And thus...

I am back! I mean to Bangalore. I was away for so long that I was beginning to forget that I used to run a house all by myself. I was getting so used to having hot food in my hands that I remarked to my sister, only half in jest, that I wouldn't be surprised to discover that I have forgotten how to cook when I get back.

After spending close to two months in quick succession at the parents, I was having a tempo load of luggage to be taken back. Actually, not that many in number. My modest belongings comprised one particularly huge and hheeavvvvvvy suitcase and a few more smaller and comparatively lighter bags. My mom was especially worried of how I'll manage to load and off load them with a fidgety and restless toddler by the side. After a last minute panic-struck idea of taking an extra suitcase to even out the over-stuffed large suitcase was considered and voted out in cycles in a 5 member household, we said solemn goodbyes to each other and I left with R and the luggage in the cab (not tempo!). Dad came to see us off till the airport. We left well in advance considering the evening hr traffic, however we reached in record time of one hour. I don't remember any time when I covered this distance so fast in Mumbai that too in the evening. Seems like most of the roadies were out of town celebrating Christmas.

I checked in the baggage without trouble and for the first time since I booked tickets I didn't crib about the airlines charging a full ticket for a 2 year old. I just stopped short of the max. baggage limit for 2 passengers. I would have anyway paid a ticket's worth fine for excess baggage if not for a ticket for R and that would have killed me more. This way I was not guilty. The hour and a half long wait at the airport and the flight was uneventful (thankfully). I had imagined myself running after R and generally having a tough time but it was not so bad. Maybe because I was mentally prepared or maybe R was infact quite well-behaved during the journey. Really, I should give it to the brat. He was quite within his limits and not in his "going-berserk" state.

I placed two calls, one to the hubby and other to the cab guy to confirm their presence at the airport. The cabbie was already at the airport for his pick-up routine and was to be there until the time I arrived. It meant that I just had to call and he would be there when I landed at the airport. Hubby was also on his way. Which meant I just had to relax for the rest of the journey. I collected my baggage and wheeled towards the exit and turned to where hubby was waiting. And surprise of surprise, hubby welcomed me with a bouquet of flowers- for the first time so far in our married life. I have always maintained that while 'am quite filmy that way, hubby cannot care less for such gestures.'s for nothing that they say, distance can make heart grow fonder. R was in a sleepy mode but as soon as he saw his dad, his eyes all lit up. His expression was like, "oh! where did this familiar guy come from all of a sudden after so many days", though I was constantly giving him updates about what is happening and what to expect. The comic part comes now. The cabbie came running up to us from the other direction and as he caught up, he said," arrey aap sahab ke taraf ja rahe the? main aapko kabse haath dikha raha tha!". In my mind I compared the situation to a scene where the heroine sidelines the villain and runs towards the hero in a dramatic sequence and found it so hilarious.

Seems like the Santa arrived belatedly to deliver the goodies bag to our house. The Santa, being hubby here of course. R got a bunch of clothes, books and toys. I got a pretty watch and a delicate pair of silver earrings and chain studded with artificial diamonds. And yes, lots of chocolates and stuff for others too...
A good note to end this year. Wishing you all a fulfilling and healthy 2012!

p.s. : I successfully completed a year of blogging a few days ago and happy to note that am still here!


Anyone out there who thinks it is great to have two kids close in age to one another, please do not read any further because I am just about to pour out all the angst two such kids are giving me us at the moment.

S and R are very similar in nature. Meaning, both have a similar disposition with respect to the amount of mischief they can create. They are a handful even on their own (though they can be handled individually), so just imagine the chaos and mental trauma for the rest of the adult folk when these two get together. They are a deadly combination. Each teaches the other newer tricks and the two build up on them. While S talks non-stop all day, R cannot stop moving. He forever wants to be on the go or be in a vehicle that is on the go. Being stationary is not a part of his dictionary. And when they squabble with each other, you might want to tear your head and dash off the house. Mostly they get along pretty well. Which makes life tougher for us, coz all the trouble doubles up. By time you are done reprimanding one, the other is onto a different sort of mischief. All the talk about they looking cute when they play, is done by people who have nothing to do with both of them. Yes, they do look very sweet together and their innocent banter lights up the house. But that is just for a few moments! And, innocent they look but only when asleep.

Figure this in your mind:
Both the kids have this ride-on-car toy on which they race about the whole house without any care for anyone's foot or any other article that may come in the way. When they are finished with it, one of them finds the small hole in the wall (yes even the newly painted wall managed to get a hole) and digs it further off the paint and cement. Once you are done pulling the errant kid off the site, you find that the other has sneaked into the bathroom (that was accidentally left open) and opened the water tap to wet himself completely. After we have (sufficiently?) scolded them, there is silence for like 5 minutes. Panicking, we look for them to find them having opened the dettol handwash (which is normally placed far away on the washbasin counter) and poured the contents on to the floor! HELP!!!! (this is just a preview of what actually goes on)

The two brats exchange meaningful smiles and decide to throw the entire set of building blocks from one end of the room to the other. Though R still talks in a mazhalai that only I can understand, S and he seem to have perfect conversations. The two are in perfect sync when together and appear lost when either of the two is not available for mischief. R, who is generally a mouse in front of other kids who tend to bully him, is totally a gunda with S, snatching toys (his and hers) from her hands, pulling her hair and hitting her when provoked or even sometimes without any provocation. Not sure if his personality is changing or he is this way only with S (knowing deep down that he can take liberties with her?). I will know only when I get back to B'lore and see him in the company of his other friends.

p.s.:  yes, there are some real aww moments too. When, for e.g., R gets hurt, S is among the first to mother him and say its OK. Although R is yet to learn the finer aspects of showing love, he too reaches out at random to S to give her a hug and kiss. He waits forlornly for her to return from school and as soon as he sees her, his face brightens up.

R at the wedding

R is at a stage where he does what he wants to do irrespective of how much I try to make him do otherwise-cajoling, threatening, whacking or reasoning, nothing seems to work! It is especially exasperating when he behaves so in front of a crowd that is judging both me and him. This is precisely what happened at the wedding.

A day preceding the wedding was a small Tambram function spanning half a day. This was conducted in a different hall from that of the main wedding. Unfortunately this particular venue was particularly non-kids friendly. Meaning, the place was small, so R couldn't expend his energy suitably within the confines. Hence he decided to spend the time outside the hall. Running all around the small courtyard, collecting the pebbles and throwing it all over the place. The place was bang on the main road, so there was this constant fear of his running on to the road, which he promptly did a few times only to be caught by a tired and frustrated mother in tow. I hardly got to be a part of the function as I was only running after him. I was seriously contemplating going back to the hotel room, coz it made no sense to me doing acrobatics instead of participating in the function.

Some brave souls took pity on my plight and volunteered to baby-sit while I got a glimpse of what was going inside the hall. But a few minutes later, they hastily went back on their word as what seemed relatively easy from afar was indeed a tough job on hand, they soon realized. At the announcement of breakfast, a famished and tired me made a beeline to the counter, dragging a very unwilling R, hoping to grab some grub and even more hopeful of getting R to eat and keep him quiet for sometime thus. Alas! these were just wishful thoughts in my head. R refused to even sit on my lap and almost managed to run away from below the table towards the exit. My poor mother had to pause mid-way through her breakfast and hold on to the brat while I just stuffed some remains onto my mouth and relieved her as soon as I could.

I had had enough already and wedding had not even begun! I was so not looking forward to the next day's ordeal. However the saving grace was the huge open space the wedding hall ( a five-star hotel resort actually) encompassed. So he could run about as much as he wanted without hurting himself or running into danger zones. Yet, an eye had to be kept on him and I couldn't really let him wander off far away from sight. I had to be present too for some wedding rituals (being one of the groom's sister). However much people around me helped to see him be safe, the final onus definitely rested on me. To top it all, I had to hear stray comments like how I must be more careful and protective of R and keep him tied to me. How much can one constrain a toddler who has just begun with the terrible two stage and someone like R who has excess energy to burn all the time, I ask?

Inspite of all this, I did manage to catch most of the wedding and also had some fun along. Since the rituals began very early in the morning, R slept through some part of it. An adventurous wedding and vacation indeed this has proved to be. A good experience overall in the end, however I am not eager of a repeat show. :-)

Beyond comprehension

Somethings do not fit into the logical mind that struggles to find sense in everything. Some term it God, others may say luck, some others may just shrug off the incident without much thought for it disturbs the hitherto analytical way of life experienced. One such incident happened at the wedding which might make even the skeptics think a little more on the lines of there being a super power above us after all.

S, my niece, wore a pair of gold kundalams (jhumka) for the wedding. We were all busy with the festivities and the kids were busy merry making running all over the place. During breakfast, my aunt came over with a clasp (the thing that goes behind the earring to secure it) and remarked that the priest had found it near the hallway and gave it to her. We immediately checked our earrings and checked S too to make sure we had our earrings in place. Satisfied that the lost clasp wasn't one of ours, we decided to safeguard the clasp till someone came to claim it. A few minutes later, we found that S did not have one of her earrings on her. We began a frantic search for the precious little thingy, put in a word with all the hotel staff, cleaners and the rest of the wedding crowd. We did not leave any stone unturned (pun intended). However we got nothing except dirt. Dejected, we left the hall to go back to our hotel rooms to take the much needed rest before the reception began in the evening.

A little later in the afternoon, I decided to clear the mess in the room and pack the stray items lying outside into my bags. My handbag which carried all the important stuff also seemed way too bulky and in need of some reorganization. As I sat down to dig out the stray wrappers, tickets and other stuff from the depths of my bag, what do I get??? yes, the "lost" earring ( a two-piece set with the ear tops and the dangling). Mind you, I always have the compartments of my bag zipped. How the hell did that earring get into the depths of my bag? If the children played mischief and put it in there, how did the clasp alone stray away somewhere else and again find its way, albeit through the priest, into our own hands?

We did not try to find answers to these questions, rather accepted it as a work of the power above us trying to reinforce our belief in it. Yes, miracles do happen!

And we are back!

A vacation that lasted less than a week but had action packed ingredients for much more. This trip to Bhubaneshwar will be remembered for a whole lot of things apart from the wedding related stories. Before the details get all muddled up in my brains and I pour it all out in the same incomprehensible manner, let me take a huge breath and narrate the details as they happened.

The 3 and 1/2 hr flight to Bbnswr from Mumbai was via Hyd where we (My sister, niece, R and I. Did I mention, my b-i-l dropped out of the trip at last moment, leaving us sisters to deal with the respective brats all alone?..well..) were joined by our cousin A (whose wedding we were to attend). The adventure began as soon as we alighted at the Biju Patnaik airport at Bhubaneshwar. The airport is so small that you can just walk to the arrival hall after you alight from the plane and then pick your bags from the belt and in the same speed proceed to the exit. As we were driven down to the hotel where we were to be put up for the rest of our stay, we couldn't help notice how smooth the traffic (which seemed quite minimal too) moved on a Friday evening. One of the best parts of living in a small town! During the course of our visit, we realized that any place within the city could be reached in a maximum of 25-30 minutes, even after accounting for the traffic.

Our parents were to join us in a couple of days time at the same hotel where we were to be put up. Little did we realize that in the span of those two days, we would be hotel hopping every morning. The hotel intended for our stay had done a fumigation exactly on the fateful day of our check-in. So, that explained the unpleasant conditions we were subject to after a tiring flight with super-energetic and jumping kids. We immediately decided to move into a different hotel the same night since the place seemed quite unfit to inhabit especially with kids around. We planned to return after a couple of days when our parents would join us and by which time, the odour and effect of the insecticide was expected to clear out. This would have been fine but for unnecessary factors like the bride's side taking up responsibility for the state of affairs and checking us into a five-star hotel by way of making amends, thus complicating the whole situation further. Thankfully, cousin A took the situation in to his hands and ensured that we did not burden ourselves on the bride's family and booked us a different hotel the following afternoon. We thus managed to check in to three different hotel in two days time. The funny side of the matter struck us only when, on the third day while we were getting ready for sight-seeing, niece S asked us innocently if were were going to go to a different hotel now :-).

The next couple of days until the wedding were spent visiting the Udayagiri-Khandagiri caves, Nandankanan Zoo, Puri and Konark. Each place was worth the visit. The city exudes a rich cultural richness which reflects in the historical sites that are abound the city. It is not known as the city of temples for nothing. We witnessed the lunar eclipse on our second day of our stay. Oh boy! I am falling short of superlatives to describe the event and the experience. Why did I never venture out to get at least a glimpse of this wonderful act of nature earlier? I have no answer to that. The eclipse unfolded right above us from the terrace of the hotel, where we camped ourselves to watch it until the very end. A quick glance around us and we saw several people drinking and eating at the open restaurant without so much as casting a fleeting glance above at the sky.  OK, I understand if you do not want to get out of the comforts of your home to view the eclipse but how is it possible to remain indifferent and unaware when sitting in the open right under the moon, when even on normal days, one would at least throw a fleeting glance at the sky above?

The Tambram family welcomed the Oriya bride amidst great fan and fare. The wedding itself was a grand affair with a perfect blend of Oriya and Tamil customs. Yummilicious south Indian and north Indian fare only served as the crowing glory of the show. Being already familiar with the Tambram weddings, we looked forward to be a part of the Oriya customs. Most Hindu weddings follow a similar set of sequence and have pretty much the same rituals, although the manner in which they are conducted differ from state to state. A gatti-melam in a Tamil wedding can be loosely compared to the hul-huli in a Oriya wedding, for example. Cousin A is my chitti's (mother's sister) son and is very close to us sisters. We were already in touch with S, his then fiance and now wife, and got along quite well. When we met her in person, it didn't seem as though it was our first meeting. The two make a lovely pair. May God bless them!

R proved a total brat throughout the trip and I am inclined to make a resolution this new year, never to attempt making a trip alone with him! Details to follow later...

A short update

It's been more than week here now and things are far better, actually good when compared to the last time I was here. R had no adjustment problems this time and I am far more relaxed and enjoying my stay. The niece and R get along like a house on fire- always upto some mischief and conspiring against the other folks at home. While it is fun to watch them and also a relief to see the two kids playing more and squabbling less, it also means that the mayhem and chaos is twice as much as it would have been with a single toddler. At times, the situation gets quite out of control leaving each of us (older folks) silently thanking the "temporary" set-up.

It has been a more fruitful time for me in a way that I got some "me" time in which I accomplished some soul-satisfying knick-knack shopping, ate yummilicious chaat and caught up with some old friends over phone. Oh boy! don't these give you a high each time?

We are now getting ready to pack our bags and head to Bhubaneshwar this weekend to attend the cousin(A)'s wedding. A new city to be explored, some fun-times with cousin A after almost 2 years and of course the actual wedding. Finally, I am looking forward to this trip :-) So,guys, see you on the other side of the break.

Happy Birthday to you..

...My dear R,

We are back in Mumbai at your paati's place since your appa had to go to the US for work. Am sure he is missing you as much as you and I are on this special day when you complete 2 years of age. No worries, we shall celebrate again once he is back!

It means another year of motherhood for me, my son., how do I sum up my experience so far?
I have come a long way from being the tensed new mother of a newborn who was anxious about every little out-of-the-book symptom you exhibited. I am now a more confident and brave mother of a swift and energetic toddler who does throw in little shocks and surprises every now and then. I am by no means a know-all mother but now that you and I are no longer strangers to one another there is a known and comforting factor each time we deal with a difficult situation.

I still remember the first few months after you were born. I only remember feeding you all day with of course the potty and su-su cleaning in-between. You were always hungry! you would feed for not less than a hour and an hour later, you would be howling for milk again! Since you also almost never slept for more than 15 mins at a stretch during the day, I was a total nervous wreck during those months. I would think of the days ahead and  imagine the worst possible scenarios-that of a possible clingy cry-baby, of not being able to cope with raising a child and managing the house at the same time and of difficult breast-weaning times. But...none of those happened. It was a total turnover at the end of 3 months. At no point did you cry without a solid reason- this is true even now. You weaned yourself on your own without protest in a couple of months of starting the feeding bottle and the transition from the feeding bottle to a sippy-cup was also totally hassle free.

You were very active even as a 5 month baby, when you began to move on your belly frontwards and backwards, scaring me into pushing away any stray furniture into the farthest corners of the house. You could sit on your own only at 9 months while most of your peers did it at 6 months. But I was not worried because you were doing fine on the other aspects of growing up. Thanks to the babycentre weekly updates and articles I understood that there is a huge range even within the normal pattern of growth. You almost never crawled and moved adeptly on your belly till the 10 month after which you accelerated on the physical milestone by beginning to crawl and stand at the same time. You were walking comfortably on your first Birthday! And now, you are an able climber too- climbing your way onto the windows, tiny ledges and raising the bar for yourself each time.

You have grown into a very sweet and easy-going toddler. Well, by saying sweet I am not absolving you of your mischievous, naughty and exasperating ways, antics and tantrums! You are all of this, yet a very affectionate and gentle child who genuinely likes the company of other kids, also willing to share your toys with them. So easy and gentle that sometimes I get worried because you do not react when other kids shove you, hit you or snatch away their toys from your hand. My heart breaks each time you come crying or whine when these things happen. I want to tell you, "hit back!", "snatch the toy back!" but my own nature holds my tongue and mostly I implore you to put your hand up and say "No. No pushing/ hitting or please give back the toy" to the other kid. I want you to learn on your own to defend yourself and also assert your rights instead of smothering you. Of course I'll be there always if things go out of control.Seems like you have saved your aggressive behaviour only for me-your mother. When your demands are not met, you hit, bite and howl at me. Of course, I have nothing of all this and use the carrot and stick method to put you on your track.

I sometimes feel I am raising a nerd because you absolutely love going over and over the ABCs, 123s, rhymes and story-books. It is so much fun and pleasure to hear you recite the rhymes in your "mazhalai" (baby talk). You have begun to string two-three words to form a sentence, repeat all that we say (!!) and talk in rhetorical questions. This is certainly the best phase (and am of course not talking about the beginning of the tantrum phase!:-)) and am glad that I decided to be with you during your growing up years.

May all your dreams come true, R. Wishing you the best-est of the best in this universe. Happy Birthday!!!

Thoughts from the heart

You came into my life like a whiff of fresh air
took me under your wings and said,
come, lets travel this life together

You and me are very different,
you are the epitome of calm, ever composed
I am the spice, ever potent
while I like things planned,
you are a person of the moment

Disagree we do, and a lot
but even amidst emotions gamut,
you've guarded the wedding pact
of keeping love, respect and faith intact

Truly, my love, I am blessed
to have you by my side
I hope to have played my role,
in all justice, warmth and care

I wish you all the best in life;
all that the universe can grant and give,
of health and wealth, friends and cheer,
of never dying trust and lots of love,
between you and ones dear

On this special day,
you may be miles away,
hence, sending you my wishes
and a note of thanks, dear hubby
wishing you a very Happy Birthday!

P.s.: The husband tried his best to leave on the night of 26th, so that we could be together for his as well as the lil'one's 2nd B'day which is tomorrow but then somethings are beyond one's control, so here I am ..

P.p.s: I would not have said as much to his face, and he reads my blog regularly, hence this is better..:-)

Gone missing

Ever wondered how some things in the house go "missing" and despite deploying thorough search warrants along with sniffer dogs (ok, maybe not sniffer dogs), the thing remains elusive. And one fine day, while a search warrant is being deployed for a different misplaced item, pop! there you find the first misplaced thing staring right in your face as though shaming you by saying, "I was here only all the time. Too bad you lost sleep over me!" But of course the timing of things going amiss and emerging suddenly from dark alleys is always disproportional to the urgency of the need.

I have been the eternal "loser" of erasers, pencils, sharpeners, water-bottles and tiffin boxes when in school. It was as though I had no control of myself when it came to "forgetting" to take these back home. Had I saved the money spent on the fines that I have paid to retrieve the "lost belongings", I would've had a size-able amount in my kitty by now.  I have tried hard to shrug off this careless nature in me and become more responsible in my school life. But as they say, old habits die hard. I am trying hard to compensate for that phase in the adulthood.

In my quest to turn into a new leaf, I needed to be more organized. I began to clear unnecessary clutter in the house and stashing important items into "safe havens". Only that at times, both these activities assumed extreme proportions. Documents so safely tucked away that when it was time to retrieve them, I still couldn't find them! And talking of clearing away clutter, I have developed a fetish for throwing away papers (read used bus, air and rail tickets) and sundry pamphlets- that make their way surreptitiously into the house-that are strewn in all the corners. The moment I see these, my mind and body goes into a tizzy and they automatically resemble a crane gathering and throwing them into the dustbin. Oh! did I mention that in the process, I have been guilty of throwing even recent shopping bills and tickets that might have been of importance?. Hubby sure will have many a few trump cards to prove me guilty.

Alas! I still have a list of things that have been organized-ly "misplaced". A dupatta, a blouse, a bottle, a container, so on and so forth. My quest to be an organized and responsible citizen of this earth continues...

I wish....

... I had the boon of sprouting extra arms. Really, I need it at least in the morning hours. Imagine a scene, when the coffee needs to be made, the lunch and breakfast prepared, lunch packed, breakfast eaten, something called a bath needs to be checked off the list and in the midst of all this the toddler needs to be fed, cleaned and kept away from making merry and mischief. Imagine doing all of this like a juggler's act. Phew!

I wish I could yell at the clock, "shrimati tickticky shaant hojayiye!" "Mujhe lifeline chaahiye!!!". Actually it works much better if this is directed at the Husband who is peacefully meditating while the circus is on at full swing. No fun being alone in the circus. More the merrier. So the Husband joins in haplessly. He dons the garb of the lifeline and proceeds to handle the toddler who is a gleeful spectator and also the secret catalyst in sprucing the whole show.

Then there are days that seem like the universe is out to punish you for all the wrong doings in the last 5 lifetimes, all at once in this lifetime. The dal gets burnt, the dosas stick to the pan, the milk boils over onto the stove and the counter, the toddler is at his extra energetic self, having already spilt the sugar and salt on the floor, decides to re-design the interiors and insists on having the sofa cushions on the floor. The law of Murphy also works to the Tee on such days with the Husband suddenly announcing that he has a meeting early in the day and "sadly" he cannot be the "lifeline" that day. On such days I have resisted the urge to scream "Bachaoooooooo" and dash out of the house.

Of friends and friendship

I was browsing through my e-mails the other day and pop on the side chat-bar a very familiar name goes green. I am torn between opening up the chat box and typing an enthusiastic HI and keeping a check on my friendly hormones that are threatening to spill onto the keyboard. It's been really long since we chatted or spoke over the phone. Whatever little updates I keep getting about her is from the good old Facebook. She seems to be a busy person, what with one morning in the US and the other evening in Vienna. Lovely pictures of her family used to be a part of her regular updates but since a few months they have ominously been replaced with travel and work updates. My heart is jumping to ask her how she is REALLY doing and what has she been up to these days? Is all OK?? But it has been really really long since we had a heart-to-heart talk and I am unsure if the warmth we shared is still alive in the hearts (hers...). Amidst the tug-of-war between heart and mind, I type a hesitant HI. Pause..5 minutes..10 minutes..No reply. I am about to type again but a tiny voice pops in my head and says, ah! you are imagining things. Of course all must be well. Remember the FB status? She must be busy now. I close the chat-box and try to concentrate on other things. Now, this friend was once a really good friend of mine. We shared a great rapport and a lot of common things. Things got busy, life got busy, we still managed to touch base with odd phone calls and wishing each other on B'days and anniversaries. Then slowly, the odd phone call was replaced by sms and then it was just the FB. 

This could be a leaf out of anybody's life book. Do you remember your friends from school or college?. Are you in touch with at least one friend from school/college? In-touch, as in, truly know what is happening with one another, not the Facebook updates that are for all to see. I have bitter sweet memories of friends and friendships from the days of school and college. The close bond of friendship I managed to form with a handful are neither from school or college. We met at the after-college classes and stuck together since then. It doesn't, however, stop me from marvelling at how this bond forms and develops and changes over time. People change. Situations change. Relationships change. This is an universal truth. No matter how you bond with one person today, there is no guarantee that the bond will remain the same 2, 5, or 10 years from now. This classic rule applies, among others in varying degrees, to friendships too- one of the most important, beautiful yet very fragile relationships. It may evolve, become better, go to the next level, blossom, flower or even stagnate or perish altogether. Life is ever-changing, time ever-demanding. Communication has never been so easy. Never so impersonal too. It takes more effort these days to give your time, space and energy towards any relationship. The standard approach does not and will not work if you care more for some relationships than others.

It feels good to hide under the cliches like "oh! we connect like we never disconnected so, it doesn't matter if we do not talk frequently"..and so on. But, really? is it so?. At least, with me, given my not so outspoken nature, I falter in asking personal questions if the silence between has stretched a little too long. For me, it does matter if you can connect in ways other than the Facebook or Twitter or through Fwds in an email. The frequency may vary and a lapse of few months is OK but when the lull stretches a little too long, individual lives take over and the urgency to connect is put on the back burner and is slowly "forgotten". Reasons like "been caught up with life" are used with higher dosage and sometimes as an excuse too.

Friends from school and college bond with one another during the span of the course like there is no tomorrow and part with each other with promises of staying in touch. Some manage to do so despite distances and in-between crossing personal and professional milestones. Time is sometimes stolen and squeezed out to fulfill a commitment made years ago- of maintaining the relationship, no matter what. But, many fall wayward intentionally or unintentionally. The great times of camaraderie becomes a part of nostalgia, reminisced wistfully, yet the will and effort to re-kindle it lacks the fire.

So, what makes one go at lengths to remain friends with the other? why do some friends remain so for generations while some wither with time?

Like any other relationship, friendship also needs to grow. There has to be something in it for each of the persons concerned with it. When one person stops growing or grows in a direction that clashes with the growth of the other, the relation is endangered. Sooner or later, the relationship breaks under the weight of the opposing forces.

It also requires the mutual commitment to keep it going. If only one person shares the weight of keeping the relationship alive, it will not survive for too long.

Adversity is test of human relationships for it is only during the hard times does the real person emerge. But if one shuts himself inside, not letting even his close friend see the pain and the hurt, he loses an important aspect of the other person's friendship. He denies his friend the trust, confidence and faith and the chance to survive the mettle of friendship. The friend feels betrayed for he suddenly finds himself out of the life of someone he had considered to be close to him.

One also needs to a part of the others' journey in life, however different it may be. If not in every small event, at least in totality.

Are you still reading? Yes, you!..OK, you may wake up now. The sermon's over. Have you learnt your lessons? What lessons you ask??? ..sigh! I know...that was a longish post with a lot of "gyan" thrown in. It's the beginning of another week and if you are like me, you would be mourning the toughest day of the week-Monday.  So, if I have lost you in between, I will understand.

I was like that

Yesterday a participant on KBC asked the Big B to name the only two letters in the Alphabet from which none of the names of his movies began with. The question took me back to those days where I had made a chart that featured the BigB's movie names starting with each letter of the Alphabet. I also made a list that listed out the movies that had an unusual pairing of a leading lady with the superstar.I used to be so star-crazed and overawed by Mr. Bachchan back then. Not that I am no longer his fan but these statistics don't mean much to me now. I know what you are thinking. You can say that aloud. I am getting old. Hmm..Ok. But WTH, who has not gone through this phase? When I see people much older than I going ga-ga over him on the hot seat, I can only smile and think that I have not been alone in idol-worshiping the actor.

I have watched almost all his movies. Ok, not the ones from the 80s era. That decade is certainly the most forgettable phase in the otherwise glorious career. I have lost count of the number of times I have watched certain movies like Chupke Chupke, Amar Akbar Anthony, Abhimaan, Don, Trishul, Namak Halal..oh the list can go on.... Whether I knew my economics or not, I knew the dialogues of these films by rote and could recognize a film from the background score! Not only the Bachchan ones, I loved watching any sensible movie. I had the reputation of possessing the highest knowledge quotient in the field of films and songs. I also knew all about the latest film releases and was up-to-date with the new songs, actors et all. I would come up with impromptu quizzes like: name a movie that starts with the letter "F" and that paired Sharmila Tagore and Amitabh as the leading pair? I guess it was the only movie. Such quizzes were targeted at the poor folks at home who had labelled me a movie buff and had mastered the art of ignoring me at such times..:-))!

Being married to a guy, who although loved watching movies, was not so movie-crazed, and cared much less about old hindi movies meant losing touch with that part of myself. He has never heard of certain movies or songs, so there was no fun rattling off dialogues or playing an impromptu quiz about songs or movies. So, although we watched movies regularly, the old passion (which anyway was dying a natural death) faded slowly and after the kid entered the scene, even watching movies became a rare event.

Now, cut to the present:
I had my cousin and his wife over sometime back and the conversation veered towards movies. He mentioned that the recent movie they saw was "Shaitan"*.
My reaction: Oh! is there such a movie? Is it a horror one?

Such stand the state of affairs!

* The recent one starring kalki Koechlin and Abhay Deol.

Who's correct?

Disclaimer: Only Tamil-knowing people might appreciate the below post.

Among other differences that Hubby and I have, is the language difference. Well, OK we both speak Tamil. But the Tamil I speak is very different from his. He speaks the Chennai lingo and I speak the Mumbai lingo. What, you don't know what Mumbai lingo is? If you have spoken to Tamilians from this corner of the country, you would know. You might assume that person hails from Kerala. Like many have assumed so for me. Some have even asked if I am a mallu. I have that huge an influence of palakkad tamil in my way of speaking. Why, you ask? Just blame it on the number of actual Palakkadus I was surrounded by when I was growing up. Also I use the pure version of Tamil like "vango, pongo, aatuku vango" as opposed to the chennai lingo of "vanga, ponga, veetuku vaanga".

Once Hubby said, with reference to some joke, that it was "chance e illa". It was the initial period of marriage and was not conversant with his way of words and I had confusion writ on my face for why the joke didn't stand a chance??? Now, how was I to know it meant "too good"???
Soon I learned new words like "sooper, kalaikittai, semma (nothing in relation to semiya or sevvaiya), naasti (has got nothing to do with being nasty), thalaivar-thalaivi, and vetti" ( I thought it was veshti mispronounced) among others that were a part of Hubby's vocabulary. I rolled my eyes each time the words were uttered because in my opinion they are not the part of "correct" language. I am the authority you see. Of course hubby doesn't agree but nevertheless, I decide the pureness of the language. Never mind the fact that I use Hindi and English  sometimes liberally to fill the void when "correct" Tamizh (see Tamil is actually Tamizh) words fail to strike me at the right time. But..authorities enjoy the exemption of being under scrutiny, you see.

Hubby and I have healthy fights debates over who speaks the correct language, without expecting the other to admit defeat. He is also wise enough not to suggest that I make the necessary linguistic tweaking. Only when I once spoke to a auto fella in Chennai did he warn me quite strongly that when you deal with auto guys in Chennai, you need to either speak like one of "the locals" or shut up.

I had no idea how much the lingo mattered until the question of "neenga palakkadaa?" became so common that I would almost be apologetic at this question and proceed to explain why inspite of not being a palakaddu, I was being mistaken for one. The lengthy answer sounded tiresome to my own ears. I have tried to summon all my acting skills and get into the skin of a thorough Chennaiite to speak the tongue, even using all the keywords. I have, at these times, provided comic relief to the hubby. Trust me, it is like learning a new language.

Boozho toh jaano

Ok, here is a riddle. No, no, don't search for your reading glasses and the browser is also not playing any truant. These are some gems from R speak vocabulary. See, if you can decipher them.

faain down faain down

buii du ainchi ainchi
buii du ainchi ainchi

ainchi bendabo bendabo
ainchi bendabo myfaedady

daki daki gaati
daki daki gaati
kaati goda
dumpeche maya
goda goda goda

gambatti moyya
mangamuti moyaa

dain dain goway
come agen andade
ittle ichab wanchupay

Do you want the answers?

Some favourite phrases:

Appa yenge..kaanume...adho..
tukiko (used only at times)
vendama..poruma..bashh (when asked to eat something he doesn't want/like)
tata ponam..kai picchu (used at all times!)
aebeecheedee paatu (his fav on the comp along with the rhymes. He is just crazy about the abcd, rhymes and stuff. But I dissuade him from watching too much of it. I think it will be an overdose at this stage and he'll get bored of school then!)
and of course- maatain (the famous NO)

The will to achieve

Is it possible to work without any expectations? Is it possible to dream a life that is entirely an antithesis of your present existence and yet be grounded enough to work towards the goal, however far-fetched, it may seem?
A dream, we may have. But not many of us have the faith in it or the perseverance to attain it. Self-doubts about our ability surface when met with the smallest of hurdles. Giving it all up to settle for something mediocre or "more achievable" seems like a practical and sane option rather than fighting with yourself, your destiny and the society.

The burning desire to achieve is probably more present in those that have "apparently" nothing to lose. No false ego that will see a fall in the event of a failure; in underdogs that are free from the expectations of society. Probably, this is why people from small towns do so well in the KBC contest. They are much more well-read and more importantly grounded than their many city-bred counterparts who although have access to better means of livelihood, fall short in the area of humanitarian qualities like humility and sensitivity towards fellow-beings.

A perfect example of the above is Mr.Sushil Kumar of Bihar, who turned from a meagre-earning computer operator to the first contestant of the season to win the 5-crore prize money.
What a moment it was! Not only for him but even for the rest of us who watched it. I could feel the tension, joy and ecstasy and yet could not place myself in his or his family's shoes entirely. Oh! what a moment it must have been for them. Truly happy and elated for them.

Image courtesy:

Amchi Mumbai or namma Bengalooru?

I had written a post earlier about how I felt about life in Hyderabad as compared to that in Mumbai, my hometown. Now that I am back from Mumbai after a looong vacation, I am inclined towards comparing it with Bangalore, my current home for the past one year. Some random observations, in no particular order, preference or importance:

When I landed in Mumbai, it was hot, humid, sultry and I was sweating like mad. Nothing unusual. Only, I have got used to better weather conditions. Ya, ya, after spending 25 good years in the same weather conditions, how can I say that? My mother felt so too. does get used to good things faster, right? Imagine a city, where for most part of the year, you do not need a fan running even in the dead of the afternoon, where, your bag always has a pair of warm clothes for the kid to brace out the cool and windy evenings, where, a light drizzle can bring the temperature notches down on a warm day. Well, you really can't blame me now.

In Mumbai, there was never a day when I left my house without a hanky and a liberal dose of the deo. But Bangalore spoilt me. I used the deo nevertheless but on the days I forgot to, I was not subject to any embarrassment. The hankies lay washed and unused in the cupboard. This time, I realized much to my embarrassment that my favourite deo was incapable of handling the Mumbai weather and lost the battle against the more powerful sweat beads. Then the weather gods took pity on me and sent a week of evening showers accompanied by gusty winds to cool us ( the city and me). I had no reason to complain about the weather for the rest of my vacation. Yes, the deo and the hanky still occupied the top spot but their vain status had dimmed.

Time in Mumbai has two pairs of wings. I had the luxury of waking up late with additional exemption from cooking too. Yet, before I knew it mornings melted into afternoons and soon turned to dark evenings. Blame it on winter or the fast life, I felt I was riding on airplanes called time. Having kids around can also give the same illusion, though (for most part of the day, R had his cousin for company). Bangalore can be fast paced for working people but for me, it is the weekends that fly faster than the weekdays; though life in general is definitely faster than in Hyderabad.

Inspite of being privy to maa ke haath ka khaana (which translates to tasty food), I was eating lesser- which again can be blamed on the climate. I have realized that I have larger portions of meal at Bangalore and eat rather frequently. Hmm, if I need to check my weight anytime in future I better relocate back to Mumbai. Oh hold on! how can I when  awesome chaats and vada pav beckon me from every street corner? I sorely miss them in Bangalore.

An evening walk near my parents house would ensure coming across at least a dozen known faces, most of who will know who you are, whom you married and where you currently reside. So, I would be greeted with a huge smile and the usual and standard questions of "when did you come?" "will you stay longer?" "hows life in xyz city?". When I came back to Bangalore after almost a month, I realized no one at the park area where I meet so called acquaintances would have even missed seeing me around. A boon or a bane, I am not sure.

We came back home on Friday evening and the house felt so empty. The silence was almost deafening. No fights to resolve, no sweet banter of the children, no doting grandma to spoil R with chocolates and kalkanddu (sugar candy) on demand. It was good that weekend began and we had friends to meet. Also, no Monday blues because Tuesday is a state holiday! :-)

Hope you guys had a great Diwali and a lovely weekend...

Passport to a healthy pregnancy

When I found out I was pregnant, my first reaction was like oh god! really, so soon, already??
Now, it was all planned but we never expected it to happen that fast. It was just a month after we decided we would have a baby and we had given ourselves at least 6 months time to "let it happen". So, we were more surprised and a tad (only a tad) reluctant to let go of our carefree days yet :-).

My first point or secret to a healthy pregnancy would be that : it starts much before "getting pregnant". The body needs to be well-maintained and healthy before you embark on this ever-exhausting journey of motherhood. Both my husband and I were practicing yoga for quite sometime and we attribute our effortless entry into this phase to this fact. In this fast paced life where sedentary and stressful lifestyle giving rise to fertility issues is not uncommon, this is an important criterion to be fulfilled.

I dealt with severe nausea and vomiting during the entire first trimester. The changing hormones definitely left me emotionally and physically drained. I could barely cook leave alone eat anything. Whatever little I shoved down my throat would promptly be thrown out. We were worried about the baby getting the required nutrition as also with my health for I had lost 4 Kgs by the end of the first three months.. The doctor laid our fears to rest. Even if the mother fails to eat a balanced and nutritional meal during the first three months, when nausea usually strikes, the baby takes the required and deficient nutrients from the mother's blood. So even some amount of weight-loss for the mother during that phase is considered normal as long as the baby is growing fine. Only if there is a prolonged and constant deficiency in the nutritional intake for the remaining term of the pregnancy, there is cause for alarm and medical intervention. So, do read up about the myths over the net or confide in your gynaec and remain well-informed. Do not get carried away by what other people have to say. Know your body. Sign-up with any of the baby-sites that usually provide weekly updates during the pregnancy and also feature very interesting and informative articles. I had signed up with the babycentre.

Mothers-to-be dealing with a difficult, especially first pregnancy are bound to deal with some negative thoughts and mild depression-like state at some point or other. The trick is to acknowledge that it can be quite normal and not beat yourself about it or take a guilt-trip. Contrary to what the movies depict about being instantly exhilarated about the new arrival and automatically settling into the grove of a mother, real motherhood can be quite gradual and definitely not instant. Having said that, if the negative feelings or depression takes longer to clear, even after physical discomfort goes away,  you may need to take help of a counsellor. Do indulge in your favourite hobby, read light-hearted books, listen to music, take a short vacation, anything that will keep you relatively- and for the major part- positive about the baby.

I continued to do yoga ( do read more about the kind here ) for the entire term and resumed it as soon as my body regained strength after delivery. It helped me have a calm mind during labour, the breathing asanas come in handy at the crucial time and enabled me have a smooth and normal delivery. The bonus: I had little trouble getting back into shape later. Any form of exercise, after consultation with the doctors, is essential to ensure a smooth- and to an extent- a normal way of delivery. Despite best efforts, an unplanned C-section can happen. So please do not feel guilty of the same. If nothing, the exercise will surely assist you to get back into your pre-pregnancy shape faster.

Last and not the least, please do take the "eat for two now" advice with a huge pinch of salt. Indulge at times but do not over-indulge just because you are entitled to do so. Eat healthy and maintain proper weight-gain. Remember: It will take you 9 months to pile on whatever you wish but it may take longer to shed off that excess weight if you do not watch out.

So, that's my mantra- at least the one I followed- for a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.

A rush of thrill

Bloggers live in the perennial fear of getting a writer's block and get nightmares of their blog slipping into a coma-like state. I have been close to coming to this stage many times but fortunately something or the other would serve as the proverbial straw to a drowning man. Mostly it would either be someone else's blog post that would inspire me to write a similar experience or a timely blog contest. This time it is both. The contest is by Women's Web about the Passport to a healthy pregnancy; details here. Tan wrote a post about her adventurous experience here, which lit up the bulb in my head where a similar experience was lying buried gathering dust. For no particular reason or intention, the contest has been given the second preference.

I am basically not an adventurous person. Though I like some surprises thrown in here and there, to a large extent I like things planned. Also, I lack the courage to do something out of the ordinary just for a thrill. For the really adventurous, the incident I am about to narrate may seem quite trivial and not worthy of a mention. So, if you belong to that category, this post may not be for you. The others can read on. So, this happened in the year 2005. We friends, three of us, all girls ( out of the gang of five) decided to go on a trip to Kashmir with a popular tours and travel group. For me, the adventure began at that stage itself. My parents were dead against me going to the infamous place for obvious reasons. I, on my part was caught between trying to convince either set to align with the other party's interest. Since my friends' parents were OK with the idea, it was left to me to take the call. It took all of the rebellious streak in me, combined with my friends A and S's pleadings, to get my parents to give their consensus, which they offered when they found out how adamant we were. The travel guys on their part also assured us of our safety and claimed to have planned a safe itinerary. Since they enjoy a good reputation, we were inclined to believe them as they too have their own name and fame to protect.

That particular day was meant to visit the Char Chinar island. After a boat-ride on the lake, the travel guide gave us the evening free for shopping at the row of floating shops on the lake that sold jaw-dropping kashmiri wares- from handicrafts to carpets to shawls to sarees and dress-materials. We were enamoured by the sheer beauty of the setting and the idea of having such an unique shopping experience. We were told to remain in a group and come back to the hotel before dark. The group dispersed according to individual interests and we three friends found ourselves with another family in a shop that sold dress-materials and sarees. We were so engrossed in selecting stuff for ourselves and our families that we did not realize when the other family left our side and when daylight turned to pitch darkness. As we left the shop, we realized that the other members were nowhere near where we shopped. Either they had gone back to the hotel or were still shopping far off from where we were.

The boatman who rowed us to this shop was waiting to take us back. Sensing our tension, he said that he would reach us back safely and there was no need for any worry. As we were ferried back through the labyrinth of houseboats, the enormity of the risk factor dawned on us. Every place looked alike. None of us had any clue if we were rowed back in the right direction. Given the nature of the location, although each of us carried our mobiles, there was no network. Meaning- we could not call anyone for help if something went wrong.  Although it was not late by the clock, darkness had set in to give an illusion of an unearthly hour. The only light that permeated through the chilly darkness was the light emanating from the nearby houseboats. But every light seemed eerie and every person including the boatman looked fishy. The onward journey which probably took the same time seemed hopelessly longer on the way back. The same surrounding that looked so scenic and cheerful by the day, seemed haunting and dangerous by the night. We just kept looking at each others faces to gather hope and cheer and spoke nonsense to ward off the demons in our head. The boatman, probably sensing our apprehensions, kept reassuring us at regular intervals that he will ensure our safe return. We only had hope with us and prayed like hell in our minds. Only when saw the banks from a distance did we heave a collective sigh of relief. With hearts palpitating from the sheer excitement of our escapade we thanked the boatman profusely before running back to our hotel.

Phew! what an experience. We just prayed a little longer to thank God before hitting the bed that night.

A rant

I know I know, I said it is break time and here is a new post from me. But let me warn you, it is purely a rant. Had to get it out of my system. So guys you are free to skip reading the following.

It has been a crazy and sick-literally- holiday so far. For the first 10 days, R and S (niece) took ill one after the other. We barely got well and adjusted to the new place and my mom has now fallen sick. R is still being strange. He is back to his naughty and mischievous self, no doubt. But he rarely plays alone with my parents. Not even his paati with whom he was all chummy just a month back at Bangalore. Five minutes with them and he begins to look for me. This has thrown all my plans of meeting friends, shopping and general TP out of the window. There is no point dragging him along for the above itinerary.  He wouldn't relish it or let me either. Also, he eating all my time by insisting on viewing some rhymes whenever I get a chance to be at the computer. The keyboard and CPU being at his reach makes it difficult for me to multi-task this activity which otherwise I used to do at my place. Not only the computer but the switches around the house are all at his reach and when he is not bothering me, he is playing truant with them-"on", "off" goes each one of them like a discotheque. Hardly amusing when the house has been recently renovated with every corner shining clean and bright. I am just putting it down (the clingy behaviour, that is) to being at a new place compounded by the fact that his dad is not around. Though, given his hitherto easy-going nature has me unconvinced with this reasoning. But, you can't really predict toddler behaviour, right? Hoping that this is temporary phase and he has not morphed suddenly into a clingy, insecure child. *crossing fingers*.

My worries carry further. Hubby might have to travel abroad starting mid-Nov for about 6 weeks. This translates to me having to come back to Mumbai for the said period. With R's current behaviour, that's hardly a jump-with-glee situation for me. That's not all, we had a sight-seeing trip to Bhubaneshwar planned along with my sister's family in Dec to coincide with my cousin's wedding there. I was looking forward to that trip since the time we got to know of the wedding which is like 6 months now. I'll still go for the wedding but am seriously reconsidering taking the sight-seeing route 'cause am really not up to putting up with R in his current persona all alone. To manage a hyper-active AND clingy toddler all alone is not my idea of a vacation. I am not even talking about the multitude of ticket rescheduling that will have to be done. I am still sulking with the new development, though. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

Phew! rant over.

P.S.: Secretly hoping that the visa gets rejected *casting an evil-spell, muhahahaa*

Break (brake?) time....

A combination of various factors is keeping me away from my favourite activity of blogging.

  1. Blog idea planting its seed. No time to make it into a full-fledged post because either the kids (R and niece S) are viewing Tom & Jerry on the computer or within minutes of logging on, I am required to play referee to a power-struggle between R & S. Net result-Idea lost. 

  2. Computer free, I can contemplate writing. But *Tish* the power goes off. Damm the load-shedding.

  3. Power on, computer free, surprise of surprise- kids not climbing on me or chewing my brains. Perfect? oh no, the net connection is so poor that I can take a short walk and still find the page loading screen.

But, I badly want to post something, so, here I vainly announce that my blog crossed 10,000 page hits today.

So, folks maybe it's time I take a short break till the factors start to favour me.

The festive mania

The Navaratri mania is over. Phew! Now, don't mistake me. I am all for the tradition and the festivities but when it goes beyond one's reasoning and ceases to retain its flavour to turn into just a mad frenzy of calling sundry maamis over and going over to another set of sundry maami's houses for "vettalai paaku", its time to take stock. With due respect to the intentions and sentiments that go behind celebrating a festival, I feel today the original custom has been twisted and contorted to the extent of dis-figuration.

The scene goes like this : some maami chances upon you at the temple/road/someone else's house and invites you over for "vettalai-paaku". You don't know her too well but you go nevertheless because of respect or sentiments. Its your turn then, you call the same mami with whom you have never spoken more than two lines in the chance encounter of five times in a year, out of courtesy. Another lady is very enterprising and decides that the usual tambulam is boring and decides to add colour to it by 'gifting' some article that could range anywhere from a steel-ware to trays to show-pieces to fancy handicraft items. This new practice is 'copied' by others and 'improvised' by few others to incorporate a sense of competition amongst people who give and take tambulams. The coconuts overflow on the kitchen counter and the same ones that were given to one are given off to some others.

What is the point and purpose of the this whole exhausting exercise where the recipient and the giver are out to "out-do" one another or are simply following the herd out of the need to 'return the favour'? The essence, joy and flavour of a festival is not only lost on needless rituals, on the contrary it only only brings in a distaste and a sigh of relief when the festival gets over. The customs need to be retained in their true form, rituals evolved to include helping needy people. Nothing fancy is required. Maybe you can offer 'bonus dakshinai' for your maid, cleaner or some such people who are in need of necessities instead of loading people of the same strata or upper strata with mindless rounds of coconuts and 'gifts' that are passed on like batons in a race and in the end, largely go unused or 'wasted'. If at all you feel the need to go out of the ordinary, you can probably distribute eco-friendly products that are cheap and reusable and encourage others to do the same. People can come home to pay obeisance to the deities and take part in the golu, if any, however discourage the urge to call someone only because you are 'guilty' of receiving the tambulam from that individual. That will ensure the true circulation of positive vibes that come from wish and not from compulsion. Just my two cents here. What do you feel?

A roller-coaster ride

Oh! what a weekend it has been. I  landed at the parent's place in B'bay yesterday and boy I am glad that it was nearly uneventful. It has been a test of my nerves since Friday last.

Like any other evening, I was at the play area with R on Friday evening. R was his usual self, running and scampering around, with me close at his heels. It was nearing time to head back home when R wanted to play a little extra on the standing merry-go-round. No sooner did I place him down back on the ground than he shot off in a run. My friend N and her son V (around R's age) were a feet away and she beckoned him. It was that split second's delay that decided the course of the rest of the evening. I waited just that much time to see if R went to her before rushing off to run after him. By then it was little too late. R dashed off from underneath the slide and darted towards where some older kids were rocking pretty fast on the swing. He missed getting hit from one on coming swing only to get hit by the next one. I was almost there to hold him but was unable to save him from the blow. Oh! how this scene replayed later in my head several times and how I wished I was swifter.

R let out a cry immediately and I covered his head at the area where he got hit. My head was already swimming. Someone told me to sit on the bench nearby. As I sat down, I noticed the blood on R's head. My friend N told me to rush to the doctor's and offered to accompany me. I gladly accepted her help and we rushed on her two-wheeler to a clinic that was nearby. I could have taken the car. This was precisely why I wanted to learn to drive- help myself during emergencies. Of course I had not taken into account another important factor that is needed during such times. Enormous control over one's emotions and a cool head. I was not prepared in this faculty. I was just thankful for the friend's presence and hoped to God desperately that nothing was serious. R had meanwhile stopped crying but the blood was still oozing. It was not profuse but enough to scare me.

At the clinic, we were immediately shown into a ER where some nurses examined the wound. R began to holler here. I imagined he was in pain again but in hindsight I gathered that it was probably due to the hospital atmosphere and also innate skill of sensing an abnormal circumstance that kids have. I was tense and it was showing. I kept asking the nurses several times about the seriousness of the injury.

"Its a cut, will require stitches"

"stitches??..oh that it very many stitches?"

"The doctor will have to see. The orthopedic is seeing another patient, he'll will come. Did he have any vomiting or dizziness after the injury?"

 "No. No vomiting or dizziness.When will the doctor come? Is it not an emergency?"

"He'll come. It is not very serious. We do deal with such cases everyday. Don't worry."

I had three glasses of water meanwhile and was struggling to calm R whose decibel levels were jangling my nerves further. My mind resembled a question mark and was unable to muster faith in the words of the nurse, all the time doubting the capability of doctors and staff because no one showed any sense of urgency in attending to the case. Just then a pediatric came in and explained to me that since the head region has multiple layers of nerves and cells, even a slight injury can cause blood to flow. The area is in that sense cushioned by so many layers and only if the cut was very deep or it was compounded by vomiting/nausea/dizziness/convulsions there was cause for worry. My mind regained a sense of calm after this and we waited for the orthopedic to attend to the wound. R was also much calmer than earlier and was even talking. The ortho arrived after a couple of minutes and he pronounced the need for one stitch. He explained that he would give local anesthesia and then stitch. R began to cry again and refused to sit still. I thought he was scared and suggested that I held him while the doctor did the needful. But this was not to be. R kept jumping on my lap and shaking his head and I, with all my might too, was unable to calm him and hold his head in one position. The nurses and the doctor decided that it was enough and the nurse brought out a blanket, wrapped R in it, placed him in a lying position and three of them held him tight on the bed. Phew! we were all glad when it was over. Bandaging seemed quite impossible after this and so the doctor just sprayed an ointment that would produce a thin film over the wound and asked me to keep the area dry.

Just as we got over this episode, R sprained his arm on Sunday evening. I had called two of my friends along with their family over for the usual navaratri "vettalai paaku". R was playing ringa-ringa-roses with A and A's dad. He sat down before everyone finished with "all fall down", so A's dad just gave a little tug to his hand to lift him up and R began to cry soon after. He generally doesn't cry without any reason so we were all concerned when the crying didn't stop after repeated distractions. It was not a non-stop cry of pain. He would whimper for a while and then accelerate for a while. Suspecting a sprain we took him to the ER of the hospital where he usually takes his vaccines. They took an X-ray to rule out any dislocation and thankfully when none were found, prescribed a gel for the sprain.

The weekend was packed with enough hospital visits, though I can't thank God enough that they were not grave. Only, it had me a little jostled and worried about the flight I was to take with R alone to B'bay on Tuesday. Well, let me say we came in one piece without any more drama. R seems to be missing the familiar surrounding and his dad. He is not even moving well with his pati whom he had just met and adjusted to well a month ago. He's unusually clingy, quiet and not in his elements but he brightens upon seeing my niece S who is just a year older to him. So, hoping that he would settle in a couple of days.

Blogging and its effects on me

I had always been fascinated with the idea of writing. No, not from school times or even college. At that time, I simply detested the manner in which we had to fill some pages with content that was cramped forcefully into the heads a few evenings before and had to be spilled before the content itself got lost. Even essays never gave me the thrill of writing. My imagination always betrayed me when presented with a theme and time constraint. So, when exactly did I develop a fascination? I cannot say. When I was in college, my friend, who was studying astrology and palmistry then, told me that I may possess some flair for writing as my hand showed artistic nature, I had, at that time, laughed dismissively at the prospect. I told her, maybe the talent is elsewhere. Artistic could mean a lot of things. Although I found the idea, at least then, quite absurd, it somehow remained in my mind. I began to have notions of discovering a latent author in me. I did nothing about it, though. Not even a diary. The idea and notions got buried in the other mundane rituals of life.

A couple of years ago, I discovered the full use of the magical world of the internet. The world of blogging and its innumerable possibilities came by as a chance discovery and I thought, why not use this as a medium to experiment with my notions? To be honest, when I began this blog, I had no idea of what I was going to be writing or blogging about. I was almost about to chicken out before deciding to give myself a chance and then decided to just pen down my thoughts in a coherent manner. I was glad to discover that this blog  gave me the perfect platform to unleash my thoughts on any issue close to my heart and also serve as a journal to record the antics and milestones of my toddler.

I began to enjoy the comments on my posts that began to trickle in slowly. The number of followers gave me a high. I took the compliments of my readers seriously and began to write more. Every time a thought cropped up in my mind, I would start thinking it could be a material for a post. My experiments grew ambitious and I dabbled with some poetry too. Of course, as they say, the crow's cawing is music to its ears. But the encouragement from my readers and the few who care to leave a comment does pep me up to dish out more and better. Sometimes, the anticipation of comments and praise overpowers my brains, much like that of a alcoholic thirsting for alcohol. I furiously open my mail the few hours after I hit the "publish" button. A rush of disappointment engulfs me if I find none. At least I expect my regular readers to comment. The stats on the blog is something to cheer but the comments are definitely the high point.

Blogging can be a lonely experience if not for the interaction that happens through comments. Blogging and commenting are like fish and water. What is a blog without its readers and comments? It is all OK to say that writing is a creative hobby and the satisfaction comes with just writing stuff, yet it does not hold true for blogging for else we all could have written a diary instead. Bloggers (at least I can speak for myself) thrive on the encouraging words of people who read them. Hence I cherish every comment I receive. I am glad to have discovered some very interesting writers and like-minded people here who motivate me with their writings and their comments on my posts. Thank you all! Please do keep commenting, suggesting and criticizing whenever and wherever applicable.
A word to people who have added me to their reading list anonymously: I am equally honoured although if you could care to de-lurk once a while or follow this blog publicly, it would do wonders for my self-esteem and encourage me to write more and better.

So, guys why do you blog? what do you think are the high points and low points of blogging? Do take it up as a tag if you wish and leave me a comment. Non-bloggers, lurkers, you are most welcome to participate. Tell us why you read blogs. What makes (or does not) you re-visit a blog after the first read?

An ode to life

As I sit to write an ode
words fail to come afore
fleeting thoughts swim by
like white clouds against the blue sky

Though the eyes capture the sight
the mind fathom not the flight
Each cloud shares a story
of sunshine and rain; of laughter and gory

Who is to perish; who is to stay;
we shall be gone one day
Who are we to state
He is dark, she is fair
for even the dark cloud, as they say,
conceals a silver ray

Image courtesy:

As you like it

Funny, at an age where your opinions are already formed and you dare to call yourself rational, you find yourself helplessly giving in to your toddler's whims and fancies.

Scene 1: Amma: (Having a meal plate with rotis and sabzi, trying to feed R)

R: iddu *pointing to the sabzi*.

I try to reason with him and say that rotis and sabzis have to be eaten together. Distract him with a story and feed him a morsel of roti and sabzi.
R promptly spits it out. Insists iddu to the sabzi.

Amma: *resignedly feeds him what is asked*.

Rinse, repeat for rotis after a while. As long as whatever is on the plate goes in, I am not too bothered. But I am on the edge till the plate is at least 3/4th empty for you never know when these whimsical toddlers might change their minds.

The above scene can be played in many ways and in any situation.

Scene 2:  At the play area
I usually let R decide what he wants to do as long as he does not come in the way of the older kids playing or the ones cycling.
R: anga..pointing to the slide
After 30 seconds, he would say, anga, pointing to the see-saw
A minute later, it is  "anga", this time towards the swing.
The swing is his favourite. Till the time, I insist on him getting down, he would keep swinging.

Scene 3:  Bath-time or any other time when I have to keep him occupied and entertained.

Amma: ok, I'll sing you the ABC song.
A, B, C, D....(at which juncture R interrupts)
R: iddu...Niya Niya oduva
Amma: ok, Nila Nila odi va, nillamal odi va..(interrupted again)
R: vea paatu, poo paatu, tinku, tinku...and so on...

It sometimes feels like a radio gone awry with mixed frequency signals. Couldn't help remembering this scene from the film Coolie:

A lovely time and a blue Monday- weekend update II

Part one here.

Saturday evening, we went out for shopping at a near by mall. R is generally very restless during mall outings. He would keep running around the stores, trying to topple any stack of goods, generally creating a nuisance and not allowing me to shop. This time, though, we had two pairs of extra hands and legs. So mom and I shopped while hubby and dad kept a watchful eye on R. R anyway got his due share of fun- a toy train ride. These children rides in malls are out to loot you, I say. There were toy cars that ran on batteries and had attendants who maneuvered the vehicle if the kid was very young, there was this toy train and one huge bouncer. The rate for all the rides was Rs. 50 for a mere 3 minutes! We asked R to choose a ride and guess what, he said "aipain" (airplane). There was none around and it took us a while to understand R's gestures at the glass-paned lift which he referred to as airplane. Of all the rides, he chose the "free" one. While the amma appreciated the choice gleefully, the granny melted at the innocence and insisted on making him sit on one of the paid ones. What do I say! We decided on the toy-train ride for R. R got on to the train like a pro and happily sat through the entire 3 minutes, initially in a surprised daze and then consciously enjoying the ride, waving out to us as we did. We also went on the "airplane" too, many a few times. Hubby tutored R that it was a rocket and not airplane!

Mom and I shopped for ourselves and for my sister, niece and aunt back in Mumbai. The usual bags and stuff but every such shopping escape is so fulfilling, never mind the drawers that are overflowing with similar stuff. We had ice-cream at Baskin-Robbin's. I went for the "Tiramisu" flavour and was hugely disappointed. It tasted like some powdered medicine. yuck! :-(. We wanted to check out one last shop before going home. But R had other plans. As soon we entered the shop, I went to the deo-counter to buy one and I must have taken just about 5 minutes, within which R managed to topple something off the rack and run underneath one table that stacked some kurtis. He decided to play a game of going under and sliding out of the table, not paying heed to our coaxing to come out. He even inspired another kid there to join him in this play while the other exasperated mom looked at me resignedly. I didn't know where to look. Finally, we made a show of leaving the shop leaving R behind and only when he saw us heading out, he came out! So, folks imagine how I must be shopping for stuff with such a cooperative toddler. I accept your sympathies, thanks.

We decided to go to Lalbaugh on Sunday evening. It was the last weekend of my parent's stay and we wanted to take them to some place other than the malls in Bangalore. We finished lunch by 2.p.m and decided to leave the house max by 3.30 p.m. Seemed doable, only that my mom planned to make some coconut barfis that afternoon. Still, we thought we could manage to squeeze in that part too before leaving. I looked on (that's all the help I can lend to such matters) as mother set out to make the yummy goody. By the time the barfis were ready and we got ready, it was 4.30. The entry to the park closes at 6.p.m. and the place is about 20 kms from where we live. It being a Sunday, we still garnered hopes of getting there on time. Now, people staying in Bangalore city would be familiar with its one-ways and more now because of the metro being constructed. We reached the Garden around 5.15 only to realize that the entry gate we were at was not meant for four-wheelers. We were told to go to "another" gate by some rickshaw guy which meant, we would have to go back the route we came from and again take a U turn. Some one else said that there was a third entrance if we went ahead on our path. Since that seemed easier, we decided to go to the third gate. We reached the gate to find only two wheelers parked afront the gate and the lady at the ticket counter, who was friendlier and more informed than the previous one, told us that there is another gate meant for car park and we would have to go further down the lane and take a few turns. Time was 5.30. I asked her in desperation if we would make it in time. She said we might or if we were so worried, we could park our car across the road opposite some hotel and it would be fine. But hubby was not fine parking the car on the wayside and decided to go to the other dammed entry gate. We finally reached the magical entrance, only to find some cars parked outside the entrance blocking the gate and also the only available car-park space (we later learnt that there are a total of 4 entry gates and we ended up at all but the one we were looking for. Systematic, you say? Ok. But how about having clear instructions maybe by way of an updated route-map at every gate, so that the first-time visitors do not have to depend on stray people for assistance?). It was already 5.40 and since we didn't want to risk overstepping the time, we decided to park the car in the lane opposite to the park. I grumbled to hubby that we could have done this earlier and saved a few more minutes. Anyway, we finally made it inside the park before time. R ran amok inside and although I was holding his hand, it was he who was dragging me along and deciding where to go. He kept saying "anga" , "anga" and made me run behind him. There was a rocky slope, atop which there was this Kempegowda monument-a temple-like structure. This fella, ran all the way up and down the slope with my poor mom trudging along behind and me holding on to the brat's hand tightly. Where were the other men folk..well, they went in search of the restroom. Convenient. Hmpf!

We just had about half an hour to admire the well-maintained garden, manage R who was scampering away in all the directions we didn't want him to go and also click some snaps for remembrance. It suddenly grew dark and we heard a booming voice asking us to vacate the place soon. No, the booming voice was not God's but some in-duty officer's, doing the final rounds of the park before closing time. We promptly retracted our steps from wherever we were to head towards the exit. Most people stayed on and seemed as though they never heard the voice. No wonder then that although the said limit is at 7.30 p.m., the patrol jeep starts making the rounds from 6.30 onwards. It takes time to shoo away people. Nevertheless, we had a lovely evening. Short but sweet.

Parents left on Monday afternoon, leaving a cranky R and me feeling more blue than I have ever on Mondays. We went to see them off down the building and R hollered, wanting to go along. It took my undivided attention to distract him and calm him down which, to my relief, happened fairly soon, although from time to time he kept saying, "tatha? pati?..B'".

A long post indeed. Leaving you with some pics of the evening at Lalbaugh.

Hubby, R and my mom


The Kempe-gowda structure atop the rocky slope where R chose to run up and down