# Every tiring day ends in smiles, laughter and childish babble. The two-year-old who comes in the same car greets me with me, “Hi! Sweetie” and sings along to ‘Kolaveri Di’ on my mobile – word to word. He is Gujarati. How’s that for national integration? Through the seven-minute ride, we identify the Omantel tower, cranes at the construction site, tall buildings, trees and go through all the nursery rhymes. Eklavya (or Eta-lavya as he calls himself!), you make my heart go mmmm…

# So I embarked on this ambitious programme of moving my butt off the online world and going on morning walks. Did that for two weeks before the entire universe and the gravel outside my building conspired to give me a fall so bad that both my knees took a severe scraping (thank God, no fractures). And then I went sailing… and my knees are again bearing the brunt of my enthusiasm. But as Sushmita, my colleague would say, “It’s all good!”. Right now though, I am Bridget Jones of ‘the inner poise’!

# The soon-to-be-14 boy is now displaying a sense of humour, sometimes bordering on the bizarre. His expression is deadpan, so he has to tell me at times, that he just cracked a joke.

A sample:

Me to boy listening to Zariya on the iPad while doing his Maths worksheets: Did you know A.R. Rahman dropped out of school?

Boy: Yes, he dropped out of school in the ninth. Nothing shocking about it. Anyone would! (It hits me a while later. Duh! Boy is in the ninth!)

# WhatsApp helps me keep sane through most days. We have a family group with some very active members. Our daily conversation mostly goes like this:

Conversation 1

R Manni (my sis-in-law in Mumbai): Today we had tamarind rice and potato karakari for lunch.

The boy: Periamma, we too had Iyengar Puliyodarai (a variety of tamarind rice)

L (the niece in Madras): We too had tamarind rice for lunch here. Amrit, what is the difference between Iyengar Puliyodarai and Iyer Puliyodarai?

The boy: I don’t know. I just ate it. It was yummy. Ask Amma.

Me: (proceeds to give lengthy recipe off the Net)

Conversation 2

The boy: This Social (Social Science) is killing me. So much to study.

R Manni: Don’t worry. GBU (God bless you!)

The boy: Thank you Periamma!

Periappa: Kunjaa…

And I thank God for the akkas, annas, periappa and periamma who watch over my kid online when I am at office.

# I just wish most people would open up if they are feeling low or depressed. Depression is not a bad thing; opening up  to friends I believe has made me feel lighter. There are ups and downs but the thought that there are friends who say, “Talk, I will listen. I will not offer suggestions. I will not be judgemental,” makes life worth living. You all know who you are!

And finally I dedicate this blog post to all the ‘dehati aurats’ in my life:

# Amma, my mother-in-law who was born and brought up in a village (and who still lives in one) is one of the wisest, intelligent, resilient and hardworking women I know. She’d beat anyone at Maths and her handwriting is like calligraphy. And unlike me, she goes by her maiden name and has not taken her husband’s name after marriage!

# My paati who was widowed at a young age, and who had little or no education always exhorted the women in the family to study and realise their dreams.

# The woman auto-driver at our village square who is as good as any male driver, taking us through the notorious Palakkad highway and up the hill with ease.

# The women petrol bunk attendants at most highways in Kerala – always polite and smiling.

And every woman out there who is proud of being true to her roots.

And since I must shamelessly plug myself, I will also include myself, a city girl through and through who has made the decision to settle down in a village in the near future. Ayakkad, here I come, the dehati aurat.

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