Thursday, December 23, 2010

I'm selfish. Yes, but aren't we allowed to be? Sometimes...

The last two days have showed me how fickle minded I am and how selfish. So what? That's me, I feel like saying. I just hope I don't regret this later in life.

After much thinking, agonising, talking,, discussing, crying, arguing with myself, I've decided not to quit.
I'm going to give the nanny arrangement one last shot.

I asked the five most important people in my life what I should do -- quit and stay home with Sonny or go back to work with a nanny in place.

My Mom: "Do you really want to end your career so soon in life? You're so young! I worked 33 years before I retired...We'll manage with a nanny."

My dad: "What did your husband say? He agreed? Then no problem...get yourself relieved by next month. Once things settle down, start freelancing. I'll babysit when you have work....maybe even four hours a day if you get a good deal of assignments."

Hubby Dear: "The decision is entirely yours. I can take care of things. But you think about it from all aspects. Do you really visualise yourself cooking and cleaning everyday? I don't think you enjoy housework." (And a whole lot of intricate reasoning and arguments that I can't really type out here)

My best friend (a SAHM): "Babe, think real hard before you make the decision. It's not easy and you'll need to do some professional work to keep your sanity. It's frustrating to see the same three faces for three continuous weeks sometimes and not have anyone your age to talk with."

(THE HEART WRENCHING ONE) Sonny Boy: "Don't go to office. I like it when you are with me. It's nice. i WON'T GO TO SCHOOL. you DON'T GO TO OFFICE. we'll BOTH STAY HOME AND PLAY" (All in spurts and over time)

After yesterday, when my mind was made up completely about quitting, I went over and over again with all the possibilities. I did a SWOT analysis learnt in college -- you know, looking at every decision considering the situation's strength, weakness, opportunities and threats.
I spent the afternoon writing down in my old diary the advantages/disadvantages of staying home and going to work.
And realised I'm scared of change. Shit scared of teh balance tipping. Scared of not having a life.
No offence meant to Stay At Home Mums, and 'd like to pay obeisance to them over and over again. It's tough life being home and giving up your all for the sake of your children. I've decided it's something I can't do, for now.
I need a life outside home. I can't give that up.
I need to put my skills to use
I need to earn -- for myself, for my family, for our future.
And I want to live life to the fullest.
So hopefully, I'll make some changes to my life to be able to accommodate more into it. 
Give up my sleep a bit and my lazy ways and see if I can work out more time for Sonny and with Sonny and the rest of the family.  
I'm not sermonising. I'm not trying to justify or defend myself. This is just me. This is the way I am.
May the Nanny Hunt begin.

Monday, December 20, 2010

The nanny calls it quits. Now, should I?

First things first.
Thanks to all of you my dear friends who wrote in with warm wishes, hugs, and advise. I'm sorry I haven't the time to reply to all of you individually, but A BIG THANKS FOR BEING THERE. I will follow up your suggestions/ideas. I think I need to concentrate more on homeopathy. Will change homeo doctors (will get someone closer home) and give it another shot.

Ok here's my venting for the day/night.
The nanny walked in this morning (she'd promised to come join work back today), only to tell me she can't make it any longer -- she's unwell and her children dont want her to work. I was quite expecting this, so I cleared her payments wished her well, and she quietly left.

So Nanny Hunt begins. AGAIN.
I'm tired of doing it, so maybe I'll quit so I dont have to hunt anym ore, I kept telling my self over and over again.

Sonny Boy is a tad better, though I can't figure out how to get the coughing spasms down -- wish I could melt the phlegm with something -- SOMETHINg!!!!  And wish I could push teh clouds aside, stall the cold Bangalore winds witha  giant wall and hug teh sun for the much needed warmth.

Aunt's surgery pushed forward but she will be staying with my folks to recover from some other infection because of which teh surgery couldn't happen. Aunt who had come to help mom is going back because hey!! there's no surgery!!

Tomo, I have to make THE CALL. To the workplace (the boss and possibly Big Boss at HQ) to ask for leave extension. Hmmm tough one, esp when we're pretty shortstaffed.

In all this hullaballo, I'm trying to overlook my back pain, dousing myself with muscle relaxants, analgesics and pain patches. Add to that some cough syrup and antihistamines and I'm a total wuzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

The only saving grace is that the boob pain and swelling has come down. Garima, tere muh me ghee shakkar-- wasn't it you who said it'll be gone? My antibiotics and anti-infammatory pills for this ends with tonight's dose. My fingers are crossed and I'm hoping there won't be any need for a biopsy. My doc says just watch a week to ensure there's no swelling up of symptoms again (pun unintended). Thanking God and holding my fingers tightly crossed.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Snap jack back and a possible biopsy!

I have to keep telling myself life will get better. Or I might just forget that.
I'm right now lying on my back and typing out this post with hubby's laptop at an odd angle to my stomach and my thigh. I've a bad lower back spasm. Something i've had before and had been warned might happen again if i'm not careful. Such warnings swim in the back of your mind for very few days after the attack.Then you're back to bending over the wrong way because that's what comes very naturally. So does the pain.

My Sonny Boy's nanny isn't back at work yet. She's not taking my calls on her cellphone, neither is she returning them. That's a bad bad sign. Aunt's surgery next week and then my parents have taken it upon themselves to offer her post-operative care at their home. It's going  be be a month of hell for them. Feeling so bad for them and helpless. If nanny doesn't return, my resignation chances look clearer.

My parents have taken ill, along with Sonny. If there's a name to my degree of frustration, I don't know of it.
Sonny is so bad with a cough, congestion, runny nose and its happening all over again, over and over again. He's hardly been to playschool this whole month. Bangalore's weather is playing truant. I think it's showing -- teh effects of climate change.

Immunity -- that really gets me worried and talking all the time. It's something I have very little of and so does Sonny, I suppose.
I'm now being advised to take and give him septulin supplements, iron tonics etc etc.
If there is something that worries a mother, it has to be her child's illness -- whatever it is, and whatever degree it is.
I'm just blabbering. I've been at home, hardly have anyone to talk to, am feeling like shit.

Moreover, I had a harrowing week of breast swelling and inflammation -- something the doctors have, after an ultrasound scan, diagnosed as an infection -- but if it doesn't come down by Tuesday I might need a biopsy. I'm dreading it. I'm a very filmi person. As soon as doc said that, my mind did a flash forward. What if it's cancer? What if I die? What happens to Sonny? What are the things I want to do before I die?Suddenly my priorities seemed different. Top among them, I realised was to spend time with Sonny and other family members. Actually been so depressed and worried have been refusing to go to work. And snapping my back came as a great excuse -- though it only means I have more time on my back for gory imagination and more pain (and medication) than I can already handle. At least the back took the attention away from the boobs, was hubby's take on it all. Oh yeah, maybe that was the plan.

Right now doing a supine posting, with Sonny Boy's blocked rhythmic breathing for bedside company.


Monday, December 13, 2010

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

I'm bad, I'm bad

Bad bad bad day

*Sonny Boy unwell again. After one-and-half weeks of antibiotics, he was back with a hacking cough. Three more days of medication, another trip to doc, another change of medic. Blore weather sucks.

*Hubby dear travelling

*Nanny on leave for over three weeks and no sign of her return till next week

*Favourite aunt in hospital and I have not been able to go see her

*Mom and dad tired of Sonny and his irrepressible ways

*No leave at workplace

*Run out of vegetables; only found carrots today

*No salad, so straying away from diet :-( boohooo

*Toilet flush not working, hand faucet leaking...again. Aren't there any good plumbers around anymore?

*I suck at time management

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Mindgames: Why do you crave more when you want to diet?

I'm typing this all out now because I want to get over my current/instantaneous craving for chocolate. Yes, I drank water already to stave off that sweet pang. Didn't work.
Yes, I've started on a diet. No, not one of those diets where you don't eat anything. I'm just about 5 feet tall and I weigh 66 kg. BAD NEWS on the BMI scale :-(

*I'm trying...and that's the keyword...TRYING resist sweets and fried food. I give in every day -- but instead of eating one sweet I eat half. Instead of eating an entire vada, I take a bite and stop. If I don't eat even this, I'll have withdrawal symptoms)

*I'm trying to eat more salad at lunch AND dinner. (I had shrewdly skipped my salad routine a few weeks ago).

*I'm trying to eat smaller portions than I have been eating -- not dramatically less...just about 20 per cent lesser to begin with.

*I'm trying to eat dinner as early as I possibly can.

**I need to exercise too. That's something I must get around to. FAST. Yoga yoga yoga

But the very thought that I'm eating less is making me crave for more.
OK :-( Just when I was craving it, a young colleague came by with a KITKAT bar all peeled open. She held it out for me and I took a bite -- a teeny weeny bite -- but a bite alright! That's how strong my resolve is -- i just ate chocolate even as I wrote out this post waaaaaah.

Oh lord hellllppppp

Monday, November 29, 2010

King of the kitchen: stereotypes be damned

I'm so glad my dad's broken the stereotype. He's bought Sonny Boy his first play "kitchen set" -- you know the one with a little gas stove, cylinder, mixie, a rolling pin and board, a frying pan et all. It's a gift that makes its way into a little girl's hands much faster. Actually I'm slapping myself for not getting it myslef for him much earlier. Maybe I'm a perpetrator of the stereotyping myself :-(

But Sonny's just freaking out absolutely. He's always loved the kitchen, and kitchen utensils are high up the rank when it comes to "toys" (and I hear every mom say my kid too plays with vessels all the time, so there must be some magic about the kitchen and cooking).

Now he's busy rolling out little chapatis for us all and making "mommu" for everyone in the house. He likes to feed us straight out of the pan...I'd like to try that sometime, really ;-) His other hot favourite dish -- making us all some "neer" dosa -- he takes some water and ladels it out on a plate and lo! Neer Dosa ready.

The mixer, though, is his first love. He keeps saying a loud "juiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii" and fiddling with his hot orange mixie. He seems so proud of it. He's been showing great interest in cooking -- I hope it lingers on and he becomes one of those guys who can make himself a decent meal when he wants to, not when he's forced to (there are very few such men in our family, mostly some uncles).

He loves the knife. He keeps asking for it, saying he'll cut vegetables for me and give. So yesterday I handed him a plastic spatula, told him it's a knife, and gave him a carrot. He sat down to cut it, and after some frustrating efforts, came back very irritated and told me "This is not a real's not cutting. Give me the real one!"

He loves washing the rice and daal when I'm getting ready to cook it. He loves washing up pulses, he loves stirring the sprouts when I leave them on the dining table.

Basically, the maid is his favourite person now, so he imitates her washing clothes, sweeping and swabbing the floor. He absolutely loves "CLEANING", and will take any kitchen cloth and start scrubbing the cupborads.
Yipeee three cheers to my Sonny Boy!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Quit to become a SAHM: weighing the pros and cons

My mind is right now so beautifully messed up. I want to call it quits on my almost 11-year-old career.
I don't want to also, because I'm "-" this close to the top. The money's decent. And i need them both -- the sanity of the job and the value of the money, with a loan on our heads.

BUT. And this is the BIG BUT. My folks, with whom I leave Sonny Boy, along with the assistance of a part-time Nanny, aren't able to take it any more.

Ok it' a bad patch. The Nanny's been on leave almost a week now because she's unwell, so my parents are FREAKING.

They are aged, they aren't exactly in the best of health, and they are sounding like they need a break from Sonny Boy.

My mom had a meltdown this morning. She said it's all just too much for her. Understandable. She has a lot of physical constraints.

I don't want to leave Sonny Boy at a baby-sitting setup right through the day. That, I'm very sure about.

I'm tired of searching for new nannies -- they are all ultimately the same -- they are never around when you most need them, go off on long leave often, and keep asking for a hike in pay. No amount of pampering them pays off in the long-term relationship. It all one day boils down to money.

But I just can't imagine myself, after 11 years of financial independence, asking the husband for money for every single thing. My savings are minimal and I will have to ask. Very tough thing to do, when you have a big beautifully puffed up ego.

Workaholic that I am, will I be satisfied with running home? Forget satisfied, will I be able to do all the housework at all? Honestly, office work is way less than housework. At home, there's always something constantly to be done. Even when everything's done. It's tiresome, there's no pay, no bonus, no performance-incentive, no perks, aaarrrhgghh.

AAAAAAARGGGHHHH. I need some sane SWOT analysis of my situation. And knowing myself, I'll paint such a bad picture of being a SAHM, I'll refuse to quit.

Dilemmas, dilemmas....more dilemmas. With each day, I'm becoming more inclined to quit.

At what price should I continue working? My parents are unhappy (but cover it up with a smiling mask), my kid is tied down to the house because they can't move around much. I'm feeling guilty about both. I want Sonny Boy to change his routine; parents won't agree. I can't force them. All this will change if I simply hand in my resignation.

But I can't really get back to work after a break. The industry is mean to people who call it quits.

Should i, shouldn't I? Can I? Will I? Should I? Ufffff

I look out the window and it's all grey and cold.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

I've shaved and other stories: a quick milestones/achievement roundup of Sonny Boy..Yeah, I can be a proud mom too.

Sonny Boy is going to be two-years-and-four-months old in another 12 days.

As I look back on that, I realise there are so many things about him that I'm proud of, and happy for, for him.
I also realise I crib so often and so much and sound so negativistic here all the time, I'm making a monster of him and myself.

And then I realise he's not so bad, and neither am I. It's just that once I'm done releasing my frustrations on the blog (caused mostly by him and occasionally by hubby) I go back to Sonny peaceful and brimming with love. So thanks "blogging" -- for doing this much -- to allow me let off steam on you, rather than on my son.

Here are a lost of things he does now...I haven't made any scrapbook and i keep no other diary, so I hope this one is "for the record" and is around for me to access when Sonny is, say, 20 and I can tell him embarrassing stories about himself.

1. He's interested in doing things around the kitchen -- he loves peeling peas and togarikaalu, which is in season now. He does it with my grandma.

2. He quite enjoys helping me pluck and sort out methi (fenugreek greens). And i must say he does a dedicated job of it.

3. He can pull on his own nickers and pants after doing the loo round. And if there's enough time, he can even peel them off before heading to the loo. After a bath, he likes to wear his pants himself. That's way better than fighting wearing any clothes at all!

4. He can make up and tell stories. And very cute ones at that. He's inspired by the Panchatantra stories. Most of the characters in the stories are animals. And interspersed with them are his playschool teachers! Most of the animals have a upaaya (idea)! And once he finishes the story, he'll say "ashtey" (that's it) to hint to us that we must shower our appreciation. And he can't he'll follow "ashtey" with "CLAP!" (He told me four stories back-to-back before going to sleep this week, one night.)

5. He's singing rhymes like crazy -- mostly in English and Kannada and some in Hindi. He's picking up about two a week.

6. He is also beginning to deliberately distort language -- he sings rhymes with all words ending with the same sound. Or beginning with it. And enjoys everyone's amusement or irritation at it. He knows he's singing it weird and loves the sound of it.

7. He talks to his Teddy Bear -- this morning he was teaching Teddy to count out coins from a box. He even wanted to take Teddy along for a haircut.

8. He's showing more and more interest in eating by himself. Messy, prolonged, process. But boy! Is he interested! Whether to eat with hand/spoon/fork, he's an eager beaver.

9. At the park, he used to be fairly scared if any other child came and stood behind him to climb up the slide and he would just back off and let everyone go, stand and stare. Last week, I was thrilled to see when he went and told an older kid "Please, I'll go first". And the kid let him, and helped him up. He can climb up the wooden "monkey ladder" with ease and confidence.

10. He's got an imaginary friend whom he talks to sometimes...not very clear yet, but he does it sometimes.

11. He loves puzzles and gets tired of doing the same ones pretty fast. I love the excitement with which he puts the pieces together and complains before doing the complex ones saying "idu tumba traas kodattey" (this one troubles me a lot).

12. He brushes his teeth -- no toothpaste. And often drinks the water, much to my irritation. If i ask him to rinse and spit out the water, he loves to swallow it and giggle away.

13. Yesterday, he told me his cheeks were "soft", his hair was "nice". And then when I continued saying his chin was "soft" too, he told me it was because he shaved!!!!!

That, i think sums it up for now. And I love 13, so I'll stop there.

PS: I suddenly realised how "kicked" it feels to be proud of your child's achievements, even as I typed each one out. If you have a kid/s between 2 and 2.5 years and are feeling the same way, do share your pride with me, and I'll create another post to put it all together (just because I'm  in a good mood). Don't forget to put down the child's age, and do mention if it's a boy or girl. If you're a blogger and have already blogged about this (which I'm sure you all have ;-), do mail me a link and I'll see if I can add links too. Cheers!

Friday, November 12, 2010

"The Social Network" or how to get millions of other people to be friends online while you lose your own best friend and real relationships

Watched the movie "The Social Network" last night. First things first -- I'M NOT ON FACEBOOK. It's a badge I wear with a certain amount of pride and conceit, yes.

It was a movie that took me by the collar, gave me one hard hit below my chin as it opened, and had my rapt edge-of-seat attention the whole way. For starters, it's great movie making that did not involve action/sci-fi/computer graphics/animation.

Ok so enough has been written about how it's the story of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, how it's based on the non-fiction book "The Accidental Billionaires", how the whole thing is so much fiction and so little fact. "You don't get to 500 million friends without making a few enemies" says the film's tagline and it just about sums up the essence of the film stupendously.

I'm looking at it as the Facebook movie. I've always resisted being on Facebook. I've refused to be Facebooked as many times as I've refused to eat okra/ladies finger. That's a LOT number of times.
I'm sick of all my friends who ask me, as if it were so inevitable that I, like everyone else, should be on Facebook. I don't want to, thank you.

 I don't want my life to be one big open book. I like to live secretively. As much as I can, though I am a blabbermouth. But blabbering in office when five are listening is hopefully, very different from blabbering to 500 on Facebook.
I was once on Orkut. And it skewed my life so bad. I got off it and swore I'll never be on anything like that again. I was ADDICTED. In office, I would come running in every morning to check what "scraps" had come my way. In office I would have barely logged out from it to do some work when I would sign in again -- just to see if anyone had said anything inane to me. I didn't have an Internet connection at home. On my off days, I would go to a cybercafe to check my Orkut profile....jeez, I'm glad I'm past those days of "want to be friends" requests from wierdos.

And yet I see myself all over the office  all over again -- in the form of the younger lot that is now on Facebook, and is constantly on it at the workplace. Yes, sometimes I do feel left out. I regularly ask the best friend (a college classmate who's been "friends" in real life for over 11 years now) when I chat with her on the phone once a week -- "So what's up on Facebook? Anyone else in the batch had babies?"

I have asked colleagues to login to their account to show me pictures of other colleagues at wild parties -- I have had my share of voyeurism.  But I'd hate to think what would happen to me if I had my own Facebook. My life would have been messier than it already is. I even read a piece in The Guardian on a guy who was contemplating "Facebook Suicide" -- a desire to kill his account on Facebook. Wish I could find it and link with it here...

Anyways, I went to the movie, because I know what the phenomenon of Facebook is about, to a certain extent, from what I've heard/read up on/seen. I wanted to see the face behind Facebook -- the guys who created it all. The debate of how authentic the facts are may be being thrashed out all the time, but it's a story well-told.

It's about a young guy's wanting to belong when feeling left out and rejected, of grabbing attention with his code-building skills, of the brilliance of wanting to connect young people seamlessly on the Internet (I don't think Zuckerberg really expected everyone's dads and moms to be on Facebook to keep track of their kids notoriety!). It's about his Eureka moments when he suddenly gets an idea for one more distinctive feature for Facebook -- the status message! It's about a student's vulnerability in the big bad world of money, of prioritising friends, of letting go of them, of deceit, of ambition, of wanting to make it big.

The lawsuits that followed the founder of Facebook form the crux of the film, from where the story spreads out its tentacles. I don't want to tell the story here, because, whet the hell, you'll find the synopsis on the Internet and perhaps Facebook! The whole point is to see the film to get an idea of went on in the lives of these guys, what they created as against their own lonely quiet code-engulfed lives. I loved the end -- it's such a picture of loneliness, isolation and desolation of a guy who helped a million people become friends.

The film is young, fact, racy, has you laughing so very often, and listening in with a knowing look. Facebookers will probably enjoy it a lot more than I did. But at the end of all the suing, all the money, all the success and all the disaster, you definitely are left feeling for Zuckerberg.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Adventures in MIL-land

Or I could call it "My damp squib Diwali and other stories..."
Ok this post is just for laughs (seriously, wink wink). Hopefully I'll laugh at it some day.
Back from mom-in-law's where we celebrated Diwali.

It was an adventure for many reasons, starting with the fact that it's a jungle out there!

No really. It started raining real hard the day before we landed.
The courtyard in the back of the house was teeming with slimy slugs and little shiny black frogs, among other things. And of course a whole lot of slippery green moss.

The loo is on the other side of the courtyard!
So all through our vacation, we were running across the uncovered courtyard to take a leak, mostly in the rain...haha. And I had to traipse carefully, avoiding slugs and trying to keep my balance on the slippery courtyard. And if Sonny Boy wanted to pee, I had to carry his highness across with me -- he refused to step on the slimy courtyard, though he loved watching the slugs and bugs.

The main source of water for the household is a well in the courtyard. Something had happened the day before (very strategic of the well, i was thinking) and the water had gone smelly. MIL insisted nothing had fallen in it (it's an open well and i didn't dare to peep in; no one wanted to consider the possibility of getting the water checked or cleaned!). She cooly told us to add some Dettol into our bathing water and supplied us with two huge bottles! For rinsing our mouth, there was stored tap water (piped corporation water comes once in four days). In Rome, do as the Romans do....

The much-loved and revered ancestral house (over 60 years old) is crumbling. And in the rains, water seeps into the walls. There's a musty smell about the house and a dankness i can't explain. The much-loved and revered house cannot be repaired or re-built because the grandfather built it! There's no running water in the kitchen and it's stayed that way all through...even now. MIL says she doesn't need it. I squirm every time she washes vegetables/greens/coriander.

Due to a small family feud (ahem ahem), I didn't have to cook for the entire khaandaan as expected -- just for the six of us, as against the  expected 11 or 12.

Sonny Boy and I fell sick because of the rains, the wetness of it all, the cold... so MIL said "No curd!" We both sulked so much. :-(

Most of the holiday was spent ferrying wet clothes from the open courtyard into the kitchen and then running back again when even a ray of sunshine was visible, in the hope that the clothes would finally dry!

And in between all this was MIL's don't-touch-me madi phase in the mornings when she would cook for the Gods. So I would do a little dance as i made breakfast or tea, and remember not to bump into her and spoil her sanctity.

Oh and tea! I made lots and lots and pots of that. That's one thing MIL loves to give up whenever I'm there -- making tea. And the family drinks lots of it, over and over again. Fresh. Never from a flask, mind it! I get better and better at brewing tea every time i visit them.

The family also does not believe in vegetables! I mean it. After the first day when we ate sprouts and a side dish with greens, and the second day where there was brinjal/eggplant, there was just LOADS of fried food and dishes with oodles of besan flour. Result: Sonny Boy and I were constipated! And we both developed a throat infection :-(

Ok enough....I've been cribbing and bitching too much. But just to re-live the experiences over and over again, thinking and writing about it, lets me cut free from the cycle of that existence. And to move on with the grind back home.

Monday, November 1, 2010

I'm getting slap-happy. Feel like monster mom

I can't control my hand these days. It instinctively flies at Sonny Boy almost every day. Yeah that's bad. But what the hell! He's always spilling out food stuff from jars on to the floor, and throwing goodies out of the window, sticking his dirty finger up the water filter tap, defiantly peeing just outside the bathroom door -- the works.

Defiance. That's what I see in his eyes.

Am i getting too hard on him? I don't really have too many dont's for him. But the few things i don't want him doing, I DON'T want him doing.

I've tried ignoring him when he misbehaves (because i think he does it for attention).
I've tried holding him close and slowly and calmly telling him the consequences of what he's done ("See, now we don't have grandmas' yummy food left to eat" -- kind of stuff)
I've tried telling him a strict no, looking hard into his eyes.
I've tried smacking his bottom and sometimes rapping him on his back.
I've tried short time outs too (something i hate, but decided to give a shot, in desperation).
Nothing seems to work.

But most instinctively I've been slapping his bottom.
My mom and grandmom keep warning me that soon he'll be so immune to the slaps, he'll get more stubborn.
My dad in all patience tries to tell him what he's doing is wrong etc. Then he runs out of patience too and complains to me.

Spare the rod, spoil the child, I tell myself.
Then I keep reminding myself, I wasn't spoilt, and I was almost never hit -- twice precisely through childhood, and both times by my father! And my parents swear I was well-behaved and never needed so much disciplining.

I mean, Sonny Boy has to be reasonable at least some times -- at least five out of 10. Yesterday again he'd managed to reach the salt jar; nanny grabbed it in time. And he threw a tantrum saying he wants the salt jar. I asked him "why do u want it?" and he says "I want to throw salt on the floor"! and cried again without letting up. Ufffff... I tried telling him that salt was for eating; the only person listening was nanny.

P.S: Happy Diwali every one. Have a great year. I'm away for a few days, doing the customary "Diwali with the in-laws in husband's hometown" which translates into cooking humongous amounts of food for the joint family that will be there in full force -- 12 adults and four children. Sigh. Yeah! I have to say happy holidays ;-)

Oh and another PS: Please do catch this film called Udaan (made in 2010), starring the very sweet and angelic-faced Rajat Barmecha, and Ronit Roy in a very hate-able role. It's so much about breaking free and coming of age; but for me, it was so about how not to the kind of father Ronit (Bhairav Singh) is in the film. And don't watch it during the festival. Before or after is better; the film can be heart wrenching at times.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Be local, go global or transform into glocal?

I'm a frog in the well. Cushioned and protected most of my life, I've never really been "out there", "on my own" kind of stuff. It's been a fairly protected (sometimes overprotected) life I think.

So when it comes to Sonny Boy, I'm wondering what to do. His life is already like that. And I dread to think his life will be like mine.

It's not too bad. But it's every mother's bounden duty to worry about all sorts of things, right? Otherwise how do you live up that image of "mom"?

I was born in a hospital not more than half-kilometre from my grandparent's place. Then we moved into the ancestral property when I was about four or five. I've lived there ever since. My school, which was like LKG to Class 10, was  about 1.5 kilometres from home. College was the first time in my life where I stepped beyond that three kilometre radius, so to speak, on a regular everyday basis. PG was another one kilometre further!!!
My first workplace was within the same compound as my PG college! Hah, yeah laugh at me.
My second job took me another three kilometres further and my third job brought me back to about seven kilometres from home!
Jeez, after marriage, I moved four kilometres away from my folks, and now I'm back to being half-a-kilometre from them.

Even as I write it, I realise I can measure my life in kilometres! I mean, people change cities, countries, go out, move away, go live in hostels, in independent pads -- God! most of my life's over and I've had none of it.

Sonny Boy, I fear will also be the same. His playschool is across the road from my parents'. Planning to admit him in a school later, which is down the road. By the time he's in college he can decide (and his interests and marks can) where he'll be. Then It's his life, his call.

All logic points out that this is how it should be -- you go to a neighbouring school to avoid making young children travel long distances. It's safe for them, less worrisome for you. You become rooted in a neighbourhood and develop a strong sense of community, a pride in it, and therefore are more involved in the development of the place around you.

There's also that compelling option of of being "glocal" in nature (which many of us today are) -- where you're connected with the world, know what's happening, are in with it, are imbibing from a variety of  people and tapping into multiple resources, and yet, choose to be in your own community and give back to it in your own way, without causing a brain drain and resource drain.

Yet, there's life, calling out to you, beckoning. To come savour new experiences. And you're choosing to nod your head, and choose the cosy comfort of familiarity. Now, the thought of moving to a new city or country to start a new life honestly scares the hell out of me. There's a complacency and a smug belief that despite being home, I know everything. It's strange, this feeling. It's disconcerting.

And these days I think of it too much, worry about it too much. How much do we deny ourselves? How much of our life is our own choosing? And what do we learn or gain from it all at the end?

PS: Dear Rama, thanks for the wake-up call. Needed it. I know I haven't been posting regularly. There's been travel, attending a yoga retreat (my next post!), plumbing issues in the house (and much plumber chasing), a travelling job-changing husband to deal with, and increase in responsibilities at work. Of course, add to that plain ol' laziness to blog! But now that I've done it -- written this post -- I'm feeling better and energetic. Good to be back. Thanks for that much needed pinch :-)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Gone in 60 seconds

List of things that have been tossed out of our second-floor apartment window over the last few days by Sonny Boy :
1. Brand new blue baby-friendly fork
2. Stacking barrels
3. All sorts of packing material
4. Today he tried throwing out the ketchup bottle (stopped him in time)
5. He almost threw out the house keys (stopped him in time)
6. Husband's Old Spice after shave and powder
7. My chapati-wrapping foil

8. Souvenir fridge magnet
9. His favourite green plastic ball
Things Sonny's been emptying on the floor, all bottles and cups, bottoms up
1. Water (everyday from my bottle)
2. A whole bottle of moisturiser on my silk cushion cover :-(
3. My MIL's homemade groundnut chutney sent across hundreds of kilometres (couldn't save it)
4. Salt from the jar on the table (a few spoons every day)
5. Today morning, my lunch box full of curd rice (stopped him in the nick of time).
What is it with kids this age and wanting to throw things out the window, spill it on the floor?
Uncontrollable desire to destruct?
Joy of seeing mommy erupt like a volcano after she comes running faster than most athletes from the kitchen?
I can't figure it out.
And it's annoying, keeping an eye on him always and trying to guess what he's going to attack next.
Next I'll have to put a net across the windows -- what all must one do to tackle these phases?
Or, just sit back and watch
In the hope that tomorrow (or as soon as that) he will be a different person.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Your child is insecure, intoverted and cries all the time: We give up

It was anything but a warm welcome after the travel-intensive office conference trip. The little joys of me time were swept way by a flood of criticism, pointing fingers and accusing statements.

Landed back home to realise we're due at a parent-teacher meeting at Sonny Boy's playschool. It was our first, and boy! Was it a disaster!

The school's director and his class teacher, in no un-certain terms told us that Sunny Boy was insecure, introverted and shy, refused to mix with other children, didn't want to participate in any of the class activities, doesn't sing rhymes, only does actions sometimes, refuses to jump on the trampoline, refuses to change class or teacher, was even scared of holding a crayon! That he cries too much, doesn't eat what's in his box, that other children were losing out on a whole lot of fun because Sonny Boy was pretty un-handlable!

THAT i thought was the last straw.

They said they had "given up" on him because he refused to "settle down" despite being at the playschool since June.

They told us that we must make him more secure and loved, wanted. We must use more physical touch to give him the reassurance.

It was a hard slap for me across my face. Because at home, he's never like this.
He loves his crayons and colouring.
He sings all his rhymes with action at home.
Yes, he cries a lot and throws tantrums -- a problem we're trying to solve too.

What hurt most was the curt way in which they told us he was beyond control. And that we were to blame. They asked us for solutions.

Agreed as a parent, we must be actively involved in solving the issue at hand, but doesn't the teacher play any role in this?
We put him in this playschool simply because unlike others, they seemed informal, ready accept each child as an individual, with different rates of development.
The classes or groups were small -- his initial group had six kids and three teachers -- that was good I thought.

What happened along the way, I wonder? He would come back initially happy with rhymes. Now he wakes up in the morning absolutely refusing to go to playschool.

In the last about 36 hours of desperation and depression I have read up vaguely on autism, stumbled upon selective mutism, childhood insecurity, separation anxiety, toddler anxiety....I've considered changing playhome, considered quitting job and staying home with him, pulling him out for a few months from any playschool....

Feeling guilty that I didn't notice all this till now, miserable that we may have caused it and vicious against the teachers for being so mean about it.

Confused, and searching for answers....

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Wading through the floor. Pick me up

This is what Sonny Boy always does.
The floor is so inviting, being bare of any furniture, I guess it's tempting.
He drags his red toy bin, upturns it and empties all the toys in them on the floor in one go.

At grandpa's he'll always put back his toys in their place, because there he has a cupboard and he feels proud "arranging" it. But here, Yeww, he has to dump them in a passe. So most of the times, he won't.

This photo was taken about two nights ago. I suddenly looked around at 11 p.m. Sonny was asleep. In one part of the hall was this sight.  In another, it was pieces of two jigsaw puzzles strewn. As i walked into Hubby's room, more of Sonny's story books, sketch pens, and sheets of paper lay scattered. After a good look, I just gave up and went to sleep.

But I have to get up and put it all in place first thing in the morning, before maid decides to sweep and mop it all up in disgust!!!!

I shouldn't be complaining because it's the best exercise I get first thing in the morning. Bend and stretch and pick and toss. Now, bend again,...yes, there... and back!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Travelling mom. Baby at home: any tips?

Girls, ladies, friends and mommy bloggers
Lend me your ears, and then your suggestions.

I need to travel next weekend on work. I was jolly excited, thinking a weekend off on the bahana of work was going to be great. Turns out I'll be away three nights and almost four days. Now that's long. And guilt is slowly gnawing into me.

The only time Sonny Boy has been away from me was the last time i travelled on work -- it was 24 hours, one noon to the next. Turned out decent. Grandpa and dad kept him adequately occupied. And I wasn't too far off. Could have driven back if the situation was out-of-control.

While I'm celebrating the business-and-pleasure trip, I can't help but worry about how the little fellow will manage... of course he'll be staying with his grandparents and father. Yet, my ego would like me to believe he can't really be happy without me :-) And I'm getting paranoid (like any mom does) wondering "What if..." This time round, there's no playschool on those days either. I'm worrying for my parents too. They might just get too exhausted. Ugh!

Last time around, I had told him I'm going to be away and that he'll have to sleep with grandpa and all that jazz. He did well, asking for me only in the morning while getting ready for playschool.

So now I'm asking any experienced working mom (or non-working) who's left baby behind for this kind of time when kid is aged two. PLEASE only tell me of positive experiences. And tell me if there are any tactics to keep his mind off me. I should be kind of preparing him, telling him I'll be away and all that right?
Just reassure me that he'll not even think of me coz he'll be busy playing or something.
Pleaaaaaaase, pretty please.

I'm a bit confused. Everyone I speak to asks in shock "You're leaving your baby and going?" I mean, I can't take him to the office overseas conference! And this time I can't rush back in a jiffy. I can speak for some time over the phone every day. Ooooh it's all sounding so bad now, now that I've put it down in print. Feeling like bad chee-chee mamma.

I will really appreciate help. Anyone who writes in gets virtual hugs, kisses and tons of thankful prayers.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Monday Morning SCARE: Red nasty rashes

Sonny Boy's mastered it all right. How to scare Mummy. Specially on Monday morning.

Woke up to Sonny scratching himself silly on his neck. And what's that? About 20 red rashes behind his ear. Ugh. Applied calamine. Some soothing. But largely no improvement.

Call. Get appointment with doctor. Not a pleasant or easy thing on a Monday morning - any parent will vouch for that. It's the day all sick kids are clustered around the doctor and you begin to believe all people did over the weekend was fall ill.

After Sonny's chicken pox scare, I didn't want to take any chances. First thought, in fact, was : can one have a relapse of  pox???

Doc coolly said it was an allergic reaction to mosquito bites! LIKE THAT??? I kept asking him.
Like the kind that can scare the hell out of you.

So we're back to antihistamine syrup and a cream. Looks like kids live off medication the first few years of their lives.

SO BE WARNED: Apparently these kinds of allergic reactions to mosquito bites happen among toddlers specially in winter/rainy months.

Been asked to keep Sonny indoors at mosquito parade time: how's that possible?
We use the plug-in repellent, keep windows closed most of the time, and he's mostly in jammies and full-sleeve Tees because he catches a cold easily.

How much more careful can i be? I've been asked to apply mosquito repellent cream if i'm taking him out in the evening! What torture for the child. Is it even safe to use frequently? Doc, of course, says yes. I have my own doubts.

God, why is it so difficult to get by a few days with no complications related to your child's health?

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Weekend wake up call: rewired bio-clock

I know kids do the wierdest of things. But Sonny Boy stumps me. Or may be I'm just an impossible, hopeless optimist.

Today being a Saturday morning, I thought I would take it a little easy. Hubby doesn't work, Sonny doesn't have playschool and I can get into work late. A little OT on the sleep front would have been good.

But Sonny just KNOWS he has no playschool. His body alarm was set last night when he realised it's a weekend, i guess. (How did he know? Maybe I should cheat next Friday and tell him he has to go to playschool tomotrrow). Anyway, today, he was up a good 40 minutes before the usual wakey time! Waah. And immediately wanted to do potty.

If there's anything I hate more, it's to open my eyes and go fetch his potty. And surprisingly, nothing is more delightful than to have him done with his pooping first thing in the morning, specially before playschool. I think it's a good habit. "Going" first thing in the morning.

Just that it's frustrating because it doesn't happen regularly. Very often he's ready to "go" only after he's all dressed and ready to step out for playschool, shoes, socks n all. AND frustrating because he's the kind of toddler that poops several times a day.

I had been warned that boys are very different with their poop routines and frequencies than girls, but I had brushed it all aside as gender-biased talk. But damn! The grandmothers are always right. Boys do poop very often -- at least Sonny is out to prove that theory.

Or it was the other extreme for a few months where he would not go for many days.

Both situations can be equally frustrating. And to beat it all, I have my grandmother constantly admonishing me for cribbing so much about Sonny's Poop Policy. "He's just a kid. Kids do a lot of kakka, it's good," she'll shake her head and say.

And so it was that Saturday morning shone bright and early. On pre-school going days, I've to shake him up and wake him, cuddle him, mollify him, listen to him answer bleary eyed that "sleep's not over yet". Ya he says that!

Soon after poop time, it was puzzle time! Yay yay yipeee! He wouldn't let me sleep after cleaning up. His logic: "I'm done with sleep!" Hah!

Oh to be a child again, and on the other side of the fence.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Strategies to avoid sleep: A two-year-old's tactics

1. Pull out a set of puzzles and scatter them quickly on the floor. Then look distraught that all the pieces are...oh-my-god mixed up! Whaaaaa "Mummy let's seperate them!"
2. Oh my God it's time for bed? Lemme think...ummm "Mummy, kakka!" Mummy runs, gets potty. Sonny Boy spends at least 20 minutes saying "It's coming it's still coming..." and while we wait for the poop to arrive, we sing rhymes. In teh bathroom, it's the perfect time to play with water. Get clothes wet. It take mummy more minutes to change clothes then.
3. "Mummy keep the milk coupon." Then run away to the kitchen and run into the apartment foyer as soon as door is opened to keep milk bag with coupon.
4. "Daddy let's play dash-dash". Daddy is of course pleased son's asking him to play with him. He will play.
5. "I want to listen to music...."
6. "Let's read a story"
7. If the room lights are switched off, "We'll go out...daddy's watching TV!"
8. Once we get past all this and the lights are finally out, and he's in bed, "Mummy I want water." Better still, "Mummy I want warm water...I'll come with you to the kitchen."

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Festival = food, festival = nostalgia

I swear I wait for festivals to come around mostly for the food it brings with it.

I'm so outright lazy I'll never really cook any of it on my own. But honestly, I don't see the need to, because there are so many generous people around me, piling on the gorgeous fried and sweet food, while I pile on the kilos.

And the first generous person who'll pamper me is mom. Who always invites us over for every festival in her own bastion. Again, I'm not complaining, because I get to enjoy so much food. And don't have to slog in the kitchen for it.

What i do miss, though, sometimes, is the nostagia attached to the process of making it. I still remember learning from my grandmother how to "seal" a kadubu or a modaka for Ganesha. Roll out the little ball of wheat-flour dough, pat on a bit of hoorna somewhat towards offcentre, carefully lift up one edge and pull one half of the dough over to the other edge. Seal the edge with a few dabs of water and then the tricky bit -- what my grandma called "murige haakodu" or literally pleating the edges. The dough had to be gently pinched and twists, and patted down and the whole process repeated all over the moon-shaped kadubu, each pleat folding into the next. It's quite crucial because if it's not sealed right, it breaks open and the hoorna remains uncooked. Over the years, i dare say i became an expert of this process. Provided my mom made the hoorna!! (Ya, ya laugh in my face.)

We usually steam it and not fry (the more popular variety). I used to take great pride in being given the responsibility to make these two dishes for the naivedya for Ganesha. I just don't know why, but this year, we didn't make it. It never struck me till last night and I haven't yet asked my mum "why?"

While I myself don't really cook festive specials, I still feel terrible when I don't get the homemade staples. It's rather rude and demanding of me, yes, but that's what they've made me used to ;-)

Another dish I miss at festivals now is the bhajji. On most festive occasions, we would fry bhajjis -- either potato, or heerekai (ridge gourd). We slowly stopped that saying fried food is not good for health; it's too tedious; there's so much other food anyway. Then slowly, after granny died we started outsourcing other festive food too. We would place orders and have them door delivered to save my mum the trouble.

I still have cousins who'll do the entire retinue of dishes for each festival without fail, and  feel terrible that i never got around to learning them. Still, I'm not exactly motivated to learn either. So i admire all those women/girls/moms who handle all other responsibilities and this too with aplomb.

Ganesha Chaturthi is also when i remember my dear neighbour who used to walk with her head bent the whole evening because then she would surely see the moon. It's a time to stop and wonder why no group of young kids come to "see" the Ganesha in your house, count them, say they are going to see at least 101, take prasada and go. This year, no one came to collect donation for putting up a Ganesha in any neighbouring street either. It's sad. This year, I didn't go to any of my relatives places either to see their Ganesha. I'm as much a part of the changing tide as the others are.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Fatherhood V/s Motherhood - The balance always tilts

Warning: This post is long. I'm feeling angsty and I've cried last night.

Just yesterday, I read this article (I've linked to it from Slate magazine - do read the dad's account) that I found on Technorati and was just feeling so good and miserable in turns. Good, that here are dads in Sweden who have the privilege of a year-and-half off on paternity leave (with pay) while my workplace even grudged me six months of maternity leave.

When I was pregnant, I surfed the Net and read of how countries like France, UK have a great cushioning system for women who have babies -- benefits, long paid leave, money, and post-delivery recovery therapy and all that jazz -- I was envious. I was at that time haggling with office and negotiating how long I get to take off. Without getting fired.

And then there was the husband, whose company gave him two weeks of paternity leave. I was overjoyed. From what I knew, most workplaces in India don't have a paternity leave policy. Two weeks it would be, I decided -- good for him to get to know the reality of raising the teeny-weeny baby. Hah! He was back in office after 10 days, saying "I have some important work". And once he went back to work, he couldn't stay nights with me (I was at mom's) because if he couldn't sleep at night, he couldn't work in the morning.

Hah! (Ya one more big hah!) Because even if I was up most of the night feeding the brat and trying to lull his bawling, I had to be up in the morning doing the same. And my mum couldn't particularly help in the matter. And poor groggy eyed dad would take over in the wee hours of the morning, holding the wide awake Sonny Boy. Days went by as if my sole purpose in life was to feed; "cow duty" as my friend tacitly put it.

So there I was, handling the waily Sonny Boy all by myself through the night (he wouldn't sleep more than 1.5 hours at a stretch; and he would BF for 1.5 hours when he would wake up!!!) The few times during the day when he would sleep for more than two hours at a stretch, I would use to bathe, eat, watch a few minutes of TV and just as I would think, "I'll catch a few winks", Sonny was up and bawling again.

So I cursed and cursed and cursed husband dear. And generally anybody (visitors and relatives) who asked me in the morning "Did he sleep well last night? Did he let you sleep?" They seemed most sadistic, these people.

Anyway, I'm digressing.

The point is, after I read this article yesterday, I went to my mom's place last evening. Husband said "Let's wind up here fast and go home early. I have some work." (On the way back from work we pick up Sonny from Mom's). As soon as we arrived, Husband, as usual, settled himself on the sofa, watching TV. Sonny boy welcomed me with a session of potty. I washed him, washed potty, got his clothes on (it's an exercise in futility as he hates wearing his clothes back on after potty).

I had to pack up his stuff for next day's playschool (it all comes to mom's from the school but he leaves home from our apartment in the morn, so logistics, logistics.)

All this while, Husband continued watching TV. Now, if I ask him to do this or that, I'm the nag. If I don't ask him to do this or that he won't do it because he says "You should tell me and I'll do it. I cant know on my own what to do"!!! So when he motioned to the clock in between all this to indicate that we were late, I lost it.

I blew up like a big bad volcano and told him that if he doesn't get off his ass to wash his son's bum, or even pack his son's shoes and bag, how the eff were we going to go on time? Of course he was offended. What is it they say? Offence is the best form of defence.

How come, I have to, despite having almost equally long house of work, come back home and on some sort of remote control mode go about the packing, going home, heating food, feeding business, while it doesn't occur to him he can very well do the same? What reaction would I have got if I had just sat down with a magazine to unwind, instead of doing all that I did?

And I went home and wept like silly. All the while thinking of dads in Sweden who pack lunches, take the kids to park, take them in the stroller play with them -- all on their own and all consistently for months together. This doing things voluntarily and consistently, from the heart for your own child is not my man's thing, I'm beginning to believe. (Moreover I had also read a blog by this Indian dad blogger Naveen Bachwani who seems so clued into his fatherhood mode and has even converted his blog into a book! So it only rubbed in the salt deeper into my wounds.)

I'm not wanting to bracket all men together, but the Indian male psyche is tuned to an approach towards fatherhood, where they think what they should really do is thump their chest and show off their son to all and sundry. Or offer to watch the child a day (when he already has a holiday) so wife can spend some "me" time or girl time with friends, and then go around bragging about it. Or use it in every argument in future about "helping raise the baby", saying "Don't i stay with him on saturdays?" or some such. Again, I'm putting my disclaimer here. Not all Indian men may be like that.

Just my luck that I'm stuck with one. And all the "nice" dads i see happen to be friends' husbands.

Ok after all this rambling and venting all I'm trying to say is look at the difference -- in approach to fatherhood. Look at the kind of different role expectations men seem to have of "us" and "them". At the end, both of us together are supposed to be "parents" isn't it? But why then, this sort of dramatic imbalance in roles?

Monday, September 6, 2010

Just how how the world do kids know

1. When to trouble mummy -- when she's already troubled most
2. When mummy will give in to the most unreasonable of demands easily
3. That all things unhealthy taste wonderful and one must be open to such foods always, even if you know     how to clam your mouth tight when you see vegetables.
4. When you've changed the diwan sheets because the guests are coming, so they should spill something on it to leave a mark
5. What exactly to say after they've behaved badly to make mummy's heart melt into one gooey motherly mess
6. How to promise that they'll never do something again, only to repeat it within minutes, and still get away with it?
7. That they'll get the toy they want in the shop by saying just the right dialogue with the perfect expression.
8. That mummy is not really sleeping but pretending to, so that THEY sleep fast, and we can go and sneak off to do other things?
9. That the "uncle" and "aunty" on TV are doing "something" that requires them to look up from whatever they are doing and change their tone of talk instantly?
10. That the best way to stop mummy from feeding them any food is to either threaten to vomit, or actually vomit some? But never feel that way when just seconds later, they see chips?
11. That when you want some things badly you'll surely get it from daddy or grandpa when mummy won't give in
12. How to switch off the TV or change channels even before they learn to say they're going to pee
13. That when you say "You can't have this", you don't really mean it
14. Where to find the dust and dirt in your house and put their fingers in it when you think everything's clean
15. That certain antics of their, however often repeated, will make you smile, however terrible a mood you are in
16. Bad words from good, and the impact of negative words on you
17. How to be single minded in the pursuit of anything -- be it an ant or a game of cricket they want -- NOW
18. how to say something is "cute" even before they know what the hell it means
19. what intonations an variations in pitch to use when they are saying certain things even when they are struggling to pronounce most of it?
20. That they can delay going to a place they don't want to go to by saying "potty" just as you are all dressed up and ready to step out.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Hallelujah and hooray -- a no-howl haircut

I did a little gig today sitting at the neighbourhood beauty parlour. Sonny Boy had his hair cut without much protest. Yipeee! I'm finally there. Now THIS is a milestone in my toddler's development.

All you moms whose kids just sat quiet at the first cut, congrats, you lucky bums!

But I had to wait these live long two years for him to understand that the lady with the smile and scissors wasn't going to cut off his ears or head. I couldn't figure out what his problem was at all. I don't think he could figure out what his problem was with having his hair cut. Except, that he didn't want it cut at all.

As it is, I take him to the parlour so rarely -- i wait till the hair grows into his ears and i can put little pigtails on his sideburns and a million other pigtails on his head. Not that he'll allow a rubberband anywhere near him. That's just how I measure my life -- in rubberbands, and not in coffee spoons.

I dreaded going to the parlour  because I felt like some Sumo wrestler. The sweet aunty at my parlour who consented to do the cut was always cheerful. But I pitied her because she was always so worried she would nick or cut him. And she always felt bad because he looked like a little red tomato, mid-cut, from all his protests and howling, with tears streaming down the face mixed with a sprinkling of hair.

The first time round, when i sat with him on my lap, he so freaked out and kicked and trashed about, five aunties at the parlour had to hold on to him. (I didn't have the guts to cut his hair at home. I tried showing him another kid who was getting his hair cut....but nothing really prepared him for his first.) I always take him at non rush-hour times (on week days) when there's no other customer around who'll be petrified at the sight or will perhaps, chide me for being bad mom, or him for being a bad boy.

With each cut, the strength with which he protested and the extent to which he protested came down gradually.
Even this morning, as I prepared him, he started whining and then quickly did his "I don't want a haircut" bawl. He even made a last-ditch attempt to tide over the situation by promising me he'll have his hair cut with grandpa. (Knowing how soft grandpa feels when he sees him cry, they'll probably run out of the men's salon even before the cut). Which is why he wanted top go with grandpa!!

After he was tucked into the little cape, he cried for a minute and then suddenly said "It doesn't hurt!" in such shock and surprise. Gawwwd it took him so many cuts to realise no one was killing him.

But honestly, was just thinking, how it must appear to the tiny li'l tot -- this whole unnecessary exercise of cutting hair -- with these large people looming over him, smiling and grinning, holding things he's forbidden from touching. Must be instilling some strange fears in them. Poor things.

But we've done it today. Hoooraaaay and yipeeeeee. Hopefully, he'll continue his "good boy" and "big boy" act at the next salon appointment too. Maybe next time, grandpa can take him to the men's salon.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Things fall apart, the centre does not hold

Or should I say the mind falls apart, the body does not hold

I'm in a blur today
Life is a blur today
My head is throbbing like I have a hangover. But I don't.
I've just been randomly swimming through the day, zombie-eyes, zombie-faced and zombie-minded.

All because of one dose of strong antihistamine last night.
My allergic rhinitis was triggered off so bad last night, I'm still aching from the 50 odd sneezes that I did sneeze in a span of three hourst.
As a last resort, took an antihistamine and it kicked in after an hour and oh boy is my head bobbing today. My neck feels like I've been carrying a plough on it for ages. My eyes need matchsticks (Tom N Jerry style) to keep them open and me awake.

I don't know what I'm writing, but I feel like writing, because I want to write it all off my head, and not go back home with more swimming floating thoughts.

I know I'll be ok by tomorrow but it's so horrible to not have your wits around you to tackle simple tasks in a day. I hate it.

Why are we expected to function to full capacity everyday? Day after day? How come it's on bad days like this that you have enough work to last you three days but a deadline that says "now"? I could use lots of cheering up but so could everyone else at work I suppose. We are all so trapped at our terminals and wallowing in our own miserable sorrowful lives.

Eeeks I sound depressed...maybe I am. Maybe I'm not. Maybe just disoriented. Tired. Sleepy. Needing rest. Needing a break.

Uff this kind of writing is triggering off memories of college and a lecturer who taught us writing by "free association". I think that's what I'm doing today, now. Writing reams and reams of whatever is coming to my head....not good, not good when it's all so negative and i-don't-know-what. Does anyone else have such days or am I the only loser?

Ok time to sign off...whatever!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

When the milk of motherly kindness boils over...and singes

There have simply been too many days this past week that I've hated being a mother.
Honestly, don't tell me you haven't had one of those "moments" when you've plain and simple just hated your child. (Ok hating being mom and hating your child are two different things directed at two different people but so intrinsically linked, I don't think you can separate the hatred, specially when you're upset.)
Of course one is so shocked by the thought that you suddenly bring yourself out of it, admonish yourself, say a little prayer to be forgiven for such unimaginable thoughts, and go give your little one a hug.

But that one moment of hatred is intense.
It's triggered most in me when Sonny Boy has his "I want this, I want it now, I want this only and now only...whaaaaaaa baaaaaah" even before I can minimally respond to it. I call this his ziddi avatar, his stubborn  and unreasonable self that takes over his personality every once in a few days. Or as I look back now every few hours in a day.

First I wanted to blame it on his series of illness, his discomfort, his frustration at being confined to the home.
But sometimes I think it's inexcusable. He just starts off without warning, tugs at me, hits me, hits some furniture inevitably in the process...and just won't listen.

My point is if I said no to something, he could THEN cry and protest. The very asking is done wrong, which is so pissing off. I don't expect a two-year-old to be very reasonable, but watching nursery rhymes on DVD all day when I'm home is quite ridiculous and unacceptable.

He refuses his toys, won't play on his own. Will play only if I join him. I thought kids could manage at this age about 20 minutes of play by themselves, at least that's what I remember Dr. Spock's as saying. I have a huge bin of toys for him, then there are books, colours, lots of paper. I even replace old books/toys with new ones so he won't get bored. But no! He must have rhymes, over and over and over again.

There are times when I feel I want to throw him out of the window, make him invisible, make him vanish for a few moments. I feel so guilty having these thoughts. But then I'm glad I have them, because this overwhelming sense of horribleness takes over that I'm being so mean to a small little creature that didn't exactly choose to be here. I brought him here so I better just learn to calm him down.

Then again, I have a problem with all parenting sites that tell you to calm a child using various methods -- distract them with something else (he's crying so loud and clinging to my feet so hard I can't move and he can't hear), be calm, count to 10 or sing (hmmppph if i could be calm i would be world's best mum and hah! sing???!!! i want to scream too). And when you are frustrated and tired after a day's work, a sudden slap delivered on his bottom gets things out of your system and shocks the hell out of the kiddo -- i mean he gives me this "What?you actually it me?!" look and i think he stops crying half out of shock/surprise.

I always think this process is like this huge pot of milk kept on boil. As the milk heats up, it rises and for some time it forms a puffed up creamy cloud on top of the pot (if you're on sim!) but if you're on full flame, it just boils over the top, falls on the flame, singes and smells and sets alarms off in your mind.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

How to entertain a sick child


Ok, I'm beginning to think I'm an expert on this subject now, considering how easily my Sonny Boy falls ill. And this past one week has been quite a lesson for me and I hope i can put it down so even others find some solace in it, god forbid, if they find themselves in such corners. I guess most of my suggestions would apply to toddlers rather than older children. And more so if you are in a confined space and need some activity to keep your kids going.

1. The beginning of the day is when a sick child perhaps has the most energy, so save any kind of physical activity for then.
2. When i say physical activity, I mean within the constraints of the illness and depending on how willing the child is to play.
3. A little bit of cricket in the hall with a plastic ball (so your TV wont get hit!) or playing catch is not too bad an idea (if you are not to take him/her outdoors/ bad weather/ fever). It's a bit of running around and working up of appetite for lunch. Otherwise they are too inactive to feel any hunger. A bad thing when they also need to stomach medicine.
4. A spot of TV or nursery rhymes mid morning will keep them entertained without you necessarily involved, so you can get some work done around the place.It also offers them rest after some playing about.
5. Save story-telling, showing pictures in a book or reading from it for the sleepy afternoon. Or if you like, make it some favourite song. Something soothing after some harsh medicine and just before snooze time to keep illness-induced nightmares at bay during an afternoon nap.
6. Post-sleep they may feel a bit "up to it". But may still have some sleep hangover. Colouring should wake them up, and yet not tire them out. It's a good time to bring out the toy bin too.
7. If your toddler or child fancies them, simple jigsaw puzzles they themselves can put together is another great way to keep them entertained during illness.
8. Buy a small new toy or book to take away boredom and monotony. It will create enough curiosity to kill a few more hours.
9. Clay/playdough, a bit of gummy atta...maybe even scissors and paper (for older kids) -- something to keep their itching-to-do-something hands busy.
10. Favourite toys/dolls should be around during illness -- they can be great comforters.
11. When children are sick, I believe they like to be kissed and cuddled. And we all know of the healing power of touch. So just cuddle up, take them in your lap and maybe sing an old song grandma or mom sang for you. Or tell them a story they don't have in their books.
12. Any sort of sorting game may also keep them occupied. Just a few coins and two tumblers or bowls to put them in as they count, or pour from one to another -- they also love the noise it makes!
13. If they are not tired from a fever, you could just blow up a few balloons for him/her to monkey around with -- the colour is good on the eyes, and a bit of noise will hopefully not make them cranky.
 14. Peek a boo played in nooks of the house I think also cheers them up.
15. For a change you can be the TV. Act out rhymes and see their joy when mom/dad begin goofing around trying to imitate "Goosey gander" or "Teddy bear".
16. And if they are not feeling up to sound/noise, movement. just sit them in bed and do the eternal fav -- blow bubbles.

As you may have well guessed, these are mostly things I've been doing with Sonny Boy this last week.And as I put it down, I've realised there are some more things I can still do.
Finally, as much as we may plan and decide, when they are ill, kids will want and have their way. So if they want to watch TV when you are free to do puzzles with them, god save us moms!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Doffing my hat to stay-at-home mums

Honestly, how do you do it? It's a plain simple question. Please don't read any meanness into it.

I'm quite a workaholic and in my 10-year career I must have taken a max of 10 days off every year for some sort of "enjoyment". Most of my leave gets gobbled up by sickness.

Sonny Boy's bout of chicken pox has grounded me, and poor him of course, for almost a week now. Not easy for me. Not easy for him either. Specially so, since I haven't stepped out of the less than 1,000 sq apartment in all these days, except one. And that has a disastrous effect on me. I'm feeling like a caged animal, puffing and huffing and walking up and down my cage in rage. My wings have been clipped. My feet tied. It's just that I'm so used to being away from home for at least seven hours a day for the last 10 years of my life! Of course I can at least vent all this here.

Poor Sonny is taking it out in tantrums. Understandable. I mean what kid would want to be in a confined space? But for his sake and for other's, we must be isolated :-(.

Which brings me to admire stay at home mums or SAHM. Wow! It must be crazy, to be doing so much work (that goes unappreciated mostly I think), and to be taken for granted. Hubby now comes from office and expects me to make tea, because I've been home all day anyway. Else, we would both get back from work after having stopped for a quick chai somewhere on the way.

I find it difficult not to have people to talk to. Yes, the phone is there, the Internet is there. But I crave humans like vampires crave blood. Face to face interaction. I crave to write. I crave to speak and be heard.
I don't think I'll get back to work another two days and the thought is making me morbid with fear. I've realised I have a fear of staying home.

I'm making extra food, because I'm home and it's like I feel obliged that because I'm home, I must pitch in with that little extra effort in the kitchen. Uff...I'm sounding all messed up.

I'm also getting worried because I'm worrying so much about me, and so little about Sonny, who, in fact, is in far more a mess. He can't meet grandpa, he cant walk in grandpa's garden -- two things he most loves.  feel terrible for him.

I found my mother selfish when, once, soon after i forced her to retire after having worked well over 30 years, she turned around one day and told me i had robbed her of as life. Now i understand what she means. I was a student then, and hadn't a clue about the like of a working woman.

There's so much to do at home, so much to constantly keep doing. When I'm at work, I switch off the home button. But at home you can never do that. I've hardly got to see any TV or read books I've been longing to read. I have no time to myself.If that's the life of a SAHM, god, I don't want it. (Again no offence meant to such mothers. My respect for you has gone up several thousand notches this past week.)

I'm bored, almost depressed, dying to go out, shop, eat at a restaurant, just chat with ol friends...even colleagues will do anyone out there?????

Friday, August 20, 2010

What 'been there done that' really means

It's not really until you actually go through an experience that you get to know what really it entails.

Like, for example, unless someone real close to you has died, you never get to actually know what that sorrow is like. You can empathise with a friend who has lost a dear one, but there is still a barrier.You feel so lame once you really know what it is, compared to what you were thinking it was.

That's the same, I'm beginning to believe, with other life experiences as well.

Only when you've landed thud in a terrible sort of way, splitting your legs in the long jump pit at school, twisting your waist in an odd angle, do you know what thigh pain is all about.

Not until you've hurled abuses at your boss, who first hurled abuses at you across an open office space where everyone froze do you know what humiliation is all about.

Not until you've shat in Nature's garden on a hillside, surrounded by blood-sucking leeches crawling in upon you, with one mug of water precariously sitting on a stone near you, do you know what the comfort of home is like. Till then, I always thought, "What's the big deal about roughing it out?"

I always would think what the big deal was about becoming mothers. Everyone became a mother at some point in time, I assumed, by default. Motherhood also just happened by default and life would run its default course.

When I got married and a close cousin couldn't really participate in all the fun leading up to the wedding, saying she was busy with her five month old, I refused to believe her. I thought it was a silly excuse. It was only when I got invited out with a five month old in my arms, and was refusing to go most places, that i realised what it meant.

I was once shocked when a colleague said they never cooked at home. They simply ate out or ordered food in. Now I think they are very smart!

Every time i was refused a Sunday off at work because i was still single and dint need to have a family day, I fumed. What was the big deal about being married. Once I got married, I knew why that one day together was precious. But by then they denied me Sunday off saying, i didn't have a kid!! Now I know what that one bloody Sunday can do to your life. The ways of the world.

However much you think you know about some one's life and what they are going through, you are never even close to reality.

When someone says "My kid is ill" in office the next time, I'm going to have a lot more respect for them.

I mean, till i saw the blisters on Sonny Boy this week, i hadn't the foggiest notion what chicken pox looked like! I really hadn't bothered what to do in such a situation. Now I'm surfing the net, calling my aunts and friends, taking tips, making notes to myself.
Till Sonny Boy had torn through me and entered the world I couldn't really figure the big deal about labour and episiotomies. I mean, it was all this natural beautiful process, right?
Until i cleaned Sonny Boy's pee and poop minutes after few minutes in the initial three groggy months (after having decided to go all natural and use only cloth, no diapers), after his birth, motherhood was about pink toes, gurgles and smiles.

My cousin gave birth this morning to a baby girl. I'm overjoyed for her. But i also know what this gregarious beer and seafood loving girl is going to go through in the name of the traditional confinement, with very few foods "acceptable" and beer?? HAHA that would be blasphemy..... Because, I've been there done that.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Chicken pox for the brave soul

It's hell time again. Sonny Boy has chicken pox :-(
For a weepy mom like me there seems to be no dearth of reasons to cry and crib over.

But Sonny Boy is being a true Braveheart. TOUCH WOOD.
I can't take the sight, though. He's sleeping now and I'm so unused to being in a quiet house I had to come online.
He's breaking out in blisters in various parts in various stages. I really didn't think it would come like this.
It started like little pimples, or what could be easily be mistaken for heat boils and within 12 hours it had turned into mean looking lumpy boils. Now they look watery and ready to burst in some parts, some have blackened and scabbed.

He's trying his best to co-operate i guess, when i put some soothing calamine on the pimpernels. But today noon, he lost his cool and said he didn't want any more "cream". I'm dreading the itchy phase. Though, the PD has given him an anti-allergen to keep that minimal.

I so do hope that he tides over this one without too much pain or stress, though that's only wishful thinkin i guess. As of now, we are in our little fortress apartment in our attempt to isolate ourselves from others, though how one can prevent something that spreads quick through air is a mystery.

There's just a bit of sunshine right now peeping into the room and I like the reassuring feel of it. Wet cloudy days only have  an association of sickness for me.

I called my aunt who raised me along with grandmum to check if I'd had pox as a kid. Doc says if you've had it once chances of your getting it are lesser. He asked me to keep Sonny away from my ageing parents -- apparently they are more susceptible now and can lead to hospitalisation for them because it can get complicated.And what he craves most in sickness is his grandpa...this is gonna be tough. I know he's going to wake up in the next fifteen minutes ans start asking or rather badgering me to go to Grandpa's. Sigh!!

Apparently three per cent of children get chicken pox despite vaccination. Sonny Boy had to be part of it! Damn!
There's no real medicine to treat it, so all we can do is soothe him whatever way possible, distract him from scratching himself, and get him to eat (his appetite's gone missing). So there...

I'm beginning to think it's such an ordeal to raise one little imp, who's always sick, getting into trouble, wounding himself. I wonder how our grandmoms had so many and never really complain much about them during childhood. But they also had joint families that took care of the kids -- my grandmom says she never fed any of her five kids after they were one! They were made to sit with older siblings in the joint family in a line, and they had no choice but to eat like the others did. Wow.  Sometimes they ate, many times they just played with their food. But they all seem to have turned out fine.

I'm beginning to think motherhood really is about attitude. And like with all other things, each of us have our own highly individual and stylised approach, even if we don't see it that way. Oh there's so much to learn in much to learn with each blooming pox boil and each darkening scab.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Peepli Live - REVIEW Don't you dare miss it!

Let me be honest. The only reason I went to see Peepli Live today morning was because Aamir Khan produced it. Strange reason to watch a movie, yes. But not for me, because I believe the quirky man has a nose for good things -- he can smell out a good story.

And he's made an effort to market it well, the marketing maverick he's proving to be. (Imagine, my mum who's so not into films recalled the film's title from trailers she'd seen on TV; she doesn't even watch much TV!)

Peepli Live is a story that has to be told, that must be told, so that people don't forget the lives of other fellow people. How you do the telling, makes a big difference. And that is where Anusha Rizvi (a former journalist) and the film's director gets my appreciation. For a first film, it's a very bold and risky one. Because I'm not too sure if satire goes down well with audience. And that's too when it's so dark and deep like in Peepli Live.

If you were told it was a film on farmer's suicides and how the country's farmers are forced out of an agrarian way of life, would you bother watching the film? Which is what is the crux of the movie. But it has been ensconced very finely in a razhai of the mockery called the media/news and the world of netagiri/babudom.

I'm from the media, and watching the film was a sadistically joyous affair, as I spotted all resemblances to news anchors/journalists/channels. But what worried me about the film was, again, the approach. People in the audience (at the theatre) were so busy laughing at the numerous digs taken at the media, I hope in all the humour, they didn't lose out on the layer that dealt with the gory reality of farmers, their living conditions, their concerns, which are all so neatly interwoven into the narrative. It's not the come-look-here-and-weep-at-my-poverty kind of portrayal of rural poverty. Peepli Live is not thumping its chest saying 'I'm dealing with a serious issue here'. And therefore it becomes very entertaining.

But overall, the approach works, and Peepli Live clicks as a black comedy -- it makes you laugh, and it makes you uncomfortable and uneasy -- at the same time. That's good. You don't leave the cinema hall weepy. But at the same time, Anusha Rizvi and her entire cast have jabbed you several times in the heart, rather forcefully. With guilt.

Guilt that you know farmers are dying every day and are unable to really do anything about it yourself. And that we are treating it like an everyday affair. That in a news channel's order of headlines, Shilpa Shetty figures way on top compared to "another farmer suicide today".

Omkar Das and Raghuvir Yadav as the central characters -- the farmer brothers -- anchor the film brilliantly. Omkar Das is so real, you can't believe he's an actor! And Raghuvir Yadav always seems to match his performances with better ones whenever he's given the scope and character. The pain and anguish on his face, the helplessness had my stomach in knots.

The entire cast of the film is, to say repetitively, brilliant. Almost all are fairly newcomers. The small town newspaper reporter Rakesh (actor Nawazuddin) plays conscience-keeper of the film with great import. And together with Omkar Das, I feel, they form the soul-pair of Peepli Live.

The English and Hindi news channel reporters, can be seen as case studies -- they are real, they may be stereotypical, but bloody hell, they are the window to the REAL and NASTY world of the media. They are so believable.

The songs are beautifully stylised and shot with gusto, but for once, they never interfere with your enjoyment of the film.

You must go watch the film to see how all these people come together to make you laugh uproariously and yet, also leave you feeling ashamed that this is how the lives of many of our fellow countrymen unfolds. While we sit and watch them go by, with maybe a Coke and popcorn in our hands.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Why was I raised like a daughter-son, only to be expected to behave like a daughter?

It's strange, the way I'm feeling these days.

I am an only child. That in itself says a lot about me to a lot of people.
My parents let me have such a great life -- they let me make all the big decisions in my life, I had my own room on the terrace with an independent entrance when i was in high school (can you imagine?!), i was riding the bicycle to school when i was know.

I always was the centre of all attention. I lazed on the sofa watching TV or reading and things were brought to me. I was pampered silly. I was taken on lovely vacations, i was bought things. I decided what clothes i got on my birthday and what clothes i got on my parents' birthdays. I WAS BOSS.

I got to choose my career, my husband, ....i mean almost everything i wanted i had it before i could say yes. My dad even bought me a car when i graduated! And i didn't even want one.

And now, I'm expected to naturally be so responsible, running my house smooth as silk, juggling my career, hosting parties, taking leave for poojas, taking ma-in-law shopping, keeping tracks if parents are going for their blood tests. I'm expected to keep tabs if things are there in the fridge, keep a tab on all groceries, stock up when husband comes back into town, keep tab of his vaccinations and doctor's appointments, clean the floor of crayons, lock the windows when hubby goes out of town (i run away to mom's!), know which medicine to give Sonny Boy for what, always cut his nails, tackle his tantrums, ....jeez. These are things i never did.

How am i expected to make this transformation so easily, like it's the only natural thing to do. In fact I've my older sisters (cousins) have always preached: "Necessity is the mother of invention...when the pressure falls on your head, you'll do it all." I mean, why do WE have to? We women?

Why can't men also easily make these transitions? It's made out to be like we have no choice but they have. It's ok if my husband still throws wet towels on the bed, but not if I did it. NO SIR. then i would be setting a bad example for the child, and who will pick up after me anyway? It's ok for him to come home straight from work and plonk in front of the TV, but I have to first run to the kitchen, put out the food, get dinner going?

A man can pick up his life at any point and at at any time and just move on. While i have plodded through pregnancy, delivery, post-partum, motherhood and working mom, husband just gets to live the life of a man. Life's unfair. So what's new?

But then, why raise me like a son? Really? Only to be reminded by the people and things around me at the end of the day that I'm after all expected to be just the daughter, and not the daughter-son I was raised to be?

PS: My dad was so busy celebrating his grandson's birthday he even FORGOT to wish me on my birthday.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Birthday with great-grandmas, balloons, chaat and a 100 people!

Oooooh and I'm back. I'M BACK I'M BACK.

Haven't blogged in sooo long, I'm itching to say soo much. Aaaaaaaaahaa. I think I had withdrawal symptoms.

Sonny Boy's second year birthday bash finally happened (i never did anything for his first year because i thought he would just bawl his head off). So that's where I was slogging my ass off the whole of last week. First, on his actual birthday, we had both sets of grandparents over for dinner at the apartment and I cooked.

And then we threw a party for all those who were dying for us to throw them a party! After five days. To make matters complicated, we had to host the party on my birthday (yes! my husband lives with two Leos). After Hubby cancelled out the first date (he had to travel on work) after the caterers had been fixed, we had to reschedule, find a new caterer, and get things going all over again. So we couldn't invite people till the food was confirmed! It was going to be a chatpata chaat party. Our guest list numbered 125 (yes, we're bloody ambitious).

That was just the beginning of things going wrong. Asked dad to fix up the shamiana because the party was on my parents' house terrace. He got conned into hiring one that the guys said was water-proof. Hah! The rain gods decided to bless us. It poured at the party. Needless to say, the shamiana leaked.

There they were -- my parents' relatives, hubby's relatives, our common friends, a few colleagues, former classmates, cousins, nieces, nephews, and some of Sonny's friends all standing shoulder to shoulder, huddled up under the sheltered area, clinging on to their food! I spent most of my birthday running up and down the stairs, wiping off wet chairs after it stopped pouring, and passing the cake and sweets around. Phew!

Oh and to put the icing on the cake, the power promptly went off for an hour!! A second batch of guests had to eat in stand-by lighting. Hah! All these days there was no rain and power cuts. But what must be must be. We had to have those two slaps placed propah on our cheeks, together.

If you want to know how NOT to throw a party, ask me. I know now! I mean we settled on a do-it-yourself home thingie after we figured out that hiring a party hall and hosting a dinner was way beyond our budget. BUT, and it's a BIG BUT. There's a point to that pricing. I mean i could have comfortably stood, swathed in silk at the entrance of the hotel hall, lording over the guests, smiling and saying my welcome, and actually chatting with them if I'd gone ahead with Plan A.

But now friends are calling up to say they had fun. That the rain offset the spicy chaat and it was a good excuse for getting into a huddle and gossip. Ok, I'm glad I have nice friends who say that to make me feel better about the fiasco. But I was so miserable that night.

Sonny Boy was the charmer, though. Never once cried, except when his paediatrician turned up to wish him!!! Hahaha that was hilarious. Embarrassing for the doc, though. Sonny just shook hands with everyone, played with balloons, loved his elephant cake, and ate puffed rice straight off the chair (yuck, but i had no time to stop him from doing that). He loved it when everyone sang "Happy Birthday..." . He grabbed up all the gifts with gusto. He even sang for me that morning when I told him it was my birthday too. He was an angel. Touch Wood. For once! He loved the fact that his former nanny came to wish him. He was thrilled with the presence of so many kids. He loved the attention and fussing.

OK, so about 20 people didn't turn up. Not bad considering it was pouring crazy. And we invited everyone pretty late in the day. But it wasn't so bad after all, I thought. Sonny spent the second year's beginning with four great-grandmums (yes, we're a LARGE family), his grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, friends, masks, balloons, buntings, much noise and music, and of course his favourite -- grandpa.

My sanity's now restored, and after a weekend of opening presents (including a gazillion CARS), I'm back, slogging away at the workplace.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

With Ravi Baswani's death, it's the end of a generation of comedians in Bollywood who didn't have to try too hard to be funny

Making people laugh isn't easy. If you've tried it, specially at a gathering, you'll know. Unless you're one of those brilliant stand up and improv comedians.

When it comes to Bollywood movies, I think the subtlety is lost. It's very often loud, slapstick and a grating delivery of dialogues that our Hindi films try to pass off as comedy. I mostly squirm when our films attempt it. I'm not being mean here to an industry i dote on. It's just that I think we're not very good with the comic element.

I hate it most when actors make the jokes and then laugh at them themselves! That's supposed to be a cue for audience to laugh, i guess (duh!!) but it falls so flat on its face.

I also hate it when at a theatre, the audience is howling with laughter, holding their stomachs and doubling up and I'm feeling cheesed off. I mean, I doubt sometimes if I'm human at all. (When most in the theatre are crying, I'm often all giggly).

Most of us from my generation must have watched "Chashme Baddoor" and "Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron" and laughed and smiled, watching it every single time it came on TV. What makes Baswani different was that we laughed at his comic timing, we laughed at the situations and dialogues. We did not laugh at him.

In Bollywood, comedians were laughed at because they were fat. That's what happened to Tun Tun most often. People just saw her come on to the screen and laughed at her. They equated being fat with being laughable at. Then there was the comedian Lilliput who was supposed to inspire laughs because he was short. Most of the jokes/dialogues were about such physical attributes of the actors.

Let's admit it, (may his soul rest in peace) that Baswani wasn't exactly good looking. He also had a bit of cross-eye, something that he could have allowed directors to bank on or he could have used himself. But he didn't. He wasn't funny because of the way he looked. He genuinely had a comic sense, brought out excellently by directors like Sai Paranjpe and Kundan Shah.

I'm not one who subscribes to Priyadarshan's brand o slpastick over-the-top humour. I hate it when Paresh Rawal screams his dialogues (he's immensely talented, yes, but hie's equally great with emotional roles). I hate it even more when Akshay Kumar laughs that incredulous stupid laugh of his. I could never stand Jagdeeps' double entendre and loud jokes either in the films of yore. Even Lakshmikant Berde became unbearable with his exaggeration.

I'm no expert on films, and I can't give a point-by-poinbt criticism here. But all I'm saying is that there are very few comedians we've had who were great, individually, as well as in groups. They were offset by teh humour, chemistry and comic timing of another co-actor who held up their talent for us to see -- Satish Shah, Shafi Inamdar, Swaroop Sampat, Farooq Sheik, Rakesh Bedi, Deepti Nvl, Kader Khan (sometimes). But most of these people worked for me because of those around groups. Yes, Farooq and Deepti can't be termed comedians, but if you put these names together you know what kind of movies I'm talking about.

I could appreciate Johnny Lever only on some stage shows, never in films. Anupam Kher, I still believe is best at human, normal, emotional roles. Keshto Mukherjee just tripped on drunken humour.

Amitabh Bachchan (esp. "Chupke Chupke") and Aamir Khan have some good comic timing.

Whew...ok this is too longish a post. I hate reading them, I'm sure you do too. So I'll stop just liek that. Peace to Ravi Baswani.