Monday, August 29, 2011

A mother's nightmare

Puttachi:  Amma, won't it be nice to be able to see in all directions at once?  Not only in front?
Me:  Mmm, yeah.... like eyes in the back of your head?
She: No, if we have only eyes in the back of our head, it will get covered by hair.  So we should have three more heads.  One at the back, one each at the sides.
Me: Hmm, but I can think of one problem with that - you will have to get four heads washed (she hates hairwashes) every time your hair gets dirty!
She: (ignores me) But you can see everywhere!  We can walk backwards without turning our necks!
Me: (intent on being a partypooper)  When you have a cold, you will have to clean four noses.  Every morning and evening, you will have to brush four sets of teeth because you will have four mouths!
She: (eyes lighting up)  Four mouths!  Amma, that will be so much fun!  One mouth can keep talking, and then when it gets tired, the second mouth can start talking, and so on, and by the time the fourth mouth gets tired, the first mouth will not be tired any more and then it can start talking again!  I can talk all the time!
Me: (faints)

Friday, August 19, 2011

Copycat

I realized I should do this more often - but today, I just entered my blogname into http://copyscape.com, and found that this website  has copied this post of mine  word to word, with no credit, of course.  I've written to them to ask them to remove it from the site. Waiting to hear from them.

Suggestions on what else I could do?

Update on 20th.: thank you all for your support! Citrus Heights got back to me and told me they have removed the post, and also notified the blogger who posted it on their site. But that blogger still has that post on her blog
There is no contact info on her blog, and only members are allowed to comment on her blog. What should I do next? Report to google?

Update on 25th:  Since I had no way to contact the plagiarist blogger and resolve this privately, I had to approach Google.  They were very quick, within a few hours, they got the content removed from the page and reported it to me.

The blogger now has a note at the end of that page, in which she calls me a cyber stalker and a bully and accuses me of stealing her content, and plays the martyr, saying she cannot help it if people choose to steal from her!  And this from a person who had copied my content so directly, that she had retained words like "menthya" and "methi" that were in my post, the meanings of which there is not the remotest chance of her knowing!  :) And the only way I could copy her was for me to travel forward in time to  May 4th, read her post, come back to  May 1st and write it all down.  Phew, some people, I tell you!

Anyway, I hope that's the end of that.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Join your child in Fantasy-Land

When you have to deal with an imaginative child, a child who is forever living in a world of fantasy - there is room for a lot of fun and frustration.

When a child is steeped in play, and is seriously telling her teddy bear that she (the bear) is not doing a good job of looking after her bear cub, how can she possibly hear a mother yelling at her to wash her hands, brush her teeth, eat her food, put on her socks, drink water, and other such non-important tasks? 

When two counters reach "Home" in a game of Ludo, how can a child possibly continue the game without plunging into a world where the red counter invites the blue counter, who is his neighbour now, to his "home" for tea and biscuits?  How can they not chat about the neighbourhood and about the other empty houses around them that are waiting to be filled with green and yellow counters?  The mother is all the while twiddling her thumbs itching to finish the game so that she can go and start preparing dinner - but how can she stop the child, when the mother actually understands the world the child is in?  But stop the child she must, else the red and blue counters will get married and give birth to little counters, and the child will have to go without dinner that day!

When it is late for school and the mother expects the child to put on her shoes herself while she (the mother) gets herself ready, how can the child not stop to make the school shoes say goodbye and see you later to all the other shoes in the shoe stand?  And then the school shoes have to comfort the park shoes who are going to miss the school shoes.  This takes time, you know - who cares that the school bell will ring when such important matters have to be dealt with?  The mother cares, and the mother hurries, but the mother feels so sorry for the child who doesn't even realize that the mother is hurried and harried, so much at peace is she in her own sweet world.

I've learned that the best way to get things done is to get into the game yourself and then speak in words that the child will understand.  I can only give you the example of a father I saw in the park the other day.  His son was on a play instrument, with a "steering wheel."  He was deep into his game, and his concentration was obvious from his furiously furrowed eyebrows - he was honking, and driving to "Mysore".  The father tried once, twice, to tell his son, "Come on, it is 6, let's go home."  But the child could not even hear his father.  Then the father said, "Oh wonderful, we've reached Mysore!  Now, come on, let's look for a parking space - ah look, there between two cars, under the tree.  Can you park there?  You can?  Wonderful.  Come on, now, let's go."

The child "parked" his vehicle immediately, jumped off the platform into his father's waiting arms, and went off happily.  I was really pleased that day.  It is so rare to see someone handling such things without raging against the child.

It works for me too - I usually sit and watch Puttachi's play take its own course - but when it is dinnertime or bedtime or schooltime and things just have to be done before such and such a time, I join in her play and gently nudge it in the direction that I want it to - it works ninety percent of the time.  And I have a happy kid cooperating with me after that.

Friday, August 05, 2011

A Year of Independence

It's been a year since I started driving solo.  I keep wondering why I took so long to do start driving (Actually I know why - there are many valid reasons, but I wonder "why" nevertheless.)

My life has changed in many ways - most expected, some unexpected.  It is so liberating to be free of rude, cheating auto-drivers, and so good to not depend on S to drive me around.   Good for S too, I suppose!

I have inspired at least two others to plunge into driving, and two more are waiting in the wings.  One of my friends who has started driving called last month to thank me, and told me that the word I had used - "liberation" had never been so literally true for her until then.  If there's anybody else out there who's dilly-dallying and getting scared of Bangalore traffic - I suggest (at the risk of adding to the congestion) - go for it!

The first few weeks of driving was physically painful - I had headaches everyday.  Just as I was despairing of it, things got better magically - my hands didn't clutch the steering wheel any more, my breath became more even, my shoulders relaxed, and the headaches vanished.

Initially I went from apprehensive mode to confident mode to over-confident mode - and during this last stage, I had a couple of minor scrapes within a span of a week - and that pushed me right into cautiously confident stage, where I've been ever since.

In the beginning, I just drove in the familiar comfort zone, like a horse with blinds - not looking here and there - concentrating totally on the clutch and the gears and the traffic.  But as time went by, all this became second nature, and I gained enough confidence to look around, look for directions while driving, and found my way back with ease if I got lost.  Except for parking troubles, things are pretty cool around here.

Driving has got me wondering - is the way a person drives indicative of his personality?  Does an aggressive person drive more rashly?  Is a driver with a blemish-free record a careful, planning person in real life?  It does sound like it must be true - but I am not too sure.  What do you all think?

But driving in a place like Bangalore must surely change personalities at some level or the other.  I am a mostly a non-aggressive, non-argumentative, non-confrontational person.  But being such a driver in Bangalore won't get you around much - so have I changed at least a fraction after I started driving?

I do remember something that rattled me once.  I was trying to turn right into a main road from a narrow side road.  As some cars were parked atrociously on the left side of the road, I was trying to make the turn from the right side of the narrow road (the wrong side.)  A car came in from the main road wanting to turn into the road I was in, and found me blocking its way.  A moment of thought would've told him why I was on the right side (the wrong side) of the road, but instead of waiting, the driver blocked my path, switched off his engine and glared belligerently at me.  I was tremendously angry, but with an effort, maintained my cool, avoided eye contact with him, maneuvered the car out of the muddle and went my way.   The annoyance stayed for a couple of minutes but then I forgot about it.

But that night, I dreamt that I was back in that situation, and was repeatedly crashing into that man's car in anger - much like a jealous Herbie crashes into the new car in The Love Bug.  I awoke quite shaken.  If this is what driving is doing to me, I won't drive, I thought, in a moment of righteous indignation.  But thankfully, that feeling passed, and I haven't had such violent urges since.

Makes me wonder, though.  What do you think?
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