Happy All Hallows Eve

Did you know November 1st is Saints Day? With Halloween around the corner, I thought it might be fun to see how the word evolved. So, here goes:

November 1st is All Saints Day

Therefore, October 31st is All Saints Eve

October 31st is All Hallows Eve (‘Hallow’ also means to make holy or respect greatly and hence, synonymous with Saints)

October 31st is All Hallows Even (It is the evening after all)

When you try to say ‘Happy All Hallows Even’ about 30 times in 2 minutes, you get at ‘Happy Halloween’. (I suggest you try the exercise in private.)

All this is fine so far, but if you are unsure as to how All Saints Day got associated with ghosts, ghouls, spirits and ugly decor, please check out this news item that walks you through the progression of Halloween over the centuries.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/28/forgotten-history-of-halloween_n_6062236.html?ncid=tweetlnkushpmg00000067

In the meanwhile, two diabolically different worlds are coming together in the household this year for Halloween. A perfectly poised Hermione Granger (replete with the fake British accent) from the Harry Potter Universe will boss around 3 year old Lightning McQueen. Uncharacteristically, for Lightning McQueen, he will listen humbly and follow unquestioningly all the directions that Hermione sets forth for him. So what if the Harry Potter Universe is still using floating candles and speaking Latin, while Lightning McQueen is off touring the world and racing big-time? Who said there should be no collision between fictional worlds?

Speaking of fictional worlds, it is time for us to peek into that lovely forest with all the animals to see what they are doing to celebrate Halloween. Halloween In The Jungle is now available in the iBook store. Tango Tiger, Oby Elephant, Biso Bison, Percy Parrot, Zebo Zebra and many more join in this adventure to make Halloween a success in the Jungle. Please grab a copy, and listen to the story while sipping some pumpkin juice from Farmer Hasalot’s pumpkin patch.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/halloween-in-the-jungle/id928925386?ls=1&mt=11

Halloween In The Jungle
Halloween In The Jungle: 

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/halloween-in-the-jungle/id928925386?ls=1&mt=11

The Jungle is a busy place with Halloween approaching, eerie orchestra sounds, pumpkin juice and lemonade stalls, spiders at work. You must feel just a little bit compelled to chip in, right?

The Jungle is a busy place preparing for the Halloween Party
The Jungle is a busy place preparing for the Halloween Party

Happy Halloween! May the force be with you!

Dishwasher Chronicles: Can Birds Roar Like Lions?

I  read somewhere that these great and wonderful kings of yore were excellent orators. They probably approached their troops the morning before the war and enthused their troops with words dripping with honey, infused with rage, that sent their blood pumping with pride, so they performed their best on the battlefield. We cannot, in all honesty, lay any such claims when we sent the poor husband off to wage a war with the Dishwasher company, but we tried.

The fact that the dishwasher had tested our patience was evident:

https://nourishncherish.wordpress.com/2014/09/24/the-dishwasher-chronicles-part-1/

https://nourishncherish.wordpress.com/2014/09/30/dishwasher-chronicles-part-2/

https://nourishncherish.wordpress.com/2014/10/08/dishwasher-chronicles-part-3/

Not only were tempers short, but festivities abounded. There was Krishna Jayanthi, Vinayaka Chaturthi, Navarathri, a couple of full moons, a couple of new moons and all the days of waxing and waning moons in between. Every God had to be appeased, and every blip in the lunar cycle acknowledged. What was one to do? How does all this affect dishwashing you ask. If ever there was a race to determine the maximum variety of dishes cooked, I am sure the sturdy South Indian family will lead the race with a resounding burp. Festivals provide ample opportunity for the palate to be challenged and rewarded. Consequently, the dishwashing load increased.   It did not help matters at all that in the 2 months since installing the new dishwasher, the repairmen had clopped into their house with large horse-like feet twice with little to show. Much like horses, these men, left their shoes on as well. The slight pursing of the lips of the parents-in-law may have been lost on them men, but they were not lost on me.

All in all, there was sternness in manner and reproach in tone when telling the husband clearly that he must throw his weight about and create a ruckus.  His parents did their best to buck him up. They told him that their generation did not stand for such namby-pamby nonsense as polite calls to customer service. He was urged to gain inspiration from such sturdy souls as his uncle.

“Remember Kichaa Maama?” said the mother-in-l.

“I thought you didn’t like him much.” said the husband smartly for he seemed to know where the conv. was leading.

“That is not the point. Kichaa mama achieved things.” There was pride in her voice. Kichaa Maama’s mother could have learnt a thing or two on feeling proper pride at her son’s achievements.

“Who is Kichaa Mama?”I asked, nibbling a persimmon, from the sidelines.

The husband shot me a dirty look that said, “Et tu Brutus?”

It was just the cue that the parents-in-law were waiting for. They tripped over themselves explaining. This Kichaa Maama’s middle name was ‘Follow-up’. He was also a close relative: only twice-removed-on-the-paternal-side and once-removed-by-marriage-on-the-maternal-side. He never quailed at simple things such as customer service calls. Apparently, no atrocity of service was left to simmer in kitchens like this. He called and called them again. (“You mean, he made a pest of himself.” said the husband in a brooding low-tone. This slur on Kichaa Maama was ignored for the moment)

They were dealt with firmly in letters to the CEOs by that uncle. CEO’s, apparently, reacted much better to customer complaints than customer service representatives and this legendary uncle had received new items as replacements in his firm dealings with companies. Legend has it that he once received a new television set from the CEO personally. I am thinking he received a set of AA batteries for his trouble sent personally by the CEO’s secretary’s assistant.

The husband had a martyred look about him as he slunk out to call the customer service department that day and live up to the dubious precedent of Kichaa Maama.

The day wore on and the husband adroitly avoided all calls from home. The first words to greet the tired warrior as he stepped into the home were: How did the customer service call go?

The man grinned somewhat sheepishly and I knew what happened. There were things I am sure that the husband would like to imbibe from Kichaa Maama, but yelling at customer service representatives was not one of them.

“I did try.” said the endearing man. “But, the image of a sad customer service rep earning a regular paycheck to talk to irate customers all day long rose before me. What do they care about an Indian man whose house is filled with dirty dishes?”

“So, what? Did you even try to tell them that this was the third time that all this is happening?”

“Yes. Yes. I did. “ said he rather pained and stung that he should not have mentioned the trauma the household was in. Another repairman will come to take care of things anytime between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. before the next full moon. (I exaggerate, but this time he did not even get a shorter window in which to make ourselves available. Really!)

“Let’s go for a walk.” I said hurriedly before proper admonitions were forthcoming. It was clear that the man was incapable of having a customer service rep reach for their earplugs, so why harp on the point?

“Did you let them know that there are upset people in the house?” I asked when we had reached the safety of the sidewalk lined with trees whose leaves had started changing colors to welcome beautiful Fall.

The husband laughed and said that he did start off in an irate tone of voice, but then he thought of the poor lady’s life. “I mean, she has a life and we have ours. Her job was to note down complaints and take care of them. Two sentences into my call, I think she sensed my reluctance and I started laughing. I told her that everyone was upset and she said very fairly that she understood our situation. So, she noted it down in her comments that, we are upset, and that it has happened twice already – so, the CEO knows the nourishncherish family is upset over the dishwasher.” said the man, a smile quivering over his lips.

Sigh. If a bird tried to roar like a lion, could it?

Dishwasher Chronicles - Can birds roar?
Dishwasher Chronicles – Can birds roar like lions?

P.S. The third set of repairmen clopped into the house looking like Laurel & Hardy and this time spoke with great Spanish comedian authority that the slider was the problem. All in all, all the innards of the dishwasher have now been replaced. We walk gingerly around it, just in case. Friends suggest a tribal dance to appease the Dishwasher Gods.

P.P.S.: Last night, the dishwasher knew that the saga around it was coming to an end and made a weird noise like it was thudding shoes around inside. Please keep your fingers crossed.

Dishwasher Chronicles Part 3

I have always wondered how it must be to be an agriculturist. What if you had fields of coconut trees and jackfruit trees? How do you detect from the outside given the rough and tough exterior of the produce if it is ready for harvest or not? Let’s take coconuts for example. Do you gaze up at the trees and think, “That big one over yonder looks big and green enough, so it must be ready.” . Then, you go fetch some ropes, hoist yourself up there and sever it from its tree and plop open its head.

What if, after all this bother, you find it still has another week before its prime time? You can’t seal it closed again and attach it back to the tree, can you?

coconut farmer

Examined from this angle, I suppose, the plight of modern dishwasher users is better than that of a coconut farmer at harvest time. Though, the methods are the same.

You still need to hoist yourself at a safe distance from the dishwasher to determine whether it is done or not, for the only way to find out whether the dishes are done is to plop open the dishwasher. If it is not done, you run the risk of having the dirty or partly clean water give you a splash. All the controls and progress indicators are set on the top panel which slides out of view when the dishwasher is closed remember? I must say, the husband is the most skilled at this among us. The rest of us baboon around till there is water on the floor and are still unable to see how much of the task remains.

As was so often the case, the dishwasher stopped midway through and the husband’s skill-sets were increasingly called upon. Initially, he was able to tell us how much of the cycle was done.  He would say, ’23 minutes remaining’, so just switch it on again, or ’46 minutes 30 seconds left, let’s just do the dishes’ and dash away from the premises for an (ahem) important meeting. But later on, he professed ignorance. I don’t think this kind of degradation of service is acceptable anywhere. How can you go from giving the exact number of minutes and seconds remaining to nothing? There was much murmuring and looks-exchanging at this.

The parents-in-law accosted him one morning and said enough was enough. Either he shouted at the person he got on the phone, or they would call the nice fellow who came last time and assured them in Spanish about the parrots-liking-green-tea and ask him for explanations. The husband looked cornered – there were three belligerent-looking blokes/blokees demanding explanations or a new dishwasher. He buckled and said he would do his best to shout at the customer service representative.

I caught his eye and couldn’t help smiling. The husband may be the head agriculturist if ever we become coconut farmers or jackfruit orchard owners. But he shall not be the one shouting at the coconut if it is not yet ripe. I gave him a much needed cup of coffee from a cup picked up from the dishwasher and sent him on his war.

I have a sneaking suspicion on what happened on the call and this, I shall share, with you all in the next blog entry.