Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Notes from India : The Birthday

‘How do we get our Gross Margins up by five percent?”, the dimly lit study was filled up by my CEO’s voice.
It was a global management call and I could sense the rapt attention of all my colleagues, dialed in from all across the world as I prepared myself for the answer.

‘Can you get the ladoos now …’, I looked in horror at the smiling faces of my eight year old daughter and her best friend. ‘… lots and lots of them …‘

I struggled to mute my speakerphone.


It was Janmashtami and the kids had a day off from school. The birth date of Krishna was being celebrated across India with reverence and gayety. In our house in the suburbs of Bangalore, however, it was somber corporate quarter ending.

Both me and my wife work from home. We have our own home offices in our tree shaded villa in the outskirts of Bangalore. Her’s in a corner of the master bedroom suite, and mine, more isolated on the first floor.

‘I am bored’, my daughter had come up into my office earlier that day. Born and brought up in the US, she was beginning to build up an Indian accent.

‘Today is Krishna’s birthday’, I had winked at her, ’Why don’t you celebrate it?’, I suggested. A celebration with dolls would keep her out of my way since it was going to be a busy work day for me.

‘I will get you some sweets – you know- Krishna loved sweets’ I made a mental note to pick up some laddos on my way to getting the new ink cartridge for my printer.

Her eyes lit up. ‘But I will need Sammy's help for the party’, Sammy was her classmate, neighbor and best friend.

I had patted my back at the inspired idea as I imagined my eight year daughter staying busy, learning about Indian culture, and more importantly, staying out of my way.


‘Sorry..I am having some problem with the phone line - give me five minutes … ‘, I mumbled and muted the phone. The study had now filled up with the chatter of small girls. A LOT of small girls. There were at least twenty five of them standing outside my study

‘We are having a great time, uncle’, Sammy chirped, ‘ We put up Krishna pictures on the walls, sang Krishna songs, even had a Krishna quiz !’, she said pointing at her iPad.

‘I won !' a cute little girl with braids raised her hand.

‘Now we are going to have a dance for Krishna’, my daughter quipped in excitedly ..’ , It is on the song You belong with me by Talyor Swift …. we will be singing it for Krishna not for a boyfriend or anything'

'You have to come down Baba ..’, she added imploringly.

My lips curled into a smile as I glanced down the mezzanine floor into the living room. The room was filled up with more girls. My wife was sitting on the couch surrounded by an eager battalion of six to ten year olds from our neighborhood. She looked at me and rolled her eyes. I had to struggle not to laugh.

‘Give me a second’, I stepped back in the study and unmuted the speakerphone. ‘Guys I will have to dial out now – some unanticipated emergency at home ..’

‘Hope all is well ….’

‘Cannot be better’, I thought as I hung up the phone and ran downstairs with the chattering girls.


Dev said...

Absolutely fantastic!! very evocative, a very feel-good posting. ..and the Krishna sketch rocks!

rachna said...

i have this sudden urge to have a laddoo. :) Keep writing

Varsha Nagpal said...

Very interesting. Children manage to take over our lives without us becoming any wiser! Liked the post, the sketch is lovely. Sure you had a great time enjoying and celebrating Janamashtami!

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