those hiding in buildings as bombs rain down or be handed shaking with fear or cold into a boat to escape environmental disaster or war. Please help to light up their worlds with a moment of joy and hope....

Spare a thought too for those millions who want to write to you but for illiteracy can't. Hear their words and help to give them the time and chance to learn to read and write so they can better their lives and escape their impoverished beginnings.....

I feel a little sorry for you. And I guess I've done exactly what I said I wouldn't....asked you to help with adult problems and solve some of the greatest worries we have for our children. I promise to leave some extra Port and mince pies for you.

Lots of love,

Benedict x


I find this a beautiful 'prayer' and one I would say to God. Having said that I do believe this request for our children is so urgent and more than toys and eats if one were to actually ask for anything, it must be for a safer and better world for them. Compared to what it was when we were kids, and then when my kids were young, it's scarier, more unsafe, and an unhealthy place for our present generation - in terms of the environment, safety & security, and war.

Wishing all of you Happy Holidays! To those who celebrate Christmas - have a merry and blessed Christmas.

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Sunday, August 23, 2015

Tiny Conversations & Rainy Days


The Two Minute Wait

The twins are a little over eighteen months, and one-word or two-word conversations jerk along in English, Spanish and Hindi. One day, Mia, the younger of the twins, wanted something real bad and was getting impatient and I saw a tantrum coming up. In an effort to stall it, I lifted my hand and patted the air gently and said, "Wait, wait," and then holding up two fingers I continued, "Two minutes."

"Two minutes?" she asked, holding up two fingers. 

"Yes, baby, please wait for two minutes."

"Wait," she echoed, patting the air gently the same way she had seen me do. I smiled in answer.

Whatever it was that had to be done, I forget what now, took longer than two minutes, but it didn't bother me because Mia certainly didn't know how long two minutes was.

The next morning, she woke up early and I went to her cot. She looked like a sleepy, dishevelled cherub.

"Good morning, my little birdie. Morning, morning!" I said cheerily and bent to hug her.

"Wait,wait," she said patting the air with her little hand, "two minutes?"

Then laboriously hauled her herself up and lifting her arms high demanded, "Dodi." She wanted me to carry her and was using the Hindi word 'godi' pronouncing it her way. I lifted her out of the cot and put her down.

She walked around the house and then came and stood in front of me.

"Morning, morning," she smiled.

I had waited for more than two minutes! Was she telling me something?!



The Two Minute Argument


Amu, the older twin, can be quite assertive most times, especially when she thinks she's right. Not one to give up without an argument or demonstration of some kind when her vocabulary fails, she engaged me in an argument one day. They were watching one of their TV shows and 'The wheels of the bus,' rhyme came up. She looked at it and knit her brows. The nanny had put on a different channel and the presentation wasn't the same. The bus looked more like a van.

"Car," she announced, pointing to the TV.

"Oh no, that's a bus," I said, deliberately baiting her.

"Car," she insisted.

"Bus," I said keeping a straight face, which was hard as laughter was bubbling inside. She had taken the bait.

We bandied our opinions for a while until she lost her cool.

She drew her face closer to mine and in a loud voice and no-nonsense tone declared with finality,"Car."

Unflinching, I drew my face close to her chubby one and said as firmly, but in a lower voice, "Bus."

A staring match ensued. She was the first to turn away. Her little face showed confusion. She didn't know how to react. She opted for diversion.

"Papa?" she asked 

"Office," I said.

"Mama?"

"At office too."

She repeated these questions a couple of times more. Then paused for a second or two. She had come to some conclusion. She leaned towards me again.

"Bus," she said and smiled.

I burst out laughing and cuddled my little teddy bear.



Slip of the tongue & Gentle Correction


We - the twins and I, were watching Gazoon, a cartoon featuring animals. It doesn't have any dialogues or songs, so I have to do a running commentary and add tones, inflections and drama to the whole show verbally. One such evening, while the twins were having their dinner, Gazoon was on and I was going full swing with my narrative.

"Hisssss.....there comes the snake...he's scary...oooh oh!"

"Scary....ooo," and Mia brings up her clenched hands under her chin and fakes a shiver!

"Stomp...stomp...stomp....here comes the Elephant and there's a cock-a-doodle-doo sitting on his head...hahahahaha...so funny!"

"Cocadoo...doo, so funny!" they chorus and laugh.

"And what's this? Someone's colouring the clouds! Look, it's a zebra...he's painting the clouds."

"Sky," Mia quietly corrects me. She doesn't know what clouds are, she only knows "sky" and thought it was mistake.

"Okay sky," I say, there was time to show her clouds later. And continued where I left off.

"Yes, and the giraffe is colouring the sky...." I got no further.

"Zebra," Amu quips confidently and she knows she's right...her expression says it all!

"What!...oh, yes, it is a zebra!" I laugh and they join me.

I knew why I was laughing...I suspect they knew too!



A Modern Sir Walter Raleigh


The much needed and awaited rain was welcome in all ways but one: it played villain to my daily walks. With water-logged streets, yes, we do have water logged streets even with a medium shower, it was not appealing to take a walk. So I'd spend some pleasant hours sitting by my bedroom window, intermittently burying my head in a book or gazing at the streets below.

There's always something or the other that catches my attention and that day too I witnessed what to me was a combination of everything that spelled romantic! It was cute, sweet, chivalrous, unimaginable, sort of adventurous, daring in a way...well, given the drizzle, cold winds, dark sky all these combined to make for a great Bollywood song setting...there I said it at the risk of sounding dotty!


I am almost directly over a crossroad. And the corners, at all four crossovers, aka zebra crossings get flooded during a heavy shower. As I sat gazing emptily into space, a movement in the periphery of my eye, caught my attention. 

A young girl, maybe seventeen or eighteen, slender build, was contemplating crossing the 'Red Sea' in a rather comical manner. Clutching her open umbrella, she would stretch out a leg and attempt to leap across...except she never thrust herself forward but kept hopping in place. Every time she'd make up her mind to jump she'd lose confidence and abort, ending up doing a little jig. Then I realized there was another spectator to this unintended pantomime.

A young man, possibly in his twenties, was across the street on the Norte side and was so amused by what was going on he had forgotten to cross to the side the girl was on, which is where he was headed. I guess he was as intrigued as I was and also keen to know how she would finally cross. Both of us watched her; I from my perch on the second level and he right across from her...but she was oblivious to everything.

Finally, she decided that her open umbrella was hampering her long jump over the muddy water and she closed it. If it meant getting wet so be it, is what I presumed she thought. Contrary to her belief, however, it lowered her confidence even more. Now, she hesitated to even stretch out her leg and hop. That's when I saw the young man make a snap decision. He splashed his way across the street and was by her side in the blink of an eye. She reared back surprised.

There was a brief conversation. She seemed to not like something and gave a negative nod. He was convincing apparently because a minute later, she took hold of her umbrella from the middle and the next thing I knew she was riding piggy-back with her arms wrapped around the youngster's shoulders. He sploshed his way through the muddy water with his precious load, and deposited her safely, relatively dry shoes and all, on the other side. Then happily made his way back and carried on his way.

I saw a Bollywood in that...can you blame me for being silly! I belong to another generation and it was so cute and sweet and mushy sort of romantic and warmed this woman, in her seat by the window, on a cold rainy day.

  






Sunday, June 21, 2015

Goodbye 'Hanky' & other little things

Where has the ladies' handkerchief gone?

I remember what an important part of one's dress this used to be. We shopped for 'kerchiefs or 'hankies' and spent quite a lot of time and money on getting the ones that were in. Oh yes, there were ones that were in and classy and ones that were so, er...aunty types or 'bhenji' no offence to anyone, I'm just stating how it was among us youngsters back then. Hankies never faded or ran bare, they just got lost, and had to be replaced with new ones. Maintaining them meant hand wash and ironing. And I did it happily. I commiserate the decline of this little piece of finery.


Then there were the kiddies' handkerchiefs. In those days there wasn't one kid in primary school without a hanky pinned, yes, you read that right...pinned, to his/her shirt/blouse/pinafore. And you read that right too...boys included! We're talking of kids in the ages of 3-6. As a young mom, I remember keeping a budget for kiddies hankies to be bought from Chandigarh on our annual visit. Jodhpur just didn't have what I wanted so I'd make do until the annual trip! Well, after all the handkerchief was a statement of sorts. It amuses me no end when I recall those days.


Today, the only handkerchief that retains it's position and place in a person's clothing is the men's handkerchief. As for us women, a sneeze is 'a-tissue'!


I still buy handkerchiefs, but not many. I can appreciate the convenience of carrying tissues. No maintenance and certainly a cheaper choice...no pun intended.


The other day I met someone and when she heard my name she exclaimed: "Oh, what a beautiful name! Joy and gay used to be my favourite words but now I don't like gay."


The other ladies and I laughed. But it is true. Though the word still retains its original meaning, the use of the word and what its connotation implies today limits the use of 'gay' to a specific meaning. I don't like words to be narrowed down so much. 
What a shame! Why can't I be happy and gay without being "gay?" I can no longer declare, as I used to, how "happy and gay" I am. To do so could be taken to mean a declaration of more than what I wish to imply.


That's another weekend gone by! I didn't want to do much and I didn't do much...task accomplished! 


Well, not really. I did post to my facebook page : D Stepladder 2 Hope, www.facebook.com/dstepladder2hope and I worked on some recipes for my blog http://www.chef-on-the-run.blogspot.com. But truth be told, I'm going through one of those hazy fazes, where ennui surfaces from time to time. I'd rather listen to music, watch a few old movies and serials, or curl up with the kindle and read...it's not as bad as it sounds though...there isn't any marathon TV watching! Anyway I'm breaking the tedium with this post and some other things-to-do that have been languishing in a state of neglect. Good for me!




Tomorrow, Sunday 21st June is Father's Day! I celebrate my dad's life and work through wonderful memories. My sons who are fathers bask in the adoration of their little daughters. I draw great peace and joy in taking all this in. I feel blessed. But now I'll call it a day and sign off!