Never thought it would be this much of a hassle to organize a surprise Birthday party. I have been running around all this morning like a headless chicken.
Yaya loves to do tie and dye.. Until now we have been doing reverse tie and dye.. ie, we would tie knots on a bright colour top ( dark) and then dunk it in bucket of water mixed with a few tea spoons of Chlorox. No mess!
So I thought we would have a tie and dye party. All you needed is a work area, dye and t shirts.
I bought the dye kit from Maiwa( I even got them to post it, so I won’t have to drive all the way to Downtown Vancouver) and thought this would be the easiest Birthday party I ever organized.
What was I thinking?
First of all, I had to get t shirts for all the kids.. That too white 100% cotton t shirt.
In three different sizes. 2 size S, 10 Size M, 3 size L!!
So off I went to walmart that is close to my home. Because uncle Murphy is in love with me, Walmart only had 2 size M t shirts( they had 15 nos of size S!!!). The next walmart which is another 15 km away had 5 size M and 3 size L. But I needed 15 t shirts. I had to go to three different Walmart to get 15, 100% cotton t shirts, thanks to uncle Murphy.
Then I remembered I needed gloves. Went to the Dollar shop and bought Balloons, crepe paper, cupcake cases, paper plates, napkins and some more junk. I was so proud of my ability to multi task – I even went to the BC liquor shop near by and bought a bottle cherry liquor for the black forest cake. and came back happily to realize that I didn’t buy the gloves.!!!
By then it was already 2 pm and I had to hide all the stuff before fetching the kids from school.
The plan is to get Yaya’s best friend to invite Yaya to her house while I get everything ready. When all her friends are here, I will let Yaya’s friend know and they would both walk home.( Can’t wait to see the surprised look on my baby’s face!)
24 hours salad( so I can make it ahead)
Silky meat kebab
spring rolls( I am still a Malaysian, what is a birthday party without spring rolls??)
Portuguese egg tarts
Tiramisu ( I bought cheap wine glasses from dollar shop and am planning to make individual Tiramisu. Yaya loves Tiramisu)
Black Forest Birthday cake
Each child will take home the t shirt they have dyed… But I wanted to give them something else. I don’t feel like buying the cheap toys from the dollar shop. There is so much of candies in the pinata, so I don’t want to give Candies.. Anyone has any ideas??
Oh I forgot.. I will be busy the next few days( bake the cake, make the tarts etc etc).. then we are going camping to Yellow knife end of this month..So I may not be able to update my blog for a couple of weeks.
I will miss ya all.
This is akin to finding a needle in the haystack.. But I am desperate..
Some time ago while checking for birthday party ideas, I came across a web page where someone had suggested giving party favors for best friends..
A rock, because you are my best friend and my rock etc etc..
For the love of Murphy I can’t remember where I saw it..
Do you guys have any ideas??
Found this poem after a long search..
If I should ever see you, face to face and eye to eye,
I’d tell you of my sorrow, point by point sigh by sigh.
But like the wind i seek you, searching where we might meet,
Searching from door to door, from house to house, from street to street.
Searching for that small mouth, the scent that cheek bestows,
Searching from bud to bud, from flower to flower, from rose to rose.
My heart’s blood spills as tears that fall unceasingly.
Flowing from creek to creek, from stream to stream, from seas to sea.
My life is woven through with love: the broken heart you left,
Is yours now – thread by thread. and warp by warp, and weft by weft.
Murphy’s law dictates that, just when a thousand and one women who are often found sitting by the side of buildings under construction with a hammer and chiseling the rocks, sit inside your brain and were busy crushing rocks with a hammer and the sound goes tuck, dum, tuck, dum tuck tuck, your mother will shake your body and scream at the top of her voice and ask you to
I tried to use the pillow and cover my head so I could shut the noise.
Amma pulled the pillow off my face.
I wanted to open my eyes and yell at her.
But my eyes apparently didn’t understand the commands from my brain, neither did my mouth.
I was sure there were two of me. One could hear and understand what was going on and the other wanted to shout ‘Leave me alone’. I wasn’t sure which one was the real me.
I wasn’t sure what was going on.
But I was sure there was something wrong with me.
I tried to figure out what was wrong with me and I heard Amma speaking
“I have not even seen my husband drunk and look at my pathetic fate!”
Husband drunk? What was she talking?
She is mad. I thought. My feet felt cold. That was odd.
I never sleep without using a blanket. My feet must be under the blanket, be it summer or winter. I moved my feet around to see where my blanket was. Then I felt it at the bottom of my bed. I tried to pull it up with my toes. But I couldn’t.
So I got up to get the blanket.
Time sure froze for a second and then it felt as though something had exploded inside my brain. My head was on fire.
It hurt to even move my head or to open my eyes. I held my head with my hands hoping I could protect it from more explosions.
‘Oh god’ I mumbled before I gently lowered my head and lay down on the bed.
“enikkedi” (get up). Amma yelled
“Shut up” I yelled back. and the next moment I regretted yelling. My whole body was in the process of millions of explosions. I realized I shouldn’t even attempt to talk. Talking hurt my ears and my head.
“Amma, leave her alone, let her sleep” I heard someone speaking.
Who was that? I wondered. I wanted to open my eyes and look. I couldn’t. But I was grateful to whoever it was who spoke those nice words.
I could hear Amma and the other person arguing. I used my hands to cover my ears. I couldn’t shut the voices.
“She is drunk Amma. She needs to sleep it off”
drunk? who was drunk? Appa? But he isn’t here or is he?, did he come home? I tried to remember if Appa had come home.
Then I remembered going with Arjun for the party.
Arjun, ah it felt so good.
Then I remembered drinking my first beer and someone refilling my beer mug.
I wished it was all a nightmare.
I remembered leaning on Arjun.
It felt so good.
Nightmare that felt good.
I could still feel his hands on my belly as he held me. I could feel his breath on my neck.
My head was hurting so bad that I wanted to die, my heart was feeling so happy that I wanted to get up and go out and phone Arjun. I wanted to hear his voice.
I felt like the heroin in the Mills and Boons books. Swept off my feat by a tall, fair and handsome man.
I wanted to smile, I wanted to shout and say Yeah baby yeah and I wanted to die.
Arjun held my hand as we walked to the party pavilion. I knew it was wrong. Between the pull of temptation and the push of ‘this is all wrong’ I wasn’t sure what to think.
Arjun was not my soul mate.
He came from a very loving and very traditional Marwari family. Where as I come from a totally screwed up family. Besides I also had an Orthodox Syrian Christian lineage.
This affair had all the hallmark for a disaster.
And then there is Beautiful Eyes!
snehicha hippiye kittiyillenkil, kittiye kashandiye snehikkuka ( if you can’t get the hippy you love, love the baldy you got!) I remembered my 10 std classmate writing that in my autograph. At that time I thought it was a joke, never realizing that I would find myself in a hippy vs baldy situation.
“Hey Nina, Hey Arjun, Thanks for coming.” Sharon came towards us. I saw her glancing at our hands and she looked at me and smiled, a very cheeky smile. I was so embarrassed. I pulled my hand away.
Arjun looked at me and reached for my hand and held it again.
“My friends know, ok?” He whispered in my ears
I thought of asking ‘know what?’. But I knew what it was.
Everyone knew Arjun is in love with me.
I felt like I was a whirl wind of happiness.
I was floating in a cloud of Ecstasy. All my life I just wanted someone to love me and it was becoming a reality.
I knew without any doubt that this was wrong. I knew if I go ahead with this relationship, I would never be able to mend my broken relationship with beautiful eyes. I knew Arjun and I were totally mismatched. We had nothing in common, Yet he was standing right next to me and and holding my hand, while the man I loved was fighting some war and not even bothered to study and write the exams.
‘no future, no future, no future with Arjun’ Sensible one started to chant.
‘shut up, I can make this work. I know I can’ I replied.
I knew I could make this relationship work. I knew what Arjun liked, it was easy to be the girl he wanted me to be.
‘You wouldn’t be happy, Nina Thomas, you wouldn’t be happy’ Sensible one spoke again.
Right! What does she know?
I am so happy right now!
Can’t she see? blind or what?
“You want some beer?” Arjun asked
Why not? because I have never had beer before. My father didn’t drink beer. He loved XO(Hennessy) and Johnnie Walker. But that truth made me feel inadequate. I was in the midst of people of my age and none of them had any qualms about drinking beer. I didn’t want Arjun to be embarrassed in front of his friends because I knew if anyone knew that I have never had beer before, then I probably would be considered ‘country’. I didn’t want Arjun to date a ‘country’
“Ok, I will have a beer” I spoke
“You want beer or shandy?”
Shandy? What was shandy? I had never even heard of the word Shandy. So I chose the one I that at least I knew the name.
“Ok, wait here, I will get it for you”
Arjun came back holding two mugs. One had orange colour drink and the other one had golden yellow colour drink.
He passed the beer to me.
“What are you having?” I asked Arjun
“Shandy! My father is home, if he knew I drank, I will be killed, so no choice, today I can only drink Shandy.
There was no time to regret my choice of drink
“Cheers” Arjun lifted his mug.
“Cheers” I replied.
If I had known the effect of alcohol on an empty stomach, then I wouldn’t have drunk a full mug of beer. But I didn’t know.
Soon I felt the person I really was, walking out of my body. I didn’t know who I was anymore, but that didn’t puzzle me. I didn’t care who I was. But I tried very hard not to be a laughing stock. I don’t remember the rest of the evening, except that Arjun was standing behind me and I leaned on him and watched the programs and laughed when everyone was laughing and clapped my hand when everyone was clapping.
All I wanted was to lay down on my bed and sleep. So when Arjun dropped me back home, I said a quick goodnight to Arjun and ran up the steps and tried to open the door with my key. But the door was locked from inside. I knocked the door and Amma came to open the door. She looked at me and I could see the shock in her eyes. Then I heard her asking
“nee kudichu alley?” ( you drank alcohol?)
“Move” I pushed her away and walked inside, removed my shoes and jumped on to my bed and closed my eyes.
I could hear Amma’s voice over and over in my head
nee kudichu alley?
I wanted to say I was sorry. But I wasn’t sure why I was sorry!
Yaya will be 10 in a couple of weeks time and I am organizing a surprise birthday party for her and I need to make a piñata!!
I can only do it when the kids are at school. Hopefully I can finish the piñata today..
Hope you all will have a super day!
“Amma where is my white top?” I yelled at the top of my voice as soon as I heard Amma opening the main door and entering the house. I was getting late for the party and had spend the last half an hour hunting for my one and only white top. I was sure I had kept it in the Godrej cupboard. But I had gone through the contents of the cupboard three times already. I couldn’t find my top.
“Amma, Arjun will be here any moment, Did you see my white top?” I came out of the room and looked at her.
“The white one” I was getting frustrated. Did I not explain well enough?
Amma was staring at me as though I was speaking Latin.
“The one with gold buttons in the front? The one I usually wear with my black skirt!”
“Oh that one”
“Yaeh that one ! Did you see it?”
“It is in the washing machine. I put it for wash this morning”
“Nina, I put all the light coloured clothes to wash this morning. The clothes won’t look clean if I don’t soak it in the soap, you know that, don’t you?”
“You took my clean top that was folded and kept in the cupboard and put it for wash?” I couldn’t believe it.
I knew Amma was obsessed with washing clothes. She probably was the only person on earth who would take the clothes out of the machine during rinse cycle and manually rinse all the clothes and then put it back in the machine. She didn’t trust the washing machine to rinse the clothes properly! But taking a clean top and putting it for wash was too much.
“You had worn it last time, did you not? Remember when you went to the Library? And then you folded it and kept it in the cupboard. How could you Nina? You should be ashamed of yourself. You thought I won’t notice ah?”
“Amma I didn’t wear it. I tried it on and then decided not to wear it that day. I wore the blue t shirt that day. I kept it back in the cupboard because it was still clean! Now what am I going to do? I have a party to attend and my wonderful mother had decided to wash my clean clothes. You are really a pest Amma” I yelled.
I went back inside the room and looked inside the cupboard to see if I could find something else to wear. I wore the blue t shirt yesterday when I went to Sally’s school and I had promised Arjun I wouldn’t wear it. I noticed the purple skirt and top I had got for Liza from Dubai folded and kept in the top shelf.
“Liza, Can I wear your purple top and skirt?” I asked Liza. She was watching some basket ball game on TV.
“No” She replied
“I don’t want you to. It is my clothes and I don’t like anyone else wearing it”
“But I got it for you!”
“So? You are asking me so? Did you not know that I only bought a jeans and t shirt for me, so you could have more clothes to wear to college”
“Too bad Nina, I didn’t ask you to do that anyway. If you wanted new clothes, then you should have got it for yourself. You can’t take mine by saying that you got it for me. What is mine is mine and I don’t like anyone else wearing it.”
I wanted to wring her neck for being so selfish. But I knew I couldn’t do it. Not because I was afraid of doing it, but my sister was stronger than me!
I was angry with myself for always being a sucker. Appa gave me the money and I should have spend it for myself. Instead I bought clothes for my sister, so she would have decent clothes to wear to college.
“But you are wearing my bracelet. How come you have no problems wearing my stuff?” I sasked
“this one?” Liza lifted her hand and showed the bracelet.
“yes that one, it is mine. Give it back”
“here, take it” She pulled the bracelet off her hand and threw it at me.
I picked up the bracelet from the floor.
“You broke the clasp Liza” I yelled
“Serves you right” She replied
“ninney ennu njan kollum” ( I will kill you today). I rushed to where she was sitting and reached out to pull her hair
“Stop it both of you. The neighbours will hear. What will they think? Two grown up daughters fighting all the time” Amma jumped in front of me and pushed me away.
I was so angry with Amma.
“You are the root cause of all the trouble in this family” I yelled at Amma
“What did I do? odichal lekkillenkil moothamma kkiirunnottey, alley?”
“What did you do? You don’t know what you did? If you had not put my top for wash, then none of this would have happened”. “Now can you see?” I shoved the bracelet on Amma’s face. “Can you see what she did to my bracelet?”
“You asked her to give it back Nina?”
“True, but she didn’t have to pull it out. She could have opened the clasp. Now I can’t wear it anymore”.
“Well, you should have known not to ask your sister for anything Nina, chekuthantey aduthu ara mindan poovunney?“
“It is my bracelet Amma”
“Nina you were not wearing it all these while because you said the bracelet gets in the way when you wear your surgical gloves, so why did you want it all of a sudden?”
Somehow it was all my fault! I was the idiot who bought new clothes for my sister and I was still the same idiot who let my sister wear my bracelet because I wasn’t wearing it.
“It is ok for her to wear my bracelet, but I can’t wear her clothes?”
“You know Nina, She doesn’t like anyone wearing her clothes. She has always been like that. It is not something new.”
I didn’t bother to reply. There was nothing that I could say that would make my mother see how unfair she is.
I walked back to the room, wore the blue t shirt and jeans and walked out without even bothering to say goodbye
“What time will you be back?” I heard Amma asking
“I wish I never have to come back” I replied.
I stood leaning against the gate and waited for Arjun.
I didn’t have to wait too long before I heard the familiar sound of the bike coming in full speed and breaking suddenly. It felt so good to see Arjun taking the left turn to enter our street. He was my friend. I had someone.
I opened the gate and walked out. I didn’t bother to close the gate after me.
Arjun stopped the bike and was about to take the helmet off to talk to me.
“Come let us go, I don’t want to be late” I spoke.
The truth was, I didn’t want to stay another second anywhere near my house.
I sat behind him on the bike and leaned towards him and held him.
He was all I had.
I knew if he knew who I was ( the real Nina Thomas, grand daughter of Methran Thambi, daughter of Thomas and Mary, sister of Maria, Liza and Sally), He may never like me. But I didn’t want to take a chance. I wanted someone to save me from my family.
It felt so good just holding him, knowing that he is mine.
What would you do,
If you find one day that your uncle send 600 odd anonymous letters to everyone who knows you, that you are a prostitute?
Do you ignore it?
Or does your world crumble and collapse, even though you know you haven’t done anything wrong? Even when you know that reaction is exactly what your uncle was hoping you would have?
How would you feel if your personal email ID has been used to post porn articles on porn sites?
How would you feel when an individual harass you by Cyber stalking and even threatening physical harm?
It was possible for my uncle to get away with what he has done, because I was just an ordinary medical student and he was one of the highest ranking civil servant in Bangalore at that time.
There wasn’t a single police officer in Bangalore at that time who had the back bone to accept my complaint against a such a senior govt official.
But almost 20 years later someone else is still trying to do exactly what my uncle tried to do.
Trying to tarnish a woman’s name by hoping that the tactics of shame and fear would ruin her life.
Doesn’t it make you wonder if there are no laws in the land of billion people against such harassment?
Aren’t there anyone who can stop this nonsense?
Or is it that, money and power still rules?
Or it it that even after all these years of women’s liberation, we have regressed to such a level that a woman’s name, her character, her personality etc are nothing but a commodity that can be used by a man who wants to control her.
What would you do, if this happens to you tomorrow?
When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;I was not a communist.
When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;I was not a social democrat.
When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;I was not a trade unionist.
When they came for the Jews,
I remained silent;I wasn’t a Jew.
When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.
“You can eat the rice and the fish curry” Amma pointed to the lunch box in my hand when we came back home.
“I don’t like pomfret Amma”
“I don’t like the taste Amma”
“Then what am I going to do? I spend so money to buy the fish you know!”
Of course I knew. It was my money and she knew very well I hated to eat pomfret. She bought it for her precious youngest daughter and now I must eat it, because her wonderful oldest daughter made sure that she wouldn’t get to see her youngest child?
“You can eat Amma, or you can wait for Liza to come back and give it to her”
“Liza doesn’t like to eat Fish molley”
“And I don’t like to eat pomfret”
“Please Nina, don’t hassle me like this. I am already so upset and the least you can do is be nice to me, Come, I will feed you”
“Amma, I don’t want to eat it and I am not hungry”
I watched Amma going to the kitchen. I was relieved that she gave up trying to make me eat something I didn’t want to eat. My legs were dirty after walking all the way back from Sally’s school and I went to the washroom to take a quick shower.
There was a big bottle of pink pearlescent shampoo by the side of the wash basin. ( I think it was a Suave 2 in 1, it had a picture of a peach in front). Liza must have forgotten and left the shampoo in the washroom. My sister hated anyone using her shampoo or soap and always kept her toiletries in her cupboard.
Ah the temptation!
Should I use her shampoo or not?
I opened the bottle and smelled it. It smelled heavenly. Much better than my Pert plus shampoo. Then I remembered I needed to conserve my shampoo, because I have no money to buy a new one.
What the heck, I decided to use Liza’s shampoo.
After bathing, I kept the shampoo bottle exactly the same place where I took it from. I didn’t want to take any chances of my sister finding out that I used her shampoo.
As I combed my hair, I could smell the peach fragrance on my hair.
Would Liza be able to smell and find out that I used her shampoo?
I looked at the bottle. She might notice that the volume of shampoo had reduced since she last used it.
I opened the bottle quickly and filled it with a bit of water.
Now the top part of shampoo looked slimy, so I shook the bottle to mix the water evenly.
I had not closed the bottle cover properly and there was shampoo everywhere.
vinashakaley vipareetha budhi!
Quickly I took a bucket of water and started to clean the washroom. Cleaning the physical presence of shampoo in the washbasin, on the floor and on my body was very easy.
But the peach fragrance, that simply lingered as though some evil force wanted my sister to know my dreadful criminal activities.
I didn’t know how to get rid of the smell.
I looked at the window. Perhaps I should open the window. But it was too high.
The only way I probably could get rid of the smell was to leave the washroom door opened.
I hoped my sister’s sports practice would last all day! May be she will miss the bus, or whatever. I just didn’t want her to come back home early.
Amma was sitting on my bed with a steel plate full of rice and curry. I looked at her
enney kanda kinnem kattunnu thonnuvo, hoping she won’t notice the smell.
She looked at me and thought for a second
“Did you use Liza’s shampoo?”
“No” I mumbled
“No?” Amma stared at me and I knew she knew!
“Nina why did you? You know how fuzzy Liza is! Why do you want to have unnecessary fights?”
“Amma please don’t tell her” I pleaded
“Come and eat” Amma mixed the pomfret and the rice in the plate.
We stared at each other.
“My hands are hurting Nina, come quickly and eat.”
I sat down on the floor in front of her and she fed me.
I have always wondered if it is my destiny that I simply walk in to trouble or is it that my mother knew how to manipulate me.