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Entries in things dads do (46)


Possibilities - a conversation

We were talking about the election results while driving back from school, when Jr. is suddenly all moping.. 

Me : What happened now?

Jr. : Everyone in my class will get to vote in the next election except me! I am the only one who will not be 18 by Voting day in 2020. Do you know how bad that makes me feel?

Me : you will get to vote in 2022. Big deal

Jr. : Who wants their first vote to be in a midterm election? 

Me : If I were you, I would be happy to vote in any election. Reminded her of the story I had already told her about my voting experience...

Back story: The only time I got to vote in India being an Indian citizen was when I happened to come home to Chennai from Varanasi and it was election time. I went to the booth and the guy there told me "you have already voted. now disappear before something bad happens to you!". My grandpa scolded me for going to the booth alone, instead of showing some rightful indignation. That was when I was 18 (Chandrasekar was Prime Minister..it was a short lived tenure). I came to the US when I was 20 and the next time I actually voted was in 2006 as a US citizen in a midterm election and voted for Arnold Schwarzenegger! Have not missed voting since then. No one has told me that I have already voted or turned me back. I drop my mail in ballot at the Cupertino City hall a few weeks ahead of the election and can even track my vote. However I do hear that people go through things like what I went through in India, even today in the US elections in many places. 

Back to our conversation..

Jr. : Could you not have conceived me two weeks earlier? This is all your and amma's fault that I don't get to vote. 

I was suddenly silent and upset. There are people these days who schedule C-sections so their kids are born on an auspicious birth star, a certain Chinese zodiac year, before Dec 31st so they can claim a dependent on their tax return, etc. etc. ( know of all above cases).. but trying to beat the voting cutoff?! That is new!

Then I thought,  she was not a planned C-section. Her poor mom pushed and pushed all day and finally after she almost came out, she got stuck and it ended up an emergency C-section. 

Me : You were two weeks late and past your due date. Your origial due date was Deepavali, but you showed no signs of coming out. We were in the hosptal instead where your mom had to go through a baby stress test. You were under no stress. So they sent us back home. If this is anyones fault, it is your own. You should have been on time! 

I knew that was mean, but there comes a time in a mans life when he is just plain tired of being the fall guy. 

Later I tried to make up for the outburst... with some luck.

Midterms are important.. sometimes even more important than the Presidential elections.. please keep saying that people. I have other reasons to support that statement now.

As long as Jr. takes her vote seriously, I am a very happy and proud father! 


There was a time..

There was a time when an economy class ticket would still get you a warm smile from the air hostesses, warm blankets, a kit with toothpaste, socks, eye patch, ear plugs for everyone, another kit with fun stuff to do for every kid that gets on the plane, veggie noodles for snacks between meals, and among other things, a deck of playing cards to pass time.

We have been playing cards at home recently with the kids as the little one is turning into a rummy champion of sorts!

The one deck of cards that has still survived in the house is this one.

This deck pre dates both Jr. and the little one. We got it in the late nineties I think. I kept it as a souvenier of what air travel used to be like. The box is all taped up and the cards were handled with care over 16 years. 

Now we are playing with it. I am tempted to return it back into my shoe box and buy a new deck of cards to play with the kids. Given it is the first time we will be paying for a deck of cards, want it to be a memorable deck for the kids.

Who knows? Maybe they will tape it all up and show it to me in 20 years? 


Rudra blues

My taste in music was and is heavily influenced by Bob Dylan. One of my motivations for coming to the US of A more than 20 years ago was to see Dylan. That was checked off within a year after showing up here. Okay, that was not the primary reason!

Most of you also know my penchant for runon sentences and my liking for using not so easily pronounceable words in conversation.

It is very much possible that my memory, vocabulary, run on sentences etc. all have roots in my childhood. As a toddler I used to sit patiently on my grandfathers lap for hours and listen to him recite scriptures. To this day that is my most favorite memory of him. 

Jr. and the little one are always amazed by my memory and I keep telling them that if they just listen to certain sounds, there is a benefit to their brain and the way they can register things. It is true that I don't have any personal experimental proof of this with the western scientific method, but this is based on what the smart elders in my family concur with and it is possibly working in my favor. Nevertheless, not everything needs a proof this way as some experiements go on for generations over thousands of years! Maybe this is one such experiement in progress where these chants are taught?!

Jr. now knows almost 80% of the Chamakam and recites it with the correct pronunciation.  I am not asking her to recite it, but just sit next to me when I recite. So far, so good..

We (Jr. and me) had an idea to do a video of the last stanza with some inspiration from Dylan's Subterranean Homesick blues. 

It is funny that she was introduced to Dylan before she was introduced to Chamakam.. 

Here is the result..

You will see a video here somday where Jr. recites the entire thing. On a side note, we had a funny incident at home a few months ago when she was conscious of her accent when it came time to pronounce some words. Given that she knows neither Hindi or Sanskrit and only Tamil, she was not comfortable reading it in English. 

My initial reaction was to enroll her in Sanskrit class in hopes that she will pick up the Devanagari script and that did not work out. Did find something else to motivate her.. A video where a bunch of Caucasian folks recite Rudram with perfect intonation (catch it from the 55second mark) that taught Jr. that it has nothing to do with where you are born and what your native tongue is and it is just a question of practice and finding a good teacher!

I called it the Rudra blues because sometimes listening to this or chanting this makes me miss my grandfather and the Kapaleeshwarar temple and also sends me back to simple and innocent days from my past. Then again, watching the kids pick it up makes me feel that some goodness is being transferred to the next generation!


When it comes to creating a "build up". . . 

After a long time, decided to update the Cooking section of this website. Given that the MIL is back in Seattle, it is time my hands took a ladle or two up. . . 

Wanted to have a nice banner picture for this page and roped in the little one for a trick photo shoot. Explained the concept to her.. "Daddy will look like Shakti except with cooking utensils instead of weapons?" 

She immediately got it. After deciding which things to hold in Daddy's ten hands, we paired up the things and placed 5 sets of utensils on the floor. The camera was set up on the tripod and ready to go. 

The little one had to click, come remove things from my hand, replace them with two other utensils and go back and click... then repeat this three more times! After downloading the photos and doing an initial merge she was disappointed. "I didn't do that good a job appa.. there are some places where you moved!"

Told her that it was not her problem and that she did an outstanding job. It just needed some quality time for Daddy with Photoshop.

1 hour later.. we present to you Daddy in his Vishwaroopam pose in the kitchen..

Never before has a buildup for cooking seen this in the history of cooking or "buildup".

Pretty sure I will be diagnosed as OCD becaue most of the time was spent in getting the shadow right. 

The most important thing in all of this?

The little one is going to be one hell of a photographer and eventual photoshopper. En kula kozhundhu has been identified!


Kitchen fun

Getting back in the kitchen more often these days, just on a whim!

Made some "Adai" with the little one for company. 

Adai : ~18 % protein (batter made from rice and lentils)

It is good to be back!