Thursday, December 31, 2009


Whether, the year gone by was good or bad depends on how we were! 

I was reasonably good and the year not so bad! I hope to be better and kinder and wish that the year ahead is good and kind to me, my family, my friends and all others I know and don't know. 

I also hope I start blabbering less in 2010:))

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Naanum Kutcheriku ponen!

Last weekend we decided to exploit V's love for music, especially percussion and wind instruments ( and also our desire to visit a 'December season Kutcheri'!). With rain dashing any hope of attending a Kadri Gopalnath concert during the week, 'Ghatam' Kartik's ensemble was the only instrumental concert during the weekend. So, keeping our fingers crossed we awaited Saturday evening. The Rain God was merciful and we went to the auditorium and explained to the kid that we were going to watch dum-dum, dham taka dum, tiki tiki tuk vailin and keeeboth (Drums, Mirudangam, Ghatam, Violin and Keyboard in that order). The hall was one-third full (positive thinking??) and we again kept our fingers crossed, wondering how long the little one stay put.

The concert was good, with the kid Satyanarayana excelling on his Synthesizer (A technical name for the Key Board I hear but I will stick to KB for the rest of this post!). He is only 14 and played his part exceedingly well to support the rest who were twice (or more) his age. I am handicapped, when it comes to the techniques of classical music, so I will only give a general description!

V gleefully watched his favorite instruments at play.

The only disappointment was there was hardly any 'Ghatam' at play and Kartik dispalyed his konnakol, singing and talking skills that day.

V took a small break to have his dinner.

The 'Ragam-thallam-pallavi' was excellent, and it was very different to listen to Mirudangam-Violin, KB; Ghatam-Violin, KB; Kanjira-Violin, kb and Drums (actually a rhythm pad!)- violin, KB combinations.

V started fidgeting...

The concert started on time. The sore point (as experienced every year by the 'sabhas') was the near empty hall (negative thinking?). It was actually a little embarrassing because when not playing the instruments, the artists chose to look at the audience, and one could n't bat an eyelid without risking their attention.

We left the hall smiling....V had been quiet for about two and a half hours!

Monday, December 21, 2009

To greet or not to greet...

I have only two reasons to greet someone on an occasion...1) The occasion itself, 2) To stay in touch. The last mentioned is more important of the two.

A few years back, I used to send every one an e-card (that is after having stopped sending paper cards by post). Now, I only send text mails or send a message to their phone, but I send a greeting nevertheless, whether it is the New Year, Deepavali, Christmas and any other occasion. I gloat over this because of a phone call received earlier this year. An ex-colleague called up to find out if everything was OK. I was puzzled. She said, "This year you did not send an SMS for Sankranti and I wondered....".
I had to explain to that not-yet-married-blissful soul that I was a little busy with the brat and the rest of the family that it slipped my mind and nothing else.

After that I have been careful enough not to leave out any one, despite the fact that (expect on 'bigger occasions like the New Year) not many bother to send a greeting until one initiates. However, it is enough to trigger a response from those under hibernation!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Eating Out..

We are not great 'foodies' (if one looks at the quantity we consume!), but we like experimenting. As vegetarians, our options are limited to the vegetarian restaurants in the city, for the sake of variety, more than anything else. For two years we 'adaki vaasichufied' (chaste tamil for staying quiet!), because of the kid, and now that he insists on a separate plate for himself, we have begun 'restaurmenting' (experimenting with restaurants that is!) again.As and when we try a new restaurant, I shall post my experience.

The tried and tested

Saravana Bhavan:  Food quality is as good as ever. However, with new, good, food joints springing up every now and then, Saravana Bhavan seems obnoxiously expensive and their service is not good. Kid-friendly to the extent that they provide high chairs, otherwise they still follow the policy of asking diners to be seated on the same side of the table if possible, to accommodate others!

Murugan Idli Kadai: Another 'functional' eat-out. One gets bored after a few times, since there is no variety in the menu. Quality of food is very good though. One warning: It is better to start with either Idli or a vadai. We once ordered, idlis, vadais, dosas and kuzhi paniyaram, and everything tasted sour. It was summer and guess the batter had gone bad! Expensive, considering what is offered, but good.

Cream center: We visited this place (RA Puram) only a few weeks back and understood why everyone was drooling when they mentioned the place. Lovely food. Absolutely kid-friendly. But highly priced (Channa Patura Rs. 120?? Hard to 'digest', the price that is!) and lackadaisical service. But one can go again and again for the food. To get a good value for your money, I would suggest one tries their 'Thali'.

Eden: A perennial favorite only and only because of the food. Much had been written about their service and space! The Anna Nagar restaurant is spacious though, and also offers more on the menu. I hav n't tried their place at 'Harrisons'. 

Mast Kalandar: (Above Shastri Nagar SBI Branch) A few months old. Good food. Interesting combos. Reasonably priced. Again very functional. They blare 1990s hindi songs and is a bit hard on the ear! Reminded me of the 'Ohri" restaurants in Hyderabad. It is better to go with the combos. If individually ordered, it would appear pricey. We prefer ordering from home and they deliver on time.

Rasam: We dined at their Mylapore outlet. Good food, different fare. But expensive (considering the quantity) and service, lethargic.

There are some more but I don't remember them now!

The New Places

Dosa Calling:  Not new, as their Kilpauk outlet is already many months old, but their Indira nagar outlet is just a few weeks into business.  Food is good. A lot of variety in their menu and they don't stick to Dosas alone. They also offer, Rice, pastas and Wraps. Reasonably priced (cheaper than Murugabn Idli Kadai) and good quality. But the place is very small. They too follow the "sit on the same side of the table" principle. In fact there is no proper waiting area and one has to wait (almost) on the road. Service was slow. They have to do something about the space. Here, the tamil songs blare, and give the effect fit for a 'tea kadai'. I understand that they offer Dosas...but still???

Annalakshmi: This is a new outlet at 'Planet Yumm' on Eliot's Beach. First and foremost, they are (thankfully!) situated outside the common dining place, similar to Saravana Bhavan in Spencer's Plaza. It appears spacious. The food is good and price almost reasonable. They have more variety, and I say this because they may pose a stiff competition to Murugan Idli across the road. They open at ^:00 AM and close at 10:PM. It is clear, however, that they are still in the initial stages and that should explain the slow service. One refreshing change from other eating joints (according to H) is that the plates are yellow and not white! Not too bright but different!!

P.S: The above are based on my experiences at the restaurants that I found 'reasonably good' and not general views as heard from friends and relatives! Also, since I (or we) care more about hygiene, quality and taste, ambiance may or may not feature here!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Displaying Creativity!

Last weekend, V's school hosted a project day. Everything displayed had some contribution by children. Though the school claimed that everything except the setting up was done by children, the teachers' (or aunties in this case) efforts were evident in every display. The whole setting up, for the project day was done in half a day. Since it was the first such thing for us, we were amazed. The theme for V's group was 'Parts of the Body' and tiny hands and feet imprints made reindeer and lotuses come alive. I am too lazy now to display some of the photos...but will ...soon!

While leaving, H said to the coordinator, "Hope the creativity does n't stop here..", to which the good lady replied, " Take it from me...It won't".

Later while walking back home, I said, "The creativity you were talking about will not be gone...How else can you explain the efforts of the people who thought about it and set it all up?", to which the one who always has the last word (sigh!) said, "They probably drew inspiration from the children"...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

When the neighborhood has a lot to offer...

The neighborhood we live in has two new eating joints. One is situated opposite two (well established) restaurants. The other new restaurant is about half a kilometre from the above mentioned. In addition to this there is yet another fast food chain in between and a coffee shop on this street and two other coffee shops on the adjacent road.. Then there is a branded jeans store, a textile 'biggie', a unisex saloon and many other shops. And I forgot the supermarket and yet another pizza joint and a few other upcoming eating places and shops and saloons. All the above are situated in a one KM radius.

Good news is n't it? One need n't travel by a vehicle....Just a few minutes walk would help you to meet all your needs. A hair-cut? walk it down. Forgot about the 'Urad dall' just as you are about to switch on the grinder...No to the store. Or forgot to buy a grinder... head to the electronics giant across the road. Guests coming...Don't wait for a home delivery...stroll across to the nearest pizza outlet and instead of waiting for the pizza, hop across to buy some dosas.

Sounds like fun? I really don't think so. With no one really bothering to create some parking space for people who dine or shop, the whole place is turning into a parking nightmare. Though the street we live in has no restaurant or shops, people who drive down, park their cars here. No one seems to think when they park. When one enters the street, one needs to be wary of the auto rickshaw stand at the street corner, the Toyota Innova parked immediately behind it and a Scorpio parked opposite. If this is a motorist's woe, I cannot even write down in meaningful words, the predicament of pedestrians.

I may sound like a hypocrite here. I want my shops and restaurants within walking distance, yet nurse a grouse. It is not about the commercial spaces themselves, but where they are placed. None of the restaurants or departmental stores I am referring to, having parking spaces for their customers. In many cases, old houses have been converted into swanky new shops. I am not even hinting at those tiny boutiques or antique places located in by-lanes. Every morning and evening the road looks like there is a perennial traffic jam, but in truth it is only an array of vehicles waiting for the signal to go green. Parked vehicles encroach the road so much that the others have to move at a snail's speed.

I can either go on lamenting or do my bit. As of now, we walk (however difficult it might sound!) to places within a kilometer or go around in the two-wheeler to places within a five or six kilometer range (with the kid that is. Without him, the distance really does n't matter!) or take the car only where there is no problem of parking...for us and others.

P.S: I began this post to write about a couple of restaurants that we have been frequenting off late, but had to put this down first, because whenever we come back home after a meal, we are unable to recognize it because of the haphazardly parked cars.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A year ago...

...when I badly needed a break from the routine, when I very badly wanted to do something which I liked, and very very badly wanted to do something for me and me only, I logged into Blogger, 'for the heck's sake'. First I blinked, created a profile, a url, a title and a post. Then changed the url and then the title. Then the title and the url and finally arrived at what it is now.

Though I thought I was doing something for myself, I ended up being a mommy blogger writing about my son! Not to be bogged down by motherhood, I started another blog, only for penning or typing down my thoughts, but just as how the child occupies most of a parent's life this blog bullied and suppressed the other. I am not one to relent... so from now on I am will be writing more general schools, kids books, parks, children entertainment etc. Did I say something about relenting???

Technically it is a year since I 'created' this blog, though for the first six months I wrote only two posts, and began 'actively' blogging only since June. So it is a 'Happy half year to this blog' and 'Thank You' to everyone who is taking the pains to read this pain..err..parent! I will continue to disperse sense and nonsense and this is my resolution for the coming year!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Kid Speak!

Appa and amma are having a silly argument (Note the point, a silly argument - only in front of the kid!) after which...

Amma: V...who is chamathu (loosely translated as good!)... Amma or Appa?
V: (without batting an eyelid) Naanu (Me)
Appa: Nee pozhachupeda... (again loosely translated'll survive this bad bad world and become a politician!!)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Drying clothes on a rainy day... one of the most physically and mentally challenging tasks. First, the clothes accumulate, thanks to the kid running to the water and the parents running behind and all three getting wet, or to the fact that the amma ignores the unpredictable weather and leaves the umbrella behind, or to the previous days clothes that smell and feel wet like they are just out of the washing machine. Then, all of a sudden one realizes that the open space available is big enough to dry a few handkerchiefs and piles all the clothes into a bucket and carries them to the terrace on the fourth floor.

Living on the first floor despite the presence of an elevator does n't help as one still has to climb a flight of stairs, some of the steps of which are slippery thanks to the overflowing or dripping water from the terrace. After that one has to constantly look at the sky, put the clothes on the line, squint at the clouds to check if the black ones are really floating towards the said terrace or if it is only an illusion. Just as one finishes putting all the clothes on the line and comes down, again gingerly stepping on the steps, the black clouds close in and it has suddenly become dark. At this, one dashes out to the terrace again, this time with the kid coming along since he had found out that he was left behind the previous time.

One checks the clothes and tells herself that the clothes seemed to have become a little dry and carries the heavy bucket and the crying kid, huffs and puffs all the way down only to find that it is indeed drizzling outside. After a small pat on the shoulder to self, one begins to dry the clothes in the balcony and irons the half dried ones. Just then the sun comes out all scorching and one puts one's big foot in the mouth, removes all the clothes, takes them out to the terrace again, does a small jig at the sun and son, dries the clothes, comes down, and after the exhausting work, amma and child take a nap. Only to wake up and find that it is pouring outside. One looks out expressionlessly and goes back to sleep again.

It is another story that all the clothes were soggy and wet and dirty because the loose sand on the terrace had stuck to them, what with the wind blowing hard,  and all the clothes had to be washed again, and the process of drying...repeated as above!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Manners please...

We were on our usual beach outing. The little one and his appa were in the water and his amma as usual was gaping and wondering... at the sea of course! I got up to call out to the duo to get back, when I noticed a boy (looked like college going) clicking snaps of V, with his digital camera. To make sure I was right, I stood a good four feet behind him, and thanks to his camera with a really wide screen, I was able to see that he was indeed clicking photos of V. It was so casual, that people walking in front of him stopped so that they did n't affect his view. He was even framing out H.

I was livid to say the least and as father and son were retreating, I was on the heels of the 'camera' guy. Actually, he did n't expect someone to be watching him and was walking away without even telling the parent that he had clicked his son's photo. They were a group of four or five boys and all I asked him was, "Don't you think you should have asked first"? He looked plainly shocked that he was being watched and deleted (he seemed to be doing something of that sort. I did n't pull his camera out to cross check, which on hindsight, I feel was a foolish thing to have forgotten) whatever he had clicked. Also, I am pretty sure that he was embarrassed, with many eyes on him, as it was quite crowded that time.

I told H of what had happened and he remained silent for a very long time. If he is silent when I keep jabbering, it only means either of the two:

He, as always, thinks I am talking nonsense and does n't bother to listen, or

He is really bothered and is thinking seriously about it, which only means the issue is grave.

This time it was obviously the latter and I kept saying how youngsters these days seemed to have lost all manners. He said the following, trying to sound casual but it gave me the creeps...

"What do you think will happen..In worst cases he'll probably upload this as his profile photo in Facebook..."

The above was what prompted me to do the post. How far can one go to protect one's child? If someone asks before clicking a photograph, we can think of something before refusing politely. But what if something like the above happens? Now, I am actually thinking about the many times this could have happened without our getting to know. This is not the case of making a mountain out of a molehill, because this is serious considering the circumstances that we live in. I can only appeal to those who seem to throw all reasoning behind and do what they like.

At least when you take a photograph of a child make sure you speak to his or her parents about it.

Knowing well this may not work, a suggestion parents...Throw your inhibitions off...Tell the 'perpetrators' politely, or if they don 't listen, there is no harm in being rude. It is you child after all.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Typical Conversations...

Guest: See, I bought this Saree for B..
Me: Very nice. Err...Does she wear a Saree quite often?
Guest: Yes! She wears a Saree to functions and whenever possible...
Me:I see...
Guest: You see...her husband likes her in a Saree...
Me: *Stares* 
Me: (in my mind obviously, to the guest who is apparently 'related' to the said husband)... would you buy her a pair of jeans, when you know that her husband likes it?

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Moon and other terrace stories!

The little one's evening routine these days includes a visit to the terrace with his amma and spends the time by pretending to help her in bringing back the clothes, in the process scaring her wits out by suddenly climbing the stairs to the water tank. His current interest is 'the moon', and having mastered (well, nearly!) "Nila Nila Odi vaa"- a popular tamil rhyme on the moon- he sings to, screams at and threatens the moon to come down and play with him!

The other day he was amused to find the moon in 'half its size' (I just checked myself before telling him about the various phases!) and proceeded to tell the following story:

Moon dhoppa vizhunthu adi pattuthu...athaan paathi irukku...ooovunu azhuthuthu... doctor mama oochi potta.

The translation: The Moon fell down from the sky and broke. That is why it looks half its size. Since the moon cried from pain, we took it to the doctor and he gave an injection.

I wonder what turn this story would take on 'amavasai'!


Since it is an uphill task to bring V down from the terrace, I thought hard and came up with a plan. Accordingly, I lift him up and casually ask him to say bye to the moon, the birds, the train, the plane, the water tank, the motor and whatever he sets his eyes upon, and then bring him down. After initial bewilderment, he took it nicely and came down without a word....until today.

After having spent some time, in order to leave, I picked him up and asked him to say bye to 'everyone'. He resisted and wanted to stay in the 'motta maadi'. After much cajoling he said...

...'Bye Amma'...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Morning and on the road musings... really can't 'muse' in the mornings, what with the husband and kid to be rushed off to school and office ...err...the opposite respectively. Also, one can't think when one  is accelerating the scooter, braking at vantage points, holding the standing kid tightly between one's legs, enduring the child's constant 'amma athu enna?', followed by a harried amma's don't stick your hand out, staring at brainless motorists, checking the elusive expletive just in time before it reaches the brat's ear, desperately honking and indicating before reaching the school and depositing the child. After all that, further endurance and heart-break at the little one not even attempting to say 'Ta-Ta'.

The real fun starts when one rides back home. The BP suddenly touches normal, the air seems fresh, motorists less annoying and one actually waits until a horde of buses, vans, cars, scooters, bikes, pedestrians, stray dogs pass by. Suddenly there is so much time!
On an aside...

When I scoured the city in my scooter on work, when I was all young and bursting with excessive enthusiasm - eons ago- I used to look amusedly at mothers who rode their children to school or otherwise. I remember seeing perennial frowns on those faces. I used to brazenly chuckle to myself, thinking aloud, under the protection of my helmet, "Poor women, they probably began riding only after marriage", or "Poor women, what monsters their husbands must be to let their hapless wives endure the city's noisy, polluted and risky roads" AND "Lucky me... I have mastered the art of riding...I would n't have a problem many years down the line"...

Little did I know!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

...and he cried

Last week, V cried all the way to school, invoking reactions from his surprised coordinator because it was his first cry-day, ever since he started going to school. My theories were proved right. However, I could n't gloat over it saying 'amma's always right', because the problem was not about going to school. It began with a simple issue of 'not wanting to wear' his new shoes, then not wanting appa to drop him in the scooter, not wanting appa to drop him at all, of wanting both appa and amma to come to school and culminated in excessive crying. After I dropped him and came home, I kept thinking about it and realized that I worried not about his 'crying to school' business, but what actually provoked it.

Even as adults, we begin our quarrels (most often with the spouse!) over some petty issue. Clothes kept in a heap on the floor invokes anger and subsequently, the said clothes are forgotten and arguments regarding one's sense of hygiene leads to quarrels over how only one person has to do all the work.

Similarly, what could have provoked the child, apart from a pair of unwanted new shoes? I tried looking deep into it and wondered if we had done anything wrong. Looking at it, there was nothing 'wrong', but hence forth the responsibility is greater.

Instead of constant monitoring, careful observations have to be made. If it was something at school, the scope for understanding is broader as one gets to discuss with other parents and school authorities. But I firmly believe, irrespective of what is taught and observed outside, like everything else, learning also has to begin at home, both for the child and his/her parents.

Though incoherent, I hope I have managed to convey what was nagging me all these days. As always, this from the baby center website helped to calm me down a bit.

I would like your views on this...please write them here...

Monday, November 23, 2009

I thought...

...I was an obsessive, compulsive, hyper-mom. Or so I am labelled by people around. Well, I have my share of anxious moments.

It rains, there is no raincoat at home and I madly rush in the rain to get one for the little one.

V pulls a stool, places it near the kitchen sink, climbs onto it and precariously positions himself on the space available and washes his spoon. I run like a werewolf towards him.

He wakes up from his afternoon nap and much before that I prepare his snack knowing fully well how hungry he can get.

If the above and similar are considered 'hyper-activity', people (read husband) either must buy a dictionary or read this or do both.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Little 'Nekamic'...

...or that is how V says 'mechanic'. His school had a 'fancy dress' day to celebrate children's day and we joined the band wagon of parents who break their heads to dress up their children 'differently'. Though the school made the announcement only the previous day, with V having an amma who had read his school brochure some twenty times, we were quite prepared. Though we had n't decided on the exact costume until midnight, we had our choices made. For starters, I was quite adamant that we use clothes that he already had and probably add a few props. Then, the dress had to be comfortable enough for V to spend all his school hours in. That meant we had only two or three options on hand.

There was the ubiquitous white kurta pyjama and with a rose and a white cap, he could easily turn into 'Chacha Nehru'. Since it was too obvious and simple, we kept that costume as a backup. Next, since he had in his possession a pair of dark brown trousers and a faded green T-shirt, the amma had the idea of dressing him like a tree, with paper leaves stuck on his shirt. But with the brat flinging off any extra piece of clothing draped on his self, that option was also ruled out. Out of the closet came his 'dungarees' that was purchased a year early and still a little loose on him! A quick scan of his toy cupboard discovered his 'tool set' which has a belt that can be worn around. So a mechanic, it was decided. He had his cap to go along with the outfit.

When all was decided, close to midnight, the amma became restless.
Amma:  The dungaree is an overall...what if he gets uncomfortable?
Appa: He won't
Amma: It is raining... he may get the urge to use the toilet frequently..
Appa: They will look to it at school...
Amma: What if..?
Appa: Let's change the outfit..

The wardrobe was rummaged, all possible outfits were pulled out. After an hour we decided to stick to the mechanic.

Next day, V refused to get dressed up so we used our trump card ,the mirror. V will even dress like a bucket if so shown in front of the mirror. He was all done with the dungaree, the tool kit, a turned cap et al. We dropped him at school and I told the coordinator that he may get uncomfortable and was told that all children will get back to 'normal' clothes after some time.

After two hours of nail biting, I went to pick him up only to find him in his 'nekamic' dress!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

How safe are our children?

At the time of V's admission to play school we were asked to give photographs of those who were likely to pick up the child after school. It could be parents, grandparents, servant-maid, driver, neighbor or anyone else but a photograph must be furnished. The school did n't want to take any chances, with the safety of children at stake in this bad mad world.

The principal narrated the story of a father, who was living abroad for about six months a year and had come to pick his son from school, coming straight from the airport. The teachers refused to send the child with him, as the father's photograph was not available with them. The man flew into a rage and asked them how they could do this and did n't they see that the boy resembled him. The authorities politely refused and the angry father had to leave without his ward. After cooling down he was said to have come back and had written a thank you note on how safe his son was at this school.

I don't know how many schools follow this, but I support the school on this issue completely. When I talk to people about this, they make a face and scowl at the school for being silly but I am glad God has given me the sense to ignore them.

I am already worried about the auto rickshaws or vans that we would have to depend upon in future to drop the little one to the mainstream school that he would have to join in future. After reading this, linked up by the mad momma I really wonder, if some parents -not those who do not have a choice-  really make anything worthwhile, by leaving thier children with strangers.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Rainy day thoughts!

Not that there were many, as the city, which depends on depressions for its regular monsoon season has very few rainy days. Anyway as someone who does n't really bother whether it rains or shines (it is humid anyway) and lazes around whenever possible, musing was n't an altogether different job.

* There was a lot of annoyance this time around, because the little mister had to be dropped off and picked up from school. Worse, since it rained heavily last week he had an extended weekend holiday for four days. Worse, worse, we had to engage him throughout. Not so bad was the fact that H took it upon himself to make some 'rainy day' snacks and we ended up having pop corn and peanuts on all days.

* It was raining and the little one did not have a raincoat. The distance is too short to haggle with an auto-rickshaw fellow, not that anyone would oblige for a minimum fare and too long for a walk, and quite bothersome for the usual two-wheeler ride. Nevertheless V's amma, became super scooter woman and whizzed past the nagging traffic, snarled at overtaking drivers and raced against the drizzle to drop him at school.

But the little one needed a rain-coat. As the father of the child feigned selective deafness (and sometimes amnesia), when the said topic was brought up, amma took it upon herself, took the harried child straight from school to the near-by shop (it was very very cloudy, so I patted myself), bought the last piece of raincoat available for his size and walked out only to find the sun shining brightly.

Said raincoat is lying unnoticed as it has n't rained since the moment I made the purchase. My argument with the deaf man was that, if the raincoat had n't been bought, it would have rained and drenched the poor child who anyway had absented himself from school because of cold!

Considering how deeply attached I am to this topic I should have named the post "Rain-coat musings"!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Oh my sleeping child!

I have been constantly admonished by elders not to admire a sleeping child. Some almost left me crippled by a curse when I dared to send them pictures of the sleeping infant a few weeks after his birth. Even now I cannot control the urge to smile at the sleeping peaceful face. But what do I do? That is the only time when both of us are in peace with each other. Both smiling, albeit one of them sleeping. No arguments, no running around, no crying, no show of willfulness, no demonstration of attitude (Yes, I am talking about a two year old).

During one of those 'admiring a sleeping child' moments, I wished (like any other parent) that this child would never grow! In fact that was my wish ever since the little one was six months old. It is another story that as soon as he was born I wanted him to grow to become a three or four month old, because I was very jittery handling a few weeks old baby and was constantly driving the doctors crazy.

Now dear child, please don't grow and become worldly wise or worse. Be what you are. I pray to God to turn  you into a 'Markandeya" and stop aging at two and a half. This way I would also stop growing and need not worry about what to dress you up for 'Fancy dress' (thankfully the school insists that it is not a competition) for school tomorrow!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Kid speak!

(V is having his bath, and he tries to use the hand shower himself)

Appa/Amma: No, don't do that. Appa or Amma will give you a bath. You are kutti (small) Appa and amma are big...okya?
V: Okya (His way of saying OK) 

(A month later, V is trying to use the hand shower on his own, again)

Amma: No. You are kutti.
V: No amma...  you don't do are not big. You are kutti...
Amma: (gasps) then who's big?
V: Appa
Appa: OK I am big..I ll give you a bath.
V: No are not big you are kutti
Appa and Amma: eh?
V: Thatha is big

P.S:At this rate I guess I have to maintain a separate blog for conversations!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Call the Doctor, Call the Doctor...

Last month we took V for a typhoid vaccination. These days, he is prepared a day before the said injection day, on how the 'oochi' (injection) will only be a prick and how good it is for his health. He protested a little at the doctor's clinic, muttered something to the good dodctor, and before he knew, the job was done and he wondered loud, 'oochi vallikaliye' (The injection was not painful)! present.

Two days back, we took him for a Hepatitis A booster vaccination. The usual ritual was followed. That morning we asked him,
Where are we going tonight?
In fact later in the evening he said, "Amma...dottorku ponum" (Must go to the doctor's)
We trooped out at around nine that night (this way we normally are the last to enter the clinic and meet the doctor almost immediately without having to wait in the crowd!)  V said, "Thatha tata...oochi potukaa poden".

All our happiness at how our young turk was prepared to face the battle crashed when, on our way to the clinic, he started crying...dottor nooo...oocchi nooo...dottor poita (had left) etc.
At the clinic we had a wait for a few minutes and V became very difficult to handle despite soothing words and constant wrestling.

Finally we manged to enter the doctor's room.
V: Dottor...nee poo...oocchi vanda...nee poooo
The good man did n't understand a word but understood the situation.
I held V on my lap. The doctor examined him amidst conversations about the beach, dinner and V replied "Ooocchi noooo".
The doctor slowly took out the syringe and the medicine, with V's eyes constantly on the needle. And as he kept saying no oochi today come tomorrow, and as held V's thigh tightly with one hand,he injected the vaccine, with the other.

V said "sari...oocchi naalaiki" (injection tomorrow) and smiled. We came home. He said.."Thatha...occhi nalaiki"
Next morning we asked him, "Doctor occhi potacha?" he said "No...naalaiki"
Till this day he has n't realized that he was given the injection..!

Thank you doctor, Thank you Doctor...!


Reflecting, I think it was our fault. To deter the little brat from playing in the water for too long, or for pouring water all over himself or to prevent him from taking unwanted risks in climbing etc, we kept telling him how if he falls sick we will have to go in for an injection. Speaking the truth does have its consequences.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Don't push 'em

This is not about working parents. I know mothers who spend most of their time at office thinking about their eighteen month old at day care. This is also not of parents -mothers- who are so tied down with house work that their children, even when if they are not two, are sent to play school for a couple of hours.

At V's school a set of twin girls joined along with him. They were only 20 months old. For almost three weeks since the twins joined, the mother was asked to wait outside because the kids simply did n't settle down and kept crying throughout. What's worse...They missed a week because they were down with cold (which I am sure was because of the incessant crying). So every day the mother would wait along with a domestic help. Initially I thought that the mother was working. But no. She is not working. She has elders at home who would take care of some of the house work. She has a domestic help to help with the children. Why then are the children sent to play school (not daycare...thankfully!) when they are still drinking milk from a bottle? The reason she gave took the daylights out of me. She wanted the children to become sociable (at 20 months!!) They are cooped up in the house all day and get to play 'only inside the apartment complex's premises'. Also, she wanted her children to join only on "Vijayadasami", and next year, they would be about thirty months old that time. I wanted to ask her many things but did n't. The children are now settled. But I just could n't imagine their predicament across weeks.

Here I am, having avoided the term beginning June because V was 'only 23 months' old then... Was keeping my fingers crossed when he joined, and even now expecting a bawl any day. If I had put him in school a little earlier I am sure I would have resembled V's grandmom when I picked him up the first few months and his great grand mom a few months later!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

In search of memory...

The title is right. In search of my fading memory. Only a strong memory now would leave me with cherished memories later (Some crazy mohan stuff???) Anyway...ever since I began updating this blog I have been wondering whether I really have to do this. Do I really have to tell the world about myself and the family? Well, last week I realized that I am on the right track.
My friend (mother of a three year old) and I were chatting and when I asked something about some behaviour, she thought long and hard and said, "I guess P did the same when he was V's age...but am not sure".
So there it is. I was able to tackle questions on a baby's first year, thanks to all those reading material. But after that...I am not sure. I want keep track of V's milestones and not-so-milestonic events!
Yesterday while waiting to pick up the little one from school, I peered into the group of kids that trotted out. Not because little V was hidden behind bigger children or something else. I had forgotten what clothes he wore that morning!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Children and Reality shows

My opinion on these shows is long due, probably since the birth of V. During the final trimester and a few weeks after his birth, one TV show that I followed was a singing competition for kids. I was irritated at the way the episodes were telecast, promos shown and the attitude of children largely influenced by their parents. As I was clutching to my new born I could n't help but shudder at how my little one will react when he reaches that phase in life when either he on his own participates or others push him. Two years and many TV shows (both for children and youngsters - no channel telecasts a reality music show for the aged!) later my opinion is the same.

As  channels hunt for super and star singers, sign them up for a certain period, let them feel absolutely cushioned under their glare and leave them to their destiny after some time, it is time for a 'real' reality check.

Two years ago when I my sister asked me whether I would encourage the little one to participate in shows I emphatically and confidently said no. She asked me the same thing a month back and I said that I did n't know. I will not talk about her reactions to that but I must admit that I really don't know. I will never push him or force him to do something, but if he is confident on, say, performing on stage how can I refuse. After all many of us have benefited from going up on stage for an act or a song at school or college. But it is the present trend that I am worried about. First of all children get to appear on television (and so are their parents), then they get to meet celebrities and then they get to display their talent, which will be viewed by thousands. The pressure and the change in attitude are appalling.

My first concern is the time these children would spend on the sets. Considering how long the 'senior' version of a particular show took to conclude and with the present competition for juniors looking to follow the same, this is bound to affect many other activities (including academics) of these children.

In one of the episodes, I was particularly shocked at the reaction of a judge towards a child who was found to be 'too expressive' for her age. The child was eventually eliminated from the competition. The funny thing is that the particular round featured songs, most of which many parents would not approve of. Many children took to dancing to and singing those songs. So why single out a particular child? What impact would this have on her attitude? How would her friends, teachers and others react? The funnier things is that this is not a live programme. The songs are rehearsed. Did n't the people concerned (say producer of the show, experts etc), realize the 'over-expressiveness'? Or even when the shoot was on, could n't any of them ask the child to tone it down? I am sure that this is possible.

Anyway...this is just one of my many reactions to follow as I feel very strongly about the issue. After all I too have a young child at home who at some time in his life will come across such things.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Don't blow your nose too hard

This could be annoying to people who are around and you may end up with an ear infection or something worse. Though I don't disturb the surroundings by doing so or insist on the little one doing so, I was surprised to hear this. A friend's three year old son developed ear infection and one of the first things their ENT speacialist asked was if was i the habit of blowing his nose hard, which in this case was true. Apparently, blowing hard lead to the expanding of a gland in the ear leading to infection. Also,this reverses the flow of mucus back into the sinuses preventing drainage of the same. I will look up for more on this and update. This is the season of 'the cold' and other communicable diseases so it pays to be extra cautious.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Typical conversations...

(Bumping into someone familar)
Me: Hello Aunty...
Aunty: (Sceptically) uh...hullo...
Me: This is me... G's friend..
Aunty: Uh...ummm...
Me: (ok) V's mother...
Aunty: Oh.. hello...How are you? How's the little one?
Me: Fine (dolefully continues the conversation)


(Calls at a neighbor's)
Me: Is your mom there?
Neighbor's kid: Yes aunty (calls out)... Ammmmaaa.... first floor aunty has come
(Said amma comes and seems to be thinking hard...)
Neighbor: Oh are you (looks at her kid and says) You should have told me "V's mom"...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

It is Deepavali/Diwali!

The days I used to burn money...err...burst crackers seemed eons ago. Last year V did n't approve much of the flower pots and sparklers, more so because of the smoke. This year too I was worried about the smoke making him ill. At his school, a day before Deepavali, they asked each parent to send some food with their ward and V took a bottle of juice with him. I 'warned' the aunties about a potential smoke allergy, when they told me that they will be bursting crackers. When I went to pick him up, without my asking, two of the ladies told me how the little one enjoyed the crackers. He clapped and screamed in joy they said. I did not react. How would I when only the previous day, V stuck to me like a leech and did n't let go of my shoulder, when a 'ground chakra' was lit?! But experience at school had made him a little bolder as was witnessed that evening.


Deepavali has lost its fervor. I am not talking about lesser crackers. I am in fact very happy about it, though the sky seemed to be more polluted than land. I was  particularly thinking of the harried pilots who had to fly their planes this dreaded day! Coming back to where I started... T.Nagar and other shopping areas were probably the only evidences of a forth coming festival. Otherwise people burnt their crackers and went home. Only the children seemed to wish everyone, when, that is, they came across pestering adults who interrupted their merriment. I have to admit that we were also some of those adults. At least we took to going out for the sake of the child. H asked me, when we were planning the amount of sweets and snacks to be purchased (for more on this read further) "Are n't you distributing some to the neighbors"? I said, "They never do" and bit my lip. I defended by saying that since we don't 'make' anything at home it did n't make sense in giving something that was bought, which in any case would be given by the companies they work for. The truth is that, no one bothered. We made an effort but nothing happened. Regular phone calls have just become messages. Where has all the 'bonding-during-festivals' gone?


We decided to buy deepavali sweets and snacks as even normal cooking is getting difficult with an inquisitive kid running around. We made the same mistake as last year. We (in this case I) once again made a bee line to the "Grand" old sweet stall of Chennai. The place was crowded like a cinema at 10:00 in the morning. I thought I had timed it right as I had to pick up V only at 11:30, but quickly realized it was a mistake. Though the items required were less, I was asked to wait for a 'minimum half an hour'. When my token number was called for (from the right hand side of the counter) I walked, rather pushed my way through to the left-hand side where the billing is normally done. After a painstaking 15 mins I was told that my billing will be done at the other end. When I again made my way through I found that my bill had found its place at the bottom. The lady who had the tokens and was announcing the numbers seemed to be obsessed with her job and after angry prodding from customers parted with her possession only to hand them over to the person at the other end. It was difficult to concentrate as too many numbers were being announced. Even on normal days, this place has the practice of randomly distributing tokens. So if your number is 101 and if 100 is announced, relax. 101 will not be called for until 99, 105, 110, 68, 303 are called for. But on this day it seemed to infuriate many people who were unaware of the procedure. I held my nerves as I had had the experience of waiting for an hour for a kilo of mixture. Anyway, I made my way out at 11:15 just in time to reach school. Irritated to no extent, we purchased the remaining at a quieter place in Mylapore. I took an oath never to visit the first-mentioned place knowing fully well (like many other chennaites) that it would be broken next year.


The best wish came in the form of a post card. It was addressed to the two of us and little V. It said, Happy Diwali Mom and Dad. The card was filled with the drawing of a lamp (agal vilakku/diya) with familiar crayon scribblings around and on it. I took the card to V and asked him,
 "Who drew this"?
V: naanu pannen (I did it)
Me: Where?
V: Kool (School)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Typical Conversations...

(Over Phone)
Me: (Not even a hello) You said you'll come early early?
H: In less than hour...why?
Me: Buy milk when you come?
H: Why? Did n't the lady bring milk in the afternoon?
Me: Yes...I need more
H: You said the servant maid will get a packet everyday...
Me: You buy milk or no coffee when you come home...
H: Ok done.

(Some 45 mins later)
H: Hey... A colleague will be coming along. He has to attend a con call
Me: But milk...
H: I am at the ATM. Will be there in 5 mins
Me: Milk???
H: No problem...
Me:  Did you buy milk?
H: No problem..I 'll get it
Me: stares confused

(A few minutes late H walks in with the colleague. After having introduced him and after the aforesaid colleague begins to attend his phone call...)

Me: Milk?
H: No problem...I ' ll get it.
H: No
Me: Then I ll go get tend to your colleague...

(As an after thought comes back and asks H)

Me: Hey..Is this person the...
H: Yes...he's the group head
H:Yes ('matter of factly')
Me: This person...
H: Yes
Me: He rides a bike???
Me: Are you sure??
H: Go buy milk

(I come back after sometime)
H: one would believe that he is the head...
Me: blinks

In the meantime V enters from nowhere, finds the helmet of the guest and screams..
Appaaa....puthu elmet (new helmet)!

Monday, October 12, 2009

To the the beach!

V loves space. And more so if it is the beach! Thankfully, we only live a few kilometers away from one of Chennai's beaches (Not that the distance would deter the little mister from bawling and cajoling us into taking him there!) The following is a instant-by-instant recollection of his experiences...

Instant One:
Many many months back. His first trip was late in the evening and only in the periphery (thanks to his obsessive amma), a skating rink so to say. V spent most of his time blinking as he could n't figure out what sort of place it was...And this followed for the next few months. After that it was only an 'ice-cream attraction'!

Instant two:
Few months later. Amma became bold enough to take V in day light. The little one was astounded at the sea. He kept saying..."evalo thuutha" (so much water). However he refused to climb down from his appa's shoulder and kept himself only to the 'merry-go-round'.

Instant three:
V walks on the sand only asking to be picked up minutes later. He loves the sea and allows us to carry him as we stand in the water but refuses to let his legs touch the water.

Instant four:
V does the routine walking-a-little on the sand, merry-go-round, and in addition manges to stand in the water for a minute and asks to be carried until we walk out of the beach.
This goes back and forth until the following after which affection for beach takes supersonic proportions.

Present situation:
V walks all the way to the merry-go-round, does his filmy ta-ta bye-bye while he sits on a ridiculously pink 'scooter'. Gets down, walks all by himself to the water, stands among the waves holding his appa's hands and walks all the way back.

Yesterday, this took another turn.

V does every thing mentioned under 'present situation' up to 'holding his appa's hands'. Then, he asks to be left alone...yes...alone in the water, wants to go further in (until the cops come about wielding their lathis  at those who 'intended' to swim') refuses to come out of the water, does so after being literally carried out, walks all the way back and says...aathukku nooooo (no home).

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

It's (Play) school time!

The dreaded days have arrived. V began going to play school since 'Vijayadasami'. Before I begin babbling on that experience a few sentences on how we came about choosing the school.

For starters, I ,yes, I did n't even look up a list of playschools nor did I do any extensive research. Though, even when V was an infant people kept asking about my choice of play schools and schools, the reason we decided upon his present school was primarily the distance and secondly (also a very important factor) the credentials received from a few very close friends. So that was it. Some time in April (if this is a little too much...well I have to display my sense of obsession some where!) I registered V's name for admissions in October! Needless to say, the school people called me June to tell me that the admissions are beginning the next day only to be reminded (gently) that I wanted to put my son in school ONLY ON VIJAYADASAMI DAY! Even in April, I was asked to admit V in June since he would be nearing two years then (The school takes children aged 22 months and older). But we wanted him to be at least 27 months. He was a few days shy when he actually joined. back to the dreaded day. We have been preparing V for over a month about school. Thankfully, his three year old best friend goes to the same place so it was easier to convince V. Whenever we took him to the school (to get the form, pay fees etc) he expected us to leave him there and go back home. He wanted to stay with the rabbits and the slide. However, the tough amma was n't convinced. I've read all those books you see...So I was prepared for the eventual first day crying.

A week before school, miraculously, V got back to his regular morning potty routine (for over a month before that, he seemed to have suddenly forgotten his potty habits-this is in itself is a big story and I guess it is best kept 'un-posted'!). Also, his breakfast and lunch routines were back (these had become irregular with the Navarithiri week and many other uncalled for interferences!)

The school provided him with a bag and coincidentally his water bottle, which we had purchased long before, and his snack box were of matching colors and it only added to his and his amma's excitement. (According to H this order has to be reversed). I attended an orientation a few days before the first day (with strict instructions that only the parent must attend without the child) and blinked through all the instructions and informations. Again...I've read all those books and articles you see...So I was preparing for the unexpected!

I accompanied him to school the first day and was asked to stay through all the activities. We were there for about 45 mins and V became clingy. Actually he wanted to go out and play on the slide. Inside, he wanted to come out. Once outside he refused to come home!

Day 2: We went at nine and I was asked to wait outside with other parents. V did not cry. A lot of other children cried and were sent home withing half an hour V and a few other children stayed for another hour. He again refused to come home. The next morning, however, he became cranky, and I was sure that the previous day's behavior was only a flash in the pan and that he would cry today. I've read all about these you see. He walked into school and did n't turn back to say a bye. I was asked to wait again. The children who cried the previous day cried again and were sent home. An hour later I was called. Iwent all geared up to taking the crying child home only to be told that he was doing fine and I could come back an hour later.
The same continued the following day. The long weekend began and V, got up and said 'kooluku ponum (want to go to school).

The following Monday saw no change. the next day either. I in fact, left him, came home and picked him up only at 11:00. Today I was told that from tomorrow he would be in the regular 9:30-11:30 batch. He was keen on picking up his bag but refused to look in my direction and refused to come home. I was thankful to hear that there were two or three other children who cried when asked to go home. But, but and but...I've read a lot you see....I am expecting a 'cry-day' sooner or later.

Wait...Should n't I be happy that my little one is excited to go to school...that he is not clinging to his amma... that he does n't cry... that it would be easier for him to make that transition from home to the outside world? Or...Am I sad that all these are happening...Did the books or websites I read say anything more?? Do I need a therapist? Did I mention something about the dreaded days...well...they are for me.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Of mosquito bites

The swine flu scare made me stock bottles of eucalyptus oil and sprinkle the oil wherever in the house and this has helped tackled another problem. Mosquitoes seem to bite less! This does n't seem to be a repellent but is as effective. Anyway... the problem is the damage they've already done.

V looks like he has rashes on his legs, whereas the truth is that they are scars from repeated scratching. Initially we were worried but later learnt that it is common and the marks take time to go away. We now take care to protect him from bites as they are more dangerous than scars.

I have been applying Lacto-calamine on the scars in the night and it is pretty effective. I guess (Ok the H said so) the zinc whatever in the lotion reduces itching. The little one does n't scratch much, these days. I also apply a moisturizer in the morning to prevent flaking.

What I consider more dangerous are the questions posed in this regard. Tired of answering (even if what I say is what doctors also say) them, I now dress V in trousers whenever we go out. Thankfully, he is co-operative.

Wish I was an Ostrich...

... and am glad that most of us moms think so. My friend had come home for navaratiri and she had left both her children at her aunt's place. The younger one, who is a year old never seems to sleep during the day and is giving my friend a really tough time. She sleeps for hardly an hour a day and stays awake until eleven in the night (I am not alone!). But yesterday my friend came simply because the little one was fast a relative's place. For all the time we spend 'you-know-he/she-likes/does not like', these brats love to embarrass their moms. 

V loves cheese slices and hates anyone (read his parents) 'helping' him remove the slice from the wrapper. A month back a relative had come and V was about to open the wrapper. I know the relative well and told her, with a straight intelligent face, that he gets angry if anyone tried to help him. The unpredictable puppeteer did the unexpected....he gave the unopened cheese slice to the relative and asked her to remove the wrapper. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Of thaak uuu and choyee..

Well well and well...I can lift my collar up and give myself (and also H, poor fellow)  a pat on the back. All our efforts from, when V was a small baby, in practicing courtesies have paid off. We are receiving reciprocation for all the 'Thank yous' and 'Sorrys' we had repeatedly used to teach V some lessons in manners. He manages to say "thaak uu', sometimes even without prompting. Sorry or in his words Choyee came a little late, a few weeks back, to be used regularly, whenever he drops his food, scribbles on the wall or throws a toy down.

Whenever V wants water he would run to the water can, hold a tumbler beneath the tap, open the tap and shout for his amma or appa because he does n't know how to close it. If he finishes it he'll get a 'good-boy' or a stern (or that is what I think) stare if he thinks he is playing with the water by pouring it down.

A few days back he wanted water and as usual called for his amma after opening the tap.

I did n't know whether to rejoice or get angry when after I had closed the tap he said 'thaak uu' and immediately poured the water down and said 'choyee'.


This has been my most favorite festival since childhood. More than the pujas, pattu paavadais and sundal what attracts me most is the 'Golu'. Clay, mud and paper mache dolls, all adorned and colorful, arranged creatively on the steps make it one exiting package. I use to spend hours and hours in helping my father set up the steps and Paati, sister and I would arrange the dolls. I, especially loved to set up themes and parks on the floor. I loved 'Golu' for another reason. It looks like all your favorite people are at one place. The place wears a festive look and whomever and whatever in all shapes and sizes are there right in front of your eyes. And they are not talking! On the tenth day when we pack up all the dolls in their respective cases, it would seem like a function is over and all your relatives and friends are leaving you.

Post marriage I continued this tradition and this is our fifth Golu. Little V is super excited. He patiently accompanied us as H and I we walked up and down North Mada street in Mylapore and the exhibition stalls at 'Kuralagam' to purchase a new set of dolls. We ended up buying five different dolls.

I must mention here that as with everything else the quality of dolls and craftsmanship is deteriorating. I am doing all that I can to pilf...err... procure some old dolls from my grandmother. Someone has to do something about this. Most of the newer dolls look  like they were modeled on film actors and actresses. We bought a small 'Thiruvalluvar' doll and it was nothing but a replica of the statue at the Marina beach. Thankfully, the Sri Raghavendra that we purchased did not (for a change) look like Rajinikanth!

We came home, arranged the steps and the dolls while V was sleeping. The new additions included a 'Thalai aatum chettiar' pair (The chettiar pair indicates the merchants who sell all our daily needs) which were given a special place in the bottom-most step. I promptly placed V's discarded (note the relevance) kitchen set and the set up looked like a 'Ratna Store' and I quickly put a placard that said "Chettiar Stores (Firm)- All products available in all sizes!", pretty pleased with my endeavors, when V sleepily walked in

He gave one look at the arrangement and smiled broadly. He pointed out to all the 'ummachis' (baby talk for God) that he knew and then did what we were dreading all along. He went straight to the 'chettiars' took his kitchen set and started playing with them....after two full months upon discarding them!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

To Kim Clijsters the mom

What do Kim Clijsters and all the other tennis playing and non-tennis playing moms have in common? We all take a break for the family. 
What do Clijsters and a few other moms out there have in common? They give birth to a baby and eighteen months later come to what they do best and triumph! 
I am very happy that it has to be Clijsters setting this example after more than 25 years, than any other player. It is not only because of her silent grit, as she powered past a bad-mouthing Williams sister. It is because she always has played her game this way. I will not get into the analysis of the match. But this is to a woman who has proved (like many others) that marriage and children are not the only show-stoppers! Looking forward to more tennis from you...

Speech milestone-2

In my enthusiasm I could just go on and on...but there are a few things that I was expecting and am very happy that they are happening at regular intervals...or whenever they have to. Well..V has begun asking questions. I thought before the 'ammaaa...ennathidhu' could become frustrating I'll make a note of it. Also make a note of how sweet it sounds now and the fact that I am initiating a lot of questions just for the pleasure of listening to some. I am sure I will get back to this sugar-coated post in the near future. I don't even want to think of this post's future contents!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Of new toys and books

The anally retentive amma pulled out all of V's books and toys, looked at each of them a hundred times and decided that new ones were due. H was led down at gun point and I was made to understand at the same point that it was going to be a bike ride and we set off to Landmark to see if anything new was on the racks. V was left at home with a kindly relative who made sure we shop and hop with peace. 
The Nungambakkam store is good for books (as always), music and films (even for children!) If you are looking out for toys head to Spencer Plaza or Citi centre and head back to Nungambakkam for books. Under the pretension of taking a long winding walk towards the kids section I stood still at 'Indian writings' and 'Humor'. When H asked I told him the Indian writing section had the panchatantra which we could read, but he pretended to be deaf and went away. After half an hour, knowing exactly what I wanted in the children's section I pulled out books that I thought best with half of them going back at H's behest (to put it mildly). We eventually settled for some 'Bubbles' books and some picture books. We actually counted ourselves lucky to find something on the tamil alphabet. I made a mental note of the books that we could buy later at the store or at the book fair at discounted prices. This done we headed towards toys and as I had mentioned earlier it was really not worth taking a look. We (I) still managed to find some puzzles. Finally it was the vcd/dvd section. Impressed by V's latest craze and obsession towards naathaswarams, I had this brilliant idea to get him a vcd/dvd of 'thillana moganambal (TM)'! 
A note to the store guys: Tamil films have an equally big following at your store as the others. Kindly learn to arrange atleast in chronological orders for the sake of people like us. Well...after rummaging through the racks of tamil films (that is quite a collection...I made mental note 2 to come back later) we found everything but TM. Frustrated we asked an attendant and he after spending some 15 mins managed to find a three film dvd of which TM was a part. I'll watch the other two films and write later.
As we left the store I could n't help but realize that I did n't buy a single book for myself and H had conveniently 'forgotten'. Anyway, I am happy that I did n't buy then (this was a week back) because a sale is on at the store and I can shop minus guilt.
We went home, showed V his new possessions and told him we got him a a new 'ga ma' (as he refers to that particular piece). I played it and he he asked me to repeat it 10 times. He was smiling though I really can't say if it was the musical note or Sivaji Ganesan's  or Nagesh's acting. I was pleased at having spent all the time in bringing back that perfect thing to make him happy and was making mental notes 4, 5 and 6 on all the other things that we could set our hands on when the little brat said...
 "Amma...Nalla Ga ma podu" (play the good Ga Ma)!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Speaking milestones....good and bad

I seemed to have unlearned all that I so meticulously and obsessively have been following all along. All the books and websites I pored into have caught me on the wrong foot. Trying to be 'the perfect mom', I had, all along aroused annoyance only to be laughed at now.
Four days back my parents had come to stay with us. V, a couple of days later suddenly began saying..'paati..poo...neee pooo, veliya poo' ( go away) etc. I glared at him and whether he understood most of what I said or not, asked him not to utter those words again. Suddenly it dawned on me. That morning and the day earlier, when my mother tried to help me in the kitchen, I asked her to stay away (for her benefit obviously). I must have (I do so often) used 'po' quite liberally then! I was dumbstruck for a long time. My mother was gracious enough to let it pass (after all mother knows best!), but my father jumped at the opportunity to get back at me after all the sufferings his wife had to go through under his treacherous, over-powering, know-it-all daughter! I defended (though meekly) that I at least had the sense to react quickly. Jokes apart, it was a rude wake up call.
I always considered the mixing up of tenses as one of the developments in speech and wondered when V will say tomorrow instead of yesterday!. To my delight he did that two days back. When I asked him 'when did thatha come'?, he said naalaiki (tomorrow)!!

Friday, September 4, 2009

The percussion passion!

This post has been long pending but had to get it out today. From toy drums to vessels, from little dholaks to basins, from drum-sticks to spoons and ladles... V's repertoire of playthings (read percussion instruments) is fairly big.
It all began a year back when a neighbor gifted a toy drum on  V's first birthday. Long before that, when he was barely  a month old, my father bought this toy dholak from T.Nagar. But V's 'no-germs-from-anywhere-obsessive' amma stashed it off in a place which even she could n't remember. After the toy drum arrived, it became V's only passion for life. Soon the long forgotten dholak also came out. So the drum's sticks were used on the dholak (also called mirudangam, thavil for V's sake) and vice versa. Soon, a toy xylophone joined the party. So all three were used together and what it resulted in was a harmonious cacophony. Glass tables were beaten upon amidst fiery Nooos. Rice drums, steel plates, idli plates were all the variants that formed the jugalbandhi from time to time.
V, whether he is at home or at a friend's place does n't  bother whenever another kid plays with his toys. He generously lets the other play with his toys and just sits and watches them! I, needing one other reason to panic did n't know what to make out of it. I was a little worried that V was not 'normal' because he does not fight for himse...errr...his toys, much to H's consternation who just wanted to let him be. My fears were nullified one day (some three, four months back) when a friend brought along her three year old. That kid was playing with V's toys and as usual the little mister was the silent spectator. Suddenly V started crying uncontrollably albeit from the place he was seated without moving an inch. We first could n't find the reason and then it dawned on us. The other kid was playing with V's dholak! Thankfully when he saw V crying, he gave him back the dholak and started playing with the drum....Generous kid! And I was son is not 'all angel'!
Apart from rhyme videos what keeps him 'occupied' are...hold your breath... videos of naathaswaram kutcheris where the thavil vidwans go dum dum tak to  his delight. These days, "kurai Ondrum Illai' and Old Macdonald have taken the backseat. V wants to listen to Naathaswaram as he goes to sleep! H began  playing a piece, one that became popular as the 'western note' in the film 'Thillana Moganambaal". The one that we have is by Namagiripettai Krishnan. Since the note begins with "Ga ma ga ri ga pa" swaras, the song is 'Ga-Ma' to V. So it is 'Ga-ma' paadu (sing) or podu (play) all the time. He sits with his drum and I have to play the 'pippee pippee' with whatever is available - the remote control, spoon, stick, toy trumpet or anything that has a handle! The lazy amma can't get past the 'ga-maga-riga-pa' part and continues with more pipee pieeee...
He seems to be showing some interest in music...but I am not going to get carried away. Even if the familial pressures are greater than those that originate in the Bay of Bengal this tough 'nut' is not going to crack (already 'people' are talking of putting V in singing and mridangam classes and insist that I play the music DVDs when everyone is around. Also, I must add a reminder to read this post a few years later to check if the determination has persisted or has fizzled out!!)
In the meanwhile, whenever we meet the neighbor who had bestowed upon us a truck load of goodness by gifting the drum, we never fail to thank them for their thoughtfulness so much so that whenever they catch us from the corner of their eye, they run a mile in embarrassment. It actually turned that the neighbor aunty had bought some 'A-B-C' kinda toys and her husband who did not want to burden such a young child with educational toys exchanged that with the toy drum. After we learnt that story we now praise the uncle and only he does the running these days.
I want to add a lot of thing to this post that they don't strike right now and I hope this is good enough for me to take a trip down memory lane a few years later. The reason for the hurry is that, a couple of days back 'Thilla Moganambal' was telecast on KTV and poor V was asleep then. But as if taking a cue in his sleep he got up much earlier (much to my dismay) and sat watching the 'pipee pipee, dum dum, not quietly though what with him playing the drum to 'accompany' the artists on screen. So there I more thing to add to my woes...while I thought it was only a matter of time before V catches up with power rangers, dora, mickey mouse and what not and all the happy struggles between amma and his he was watching Sivaji Ganesan's histrionics in 'Thillana Moganambal'!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

When the heart almost skipped a beat...

As a "scared-to-death-if-the-apple-of-my-eye-gets-hurt" mom, I keep an eye on V all the time that he's awake (sometimes when he's asleep too) whether he is outdoors or at home, especially at home. The two year old carries along a plastic stool whenever he wants to climb the window, or to the cup board that has his favorite biscuits. Though he is a careful (touch wood) child my stomach does a turn whenever he climbs a few steps extra on the slide or tries to climb the stairs to the water tank on the terrace. The same happens when he tries to pull some wire or plays too close to the UPS. I really can't carry everything on my head and I also have to let him learn. Many call me 'obsessive', but my instinct is almost always right. All my screams to H to keep a watch on the little one were justified this morning. V loves 'playing' with kitchen utensils, touching to see if the iron box is hot and so on. H uses an old teak table to iron his clothes and V likes to climb on to the table and do all the careless jumping. The electric socket is very close to the table and it ironing easier, but I don't think that will be the case anymore. V picked up the plug from the carelessly laid iron box and inserted it into the socket and put the switch on. Since my obsessive mind and self were hovering around, I caught him just in time and laid the iron box to rest in a place where even H can't reach. All stern warnings and sterner eye-ball rolling did n't seem to have the desired effect. I have the only option left...I am praying to God for extra pairs of eyes and ears....

Monday, August 31, 2009

A month of festivals

August had been a month of functions and festivals. Normally it would be yet another day with only some puja or an extra item cooked being the additions. But with V trying to participate in all the 'household happenings', we were enthused to make each one a celebration. It began with "Avani Avittam" (I am planning to compile details of as many rituals, festivals and functions possible for V's sake). V was very excited because his appa tied a silk veshti around his waist and also put over his shoulder a namesake poonal (Yagnopavita, the sacred thread, in V's case a 'kalla poonal') He went around with what he called 'poolan', and as usual demanded to be photographed. We were n't surprised at his excitement, given his penchant for the puja room and its contents! He removed it and H (the husband) hung it on a nail in the room and whenever he wanted it V asked for the 'poolan'!
Next to follow was Gokulashtami (since we do not celebrate 'varalakshmi viratham'). My job was made easy by my mother who asked me not to 'strain myself' with a kid around and brought the sweets, seedai and murukku the previous day. For our part, we bought the bag that was available at Grand Sweets! On 'Gokulashtami, H had some important meeting at office which he could n't miss and was to come home only after eleven at night. So that evening it was the toddler and me who actually performed the puja! V 'helped' me by rubbing off all the tiny feet that I had manged to draw with the rice flour. After lots of cajoling and screaming I let him do what he wanted to and drew everything again with a piece of wet chalk! Thankfully he did not notice them. I tied the veshti around him and he immediately asked for the 'poolan'. I tried to deck him up like the Lord himself with some jewelery, but the little one resisted so strongly that if not for the silk veshti, he would have looked like a small sanyasi!
In the puja room he 'helped' me again by heaping the flowers and chanting Oommmm and a lot of other comprehensible things. To top it all I gave his favorite brass bell to ring. We were done after half an hour and at about 7:30 just when when I was wondering how long it would take for H to come and whether I should wait or just keep the stuff  on the table and go to sleep, the unpredictable husband walked in! I was irritated more because we could hear the bell in the neighbourhood well after nine!
The last one for the month was Ganesh chaturthi and H was thankfully at home. V wanted to touch the clay pillayar and decorate the diety himself. He kept sneaking away with the paper kodai (umbrella) and we had a tough time securing it from him. This time too the amma happily settled to make only vadai and payasam and skipped the 'kozhakattai'. Poor V. He would have to depend on his granny for all the delicacies. As usual he had a field day with a lot of chanting and bell ringing!

Oops..almost forgot the highlight. H had taught V that we celebrate on certain days to mark the 'birthdays' of the respective incarnations (not in the same words though!)

This is what V said first thing in the morning...

Aaapppy bethdayy to u keechna...
Aaapppy bethdayy to u Peepaa (for pillayar)!!!!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

You are addicted to blogging when...

...You log into your blogger account at least ten times a day pretending to write a post
...Edit posts at least ten times before clicking the publish button
...View your blog at least seven times whether or not you publish anything
...Visit a minimum of ten different blogs a day
...Visit each of those ten blogs twice
...Sneak in to blog whenever there is time, whether it is early in the morning or late in the night, or when the husband is eating
...You pretend to browse but blog all the time
...Claim that you are getting more information out of blogs than news sites
...You think of all that you need to blog so much that you sleep with the same thoughts, dream of them and wake up with the same thoughts. As soon as you get up you log in to check whether you've really created a new post
...You keep thinking of it so much that you log in to see how complete your blog is
...You are disappointed to find only ten posts. The rest are still in the head
...Looking at the number of bloggers already out there, you feel so left out that you are so charged up and spend at least ten hours a day doing nothing but blink at the screen
...You read someone else's blog, read the comments, click on to the commenter's link, read his/her blog, click their commenter's link and go link after link after link that you forget what you were actually reading first
...You want to put down a recipe, but think a cookery blog will be a better idea so create one; then you write a post about your son and want to make a collection of all those posts, so you create a mommy blog, you write a film review, think you are such a big movie buff that you create your own film blog...this goes on and on and you have blogs on sports, career, management, gardening, health and festivals. One fine day you read them all to find that each has only one post and end up collating and get back to square one - your general blog
...Change the template once in two days
...You get so paranoid upon not having written a new post today that you end up writing this.
...You leave some blank space to add if you act crazier in future
P.S: I don't know if there are similar posts on blogging addiction. Even if there are, I have n't read them. This is my own.... Oh yes...but I really want to know what others have written about their addictions...No...there can't be many jobless persons like me...or what if there are...I think I'll browse and is the milk on the'll take another five minutes to boil..
I browse for posts, go mad as usual and after half an hour remember the milk. I kick myself thinking of all the excuses that I could give, visualize the empty almost destroyed vessel, smell for gas leaks and the stench and when I enter the kitchen the milk is not there. When did the husband come in? V is too small to do such things. I look up and down, inside the fridge, on the table and conclude that I did not put the milk on the stove at all. An hour later when I open the microwave oven to re-heat something, I find the milk there...

Slokams and more than that...

The husband and I are not particularly religious. We believe in God, to the extent that we offer the regular pujas, flowers and visit temples once in a while. We don't go over the top. We try to put our best efforts into whatever we do, offering prayers irrespective of whether the said task is done or not. The husband is much better between us when it comes to knowledge of traditions and rituals. You will not catch him doing his daily puja or chanting slokams aloud. One look at him (both of us as a matter of fact) and one single conversation can make people believe that we are atheists. We don't care and are happy about the low profile we keep.  On any festival, when a puja is required to be performed, H ensures that he is dressed in the appropriate costume (read silk veshti),  decorates the puja room with flowers and lights agharbathis and gives the festival its due. The lazy wife (lazy because push her to the brink, she'll still only think about a saree and not wear one) does her best in the kitchen. 
All along we make sure that V participates. The H teaches him some slokam once in a while (and whatever V says sounds the same as of now!). Don't even count me on that. We actually do not insist him to do this and that nor are we proud that we know or don't know something. But our collective opinion is that whatever we perform at home has to be a learning experience for V. At least we want him to know the traditions we follow and have left it to him to decide what he wants to follow in the future. A festival brings in a lot of positive energy.  When  sees us giving sweets to neighbors he learns sharing. When we visit temples he not only becomes familiar with devotion but also traditional architecture. We have not as yet (what if he is only two!) pushed him into anything and don't wish to, in the future either.
I must however say that V gets very excited at the sight of the bells in the puja room. He loves pulling off and putting on flowers, rubbing of the 'kolam' that I painstakingly managed to draw, rings the brass bell and brings a plate to every one asking them to touch the imaginary flame from the imaginary camphor. I am happy simply because all these keep him occupied for 20 minutes!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Whining, wailing and playing!

The problem after having decided to blog is that there are too many things in the head and so little time and opportunity to actually put them down. I repeatedly kick myself for not having done this earlier (say two years back???) and now I want to put down whatever I recollect! See I digress, waste time and wail.
The last said is my first topic. V, for the past three weeks has resorted to wailing. I checked Dr.Spock's manual and hundred other websites and all of them only talk about whining and more whining. They probably thought wailing is too harsh a word to describe a child's behavior. But I do not want to paint a rosy picture, so wailing it is. My first instinct is to laugh and this makes things worse. If it was mere crying and anger I could probably 'wide-eye angry' shush it. But that is not to be. My little  brat wants to run all around the house mouthing incomprehensible language, thus not making things easy for either of us. Picture this: I tell him his rhyme time is over...wait... this one is even more interesting(?). The rhymes are actually done on the CD and he lets out a loud cry...Ammaaa ducckku (or Maama. or linga linga or tick thock or however he wishes to call them) aaacchiii (over). When I try to pick him up he says Nnnooo and goes amma vaangaaoo intha rhymmee pothu venta nanu etc etc. Sometimes out of frustration I try to play it again and he says Nnnooo. And this is how the rest of the conversation goes:
Me: Will you drink Horlicks?
V: amma orliks.. I go to get it (IGG) ammaa orlicks Nnooooo
Me: Biscuit?
V: amma bikki Again IGG amma bikkki Nnooooo,
Me: Ok.. Tata polama? (Shall we go out)
V: Taataaa pulaam (we'll go) Nnooo amma taataa nnooo and goes amma vaangaaoo intha rhymmee pothu venta nanu etc etc
This continues until the wail becomes a whine becomes a sing song and I end up lifting him and showing how the washing machine functions!
I guess like every other phase (as the good doctors put it) this will also pass.
The baby center website is a boon. Whenever I encounter what I think is a problem, I get a newsletter from them which has information on the same issues! So I sit back relieved that mine is a genius like every other kid! A few weeks back I received an email on the variety that pre-schoolers looked for and how instead of hitting the toy shop every other week, we can use things at home for play-time. Between us the amma is obsessed with buying new toys and V (much to his appa's delight) is satisfied with every available plate, spoon, bucket, towel, newspaper, his parents' mobile phones, reading glasses, sun glasses and what not, to keep himself busy.
This morning we were playing with his cars. Five minutes later he brought his drum and wanted me to play the nathaswaram with a spoon! Ten more minutes later he pulled out a puzzle and threw it back in the same breath. Some minutes later he came with our multi plug connector and pulled the wire as I stood with the adapter. After he pulled its full length he tossed it up and down giving me the occasional warning Nooos when I tried winding the wire. Mercifully he decided to eat his lunch after that. I have to check what else is at home to keep him occupied! Hmm..ennathaa solla?