• Blog 6: Babysitting Disasters

    Anyone who has a naughty sibling or cousin can definitely relate to this blog post. 6-year-olds in particular- They simply cannot keep still! They have to run haywire, darting here and there, causing all hell to break loose.

    I’m going to tell you a couple of hilarious anecdotes about how I babysat my cousin Pachu during his visit to our home.

    The havoc started two years ago, when my uncle Manu, my aunty Priya and my cousin Pachu came to stay with us a day or two. When they were being shown around the house, the grown-ups suggested I take Pachu downstairs. I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I agreed.

    Pachu was very excited to meet my best friends, Lakshmi and err…Lakshmi (Lachu and Deva).

    We showed him around our flat and we introduced him to a little boy his age called…um, for my safety, I will not be mentioning his name, due to the unacceptable events that happened later!

    My cousin has longish hair for a boy, so the little boy teased him that he looked like a girl. Unfortunately, I learnt the hard way that Pachu had a fly-away temper. He threw himself at the little boy and it looked like he nearly killed him from our point of view.

    We saved the little boy from the wrath of my little cousin brother and we sent him back home for his own safety.

    When we tried to take Pachu home, he played an annoying game of “tigers” and kept roaring at us and bit us whenever we crossed the 1 metre barrier.

    We had no success and we were about to give up any chance that he would be budged from the bench he had made his fortress.

    Then his head jerked up abruptly. We looked in his direction. There was a lovely red Porsche driving out through the gate. Pachu jumped up as if new life had surged through him and he ran behind the Porsche as if his life depended on it.

    The Porsche drove out of the apartment and out onto the road.

    I had always known he was mad about cars but this definitely took the cake.

    The security guard shouted after him and we were scared to run out onto the street. I ventured out gingerly but there was no need for that.

    A cat was chasing Pachu and he ran to us, curls flying, eyes bulging.

    At last, the tiger had been overcome by a mere cat. I could see the headlines.

    For some reason, we were overcome with a wave of hysteria and I grabbed Pachu’s wrist as we ran for home.

    I was really mad at him but it is very hard to stay that way with him, so that was forgotten.

    But the next incident, which happened recently, really could have ended him up in hospital.

    We have moved to a new flat and so my uncle Manu, my aunty Priya and Pachu came to see it. I was very proud of my new bedroom, which had been painted according to the colour theme I wanted. The prize highlight was the 7-foot-tall bunk-bed which had always been my dream to own.

    As expected, Pachu scrambled to the top as soon as he got the opportunity. I started playing with him and soon he got a crazy notion inside his head that I was going to whack him or something.

    It was only play and I told him so. He kept biting me and playing tiger again. I sighed.

    I decided I had had enough of standing downstairs so I started climbing up the ladder to the top bunk.

    I immediately regretted my decision. He said with a wild look in his eyes, “If you’re going to come up here, I will jump!” He positioned himself. Obviously, the words “seven-feet-tall” do not intimidate him.

    I was grasped with fear. I was scared he’d actually do it. I wobbled a little on the ladder so I hoisted myself firmly onto a rung to keep my balance.

    Big mistake.

    He must have thought I was going to climb up and whack him or something, (I had absolutely no intention of even scratching, let alone whacking a poor, innocent little child like him) and he did something that made my heart stop.

    He jumped.

    I screamed.

    Everyone ran towards my room and came to see Pachu lying on my floor, and Priya Aunty was almost in tears. Thankfully, he opened his eyes, shifted and groaned, “My leg…ouch…”

    Miraculously, he had no broken bones at all, except for a few bruises here and there.

    We all sighed in relief.

    And I resolved never to be left alone with him again. If I could help it, that is. You never know what he’s going to get up to next.

    Gauri Santhosh

  • Blog 5: Fighting the Fat

    Is there anyone among you who checks their weight scales every day? Some of you gasp in horror at the reading, and some of you look on proudly. In the mirror, you look for muscles, primp and preen, sucking your tummy in and measuring it every day.

    This is the problem with our generation. We all want to look like we belong on the cover page of a magazine. We spend excess money on gym subscriptions and diet food that sometimes, doesn’t even work. In the process, we lose money and sometimes even health.

    When did all this drama about reducing start? We plump people want to know!

    It started with Greece in the 3rd century. Then, dieting was considered as something to make you healthy, eating simply and not eating lavishly.

    The dieting fad spread in the name of health, and not figure.

    Later came the Renaissance period. Everyone struggled to feed themselves, and so people who were fat were rich and lived a life of luxury. Thin people were often looked down on.

    This can be seen in past century literary works. In “Jean Christophe” by Romain Roland, the lead character is thought to be good-looking because he is well filled out. “Little Women” by Louisa May Alcott features the eldest sister, Meg, to be pretty as she is plump and Jo to be unattractive as she was thin.

    Eventually the diet fad started again and only rich people could afford those fancy subscriptions to the gym and poor people were stereotyped to eat from fast food places because it was considered cheap.

    Actually, the old Greek theory is right. We should diet to be healthy, not slim.

    A majority of the world’s people are obese and fat people have a lower life expectancy than slender people. Blood sugars accumulate and lead to heart attacks, it makes us lazy and useless and leads to more diseases like diabetes, strokes, gallbladder disease, sleep apnea, etc.

    Pressure from the outside world though, makes us think more about our figure. Models and actors look amazing and awe-some to us, and this makes us want to look like them too. We see other people fussing about this and it’s almost like a disease- the figure-watchers spreading across the world. You eventually have people who don’t care a stuff about this weight-loss lark being pressurised by others and then they pressurise others, directly or indirectly, and the cycle goes on.

    Even children in my class go on about losing weight, and most of us are barely thirteen. Even I do, to be frank, but the pressurising forces us to work on it. I haven’t been trying too hard, because it’s not good for growing children. That should be in the minds of any kids who want to go on a diet, even though the fat remarks often get to you.

    If you really do want to lose weight, it does come with a few sacrifices! Those special drinks don’t always work. You should exercise and cut down only on fats. That should do the trick, though sweet toothed people (like me) are probably going to be agonised at the thought.

    Don’t go through the fasting method anymore because many people die from bulimia, an eating disease and we all want to live long and healthy.

    Please don’t disappoint your tummies- disappoint your tongues!

    -Gauri Santhosh

  • Blog 4: Furry Friends

    Today I’ll be writing about my pets. How many of you readers have pets? I’m sure there must be a dog or cat owner reading this now. I’m a dog owner myself. My pets are probably the best things that have ever happened to me.

    Lucky is my pet Labrador. Who can resist a sweet little Labrador puppy, ever so naughty, especially one that snuck your dad’s shoe to the backyard. That’s what he did the first day I met him. He was (and still is) a lovable bundle of mischief.

    I originally wanted a cream coloured Labrador but Lucky was so cute he won our entire family over. I fussed over him, giving him treats all the time the first day.

    He was in our bedroom that night, refusing to sleep elsewhere, trying to jump in with us.

    He was gaga for anything edible (sometimes the things he ate wasn’t supposed to be edible) and soon, as all greedy puppies do, he became sick. Hold your stomachs for what I’m about to tell you- he ate the sick. (against our will- my mom hosed his mouth afterwards and that was not a very happy experience for him.)

    He will eat anything- once he ate some dead animal and some rotten fish our house help threw out.

    After a truckload of training, he still won’t “sit and wait” for food for even a second.

    He is always at war with chew toys, especially one that squeaked and wouldn’t shut up no matter how many reprimanding bites he gave it. He manages to break any toy we give him, no matter how doggy-proof it is. But he loves playing chase, tug-of-war and catch-the-treat.

    He thinks he's still a little puppy but playing chase with him is very dangerous- especially when he’s It.

    He was very naughty the first few months, until finally we gave up and sent him for obedience training. After he came back, I was amazed at how a mischievous pooch had turned into an obedient canine.

    He wasn’t hyperactive and he meekly followed the commands “sit”, “wait”, “shake hands”, “down” and “heel”.

    The trainer showed us how to train him every day, and we were very impressed. But of course, he never listens to us, and now he’s untenable again, though he is a bit better than before training.

    I often try to train him like the trainer did, but “he ends up training me,” as my mom puts it.

    He is always hyperactive and often runs at super speed round and round the house (especially during baths). One time he ran off with me on his back! We love him a lot and he’s always pampered and fussed.

    Once a dog tried to approach me and Lucky bravely fought him, growling and barking. Then, in the car, he whined in my lap and I could feel him shivering slightly. That’s when I realised how scared he must have been. Dogs are your best friend, loyal and of course, they keep life interesting.

    I used to have my Micky as well. Now of course, he’s with his own kind, happily in the trees. He was a squirrel who meant, and still means, so much to me.

    My mother would tell me tales of how she rescued 2 squirrels from crows and kept them in her teens. I was captivated by this story and would always long to have one of my own. But of course, it would be cruel to steal them from their nests.

    One day, my uncle came to the house with a big cardboard box. Inside, as you may have guessed, was the little squirrel baby who had been separated from his mother in an unfortunate mishap.

    Micky seemed to like my mother more than me at first. My mom would put sugared milk into a little eye dropper and would feed him tucked in the folds of her dress. This comforted him and probably reminded him of the soft, downy fur his mother had. He looked adorable then. I’m only sad I didn’t take a picture of those moments.

    Then, one day, the soft squeaking squirrel decided to have an adventure and he climbed up the curtain. He slipped on the top folds and nearly came tumbling to the ground. I heard the loud squeaky scream he let out and rescued poor Micky, who was feverishly clinging on to the curtain. So far as he was concerned, I was the person who saved his life, and from then he warmed up to me more.

    He was very picky about food- he wanted something different every day. But his favourite things to eat were sugar and tapioca chips, and to drink- juice.

    He loved tickles and he would play with us for ages like that, squealing and kicking playfully in protest like a little child as we tickled his belly. His warm little belly would jiggle because it was full of warm milk.

    Micky was very intelligent too. He would often “ask” us to on the tap to drink water and he understood simple words and signs, such as “good boy”, “palu (milk)”, “juice”, “kolli (tapioca chips)” and he often answered to his name, though mostly we would click our tongue to call him.

    He was a little rascal, biting us in play and running away. If squirrels could smile, at that time, he would be mischievously grinning.

    His favourite pastime was to climb up on to my shoulder, sometimes to curl up and take a nap, much to my delight. He would arrange my hair like a blanket and go straight to sleep, his soft, downy tail curling round my neck.

    But sometimes he would explore my ear, nibbling on it and poking his snout into the opening, much to my (slight) annoyance.

    At rare moments, he would sit on our laps lazily watching the colourful images on the TV screen. He even once sat on my head and went to sleep!

    Micky was very fussy about bedtime and had to be wrapped cosily in his blanket or he would cause quite a racket, clattering his teeth against the bars. Sometimes the light would disturb him and we’d off the lights so he’d fall asleep.

    He grew and his claws became sharper and his teeth became longer. He started gnawing at our furniture and it hurt my Mom when he climbed onto her, because she had sensitive skin. He tore at the dining chair cushions and I mended them each time, but soon the chairs looked very tattered and my mom said the next time he shredded a chair, he would have to be given away. When we moved, we changed the cushions, but the chairs still have scratches and chips from where Micky gnawed them.

    To my absolute horror, the next day, a chair cushion was discovered by me to have a giant tear. Back then, I used a dining chair as my study chair. I quietly moved the chair to my room. Micky was safe.

    We often went to my dad's ancestral home and my mom would take little Micky along in a bag in his cage. It wasn’t a long drive, so he was fine.

    Lucky was offended to see another creature getting attention (he is a bit spoilt) and he barked constantly if he even got a whiff of squirrel. He would smell my hands curiously when I played with him, wondering why I smelled like a squirrel.

    We had a large grove of trees in the backyard, and Micky was sent up on the trees to gnaw and climb to his heart’s content. Then we called him for his milk and he would fill his tummy and go to play on the trees again.

    Soon he met a tiny band of squirrels. I was happy that he had found some friends.

    But the next day, he gave me a squirrely kiss on the nose that I had taught him and he tried to run away but he fell from a huge jackfruit tree. I screamed but there was nothing I could do.

    Thankfully there was a small nutmeg tree to break his fall. Micky was rescued by us, and it appeared he had no injuries but a tiny cut on his nose.

    That night he climbed up onto the windowsill, his favourite place, and when I tried to bring him back down to put him to bed, he clutched my finger and started squeaking. He kind of looked like he was confessing something very sentimental like, “I am going. You must not be sad when I am gone. Goodbye.” Like they do in the movies.

    Unfortunately, the next day he escaped through the back door. I cried so hard that day and would barely eat any lunch.

    It’s been nearly a year since Micky was last seen. I only have a photo to remember him but I don’t need it. Even today I remember his cute little face.

    Pets are great stress-busters, and they help you forget your worries quickly. Lucky often sits in my lap and nuzzles me gently when he feels I am sad, because animals can often feel human emotions, and they have better instincts.

    They're also really fun to play with. Micky and I often used to play catch. Animals have simple games, as we do. Many animals have been observed playing common games such as king of the castle.

    They also make you feel confident and responsible. I'm a very squeamish person and my mom was skeptical that I would clean Lucky's messes myself. But I loved him so much that I did. I didn't even trust myself to do it but when I finally did it, I felt really confident and responsible.

    But most importantly, they make you feel special. Because they see you as a perfect person and their worlds often revolve around you.

    I’m glad to have Lucky, and I always remember Micky. They will both live in my heart forever.

    Gauri Santhosh

  • Blog 3: School- A Student’s Biggest Headache!

    Today I’m going to be writing about something that plagues a child’s mind- school. Don’t get me wrong- I love school. But the problems which faze me and my friends are the projects and the weight of the school bags.

    Many children don’t like to study. Studies are essential for survival in this economical world. This blog post is not to discourage students from studying. This blog post is to emphasise how the school board is overworking children.

    Overworking is becoming a big problem. I know some people in 10th grade who moon over their books day and night, and yet, fail or pass by a mark or so. But leave out 10th grade, because I haven’t been in that grade yet, but when you move from the 5th grade to the 6th itself, it instantly makes you feel tired out, with one long chapter finished almost every week, and then exams to cram all those chapters into one day.

    7th grade is even more tiring, with 15 page projects that must be spiral bound and done by hand, even longer chapters and hard words in the languages we learn that even my mom doesn’t know.

    Some of my friends and I manage to earn A+ even then, but some people, who used to study well have their marks failing dreadfully. My father keeps telling me to go outside and take a breath of fresh air, but, struggling in the whirlpool of exams and projects, I barely get the time. If things seem so difficult now, I don’t know how we’ll manage in higher grades.

    Some lessons are unnecessary, if I do say so myself. For example- geometry. The whole thing, I think, is only needed for budding architects and engineers and people who work in that category. For people who aspire to work as a paediatrician, perhaps, do not need to study the congruence of triangles or the reaction of copper sulphate with magnesium hydroxide. An engineer does not need to study respiration in organisms or the Maya civilisation.

    Projects are just something to make students suffer, in my opinion. The whole point of projects, I believe, is to make students research on a topic, so they know more about it. If that is so, they could take a lesson on that topic if it is that beneficial for later life. But projects are also graded on presentation. Pretty borders and fancy writing make the difference of at least one mark. This is all taught in art class, and perhaps, will only benefit artists and people who have a lot of writing involved in their jobs. Not to mention all the paper and ink that is used in the process!

    Plus, the weight of our school bags bend the spines of students and no matter how many laws on weight the government releases, the straps of our bags continue to dig grooves in our shoulders. Many of my classmates have developed slumps and back pain. Back pain and shoulder pain constantly plague me. And are we going to use all those books? Not always. Now my school has started using tabs instead of books, and that too, for older students. But until this change comes to other schools, the rest of the students will continue to suffer.

    Until the school boards consider such problems, we still need to face them. Some tips are:

    - Don’t save studies after play. After you go out to play, you feel tired and worn. When you say you’re too tired to study, the pile of studies will build up until you can’t stand it any longer.

    - Put your electronics, storybooks, comics, toys and any other things that tempt you to procrastinate in another room. “I’ll study this for later, I want to do that” thoughts are big no-nos for determined students.

    - Relax for 10-15 mins in between studies so you don’t feel stress. But of course, the study time should be more than the chill time. Perhaps an ideal gap would be 45 mins of studies and 10-15 mins of relaxation.

    - It is ideal to eat before you study, especially chocolate. Not too much, but chocolate contains “happy hormones”, which as the name suggests, makes you feel happier. Food itself triggers blissful and of course, delicious thoughts in our mind. This state-of-mind is ideal for study time.

    - Always make sure you pack per the timetable- nothing more, nothing less. Never carry unnecessary books as they contribute to the load. If you need to carry a lot of books, then carry some in a separate small bag.

    If you follow these tips and still can’t manage an A, don’t worry. Inside every person is a different destiny. A chef, an actor, an author, etc. But don’t let that get in the way of your studies. Try your best and you’re sure to succeed!

    Gauri Santhosh

  • Blog 2: Bullying and Blues

    I’m Gauri Santhosh and this is the second write-up on my blog. In case you haven't read my first write-up, this blog states my opinion on many relevant topics in society.

    Today I'll be writing about a common problem faced by many a school kid- bullying and loneliness. Bullies are narrow minded, selfish and have a terrible air of superiority around them, though they are often influenced by bad acquaintances. Bullying can be physically or mentally depressing. Either way, it traumatizes the poor victim. Loneliness follows soon after.

    If you have faced bullying at some time or the other, you know how agonizing it feels. It could be from anyone, adults, your classmates or even a relative. Bullying is mean and many times you just don't know what to do.

    I've experienced this many times, especially when I was younger. Sometimes bullies appear to us like friends. I was so small that I couldn't understand that the group I wanted to play with hated me and were ganging up against me and always got hurt repeatedly. I had cried buckets by the time realisation dawned upon me. That experience has taught me a lot and I've emerged stronger. Because each time my book was thrown into the trash can, each time I was pushed down the stairs, I grew tougher, and a nagging feeling inside me urged me to get back up and walk away. I realised that whatever was holding me back from escaping the bullies was all in my head. Now I have a nice group of friends who do like me and stick by my side, and I know how to protect myself from getting pushed around like a puppet.

    Not every problem can be solved like this, perhaps, so I'll give you some tips:

    If a bully threatens you:

    - If you have a way with words, you can talk your way out of it.

    - Hitting back is a bad way to settle things, and if you have a bad temper, you should control it somehow, because that would get you into trouble as well. Try your best to settle things by yourself.

    - Walking out of there is also an option, because that wouldn't leave any room for any sort of reaction. You need two surfaces to clap and that doesn't need to happen.

    - If the bully continues to harass you, if it’s in school, you can tell the teacher in private, and most probably, she will sort it out for you. If you tell her in front of the entire class, chances are the bully will be more inclined to take revenge or something nasty like that. No one likes to be shown up as a bad egg in front of their peers. If it’s at home, don’t hesitate to tell your parents. A loving parent is the best person to stick up for you.

    Mostly the bullying involves making you feel all alone and you feel as if you’re the only one who doesn’t have a friend. This also happens when a friend backstabs you or hurts you to your face. If you feel lonely and friendless, try making new friends. The new kids are always a little shaky because they haven't gotten enough time to fit in yet. Don't worry what anyone will think, because you've rarely got anything to lose, even if you think you do. Just be you!

    During tough times, writing in a diary could help. Yes, even boys. I'm serious, diaries aren't just for girls. Diaries are great when you're down, because when you write it down on paper you can release all that negative energy. You can feel your insides calming down and you feel tons better. Writing in your diary is great to unwind after a long day and it's as if all your burdens have gone into the book and melted away into each word. It’s also like you’re talking to another person and it eases that lonely feeling in the pit of your stomach.

    Forcing yourself to smile has been clinically proven to boost your mood.

    But most importantly, never let anyone get to you if you can help it, and always remember that you are unique. I know that's what all the sappy help sites say, but it's truer than true. Always see the inner you and of course, you can't help it if the people who mock you are blind to your inner awesome!


    Gauri Santhosh

  • Blog 1: All about reading!

    This is Gauri Santhosh and this is the first write-up published on my blog, “Gauri’s Word”. On this blog, you'll hear what I have to say on relevant topics in society.

    The topic I’m going to write about today is on reading. Everything to know about it! Well, not everything, I’m only twelve years old. I’m sure kids and adults will love reading this blog from the viewpoint of a 7th grader, and maybe see things in a whole new light.

    Reading- some people think it’s cool. Some people think that it’s something that nerds do. “Don’t be such a nerd,” they say. Believe me, I’ve heard that a couple of times. That’s not so great, but, then, you should just ignore them like I do, if reading is one of your passions. Then, again, if you get caught by the teacher reading in class, that’s a bad thing, because you could end up standing outside for the rest of the class.

    Indulging in a book is like going on a long expedition. Have any of you readers experienced yawning and stretching after reading a book as if you’d travelled 20 thousand miles while you were reading it? I love imagining the scenes and thinking about them, over and over until I memorise the scene quite by accident. Sometimes I’m caught muttering to myself and people often think I’m talking to them. My personal favourites are adventure thrillers, diaries and any book that has something in it to laugh about.

    Adventure books are pretty much thrillers by default. I am often found looking as if I was watching my dad battle an anaconda, furrowing my brow with my mouth hanging open. Some people wave their hand in front of my face to check if I’m still on Earth. I would definitely recommend the Harry Potter series and the Famous Five series. Little kids would love my book, Jack the Fly.

    Diaries are great for those kind-of off days when you feel down and glum. Sometimes you relate to the character and you’ll think, “I’m not the only one who has to face this.” Sometimes you look at that character’s problems and you think, “At least my problem isn’t that bad.” Or that character helps you laugh it away. Either way, diaries are like therapists when you feel a little depressed. Diary of a Wimpy Kid is a really good stress buster which lightens your heart. Diaries are the best examples of how a book can be your best friend, whether you wrote it or someone else did. And maybe you can look back on them when you’re older and laugh. I’m sure the slightly elder who are reading this must do that. I have a teacher who does.

    Jokes are great to laugh your head off, though sometimes I do wonder who wrote those idiotic knock-knock jokes and puns which do get a little too awful sometimes. I don’t mean to wound any knock-knock or pun enthusiasts but that’s my word on it. I like the good jokes which you can’t explain but make you laugh all the same. You’ll find plenty in the books Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Big Nate. For younger readers, I’ve added a lot to my own release, Jack the Fly.

    Now a lot of moms out there have troubles to get their kids to read. I have a lot of friends who can’t see the point in reading or what pleasure I get out of it. That’s one problem, which my mom tackled when I was little. She read to me whenever she got the time and started teaching me the alphabet when I was 6 months old. When I started to read, my mom always bought me some type of book so I would keep quiet when she was busy. In the car, my parents often checked whether I was still in my car seat with my book, because I was totally immersed in it, completely silent. In my opinion, moms should always set aside some quality time for their child so they can teach their child to love books, reading them a story, perhaps making the characters talk in funny voices. Enchanting the story world to little kids would be great, because whatever influences them at this age moulds their personality, and a habit of reading is a noble quality to add, if I do say so myself.

    Stories are magical and probably do take you on a real adventure, but our brains are probably too small to know that. If you’re not a big reader, then you should start reading more after this to experience this. Grow wings, attain eternal youth and supernatural powers, anything is possible in the land of imagination. And reading can take you there.

    Gauri Santhosh