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Category Archives: Humour

Summer jobs, easy money

It is common to find hand written or typed posters of services being offered by children, in the condominium that we live in here. A few days back, our neighbors daughter, who is a year older than Akank, had taped a typed poster in the elevator console that announced that she was available to baby sit children over the summer vacation.

Yesterday, I asked Akank if the girl had been successful in finding a job. Akank was doubtful because she had seen the girl spending time with friends in the park near by. I asked Akank if she intends doing something similar over summer. Since she loves books, I suggested that maybe she could read to the kids. She gave me one of her don’t – be – ridiculous- ma looks and said no one would pay her to read books to their kids but she said she probably could walk dogs for pet owners. And the conversation progressed like this-

Me – That seems like a good idea. You could charge them two dollars for a half hour walk.
Akank- Two dollars is low.
Me – Why would they want to pay you anything more when they have their maids to do it for them for free?
Akank- Ma, five dollars is easy money to make for walking dogs.
Me- ( finding an opportunity to drive home a valuable point) No money is easy, Akank.
Akank ( nonchalantly) – Yes it is. I have to just open your wallet to take out a five dollar. That is easy isn’t it?

And she burst into laughter seeing how I reacted and to tell me that she was just joking. Or, I hope she was.

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Posted by on April 10, 2011 in Conversations, Humour

 

Roleplaying to the hilt

Akank’s class is discussing Poverty in West Africa in humanities this term. They have been divided into teams and each team represents a country from the African continent. Akank and her team represent a family from the Ivory coast (Côte d’Ivoire). Each day the teams are presented with a stack of cards that have situations described for crops, family, disease etc. Each team gets to choose one card from each stack that dictates the situation in their representative country. The kids are then asked to reflect on the situation and write down their thoughts into their Humanities work books. Akank is the geriatric head of family with a drug addicted son in law, a grandson with worms in his stomach ( as though that is ghastly), an unmarried depressed young man who is her son in law’s brother and as of yesterday a refugee from Ghana where the crops failed. Each day she gets a new situation to reflect and write. On day one her situation card read a very grave message ” You hate your son in law because he is an addict. Your daughter died at childbirth, the grandson has worms, the crops are failing”. Yesterday the situation changed to ” your country is disease free, you have a refugee from Ghana, he is young and energetic, your relationship with son in law has improved”.

I am waiting for her to get back from school to tell me what the new twist in her life in West Africa is!  What a way to learn social studies!

 
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Posted by on February 10, 2011 in Humour, School

 

The morning after

Akank gets better organized with her work, eats her lunch till the last scrap, completes all classwork, enters homework in her school organizer and updates me on her lessons at school, the day after we have an encounter at home. I have read articles, received advice from family and friends, on how children have to be treated as responsible people, how it is not advisable to ever raise your voice or be annoyed at them. Major pooh-pooh. I call that methodology impractical. I have seen it not work with Akank. There have been days when I have been blessed with immense patience, understanding and good humour and on such days home work lasts over 3 hours. Then there are days when I am short fused, irritable, crabby and easily annoyed. Home work and revisions get done in half the time.

Two days back Akank and I had a face off after school. The next day, she came back with completed classwork, lunch and entries in the organizer. Even the books that she had collected for deprived children in Bintan, that was rotting in our library for weeks on end, were dropped into the collection box at school. When I asked Akank what brought about the change, she shrugged. I observed that the show down seems to have worked well and she was quick to say this –

‘ Not really. I was sitting in the school bus thinking about it. Then a thought occurred to me. Piece of cake. As soon as I got to school, I completed everything on my check list. I realized that I was delaying it all because I didn’t really want to do them. I even stuck the cover of my portfolio that was falling apart. My teacher had reminded me of it a few times last week ‘.

No, I am not celebrating yet. I have a strong sense of deja vu about all of this. I know this will happen again. And yet again. Till then I hope to have more days filled with immense patience, understanding and good humor.

 
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Posted by on January 26, 2011 in Conversations, Humour, School

 

On Mufti days at school.

Back in the days when I was at school, Wednesdays were assigned as colour dress days. That was the day of the week, that we were allowed to be at school wearing clothes other than uniforms. That was the day, my mother chose what I would wear to school. Not that I had too many clothes in the wardrobe to choose from. There was a dress from the birthday, one from Diwali or another festival and a few from previous birthday’s and Diwali’s and other festivals of the previous years. I was never given a choice. Even then, my ma would be stressed out on Wednesdays. She resented the fact that I would ask to wear something different from what she chose.

Today was mufti day at school for Akank. She does not get ‘colour dress’ days every week.  She is allowed to be in mufti only when there is a fund collection drive at school. Even with these rare occasions, my stress quotient gets tested, even though she has more clothes than I did in my days. Like this morning, Akank tried out six different combination before she settled on one that I did not approve. As such we have a tight schedule between her wake up time and the time by which the school pick up arrives. With this added confusion of what- would- be- the- perfect- dress- to -be- seen- in -at- school, there was little time for breakfast and saying thanks for blessings received. What I chose for her was ‘ I wore that for last Mufti day’ or ‘ my friends have seen me in that already’ or ‘ I wore that last time to the movies’.  What she chose would be either ‘ too short’  or a wrong choice because of a reason known only to moms. Between us, we woke the house up. With my ‘ I wish- you-showed- half- the interest- in your subjects’ and with her retorts of ‘ ‘you- always- have- to -connect- everything- to- subjects’ I think we even woke the neighbors.

All the time, my ma, who is visiting us, was listening. When Akank left for school she came around to talk to me. She  casually remarked that it looked like I had a tough morning. When I began telling her about what the noise was about, she gleefully chuckled and reminded me of my growing up days and said something that sounded like ‘pay back time’.

 
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Posted by on November 19, 2010 in Emotions, Humour, School

 

Prep time

Akank is meticulous about preparing for the arrival of her pup.  She has been that way for four years already. So its almost like revising details the fourth time over.  Around the house its common sight to spot Akank with either the” The complete identifier” or ” A concise guide to Dog Breeds “or more recently ”  Golden Retriever”and ” 97 ways to make your dog smile”.  She also creates projects for herself. Today it was another attempt to write down her responsibilities and commitments as a new dog owner. Time and again, she has heard us warn her that it is ultimately going to reflect on her academics and we would not be happy if her school records take a dive because of the new distraction.

A few weeks back she wrote a dozen points under a title called ” Dog Commitments”. It was a first attempt at recording her commitments to us, once the dog arrives. It  mostly had details of how she will take care of her dog and less to do with how she will take care of school work and be responsible ( I remember a point that said ” Will set aside time for school work, piano lessons and Paatu practice” ). We had commented on her list of commitments and asked her to include more of what she will do towards maintaining a harmonious balance between being responsible for both her dog and her work at school and other lessons.

Today she attempted for the second time, at listing the do’s and don’ts and called it ” Notes to Self “. I will list a few that I could not help smiling at:-)

Do not let on bed or sofa ( very very reluctantly)

Do not forget school work (ever)

Do not let into kitchen ( even by accident)

Keep possessions at height

Warn appa to keep his possessions at a height ( Amma does not possess much) .

How I laughed when I read this. I almost missed the last point, which was a little disturbing.

” Have to teach him the command kill in case I have a row with someone”.

 
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Posted by on July 20, 2010 in Humour, Pet

 

Lets talk dog

Akank’s long time want is closer to being met this year. From the time she learnt to say dog, she has wanted one. We have denied her a pup all these years and we have almost run out of excuses. From ‘ you have to learn to organize yourself’ to a lame ‘ you have to learn to walk your dog’ I think we have covered almost all reasons. The saving grace has been that her father has been enthusiastic to a future prospect of letting our little girl own a pet from the beginning. So, lately, Akank talks about her impending gift for her soon to come around 11th birthday( I have waited 8 years, ma!). She is disappointed when I don’t share her excitement  and sulks when I tell her to save the discussion for later ‘when the time is near’. Since we pretty much discuss everything else, I only thought it fair that she saves discussing this topic with her father, who shares her enthusiasm.

The other afternoon I saw her busily scribbling into her book. She brought it to me later and I saw around 18 questions about her pet dog, all prepared for the evening discussion when her father got home from work. There were a range of questions from naming to buying dog feed, collar colour ( Can we give him a  blue collar?), pet rules at home, toilet training, to where to pick accessories and costs.  Question 9 caught my attention and brought a smile. It said ” Can you convince amma to talk about dogs with interest?”

 
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Posted by on June 12, 2010 in Humour, Pet

 

Messy cupboards and Tsunamis

A friend of ours wanted some help with French lessons for her son before his exams next week. My niece, who is older and is learning the language at college was visiting and so I offered her services to the child’s parents. The boy came with his French text alone and said he would send his note books and previously done test question papers and answer papers later in the evening. Akank was scheduled to go to the boy’s house later in the evening for her singing classes and offered to pick the papers up for my niece.

She got home later with three question papers. She described in great detail how difficult and time consuming it was to find them.

This is what she said – ” When he opened the first cupboard, a tsunami of papers fell on the floor. We rapidly looked for the question papers and didn’t find them. Then he opened the door of the second cupboard and another set of tidal waves as tall as palm trees drowned the papers already on the floor. In the process, I got drenched too….in paper. We finally managed to fish out just these three question papers from the mess.”

 
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Posted by on March 12, 2010 in Conversations, Humour