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Entries in things kids say (111)


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! 


You want the truth?

Was driving the kids back after we went to get some frozen yogurt and the radio was on.

An ad started with something along the lines of  "Walgreens would like to ask you a question. if you have to go buy groceries, but just a few groceries and you have to shop for other things, where would you go?"

Both the girls in the back seat were seriously digging into the yogurt and subconsciously they say "Target"

I started laughing out loud.

They asked me why I was laughing and I said "did you guys even listen to that? it was an Ad. For Walgreens! It started with Walgreens would like to ask.. "

Pat comes the reply from Jr. 

"hey, if you don't like to hear the answer to the question, don't ask it!" 

Walgreens has some soul searching to do. 



We visited the Livermore temple earlier this weekend. Before we left there was a lot of drama. The little one demanded that we pray at home with all the idols in the prayer shelf. We said "but we want to go to the temple and pray" and she goes "what difference does it make? we drive for one hour, stay there for 20 minutes and drive back in the hot sun for another hour! It is boring to drive like that. I want to just stay at home". 

While fundamentally she was right, we still wanted the temple ambience. Telling her that she was conceptually right somehow worked. She came as a favor to the rest of the family!

The Balaji idol was decorated beautifully with a big white "naamam". The little one goes into to sanctum and asks "Why is he having a big tooth on his forehead?"

She has been preoccupied with a tooth that is about to fall and to her credit, the Naamam with the black line in the middle(usually it is a red thilagam) definitely was not a well defined Naamam.

This reminded me of a conversation we had witnessed many years ago in that same sanctum..

She goes on to whisper a long secret of sorts into the ear of the Nandi (bull) in front of the Shiva idol. She was hugging the thing and everyone was watching her as it was unusual. Guess my mom had told her that if she wants to wish for something, or cannot hold a secret the best place to wish or say secrets is Nandi's ears. I asked her "what did you say to that Nandi for such a long time?" .. "I told him to make Jr. stop bothering me!" . Sure there was more to it than that one sentence.

Jr. was easy on us, but the little one seems to be different in her thinking.  She also seems to be the creative genius in the family. Never stops amazing us with her thought process, be it in the kitchen or at solving problems. 

The good thing is that she takes my side all the time! 


Killing as perceived by kids

This writing was prompted by a video that many of my friends forwarded on facebook in the last two days, a conversation with the little one and a recent visit to great america parkway where almost half the people we saw waiting in line for one of the rides were obese. Older people, kids, different races (black, white, hispanic) all struggling to walk or try to fit in the seat on those rides! The thought that kept going through my head was "these rides are all rated based on a safety factor of ? 2x ? and most of them were built 30 years ago? this population is almost 2x heavier than the population 30 years ago. what if the whole thing collapses?

We were on a Wilderness tour bus and the little one looked up to me and said 

"Daddy, Sheep are my favorite animal when it comes to materials we use from the animal. Do you want to know why?"

It was a weird statement, so I took my eye off the camera viewfinder and said "why?"

Her response was :

"all the other animals when humans use them, they kill the animal. on a sheep you only have to give it a shave and you get the wool and the sheep grows it back! That is why I like sheep"

I was touched by that and so were San and Jr. who were listening to this. Did't have the mind to tell her that folks eat sheep as well! 

Later that night, we had a conversation on why people kill animals as food. Told them that humans evolved from apes and when humans went to places like Alaska where food was hard to find the humans had two choices in winter..

a. Eat a lot of food and hibernate in a cave for 6 months like the bears

b. Find something to eat even in the winter months were plants dont put out anything

and since humans didn't have what it took to hibernate, they chose the second option by eating meat. 

Have shown them a video in the past that shows how our teeth compare to herbivores and not carnivores and meat eating is an abberation of sorts that got a lot of focus in history. 

Given today's world, the ability of humans to transport grains, fruits, vegetables and nuts there is not a big justification to eat meat. It takes at least 10 times the energy to make a pound of meat than to eat an equivalent portion of grain and that is taking a toll on the planet as more folks in China, India and other emerging countries with big growing "middle class" populations are starting to eat meat! 

The average American consumes the equivalent of 1400 lbs of grain (if you take into account the grain it takes to make the meat) to an average Indian at 300 lbs. When you put that in water usage it gets a lot more glaring.

Eating meat is a choice and is also a way of life. If your parents raised you as vegetarian, chances are you will be comfortable with veggies. You know there is a variety of dishes and ways to cook it to know that the lack of meat is not a big deal. If you are raised in a family that eats meat and you are taught that eating your meat is very important for your health, then it is understandable that it gets passed on generation to generation.

There are three things I learned that are worth sharing

1. If you have access to veggie stuff, then you can go easy on the amount of meat and you can make a huge impact to the planet!

2. Not eating meat in almost 80% of human inhabitated land (weather, climate related) where vegetarian options co-exist will not cause a health risk. The Shaolin monks are all vegetarian! All the Spiritual gurus and great Yogis I have seen are vegetarian. So there is no physical risk or mental risk when you don't eat meat.

3. If you eat meat, you have a higher burden of not wasting meat on your plate! Eat up! Throwing meat in the trash can is worse than throwing veggies in the trash. Not that I am encouraging vegetarians to waste food.. wasting is bad (specifially writing this for someone who reads this blog!)

On a personal note, my kids know that I did try eating meat for a few years while in grad school and found out in the process that I was extremely allergic to seafood (stopped eating even Veggie food in seafood places to avoid allergy attacks), could not eat red meat without consequences on my digestive system and the only thing I could eat was chicken. Eating chicken was crossing a psychological barrier than anything else. There was no chicken after marriage and those years of eating chicken occasionally did not make me stronger or improve my appetite or provide me with any extra survival skills. In short, could have comfortably been a veggie all my life and would not have missed anything. 

The whole Yoga experience puts things in a new perspective. Doing 90 minutes of exercise that pretty much tests every part of the body and learning that the four things you need for your body and mind to work in concert are oxygen, water, movement and then food in that order, the vegetarian food has not kept me back from improving or being able to do any of these exercises.

Totally understand now how the monks are vegetarian!


Smart enough.... but not smart enough?

A conversation earlier today that centered around some of Jr.'s classmates who have signed up for one week courses at Stanford and Berkeley for summer. Yes! You read that right.

Ten year olds attending special "educamps" in everything from Java program skills to Creative Photo editing and publishing... at a cost of ~ 1000 bucks for a Mon-Fri class which is 9AM-3PM.

My first thought was "How can I teach a class like that and retire soon?"

Anyways, we were talking about the correlation between the kids grades in school today to see if they are super smart.

Jr.: I don't know as we are not allowed to look at other kids report cards.

Me : when I was little the whole class knew what everyone got. The teachers would read out our scores before handing out our test papers!

Jr.: Well, it is different now and I did get many "O's" this year! (O is for Outstanding)

Me : (looking at little one) Did you get any O's?


Me : !!!!!????

Seriously, how can I tell her anything after a rhetorical question like that? You tell me!