Sunday, November 8

Toddler Tales


So I saw this hilarious picture on Facebook which spoke about 13 things that toddlers can do which (unfortunate) grown-ups like you and me can't.

Here is the list: 

1. Sleep on 15 pillows and wake up without a neck ache
Damn, this is true! The number of times I've heard myself and others complain about sprains in the neck and waist or an aching arm because somebody did not position themselves ergonomically while dozing! And yet, I observe my little bub sleeping in all possible (and some impossible) positions and then bouncing around like a rubber ball without a hint of any pain anywhere. Wonder where they get this miraculous trait from. Not from me, I am sure, who needs her "just right thickness" pillows and mattress...

2. Wear nothing but underwear and shoes while Grandma is over
And sometimes, not even that. 
Now, that's a bummer. 
I am not the dressy types, and there is nothing I hate more than getting dressed up AND then sitting at home. Home = PJ and sloppy tshirt venue. So when someone comes calling, and especially if it is a crabby relative, then to smear the sindoor a few more centimetres and put on bangles and bindis becomes a Herculean task. And then you get admonished for forgetting to wear the bicchiya (toe ring). Grrrrr! 

3. Look cool wearing a cape
My bub can carry off anything and look like a superstar. He is indeed handsome and cute, though I know all kids qualify as pretty. My panchamrit and coconut water guzzling paid off as Aarush was born with flawless skin that he did not inherit from his parents. And of course, he's got me to dress him up with the right sense and coordination. But come to think of it, even if these things were absent, he would look just as amazing wearing anything (or nothing, which is what is quite a few times). Not a feat you or I 

4. Eat the same food for all meals for 3 weeks
I CANNOT and I mean really can not eat the same food even the second time, which is why you will rarely find leftovers in my kitchen. I call the cooked food "stale" and even if it were freshly prepared for each meal, I would be oggling my eyes at the chef demanding an explanation for the lack of variety, planning and creativity. Kids, well, you know how they are. When the bhindi craze starts, it's bhindi morning noon and night and for the next 3 days. My son is not in that zone yet, but I do repeat food items every 2-3 days and he is okay to gobble it down with pleasure. 

5. Demand an audience while pooping

Ahem. I'm not averse to poop talk, having been subjected to it by a very enthusiastic pop and bro at all times including meals. But my son sure takes the cake. He'll actually look me in the eyes and make those painful faces as he deposits the dump. Very pretty sight, I assure you. (Go on, imagine it, why should I have all the fun alone?! LOL)  

6. Tell strangers the truth about their appearance
Aarush does not talk, like actually talk, yet. But I am in no doubt about his candor despite his tender age. (Takes after his mother, who is you cannot even call mild or diplomatic euphemistically.) He is very upfront about who he likes and what he wants at any given point in time, which changes the very next second. So, well... This remains to be seen. 

7. Assemble people to perform a song you just made up
Oh boy, does the bub enjoy attention! He laps it up as he dances, acts cute, comes to be petted and cuddled, and walks up indulgently to bestow a few kisses on you on his own (or requested) accord. This is something kids need not be taught, but we should actually learn. Blowing your own trumpet, and dancing on the tune too. Laughs galore. His intelligence and curiosity have us spellbound already, so here's raising a toast to Einstein in the making!

8. Fit entire body in the bath tub
This is too painful, and hence I shall not talk about it. I've been struggling to do this for years. Not just because I am a blessed 5 feet 7 inches, but even when I was shorter. The knees pop out, and the neck feels cold, and then the legs... No no, let's move on. 

9. Inspire gushing praise for something ridiculous
Read point 7. But this is important, mind you. Appreciating and reinforcing good stuff is critical for development physically, mentally and emotionally. NEVER and I stress on never, ignore your kid. Or anyone for that matter. No matter how silly or atrocious, give feedback so that the child continues or stops doing whatever. Don't treat them like kids in this regard, or they will always remain childish and embarass/harass/annoy adults when they grow up (physically).

10. Completely fill your phone memory with nostril selfies in a few minutes
So the cute baby isn't a year old yet, but you should see the way his fingers cruise on the phone/laptop screen. He goes tap-tap-tap better than his parents even at this age. 21st century kids, I tell ya. Let's just say he learnt it in his mom's womb. He knows when the phone is locked, and asks for it to be unlocked. He wants to handle the phone when his videos are playing and interact with the images on the screen. It's mindblowing. And irritating, too. Go play with your toys mister, and leave mine alone. (And there is goes, crashing...)

11. Sleep sideways across the bed
I don't know how or why, but these tiny tots take up complete place on the enormous bed. I am always precariously perched at the edge every morning, as the little one moves 180 degrees and then another few angles every few minutes. Not that I need a bump or two, but I probably should brace myself for a couple of robust kicks that land me closer to the ground once he grows a few centimeters and months.  

12. Get an extra cookie from the sample lady just because you're cute
Oh yes. Sometimes it's a kiwi. Sometimes it's something trashy like empty tumblers and spoons. But he always manages to walk out with something that has caught his fancy and people generously (or helplessly) offer. I'm thinking of visiting a couple of jewelry shops soon, come Diwali. 

13. Get super excited about grocery shopping
Not at that age yet. Dreading it. Thank god for online shopping that can be done at office or while the devil is blissfully asleep.

... And that's about it!

More stories another day. 

Keep smiling, dearies :-)


Tuesday, September 29

Ganpati Bappa More-ya!

Hello there. 

Times are better, and I thank you all for I don't know which one of yours' prayer worked for me. That's why I dropped in sooner this time - to express my gratitude and relieve all you worried folks who dropped notes with your love, wishing me strength and joy. 

Bright dawns appear after the darkest of nights, and I lived my hell last week. Things were downright ugly, so much so, that the future could bring nothing but improvement. Whilst I cannot call life perfect just yet, I am hopeful that with time and patience, and some hard work on all fronts, the situation might turn positive. Maybe Ganpati Bappa could not bear to see me breaking any more, and he flipped my life on its head. 

Wish the Lord does the same with you and yours :-)

Ganpati Bappa Morya!!
The news this time around is that my little bub has started going to daycare. Day 1 was obviously not a breeze, and the teacher had me come pick him up 2 hours after he was dropped. The poor chap obviously felt lost and abandoned, and it broke my heart to see him wailing for me. 

Oh the woes of modern life! If I did not have to worry about my monthly pay cheque, I would give up my job and take care of the tiny angel day and night. However, the bills don't pay themselves, and our expenses are far from humble. Somebody rightly said - I purchased a house and thought I'd rest in it, but the needs of the house have made me an eternal traveler. I have so many dreams and so many plans, for myself and my child. Don't know how much I will be able to do, and whether he will appreciate it or not when he comes of age. But, I don't want him to be thinking of money all the time, and not living his life the way he wishes because his mother did not have more than enough to provide for him.

No, I don't mean I was raised in penury. However, I was more than aware that my parents did not have legacies named after them, and they went through some very tough times. This scarred my attitude for life, and money became a critical factor in all that I thought and did. "Budget" and "negotiation" were my watch words, and I have a work experience of over 10 years (at my age) coz I started working when I was a teen, to pay for my expenses and not be a burden on my family. I missed all those coffee hangouts with my friends, as my wallet bore just enough money to travel by bus to college, and I even shoplifted once (more on a dare than for selfish intents) to jazz up my clubbing wardrobe. 

The stories we all harbor inside us! 

I recall someone quoted that there is a book inside each one of us, and I heartily agree. 

Though of course, not all need to be told and read, and hence, I shall stop my autobiography here.

Hope you all are enjoying the spate of long weekends! Three in a row, but marred by the fact that there is absolutely no rain and the weather is dry and scalding hot. Pune is going through a water crisis and many areas get water supply once in two days. We're lucky, in our side of town, to have water all day (thanks to tankers) but I fear to think what will happen during the peak summer season what with the monsoons giving us a miss this year. Farmer suicides and so much loss. Darn this climate. And add to it, Syria and Hajj, and the globe looks a sorry picture...

Let's pray for us all, everyone. Someday, hopefully, things will get rosier. For you, for me, and for everybody. 


Wednesday, September 9

An Agonizing Life

Hey there!

Rather than giving you the same old sh*t about apologies for my disappearance, let me give you an honest confession on what's been keeping me on my toes. 

Of course you know that Aarush is the most critical element of my life (and routine) now. In a few years' time, he will want to keep away from me and I'll be suffering from the empty nest syndrome as my boy experiences life in all its joys and adventures. Yet right now, I am the center of his universe. Hell, I AM his universe. He clings to me all the while and can't be kept away even if I beg and plead or shout. I could be busy on the phone, and he could be busy with his toys (not his actual toys, but stuff like my slippers or rubbish on the floor, or the dustbin or spoons and tumblers) but physically we need to be connected as far as he is concerned. It's really cool to be loved and wanted like that, some of you might agree, but it also gets a little too suffocating sometimes when he cries and crawls behind me even into the loo, not just when I need to relieve myself (after hours of waiting) but also as I wash my hands after wiping his poop. 

So, I got to get up, get the food ready, feed my little angel, get ready for work and leave. I am generally an hour behind schedule by the time I report to work, but I manage to get my 8 hour tasks wound up in 3-4 hours through sheer diligence and hard+smart work. The clock beckons every hour, but I wait it out until I absolutely must go back to my bub. Apparently, he doesn't cry when I am away, but I still imagine him making that sad (and yummy) face and bawling when I refuse to hold him in my arms (for all of 10 seconds). 

Physically and health-wise, I am a mess. I do not get the time to eat or sleep well, and my weight is back to pre-pregnancy, if not less. (Yeah, I was looking forward to this landmark event, but it doesn't thrill me when I feel dizzy and black out while standing). I can't recall the last time I slept for anything over 2 hours at  stretch, and not all of it can be ascribed to my baby. I have no choice but to blame my spouse who finds it very easy and convenient to spend 12-15 hours at work everyday (night, since he works shifts and also parties post work) as I lie awake and fret about his return and safety, and my lost youth and newly-found loneliness.   

Really, sometimes I wonder, all that struggle and war, only to wed someone who finds happiness at work and with colleagues? The way we are with each other is two dichotomous extremes: either we're all over each other and folks hold us as ideal /lucky couple or we're at each others' throats, eager to get away and yet unable to do so coz we "love" each other. 

I believe in destiny but I'm also doubting if anything can be worse than this.

Yaya, I know such things are not meant to be disclosed in public, but hell, there is just no limit to what's negative between us, and from each one's perspective, we're better off without the other. He ignores me at best and abuses me at worst. All this, as I see merry, mushy updates on FB vouching how much couples love each other and how fortunate they are to have each other, and how crucial they are to each other. From what I can see, I have become a wife with none of the perks and all of the inconveniences. Take care of the house, husband and child plus work full time, and absolutely no social or romantic life, let aside adventure and bliss. Not the life I'd wished and planned for. My memories reek of pain and sorrow, and all that keeps me going is Aarush's smile and a hope for a better tomorrow, which doesn't seem anywhere on the horizon. 

That's what comes of marrying in haste, and marrying someone without sensibly weighing your pro's and con's, compatibility, maturity, upbringing, personality and culture. 

So, the only time I have for myself is when Aarush drifts off to dreamland and I catch up on Splitsvilla 8 (what a bunch of morons!) or read (Shunali Khullar Shroff is a laugh riot in "Battle Hymn of a Bewildered Mother", and Kavita Kane's "The Outcast's Wife" is a pretty interesting read too). I also do some paid writing work in my spare time, and all these are the reasons I have been unable to write to you for the last 2 months. 

Movies are a part of my life again as Aarush sleeps through the late night ones, so I recently watched Brothers and Manjhi. Liked the former, the latter drags though it is a very inspirational tale about one man achieving the "impossible". 

Life's too short, they say, to be someone you're not or do something that you hate. 

I'm having to do it, coz I choose responsibility and loyalty over my freedom and happiness. I'd love to blame my parents for instilling these rare values in me and burdening me with self-expectations, but then they're not wrong - it's the ones who can't appreciate and reciprocate that should be punished and taught a lesson. 

Maybe I'm chasing a mirage, maybe my thoughts and dreams are silly. Or maybe I am living with someone who has messed with my head so much that the only emotions in my life are tears and insecurity, and a resignation to fate and depression.

Until God helps me tide over this and come back with a cheerful story...

Cheers and good luck to you.
(Lonely) princess 

Saturday, July 25

Reviews of Momhood and everything else

Hello pretty (and patient) people!

Been over three months since my last post, and Aarush is growing up at a crazy pace. 

I have barely a moment to spare, what with the home, office and family taking up all my time and energy. 

I wonder how other moms do it. Other moms are wondering how I do it. But the fact of the matter is, I am cracking up with all the stress. Motherhood is not for the faint of heart, body and mind - let me warn you that. It's a hell lot of sacrifice, personal and professional, mental and physical. You will go insane and one look at your kiddo will wipe the frustration away. You will praise him to the skies, and he will prove just how mistaken you are. Totally unpredictable, these li'l angels (or monsters, depending on what day it is).

Yet it's a fine day, and we shall talk about good things. 

Aarush is a darling. Here is a picture of him. Do bless him, won't you?! 

Can't believe it's been more than 8 months since this little munchkin came into the world making me a mother. I wish I could say a responsible, loving and patient mom... But I miss that mark by a huge margin. He has fallen off the bed umpteen times in my presence, I often find myself losing my temper on him and others, and there are times I wish I could run away from it all and just sleep or read or do nothing in particular. However, at the end of the day, I always find myself blessed to have this darling in my life who loves and wants me unconditionally and completely. 

Such a rare thing in this world. 

He's bursting with energy, and is constantly crawling or on his feet, trying to walk. (Thinking if his pseudonym ought to be "Duracell".) His curiosity and intelligence have me dumbfounded and I get overwhelmed when I see his sparkling eyes and adorable smile. Neither his father nor I are that good-looking; wonder where he got his handsomeness from. 

From heavens up above, I guess. 

Becoming a mother stifles conversation coz all the mom thinks and talks about is her lil bub, so let me alter the topic and not bore you lovely folks. I've been doing quite a few things and I owe you a few reviews.

First and foremost, if you haven't watched Baahubali, you're missing something. It's possibly the best movie I've seen in ages and there was not one dull moment in the movie otherwise void of superstars and fancy titles. The hero Prabhas makes the men and women drool, what with those rugged looks and muscular physique, while the graphics hold you mesmerized. The women play strong roles too, in a plot that is not 100% original but creative and interesting nevertheless. 

*** spoiler alert ***

Some scenes are absolutely mindblowing. Like the one where Prabhas' Rudraksh armlet breaks as he flexes his bisceps, and the one where Katappa places Baahubali's foot on his forehead as well as the one where a headless body walks a few steps into the dusk.

You can look up some amazing trivia about the film online, but all a layman like me can tell you is that the movie is something you just cannot skip, even if you aren't a movie buff. It is so well made and well told, that everyone young and old will enjoy it.

And I cannot say that about Bajrangi Bhaijaan that so many Salman fans are applauding. Yours truly is a Shahrukh fan, but of late, I'd started liking Salman for his style and charisma. I was quite entertained in Dabangg and Kick, but BB was a dud for me. Maybe coz I'd watched Bahubali before, and had a benchmark in place. Either way, the music, story and acting, nothing really made a mark. The little girl is cute, no doubt, but surely a super duper hit movie ought to boast of a tad more.

Who shall explain that to Salman deewanas?

I tried... But never mind.

Want to watch Inside Out and Minions, but not sure when and how, what with commitments at work, home and family. Will definitely tell ya if and when I manage to sneak them into my schedule. Right now, I just about get to watch recorded videos of Splitsvilla 8 on MTV - hideous bunch of youngsters this time apart from Prince and Utkarsh. Oggling at Rannvijay is all that keeps me motivated.

And moving on. Books. Did you know: There is a special term for the act of buying books and then leaving them unread - Tsundoku. Having committed this heinous act, inadvertently of course, I decided to set things in order and sincerely finished Chetan Bhagat's Half Girlfriend, something I bought in impulse (not a CB fan, you see) but fortunately didn't regret. I find his books appeal more to the Indian youth who do not pass off as real readers but folks who ache to share reading as one of their hobbies.

Well, that's quite an achievement CB, so no offence. Plus remarkable movies have been made on 2 of your books, so nothing I yap will take away your success. However, I confess I was pleasantly surprised when you decided not to kill the heroine in your 0.5 GF story, would've been too darned predictable. Although, I would've liked it more with a more realistic end where Madhav Jha doesn't get to meet Riya at the end. Yeah yeah, I know that would not go down well with the majority of your optimistic, romantic audience. Yet my twopence. Not a bad read at all. Well done.

I am now on Kavita Kane's Karna's Wife. A couple of pages down, and I'm impressed already with this Puneite author's vocabulary and writing prowess. Don't know if the credit goes to thesaurus or fancy editing, but good job and a good change for sure from the regular, repetitive 100-word vocabularies in most novels. I understand this book is fiction, but I am very excited to see how it unfolds. So far so good.

And have I told you about our favorite Ambience hotel in Model colony? I went there for my birthday on the 23rd and we ordered sizzlers (without sizzle or taste). I've been there a zillion times and we love the food there, but I advise you to give the sizzlers and desserts a miss and go for the starters and main course in Indian, Mexican and Italian instead.

What else? Well, in a nutshell, here is it all...

Sujata Mastani is yum, and so are Marvel cakes from Kharadi. German Bakery Wunderbar has decent service and food. Garnier, Loreal and Olay products don't seem to be doing this momma any good. I am a regular patron of Ola cabs, but their cabs and services are deteriorating in terms of quality and dependability. Ought to say the same about Autowale. Uber is a tad expensive but reliable. And you might as well avoid the fake multiplexes in Pune like Rahul, Mangala, Neelayam cos they charge almost the same as the rest, but have poor quality public, popcorn, screens and seats.

And on that note, I say good night. Got to take my tiny tot to a Healthy and Active baby contest tomorrow and don't want to be thrown out coz mom didn't look energetic and fresh herself thereby disqualifying the kiddo.

Muahh ya'all. Sleep tight. Snuggle in the covers with your loved one and dream away.



Wednesday, April 15

Happy 5 month birthday Aarush!

Dear Aarush,

You're 5 months old and you've undisputedly made my life 5 times as lovely, 5 times as busy, 5 times as optimistic and 5 times as tough.

Okay I'm kidding, you don't really break my back so often but when you're at your cranky best, I suddenly forget just how rosy life is with you in it. Pardon my candor, I do hope in time that will be one of the things you learn to appreciate and accept about your mother.

I'm a mother. Gosh! That's so hard to believe. 

There are a hundred stories that I'd like to share with you when you're a little more grown up. Like the day just before you were born and my gynaec, at the periodic checkup, suddenly sprung on me that you were due in 24 hours. All this while I'd been expecting you and suddenly I felt so unprepared! 

And about how your dad fed you milk right from a katori when you were hardly a few days old and bawling with hunger. 

Or about how sad and sorry and helpless I felt when you used to cry your lungs out due to colic. No medicine helped, and we tried various nuske that failed. And then, I started wearing you in a saree and going for a walk, and you seemed to like that. But of course, by then you were more active and the gases weren't bothering you as much. 

And how much my hands ached coz of DeQuervain's and I could not even lift you without yelping in pain. 
However this post is not to recount all those few zillion tales that have made motherhood a special phase in my life. (For the good reasons, and the not so good ones too!)

Rather, it is to thank you for being such an adorable cutie and also to share some memorable trivia that I don't want you to lose out on courtesy our bad memories.

The first time I heard you, you were taken out of my tummy and the doc said "It's a boy". 

Duh, we already knew! 

No, we did not get your sex determined when we were at Thailand (though your dad did suggest it). In my heart, I always knew you were going to be my son and I nicknamed you accordingly.

Tears rolled down my cheeks when you were shown to me and I took a second to digest the fact that I was now a mother. 

The first few days in the hospital were quite tedious as you and I got used to each other, and your jaundice made it all the more difficult. I had to take some tough decisions as a mom, but you stood by me and proved me right. Thank you, honey. I will always stand by you, too. 

Everybody said you looked like your father and I hated them for it. Why couldn't you resemble me? After all the ways I took care of you, you might as well have taken after me! And yet, I gaze at you and you stare back at me with those sparkling eyes and dazzling smile, and I don't care who you look like. All that matters is, you're the prettiest thing I've set eyes upon and I love you more than my own life.

When I look at you now, I find it hard to imagine where all that time has flown when you wouldn't sleep all night and I'd hate it when someone gave me hefty philosophies about the joys of mommyhood. I lost my temper more than a few times in the first month or two, but not once did your adoration for me dwindle. You always wanted me close and that means so much to an emotional fool like me. Everyone can see the unique way you look at me, and it sets my heart a-flutter. Thank you, my child for making me feel like God. 

Each day I get to know you better, and I find myself more confident as tend to you and your needs. You are a smart kid, and you convey what you want or dislike with surprising genius. I can hardly wait to see how intelligent you become when you enter teenage and youth. My blessings are forever with you, and I will try my best to set you up for success in all possible ways. That's a promise. And a promise that has already begun. Be it in stimulating your senses or trying to communicate with you - we're well on our way, baby!

You love music. And why not! At the hospital, your dad and I held you and danced as we sang "Jaane jaa dhoondta fir raha" to calm you when you were weeping. And to think, your dad never dances! But he did move around, and that was good enough.  

How annoyed we felt when anybody said you had no/less hair! 
(Though now, I do agree. But nobody else dare say that!)

Such a beautiful thing it is, your laughter, when you feel ticklish or when you enjoy a particularly rowdy game!

Your adorable smile, your cooing and gurgling, the day you turned over and so many more pretty firsts! 

Each time we visited your paed, I was excited to see that you were well above average in terms of both height and weight as per the growth charts. I felt so heartened that I was doing well as a mother. Thanks a million times for making me feel adequate and complete.

I underwent immense pressure to give you formula and other foods but I remained firm and yet again, you were by my side, topping the charts and proving me right. Thanks a ton, sweetheart! We start solids with you in a few weeks, and then everyone can feed you all they want without having to verbally (and physically) wrestle with me. 

Everybody who saw you admired your beauty and energy. Some days you were cranky, and other days I felt like the luckiest mom on earth coz bringing you up was such a breeze. 

In time, we realised you loved "Ek charraiya" as a lullaby and you were fond of being outdoors, be it going for short drives or long walks. 

It's fun to watch you play with your Naani, and talk to Sangeeta bai. You're not so much at ease with most people, and want me to carry and hold you all the time. Quite a task, my healthy baby boy. You're growing each day, and every day I notice something new about you. 

We're not the only ones teaching you stuff, I'm learning from you, too. Trust, when you fall asleep in my arms, certain that I won't let you fall. Curiosity, the way you look at the simplest things in amazement and wonder. Openness and acceptance, the way you grin at random strangers and steal their heart. Care-a-damn confidence, when you behave the way you please, fart when you wish and wet the sheets without bothering what people will think. Patience, when you refuse to stop crying even for a second and I need to drop everything else, control my temper and figure out what will pacify you. Resourcefulness and creativity, to keep you engaged (and distracted). Parenthood is a Ph.D in itself.

And that's not all...

Liveliness, the way you don't stay put and quiet even for a minute, flipping over the moment you are placed on your back. Speed, given that I can now do most things in 30 seconds or less, which is all I have before you realise I'm not in the same room. Superstitiousness, each time you behave unusually difficult and cranky. Confusion, coz I wish you'd sleep when you're awake and when you're sleeping, I miss your chatter and bustle. True love, when you want only me even though I'm mad at you for soiling my bedsheet or behaving difficult. Religiousness, the way you love and calm down when you hear mantras and observe worship. Sensitivity, since I need to pick your obvious and not so obvious cues so as to ease your pain and end what's bothering you.

Our first trip together was to your Mama's place in Mumbai which turned out an absolute nightmare for both of us as you hated it and kept crying throughout, and we next went to Mahabaleshwar for an impromptu day trip - extremely tiring but an adventure to be together for the first time as a nuclear family. 

You are in love with all things godly, and we noticed that you enjoyed being in temples or chanting God's names. We started calling you Panditji and a passing baba also mentioned that you were an ancestor come back to life in our home.

Well, whatever it is, and whoever you might be, you're mine and I adore you more than words can say. 

Be strong. Be brave. Be healthy, happy and wise. 

I will always love you.

Only Yours,
Mom (aka Maa)