It’s ‘pissing’ indeed

It was a peak summer afternoon. I got inside Bus No 114, a direct one from Vandalur to CMBT. Inside the bus, there were heads dangling from pulpy vertebrae and hands holding on to the bars like withered branches. Not a welcoming sight. I found a corner seat anyway.

The hot breeze through the window forced my eyes shut. Post that I saw everything in a haze. The oily heads and baskets of dried fish at the Tambaram stop would blur into a blank red screen. Next I would wake up to college lads playing tabla on the bus door to some MGR music. This would culminate in a splash of red. Next, a bunch of white ribbons tying the frizzy plats of school girls as they fight to get in. Blank red.

After what seemed like a day, I woke up to a slight nudge on my shoulder. It was a lady who was trying to unbutton her blouse to feed her baby. The kid, well above three, looked at me with her round eyes in despise. Heat does that to people. The innocent start loathing other equally innocent. I turned my face and let the sun brush my face black. The kid kept hitting my elbow as she rejoiced her mom’s milk.

I realised I had slept again when I woke up to a nudge for the second time. I wanted to be rude, but this time I could only see the lady’s back. Where was the kid?

The bus was almost empty with just a few fast asleep. The conductor was busy talking with the driver about a new release. I slightly raised myself up from my seat to get a better view of what the lady was doing? I was almost standing when she suddenly turned and sat straight. I sat back and pretended to adjust my dress. She picked the child from the bus floor, kept her on the lap and hurriedly pulled her shorts up. The kid smiled. A wicked satisfied smile.

The conductor whistled. As the bus came to a halt, the lady got off along with the kid, carefully placing her steps as she walked past to the bus door. Did someone puke?

I slid slowly on to her seat and looked down to see a trail of yellow urine meandering all the way to the back seat.

A landmark at Brussels which shows a kid urinating into the fountain's basin

A landmark at Brussels which shows a kid urinating into the fountain’s basin

Atrocious! I looked around at the empty seats and sleeping faces. Should I tell the conductor? Just then his whistle halted the bus.  School children chattered their way in, their new Bata shoes smudging what was then a lean valley. The chatters grew, so did the imprinted foot marks.

I cringed in my seat. It felt weird to be the only one to know the truth. But I couldn’t shout ‘Urine Urine’. I didn’t want to be a silent spectator, neither did I want to create a ruckus. I did what I thought was sane, got off the bus in the next stop like nothing happened at all. Once out, inhaled in deep, shouted ‘Yuck’, and continued walking.


Growl like a tiger, bleat like a goat

Vasugi Ram Manohar is a professional story teller at Madras story works. She organises sessions for kids every Saturday, where apart from the narration of stories, kids involve themselves in creative craftwork. The following was a curtain raiser for one of her sessions. To keep posted about the sessions, follow Madras story works here 


Buckle up those tiny shoes and sneak into the depths of forests. Oh there he is, the ferocious tiger seeking help to get his patch of land cleaned up. Console the ant-eater Armadillo and lazy deer as they walk past you after being rejected  for inefficiency in cleaning the tiger’s land. Give the diligent goat a pat on the back for systematically grazing the land free of grass. Kids, a major challenge here would be for you to imagine the tiger stripeless. Weird much?

‘How did the tiger get his stripes?’ is a South American folktale , which though may not give a scientifically befitting explanation to its title, is sure to impart a lesson that would remain with the kids. With the growl of tigers and bleat of goats, Vasugi Ram Manohar’s Madras story works would bring the animal characters to life coming Saturday, June 29, for the tiny tots aged from three to nine.

The mystery about the tiger’s stripes in revealed only towards the end of the story. The tiger, embrace yourself before you hear this, gets the stripes due to the wounds inflicted on himself while he attempts to break free from the stockade. But who built the stockade? The innocent and witty goat did. The tiger had termed him indolent in spite of him working hard in cleaning up tiger’s land. The clever goat had played his cards well, by faking a story about  apocalypse and having the tiger locked inside a stockade to teach him a lesson.  A symbol of valiance and power, the tiger did not rest until he freed himself from the stockade.

If you are trying to logically find the acceptable hero in the story, there is no right or wrong choice. Nor, is there a definite moral to the story. Vasugi says that children come up with fascinating valuable insights in the interactive session that ensues the narration. This time, Vasugi plans to conduct  crafts workshop after the event wherein the kids get to make tiger masks and more importantly mess up with colours and glue!

“Parents come to me complaining that kids are scared of talking in front of the class,” Vasugi says. The story telling sessions, she affirms, would help remove the inhibitions and enhance a child’s communication and presentation skills.

The article was previously published in The New Indian Express. Check out –


Shake a leg with the disney mascot

Clap your hands. Stomp your feet. Make some noise. Groove to the beat, echoed the music – And the kids obeyed every word of it.

Moments before the show began, the kids adjusted their Mickey caps and pulled at their mom’s sarees asking them to begin the show. How could they help? Nevertheless, the kids kept pulling. As the wait prolonged, few conceived their own theories of Mickey’s death, while a few others started yearning for the present cartoon stud – Chota bheem. Things could have gone out of hand, if not for the grand entry of Mickey, Minnie, Goofy and Donald on the stage then.

But, again, “Where is Daisy and Pluto?” moaned one of the kids, pouting. The Disney magic’s ‘Musical show’ at Forum Vijaya mall, however compensated for their absence with the stompy numbers, the high-octane beats and of course, the sing-your-heart-out genre of music which had the tiny tots celebrating their Meeska-Mooska-Mouseketeer days.

While most stood in a sense of wonder, a couple of them recoiled, intimidated by the size of the characters, which were literally larger than life. “It is almost like a reassurance that their friends were not just pieces of fiction, but characters in flesh and blood,” said Mridhula, trying to get her 4-year-old to sit, who had suddenly turned into a ball of ecstasy.

It was time to acknowledge Minnie, who sashayed her way around the stage. The crowd went ‘Yoo-hoo’ with Micky running around Minnie, confessing his love. The song got the kids attention with – Oh, the old tomcat with the meow, meow, meow!- as they mewed till their veins bulged out and barked for –  Ol’ hound dog with the bow-wow-wow! – like a trained pack.

When Rohini Bakshi, MD, Licensing and retail, Disney UTV says that they added the local flavour by making Mickey dance to Bollywood number, believe it. Disco deewane by Micky and group got that disco move better than the ‘students of the year’ with their spring-loaded steps.

“Why should kids have all the fun?” smiled one of the parents as he continued dancing to ‘All is well’.  Following this, with Auntyji – a special dedication to all the moms – the stage saw an explosion of dance styles, pulling down Travolta from the top dancers chart.

“In 2006, we brought Cinderella, Snow white and Repunzelle to Chennai,” sais Jyotika Ahuja, Director-Corporate communications, Disney UTV. “This is the second time. It’s all about giving a live experience,” she added.

The show which has travelled to Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore before coming to Chennai, according to a parent, Lakshmi Prasanna, could have appealed to the crowd more if they had Mickey dancing to Tamil songs. Yet another parent compared it globally and said that people abroad show a lot more spirit and have lesser inhibitions.

However, Heena and her son, Laksh Virwani have no complaints. They seem to have had an easy way with the passes, which otherwise could have been availed only through contests or purchase of goods from the mall. While her son gets busy playing play station at the Disney Pixar cars zone, she is satisfied watching him rejoice the zooming cars.

The 10-day Disney rendezvous  had the kids marching home the Mickey’s march with their tiny legs stomping the ground and hands waving up in the air ‘woo’ing the mickey way.


The article was previously published in The New Indian Express. Check out the link –