Friday, May 28, 2010

A visit and a birthday party!

The Gift...

I had to buy gifts for three kids. One whose family H would be visiting during his out-of-station trip, another who is going abroad and another who had had his birthday (party) coming up. I had decided what the gifts will be, as it was a while since we bought V any books and I had read this and wanted  so badly to buy a copy. Moreover, V wanted to gift 'Snoring Shanmugam' to all his three friends.

I think the above explains my visit to Tulika's office, V in tow. I was n't sure how V would behave because it was an office (in this case more like a house) and not a shop. As always he surprised me by staying quiet and happy to find some of his favorite books stacked and managed to get himself a biscuit from the staff!

Since I had browsed their online catalog and had an idea of what to buy, our work was done in about twenty minutes. The birthday boy and the 'out-of-chennai' kid received two books each from the 'Baby Bahadur' series. Greedily we kept 'The silly story of Bondapalli" to ourselves (Ok...myself...bah). I'll post our 'reactions' on this after the 29th of May!

I was keeping my friends crossed, because I had talked to the moms of the three kids and realized that they hav n't even heard about the books. This is something I am always wary about. Books are one's personal choice. This wariness increases if it is a gift to an adult. Anyway...I waited.

The verdict: All the three kids and moms loved them.

And the party...

The Birthday boy's party was held at one of Chennai's most child-friendly play centers. V was the only 'friend' who attended as the other kids had gone on a vacation. The two kids had a wonderful time. The birthday boy S was sweating profusely but still wanted to play. He cut the cake, and refused to eat the snacks. His mother complained that he had n't eaten the whole of that day because he had been waiting for the party. For a week, he had been asking his parents about the party and gifts.

An observation: I feel it is best to leave the kids alone if they don't want to eat. It is their day and one should let them enjoy. In this case the boy turned three and had just realized what this is all about.

We are planning a 'no-celebration-low-key-party' (read no party!) for V and hope he has n't 'learnt' anything from the above!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Observations on a Rainy day

The 'Laila' storm left the city cool for a couple of days, and our total lack of civic sense left the roads flooded and the beach(es) dirty. We were in for some surprises though...

H had to attend office that day and could n't take out his bike and did n't want to be stranded in the car in traffic. He made a call to the local call taxis (how he did n't mind staying put in a call taxi beats me, trusts the drivers more I guess) and was left listening to the message 'No taxis available'- It was about eight in the morning.

The only option was to call for an auto rickshaw. I asked him to to be prepared to pay anywhere between Rs.160-200 for the normally Rs. 130 route...
He ended up paying Rs. 130 and Rs. 120 while coming back.

We had to drop V's grandparents at the Egmore station the same evening, and the rain had abated, thankfully. We had booked a call taxi eight hours before time and since the traffic was not heavy we had a smooth ride. Mount Road, which is normally brightly lit near Teynampet was 'brighter' thanks to decorative tube-lights, the occasion being some politician's son's wedding. A few meters beyond, after we had crossed over the Anna fly-over, the area was plunged into darkness. There was no power at the railway station too. Worse, the train was to boarded from the fifth platform, to reach which one had to climb the stairs. The place was slippery, dark and the old couple and to climb the stairs. The predicament was same for hundreds who were gathered. H appointed a porter and they went towards the train and I rushed towards the platform ticket counter, pulling V along. The little one was co-operative until he saw the crowd. The counter had n't opened and there were some twenty people people waiting before me. There were other reservation counters too and the long queues only added to the madness. V wanted me to carry him, as the place was dark and scary. Nobody wanted to leave the queue because the general belief was that 'you can't take a risk on any given day, and what if it is a bad day and we get caught?' I knew that once the counter opened, the queue would move fast and it did.

Before that, a couple came and stood behind me. the husband asked his wife to go ahead and that he would join her with the platform tickets. She was carrying a child of about two, and the following conversation ensued...

Wife: What is the matter? Why is this place so crowded?
Husband: The counter has n't opened and there is no power...
Wife: Why is there no power?
Husband: We saw while coming here did n't we...
Wife: Why is the counter closed... Why can't they keep it open?
Husband: They' ll come
Wife: When?
Husband: *remains silent*
Wife: This happens in this city wonly..

I make a mental note to add her in the 'Some people are like this only' series!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The books we read...

One of my passions over the last two or three years, has been collecting books for V and hiding them deftly from H's view! Most of them are age-appropriate, others are sheer indulgence. I never really bothered to post about them because there were/are reviews and posts on those books in many blogs and they are done beautifully. Tulika's gesture, however served as a good wake up call and I thought it would be useful (to me!)  to share our experiences with those books. Since I could n't do that with Hanuman's Ramayan, as the story line was a little overwhelming for V , I'd begin this series of posts with two of his (our!) most favorite Tulika books.

What shall I make?

What shall I make?
V's favorite 'game' from when he was about one and a half, was to 'make' chapatis. We bought him a miniature wooden chapati rolling pin. He even went on to call the playing clay (Play-Doh) as 'chappati'.

So when I came across 'What shall I make', by Nandini Nayar, from Tulika, I bought it without even thinking.

In the book, Neeraj plays with the chapati dough his mother gives him, and the 'journey' of the dough before it becomes a chapati forms the rest of the story.

V loves the way the little boy makes various 'things' out of the dough. The fact that it ends becoming a normal chapati only added to his glee. So much so that even when he eats idli or dosa, he rolls the food and says, 'Amma, see snake...'

The illustrations by Proti Roy are simple and even a two year old will be able to recognize and identify the 'objects'.

Look the Moon (Atho Paar Nila-Tamil)


One of V's first story books in Tamil, Atho Paar Nila, (Look, The Moon by Sandhya Rao and effectively translated by Jeeva Raghunath. ) is  in simple verse and can easily impress a little child. When I first picked up the book, I looked at the pictures and was a little confused. When I read the text I realized the reasoning behind Trostsky Marudu's 'sketches'. It is just what a child, who has learnt to draw and use colors would relate to.

V loves the way the moon becomes bigger and did n't show any disappointment in its becoming smaller and disappearing, because he quickly understood that the Moon was going to reappear after the New Moon day. What an effect!

 (Pictures courtesy Tulika)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Our first 'craft'!

This month I was sure we would participate in Shruti's Artsy-Craftsy challenge, primarily because there were different kinds of thermocol packing, styrofoam packing material and plates at home albeit in the loft. I even convinced H to part with the packing material of his precious sub-woofer and synthesizer. I had ambitious plans of making a cycle with the help of little V. But various things/factors have brought us to the last day of the challenge.

On this day, all I could find within reach were a couple of thermocol plates. V and I had nothing to do and and as soon as I told him that we would cut the plates he said 'Amma Bag pannu' (amma make a bag). I told him that we would indeed make a 'bag' and paint on it. The word paint got him going and even as I was cutting the plate (thanks for the idea Shankari), he was busy with his painting kit and was trying to make something on his own on a sheet of paper. Relieved at the break, I continued cutting and mentally made a note of the things required: Plates, paint and fevicol.

This artistically challenged amma found some old paint (mine, I dare not touch the little one's!). Alas, I just had half a tube of Fevicol (from a 10 mg tube). Well, we began so we must continue. Then, the brown paint (V's choice of color) went missing. Tried managing that too by mixing red and green and with V's help painted the plates. Suddenly he wanted the brush that I had and changed his mind five seconds later.

So why have I spent such a long time in writing this post instead of just clicking a picture of the 'bag' and sending it across.

Well...I am waiting for the paint to dry, so that I can stick the plates together!

Now that the paint is dry here is our very first entry to the Artsy-Craftsy challenge.

Thermocol Hand-Bag

I cut the plates into almost three-fourth's size and used the remaining to make the handle.
I let V do most of the base coloring.
I wont be terribly worried if Gucci or Armani reject our design because what I am happy about is that the colors and design were my almost three year old's choice!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

An Award!

Uma was sweet enough to pass on the following award. Thank you!
I don't want to jump around...but this is my first award, my first first awaaaa....

I pass it on to Elizabeth.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


I want to ramble on and on about the traffic and the roads but my drafts are always incomplete and there are already five of them. As if to put them all in a nutshell, the following incident...err...accident happened last week.

As always, the road we live in - used as a short-cut to avoid signals- was congested with vehicles coming from one main road trying to reach another. A motorbike was overtaking a car, another car overtaking the above two and finally another motorbike trying to overtake the said car. All from the same direction on a  20-feet wide road...

The last mentioned bike had an over zealous motorist who, at a maddening speed, rammed into a car which was 'on the opposite direction'. The two men on the bike were thrown on the road and had to be given first-aid and their bike was in a bad condition. Whatever it was they were hurrying for, was not reached on time.

By the way...Did I mention what the car (which was also involved in the accident) rather the driver was doing when it happened...?



The said car was parked in a far corner in the opposite direction.