Too much Reading

Adi is a terrific role model for Ari.
But, in some scenarios, he is being such a bad influence on Ari.

Take for example, his avid reading.
Ari takes after his brother.
I know. I know.
We all think reading is a good habit.
But, too much of a good thing can be a bad thing.

He reads in the restroom.
He reads on the street.
He reads when I am nagging him to get ready to school.

Ari observes all this.
And, chooses to do the same as his big brother.

It is a beautiful day out.

Ari is walking back home.
His lovely friend is walking back home.

She is urging him to stop reading so as not to walk into a bush or tree.
He doesn’t listen to her.

Now, let me ask you a question.
Let us assume you had a lovely companion of the opposite sex (or of the same sex my dear LG friends), would you keep your face stuck in the book.
No. I don’t think so.

You would make conversation.
Would you not?

Well, that is what I would do.
If I had a lovely friend to walk back home with, I would make conversation.
I would ask if their lunch was good.
I would ask how their day want at school.
I would ask if we can play outside in the evening.

I think I am going to have a strict chat with Ari later today and try to wean him off the bad influence that Adi (well, that one is a goner! hopeless!) is having on him.

Kumar’s BIG release = Cricket Match

This post is dedicated to all sports-loving-halves and sports-hating-halves-in-any-relationship.

Kumar has been telling me that there is a “BIG” release at work this last weekend.

After all these years with me, he fails to realizes how much I know (with my extensive reading and limited training) about psychology and reading both digital and body language (right to the eye movements!).

It is Saturday morning.
I am bustling around the Kumar household.
Getting things in order for the post-spring-break-back-to-routine storm that is going to hit us in a couple of days.

I make him a big cup of coffee to help him with handling the “BIG” release.

Kumar watching Cricket - Ambal Balakrishnan

He is intently focused on his laptop.
His headphones on.
His phone beside him.
See. To the untrained eye, it is so easy to buy the “BIG” release story. Is it not?

You don’t have to tell me.
I know. It is CRICKET. It is a “BIG” match.

So, I let him be.

I even humor him and endearingly ask him about “How is the release proceeding? Hope it is not too stressful.”

P.S. Don’t tell him I know about the fact that the “BIG” release = some completely — USELESS cricket match that India might be losing. Let the poor fellow be.

He Brings me Rocks

I think it has something to do with a man’s instinct….trying always his very best to please his girl.

It is not diamonds.
Just plain rocks.
Small rocks. Big Rocks. Shiny rocks. Coarse rocks.
All sort of rocks.
Just plain rocks.

He brings them to me almost every week.
Today the rock was from a field trip he came back from.

Once he caught me throwing (playfully!) his rock into the backyard and it broke his heart.
Ouch. I don’t want to break his heart.

So, despite my lean, mean and minimalist lifestyle, I find a place to put the rocks away in a big keep-sake box.

Even if it is not diamonds.
Even if it is just plain rocks.

I am glad Ari is getting started young.

Because, isn’t one of life’s craziest joys about trying to please the girl (or boy) that is special to your heart?!

So, later today, don’t forget to pick up that shiny rock (that looks like a diamond) to share with your sweetheart.

Bharathiyar’s Chinnanchiru Kiliye

Some poets pull the chords in your heart and bring about a myriad of emotions.

One of my favorite poets of all times is Bharathiyar. I think I might even have a huge crush on him.  His poetry has influenced my outlook on life. I want to live a free-spirited and forward-thinking life like him.

I try to share my love for Bharathiyar with the boys in small doses…a couplet here…and a couplet there. So, hopefully, one day they will sing it to the one who captures their heart.

When the boys kiss me, I end up singing
Lyrics in Tamil: கன்னத்தில் முத்தமிட்டால்-உள்ளந்தான் கள்வெறி கொள்ளுதடீ
English Transliteration: Kannathil muthamittal ullamthaan kalveri kolluthadi
English Translation: If I kiss you on your cheeks, my heart goes beserk as if it is drunk with liquor

When the boys are upset, I end up singing (Sickness in Winter)
English Transliteration: satrum mugam sivandhal – manadhu sanchalam aagudhadi
netri churukam kandal – enakku nenjam padhaikudhadi
English Translation: If your face turns to discomfort, even momentarily, my heart is disturbed
When I see your forehead wrinkle, my heart flutters with fear.

When the boys cry, I end up singing
Lyrics in Tamil: உன் கண்ணில் நீர்வழிந்தால்- என்நெஞ்சில் உத்திரங் கொட்டுதடி; கண்ணம்மா என்னுயிர் நின்னதன்றோ!
English Transliteration: unkannil neer vazhindhal – en nenjil udhiram kottudhadi
kannamma en uyir ninnadhanro?
English Translation: If I even see small droplets of tears in your eyes, a whole river of blood flows in my heart
(because) You’re the light of my eyes, my life is yours

Yesterday evening, I took the boys to Austin’s India Fine Arts first concert of spring series.  It was not 1 concert….but, 2 back-2-back concerts for 5 hours.

I lucked out. The artists wrapped up the concert with one of my favorites – Bharathiyar’s Chinnanchiru Kiliye Kannamma. Adi was in one of the first seats and captured this video.

Here are the artists featured in the video: Vidushi Shantala Subramanyam on Flute, Vidwan Vishaal R Sapuram on Chitravina, Vidwan Melakkaveri Balaji on Mridangam and Vidushi Sukkanya Ramgopal on Ghatam.

Because my sister-in-law Rema Hariharan hosted the visiting artists, I even got to hangout with them one of the evenings. They are not just talented. (As you know, I believe talent is over-rated.) The artists were so down-to-earth and such fun to get to know.

Thank you to Nagarajan Mama and Janaki Mami who are the pillars of carnatic music circuit in Austin. They move heaven and earth to bring talented artists to Austin. They make it possible for Adi to sit in the front row seats and get absorbed in the magic that happens as artists improvise and put to use every single technique that they have learnt over decades.

Mad Rush through the Grocery Store Aisles

I’ll say it. I hate shopping. Any kind of shopping.

Over the years, Daddy or Kumar have been the ones to do all our grocery shopping.

If I do have to go shopping, here is what I do. I make a list. And, dash from the parking lot to the store and thru the aisles. I put myself through the self-check out aisle because I am so impatient and can’t wait for a cashier to be available. If none of the self-check out aisles are available, I run a freakin’ brilliant mental algorithm (don’t forget, I have two engineering degrees in computer science) that will tell me which cashier will be available first.

While dashing through the aisles, if I can’t find something, I don’t loiter and look. I ask one of the store reps who show me where what I am looking for is.

On some rare occasions, I have encountered a hearing impaired person. They have told me they couldn’t hear what I said and have taken me to another rep who could help me.

But, that is not what happened yesterday as I was doing my mad rush across Randall’s aisle. I met Daniel.

Hanging with Daniel at Randalls - Ambal Balakrishnan
Hanging with Daniel at Randalls

Ari wanted plums. So, I asked Daniel where the plums where. He didn’t bother to point out to me that he couldn’t hear. He did something brilliant.

He smiled and whipped up his phone. He went to his google search bar and put the phone near my mouth. I said “plums”. Google images pulled up pictures of plums. He signed to me they didn’t have plums this time of year. Then, I said “coconut”. Google images pulled up pictures of coconuts. He took me to the coconuts section..but they had run out.

By now, as you can tell, Daniel has made it to the top of my “adore a lot” list. So, I asked him to whip up his phone again. I said “Thank you”. Google images pulled up pictures of “thank you”. He blew me a kiss.

We took a picture together.

Then, I continued to do my mad rush.

I asked for the store manager and gave him a glowing review about Daniel.

I want to do either of these 2 things:
Option 1: Mark up March 14, 2016 as “The rare day I chit-chatted when shopping at grocery store” and continue with my mad-rush-shopping act for the rest of my life.
Option 2: Perhaps, go shopping more. Loiter more. Because, I don’t know how many more helpful Daniel’s I haven’t met. Before my time’s up on this planet, I do want to meet them all, I do want to make them feel that they made my day by helping me, I do want to make chit-chat (even if they can’t hear my loud voice) and I do want to get blown several kisses.

Tech ROCKS. Does it not? See….how the simple power of google images helps the Daniel’s of this world.