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.