August Recap

The month of August is usually quite festive in this household. Both Red and TO have birthdays. Incidentally both had milestone birthdays this year- their 40th and 10th. Needless to say, the 10th birthday brouhaha was everything that it should be. Between 2 cakes spanning the loves of his life aka cricket and reptilian monsters which Hollywood makes tons of money out of; this child was left delirious with joy.

We also thought we should start a phase where the gifts would come in only from family and To start associating birthdays more with the fun factor, memories to be made rather than gifts to be counted. Check back with me next year to see how far we’ve come  down this road.

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The munchkins who keep the good times rolling!

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The usual suspects Part-1

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Trio from the usual suspects

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Birthday cake #1

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Birthday cake#2 that paid homage to Godzilla: King of Monsters

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The bouncy birthday boy in the background.

By contrast the 40-year old baby’s day was fairly low-key because Red had already done a stag trip to Oz at the start of the year and wasn’t in the mood to enter his naughty 40s with a bang (‘cuse the pun) in the presence of his in-laws and his father all at once! Hopefully this weekend we’ll be able to engage in some amount of indulgence for the grey and dignified Java God.

We’ve also come a bit of a distance as a family as well. Getting TO settled into another academic year comes with its own set of ups and downs and some amount of anxiety on our parts…chiefly mine. Apparenty when your kid becomes a fifth grader, everyone’s focus gets onto punting the child up to the next grade in middle school and the whole year ends up being a prep for the latter. Phew!

However, striking a balance is what we manage to hack for the most part so not too worried on that front. Being an Indian parent, it goes against the grain to *not* worry about your child’s academics or their potential areas of excellence. After all, what would we put up on our social networks if it weren’t for updates of the child taking newer and greater strides in some or the other field. Of course there are the endless selfies with the puckered up face that most of us instinctively seem to excel at.

Speaking of which, I have rediscovered Snapchat with a vengeance! The initial disdain at the airbrushed faces and the boughs of flowers over the head-filters has melted away and I quite enjoy looking at a smooooooth, blemish-free face and have realized that I wish my eyes were a nice irridescent color and not the browns that I’m destined to sport life long.snapchat-12868228883841078127944242142.jpg

TO on the other hand has gone so deep down the rabbit hole of cricket that I’m afraid he’s lost to the non-cricket loving junta. Luckily for him, he has a father with exceptional hand-eye co-ordination and inclination to listen to his soliloquies on the subject instead of the mother who looks for a pile of cushions to dive under to stop the flow of words from battering her already battered mind.

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Before the all important toss!

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The rare photo where the V sign didn’t make an appearance.

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And the fake smile’s back!

Red as always is the buffer between the two excitable entities that live in this house. He stays calm and collected and only loses his shit during tennis and cricket matches.

So as we gear up for a season of festivities over the next two months, am just happy that all the important stuff is getting ticked off properly and we’re back to the mundane bit where I just have to drag a kid out of bed and boot his behind out of the house on a regular basis and phone the husband with the usual, “when are you going to be home?” spiel. Bliss.

Have a good weekend…Salut!

A Weekend In The Balcony

When Red and I moved houses to where we currently live, the clincher wasn’t just the community living but also the view we’d get from our floor. It’s neither too high up, too far down and definitely doable whenever the elevators are out.

But the view is something that’s been rather remarkable over the years. For urbanites, seeing concrete jungles and cars bustling along the roads are the norm. For us, apart from the usual view of a city life, we get to see peacocks every now and then. We get to see the cityscape change in front of our eyes whenever new ground is laid for another building. We get to see cricket matches galore and also interact with the feathered ones that seem to love the aircon units we’ve so thoughtfully put up on our balconies.

And while the changing landscape doesn’t always spell progress all around, what with cutting of the trees, noise pollution, air pollution, ground water depletion…you name it and it’s happening as I type this out; but it’s happening right in front of our eyes. It’s a sense of comfort to be able to see the evolution of this city.

The Summer Of Broken Glass

I have words buzzing around in my head most of the times. Some times they come out as blogs and at other times they come out as stories. They’re all stories at the end of the day. Here’s one written primarily as a short story. Cheers

THE SUMMER OF BROKEN GLASS- A VERY SHORT STORY

It started with a tinkling sound. Followed by a deep silence. So deep you could reach out and touch it. She hated silences like that. They were eerie and there was never anything good at the end of it; of that you could always be sure.

This entire summer had been tinged with what stray but nearly regular occurrences of glass breaking. Had she been superstitious, she would have pegged them as happening due to mal ojos. Her brand new Spanish classes kicked in at its convenience she thought wryly.

From her mom’s favorite vase to the beer mug, to the little Dresden shepherdess that she had labelled as super lame; each thing broke with a bang, a smash and there always seemed to be shards of glass shimmering on the floor…dangerously pretty.

She once had a couple of those shimmery pieces jammed into her big toe and while it didn’t hurt that bad; they sent shivers down her spine when she tried to probe the wound. It had taken forever to get the splinters out and then hobble around with her toe wrapped up in gauze. Lame, lame, lame!

She shook her head to clear the fuzziness and sighed in frustration about having to clean up glass YET AGAIN. Getting up to get the broom from the closet, she heard a muted kind of smash-crunch behind her. She turned only to hear the cocking of a hammer and the barrel of gun level with her face.

Her last thoughts as she saw the finger press down on the trigger were about the stupid glass…the memories that distracted her from running and hiding or even calling 911…stupid lame glass she thought, while looking into the mal ojos that were the last thing she ever saw.

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Finis

Retroblogging#23

Another one that caught my eye from the days of yore…

Right from the time my son was born, I was struck by how delicate he was. I knew babies are vulnerable and helpless but this one seemed to embody those qualities and more. He was a thin baby, weighing just on this side of an acceptable birth weight but he never lacked spunk.

That ‘scrawny’ baby’s learnt to run now and also balance himself on his toes to reach heights hitherto out of his reach.

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One thing that’s absolute about children is that you NEVER know what they’ll do next. If you think there’s a line they haven’t crossed yet, they always manage to cross it and then some! So if you threaten your kid with that ‘last straw that breaks the camel’s back’, you’d better be prepared to have a whole herd of camels waiting out there because your offspring will find plenty more straws and with it plenty of camels’ backs too.

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I used to think of little children (infant to toddler stage) as being fragile but it’s us as parents who’re the fragile ones. The kids are resilient and how! They fall, they bleed, they sprout bumps here, there and everywhere and they still keep going even after the tears have left tracks on their face.

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And speaking of tracks, while you may not need therapy to get over the minor cuts and nicks on your child; it definitely takes some doing to see your child hurt and you not being able to prevent it. And some things do stay with you. Whether it makes you a better parent or a hovering one is anyone’s guess.

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And by the time you’re over the initial trauma and your monkey is again gallivanting off for newer places to fall down from; you tell them what’s sure to become your motto in life- “Don’t cry! You wanna cry? I’ll give you something to cry about if you dare do something like this (fill in blank with your pet peeves about your kid) ever again!!!”

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And you go on. Both of you…sometimes with one chipped tooth, a brief black and blue mark and you with a near-paranoid obsession for stuff your child could hurt yourself on again. But you do go on.

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And before you know it, they’re onto newer things, more things they could make hurtful for themselves and with you still trying to be their life-long safety net and catch them before they fall. But that’s not to be…what is to be their ever-growing curiosity, activity and ability to bounce back each time.

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Amen to that! The rest will keep I suppose 🙂

P.S: At the time of this blog being posted MLM’s graduated to TO and has had 3 surgical interventions (nothing critical) which includes one broken hand being reset. And we’re still chugging along! Phew…

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Parents: Reblogged

This post is more than 13 years old and when I was apparently going through an e.e.cummings phase:

the last 2 days have been quite a lot of fun. reason? took my parents shopping. it went something like this-
Me-ma why are you eyeing that suit ka kapda? you want it?
Ma-na re. expensive and i dont really need it now( eyeing it summore)
Me-mum! stop ogling it already and take it.
Ma-noooo. i dont need it now…have enough suits.
Me-but you dont have this color, oh lord! wait, i’ll get the drool bucket!
Ma-beshi bokish na( zyaada mat bolo!) but the color does catch your eye doesnt it?
Me-mammaaaaa, he’s about to make the bill, it’s a lovely color, you dont have it.BUY IT NOW OR FOREVER HOLD YOU PEACE! 
Ma-why do you have to dramatise everything to this extent.i dont want you to spend so much on a suit right now. i said no.
Me-ok. calm down. i wont force it on you if you dont want it.
Ma-dint i say i dint want it.
Me-ok bhaiyya, we wont take it. baaki sab ka bill bana do.
Sales guy-ok ma. amma you want the blue one?
Me-no she doesnt, she said she doesnt want it.
Ma-such a fuss.FINE! if you insist…bhaiyya, usko bhi bill mein jod do. (turning to me)-not a word out of you and DONT TELL YOU FATHER!!!!

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Last nite with the pater-
Me-this is for you! surprise!! you may thank me now.
Baba-is this black? you KNOW i dont wear black! it’s got front to back embroidery. it’s too much!
M-it’s not baba, you dont have something of this kind. Ma& i thought you’d look gooood in it.
B-it’s BLACK!
M-it’s not. take it out of the cover and see it in the light and you’ll find that it’s…
B-ok it’s blue but what are all these triangles?
M-it’s made from jute and the latest style.
B-alright,alright. dont breathe down my neck. let’s go the shop and let me see if anything catches my eye.
M-alright. exchange it. why bother that your only offspring went and bought it for you out of love and affection.
B-uff! chup thaak ma.
M-maaaaaaaaaa. baba’s being mean.

so off went the happy family to the dukaan. once inside-
B-can you show me all the dull,no-jhango colors and designs you have?( that’s what he meant i know it!)
Salesman- sir, yada yada yada.
B-NOT THIS ONE! it’s black. it’ll make me look like a sabarimala pilgrim!
M-how many of those ppl do you know that wear 1800 ka kurtas to the pilgrimage?
B-chup!
after many agonizing minutes later.
B-i think i’ll keep the one you bought, the salesman said it’s the latest design and i really dont have anything of this type. and i think i’ll take the black one also. it kind of grows on you after a while. it has a certain class to it.
AND DONT TELL YOUR MOTHER!!!
M-of course not!
once we got home-
M-maaaaaaaaaaa! guess what baba did. you 2 deserve each other..fickle shoppers. god gimme strength!

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Zoo Diaries

We’re a family with a child. Children like animals. Animals are fun to observe and usually even the smallest of cities will have an animal enclosure for the tourists. So while the idea of animals being caged bothers me, it seems to also be a way to get the kids up close and (im)personal with the creatures they usually watch on Animal Planet or Nat Geo.

Here are a few glimpses of the zoo visit Padmaja Naidu Zoological Gardens at Darjeeling.

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The Gift

My husband isn’t a person who does a lot of things by himself for others. He doesn’t give “of” himself consistently unless it’s for his son. For TO this man does everything I expect and then some. But neither does he wait around for others to ‘do unto him’. He takes what comes his way, if he wants more, he helps himself; if he doesn’t then he doesn’t. It’s very cut and dry and without hidden messages to decipher.

A few weeks ago I told him that instead of the family road trip that we’d planned out in this month, I wanted a few days by myself. And he agreed. He did it gracefully is what I’m focusing on. ‘Me by myself’ would have meant either I go off for introspection, fun, vegetate in a place outside my home or stay put and have the home and hearth to wander around in. I chose the latter.

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T.O almost exclusively travels with me. I have more time on my hands and it’s easier to align my trips with his time off from school but I’ve been wanting to make TO more flexible about where he travels, with whom and basically not get too rigid about anything in life. And the first ever father-son mini-vacay took place. They’re in Goa right now, our-once-every-year-holiday-spot while I vacay at home. And it’s been blissful.

I didn’t need to be away from them. I needed to be with me. And that’s not any feministic, soul searching claptrap. Sometimes you really don’t want to have to do anything beyond what you want to do. And I did exactly that. My indulgences consisted of switching off the daily alarms (yes..I have more than one) and just potter around the house while listening to everything from this to this. And no, I didn’t get drunk out of sheer joy. Alchohol did not touch these gabby lips once. And it’s nothing to brag about. I just didn’t feel like it.

I cooked. I sang. I did my usual minimal housekeeping because let’s face it, I don’t go on a cleaning frenzy till my folks are due to arrive and I need to maintain appearances about being a tidy housewife. But it’s been lovely and I’m actually looking forward to having these two back and hearing all about their stag trip that’s been full of fun, grilled fish and loads and loads of chatter and most of all, bonding.

So while I type this out, drink my unsweetened coffee (in your face sugar!) and sigh contentedly as the lovely cool breeze flutters the curtains all around, I’m going to go on record and say that for his services to preserving the sanity of this mother, I’m going to ease off on the nagging front with Red for as long as I possibly can. I’ll crack in a week, if that long but such gestures need a get out of jail free card and this is his.

Salut!

Book Review: The Bad Guys

The Bad Guys Book Trailer (Scholastic India) - YouTube

Good friends not only listen to you when you need to vent, go shopping with you, they also recommend books that make you laugh till you cry and till your offspring is rolling on the floor, clutching his stomach saying “Stop, stop..I’m going to barf if I keep laughing!”

Got introduced to this series by a good friend who was cleaning house before she migrated to a different continent. These books were intended for TO but I like reading all sorts of books and find that children’s books are a balm for a day when everything seems like of lopsided and heavy.

So we dipped a toe into The Bad Guys and liked it SO much that we plunged headfirst into it. Brought to life by Aaron Blabey, this series is so much more than just a kid’s book or an illustrated one. It’s hilarious, tres tongue-in-cheek and show’s a delightful level of snark in the author’s nature.

So if you have a child whining his head off about being “booooooooored”, then hand him this book and tell him to go whoop it up or do one better; read it to him/her and make a laugh-till-you-cry moment with Mr.Wolf, Mr.Shark, Mr.Snake and Mr.Piranha who are trying to make the world a little better than the rest of the maligned members of their ilk.

Cheers to your inner bookworm!

Bookworm Cartoon Set - Download Free Vector Art, Stock ...

PS: Thanks Nams for the book reco…my credit card doesn’t thank you but the ROLFing child totally does!

How Green Was My Valley

The obvious lame hijack of the name aside, just lookit!

Basic editing has been done to show the places the way I saw them.

 

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A Chat With My Niece

I recently spent some time with my niece who lives in the US. We see each other when I video chat with her mom and every now and then she chirps in my ear and tells me what she’s been up to and then skips away to do her think like little girls do.

This time around I had the pleasure of introducing her to slime. Her mother didn’t share my enthusiasm or hers but what’s a childhood without gooey, icky stuff that grosses other people out?

When I spoke to her yesterday after she reached back home she very clearly told me she wanted more slime. I asked her what colors she wanted and she started listing them in her twangy speech, “I want wed (red), blaoo, yellow, green, pink, purple..” I interjected and said, “so you want all the colors, right?” and pat comes the reply, “No! I want red, blaoo, green, yellow, pink, purple!”

That’ll teach me to get between a rainbow-loving girl and her color palette.