These “jokes” are not ones that are funny in themselves, but they are hilarious to our family because we know the people who figure in them. So I thought we should document these moments for posterity.
Julia talk 1. Four-year-old Julia was running around after coming back from school one evening, and Prathiba wanted her to change into home clothes and said somewhat sternly, “Come here immediately,” but had to do a double take when Julia replied, “You don’t have any fruit of the Spirit.” Prathiba asked her what she meant by this, and was surprised to get this reply from a sullen Julia: “You do not have any patience, you do not have any kindness, you do not have any gentleness.”
Julia talk 2. Julia was reciting the Ten Commandments and was stuck at the sixth one. Joe did the action of pulling the trigger of a gun, to which Julia said: You shall not die.
Julia talk 3. Having seen GB in the coffin, and now seeing the coffin at Dave’s funeral, Julia worriedly asks: Are Dave Uncle and GB Thatha squished in there?
Lydia (thinks): Poor Thatha, sitting alone. . . Let me take him a cup of coffee and sit with him for a while.
GB (tells me later): I knew Lydia was very lonely. That is why she came and sat next to me. Pregnant women need special care. I must tell Benny to talk to her more.
Early 2018 probably
Julia #1: Topic being discussed in the Prakasa home was “citizenship.’
Hannah tells two-year-old Julia, “Daddy, me, and akka are Indian, but you are a Kiwi.”
Julia was very distressed and fiercely said: I am NOT a kiwi, and Joanna and Hannah tried to reason with her for a while but Julia was having none of it. Julia finally ended the standoff by telling Hannah: “Then you are an apple and daddy is a banana.”
Julia#2: Some weeks later:
Hannah was reading Julia a bedtime story. It ended with a line saying something like: “You are the apple of God’s eyes.”
As hannah was leaving the room, she could hear Julia whispering to herself: “I am not an apple; I am a kiwi.”
Abi has been learning the Ten Commandments, and Cynthia is explaining them to her.
About the seventh commandment, Cynthia says: Adultery is when a daddy and a mummy leave each other and go and join with another mummy or daddy.
Some months later, they are in a doctor’s waiting room, waiting their turn, when Abi sees a friend from the Daycare she used to go to and the two start chatting. Looking at the couple that the friend is with, Abi asks her if they are her mummy and daddy. The girl tells her that she is with her mummy but the man is not her daddy. Abi turns to Cynthia and asks audibly: “Is she committing adultery, mummy?” Cynthia took Abi, left the doctor’s office, and drove back home.
Tim: I have to wake up at 4.
Me: The whole of New Zealand will be awake tomorrow.
Prisy (confused): Why?
Tim: Rugby World Cup dee
Prisy: Who is playing first?
(Tim and I stare back)
Lydia: How will we find Prisy a husband?
Me: God will provide. Whose statement was that?
Prisy: Abraham’s . . . and he found a ram and killed it.
Joanna in answer to some adult yelling at her to behave: “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” (Turns out, she thought adultery referred to angry adults.)
GB babysat Joanna today. For those who know GB, this will be hilarious news. In his words, “I rose to the occasion.”
Was he tired?
I don’t think so because he sat on the sofa and let her do whatever she wanted; she even pulled up a chair to the kitchen sink and “did the dishes”. She also lectured him about the milky way and the solar system. Then she proceeded to draw the various planets and color. GB sat through all this.
LAUGHTER AS A DEVICE FOR FACE SAVING
Philip: Can I come to your “own house”?
Joanna: No I don’t like you.
<audible gasp from everyone in the room>
Hannah: You have stayed in Philip thatha’s house so long.
Lydia: Slept on Philip thatha’s bed, you are standing on Philip thatha’s chair right now.
Joe: You have to tell Philip thatha that you love him.
<Joanna’s face contorts into a grimace that was so genuine and absolutely hilarious>
Hannah: You have to tell him you love him. He has given you so much, you have to tell him you love him.
Joanna: Everyone must laugh. <commands everyone to laugh> Laugh! <In the ensuing noise of laughing, looks towards Philip and, with pretend laughter of her own, quickly says> “I love you”
Conversation in the car on the way to church
Joanna: Daddy, what church do my teachers go to?
Joe: I don’t know. You should ask them . . . but in return, they will ask you what church you go to . . . So what church do you go to?
Joanna: I dont know the name. So what is our church’s name?
Joe: Sovereign Grace.
Joanna, looking shocked: Name romba funny-aa iruku, illa? (Name is funny, isn’t it?)
Those were the days when Joanna spoke Tamil.
Hannah and Joe are moving out, and when we were arranging some things in the new place, Joanna went missing for a few tense minutes. She was later found upstairs playing with the two-year old there. On our way back to our house, she was in the car with Philip and me.
Philip: Your dad let you off too easily.
Philip: If you had been my child . . .
Philip: You would have got a good smack.
Joanna: Did Lydia chithi get many smacks from you.
Philip: YES . . . and your daddy does not smack you much.
Joanna: I must be a good.
Joanna is in her rightful class of 4-year olds.
Joanna’s favourite Teacher Ruth is with the 3-year olds.
Joanna slips out of her class and joins the 3-year olds.
Joanna gradually edges her way close to Teacher Ruth.
But only till Teacher Ruth suddenly notices Joanna:
“Joanna! You are not supposed to be here, are you?”
“Shhhhhhhhh” whispers Joanna to Teacher Ruth gesturing with her finger on her lips.
Early afternoon on Tuesday
Relaxing . . .
Tim, home from Queenstown,
Arun, on a rare visit from the city,
I, on leave to spend time with Tim,
Shopped for bananas
to make pancakes, ‘such as Tim loves.’
Made them, everyone’s eaten them.
Relaxing . . .
GB in his room
Prisy and Lydia in theirs
Tim, Arun and I chatting in the lounge,
Relaxing . . .
Joe walks towards front door and says:
“Ah you are all relaxing and enjoying yourselves?
“I’ll bring Joanna home from school now”
Joanna to Cynthia: Why are you wearing Naveen Periappa’s chain?
Cynthia: How do you know it is his chain; it might be mine.
Joanna: I know because his chain has this cross.
Cynthia: You know that this is a cross?
Joanna: Because of your sin, God came and died on the cross.
Cynthia: Good . . .
Joanna: And because I am good, He rose again.
Joe was trying to get Joanna to understand the phonetic design behind English spelling.
Joe: What is the first letter in Joanna’s name?
Joanna: (Loudly) J
Joe: “What letter does Selvi ammachi’s name begin with?” (Joanna seems to be thinking)
Joe: “… ssssssss…. ? S?”
(Joanna absorbing it in)
Joe: What letter does Prisy chithi’s name start with? . . . ppppp?
Joe: Good! (Joanna is delighted)
Joe: What letter does LLLLLydia chithi’s name start with?
Joe: What letter does GB thatha’s name start with?
Joanna: “G” (Too easy for the child; that one had the answer in the question)
Joe: What letter does Cynthia Periamma’s name start with?
Joanna: “C” (Giggling with enlightenment joy)
Joe: What letter does Ttttim mama’s name start with?
Joanna: “T” (Getting really confident now)
Joe: What does Philip thatha’s name start with?
Pradan annan recently sent me an email that read as follows:
Dear selvi, I dont know about bingo’s email address yet. I am sure he will email me sooner or later. I will give it to you then. I wonder if he is using the indian Email address, which was email@example.com I dont know if he can operate the Indian Email from N.Z. I don’t know a lot about Emails. Love , pradan
List of Lydia’s Spellings (2003), which we were reluctant to correct, as they were so cute.
Colurs, Colars: Colors
Acchi: Aatchi, Aachi
There: Their (E.g. Love to Stalla and there acchi)
Sour: Sore (E.g. sour throat)
Virel: Viral (E.g. Virel feaver)
Satches: Sashes (E.g. Blue saturn satches)
Street Holk, Street Hauck: Street Hawk
Bruch, Brus, Brsh: Brush
Bisket, Biscet: Biscuit
Towday, Twoday: Today (she uses the correct form also interchangeably)
Fone: Phone (uses correct form more often)
Pure: Poori, puri
Writhing: writing (it’s the readers who writhe)
Prisy: I really do not wish to see the movie Joan of Arc. I saw the trailor in the Methodist church and it seemed to be a very violent movie.
Lydia: Isn’t Jonah’fark the one who goes into the whale. That is not so violent.
Sangeeta: Most of our friends in the USA are vegetarians.
Tim: How can people just be vegetarians. Yuk!
Sangeeta: Its good to be a vegetarian since wer’e not killing animals
Prisy: Its OK. Animals do not have a soul.
Tim: Lots of vegetables and plants will be dying if everyone is a vegetarian and vegetation is good for rainfall.
Sangeeta: If we eat one rabbit, that rabbit has consumed a lot of vegetation. Whereas, if we were vegetarians, we would have eaten only a very small portion of that.
Tim:That rabbit is eating everything. So we are eating the rabbit to save the vegetation.
Sangeeta:(groan) (Actually poor girl took the trouble to explain the food pyramid by drawing it on a paper. Hopefully Tim understood.)
1. According to Lydia, she has a chapter in maths called Cubes and Cupboards. Actually, she has written Cubes and Cubords, insteadof Cubes and Cuboids. (Nothing to be surprised coming from someone who spells “Private” as “Prywet”)
2. Tim shouts from the study room,”I cant stand Lydia, so I’m going to make her sit down”.
3. When Prisy was about to be baptized, Tim did pray that he and Lydia should not get jealous. Lydia groaned that Prisy would boast about her baptism. When Prisy was with the others attending the baptism class, Prathiba heard Tim tell Lydia. “Omana aunty and Shiela aunty have been attending the church only for the past 6 months or so. And they have “come to baptism.” How many years you and I have been attending the worship services and yet . . .
4. We were discussing the number of people who received the baptism of the HS on the day of Pentecost– 12 or 120. We did not want to bother the others with that issue. But Prisy asked, “I demand to know this information that pertains to the universal church, now that I am a member of it. Tim said, I understand, “1 = 10”.
On the day of the house warming of Sekhar annan’s house, overheard by Sangeeta, Pammi, and me.
Tim(5 years): Naangal poonai valakurome. (We keep a pet cat)
Tina(5 years): Naanga poonai valakamaatome; naanga Christians. ( We don’t keep cats; we are Christians)
Lydia(4 years): Naanga pallu valakuvome. (We brush our teeth)
Some moments from the 1960s
Here is one contributed by Pradan annan. Here it is in his own words.
let me tell you a family joke which was perpetuated in my time. During the marriage of Vijaya akka, in Tirrupachetti , I asked sekhar did you know that your parents were married in thirrupachetti also? he answered I didn’t know , then with a quizzical expression in his face he said how come I didn”t know it? Prem annan who was near by perpetuated the joke during the wedding and everyone laughed (all except sekhar ofcourse)
Another old one is that of Vinotha akka as a a girl in first or second standard. She studied in a Tamil-medium school. One day in class, she turned to her partner and asked, “Onaku pea kuzhambu pidikuma?” If you know Tamil, you can understand why that other little girl promptly went and told the teacher. When the teacher questioned Vino, she innocently replied, “Teacher, naan avakitta pattaani kuzhambu pidikuma-in-than keytaine”. The teacher was very amused and said, “Sari, inimey appadi sollathey, avalukku English theriyaathu illa?” Please do not tell Vino that this is also going with the rest of the jokes to everyone all over the world. She feels that her prestige (maanam) before the younger generation is suffering.
Packianathan annan as a small boy had a lot of imagination. His theory about the stars was this. God was walking in heaven with His walking stick. This made holes all over heaven’s floor. We are actually seeing the light of heaven through those holes. Howbout that?