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May 29, 2008

Bose, the Boss!

Did I tell you I got an iTouch from the husband for my birthday in March? Since we were in the US then and Hd was leaving back to Zurich a week before my birthday, he took me to the Apple store and let me choose an iPod. Of course I fell in love with the iTouch as soon as I saw it and I wanted that or nothing! Its as cool as it comes, I tell ya. Love it! Yes, this is my first iPod. Hd got an used iPod(bought it from my sis) a couple of years back and somehow I never bonded with it as much as I did with my 1 Gig MP3 player. The trusty player helped me through the boredom of breastfeeding Ashu 24/7, three years back. So I thought that iTouch would be ideal for the coming months. Then Hd with his mastermind kept ordering this and that from Amazon sitting in Zurich and a package a day was arriving at our door steps with my sisters name there! A beautiful leather pouch for the iTouch one day, a language translator the next, then a Digi cam lens protector, some Digital photography books and then came one more package. I knew about it of course but was discouraging Hd but he went ahead and bought it anyway. A Bose Headphone (the one in the picture) is what Im talking about. It looks bulky but light weight and when I opened it from the package and tested it, I knew for sure that I was never going to give it to Hd!! All my favorite songs sound even more fantastic now and the way the music surrounds me and the way I can appreciate every single musical instrument which is a part of the song is truly bliss! Hd is mighty annoyed that I ve stolen it from him even though I was the one who did nt want him to buy it in the first place. Hey, a girl cant change her mind or what!

Currently, Jodha Akbar and Guru are on non stop loop! Oh God, how can I describe the feeling. Its 10 pm. Ashu is in deep sleep in her room, Hd is busy with some office work and Im lying on the bed in the darkened room with just the music surrounding me. Occasionally, the baby kicks and reminds me that Im not entirely alone! And then my mind goes on a tangent and I start to look forward for the months of feeding the baby when the baby will actually be kicking me from the outside. The moment is just precious.

If only I can lose some weight post partum with my innumerable (mentally) choreographed moves for the Mayya Mayya song from Guru, life will be just perfect. I think I can be at the Elpitical for hours if I have this song on repeat. Got to hit the gym as soon as possible. Crossing fingers.

Now for some bashing. Why would Harris Jayaraj make Bombay Jayashree and Madhushree sing the same song and release them both in the album? Pachai Kili Muthu Charam was released sometime last year and I have heard the songs hundreds of times so far. But with Bose now, every little mistake is glaringly obvious. Unakul Naane is truly amazing when Jayashree sings it and annoying as hell when Madhushree sings it. Wont a Music Director realize that? What was the whole point? Did he have something against Madhushree? I definitely think so. Every "vaa" (sollavaa, allavaa, paarthidavaa, ...) sounds like a question when Jayashree sings it which is what it should be and is like "Vaa" (come) when Madhu sings it which is just annoying like hell!!(solla VAA, alla VAA, paarthida VAA,...) I mean theres a huge difference between "Ranamum Then Allavaa" and "Ranamum Then Alla VAA", no? I cant help but remember that old Bhagyaraj movie where the Hindi Teacher is trying to teach Hindi to that friend of Bagyarajs ("Ek Gaaon mein ek Kisaan...") and in frustration bangs the students head and beats the hell out of him because he cant learn one sentence properly after all those classes. I feel the Hindi teachers pain. (Madhushree thalai la naalu kuttu kutti, nangu nangu nu nalla nokkanum pola irukku!) On a good note, how fabulous is that song "Karu karu Vizhigalaal". Why am I not surprised that Karthik is one of the singers! *drool*

And I also realized that my most favorite movie album is "Mudhal Mariyaadhai". I know! I am surprised too! The movie is 25 years old, I guess. But what great songs. What great lyrics! The thing I like most about it is that you cant take these set of songs and use them for any other movie. Unlike movies today where the songs are totally interchangeable with any other movie. Of any other genre even! Every song of Mudhal Mariyaadhai is just so apt for that particular scene and the lyrics are as if they are part of the screenplay. I never thought I would rave about Bharathiraja, Ilayaraja and Vairamuthu so much especially for the same movie! The trio truly rocked. And the singers Malaysia Vasudevan and S Janaki. They just created magic. Of course, the entire credit goes to the cast. If not for Sivaji Ganesan, this movie would have never worked for me! Comparing this to Kizhakku Seemaiyile where the music(AR Rehman) was great, the lyrics too and the same Bharathiraja as the Director. And great acting too. But somehow Vijayakumar did nt do justice.(But Napolean rocked though!) Sivaji would have taken the movie to a different level, no? According to me, Devar Magan would nt have been Devar Megan without Sivaji even though its a Kamal movie. By the way, I either like a movie or dont. I dont care whether I like the actor or not! On that note, I have made up my mind that I like Ilayarajas music better than Rahmans. But I like Rahman better than Ilayaraja.(If that makes sense!) And thats the reason, celebrities should nt give too many interviews. It totally affects a fans impression of them irrespective of how great their work is. In a good way and bad! It should nt be that way but hey, its not a fair world. If it was, would PR be such a thriving business? ;)

May 26, 2008

Notes for Husband.

Hd,

So I'm 34 weeks pregnant and the d day is arriving fast. You know that far, don't you? This time around I'm more scared about the home front than the hospital front. I'm going to be in the hospital at least for 5 nights. That means, its just going to be Ashu and you at home. I'm sure if Ashu was old enough to understand the enormity of it, she would get herself admitted in the hospital bed next to mine. But the poor child does nt have a clue. Anyway, I dont want to be unfair. I can leave with absolutely no instructions and I know you can manage Ashu and the house just fine. Only not my way! After all, when have you ever "listened" to my instructions? But this time, Im writing them all down. Because, these are the little things which mean a lot to our baby girl. Her world is going to turn upside down in a month or so and for the first time in her life, her mom is going to be away in the night. So lets try to make this easier for her, shall we?

Here it goes...

1. I know that you know the breakfast routine, even a visually challenged person would know that by now, but let me go through it once more. She does nt want her milk as soon as she wakes up. Give her some time. And ever since she started drinking from that silver tumbler, theres this small routine you ve to follow. Pour half of the milk from the big plastic cup to the small tumbler. Only after she finishes every drop, should you pour again. But not all. You should leave a teeny bit of milk in the plastic cup so that she herself can pour that milk to her tumbler. Pour everything and she ll cry foul. Leave a lot and she ll complain that its too heavy for her to pour! And once shes done, she ll drop the plastic cup in the sink and keep the silver tumbler gently on the counter so that not to dent it. Yes, I taught her that. And she actually listens. And theres a lesson for you right there!

2. For your information, she cant drink milk, juice, eat a banana, an egg, toast, cereal,... all in the span of an hour. Unlike some people! *rolling eyes* So give a decent interval before asking her to eat the next thing.

3. Yes she can use the bathroom by herself when she wants to pee and would nt let us help. But sometimes when shes in a hurry, she will ask us to come and help her, afraid that she ll have an accident. That's your cue to throw the laptop and run to her. Unlike me, shes not saying that "just" to get your attention!

4. She loves bath time and has an elaborate routine with her bath toys. Its an honor if she invites you into her imaginary world of ocean animals. Indulge her. And she neatly puts the toys back in their place after her bath. So that's one job less for you. After the bath, she prostrates before Lord Krishna and sings along a short prayer. Then she puts some viboodhi on her forehead and expects you to bend down so that she can put some on your forehead too. Accept it. Even if you have nt had your bath yet.

5. Her school would be closed for summer soon. So no school routine to learn, you lucky sod!

6. Give her a notice period. Don't do anything abruptly. Tell her that that's the last book you are going to read before beginning it. She understands better that way. (Try this with me at your own risk, though!)

7. She will regularly remove the clothes of all her dolls and nag you to no end to dress them up again. Its an easy thing even you can do it! Except for one doll. That doll has to be dressed in an order. Panties first, dress next and then the shoes. But leave the Velcro strap of the dress undone. She ll do it herself. Do it any other way and be ready to face her wrath. Hey don't look at me! Her doll, her rules!

8. When in doubt, ask her. No shame in it! Even if you want to know where the "pottu kadalai" (fried gram dal) is. Yes, she knows.

9. She knows her outdoor clothes from her indoor ones. Don't try to mix and match. She knows I hate that! So should you. And I ll find out too when you guys visit me in the hospital. Duh!

10. And last but not least, don't you dare call me while I'm the hospital and ask where the Mustard seeds are or where Ashus hat is. That's the worst thing you could do.

I ll stop here although the list could go on. I know you would rather be by my side and leave her with a friend knowing how you held my hands while I was delivering the placenta instead of taking pictures of Ashu soon after she was born. But I would be more at peace if you were with her than me. Of course, my mom is coming in a month and all these are just in case I go into labor before she arrives. But if its later, then you better get your behind to the hospital and take care of this baby. Instructions to take care of me will come to you automatically once you go through the familiar pain of me squeezing your fingers to pulp.


Good Luck.

Much Love,
B o o.

May 16, 2008

I remember writing this post about a fight with Hd and in the comment section I went on to say that our fights are getting shorter and shorter after the baby. Well, its now official that Ashu is no more a baby. And we are back to the usual these days. The one thing I do when we fight is deprive Hd of any information and sooner or later he has to come to me to beg for some info. Alas, I ve lost that privilege now thanks to my talkative daughter. So he comes back from work today and I give him a cold shoulder. Ashu as usual jumps with joy seeing her dad and they both ignore me. Goes on to say, "Amma did nt make mammam. I had pasta for lunch" when Hd asks her what she ate! Then lifts my shirt and feels the baby kicking and asks her dad to come and touch my tummy! Goes on to tell him about "our" day! There goes my strategy of withholding information out of the window. The man who would have apologized by now has nt even turned to my side yet. Instead both had their dinner together(He got us take away dinner as we had planned before the fight. That's another score for him!) and are reading books now. Sucks! Well, at least theres another baby due. But I'm sure Ashu would nt miss a detail even then! Its ONLY trouble when they grow up, I tell you.

May 12, 2008

Say "Cheese"!

Last minute planning and on Saturday morning we hit the road. Destination - Gruyères (pronounced as groo-yehr), the town famous for its Cheese. We reached the town in the afternoon. As the town center is car free, we parked the car on the foot hills and walked the 10 minutes trek stopping and staring at the cows grazing. When we reached the town, it was as if we traveled back in time and reached a medieval town. I have never seen such a picturesque town anywhere in my life. The pocket size town is so pretty overlooking the castle on one side and snow covered mountains on the other. Cute little souvenir shops, hotels and restaurants line this French speaking town. Our hotel was right in the middle of the main street and after a short rest and lunch, we walked to the 13th century Castle, Chateau de Gruyeres, one of the most prestigious in Switzerland. Ashu was in full form and enjoyed the tour but was a little upset that there were no Kings or Queens! The view from the Castle walls is breath-taking and theres a pretty little garden too. We took our time soaking in the views and walked back to the town center. We sat in a Restaurant Terrace and ate ice cream, the perfect thing to do on such a sunny day. I tried the town speciality, Ice cream with Meringue and Cream. Bliss! Theres a beautiful church behind the Castle and a small play area for kids. While Hd and Ashu were in the play area, I walked to the church clicking away photos. It was so peaceful inside the church and since it was almost 8 pm, there was no one inside. It was a surreal experience. There is a cemetery behind the church and a beautiful view of the castle and a narrow road leading to the woods. To stand there alone was so spooky. In a good way, of course. Father and daughter joined me a bit later and we walked back to our Hotel and called it a night.

Ever since I told her that we would visit a Cheese factory in Gruyeres, Ashu was super excited and was asking every hour if we were going to the Cheese Factory. So as soon as we finished breakfast, we checked out of the hotel and headed for the Cheese factory. (Oh, I almost forgot. Since Sunday was Mothers day, Ashu wished me Happy Mothers Day as soon as I got up and gave me a Mothers day special goodie bag from The Body Shop. Hd remembered after all! ;) We reached La Maison du Gruyère which is in Pringy, a 10 minute drive from Gruyeres. We took an audio tour where the cow(!), Cherry, explained us everything about Cheese making and what makes the Gruyeres cheese so special. We saw huge amounts of milk being churned and also the cellar where the cheese is stored. We got free samples too. Did you know it takes about 400 litres of milk to make 34 Kg of Cheese? That the Gruyeres cheese is so special because the cows there eat lot of herbs which grow on the hills? It was really cute to listen to Cherry talking! ;) It was lunch time by the end of the tour and we decided to try the restaurant adjoining the factory. We sat outside and ordered, what else, but Fondue of course! We dipped bread and potatoes in the melting cheese and gobbled them up thus justifying our trip to Gruyeres. The strawberry Frappe I had for dessert and the Vanilla ice cream Ashu had were also heavenly. Cherry has every reason to be proud of being a cow in the Gruyeres region! ;)

As if this is nt enough, we visited a Chocolate factory next. The Caillers Chocolate factory in Broc. Unlike the Lindt Factory in Zurich, you can actually see part of the chocolate making process and the tour is really good. Theres a 20 minute movie made in the 60s reliving the factory history, then a tour where you see the raw materials, the machines, the moulds, ... and at last, the sampling of course. Ashu had one piece in her mouth and one in her hand and was quite surprised when I asked her to take one more! I had three in my hands, you see! ;) When I was a kid, all I ever wanted to do was go to a chocolate factory and eat as much chocolate as possible. And here I was and could nt even eat two pieces! And Ashu of course, like kids of these generation, does nt know what a treat it is to eat two candies back to back or finish a whole bar of chocolate on ones own. Sad! I missed the child me.

We had plans to go to Moleson village from here but when we reached the place, it started raining. Ashu was also sleeping so we decided to head back to Zurich. One minute it was bright and sunny and the next, there was a hail storm! We were cruising around 100 kmph in the highway and it felt as if a truck load of pebbles were hitting the car. The noise, the storm, the speed, the zero visibility, cars stopping or slowing down,... it was scary to say the least. Luckily we were able to stop just under a bridge on the shoulder and most of the cars stopped in the shoulder too. I have never witnessed such a hailstorm before and it was hard to believe my own eyes. Some of the hails were as big as an ice cube! With Ashu sleeping through it all, Hd and I holding hands and talking and listening to music, it was surely an experience I ll never forget in my life. The storm lasted for 45 minutes and even then, the rain did nt stop. We headed for the nearest rest area for a break and reached Zurich safely late evening. A perfect weekend trip with just the three of us after a very long time.

Its so refreshing to see places with a kid, I have to admit. If it were just Hd and me, Im sure we would have just rushed through the sights, taken customary photos and would be in a hurry to go to the next place in our check list. But with Ashu, it was wonderful. She pretended she was a mouse and ran through the maze like garden at the Castle. She stopped to watch the cows grazing and worried about them when she saw the flies sitting on them. She actually stopped to smell the flowers. She looked at the old cannon at the castle and asked if it was a telescope! She asked who the bad boys were who had tied Jesus' hands when we went to the Church and wondered if his wounds healed fast! She asked if the cows eat the cheese! She exclaimed loudly, "Amma when I woke up today, we were in a hotel room and not in our Zurich house" in an absolutely cute way. She kept the cocoa bean as a souvenir when the chocolate factory guide gave her one and cherished it more than the free chocolate. ("Amma keep this cocoa bean. Don't eat it OK?", she warned me. Ah, how well my daughter knows her mother!) And she was so happy to be back home too. We were away hardly for 36 hours but I could see how much she missed home. Its good to know shes not ready to fly the nest. Yet.

May 08, 2008

Ashu attends a Party.

Last Sunday was a friends daughters Birthday. S also turned three a week after Ashu. Since S came to Ashus party, Ashu was all excited to attend S's party, cut cake, blow candles,... We were talking about the party all the time and she was in her excellent behaviour all through the week! But there was a slight catch. My friend had invited only kids to the party. Since shes a good friend of mine, she suggested I stay back if Ashu wants me to. So I was contemplating. Ashu has never attended a party or a play date without me and has never stayed in a friends house even for a couple of hours so far. But I wanted to try. We ve to begin somewhere and S's party seemed to be the right place to start since Ashu knows S and S's mom quite well. So I prepared her, telling her that the party was only for kids and I ll drop her and pick her up later. She did nt care as long as she went to the party. So on Sunday, we dropped her at 3 pm at S's house and had to linger for a while, waiting for another friend who was supposed to join us. Ashu ran to S's room, started playing with the toys there with the other kids and did nt even come to us once. Then after 30 mins, once the other friend arrived, I said bye to Ashu and we left.

Fast forward 2 hours and we went back to their place in time for cake cutting. Ashu came and hugged me and wanted to go to the bathroom. As soon as she sat on the seat, she started talking. "I played, I fell down from the chair, bit my tongue, Aunty gave sugar, I cried, I cried some more, I did nt eat Pizza, I ate cheese,..." and she said she had fun. Phew! That's one milestone crossed! Later, I cross checked with my friend and yes, she fell down, cried, ate sugar,... Not bad, huh? My little parrot can actually tell me about her day. I mean she tells me stuff about school too but I have to prod her and ask the right questions to get answers from her. No so this time. While our dear daughter was having fun, Hd and I hit a nearby mall, held hands while walking, window shopped, shared an ice cream cone and talked. All the while, I felt as if I had forgotten something. "Oh God, where is Ashu", my brain screamed involuntarily many times. I guess once you are a mother, theres no going back.

May 05, 2008

Confessions of a Fat Mommy.

I'm telling you first hand, being a fat mom is so much better than a fat single or a fat wife. Here's why.

1. For once, all the attention is on the kid. And even though its physically impossible, you can hide behind His/Her cuteness and disappear.

2. Being overweight is taken for granted after a child. People are going to be surprised only if you are thin.

3. You can take all your shopping frustrations and spend them with a vengeance on shopping for the kid. "Do you have this in a small size" - At last the question you always wanted to ask can be asked and you don't even have to lose a single pound!

4. As soon as you find out that the chic shop you just entered has nothing your size, you can slyly move to the children's section and actually buy something instead of coming out of the shop with an embarrassed expression and as if the whole worlds watching you.

5. And if you are big busted like me, you would have experienced the most annoying thing. Your boobs acting like a bib and trapping every crumb and morsel of what you are eating. (What? It never happens to you? Well, me neither. ;) And the chest area of your black top looks like a lint factory! Worry not. Here comes the kid to rescue. Blame it all on the kid "S/he cant even eat a biscuit without rubbing it all on me" statement works like a charm every time. Go on and try it.

6. If your kid is nt chubby and is all skeleton and bones, all the more good. A thin child is more worrisome for the aunties and uncles than a fat mom.

7. And nothing works like self-flagellation. "S/he is not eating anything. How much ever I try to fatten her up, I'm the one who is gaining weight. What am I to do?" will be duly met with "Don't worry. You need the energy to run behind a child and you ll lose the weight in no time". Bingo!


8. Unlike earlier, you don't have to spend so much time agonizing over what to wear for a party. People don't care about you as long as you are on time and have dressed up the kid in something cute! I mean, even your stained shirt can be blamed on the kid, right?

9. If you find yourself having exhausted all the above excuses, its time you get pregnant again!

10. And last but not least, think about this. If you are this fat in spite of taking care of a child 24/7 and spending so much energy, how much more overweight you would actually be without the kid? Scary, I know! ;)

*Off I go to give an extra hug to Ashu.*