Sorry Time, Grime Time

Every so often, you need to do something you’ve pointedly been avoiding for a while – even if it is only to remind yourself why you’ve been avoiding it. Come on now, I don’t need to tell you of the smug complacence of being right all along. Among the many things I’ve been avoiding lately, the toddler Story Time and Rhyme Time at the local library somehow resurfaced to cajole me into attending a session. In case anyone is wondering, the fact that Twitter and GTalk were down had absolutely nothing to with this. It was out of no choice a conscious super-mom choice that I decided to step out and subject my little one to some serious torture literary enrichment at the library down the road.

I realized I should stop congratulating myself on having taken the trouble to brush my hair and drag myself out at 10 a.m. when I saw a clique of moms all dressed up for Oscar night, waiting for the doors to open. To be fair to them – if they must travel 40 minutes in sun and traffic for a 15 minute Story Time, they may as well make up for it with their little black dresses.

Like all things glamorous, Story Time comes with its own set of unwritten rules. Topping the list of prerequisites is a matronly woman with a cherubic smile, translucent stockings, and a Croft and Barrow knit cardigan, regardless of the weather. And uh, it isn’t just her refrigerator that one can call full. Next in line is a book with the picture of some goofy looking bear or duck. If not that, some construction vehicle with a pair of aww-just-look-at-my-cuteness eyes and a smiley face will do too.  Of course, the picture is nothing if the title doesn’t fit the snowclone “X the Y”- where if X and Y cannot rhyme, they absolutely must start with the same silly starting sound. For instance, Dorky the Duck, or Baddy the Bulldozer, if not Honey the Funny Bunny.

So the fun begins as Ms. Sarah greets all her “little friends” with an Oscar-worthy fake enthusiasm. Some “little friends” will respond with an apathetic but very genuine blank expression. The others will continue to pick their noses, too focused for anything else, even a woman’s charm. But yes, the moms will all sincerely chime “Hellllo!” in unison. For the data nerds amongst you, the descending order of excited folks will be Ms. Sarah, the moms, blank friends, nose pickers.

Nevertheless, the story that begins at a low B will progress all the way to an F-sharp as it gets more and more exciting – for Ms. Sarah, that is. Somewhere in the middle, the bear will have encountered a little boy and would growl baring all this teeth. Or the duck will have met a gnu or some other exotic creature ducks wouldn’t otherwise meet. That’s enough cue for the imprisoned histrion within Ms. Sarah to be unleashed. All she has to do is scrunch her nose and bare all her teeth and say, “Looks like you have lost your way from home, little boy!” That’s it. All the kids will throw their head back and laugh. She could well be saying “Two systems in thermal equilibrium with a third system are in thermal equilibrium to each other, little boy!” with a scrunched nose and baring her teeth, and the kids would still throw their heads back and laugh.

By now it’s a good ten minutes into the story, and little yoghurt cups and Cheerios  containers find their way out of the handbags of the more anxious moms. Why, some even dare to bring bananas. Never mind that it’s just five minutes for the routine to end. Never mind that the child has not shown any signs of acute hunger pangs. But of course, he must be hungry at this precise minute. He hasn’t had anything since morning, other than the two waffles, a banana and that glass of milk an hour ago.

Poor Ms. Sarah has no choice but to take the hint, and flip through the remaining pages at a visibly enhanced speed. She will try to sound as enthusiastic with her good-byes as she did for her hellos, but who’s really listening? With a hurriedly muttered thank you, mommies and the toddlers make a beeline to the exit, so as not to miss the kids’ lunchtime. Thankfully, the library floor is spared of stray Cheerios, yogurt lids and banana peels.

That does it. Entertaining as the experience always promises to be, Sorry Time and Grime Time will always be one sloppy mom short.

53 responses to “Sorry Time, Grime Time

  1. don’t spare anyone, do you? not even yourself :D

  2. It’s sad. Bloggers of your calibre with such intense humour and observation don’t write as much as they should. And those who have no point to make call themselves writers and keep vomiting unreadable text. And on top of that it’s people like you (not necessarily you) who complain there aren’t many good blogs in the blogosphere. With your insight and power over words you can get people to start thinking about important issues, but I won’t get into that. At least continue writing funny stuff and make people smile.

    This is not a compliment from any angle. I’m saying this out of selfish reason. I’m angry and disappointed as a reader. There are very few blogs I can stand. When you write, and readers like you, you have a responsibility towards them.

    Thanks. Hope to see a post soon. Please don’t disappoint.

    • Thanks for your kind words, in disguise or otherwise. The only way I could reply to your comment is by writing a new post. And there it is. I hope it bribes you into changing your name ;) -g

      • Even this reply brought a smile. :)

        The problem with communicating anything to you is that your blog posts deal so much with slotting people one way or the other that it’s difficult to not feel conscious. :D

        Of course, I don’t mean that just because the blog posts you publish are about slotting, you’re yourself into that. :P

      • Did you just put me in a slot? :P -g

  3. Nice read. The scene at the library stood in front of me and it was hilarious. U need to write more.

  4. Came by to ‘nudge’ you :)



  6. The greatest pleasure of blogging is to read works of talented writers like you. Excellent!

  7. Hi 42

    This is Raksha Bharadia.
    Have been reading your blog.
    Interested in writing for Chicken soup for the Indian Romantic soul? It is under the same Jack Canfield Mark Victor banner. If yes, pls email me on and i will forward the brief to you.
    p.s U can Google my name

  8. This is hilarious! You’ve thought of even the data nerds like me :-)

    On a more somber note, as I read this I realized that the days of listening to stories from grandma while she feeds you food in the moonlight are gone…

    • Thanks! Can’t leave you guys out; it’d skew the data – c’mon you know that only too well ;)

      Days of stories from grandma – certainly not over for my grandkids (and even my kids for that matter). -g

  9. Hi, I’m a regular reader but delurking especially to tell you this. I attended a story time today at our library, and oh my god this is a PERFECT DESCRIPTION!!!!! My attention was on remembering your post than that story. I came home and read it again and was really laughing loudly!

    All this was really there:
    Overdressed mommys (especially desi),
    kids picking noses,
    description of Miss Sahra (but this was Cynthia) and her dress,
    the overacting line, (also, kids laughed because of the faces she made, and I laughed because I remembered your thermal equilibrium line, hahahaha)
    and food coming out towards the end – that also cheerios & yoghurt, but you forgot goldfish!! I was desperately looking for bananas, but I didn’t see any J.

    Sorry for the long comment. I had read this before when you just wrote it, but just now it was so much more funnier because it is so accurate! Hats off to your observation! Enjoyed thoroughly.

    • Hahaha. Are you telling me they turned this into screenplay already? :P Thanks so much, Monica. Appreciate you stopping by :) -g)

  10. A New fairy tale for toddlers

    How G takes on the…

    …attack of the dressed up Momzillas?
    … snuffling scrunchy sorry-tale sorceress?

    • Hehe. G’s takes:

      G runs away from A
      G could very well be B (esp. on a low ‘scale’. Ok, pathetic music joke; never mind :P)

      Good to see you back, girl! :) -g

  11. I agree with Navin! Get out of your slumber, Ms.!!

  12. Knock knock! Ahem, it’s that time of the month again! Time to write a new blogpost, I mean ;)

  13. neat post. found the oscar bit hilarious. you’re the first one who has successfully linked Mahila Mandali to the Academy Awards.

  14. that was indeed interesting, i did not know about such things, for i visit the library in the mornings and have seen the special room used by office folks or businessmen conducting seminars on how to sell your home at the highest price to an unsuspecting buyer. not that the attendees looked any less sheepish compared to the kids in yore session..

    when my kids were small, i was the story teller, and the stories were Arabian nights, Aesop’s fables and so on..the boys would squeal in their bunk sarah and no public sessions..

    but well, times have changed, i guess..though stories will be stories.

    • My kids still get those stories. And the story teller is their dad. I somehow feel there’s a difference between reading out a story and telling a story – the latter seems more personal, but maybe it’s just me.

      Stories will be stories? I suppose so. More politically correct, less “violent” (for instance, tigers won’t eat people, demons won’t kill), more “peaceful” – but yes, I guess they will still pass for stories. -g

  15. A matronly woman with not just a refrigerator that one could call full? A cherubic smile? So why were there no dads there? Was it the matronly bit, or the cherubic smile?


    Quirky Indian

    • Let’s just say it must be those stockings. I doubt the mom’s glare or the “no dinner (or whatever :P) for a week” threat would have anything to do with it, no siree. -g

  16. when is ms.sarah gonna read the book – “g the blogger” ? ;-)

    good post!

    • LOL. ‘g the blogger’ doesn’t qualify – it has to be “B the Blogger” or “g the Jogger”. (And thank God for that! I don’t want her baring her teeth squinting her eyes to an uncannily perfect imitation of g :P) -g

  17. The thing that you hate and fear will come to you with all its vigor and power. Once you face it, it goes away calmly. I mean the library and Ms Sarah will still be there, but atleast you will get used to it :)

    • Ha, there lay the problem; no wonder I could never get used to it! So now I should start with hating and fearing it. After that, when I am able to face it, I will finally – and hopefully – get used to it! If it works, I will have only you to thank ;) -g

  18. I was sort of hoping for a dramatic ending where you ask the lady to “step away from the book”, and you show the kids how it’s done with some “grimy” interpretations, e.g.:

    In “Hansel and Gretel”, the witch actually escapes from the oven after being roasted for a bit. You can even have everyone chime in on how the witch would look ?

    That should stop the banana munching on it’s tracks and get you some repeat business. Who knows, maybe next time some of the dads might come too ? :-)


    • Hehehe. Much as that would be truer to the title, you do realize it’d defeat the purpose of banana munching with its er…reverse-munch effect? Even the floors wouldn’t be spared. (Yikes, I can’t believe I actually said that! Now don’t imagine it :P) -g

  19. “I realized I should stop congratulating myself on having taken the trouble to brush my hair and drag myself out at 10 a.m. when I saw a clique of moms all dressed up for Oscar night, waiting for the doors to open. ”


    I hop over to your place with a laughter. Imagine if you ever wrote a serious piece.

  20. That was so well presented. I felt I was right there with the rest of the parents or rather the children because I did throw back my head and laugh at that precise moment they did! :P

    • Thank you, Shail! Alright, you can be honest with me – did you laugh at what she said or what she did as she said it?! :O -g

  21. Oy! I happen to like Honey the funny bunny!!! :D

    Which part of this country are you in exactly?! I think I would be lucky to see a little lipstick color amongst the sweatshirts! OF course, the last (and first) time I went was about 2 years ago so things may have changed. I doubt whether I’m curious enough to find out!

    • Ok, don’t laugh, but after your comment, I actually googled to see if a book like that exists :-|
      Hehe, if you ever plan a trip here, I’ll be sure to take you to one such session. Of course, I can’t ignore the other extreme that barely gets out of bed and walks out in PJs! Or worse, PJs with lipstick :P -g

  22. Hilarious stuff as always. I have not been to any story time, but if it’s going to be full of bananas, yoghurt and other grime (ROFL@ grime time), I think will pass. But after your description I wish I could spy from a window to see Ms. Sarah’s funny faces and her full not refrigerator ;)

    And a belated happy birthday to you! (Shocked? ;)

    • If I scared you with just yogurt and bananas, be happy I didn’t disclose too many details :P (Well, it’s not so bad.) LOL@not-refrigerator :D

      And thanks :) (For a moment, yes but with common sense, not so much ;) ) -g

  23. hahaha! Hilarious rant!

  24. hehehe…. that felt like a surreal experience… like watching it as an outsider but along with knowing insider’s gossip ;-)
    nice one… keep ’em coming…

    “She could well be saying “Two systems in thermal equilibrium with a third system are in thermal equilibrium to each other, little boy!” with a scrunched nose and baring her teeth, and the kids would still throw their heads back and laugh.” ROFL…! this was the funniest part! :D

    • :D You really have to be there to get the real deal, even if it’s just as an experiment. Do it sometime, I promise you some fun ;) -g

  25. thethoughtfultrain

    Pretty vivid, I must say. The over anxious mommies are a people watchers delight! :-) Good post with a creative title. Keep it coming!

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