“Amma, amma, I have to get something for school tomorrow. It is very important”. At that moment, as I put the TV on pause mode, for the fifth time in half an hour, and look at Nigella Lawson frozen in the frame, with the cake batter precariously floating in mid air, I fully understand why some people choose to send their kids to boarding school. I think my son has a great career future, in the world of SEO’s. He displays amazing skill in his choice of words, when he needs to grab my attention. At this point, only the words ‘school’ and’ urgent’ have the power to pull me out my ‘nigelessima’
“I need Scooby strings” he announces. Then, seeing that he was getting nowhere with me, he sighs and proceeds to explain,( in a voice he reserves for toddlers and his ‘slow’ mother) about these supposedly miraculous strings, that has taken his class by storm .
Before I know it, we are in the small stationery shop, which (like we put it in my mother tongue Malayalam,) stocks everything, except your parents. I try to tell the bored looking shop keeper, in my severely fractured Tamil, what we are looking for. After a bout each, of explanations and sign languages, the poor man still looks at me, as if I am giving him a lecture in Swahili. On a sudden brain wave, I whip out my phone (they don’t call it smart phone for nothing) and show him the images of what we are looking for. He looks at it and asks me scornfully “Oh! Scooby strings, aa?” (Oh! did you want Scooby strings?)
He immediately whips out a huge box from a corner of the shop, already bursting at the seams, with precariously balanced boxes of various shapes and sizes. He hands it to my delighted son with a look of empathy on his face, for having to deal with a mother with questionable IQ levels, on a daily basis. I head back home with a very happy boy, armed with Scooby strings in all colours known to human kind.
It turns out that procuring the Scooby strings, was the easier part. Apparently, making various knots out of these strings is no child’s play. Having a fair idea about his mother ‘knotting’ skills, Nachikaet promptly parks himself in front of the laptop, to watch some YouTube tutorials. I watch in amazement, as little girls with pigtails and two missing teeth, demonstrate various knots, like experts. I knot, loop and pull till my hands are entangled in a knot so bad, that even Houdini would balk at the idea of opening it.
So things are looking very bleak for Nachikaet, until his dad comes home and there is a twist in this very knotty affair. As with me, Nachikaet knows the right buttons to push, when it comes to his father too. So with a few subtle references to the difficulty levels and how his ‘poor’ mother is still unsuccessful even after repeated attempts, I walk into the room, to find both father and son huddled in front of the laptop, knotting away furiously.
To say they are hooked, is to put matters rather mildly. They can be heard, holding serious discussions on why butterfly stitch is superior to Chinese staircase or what went wrong in the fourth step of the box knot. I am presented with bracelets in various shades of neon pinks, blues and greens and even emotionally blackmailed into wearing one for a party. Phone calls are left unattended (sorry, my husband is unavailable at the moment. He is, err..’ knotting’!!).The plumber (who comes to show my husband some samples) is sent back unceremoniously, and asked to consult me. I mumble something about having to make a phone call, when the plumber asks me sheepishly, whether Saar likes stitching.
But it is when my husband refuses to look up from his Scooby strings, even after I inform him, that a rerun of 'Face off’ is playing on TV, that I know these are no ordinary strings.
According to him, they are a great way to boost his creativity and a great stress buster to boot. Last heard, Nachikaet is planning to make me a belt! I have knots in my stomach, just thinking about it.