I Think You’ll Like This Ma!

Mother’s Day was upon us and before we knew it, the children were wishing me a marvelous day. We sat there, refusing to get up from bed, and just enjoying the mother’s day stories of past years. 

“Remember the year you made me that crown?! “

The now-teenaged daughter shuddered, and said, “It was horrible – why did you wear it and take a photo too?! I would not have done that.”

I gave her a smile and thought to myself how satisfying it would be to see her eat those words willingly and happily when her time comes. 

The most touching gift I received this year was the pair of them thrusting their favorite books into my hands with shining, expectant eyes. 

“Read this one – we loved the book in our class. I really think you will like this one, even though we don’t have a dog.” said the son.

The daughter’s request was firmer. “No…no…don’t touch it like that. See – this spine? It must not be creased. A few rules with this book. I don’t want you falling asleep with the book in your hands. That causes the book to become lopsided.”

“Just give me the book! I know how to take care of books. I love them.” I said, and the son and I exchanged amused glances. He is often at the receiving end of this lecture from his sister and seemed happy to see his mother’s version was just as firm.

“Yeah yeah. But some books just have to be cared for you know? Your love can sometimes cause creases.”

She looked at me skeptically, then went to her bookshelf and picked out a book as an example. “See this one? I had to give this little guy here a lecture because I caught him bending it.”

“Love lines and laugh lines are the essence of life. Books like to have them.” I said weakly.

Really! This child.

I pulled out a favorite poem from A Sky Full of Bucket Lists by Shobhana Kumar and read out Spaces. Her haibun  in between the prose was just right. It was the prose I chose to help me this time.

She shows the children how to inhale the pleasure of unsullied pages. Savour subtleties from a dog-eared favorite.

“What do you think?”

“I love the poem Amma, but just…please? Unsullied pages, see?”

I nodded and did my finest teenage imitation. “Fine!”, and muttered how I preferred ‘subtleties from a dog-eared favorite’.

“Love you MA!”

So, it was arranged that I could fall asleep reading Shiloh, but must sit upright without coffee or tea nearby, or a tendency to fall asleep with Perks of being a wallflower in my hand.

To misquote P G Wodehouse, the surest way to find love is to have a shared taste in Literature. 

I must say both the books filled my heart with their poignancy. 

Happy Mother’s Day!

Mother’s Day in the Jungle

It’s Friday! It’s It’s It’s Friday!

I heard the son singing his Friday song. An infernal song with lyrics that are straight out of an album I know, but the rendition usually has joy in it, and that salvages it somewhat. I am partial to Friday mornings myself, but last week, I was simply unable to get out of bed even though I had something marvelous to look forward to. I know some folks who get up like an LED light: Zap to glory as soon as the switch is on.  How I envy these marvelous folks?! They light up at the crack of dawn and seem to bustle on. 

Self? I need a dragging to the watering hole, and steady nourishment to get to functioning state in a span of 2 hours. The husband gave me an amused look, and tried reviving the drooping shoulder with some coffee, but it wasn’t enough.

An hour later, I buzzed into the kitchen dancing and flitting like a hummingbird in spring. You see, I was invited to read my story, Mother’s Day in the Jungle, to the son’s elementary school classroom. 

Mother’s Day in the JungleScreen Shot 2021-05-09 at 12.19.16 AM

I love this one – It is a heartwarming story about the little animals in the forest getting together to prepare a mother’s day feast for their mothers. But one of them gets caught trying to pilfer sweet potatoes from Farmer Hasalot’s farm. 

At the end of the story, the children asked me questions, and I am always blown away by how much thought they put into these questions. I told them about how some parts of the story at least are inspired by elephants in the South Indian plains. They were curious to learn about elephant mothers and calves. They wanted to know about animal practices and whether the elephants or farmers were right, taking us beautifully into discussions on animal rights. 

As I read the story out to the children, it got me thinking of the many beautiful lessons of parenting that the animal kingdom shows us. So, that evening, I took off on a walk by the creekside. Watching the ducklings, and goslings take to the waters with their parents on either side is beautiful in spring. The birds flying home to their nests with the little ones waiting in nests is charming.

It is time to read Robert McCloskey’s adorable book. Make Way for the Ducklings


What would we do without Mothers? 

Happy Mother’s Day to all you wonderful mothers out there. There are days when getting up is a chore, but days like this one with unexpected gifts make up for it, don’t they?

A Mother’s Day Gift

I walked into the classroom to read my story on Mothers Day to the children. I was a little nervous. Would the tough audience respond well to the story? It is always the surest test. If their attention dithers, you have lost, if they are enthralled, nothing else matters.

The teacher told me that they will be settling down soon. I watched amazed as she quietly got all the children, who were, less than a minute ago, tumbling and hanging upside down in the playgrounds outside to sit on the rug in the middle of the class, and settle down to Reading Time.

Now..Now..Ian, what did we say about sitting quietly facing me?
Ardvash, sit with your bottoms on the floor please.
All of you, sit with your bottoms on the floor and look ahead. We have a very special thing happening today. Can anybody tell me what it is?

A flurry of hands shot up into the air, and several people started talking at the same time. A minute later, they sat chastened by the fact that they had talked over each other without waiting their turns. There is no greater joy than seeing children respond sweetly to their teachers. A mellow voice bursting with pride at being picked said, “We are getting story-time”
“Yes!” Said their teacher. “And we are lucky have an author, a real author, come to read us her book.”

I took a deep breath, had the children do the same, and launched into the story. I read to them how the animals had planned to celebrate Mothers Day in the Jungle. When Potini Elephant was in tears because she could not find her dear child, Trumpy Elephant, there was a hush. The story built on, and every now and then I stole a glance at the faces of the children. The sweet sincerity with which they bestowed their attention made my heart sing.

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Mothers Day In The Jungle – By B S Bumble

When the book was over, the children clapped and their teacher gently asked them if they were forgetting something. “Thank you!” they all chorused.

It is Teacher Appreciation Week, and the importance of a loving, firm but gentle influence on the children day in and day out is not lost on me.

We do not need to be told to sit on our bottoms when we get to work, or go to a restaurant. But I wish somebody would tell us to sit on our bottoms and listen to the wind rustling through the trees or the geese quacking their way home every night, and we listened with the heart-warming sincerity of children.

When you get the opportunity to read your Mother’s Day story to a class of children sitting “with their bottoms on the floor”, and they listen with rapt attention, there is no better gift for Mother’s Day, is there?

#HappyMothersDay to all you wonderful mothers and mother-like figures.

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Happy Mother’s Day

It has been ten beautiful years since my first Mother’s Day as a mother. I remember playing with  my first born and finding newer and newer methods to get her to kiss me. My peek-a-boos were becoming more grandiose. Once I twisted myself into a knot trying to get my head in between the sofa and the chair for a new angle at the peek-a-boo. Maybe, the knot never straightened itself, but it got me a bigger kiss than before. Flush with the kiss from my baby, I resolved to do what I liked to do best. Jot down all the nice things as our lives progress. I used to write things to myself in a diary that is long eaten by moths. Then I resorted to sending emails to myself. You know? So, I would not forget when the time comes. But everybody knows how that goes. First of all, the emails became shorter and shorter, terse even. Second, they started resembling notes taken in short hand. I mean what does “Kunjulie smiled 2 door.” mean? If it had not been typed, I am not sure I would know what I had scribbled. No. Things needed to change. Most important of all, I knew heart of hearts that I was not going to sit and plod through thousands of emails to find the note I had raced through.

Like the time that she first looked like a mountaineer. I can still see it fresh in my mind. She saw the peak rising before her . She knew she needed more than grit and willpower. She surveyed the mountain from multiple angles, making mental notes as to the best path available. She looked not only at the peak, but the best path to get herself up there. She also needed ropes hanging from cliffs to pull herself up on when she encountered tough and steep slopes. It was easy to see her mind gears squeezing together as she saw the rope, now all that was left was to scramble up. The rope was a thin one, but it would have to do. When one scales mountains and overcomes obstacles, they don’t stop to see whether the ropes are replaceable. They should but they don’t.

Mountain Goat: Source http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mountain_goat
Mountain Goat: Source http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mountain_goat

In many ways, she had to function like a mountain goat, but with the advantage of opposable thumbs, and the disadvantage of no horns.

There probably is a photograph of her somewhere looking proud and happy with herself at the first summit.  (I can’t find it. ) She had scaled the heights of her grandfather’s tummy to plant a wet kiss on his cheek. The rope did not bear the assault very well. That was also why we were seen scrambling to find the spare hearing-aid cords. Just before the hearing-aid cord gave way, she managed to hold on to his spectacle frame and hoisted herself atop the peak.

Mountain climbing
Mountain climbing

In the ten years since, I have to say, my family and friends have been remarkable subjects of my blogs. They have shared many moments of hilarity and borne the references to themselves on the blog with grace and charm.  I have grown to love writing about varied topics though family and friends play a good part of my writing, and the daughter has not become a real mountaineer.

May 2015 marks ten years since I started writing the blog. I blogged at various different places:



Slowly, the blogs where I co-blogged at trickled out. So, I went on at about a blog post a week on this blog. I love how writing has shaped my thought processes. When I am stranded, when in difficult times, I cling onto the high and funny spots in the experience. I must say it makes the experience the better for it, and the blogs are funnier for the mindset.

Happy Mother’s Day to all you incredible Mothers out there!

The Queen Mother

The Mother’s Day gifts from the daughter are always a bit overwhelming. For days ahead, I am not allowed to step into her room or throw out any scraps of paper because they may belong to a piece of the gift she is making for me. I sigh and turn my eye at all the ensuing mess secretly enjoying all the effort that goes into the presents she showers me with.

This time, she said, I must be prepared to have the wind knocked out of me, for the gift would make me wish I was a Queen that no one would bother ever again. I really am not sure where she thinks that the most appealing thing for a Queen is not to be bothered again. I mean wouldn’t the Queen wonder why everyone is leaving her out of things? Imagine yourself to be the Queen. There is a dinner banquet downstairs and everybody arrives dressed immaculately, having wonderful conversations amongst themselves, and pile into the food without the Queen. What would the effect be on the Q’s psyche?

Anyway, I must say she got her wish. You see she made me a crown of a magenta color. Then, she went ahead and glued on large ‘precious stones’ on them. She gushed that the color would suit me splendidly and I thanked her for it. She was right – the color suited me perfectly. I blushed a matching magenta wearing that crown. Of one thing she was assured. With me in that crown, there isn’t a single soul who would think of bothering me!

Queen Mother

I wanted to wear the crown and go down to the Supermarket to see the effect it would have on people, but I chickened out. I just couldn’t. Like all windows of opportunity, the crown window was an extremely slim one. Risk it on Mother’s Day and tug the daughter along, there was a chance people would think me as a mom in need of an intervention, but could have escaped without being marched off to the loony bin. But, I let Mother’s Day slip through my fingers. I regret it a little now. If ever there was classic blogging material, that would have been it. I must make a note of that for myself for next year.

I am waiting to see if the husband would get himself a crown to call himself a King. If he does, I will need a little bit of help getting him to wear the thing in public, but I suppose it is worth a shot for a blog entry. What do you say?

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