Radhika's Diaries

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The excitement of the FIFA World Cup has caught on around the globe with a trophy to be won in Qatar. While I can’t quite guarantee about the rest of the world, the heat is definitely on almost 3,000 kms away from Qatar; in Bengaluru to be precise.

That’s where my two boys live. And my boys are football geeks.

They don’t just watch, talk or play football. Oh no, they eat, sleep, breathe, dream football and that’s been the case ever since they were tiny li’l tots all those years ago. They’ve been kicking a ball even before they took their 1st step. Well, maybe I exaggerate here a bit, but there it is! Because since that 1st kick then, my boys are incapable of simply walking, as in putting one foot in front of the other like normal people do. Oh no … a well-kicked grimy ball is never far from their feet and they pass, tackle, dodge, take a heading and strike a goal, all around the house.

Read more: Football, Fifa World Cup and me

The walls and ceilings of my house have gotten a makeover with smudges, from their well-aimed kicks and my decorative articles are decorative no more. Most of them lack either an arm, leg or head and only the laughing Buddha who sits in my show case and who has taken many a hit on his head continues to laugh serenely through it all.

Whenever the boys come home for a brief vacation, the 1st thing they do is prowl around the house hunting for their old Nike football and once they track it down – there we go again.

Through sheer practice, I have learnt to duck, dive and dodge when they get into action. With them around, the conversation is all football and I hardly bat an eyelid when words like penalty kicks and free kicks, corners and kobri, yellow cards and red cards fly thick and fast above me. And the way they talk about Mbappe, Messi, Drogba and Neymar, one would think my boys are pyjama pals with these exalted guys!.

In a classic case of if you can’t beat ‘em, simply join ‘em, I sometimes elbow myself in and try my best to blend in. But I am invariably caught out. Like the time we watched a game on TV together, and I sat through 90 minutes of watching 22 grown men chasing one ball around the field.

Suddenly, there was excitement of sorts on the screen, everyone rushed down the field, one player got the ball, raced forward and …..

“GOOOAAAL!” I yelled. I looked at the boys. They simply looked back at me.

“It’s not a goal.” one said, shaking his head.

“Whaaa …?” I asked surprised. “I saw it!”

“Offside.” He said.

“Oh!” I said vaguely. “What’s that?” I asked. On hindsight I shouldn’t have. Because he went off into a lengthy explanation of just why it was not a goal.

He looked at my blank face and asked, “You didn’t understand, did you?” I shook my head feeling ashamed that I couldn’t get something which was way simpler than e=mc2. I slunk into the kitchen.

But my sons are focussed, dedicated and persistent, when it comes to football. They followed me into the kitchen with the ambitious project of explaining to their mother that thing called offside. The kitchen platform doubled up as the football field, the salt and pepper shakers became the goal posts, the lemon was the ball and it turned out, my pickle jar was not a pickle jar after all – it was a forward about to score a goal.

And with a rising crescendo of explanations and excitement, the ball sailed in between the posts.

“What was that, mom?” yelled my son, looking at me with shining eyes. “A goal or not?”

I looked around the walls and floors of my kitchen, my head reeling.

“That’s mango pickle, son!” I said.

And so it was! All over my previously pristine kitchen.

I am secretly relieved my boys are watching the World Cup 2022 someplace other than our home.

This post was published in the Times Of India under my Witty Wordsmith.

I was on a phone call with my parents in Udupi a couple of weeks back and we put each other up to date with the week’s activities on both sides. I listened to my dad as he spoke about banks and paying bills and buying groceries etc etc. Then my mom came on and we spoke of cooking three meals a day, the maid and her drama and other related stuff. As I thought about the entire conversation later, I realized how exhausting life can be for the aged, especially in today’s super-fast world. 

On a sudden whim, I decided to fly down to be with them, to help make their lives easier, for some days at least. Tickets booked, I called up dad to inform him about my plans. I informed all my friends in Abu Dhabi too and made sure they understood exactly why I was going – to help my aged parents and not for a vacation as some seemed to think.

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Myself Kamalamma from Kunjibettu in Udupi.

I am watching Kaun Banega Karodpati on Sony TV and what to tell you – Kamalamma is giving correct answers to so many questions, maybe I am already becoming karodpatni, I think. But sometimes I am quitting in 1st question itself because they are asking Hindi proverb for Rs 1000/- question. In our south part of India how we are to know Hindi proverb and all? Tchah!

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Myself Kamalamma from Kunjibettu in Udupi.

What to tell you … nowadays, we are getting to learn new and big words. From Corona time we are hearing quarantine and distancing and sanitizer and now, it seems it is Boycott. Our social media is full trending with boycott this and boycott that! Especially Bollywood.

Every time new picture from Bollywood is coming out, all are shouting boycott, boycott! And because of this boycott business, it seems many big banners are bombing at box office. Abbabba … now you people will say this Kamalamma is having too many Bs in her brain.

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Too lazy to read the post? Listen to it instead on my podcast – Bits and Pieces with Radhika

In almost every intelligent Indian TV serial or movie, when the characters emerge out of a deep coma, by default they are required to look around blankly and say, where am I? In the worst-case scenario, they might even say, who am I, followed by who are you, for good measure! Then the doctor shakes his head significantly and diagnoses it as partial or sometimes total amnesia, as the script demands. And so the saga continues!

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