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June 27, 2016

27.06.2016


Dearest Antu,

My 8 year old baby! Now I get why in almost every family, theres always an aunt whose nickname is Baby whatever old she is! The youngest in the household never gets old. Its a blessing and a curse. Ask me! But however annoying it is for you to be called a baby by everyone in this household, I will never stop doing it. So be warned. Whether you like it or not, you are special. Sometimes you complain that you are the odd one out in the family. "Why am I the only one who is left-handed, Amma?" "Why am I the only one who does nt wear glasses?" One day, I even found a note under your pillow begging Ganesha to make you wear glasses, being the drama queen that you are. This year, daddys girls kind of sort of leaned towards her mother and it felt like a sweet victory to me though it breaks your fathers heart. Well, no one can certainly take you for granted, thats sure. You sure keep us working. 

You are learning Piano this year and you love it. You love to dress up, sing, dance and read. And you are extremely imaginative when you are playing. You have a very nice singing voice and since I could nt find any suitable vocal music class for you, I signed you up for the local Choir group for kids and you had loads of fun this year with that group. Your school teacher also told me what a good singer you are and that you pick up lyrics very easily. Since your ballet school danced for some Mary Poppins song last year during the recital, you have listened to that soundtrack a hundred times and have memorized all the songs. You get deep into everything. You can’t just skim through books, movies, music, friendships,… You get into the bottom of it. You have a dozen follow up questions. You discuss it. You explain it. My god, its exhausting to just listen to you every day. I love it but its exhausting.

If theres one thing I will remember about you this year, it would be your laughter. You find everything funny. Every joke is hilarious. And your laughter is infectious. Your friends mean a lot to you and you tell me everything about them. “Don’t tell anyone, Amma but I have decided R is my BFF not A.” “I have a had a bad day today, Amma. R said she won’t play with me.” “Why are boys so mean, Amma? I hate them!”  “I like D and N though. Those two boys are ok”. And A who lives downstairs and her little sister are your constant playmates. You pretty much spend almost every evening in their house. As usual, Ashu means the world to you and even with all the fights, you can’t live without her. The one week she was in a school trip, you were miserable. You will do anything for your sister and Im amazed how strong your feeling are for her at such an early age. Tread softly, my dear.

The other day, I was in the middle of cooking dinner and you came to tell me something and I shooed you away. “But its very important, Amma”, you said. I panicked, switched off the music, switched off the stove, washed my hands and came and sat at the dining table and asked you to tell me what it was. “I have swimming class tomorrow at school and my teacher asked me to tie my hair for the swim class. Otherwise my hair comes to the front of my eyes. So tomorrow morning, you should tie my hair, ok? Don’t forget!” I just gave you a look and was about to yell at you. But the way you kept such a serious face and how sincerely you told me this information brought a smile to my face. Every little thing is extremely important to you. Whether its your stuffed toys feelings(!), or a slug on the walking path, they are equally important to you. Love you, baby.  Never change. Happy 8th Birthday!

Love,
அம்மா.


June 10, 2016

Budapest.

It was our 16th wedding anniversary on 5th June and we went to Budapest to celebrate it. A dear friend has lived in Budapest before moving to Zurich and she said 3 days will be perfect for the city trip and off we went. I know I am easy to please when it comes to places. Give me a museum, a cathedral, a park bench with a view and I am sold. But still I can't describe how beautiful Budapest is. I was not prepared at all and I fell head over heels in love with the city. As always, I had this unbelievable look in my face and wondering why we did nt plan a trip ages ago! Sigh. How is one to see all these beautiful places in one life time?

We reached our hotel in Buda on Saturday afternoon. Freshened up and got out to take a boat trip. We had a wonderful two hours taking in the sights. Found a cute vegan restaurant very near our hotel and ate an early dinner. And called it a day. Day 2, we would have walked about 10 kms and covered the castle hill with the Mathias church, fisherman's bastion and the castle. At the castle, during the changing of guards exactly at noon, one of the guards got on his knees and proposed to his girl friend with a ring and she said yes! A collective awwww from the huge audience. Of course, being our anniversary on that day, I got all romantic and locked eyes with the husband only to be getting a blank look back and he asks, "Whats happening? What is he doing? Who is that girl?" Sigh. 


Then we took the funicular down and walked on the historic chain bridge to go to the Pest side and visited the St. Stephens Basilica and climbed up for a spectacular view of the city. We had lunch at an Italian restaurant nearby with amazing food and the food was much much cheaper than the uber expensive Swiss! It rained a bit on that day but thankfully not much. We walked around some more and got back to our hotel. Ate a late dinner at a pancake place nearby and paid less than 10 euros after stuffing ourselves! Another reason to love the city, I tell you.

Day 3 was bright and sunny. We finally decided to try the public transport and bought a 24 hour family ticket and took the metro to Heroes Square. It was beautiful with a huge park nearby with so many statues, play areas, restaurants, etc... Then we took a metro to the Pest side and did a guided tour of the Jewish Synagogue which is one of the largest in the world. It was an interesting tour even for the kids. Then we had a late lunch at a Hungarian restaurant nearby and tried the famous Langos. The classic langos is fried dough with cheese and sour cream. Here, they served it with vegetables too. It was yum like bhatura. Only the chola was missing! :) 

After the heavy lunch, we decided to walk it off and walked to the Parliament. My god, what a beautiful building! It was even more breathtaking up close and after a million photos, we walked to the Margaret bridge and to the Margaret Island. It is a quiet hideaway from the city with a huge garden, a big fountain, lots of trees, cafes and lots of entertainment. There was a bubble making guy there and Antu had a blast catching bubbles. Ashu was busy eating ice cream cones one after the other as if there was a contest going on! We ate the classic Langos at one of the restaurants there and the kids loved it. Then we walked back to our hotel as it was getting dark and my God, what a magical view once the lights comes on! I had to be dragged to the hotel. I could have just stood at the Margaret bridge and looked at the spectacular view all night long!

Day 4 dawned and we took the metro to the parliament to see if we could visit inside but they were fully booked so we just walked around, went to the cathedral again to do some souvenir shopping and walked back to to the hotel to get our luggage and got to the airport and were back in Zurich for dinner. One more anniversary done and dusted. Blank looks not withstanding, I would travel to the end of the world and back if its with you, R. Heres to many more! :)

On guard duty.

A certain soon to be 8 year old is a little young to lock the bathroom door by herself but needs her privacy too. So what does she do?