Coconuts, Birthdays and a Lizard.

I haven’t been able to write as much I have wanted to this week. It’s tough to find uninterrupted time now. Although I do get the 4 hours every morning that Ishaan is away at school, there are always a million other things that need doing…taking a shower, drinking my morning cuppa, (reheated innumerable times in the microwave until it’s brown sludge instead of coffee), making phone calls, grabbing breakfast and these days, editing the Bulletin for a Pediatric Neonatology Conference coming up on the 30th and 31st October. That last is rather a pain & a major time-sapper and likely to remain so until the Bulletin is finally ready to print. This is my second Bulletin and although I’ve cribbed about the work no end to my dear friend Sushma (who’s responsible for getting me involved in the first place), I’m actually quite content to be doing it 😛 For one thing, it gives me a sense of purpose even if in short bursts of time! And these days, I feel like I could do with a little purpose…or maybe the right word would be ‘structure’…you know what I mean, a framework within which to work, write, think and live. This is an important discovery about myself…even though I’m primarily a ‘go with the flow’ kinda gal, sometimes those boundaries (deadlines if you will), help bring me focus, bring me back to what I need to be doing rather than going with the flow and landing up in Timbuctoo (have no clue whether this is the right spelling and am too lazy to Google it!) for example!! I do that a lot…as all us ‘flowy’ people are wont to do.

See, have gone way off point again…I meant to stick to the point this time but old habits…

Alright then…starting this Sunday, I’ve decided to write every Sunday about the week that was and call it Sunday Stories, although that’s a misnomer (but it sounds cooler than the other titles I thought of which I won’t trouble you with). It’s my way of creating a ‘focus framework’. I don’t know if it will work for any length of time (by which I mean, I’m not sure there’ll even be a second post in this category!), ‘coz I’m notorious for slacking off and drifting along to the next interesting thing or idea that crops up. But I mean to try and so here’s my first post.

Monday was Ishaan’s first day back to school after our road-trip to Mumbai. The crying was back, but I felt less sorry for him than happy for me, ‘coz I needed time away and time alone after the intensive week and weekend, when we were together 24/7! Still, he seemed to do well once in school so that offered some comfort. Wednesday was when my Dad gave us all and himself a massive scare. It was also the day Ishaan’s School had arranged for a ferry-boat ride. Unfortunately I have no idea how that went ‘coz Ishaan is too small to tell me. I’m really longing for him to start speaking fluently now…there’s so much I want to ask him, so much I want to talk to him about 🙂 Thursday & Friday passed pretty much in fugue. We were all shaken by Dad’s near escape and went about our daily routine rather zombie-like. Dad’s visit to the doctor on Thursday however was heartening. No major surprises there, although his neurologist did suggest a visit to his psychiatrist. I think that’s wise…it will be healthy for him to speak to a professional who can help.


My idea of a great Sunday! Lazy Sunday Morning by Anna Lohse.


And so to the weekend…busy by my standards…almost too busy…I like to have a long Sunday siesta (the Goan in me, rearing its ugly head ;-)) and couldn’t 😦 The morning was exciting…my uncle came over with workers to harvest our coconuts. We have 8 full-grown coconut palms in our garden and they must be harvested about 3-4 times a year or else we’re in real danger of gruesome injury & ‘death-by-coconut’, ‘coz they start falling off the trees in a most unexpectedly random fashion! This is easier said than done however ‘coz the specialists, the men that shimmy up the trees like monkeys to pluck them (and then fling them several feet down to earth with utter disregard for what lies beneath), are now a rare and disappearing breed. In Kerala apparently (another coconut-rich state), they’ve started training monkeys to do the job. Goa being what it is, they’ll talk about training endlessly and 50 years later we’ll probably still be relying on the human kind while ceaselessly complaining about how tough it has become to find them! That’s Goa for you 😛

Well be that as it may, my uncle who owns farmland can still his hands on this rare breed with relative ease and helps us out. It’s a very interesting sight. The climber (known as a ‘padeli’ in local lingo), is usually a wiry sort of guy, often smelling of alcohol at 9 am 😛 He uses his hands and a twist of rope and shimmies up the palm just like a monkey would do, carrying a sharp sickle either tucked in his shorts or sometimes between his teeth! Up, up he goes, until he’s up among the coconuts and we lose sight of him. Then a shower of coconut missiles begins, and every time one hits the ground, it’s like a pistol-shot!! They’re like cannon-balls – deadly dangerous, breakers of glass and heads! He also pulls off dead leaves and lets them fall to earth with a loud ‘swoooosh’. It’s an engaging performance 🙂 Once he’s done with one tree, down he comes and tackles the next. All this for about Rs.25/tree (that’s just 50 cents!!). It’s a risky business…death is a constant threat, from falls and occasionally from alcohol! Methinks, 50 cents is a truly piddly amount for a life-threatening profession like this one!! For my part – every time he climbs up and down the tree, I say a little prayer for his safety. Our trees are only about 20-30 feet high, but the traditional variety in Goa are double that height and more! All in all made for an interesting way to spend a Saturday morning for Ishaan and I 🙂

Unfortunately the video was taken with the camera in vertical position and try as I might, I can’t find software to rotate it. So I’m sorry about the horizontal orientation and any cricks you may develop in your neck! Trust me, it’s pretty impressive when upright! Oh and ignore my Granny’s rather sinister voice at the end 😛

Have included a great one from youtube so you know what I’m talking about!

In the evening we attended a cousin’s 21st birthday. It’s been a long while since I attended one of those. It was fun for a while, but I’d forgotten how exhausting parties like this can get, especially with a hyperactive 2-year-old in tow! Ishaan had a blast…he played ‘balloon-football’ and ‘balloon-cricket’ with the other kids, downed unhealthy quantities of coke and had undisclosed sips of beer, ate little cheese biscuits by the dozen (do not judge me too harshly dear friends, I was tired to supervise his food choices too closely! After all a little soda & cheese never hurt anybody!),  danced to the deafening, and I mean deafening, conversation-thwarting music, and in general ran amok!! He made friends with a darling little girl who was very obviously born to dance! She twirled and flounced her satin frills in the most delectable manner 🙂 By the time the cake was cut at 10 pm…and the kids had finished rolling in the confetti, we were all ready to call it a day. A quick dinner and we were back home and in bed by 11.15 pm with Ishaan falling fast asleep in the car, and me trying hard not to, on the way.

And so to Sunday, and a triumvirate of events…Dussehra, a favorite aunt’s birthday and Sushma’s birthday too! A happy, auspicious day 🙂 Dussehra symbolizes the victory of good over evil for millions of Hindus. Some celebrate it as the victory of Rama over the demon-king Ravana, while for others it is the victory of the Mother-Goddess Durga over the buffalo-demon Mahishasura. A huge chunk of Hindus, worship the Goddess Durga in their homes for ‘Navratri‘ – nine nights – of fasting, feasting, dancing and rituals that culminate in joyous celebrations and immersion of the Goddess, on ‘Vijayadashmi’ or ‘Dussehra’ (vijay = victory, dashmi = tenth day). For Hindus, this is one of the most auspicious days in the calendar and there’s a scramble to buy new homes, new cars, new jewelery (an Indian festival without the customary gold-buying is unthinkable!), begin new ventures and celebrate old ones, and in general make a fresh start.


The Goddess Durga in Slayer mode!


We had lunch with Sushma at her favorite restaurant, Delhi Darbar in Panjim. She’s well-known there and the owner joined us, wished her, took a picture and gave her a gift! It was very amusing! Ishaan made friends, again with an adorable little girl (Do I see a trend here?), who walked straight up to him and gave a hug much to his surprise! He’s begun now to show embarrassment by blushing and staring sheepishly at the floor, in a manner that makes me laugh and want to smother him in kisses, all at the same time. I often do both 🙂 They ran around the crowded restaurant, making a nuisance of themselves & causing much embarrassment to me (hubby and the rest were supremely unaffected, saying, ‘He’s just a kid. let him be.’), but to the credit of the diners there, were pampered by one and all. Ishaan fell asleep once again in the car on the way back and the rest of the evening was spent in relatively quiet at home…except for the lizard we tried to murder. It happened like this. I slid open the wardrobe door and suddenly there it was…a house lizard with beady black eyes, dashing for cover in………..uuuuuuuuuuuugh in my wardrobe!!!! I screamed and yelled for hubby to get rid of it while removing myself to another room and barricading it! Half a can of pesticide spray later, it wobbled drunkenly down the staircase, stopping briefly halfway to let go its thrashing bodiless tail…..YUCK!!!! Then it continued its weird somersault down the staircase and disappeared somewhere I couldn’t see. Good riddance – I have no patience nor sympathy for lizards and their ilk. I don’t know if it’s dead…don’t think so. Probably skulking somewhere growing a new tail. Uuugh!

So that’s my week in summary…It’s already Monday as I post this, but that can’t be helped…got to go with the flow…Have a good week ahead and stay away from coconuts and lizards!