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November 17, 2015


Nothing like a little bit of fandom to make one start blogging again! :) A very sweet person recognized Antu and asked me if I was Boo at a local fest last month and thanks to her, I realized I have been missing to report here for a very long time and there was loads to tell. Thanks, S. Lets meet soon.

So heres the update:


Was spent in India. Four hectic weeks of fun, fun and more fun. In fact we had so much fun that Antu managed to swallow a 50 paisa coin five minutes before we were about to leave Kumbakonam. God, that girl would do anything to have her way! We ran to the doctor and to the X ray place and after lots of juice and bananas, it finally came out of her system 2 days later. Until then, I had to answer everyone and their Athimber's "vandhuduthaa, vandhuduthaa" question a million times! Even Kamal did nt have so much trouble releasing Viswaroopam, I tell you!


First grade and fifth grade! Why do kids grow up so fast? Antu is having a gala time in big school and as luck would have it, the girl who lives downstairs is also in her class. So they both are two peas in a pod now. Ashu is at the stage where friends mean everything. And she has been nagging me for an iPhone! "All my friends have one, Amma!" sigh. 


Things have been crazy in Boodom thanks to back to back festivals. As usual, we made Ganeshas for Pillyar Chathurthi and had loads of fun. My parents arrived in October and I decided this is the year I am going to keep my debut Golu and went all out on it. Luckily, the kids were on a Fall Break and they had a great Navarathri. I pretty much had an open house on all the 9 days and it felt like being back in India with people dropping in and out all day long. And of course, before we could dismantle the Golu padi, Deepavali arrived and we have been on an eating marathon for the past two weeks with back to back parties. Mom and dad are so happy to have visited during this time and are having a great time meeting people. The weather has also been great so far. I took my parents shopping and bought them clothes for Deepavali. Circle of life, as Mustafa says!

Belated Deepavali wishes folks! 

July 10, 2015

Bye Bye, Kiga. 2 & Klasse. 4

Antu says bye bye to Kindergarten finally and will get to First Grade at the grand old age of seven. She has attended play groups and pre schools and kindergarten for the past 5 years that it feels like forever! Not that I did nt enjoy it. She has been so sad to leave KG and her fantastic teacher that I would gladly make her repeat another year in KG just to hold onto this stage of her life. She had a sleepover in KG last night and I walked her to school at 7 pm with a sleeping bag and a pillow with a lump in my throat. She has had the most exciting two years in KG and not for one day did she ever say that she does nt want to go to school. Even on weekends, she used to whine that she's missing school! She has a huge group of friends in the neighborhood and had a great birthday party at home last month. She is super excited to walk to school with Ashu from August and it is giving me sleepless nights that she has to leave 25 minutes earlier than she does now. *gulp*

Ashu completes 4th grade today and I am having a panic attack and had tears in my eyes when she walked off to school this morning.  She has truly enjoyed this year even though she did sulk a bit in the mornings. She had a super duper birthday party with school friends at a water park. The last few months, lots of the incoming phone calls are for Ashu and she's always planning something with her friends. The big milestone was when she went to a movie with just her friends and one of the moms dropped and picked them up. She felt so grown up! One of her friends comes home every morning and walks with her to school. The whole class is going to Lucerne today to celebrate the last day of school and she will be back late evening. And just like that, another school year has gone by.

June 27, 2015


 Dear Antu,

Where do I begin? Words fail me. When I think about you, I usually roll my eyes or sigh heavily or smile to myself or laugh out loud and feel the heaviness in my heart from the overflowing love. You can get away with anything in this household and you know it. Sometimes I want to take Ashu aside and tell her "Watch and learn. This is how you get what you want." But square peg, round hole and all that, I guess! Thank you Antu for being you and teaching me one or two things about getting your way but still making the people around you happy. Its a talent I sorely lack. 

You adore your sister and can't live without her. Even though Ashu is at a stage where she wants nothing to do with you, you follow her around like a puppy. And its hard to ignore such devotion. You have a wonderful group of friends and you like everyone. Even for this years birthday party, you wanted to invite a big group because everyone is your best friend! You are a very confident child and usually do not care much about what other people think about you. You are extremely helpful and eager to please. The other day, the old lady who lives downstairs came up to give some chocolates to you because you always hold the door for her and help her. I was truly amazed. You literally can't even hurt a fly. We have to chase the bugs out of the window, not kill them. This one time, your father made the grave mistake of killing a spider and you cried buckets. And now you have a pet snail living in our balcony and I don't if it is payback for your dad but I can't even eat a damn salad these days without thinking about the poor snail! Please let him go.

You are crazy about books, music and puzzles. The centre table in our living room has been completely taken over by you for your puzzles and we have learnt to balance our tea cups around them! This one time, I even used a few pieces as a coaster but you were very disapproving! Every thing has to be just-so for you. You have a great dress sense and very coordinated. You are particular about hair styles and even socks. You change outfits so many times a day much to my annoyance. You are currently so obsessed with everything "Frozen" that its driving me crazy. You are having a Frozen themed party tomorrow and when I mentioned that its summer and we should have a summer party, you would nt listen. Of course as luck would have it, your aunt decides to surprise you by visiting and showed up today with a suitcase full of everything Elsa, Anna and Olaf and you are in a Frozen heaven now. Let it go has become my mantra these days. I wish I had my own castle to run away too!

You are so generous with your hugs and kisses and I love yous. I hope you never ever change and I even made you pinky swear that you will give me a hug whenever I want. You loved our recent trip to Majorca and I think I should prepare myself for the inevitable beach bum you are going to to turn out to be. But you want to be a cow girl and ride horses when you grow up! Guess  a career in giving horse rides for kids in Besant Nagar beach is your calling. Go for it, I say. As always, I become very emotional around your birthday but this time you strictly told me that you can't be a baby forever and you need to grow up and I should stop whining about it. Sigh. Happy 7th Birthday, Kannamma! Keep smiling. 



June 12, 2015


It was our 15th wedding anniversary last week. Fifteen! Feels like yesterday when I insisted I wanted pineapple rasam in my wedding menu. As usual, Hd and I started planning our anniversary trip months in advance. After exploring several options, including the Moon and the Mars, we got practical and decided on 4 days in Majorca. Except for Barcelona, we have nt been to Spain at all and it seemed like a good idea. And it was indeed a fantastic trip. The kids had a blast too. Ashu and I went Parasailing and it was amazing. We were total beach bums for a couple of days. Drove to Cap de Formentor one day and enjoyed the breathtaking views. 

Hd also gave me a huge surprise by giving me a little blue box! I almost fainted at the sight of the box tied up with the satin ribbon. Forget whats inside, just the box thrilled me to bits. Sigh! This is how labels and marketing affect the vulnerable, I guess. And I am not even a jewelry person. But then its Tiffanys, so there! :) 

Thank you, Hd. Love you loads. Heres to many more. And I don't mean just the anniversaries! ;)

April 27, 2015


Dearest Ashu,

10. A decade. Double digit. Wow! Did nt I just sit down and write your 9th birthday post like a month ago? You have grown so much taller in this one year that its not funny. You have gone like three shoe sizes up and two clothes sizes up in this year. I think you will very soon catch up to my shoe size and your Aunts height! Whats the hurry, I ask? But you are so proud of that fact and can't wait to literally fill my shoes! We both have had a roller coaster of a year with you getting sensitive and grumpy about everything and me being angry and impatient. At one point, it felt that we could nt have a normal conversation at all. Every time you spoke, I thought you were being ungrateful and every time I opened my mouth, you thought I was lecturing you. Thank God for Hd and his sane advice, I learnt to take a step back and let it be. Also reading about pre teens and how they are forgetful, are affected by mood swings, etc... made me realize that I am not alone. But I did want to scream "Who is this temperemental young lady and what did she do with my sweet little daughter?"

You should be the poster girl for Miss. Congeniality. Especially with an indecisive mom like me, I am surprised you are so flexible and that you go with the flow. Eating out or not, watching a movie or not, going to the park or not,... most of the time you just don't care. This is even more noticable since your sister throws a tantrum a minute if things don't go according to her plan. It used to surprise me (until Antu came along!) when some of my friends say "my child did nt want to" for even simple things like going to the pool or meeting friends in a park. The only time I realize you might not be interested in something is when you say "If you want me to, Amma!" Where do kids learn to have such complete faith in ones parents? Don't they know we are just winging it? Every time you say "I like you, Amma" to me, my honest response is "But why?"

Except for the big bang family reunion trip to Srilanka in December, we did nt travel much this year. What with Appa's job change and house move, it has been a stressful year with lots of uncertainties. And not being able to visit India has kind of affected you and me both. Just like India trips are like charging batteries for me, they help you to completely be yourself, explore your relationship to the land and the people and generally unwind. You are not old enough to vocalize those feelings but I can see it from the way you talk to your grand parents. And also whenever you are upset with me and say "Thatha has said that its my house, Amma. I will go to India and live there!" I can be very mean and say stuff like "Yeah right! You will come back crying to me in two days!" But what I would nt give to run away with you? Keep the love for your country wherever you are, Ashu. Even if you don't have a house there anymore.

Finally you have reached the age where school has become synonymous with friends! Phew. I think back to my school days and you are not even close to what wild things I was up to nor do I want you to! But the constant "can I go to A's house? Can L come to our house?" and closing the door while talking to friends on the phone! Sigh! Guess the dreaded years of "friends are so cool" and "parents suck" is here! Your BFF is A, who also happens to be my BFF's daughter and you both call yourselves Twinnies and behave like one soul in two bodies. Now that Antu is also old enough to match every step and play with you both, you both have generously let her inside your circle and its heart warming to see that. Like I have told you a million times already, the way you treat your family in front of your friends is the way they will treat them, Ashu. Always remember that and keep telling your friends what a great mom I am! :)

We had a birthday party for you yesterday with a few family friends and as usual I was panicking over my birthday cake frosting disaster in the morning and I was cursing myself to have been so stupid! You hugged me and told me "You are not stupid, Amma. You are very clever!" I would nt have made this stupid mistake if I was clever, Ashu, I replied in one of my rare self pity mood. "You are clever, Amma. Because you always find a way to correct the mistake", was your reply. I was so moved by your reply and felt so guilty of all the times I did not give you the same reply. "How could you?" "It was your fault!" "How could you forget? "What did I ask you to do?" "You just dont care, Ashu!" - these are the nasty things I have been telling you. I am so sorry, Ashu. Thank you for growing up to be such a wonderful young lady. I wish you a fantastic year ahead. Rock the 10s! 


March 29, 2015

Out of Hibernation.

Antu: Amma, can you come and play with me?

Me: I am making lunch, Antu. I can't come now.

Antu: I don't know what to do.

Me: Go and stand in the balcony and soak some Vitamin D from the sun.

Antu: Ok.

Five minutes later, I had to stop what I was doing to take this photo. :)

March 19, 2015


It was my "Happy Birthday" last week. Why does 37 seems so much older than 36? Antu gets a kick out of telling "When I am zero, you were 30 Amma and when I was one you were 31, when I am two you were 32,... ". She can't wait to turn 7 so that our ages are in sync once more.  Little joys of life! I told Hd to stop buying gifts for the sake of buying and get me a bicycle instead and he obliged. I realized I have never had a brand new cycle. I always got my sisters bike while growing up. And once I got my Kinetic Honda in college, there were no more bicycles. We bought an used rickety cycle here in Swiss a few years back which we sold when it looked like we were moving to the US! Between breaking my leg 2 years back and Antu being quite small, we four never cycled together as a family. Hd and Ashu used to go once in a while and Ashu enjoyed biking a lot. Then last year Antu took to cycling quite a bit too and this year seemed perfect for the four of us to go biking as a family and the new mountain bike could nt have come at a better time. We set out with our bikes on Saturday. Spring is almost here and it was a beautiful day. While Ashu and I rode like the wind, the two slow pokes lagged much behind. We managed about 10 Kms and loved it. The last 500 metres to home is totally uphill and I almost died. I found a better bike trail without much uphill and tried it out the next day and loved it. Thanks to Hd for the great gift.

Ashu made me a beautiful bead necklace with bottle caps as lockets and her photo and mine in each of the bottle caps and I almost cried when she showed me and wore it proudly the whole day showing it off to everyone. Antu made me a necklace too and showered me with hugs and kisses the whole day. She even refused to go to her BFFs house for a playdate and stayed home with me. Hd took me out for a fancy dinner and we had a great time. A very good friend had a birthday breakfast for me with a few friends at her house and I felt like a school kid going to school on her birthday wearing "colour dress"! It was a great day. Antu was very curious about our "in sync" age and asked, "How old will you be when I am 50, Amma?"  "I will be 80", I said. "And when I am 80?" "She will be dead, Antu", answered Ashu quickly! That kid will do anything to get out of a math question, I tell you.

March 05, 2015

R.I.P Lulu, the Fish.

Sometime around July last year, Ashu walked to the nearby pond with her friend and came back all excited with a tiny little fish in a plastic cup. My immediate reaction was "Go back and leave the fish back in the pond right now!" But I want Lulu as my pet, Amma, begged Ashu. Any parent out there knows that once the kids have named something, we as well give up. So I put the fish in a flower vase and the doting dad took the girls to a pet shop to buy fish food. Ashu tried to ask me if she can get another fish since Lulu was lonely but I told her she has to choose if she wants me or another fish. And thankfully, she chose me! I had my doubts, to be honest.

In the beginning, I really felt bad about this little fish who was happily swimming in the pond with his family and now swimming in circles in a tiny vase. I even told Ashu how he misses his family and how his dad is looking for him and she should go and put him back in the pond but she rolled her eyes and told me, "This is not a movie, Amma. And its just a fish!" She also went on about how people eat fish and she's only keeping one as a pet! So I kept quiet. Hd cleaned the vase every week and changed the water. We added some pebbles to the vase. Everyday we had to remind Ashu to feed Lulu. ("peru vachiye, soru vachiye" moment*!) Months passed. Lulu survived a few weekends without us. Lulu survived the house move. Lulu stayed at a neighbors for 10 days when we were vacationing in December. And everyday I used to wonder how long does a pond fish so small would live.

Some days I even threatened Ashu that I will take Lulu back to the pond if she is not responsible. Every time she nagged us to buy her a dog, I used to say "You can't even take care of a tiny little fish." Antu used to stand near the fish and talk to him or show him off to her friends and over feed him. Except for feeding him twice a day, most of the time we even forgot his existence. And then eight months later, he died. Yesterday. I gave an involuntary scream when I found him dead and like a chain reaction, Ashu ran away to her room while Antu ran towards the fish. Both of them cried unconsolably and even I was choking a bit. Ashu did nt want to see Lulu again, did nt walk to talk about him or say goodbye. On the other hand, Antu wanted to know how he died, what we are going to do with him and whats going to happen to all the fish food! 

We gave him a proper burial outside our apartment. Antu was so sad that she could nt celebrate his first birthday. We called Hd and Antu cried her heart out to him while Ashu refused to talk to him. Antu also broke the news to her grand parents and aunt while Ashu refused to talk to them. "I just don't want to talk about him or remember him because it makes me sad", was her logic. Sigh. Anyway we went about our day and whenever we looked at the empty vase, we went silent. The house was too quiet and I don't know how its even possible. I have always had dogs while growing up and felt incredibly sad when each one of them died. But I never thought the death of a tiny little fish could bring so much sadness.

I talked to the girls about my dogs, how futile life is and how we should enjoy every minute, etc.. and gave them the whole spiel about being nice to each other. A mom has to milk every opportunity with a life lesson, no? Antu of course is one up on me when it comes to milking opportunities. At one vulnerable moment, she asked me in a sad voice, "Can we watch Finding Nemo today, Amma?"

* you named him but did you feed him? (but it rhymes in Tamil! :)

February 23, 2015

Bhaktha Antu.

Antu has been waiting for her teeth to fall and the tooth fairy to visit for a long time. Last month when her first tooth fell, we all did the needful by clicking photos, sending the said photos to grand parents, uncles and aunts, getting very excited, remembering to sneak the tooth away from under her pillow and to put some money there. And Antu was the happiest child in the universe when she found the money and promptly we all oohed and aaahed at the Tooth fairy's efficiency and did the needful by clicking photos, sending the said photos to grand parents, uncles and aunts, getting very excited, etc.. etc.. Two weeks later when the second tooth fell, she was nt every pleased that we were nt as excited as we were for the first tooth! And she also remembered the fact that Ashu had got a gift from Tooth Fairy and not money when her second tooth fell and told us that she was expecting the same! I felt bad for the poor kid and hid a gift this time. (A left handed pencil that the doting father had picked up from an airport somewhere a long time ago and had forgotten to give it to her came in handy!) Little Missy was very thrilled the next day and flaunted the pencil to everybody she met and we all did the needful! 

Antu loves gifts and this was proven when she she kept wiggling her tooth and made it fall this week. The third tooth. I don't even remembering getting anything for Ashu after the first two teeth and not like she cared anyway. And three teeth in three weeks was too much for me! So I thought I will put an end to this nonsense but Ashu and Hd kept telling that they will keep a 1 franc or 2 franc coin and make Antu happy so I said fine and left it at that. But Little Miss Greedy kept telling the whole day how Tooth Fairy gives cash only for the first tooth and how she gives gifts for the rest! That got my goat and I told her that thats not the case. 

"But I wished for a gift, Amma. Tooth Fairy also gets gifts like Santa. She will know what I wish for and give me that gift."

"Antu, listen to me! Theres no Tooth fairy ok?"

*Antu starts crying immediately*

(Meanwhile Ashu was giving me a look as if I was drowning a puppy.)

I got so mad but I have had enough of all this tooth fairy business and calmly started telling Antu that she's old enough to understand that its the parents who give the gifts and there is no tooth fairy. And that she's being greedy.

She was howling now as if I told her that I stole her as a baby for her magic hair!

Ashu could nt believe her ears and that her mother could stoop so low and was trying to pacify Antu. One would think I would have shut up right about now. But once I start, theres no stopping me! I kept telling Antu that theres no tooth fairy thinking that its better this heart breaking information came from me instead of her friends.

"You are lying, Amma. Tooth fairy is real and she is the one who gives gifts. I do not believe you", she screamed while still crying her heart out.

I got a bit scared now having grown up with the Prahalad story and Antus conviction was as strong as his! I imagined The Tooth Fairy flying into our house through the window and breaking all my teeth and wearing it as a "Maalai" and strangely could empathize with Hiranyakasipu like I could never before! 

"Listen Antu! I am just telling you that you are being a little greedy by wiggling your teeth and wishing for gifts. And I don't like that. You can believe in the Tooth Fairy if you want but you are not getting any gifts anymore, ok? So don't be disappointed when you wake up tomorrow and find nothing!"

"I believe in tooth fairy, Amma! AND SHE IS REAL, OK? And you know what you are doing? You are just spoiling my fun, Amma. That's what you are doing. You just want to spoil my fun!"

That stung.

Hd was duly informed about my failure as a parent and he took over and Antu got up the next morning very happy to find a 5 Franc coin under her pillow!

The fourth teeth is wiggling now and she did nt even mention it to me once. When I enquired about it today, she kept on talking about different things and when I persisted, she said "I believe in Tooth Fairy, Amma. I want Tooth Fairy to know that I believe in her, ok?"

This time, I shut up.

Chalk and Cheese.

February 03, 2015


Antu had borrowed a Dictionary from her English Teacher and was browsing through it.  

Antu: "Does the Dictionary have all the words, Amma?"

Me: "Most of them, da".

She started flipping a few pages and settled on a page and started reading aloud.

"Dictionary: A dictionary is a book where you can find what words mean and how to spell them." And then with a big smile, she continued "You are reading a dictionary now."

Me: "Oh my God, thats so meta!"

Antu: "Whats meta, Amma?"

Me: "What you just did! Reading a dictionary to find out what a dictionary means!"

Antu: "flips the dictionary pages to letter M"

But the children's dictionary did not have the word "Meta" in it. Whoa! Is nt that kind of meta too? *shudders*