Always wear your best underwear

… when you step out of the house. You never know when you’ll have an accident and need to be taken to the hospital in it.

This was just one of the pithy bits of wisdom my grandmother imparted to me instead of teaching me to make a mean mutton biryani like most other sensible grandmothers would!

She also told me that if I got down on my knees and crawled around with my son, he’d be there in my old age when I didn’t have knees anymore. Of course the poor old lady didn’t know I’d lose my knees at 30.

But anyway, down on my knees and crawling around is what I did with my son today. On his Sports Day.

The OA couldn’t make it for the first time since the Brat has begun school and was rather devastated.  I had to take an hour off my morning hours and attend alone. We had to dress up in red and white and I couldnt decide if I felt more like a candy cane or Ronald Mcdonald.

The school has a lovely way of doing it where every class performs at a different hour and the parents are called only for that one hour. So our class of 26 kids performed and we 26 pairs of parents sat around the the field and watched without struggling to get ahead or record it.

I have always dreaded the Brat seeing me at any event because I know he’s the kind who is easily distracted and will start misbehaving. So while other parents enjoyed the ring side view I looked around shiftily wondering if I could hide behind something. No chance.

And then the kids straggled on to the field. Warm winter sunshine. Bright happy faces. Proud parents. I avoided looking at him but he saw me and started to wave. I waved back reluctantly and then – nothing. He sent me  a flying kiss and smiled with all his heart but stayed in line and didn’t shy away. And my heart skipped a beat. It’s no secret that I think my son is the cutest and most handsome child in town. It helps that he has a lovely open smile. There was a drum roll and I told my beating heart to be still – only to realise that it was the games teacher actually getting started on the drumset.

They began to march around the field. I watched in pride and all of us began to clap and say left, left, left, right, left… keeping time with them. What I loved about the event was that it was so cosy and warm and just perfect. The kids streamed past us, some staring at their toes, others grinning widely… My son walked by frowning into the sunshine. His face a picture of concentration. But you could tell he’d tuned out of the sports day and was thinking of something else.

‘Lovey-dovey..’ I called out, forgetting that he was a big boy in school… and that I should call him by his given name.

Mama! He smiled back at me.

March, darling, like the other babies.. good boy.

Okay, says he easily.. and begins to swing his arms… and march in earnest.

My little absent-minded professor.

The sports over, the yoga began.

They marched out, lay down on little mats and began to do their routine. The Brat is pretty good because he loves joining me at home when I do my yoga. But here again, he lay down for a particular pose and a cloud caught his attention. He lay there watching it float by and I knew he was playing our favourite game. Lying out on the balcony, watching clouds and trying to figure out what they resembled.

Dovey…I call out.

He snaps back to earth and joins the class. Teachers walk around helping them do the correct poses. I enjoy watching it. As do the other parents. A little girl bursts into tears in the middle and teachers rush to her. Her mother is sitting on the edge of the seat and looking pained. I feel her pain.

And then the yoga is over and they annouce that it’s time for the parents to join the fun.

What? Me? I have a knee injury… I begin to explain to a teacher and then realise that she won’t insist. But my son’s heart will break. As it is his father isn’t here and if his mother doesn’t join in, he won’t be a part of this event.

I get up hesitantly, my knee frozen, and limp to the start line. I’m most inappropriately dressed thanks to the red and white dress code the school asked for. I came up with a pair of white capris and a white chiffon kurta with a red stole and a pair of red patent leather peep toe flats.

The Brat watches me walk up to him with a big grin on his face. And then flinging his arms around my knees, puckers up and looks up at me, offering me a kiss. I bend down gratefully for this public display of attention that may not last many more months. Sometimes the Brat’s generosity of spirit and affection shames me. I wish I could be like him. He dreams, he loves, he gives, he smiles… and I shrink to a small, petty person in the face of his warm spirit.

We stand at the start line and I suddenly realise what is expected of me. I have to run with him, go under a rope that is festooned with streamers, without them touching him or me, jump over a row of stools and then crawl through a tunnel created out of cardboard cartoons.

My heart sinks. I can barely walk and I have to do all this and drag my son through it?

Mama, let’s go! says  an excited little voice. I look down at the most beautiful eyes and I know that melodramatic though it sounds, I am going to give this my best shot even if my bum knee dies completely. I grab on to a trusting hand and we wait for the whistle. My son will not be bogged down by a decrepit mother.

The whistle goes and I realise we’re the only ones left at the start lines. Other children have both parents lifting up from either side and are already at the rope we have to crawl under. So I take off like the wind, careful not to jolt the Brat’s weak arm.

We go under the rope, over the stools and reach the tunnel of cartons.

I shove the Brat in unceremoniously screaming – ‘Go baby go… go go go go… Mama’s coming.’

The skinny, lithe Brat shoots out like an eel and I lie flat on my stomach in the mud, white pants and all and start to slither through it. My knee catches and there in the midst of the tunnel I freeze. And oh on – this is not the worst. At that moment.. my … err.. my pants split. I hear a distinctive ripping sound and I know what it is.

These capris were meant for ladylike brunches. Not shimmying through cartons. I contemplate my course of action

a) living in the box for the rest of my life

b) picking it up and walking off the field with it around my waist

c) pretending it’s part of the design and walking out.

And then I realised I was wearing underwear that was nice, clean and the same colour as my pants. Nobody would notice unless my luck gave out further. Thanking my grandmother for her advice I remembered I was still in the carton. A puzzled pair of eyes looked at me, wondering what the hell I was doing in there when there was a race to be won outside. I gathered my wits, shot out like an arrow, knee forgotten, caught the Brat’s hand and ran like the wind. To miraculously  – come first!!!!!!!!! Well, someone came in with me. So we were either first or second.

I turned around to figure out by what miracle I had won and realised that every other child had two parents, of whom one was either overweight or old. They were stuck in the box for various reasons and came in slower. Even if fit – waiting for both parents to crawl through was taking time. I mentally thanked the OA for not making it and clung on to my thrilled son. It didn’t really matter because this school doesn’t give awards and prizes.

Fire in the mountain was played next – only by the parents, while the kids watched and cheered. The Brat screaming – Run mama!!!!!! And sending me flying kisses. I think I got a little distracted, sending him back kisses and soon I was out. Yes, embarassingly, my son seems to be able to concentrate on the matter at hand better than I can.

I lowered my stole to hide my butt and carried on like nothing was wrong. Soon it was over and ‘prizes were given to all the children.’

We next lined up and sang the school song and the national anthem. A few days ago at the Brat’s school concert we sang the national anthem and I remember mentioning that there is nothing more beautiful than hearing young 3-year old voices ring out across the auditorium, singing the national anthem. Well, there is something better. It is singing the national anthem with your baby. I can’t believe my son is old enough to have a sports day, to sing the national anthem and in general do me proud even while doing nothing extraordinary.

The Brat and I held hands and went home. He skipping with excitement. I limping. I wondered again if the Brat would ever be an exceptional student or sportsperson or achiever. I realised it didn’t matter simply because he just makes me so happy being just the way he is. Always smiling, loving, cheerful and warm. Always spreading joy. Even if no great talent emerges in the years ahead I have a feeling this will get him very far…..

I think I made up for my bad behaviour last year… Somewhere up there God is writing it down in His big book and I hope He knows that I am sorry for last year and that it won’t happen again.

**** For those who missed that. I lost my temper last year at the Brat’s sports day and walked out. I missed his bunny race. For what its worth, he didn’t know the difference because he couldn’t see us anyway. And I didn’t know he was in the race. And for the nosy people, I lost my temper because the school read out his name wrong. Without my surname. Yes, I’m trying to grow up. With him. It happened this year too and I didn’t walk out!


60 thoughts on “Always wear your best underwear

  1. What a fun read. You split your pants and yet you still continued the race. That right there wins you MOM of the year award. not to mention the fact that you crawled through mud in leather peep toes.

    Hopefully the knee doesnt bother you much.

  2. That’s precious. Really brave of you to continue even after the accident 🙂 Too bad I missed meeting you at ArtNavy’s house this Jan:(

  3. what i don’t understand, is that why would getting a lesson in clean-chuddie-wearing and good-mutton-biryani-making be mutually exclusive?

    Me: did I say they are?! and its not about clean chuddies – i’m hoping everyone got that lesson. its in ‘presentable chuddies’ and not Bridget Jones type granny underwear!

  4. Nice post mad Momma. I had a smile with me all throughout my scanning of the post. I liked this the best, ..”part of the design and walking out.” And you better do something about that knee!

    Keep Blogging!

  5. LOLOL! For a first read of the day this was just perfect! How do you end up in these situations, MM? Was horrified for you, then ended up laughing with you. Atta girl! You ROCK! totally! 😀

  6. hey i believe u need to wear your best underwear all the time for the same reason and shudder to think what if i die on the day i plan to get my legs waxed??

    wonderful warm post- am still waiting to be called in for any function of any kind at anush’s school

  7. Congrats on being better than last year and on taking part along with brattie in the Sport’s day celebrations. Your grandma is wiser and you are wise enough to follow what she said.

    I think it is high time you fixed that wobbly knee of yours, at least to take part in such adhoc fun. Take care.

  8. Hi there…i usually lurk around, read and run away.The clean underwear part had me in today:-)
    Guess this is one of the gems that get passed on through generations…i try to live by that as much.
    Esp on days when i am not feeling too well in late evening. What if i had to rush to the hospital? at least i should have clean underwear on.
    I know some people in the family who find it funny.I am just trying to be presentable:-)

  9. i read this somewhere and try to follow it – ‘To feel young forever wear your Saturday night underwear, everyday’

  10. Small Steps at a time in growing :).. Good one…

    Nice you cud share the experience …err… even with split pants.. Brought a smile 🙂

  11. 😀

    thank god i threw away all my holey ones recently! :p were those capris your fav?! 😦


    i know thats not the point! you know they talk about moments where you live a lifetime, this one hour seems just like that! 🙂

    and the bad knee is popping up a tad too often these days… nahi?! do take care. it seems totally unfair that someone who is in shape and takes good care of her health should get this screwed up knee! 😦

    pls find out whats wrong soon! and get cracking at making it better!


  12. Wow MM, you make me know what being a mother is all about. You so effortlessly express the joy that come from your children. God bless you and your children!

  13. MM,

    Lovely post – so warm and also so funny. And the Brat is growing up to be a wonderful little person. In all (or most) of your Brat posts, I am always amazed at how loving, kind, considerate and cheerful your little son is. I am sure he will do you proud.

  14. I am not PMS-ing, not yet married, and yet i found myself with tears streaming down my face, reading this post…. no, no, i aint insane yet… 🙂
    But that lil boy of yours – der’s something so unbearably touching and heart tugging about the kind of things he does..and i am caught between wanting to call it childlike innocence and a maturity much beyond his years… You are so lucky to have him.. 🙂

  15. Way to go MM. I remember reading your post about the misread name and how angry you were. And later how bad you felt that you could not watch his race (though you did not even know he was in a race)…

    And we all learn a little from your mistakes. thanks for sharing

  16. This was such a lovely account of such a fabulous day! HAd a smile all throught it!! Three cheers for Brattie and his super mom 🙂
    I really do hope about your knees getting much better and soon 😦

  17. MM,
    very nice post as always.Just wanted to seek your advice too.When,do you think,is the right age to put your child in school/pre-school?If I may ask when did Brat start going to school?Or is it a pre-school?

    My daughter is 2yrs5months and my husband and I are still contemplating whether we should put her in a prep now.Various people tell us we should put her now,but I somehow feel I should wait till she is 3+.
    Just cant seem to decide.

  18. I enjoyed the post and re read it. God does give opportunities to do things the better way! Its for us to see.

    I can’t figure out from your posts about what exactly is wrong with your knee. What are you doing about it? I wish you speedy recovery. There are many races to be see!

    Me: No idea yet Preeti. I think its a stress injury. 😦 been to many doctors but no one is able to diagnose the problem

  19. A very nice post MM as usual.. I had a situation too where my dress got caught in a something and tore. Luckily I was wearing a salwar kameez and had a dupatta to cover it. And I was racing only to catch a bus. Felt so uncomfortable all the time. You are really strong to go thru the race after all this.

  20. Splitting pants? This really still happens in real life? A-ma-zing.

    Also, you threw a tantrum and walked out? What fun. This is on video? Total youtube hit.

    And those knees sound really scary – no diagnosis yet from the doctors?

    Me: yes of course child. because i would put my splitting pants up on youtube! and no diagnosis yet, but have started maalish and yoga. am much better. atleast i think it will recover soon.

  21. Hilarious & heartbreaking at the same time !!

    Btw, even after you made your anger obvious at the last time, the school still made the same surname blooper ?? Strange!

    Me: nope. new school this time. and will be a new school again in april. 😦

  22. Thoroughly enjoyable post.:)

    And you split your pants and still did the race. I am not sure what I would have done. I get so panicky when there is a ketchup stain on my top even!

    I somehow didn’t like that the school did not call out the name as in the register. Why do they choose to shorten the names as they please!

  23. Oh MM! This post of yours had me crying m eyes out for various reasons. It was exactlty the kind of post I should NOT have read today, being in a fragile and emtional state of mind.

    I have just (and by just I maen exactly ten minutes) come back from paying the EO’s school admissions to his all-to-soon-to-be ‘new’ school, the big school. The fact that we’re changing his schools has me in a tizzy.

    Everything you wrote about the Brat, I feel on a daily basis about the EO, and today, more than ever. Everything you wrote about yourself in connectin with the Brat, I live minute to minute and today, more so than ever.

    I am feeling overwhelmed, scared and anxious for my beautiful boy. And here I am reading this awesome post written by you about you and your beautiful boy.

    Truly, I am sobbing like a baby. I have no business reading something as lovely as this. Not today.

    Thanks for this. It was just what I needed!

  24. drama, suspense, romance, a thrilling moment, some fear and a lesson to learn!
    What an absolute fun post 🙂 The part where you were left on the starting lines, made me want to holler, run, MM, run!
    It’s inspiring that you can be so proud of your son, and so not unresonable with your expectations for him. There’s a lesson in this for a lot of us.
    And your grandmother sounds like a darling. Totally.

  25. To think I share a split-pants-and-*really* thankful-for-the-stole moment with you! 🙂 Nice post .. and like many readers have said above, please take care of your knees!!

  26. lovely MM.. enjoyed this post. bad knee but that didnt deter you…. i love your spirit….and i am certain that someday little Brat (btw, he is indeed handsome, not just in your eyes)will fondly look back to this day and be even more proud of you!

  27. girl, the most interesting and bizarre stuff happens to you. write a book about your life and none of you will ever have to work again!! btw, your grandmother seems like my kinda lady…i alwyas wear nice undies too. i’m rather scared i’ll have a bash-in when i’m riding my bike and somehow my undies will be seen by the whole world and i’ll be too bashed up to do anything about it. oh yeah, the first thing i did when i went into labor was wear my fancy underwear 😀

    “I shrink to a small, petty person in the face of his warm spirit”…i was thinking about this in context with BB, last night. there are so many, many times I wish she had a better mom 😦

  28. Hey,
    You didnt answer my query,MM.Do you think its advisable for me to put my daughter in a pre-school now or should I wait further?I genuinely feel the way you raise your children and handle them is aweinspiring.And I’m seeking advices from all quarters possible so that I can ensure I take the right decision for my daughter.So,do let me know:)
    How’s your knee now?Wanted to ask u before too.does the knee problem have anything to do with Gout?My uncle had similar symptoms.And the doc diagnosed he had gout.Hence the doubt.
    Anyway,do take care of your health,MM.Its very precious to your family.Thats what I keep telling my mom:)

  29. you have a way with words, lady! i almost ran with you in the race and yes felt my pants tearing too 🙂 and at had tears in my eyes at the tenderness of your words for the brat.

  30. MM,

    Hilarious as usual…very sane advice on the underwear – which in my mother’s case translated as “always buy Good underwear, so you don’t get into such situations!”
    But White capris? To a sports day? You brave woman! Even with dirt at several orders of magnitude lower than India, I still hesitate before wearing white *anywhere*! 🙂

    BTW, on the knee – if the pain is of unknown origin, try 1) acupuncture – worked a charm on my knee, which, my doc told me, was merely growing old, no *real* issue with it. (yes, my doc is very matter of fact) and 2) cortisone shots – these work great in the short term, and in the meantime, you work on building up the strength via yoga or whatever.


  31. What a fun post. 🙂 Your putting 100% in everything you do is truly awe inspiring. Thanks for being a constant inspiration

  32. Oh my God!! That’s such riot 😀 😀
    “walked off like nothing happened” Total ROFL!!
    Take care of the knee and congrats on the win 😀 😀


  33. What fun to attend a child’s sports day and participate in it as well !!
    OA sure missed out !!

    Was reading the comments … so Brat changing school again? I remember reading sometime back, about the school selection dilemma? Did your school choice work out?

  34. Having a real sucky day today..feeling down and tears whelming up for strange reasons…but MM, you made my day much bearable and almost happy 🙂

    Thanks to this wonderful post!

    Am going back to re-reading it now.

    God bless your cheerful babies.

  35. Waitaminutemissy!!! Capris and kurta? didn’t we all agree that was the most wretched thing a woman could put her body in? the fashion police is coming for you…run as fast as those knees will let you 🙂

  36. its amazing but my mom taught me the same thing about underwear!

    And I think its a sound piece of advice!

    But matching underwear! really?? 😛

    I had a friend in the hostel who always wore matching underwear. The bra matched the panties and both matched the clothes for the day! can u believe, she even had a canary yellow pair!

  37. @ Roop – no ya. Dont know yet, but am working on strengthening it with yoga anyway. thanks for asking

    @Deepti – sorry!! but i havent been able to reply within the comment. I guess you are the best judge. I sent the brat at 2 and 3 months because the delhi govt rules that children should start formal schooling at three. and i wanted him to learn to love school before he HAS to go. and the way to do that was to start sending him to an easy, playway place. it worked. he loves school and now i dont think he’ll trouble to go to a big school. with the bean i am ready to start even earlier because she speaks full sentences very clearly. and that is one of my conditions to myself. that the kids must be able to express themselves clearly before they are left with strangers, and in the language that the school/maids speak. which is one reason why we insisted on speaking to them in hindi and not in any of the other 4 languages we can speak. hope this helps!

    also, thanks for asking – and yes it was tested for gout but i cleared that too so we’re back to square one 😦

    Boo – umm… who are you? you’re definitely not our boo.

    M – arre – it was the stupid school dresscode or else i wouldnt be caught dead in white for a school function.

    intern – as i said – it was the damn dress code or else i’d not have been caught in that outfit anyway.

    CA – yes, brat changed school last year – and now will move yet again in april to a big school. fingers crossed, he will stay there!

    Chandu – you tell me if you would wear colourful undies under white clothing!!

  38. hey…
    amazing post :)…had me in splits
    and why oh why are you letting of Boo so easily…didn’t your ma teach you manners boo…shame on you

  39. I enjoyed reading the post, MM. I could nearly imagine myself at the Brat’s school, cheering for you guys.

    “And for the nosy people, I lost my temper because the school read out his name wrong. Without my surname. Yes, I’m trying to grow up. With him. It happened this year too and I didn’t walk out!”

    Yaaaaayyyy again. Can I say I’m proud of you? Because I am.

    (I’m also muttering at the school under my breath for being idiots two years in a row but we won’t dwell on that.)

  40. Belated comment.

    But the same goes for socks as well, no? Imagine wearing hole-y socks and having to take off your shoes somewhere, even if unexpectedly.

  41. Hey all posts lovely as always – this one specially. Thanks for bringing out subtle feelings clearly – joy to read!!! And YES to good undies+socks!

  42. Thanks a ton,MM.That did help.Sorry didnt know you had reverted back to my query hence the delay in acknowledging.

    Me: no problem. no formality at all…

    You’re absolutely right when you say ‘kids should be able to express themselves well before they are left with strangers’.
    My li’l one is just beginning to frame sentences.Although I speak to her in Malayalam she gets to hear hindi and english also around her so hopefully that should help her in the long run when she starts going to school.

    Thanks again for your help, MM:)

    Me: Thats another thing. I’ve seen kids have a tough time if they cant speak the local language. so if you’re in a city where they dont speak malayalam do start teaching her the local words for water, food, potty… things she will need to communicate and is comfortable saying.. all the best. am sure you will do what is right and best.

  43. Hi, happened to stumble here and I am so glad that I read this. Really nice, I could almost picture the lil boy 🙂
    I happen to be just like your grandmom. I too am particular about good and matching underwear(with each other) and for exactly the same reason 🙂

  44. Pingback: Hey, Brat « The Mad Momma

  45. Pingback: K.I.S.S.I.N.G | The Mad Momma

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