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October 19, 2005

Edelweiss.


All set to go. I wish I could say that! There are a million things to do. I think the list will never end. We ve sent two boxes through Post and still our suitcases are bursting out. There are still things lying around. There's still the baby cot my friend has to pick up. There are still some groceries I ve to give away. The fridge has not been emptied. I ve nt bought even a "gundoosi"(pin) for anyone back home. I can’t. There’s no place to take them. On the brighter side, I ll be home tomorrow, Yippeeee!!

Today my landlady Martina came by to say good bye. She is the nicest person I ve ever seen in my whole life. She is a darling. She is an Italian married to a Swiss and living here. Her In-laws stay in the same apartment we do and she drops in occasionally. She never comes in without notice. She sends post cards when she goes on vacation. She left gifts for Ashu on our doorstep. She is always helpful and nice. I learnt a lot from her. Today she handed a small box of truffles and said goodbye. I gave her 2 Cashmere shawls I bought for her the last time I went to India. She was thrilled. After she left, HD and I were saying how nice she is and praising her. After an hour, HD leaves for office and we found a small gift bag on our doorstep. A neatly wrapped gift box from her. A cute pair of gold earrings in the shape of Edelweiss (the national flower of Swiss) for Ashu. Take a look here. We were overwhelmed.


I don’t know when my next post will be. Hoping it's sooner than later. Miss me all of you. I will miss reading all your blogs too. Take care and be good.

Auf wiedersehen!

October 18, 2005

Bye bye Basel.


I ll miss the 'Grüezi', the 'Danke schon', the friendly smiles;
The Rhine, the snow and the sunshine;
German, French and the little Italian spoken
Nodding my head and smiling without getting a word.

I ll think about the beautiful country so safe,
The midnight walks without a fear.
The highest peak, the lowest valley,
The fog that clouded the beautiful view.

Jungfrau, Schilthorn, Titlis, Pilatus
Will be remembered only in photos.
The hiking, skiing and para-gliding
Just some things I did in the past.

The trams, trains and buses to awesome destinations
Planning every weekend to great detail.
Winter, spring, fall or summer
Always had something to do.

Bye bye Basel my second home
Here's where my stork came.

October 17, 2005

From here to there.


While my mom is already in Bangalore cleaning my 'unoccupied for 2 years' flat I am here cleaning my 'occupied for 2 years' flat. I am cramming everything I own into suitcases just to unpack them in less than 24 hours. While I am saying "I will miss you's" to friends here, I am saying "I can't wait to see you" to friends and family there. I am giving away clothes, books and frying pans here and going to buy the same there. From this airport here to that airport there. From this house here to that house there. From the country where my baby was born to the country I was born. From fond memories here, going there to make some more.

October 16, 2005

Back after my first 4 day break.


It's like going back to school after the holidays. You are excited to go back and at the same time there's a lump in your stomach threatening to come out of your belly button! Teachers, homework, punishments, detentions, bullies, gang wars, exam results, etc... scare you and the good things like best buddies, sharing the holiday news, the favourite teacher, the games "period", the culturals, competitions, etc... excite you. 4 days without blogging and it is daunting to write again. I wonder why. It is not like anyone is judging me. But still, it is public and anyone can read it is kind of a pressure. Unknown audience, if any, is the reason I guess!

Anyway, it was a fun 4 days with my best buddy Vee and co. Very hectic though. But now back to packing. I don't want to go on and on about it. Just wait until Friday and I will let you know if I made it or not. Bangalore, ready or not, here I come!

October 11, 2005

Rome! By all means, Rome.


Last night in the few moments I think incoherent thoughts just before sleeping, the last scene from the movie "Roman Holiday" came to my mind and just thinking of Princess Ann's face before she disappears choked me. After all this time, that scene is still so endearing. Why could nt she just leave and go with Bradley? Poor Mr.Bradley and poor, poor Ann. That last scene alone is worthy of an Oscar or even two, in my opinion. Audrey's expression when she spots Bradley and Irving in the press crowd, when she says "Rome! By all means, Rome", when she sees the photos Irving passes to her, and all the hand shakes with the other journalists just before shaking hands with Bradley, oh my! Writing about it is bringing tears to my eyes. I wonder what happened after Ann left. Did she marry someone and live happily ever after? Did she think about Joe Bradley? Did she think about the good times and thought of him as a friend? Did she see the photos occasionally or did she destroy them? It makes me wonder why we lose track of so many friends we have had good times with. Not long ago, I have had some terrific times with a very, very good friend. Now I don’t even know where he is. (Cyril, if by some freaky coincidence you are reading this, get in touch, will ya?) Ok now, let me see if I can squeeze some time to see the movie again. I used to wonder how anybody can see a movie so many times. If u ve seen it once, u ve seen it right? Oh, boy! Was I wrong? Roman Holiday is a movie I can watch a million times and still be hooked. I am not even close to a hundred, but I am getting there.

October 10, 2005

Atithi Devo Bhava


I am completely spoilt after living out of India on and off for 4 years. I want some notice before guests come home and feel much better if I invite them at a time convenient for me. Back home, a guest is treated like God and it’s not unusual when people drop in just like that and a 3 course meal is whipped up in less than 30 minutes for them. But the situation is different here. It’s the curse of the “people living abroad not knowing how long they ll stay to develop roots and taking one day at a time and living for just the two or three of them”. Here I ve to plan a dinner days in advance. Clean the house. Draw up a menu. Buy groceries. Plan on what utensil to use for cooking each dish. Juggle the few utensils I have to make 10 dishes. Buy paper plates if the group is more than 6!! Make the house child proof. Get the oven going. Freeze. Thaw. Clean the spills. Serve. It's fun nevertheless. It's worth it just for the compliments! (However hollow they sound!)

All this ranting because my best friend Vee, her hubby and their 1 year old are coming on Wednesday and staying till Saturday. 2 years in this place and she chooses to come NOW when all I can think about is packing and leaving. Just the thought that I am leaving just 4 days after she leaves from here is enough to give me a heart attack. Vee is my best friend since school and I can’t wait to see her. But the panic is drowning all the excitement. I am upset that in my haste to dispose things, I gave my fine carpet, my best serving set and a lot more good stuff to my sister who visited me from US a week back. Now I am stuck with a non-stick pan which has seen better days, a set of plastic bowls which have seen lots of turmeric, an almost dwindling grocery. (See! I thought I ll stop cooking once they are over and live off with pizza for the rest of the days until I leave!) I had planned this week to do the million things I have to do before I go. Now I ve to restart everything. And damn! I can’t even show off my beautiful carpet.

I wish things were like old times when either her mom or my mom cooked and we 2 used to hole up in our rooms and gossip. We did nt clean our rooms for each other's sakes, did nt ve to plan lunches and dinners, did nt ve to buy groceries or baby proof the house. We did nt ve to impress each other with our cooking or our carpets! We did nt ve to worry about packing and leaving the country.

Atithi Devo Bhava is a Sanskrit phrase which means “A guest is divine”. I agree. But I just want to treat them like divine and would need a teeny-weeny notice, that’s all!

October 09, 2005

Stuff I did nt read in any baby book.


~~> that I don't become a mother overnight.

~~> that it can take me 3 months to actually look forward for the feedings.

~~> that I will cry with the baby a lot because of frustration.

~~> that every night I will hope and pray that the baby should sleep through the night and feel guilty for being so selfish.

~~> Since I pushed the baby out and breast-feeding, that I would want to have my way in everything and with everybody.

~~> During the day, when the baby sleeps more than an hour, that I would go and check if she's breathing and feel foolish for doing so.

~~> Wonder if I would have had the same baby if I had gotten pregnant a year earlier or a year later.

~~> There actually IS a baby smell and it is the most intoxicating fragrance ever.

~~> Find out that maternal instincts do exist while involuntarily holding onto the pram tightly a second before the tram braked suddenly and would have toppled the pram otherwise.

~~> that it will take a mountain of an effort to step out of the house with the baby.

~~> that I would actually feel a wee bit jealous of the baby for hogging all the attention from family and friends and at the same time feel proud.

~~> That my baby will be the most beautiful thing in the world and I would love her more than life itself.

October 07, 2005

What mothers want!


It seems as if no mother wants to admit that her child is good.

Your daughter sleeps through the night? Mine does too!

Your child does nt? Oh, mine does nt either!

Yours rolled over at 3 months? Mine too!

Yours did nt roll over yet? Mine did only in the fifth month!

Yours is so quiet. Mine is always crying.

But yours eats properly. Mine fusses a lot.

But yours has put on weight. Mine is in the border line all the time.

But that’s good. It’s easy to carry her around.

That’s true. But I am worried. Everyone is commenting that she’s small for her age.

Don’t worry.

So, how are you managing otherwise?

Oh God, don’t ask! It’s tough! I can’t do anything with her around.

Tell me about it! Same here.

I can’t wait for my hubby to come home in the evening.

That’s so true. I am at my wits end towards the evening.

Right! It’s awful.

Horrible really.

:
:
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This would be a typical conversation between new moms. I really wonder whats stopping us from actually admitting the (few) good stuff. Are we afraid of someone casting an evil eye? Are we afraid that we ll jinx it by admitting it? People who always flaunt are also a tad hesitant when it comes to bragging about their babies. Why is that? I will only volunteer a good stuff if the other mom also says one. But if she complains about one thing, I am more than willing to complain about two. One of my friends says that every time she says something nice about her baby, the baby stops being nice. It’s altogether another story if someone says anything remotely not so nice about your baby. You will totally start bragging and selling your baby to them. Strange huh? If you thought women are complicated, mothers are mind-boggling!

October 06, 2005

"Om Kreem" I scream!


Ashu has started screaming. So long it has been only crying. But now she screams and also cries. If you think crying was annoying and getting on your nerves, wait till the screaming starts. Mein Gott! It’s unbelievable. How can a 5 month old have so much fury? It’s not like she’s screaming for a toy or anything. That will take another month or two, I think. She screams now because she is bored. She wants to be carried. She wants to be cuddled. She wants attention. Plain and simple. She is MY daughter after all. What else can I expect? I love you mom and I am sorry for everything. Please forgive me fast and redeem me before Ashu hits her teens!

October 05, 2005

Do YOU approve of me, Sis?


This time, Sis and I did nt ve too many fights. Ashu might be one of the reasons why. I don’t know why I fight so much with her. She’s my best friend. My guide. My role model. My rock. But that does nt stop me from fighting with her. That too for all the silliest reasons in the world. (I know that now!) This makes me wonder why I go out of the way to be nice to people I hardly know but not to my near and dear ones. Especially to the person who came out of the same womb 3 years before I did. Is it the same with all sisters?

One reason we fight is because Big Sis is Miss. Know-it-all and I have to show her I am Miss. Know-it-all too! (Look Sis, I ve grown up. I can say my ABCD and count 1 to 10 too!) She thinks everything a younger child does is to get the approval from the parents. According to her, the eldest are pre-blessed and pre-approved by parents while the younger strive all their lives to be approved. (That’s why you get nicer gifts to our parents than me, she says!) I don’t know if she based this fact from some Freudian principle but I don’t approve. I should know. I am the youngest and I disagree. If I talk to her all this, we will get into yet another argument. Things are worse since we got married as we have our very own Knights in shining armour now and attacking is easier if you have someone to protect you all the time.

I think we fight so much because we know that we will remain sisters and best friends even after the fight is over. But I don’t want to take things for granted. I want to be nicer to my sis. More than losing a sister and a best friend, I don’t want Ashu to lose her one and only Aunt because of her mother's jealousy! (There, I said it!)

October 04, 2005

Portrait.


Sunday was Portrait Day! I have renewed respect for Baby photographers now. The things we did to make that little rat smile! Mein Gott! If we were on TV and you had watched us on "mute", you would ve called immediately the SPCA. (I did say "rat", did nt I?!)

So Ashu is in the car seat. The camera on the tripod and my BIL behind it. HD is the temporary light boy holding the tall lamp shade and making Ashu go blind and at the same time setting BIL's hair on fire with the hot coil on the light bulb. I am standing on one side and shaking my head vigorously up and down and shouting "Aaaaah". Sis is standing at the other end shaking a noisy rattle, hoping Ashu will smile at her antics and not mine! My poor baby is laughing alright! AT US!

And then my sis had this ingenious idea of covering herself with a blanket and holding Ashu on her lap so that Ashu will be comfortable and feel someone is holding her. I can’t say in words how much I laughed at THAT sight. Take a look yourself. (That sphinx like thing behind is my sister covered by a Duvet!!)

Now I know why most of the babies in the Anne Geddes pictures are sleeping!

October 03, 2005

Playing games.


This time Sis brought a new card game with her. Guillotine. Loved it. It is a fun game. Pretty simple rules and does nt drag. Last time she introduced us to a board game called Settlers of Catan and it is an awesome game although it takes a long time to set the board and it will take between 45 mins to 2 hours to finish a game. The year before that, she got us Quiddler. It's similar to Scrabble but a card game. The best thing about all these games is that they are also 2 players game. (Quiddler has a solitaire version too!) So it’s a great buy for a couple unlike Taboo which can be played only at parties.




Guillotine has absolutely funny illustrations of the French Revolution. The aim of the game is to collect as many nobles as possible and get the most number of points. (By hacking their head in the guillotine! No wonder it's a 12+ game!) We were playing the game back to back for hours together and with each time it was getting more interesting. I can't wait to get my own.

Poor Settlers of Catan. They did nt even come out of their box this time. But with good reason. The last time HD and I played, I lost and I threw the box and he had to pick 50 pieces from the floor. So he said he is nt going to play this game with me anymore. Why can’t he just give me what I ask for and let me win the game? Strange guy!!

This one time, my friend bought a new game called Civilization. 3 of us sat with it for 7 hours to read the instruction book and figure out the game. We could nt. I wonder if she ever did. I don’t know if it was just us or that game is really tough. That has completely put me off buying games which have nt been recommended by a friend.

All this talk about games has made me nostalgic about those good old days when we played Trade in our pre-teens. I can't wait to buy the first board game for my daughter.

This and that.


Sis and BIL have left. The house looks empty.

HD has gone out of town on work.

I have only 17 more days to wind up and leave this country. I have a million things to do but don't know where to start.

I wonder when
teleportation will be possible. If not for humans, at least for our luggage!