If you take a room of people and asked them who their worst enemy is, the first reply would be “In-laws”!!

The second choice would be “Boss”!

Most people begin to think of marriage by envisaging their partner first and he/she is expected to fulfill certain expectations. When they zone in on a prospective spouse, the next thing that they start worrying about is the kind of inlaws they will have to spend their lives with.

A mother-in-law comes with a lot of baggage. The relationship between a daughter/son-in-law and mother-in-law is at best times an artificial one. The tug of war for power between generations in a family results in arousing negative emotions in this relationship. Strangely enough, father’s in law come a second best in the reckoning.

Similarly sister’s in law…both by blood and by marriage…are next on the battleline. Sisters feel threatened when the brother brings in a stranger and the ones who had fought tooth and nail amongst themselves group together to present a united wall of resentment and antagonism. The incoming in law finds this wall difficult to breach and gradually takes away the son of the house and corners all his allegiances.

The tug and pull between women married to brothers is set aside when the common enemy, the MIL has to be tackled. And when there are favours to be gained, stuff to be inherited, well! the metaphorical knives are brought out!

Today, the MIL has become a shadow of her old avatar. She has learnt to let go of her son and enjoy his presence in her life when and if he initiates a reachout. That does not mean that the stereotype is extinct…they too continue to keep their traditional image intact.

The modern DIL prefers a mate without the added luggage of parents and they are quite open about this especially in urban India. When parents are inevitably part of the relationship, they make sure that the interaction is at a distance.

In the Indian patriarchal society, a FIL was a figurehead and all communications to him was routed through the matriarch. Gradually this has changed and the father-in-law has become a second Dad.

The kitchen continues to be a battlefront in most families…your family dishes., your Mum’s cooking, your family traditions are ammunition inevitably used in the relationship.

I shall keep the second common enemy “Boss” for another blogtime.

This is my blog on this week’s Friday 5 On 1 blog post topic. The other four bloggers who write on the same topic every Friday are Sanjana, Padmum and Shackman and Conrad. Conrad incidentally, is the original founder of the weekly bloggers group formed way back in 2009.

This week’s topic was suggested by Conrad. Please do pop into their respective blogs to see what they have to say on the topic.

Thank you.


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The Boy
He sat on the steps. One by one, they called out. “Bye!” “See you tomorrow!” “Don’t forget to bring my stuff”…the voices floated as they went their way.
He looked straight ahead. His eyes were searching for the familiar figure. He waited.
The minutes sped by. He got up and tugged up his shorts. He looked towards the gate. He sat down again and retied his laces. He peered at the front of the building. He opened his bag and rummaged. The break box tumbled out. He opened it and his fingers pounced on the sliver of a biscuit that lurked in its depths. He stuffed it into his mouth as his eyes turned left and right, searching.
“Why has he not come? Has he forgotten me again?” the frown on his forehead deepened. Slowly, slowly his eyes teared up.
He could feel a sob coming up.
“Why are you still here?” the authoritarian voice asked him. “Have you not been picked up?”
He got up slowly and quickly wiped his tears and turned to face her. He shook his head as his hands clung desperately to the straps of his back pack. Panic gripped him because he had never spoken to this lady ever. She was a remote figure who stood on the stage at assembly time and made announcements or delivered speeches.
“Do you know the number of your father?” the Principal asked.
He nodded his head as there was a frog in his throat. She opened up her mobile and said, “Hmmmm….What is the number?”
He mumbled it, fear gripping him. She sharply pulled him up, “Speak clearly….don’t mumble.”
His voice gradually gained strength as he repeated the number.
Suddenly he heard a honk and turned around. “He has come….my father has come” he shouted with joy.
The Couple
They both stood at the door and the Conductor checked their tickets. He took his time looking at the piece of paper and at their faces by turn. He gestured with his head and grunted giving way for them to climb in.
The girl got into the bus first with her duffle bag clutched to her body like an armour. He followed her and they made their way to the back of the bus searching for the seat number mentioned in the ticket.
They found their seats and he said, “You sit near the window!” She slithered in and gave her bag to him before sitting down. She clung on to her crossbody bag that contained her precious bits and pieces. He placed the bags…his and hers….above in the rack and sat down in the aisle seat.
She tried to open the gathered curtain on the window. He chided her, “Shhhh…let it be closed…no need to open it…safer!”
She looked with fear at his face and stuffed her fist into her mouth trying to stifle the sob that rose to engulf her like a huge tsunami wave. The bus shuddered as the driver switched on the engine and revved it to a crescendo.
“Rights!” said the conductor as he climbed in and shut the door with a bang. The bus was nearly full and all the passengers rustled and bustled as they settled down. The bus jerked forward and came out of the bus station to leave the small town and reach the highway to the big city.
The couple sighed with relief. The bus turned the corner and the Police Station came into view. Both of them ducked automatically. The bus raced out of the town and hit the highway. “We did it,” she said.
“Not yet” he cautioned. “They can come after us even now”.
Her face showed fear and her eyes became moist. “I wish we didn’t have to do it this way. If only they had been more reasonable……” her voice dragged into despair.
The bus sped on the ribbon of the highway with villages flashing by. The day passed by, minute by minute, hour by hour. Lunchtime…the bus stopped at an eatery. “No eating on the bus…please get down to have your meals”.
“I’m not hungry” she whispered. “I don’t want to get off the bus…I don’t think it is safe”.
“Ok! I will quickly have a bite and be back”, he said. She nodded her head and rested it on the back of the seat.
The bus emptied with only a couple of passengers staying behind. Ten minutes later, the passengers began to troop in. She kept an eye on the door looking for his familiar face. The minutes ticked by.
The conductor stood at the door counting heads. “All aboard?” he shouted. Her panic began to mount as all the seats filled up.
“Yes” said the passengers.
“No” she said with the slowly mounting panic in her voice….”No, No, No” …..and they waited.
The Patient
She tossed and turned in her bed trying to find a comfortable spot on the pile of pillows that supported her back and head.
“Why don’t you try and sleep”, the girl said.
She turned her back on her and tried to stay in that position.
She had to get up….she just had to. She was missing a breath.
“What are you doing?” the girl asked. “Shall I help you?”
She shook her head and sat up, her hand groping for the breath giving inhaler.
She could feel the gasp rising up…it was a desperate search for a breath.She was hyperventilating.
She missed it and she got up.
“Madam! Don’t get up suddenly like that….you will fall” said the girl as she hurriedly rose up from her palette and came to hold on to her.
She shrank from the touch that was engulfing, squeezing, grappling….she needed to breath, just breath.
“Don’t panic” the girl said as she observed the agitation.
She shook her head and raised her head looking above….one breath was still missing.
“Oh my God! Is this it….” And her eyes rolled, her mouth opened, her hands fluttered wildly trying to hold on to something.
“Where is it? Where is it?” she muttered as her hands desperately searched under the pillow, on the side table, pushing and pulling at the bedlinen.
“What are you searching for Madam? Your glasses? Your teeth”?
She shook her head desperately…searching, searching.
The girl looked too and then she spotted it…she pointed to it.
“Give it, give it to me now…. please” she cried.
The girl bent down and picked up the blue container nestled inside her slippers.
She put the inhaler into her mouth. She pressed it and took a deep breath.
She sighed! She calmed down. Her lost breath was back!

This topic was chosen by Sanjana for this week’s Friday Four-Now Five On One blog post topic. The other bloggers who write on the same topic are Rummuser, Shackman and Sanjana. We are joined by our dear friend Conrad and our ranks are on the rise.
Please go over to Rummuser’s and Shackman, Jconmem, and Sanjanaaah to see what they have to say about Panic that is gradually gripping all our minds!

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I first apologise for may tardiness. I have been busy busy busy stocking up and washing my hands, and washing my hands and washing my hands.

I love emoticons…I love the Namasthe and the Om and both of these are not recorded in the Wikipaedia list.

Then I browsed and accessed and got
🙏🏼 and 🕉

Flashback to some years ago. I wanted to send a hug to my grandkids….there was no emoji in the lot that I had on my phone. So I had to download

Image result for emoticon hug

which I used for a few years till this one came along.


The other day Madhura my granddaughter sent me a message compalining that her Mom was being mean. the level of meanness was demonstrated by dozen or more emojis.


Like a good MIL given an oppo to pull up my DIL I called Vandana and asked her why she was being mean to my granddaughter. she replied with a longer string of emojis saying, “Mom! Madhura is being mean to me!”

And now all those bright sparks out there are commenting on the worldwide Damocles Sword that is hanging over our heads…..They say

Do not use following #Symbols on
#WhatsApp/ #Facebook


These symbols are with Open mouth and may spread #coronavirus

If it is absolute Necessary

Then please use …

Prevention is Better than Cure…

This topic was my choice for this week’s Friday Four On One blog post topic. The other three bloggers who write on the same topic are Rummuser, Shackman and Sanjana. Please go over to Rummuser‘s and Shackman‘s and to see what they have to say about the same topic.

Hope you have fun with emojis…I do!

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When life confronts us with disappointments, we can transform them into His/Her-appointments

Suja woke up with a start. It was as if somebody had called out to her. It was still dark outside and far away the Muezzin was calling out his morning routines. A cockerel from the gardener’s hut was sending its distinctive cry to the world saying, “Rise! It is a new dawn!”
She groped on the side table for her glasses and after putting them on, she picked up her cell phone and switched it on. Whatsapp signalled new messages and she opened it. Her eyes quickly scanned the names and groups. Friends, family members, her Wealth manager had sent her messages. What she looked for eagerly stayed blank. She went to her Facebook Notifications page and scrolled and looked for the familiar name and face. Up popped postings about an ecological initiative, another about a singer who was in rehab and a third about the death of a famous crime writer. She marked Like for all three posts and then switched off her mobile.
Wearily she rose, made the bed and went off to do her morning routines and chores. The mobile was right next to her wherever she moved across in the three bedroom apartment. She kept busy otherwise she knew that the disappointment would turn into despair.
The week went by and her Wealth Manager called to say that he needed the signature of her kids saying that they had no interest in the property she was going to sell. She smiled and a glow came to her eyes. Now she had a genuine reason as she picked up her mobile to send a message, “Please call me Rohini and Raja! I need to talk to you both about the sale of the flat!”
The familiar ping signalled a message from Raja. “Email me the format. Will sign and Fedex”! The message before this was at least a month old. She read and re-read the message as if it was a communication from God!
The landline rang. She picked it up and Rohini launched into her usual tirade about how busy she was, the disappointments in her workplace, the tortures of her in-laws and the indifference of her husband. She ended her five minute call by saying, “Don’t expect me to come to clear up the apartment. I don’t want anything, just my share of the money. You can do what you like with all that stuff. I will courier the signed documents”!
Suja put the phone down and rested her aching head on the palm of her hand as she rested her elbow on the arm of the sofa. Silence reigned. She picked up her book of prayers and started her chants in a ringing voice that spread like stones cast on a pond across the four walls of her room.

This is my take on this week’s FRIDAY FOUR ON ONE blog post topic that was suggested by Shackman.
The other three bloggers who write on the same topic are Rummuser, Shackman and Sanjanah.  This week’s topic was suggested by ………….  Please go over to“>Rummuser’s and“>Shackman’s, / blogs to see what they have to say about the same topic.  Thank you.

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Seven-and-half Saturn Spell

Confused, bemused and bewildered… 

Saturn is a much maligned planet and his negative effects in a person’s life is legendary.

 There are three 7 1/2 year spells in a lifetime of the rule of Sani or Saturn in everybody’s horoscope. The first one is called Birth Sani, the second, Beneficial or overflowing Sani and the last, Fading Sani. Nobody, even Lord Shiva could not escape the negative influence or the searing look of Saturn.

According to many astrologers my 7 1/2 Saturn got over in February. According  to one astrologer,  who takes a contrary view and who has a massive following of fans as he appears on a famous Tamizh TV channel, it will get over by the end of this year. 

There is another group of experts who claim that this time round for my star, Saturn’s effect is for a period of 9 1/2 years…something never heard of before! 😖😝


Poor Mr. Saturn/Sani…I’m sure he is confused tooooooo… Maybe I should be the first woman to sign up as an astronaut to visit Planet Saturn…..

Are you confused enough? Good join me!

Finally it is just the faith with which we dedicate all to the divine and say “Krishnarpanam”!


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Change is an important part of any woman’s life. Throughout her life, she is continuously adapting to people, places, relations, roles, situations, responsibilities and physical and mental capabilities.

However, what she enjoys most is changing her attire, appearance and style quotient. We are forever watching how other women dress, adorn and accessorize and how they comport themselves. So, any person in the spotlight is seriously observed, noted and commented upon. I am one of these observers and commentators.

I have seen Indian Grand Dames like Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and Mrs. Karan Singh a royal figure, visiting Mauritius as State guests. Karan Singh is an Indian politician, philanthropist and poet. In 1950, the 19-year-old Karan Singh was married to 13-year-old Yasho Rajya Lakshmi, daughter of a nobleman belonging to the Rana family of Nepal. He was the Prince Regent of Jammu and Kashmir till 1952 and a Union cabinet minister in the government of Indira Gandhi.

These ladies were state guests and as expat Indians, we interacted pretty closely with both of them. We watched the ladies with awe as they dressed for each occasion with glamour and style.  Every event scheduled in which they appeared, they were dressed beautifully. However, Mrs Karan Singh took the changing of costumes to such an extent that for appearances with just an hour’s interval, she would pop into the Governor General’s house, where they were guests, to change her outfit. Sadly, she kept Sir Seewoosagar, the island’s PM, waiting with his Ministers for her appearance with her husband way beyond scheduled timings. You see! She lost time changing saris. Mind you, the saris and matching accessories were beautiful and we were agape as if they were film stars in the spotlight!

Now to the present. Potus and Flotus visited India earlier this week. Years ago, we had seen the glamorous Mrs.Jacqueline Kennedy visiting India and her suits and hats were jaw dropping. Other First Ladies in the past decades were elegant, but nothing to really be awestruck. With the kind of wealthy background of the present day First Lady, we expected dashing outfits and designer clothes for each appearance. We eagerly looked forward to her changing her outfits in a similar fashion from the landing at the airport in Ahmedabad, the visit to the Taj and so on. All of us were pleasantly surprised to see her sporting an elegant white crepe jumpsuit with a green and gold sash/cummerbund made from Indian fabrics. She did not even change the sash and was comfortable all day in the same outfit.

Next day Melania opted for a pale blue collared midi-dress with lotuses for the ceremonial welcome of the US President at the Indian President’s residence Rashtrapati Bhavan in Delhi. The outfit had a print of lotuses, the national flower of India. Her shocking pink dress at the banquet was a change from the sober outfits of the day!

Here I am folks, back on the Friday Blogging group after quite a sabbatical. This is my take on this week’s Friday Three On One blog post topic.  The other two bloggers who write on the same topic are Rummuser and Shackman.  This week’s topic was suggested by Ramana.  Please do go over to“>Rummuser’s and“>Shackman’s blogs to see what they have to say about the same topic.

Hope you enjoyed my take on CHANGE!! Thank you.

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“I wish parents asked their kids what they would like to be called?” she said and took a sip of her black coffee. I was sitting opposite her, admiring the way she was spiffily dressed, her tinted, straightened hair tamed with her CC sunglasses perched on the widow’s peak hairline. Her pointed chin signalled a resolute, strong woman who knew where she was coming from and going.

“Hmmmm…the mandatory birth certificate demands a name within a month of birth….or it was when my kids were born”, I murmured.

“Then…legally we should be able to change our name easily….when we are 18, shouldn’t we?” she asked with irritation lacing her comments.

Frankly, I did not know what all this was in aid of. She was my favourite niece. “Aunt! I am talking about….my name!”she growled. “I dread to introduce myself. Immediately people expect me to give them a shoulder to cry on or to bring out my cheque book and write a handsome amount with a flourish and a full stop”.

Ping went my mental bell. I could see where this whole conversation was heading.

“Why did my parents give me this name Karunya? They just don’t have a reasonable answer than a puerile…We loved its uniqueness for our darling daughter!!!”

“You know Aunt..parents should not give value based names to kids. It is a huge rden on them. I have this friend Shanthi….and she is a lesson in hyper reaction…more a quick gun Murugan. And, my cousin Dharma is one of those proverbial crooked-as-a-gem clip guys that I have in my contacts list. Many of my colleagues have these holier than thou names and hate it. Mridula is as prickly as a cactus, Anandi is the worst cynic ever who always moans and groans, Swetha is upto all kinds of hanky panky….the list is endless”.

In my generation we inherited names of grandparents. The first grandkid took the paternal grandparents name; the second child, names from the maternal grandparents. In the joint family, children’s names were shortened as ladies dared not utter names of elders or the husband’s official name.  It was safer to be a Kamala, Vimala, Meena or Bama than have fancy names meaning a quality. Nicknames were Angichi or Dandu, Subbu, Gopulu or Kunju, Raasham or Reghu. Some kids were called by attributes like Chottu or Lambu, Dindi (glutton) or Shoni (thin), Pappa or Thambi.

Nowadays, there is fierce competition among parents to give obscure names to kids. A whole evening can be spent at a party discussing kid’s names, the origins and sources. My family has names that we oldies cannot recall easily especially out of syllabus ones like Ahiri and Avyukth, Niharika and Naajy, Sadik and Satatya. What these names mean….please don’t ask.

Then, Karunya looked up from her Iphone and said in a bewildered tone. “Look at this Whatsapp message from Anna. His new born twins are Arjun and Sita!! What must he be thinking?”

Published in Deccan Herald


Posted in Life skills, Society, Uncategorized | 2 Comments