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December 30, 2005

I hope and pray that Ashu has nt inherited this from her father.

My husband does not read. There! I said it aloud. How can a person not read, I don’t understand. How did I marry such a person, I definitely don’t understand! No, he’s not illiterate. But what’s the point in being literate just to read Bangalore Times? He can’t finish a book to save his life. A book with 300 pages is his ultimate nightmare. When we were engaged, he gave me a book on positive thinking for my birthday! Talk about misleading! Probably it contained some truth about him because ironically I never finished the book! He also wanted me to suggest some good books. Since I was in a Grisham spree that time, asked him to read The Firm, Client, etc... He bought a copy of Client and if I remember correctly, took the entire 10 months of our engaged period to finish it. That too only because I asked him everyday if he has finished it and he wanted to save his face to his then-fiancĂ©e. I should have got a hint at least then. But no! It was not to be. I would have read The Fountain Head a dozen times and suggested it to him. He took one look at the book and asked me to tell the story to him! He finished 2 Harry Potters in a span of 4 years and said he ll see the movies instead of reading the rest. He was pressurized by all the hype about Da Vinci code and bought the book. (He always buys the books he wants to read because no library in the world renews books for a year!) He started reading it when I was 4 months pregnant and finished it after Ashu turned 4 months old! He also brought the book with him when he traveled alone on a plane for 10 hours and still did nt finish it while I finished the whole Ponniyin Selvan Part 4 book in my flight. He finished half of Grisham's Summons and then had to return the book to the library. Till date, he has nt even asked me what happened in the next half. Are nt humans supposed to be curious? And here I want to solve the mystery involving Tutankhamun’s death! For your information, I don’t give up that easily on people. After I read the Alchemist, the first thought I had was, "This is a pretty short novel. Awesome too. I should ask HD to read". Since he spends almost 3 hours on a bus everyday, I suggested he read it then. A week and 24 pages later, I found the book back on the shelf. I did nt even ask him why this time. A person gives up sometime or the other, I guess. And when I said he can’t read, include the fact that he can’t read aloud as well. Punctuation marks don’t exist for him and he has no idea why they are used. He pauses only when he’s out of breath. It’s so annoying to listen to him read that I am in denial that he is my husband whenever he reads. I remember some students in my class at school who were very poor in reading and I used to think so high of myself and used to act snotty around them. They formed a club, chose their president and 10 years later sent his horoscope to my parents. I can hear them laughing even now! Anyway, he does nt read my blog or any other blog for that matter. I have to ask him everyday, “Did you read my blog today?” He will say no and I will read it to him. I would say, “Is nt today’s post hilarious? I got 6 comments today”. Not mentioning the fact that some blessed soul has commented the same message twice, there are 2 spam comments and one of the comments is mine! If he were nt good looking and loaded, I would nt have even gone out on a date let alone have a child with him!

Another reason I am with him is that he took a day off and landed in Kmu today and took us all by surprise. Even though Ashu brought him here, I love him for that. Though the man does nt read, he sure listens! And now, can a woman want more?

December 29, 2005

This child is the mother of this woman.

Another lesson learnt today. Since there’s no baby cot here, Ashu sleeps on a thick mattress on the floor. She falls down if she sleeps on the cot. I also close the door as I want her to sleep peacefully without any disturbance from the TV, calling bell or the phone.(The real reason being, I don’t want her to get up in half hour and get cranky and eat my head!) Usually she gets up and cries and I go and pick her. I also check on her every 30 minutes. Today I heard her cry and opened the door a little. She was sitting behind the door. I saw her in the mirror and did nt open the door anymore. She heard my voice and stood with her hands on the door and actually shut the door again. I did nt know what to do. She might fall down and hit her head on the floor if I opened the door with force. So I opened the door an inch and asked her to move away. Of course she did nt understand. I did nt know what to do and like I always do when I’m in a fix, called my mother. She came and held the door while I put my hand through the gap and tried to grab Ashu. She sat down and I pulled her with one hand. She fell sideward and cried as if it’s all my fault. Yeah, right!! My mom was narrating another story where a child locked the door from inside and started crying and how they had to break the door and enter. I hope Ashu never does anything like that. I don’t like breaking and entering. Moreover my dad would somehow blame it all on me and take custody of her. This from the man who mistakenly put 4 scoops of kolamaavu (rice flour) instead of detergent powder in the washing machine today and was wondering why there was no froth!

December 27, 2005

Road trip.

So I am in Kumbakonam now. My dad was in Bangalore yesterday on a sudden trip and since in our family we never let cars go without filling all the seats with people or at least with luggage, I decided to join him. It was either Ashu and I or the broken microwave. Dad was very much keen on the microwave as there was a super exchange offer in one of the shops here. But Ashu's instant smile when she saw her gramps changed his mind. (Atta girl!) After lot of deliberation, HD let us go. He was worried that Ashu has to travel almost 12 hours in bad roads. But a week of bachelorhood was too enticing for him. Anyway, after 12 hours cooped up in a car we arrived last night after passing Hosur, Krishnagiri, Dharmapuri, Namakkal, Salem, Trichy, Thanjavur and hundreds of other towns and villages on worst possible roads. The driver had the worst opinion on lorry drivers and had to prove his point time and again by overtaking the Lorries while leaning on the honk and absolutely not reducing his speed from 110 kms/hour. This got more risky once it got dark as the high-beam head-lights from the on coming traffic was plain blinding. Ashu would nt sit in her car seat and my dad would nt let her cry it out. So I was holding her for dear life and praying and hoping we will reach safely and I would live to break a coconut for Lord Ganesha. We only stopped for Lunch, tea and dinner! The waiter at one of the restaurants thought that we (my dad and I) were husband and wife traveling with our daughter. While I was looking for a ceiling fan to hang myself with my Duppatta, the cool air from the Air condition blasted in my face and reminded me that there were no fans. Damn Otis! (Oh, that’s the lift guy! I meant the AC guy, whoever he is!) It also reminded me to go flush all the hair dyes at home in the toilet. Although it did nt remind me to lose my pregnancy (and the other miscellaneous) weight! Strange!

We did nt tell my mom we were coming. We wanted to surprise her with Ashu. And we did. She was all tears and promised me that she ll wash all the dirty feeding bottles I had collected the entire day. God bless her soul.

ps. The only reason I did nt kill that waiter was because he offered to carry Ashu until dad and I finished dinner. Veechu Parotta (Hand-tossed Paratha) won over Veen Avamaanam (Shame)!

December 25, 2005

Bye, bye 2005.

Like I say at the end of every year, "this year has just flown by, no?" I think back and wonder if any year has gone slow. I don't think so. Life has been too good to me, perhaps! (Touchwood!) Last year this time, I was 4 months pregnant. We went to a Ski resort as a big group and while everyone was skiing, I was taking their photographs and laughing my ass of seeing them fall on their asses. I felt very left out, so rented a wooden sledge and started sliding down the slopes. Man, it was awesome. I did fall a couple of times and got to hear some choice words from HD. Then we both went doubles in the sledge and fell and heard some choice words from our friends. (But I’m sure Ashu loved the roller coaster ride inside my tummy! Did nt ya girl?) While going back home to Basel on Sunday, got a call from my sister while we were on the train that India has been hit by Tsunami and more than 2000 people were dead. I did nt even know what Tsunami was. Then the rest of the story unfolded. A very sad end for 2004.

The best and worst of 2005 for me are pretty much the same things. See for yourself.

1. Pregnancy
However hassle free the pregnancy was, it was still a lot to go through. That too 9 months, dammit! And you can’t quit in between. And you pray that you don’t quit in between. I ve never been committed to anything for so long without an option to quit. I am a quitter, for Gods sake!

2. Delivery
Happy that it was normal. But extremely unhappy and uncontrollable sad that something which takes 39 minutes to reach your home or money back guarantee is also called as (Pizza) Delivery. Very confusing, this English language I say!

3. Breast feeding
What am I going to say that I ve nt said so many times already in my first set of blogs?

4. Being a Mom
With great power, comes great responsibility. Oh God, my uncle's dying words and I’m going to become a Spidermom!!!

5. Leaving Switzerland.
The other side is always green. Always. Even if you know this proverb. Always.

6. Bangalore.
The other side is...

7. Ashu growing up.
I never thought it ll be so heart breaking. You want her to grow up and at the same time, freeze time. Did I say the other side is always green?

8. Living close to our parents!
Need I say more?

9. Shopping for Ashu.
Going "Aaah" and "Oooh" at the sight of a pair of cute shoes is really sweet until you actually have to buy it! I ve bought shoes for lesser than that for myself and they are big and have high heels and can use them for years!

10. Blog.
A new world. But I ve never liked to be so addicted to anything. Except for chocolates, of course!

Happy Xmas! Oh, and in case I don’t see you, Happy New Year, Happy Pongal and Happy Republic day!

December 23, 2005

Thamizh Vaazhga!

Is nt it Dhadha - Dhadhi and Naana- Naani in Hindi for Paternal and Maternal Grandparents? I am so happy that Thatha (grandpa) and Paati (grandma) denote both the set of grandparents in Tamil. Thank God for small blessings. :)


Watched the movie Azhagan the other day on TV for the umpteenth time. Read somewhere that the movie was nt a hit. How can it not be? Such a lovely movie. I wish I were in my twenties when movies like Azhagan, Nayagan, Unnaal mudiyum Thambi. etc.. were released. Azhagan is about a widower Azhagappan awesomely played by Mamooty with 4 adopted children. Love the way the kids say their names. (B for Baby speaking!) Three women lay their eyes on him - a college student, a teacher and a dancer. Our hero has his eyes for the dancer, Bhanupriya. Until I saw this movie, I ve never liked Bhanupriya. I ve always thought she was too loud but a good dancer of course. In this movie, she has done a superb job. There’s this one scene where Mamooty brings his daughter to Bhanupriya's dance school and she is shocked to know that he’s married. But when Mammotty says that his wife is dead, Bhanupriya turns her face away, gives a victorious, relieved smile and then with a sad face says "Sorry about that" to Mamooty. That’s totally a fantastic expression. Kudos to K Balachandar, the director. And the song "Sangeetha Swarangal" - WOW what do I say about that? The sweet nothing telephone conversation between them a whole night with the awesome song in the background and the Doordarshan TV ending their telecast and then beginning in the morning. Absolutely beautiful picturisation. Wonder how this song would be picturised now with all these 24 hours TV channels! Probably when the Sun Music channel stops saying "Hallo? Nalla irukeengala? Unga per enna?" and then start the same non-stop nonsense in the morning with "Inniki enna kurippu solla poreenga? TV volume a kammi pannunga"! Grrr......!

December 20, 2005

Changing minds and changing times!

My life would be so much happier if I had nt heard this story that circles in my family. The title "Sevuthu keeraiya vazhichu thinna vallaati" can be translated as "The woman who scraped and ate the spinach from the wall". This is a simple story of how a lady said no to spinach when being served and when compelled to taste it, threw the Spinach dish, licked her hands and actually found the spinach tasty and started eating the splattered spinach from the walls. Simple story, my ass! This one has complicated my life beyond belief! My paternal side of the family thrives on laughing at others. Be it a baby or a granny, they spare none. If you even ask what the dish is and then ask for it, you are termed the "SKVTV aka TWWSAATSFTW. (The title of the simple story, people! Catch up!) In those days when there were always more than 6 people at home and when the plantain leaves were placed with 2 cms gap and the men and children ate first while the women folk served, you better not be the first person sitting in the row. Or the last person for that matter! They will take you by surprise by starting to serve from any end! And to ask "What is it?" will be a grave mistake to make. "Ellam saapdradhu dhaan, pottundu paaru"(It’s food only! Here!) will be the stern answer. Now I understand their attitude. Poor souls. Slogging in the kitchen from early morning cooking for a dozen people and serving while starving. I would nt have even bothered to answer back if it were me. But then, being what we were - just a couple of scared kids - it used to be traumatic. The reason is that you can’t waste anything that has been served. You can’t say no, you can’t waste, you don’t want to eat. What an irony when half the country is starving!

As if this is nt pressure enough, you say no just to be safe and they spare you this time and go to the next person only to find that it is not Vendaikai thayir pachdi(Bhindi raita) but potato fried curry! But the raita is supposed to be served after the Payasam (kheer) you thought and took a calculated risk. The Maami screwed up the routine and your chance to eat the mouth-watering potato curry. Of course if your sister is sitting beside you, you are screwed again definitely as she would nt even share the roasty bit with you and once a person has started eating, sharing is a BIG No-No. Of course you can ask for it, but your uncle sitting 2 seats away is just waiting for an occasion to call you a SKVTV. No way you can be the butt of his joke, this time! You just pretend you are on Atkins diet (Have nt even heard of the word Diet let alone Atkins in those times!) and ignore the next Elai (leaf) and just hope they will serve the potatoes one more time after Rasam is served. While you are on this potato track, you find to your horror that the next Maami who was serving the raita had sneaked some into your Elai. Sadistic, starving Maamis! Why cant they just snack on the vadais or papads before serving? And then there are various issues to tackle such as ‘Sambar without the pumpkin pieces please’, ‘no thanks no kootu’, ‘Rasam from the bottom of the vessel with tomatoes please’, ‘one more papad’, ‘no vadai’, ‘only one ladle of payasam enough’, ‘no curd just some buttermilk’, ‘can I have some more pickle’ (with the comment, Nee saapdara lakshanathuku idhu porum!). Amidst praying that my mother will get the hint and serve me, as she will know better! By this time 2 people who eat faster than a Hyena have got up. The fans are switched off so that the leaves don’t fly away. You better finish fast or suffocate. And of course the maamis are just waiting to lay their hands on the Echa Elais and then start eating. Poor souls! But they of course serve themselves. SKVTVs are everywhere but now they have lost their identities in the buffet tables much to my uncle's disapproval!

This post's inspiration:

Went to a Kids party this weekend. The kids were asked if they wanted the samosas/sandwiches/chips. The kids also did not ve any inhibition wasting the food. Whole samosas and nibbled sandwiches were thrown away without anyone batting an eyelid. Wait till I become the aforementioned Maami and serve these kids some Paaharkaai Pitle! (Bitter Gourd). Probably for Ashu’s Birthday. Be afraid kids. Be very afraid.

December 19, 2005

Is jealousy a milestone too?

We bought a walker for Ashu this weekend and she is happy. Yesterday she was jumping and today she walks the entire house. It won't be a big deal now when she actually walks on her own I suppose! Everything is so gradual that there is not one moment you remember. She was trying to roll over for a long time and the progress was inch by inch. Then she crawled, sat and stood. It's one-step a day and probably I ve to fast forward like they do the flower blooming to actually see her do stuff. The other day I picked up my friends 4-month-old baby girl and was kissing her. Ashu started screaming all of a sudden and I was shocked. I have one mean little thing in my hands. This development was nt gradual though. It came out of the blue. Girls!

December 17, 2005


My heartfelt condolences to Pratibha's family. Sent a shiver down my spine while I read about the rape and murder. Amidst Bangalore being renamed, cricketers being sacked and celebrities getting hospitalized, we sure found another 'hot' story to hog the front page temporarily. Is there really a solution? If the company is going to employ a security, how would we know that the security won't be a wolf under a sheep's clothing? I am really ashamed that I brought a child into this filthy world.

December 16, 2005

Papa, Can you hear me?

I get this question "How are you going to bring up your child? Strict or lenient?" from some people. Most definitely they are singles or blissful couples without babies. Because people with kids know how absurd this question is. Children just grow up. You might think that you are bringing them up. But that’s just an accident. S/he can survive without food, water, milk, toys, books, sleep, diapers, wet wipes, clothes, baths, bath toys, silicone tipped spoons, high chairs, swings, ... You get my point. It has been proven. And then "Will you hit your child" question from some wise-asses. Either they accept that they do spank their little ones and ask this question with a "If you say no, you are lying" look or with a "hitting is barbaric" look.

A little Flashback here:

My sister and I got a good beating from my dad when we were young. Me a lot more than my sis and once or twice even when I was in college. Accepted that I was a rebellious teen but nothing justifies violence. Especially with kids. The embarrassment and humiliation when you are hit cant be compared to anything else. (Except when we are caught naked in public. But that’s only in our dreams, so no worries!) My mom has nt laid a finger on me or sis, not even a pinch. All she had to say was, "Let dad come home in the evening" and I would start planning to kill myself or at least pray for an accident for dad while coming home from work. (Nothing worse God, just a minor injury will do!) Some times he ll be in a good mood and would just laugh away while my mom complained about us. And the other times, they were very scary. Probably he had a bad day in office, we ll never know. Because my dad has this Mother (or is it Father) of all Denials and swears that he has nt even laid a finger on us. Watch him in the company of kids and you would believe him too. Thank God I ve my sis to vouch for what I say. Otherwise I would ve thought I have imagined everything. Anyway, I still clearly remember the times my dad hit me. Everything would be over in a few minutes but those will be the longest time in our lives. I would apologize and say "Sorry Pa, Sorry Pa" a hundred times and say "I won’t do it again Pa. I wont do it again, Pa" a hundred times not even remembering why I am saying sorry and what I won't do again. I hated him the most then. My mom would feel very guilty and stand in a corner and cry. My sister would also get a slap or two because my dad would nt want me to feel lonely in pain. How nice of him! My sister would look daggers at me. I had other things to worry though. "When will he stop?" "How many more sorries should I say?" "Should I go to school tomorrow?" "Hope he does nt find the wooden scale". "I will never ever eat anything in this house again". "Would never talk to Mom again". "God, let me die in sleep tonight so that they all suffer tomorrow". Of course, none of the above mentioned happened. The next day, I had breakfast and went to school.

Today, I think back and feel all those violence was absolutely unnecessary. (In my situation, at least!) I turned out the way I turned out. The hitting part did nothing to my life except feel a little less love towards my dad than my mom and write a blog about it. Nothing can be worth the hurt a little mind goes through because of being hit. It’s just letting out your anger and then feeling guilty for the same. I never want to go through that guilt with Ashu. I will never hit her. (I should probably delete this blog by the time she learns to read). HD does nt come to the picture at all as he does nt hurt a fly. If he can be patient with me, he can be patient even with Calvin. (As in Calvin & Hobbes!) Also, that makes me the definite enemy for Ashu and I am sure she’s going to run "Daddy!" for everything. Well, that’s completely another blog material!

December 15, 2005

Knock, knock!

At 1 pm, there is a knock at the front door. Strange! Someone was knocking instead of ringing the bell. I look through the peephole and see the watchman standing. I open the door to find my dad standing behind. Wow! I live for surprises like these. Thanks dad, even though I know Ashu is the reason you came!

ps. He did nt ring the doorbell because he was afraid he ll wake up Ashu if she were sleeping it seems!

December 14, 2005

I am a mother, therefore I am!

I heard a very cute song in a singing competition in one of the Tamil TV channels. The girl who sang the song would be 7 or 8 years old. She sang the song beautifully. This was the first time I heard that song and I did nt know if it was a film song or not. And then yesterday, I saw the song on TV. The song is "singara punnagai" from the movie "Mahadevi". MS Rajeswari and Balasaraswathi have sung the song. Actresses Savitri and MN Rajam sing this sing while rocking two babies in a cradle. Awesome lyrics.

Singaara punnagai kannaara kandaaley
Sangeetha Veenaiyum edhukkamma?
Mangaatha kangalil mayittu paarthaaley
Thangamum Vairamum edhukkamma?

Kannaadi Kannangal Kaanginra velayil
Ennangal Geetham paadumey
Pesaamal pesum puruvangal kandaal
Pesaatha sirpangal ethukkamma

Singaara punnagai...

Selvame En jeevane
Selvame En jeevane
Aadum Kodiya nagangalum
Asainthu varum neram un
Azhagu mugam kandukkondaal
Anbu kondu maarum!

Selvame Engal jeevane
Engal Selvame Engal jeevane

Thanmaana selvangal vaazhginra boomiyil
Villendhum veeran polave
Magane nee vandhaai
Mazhalai sol thandhaai
Vaazh naalil verenna vendumammaa?


Hear it in under Tamil Lullaby. I know, I know. I am a great Mom! :-)

"Kuzhalinidhu Yaazhinidhu enbar Thammakkal
Mazhalaisol Kelaa dhavar."
Note that Thiruvalluvar says "tham makkal"! How true, how true!

December 13, 2005

Destined to use diapers.

Pampers and Huggies were equally good when I was in Swiss and the newborn diapers were exceptionally soft in Huggies. Now after coming to India I ve been using Pampers imported from Vietnam or Saudi Arabia. The quality is nt as good as it was in Swiss but only slightly so. But Huggies are more popular here as they are made in India and almost every Medical shop sells them. Once when I was stuck at my hometown because of the rain and my pampers supply ran out, I bought Huggies. They look nothing like the Huggies I know. Look like plastic and the quality is appalling. If you think it is cheaper, you are wrong. They are as expensive as the imported Pampers. I soon changed to Pampers and for a month using up those Huggies one per day since I bought them with good money and did nt want to throw them. Then yesterday Ashu was hit with a very bad bout of diaper rash. In these 7 months, what I thought were rash was nothing compared to this one. It was quite bad and Ashu was screaming and I could feel her pain. 2 hours of 'that' Huggie and this happens. How can the same brand have such a huge difference in quality in 2 different countries for the same price? I am baffled. And of course I am throwing the rest of the huggies in the trash.

Speaking of diapers, I am getting lot of heat after coming back here. Mothers here give me a look of disapproval for using diapers. They think I am selfish. Selfish? I would ve jumped out of a window if I am selfish. I have nothing against cloth diapers. But I just think disposables are more convenient and I am thankful that I can afford them. Changing disposable diapers are as humiliating and humbling as the cloth ones and no difference there. I can save time and spend more time giving Ashu attention then doing dirty laundry. If disposable feeding bottles were in the market, I would gladly buy them too. Try washing the bottles with your baby curled at your feet and you will know what I mean. And it is supposed to be my life and I can do what I am destined to do. The whole universe conspired to let me use the disposable diapers, so leave me alone!

ps. I have finished reading the Alchemist and needless to say, I just died and went to heaven.

December 10, 2005

I can never be a baby again. Ever.

I am having revelation after revelation after being a mother. How can something which is so obvious and just there for all of us to see as clear as the sky NOW did nt even seem like it existed BEFORE? I was always the one at home to say ungodly and unholy things and being cursed for that. Always the one to ask all sort of weird questions too. So one time I asked my dad, "If there is an emergency and you can save either mom or me, whom will you save?" After lots of diplomatic answers, Dad gives up at my persistence and admits that he will save me. I act shocked though I knew he would say it and am ready with my judgment. “You are a good father but a bad husband dad. Don’t you love mom?” By this time, mom interferes and asks me to stop the nonsense and go do something useful. Fast forward 10 years and now I would definitely want HD to save Ashu before me. I completely understand. But what I did nt expect was that I ll lose my importance everywhere at once. Last month at my parents place (weird calling home as my parents place!), the water heater burst and there were fumes everywhere. And in a second my dad picks up Ashu and is out of the house while I am blissfully sleeping in the next room. He did nt even call my name for Gods sake. So off he becomes a Good Grandfather and a Bad Father. Don’t you love me anymore dad? Is it always the youngest member getting all the attention in every family? I completely empathize with you Sis! I understand what you go through every time I am "babied"! It’s not fair. I know. I know that now.

December 09, 2005

Does only content matter?

Yesterday while browsing through books in "Crosswords", (the small outlet in Shoppers Stop), I came across Tarla Dalal recipe books. One book caught my eye. It was full of recipes for infants and toddlers. I have a copy of "What to expect in the first year" and seeing their recipes, often wanted to buy a book with Indian recipes. So I was surprised when I saw the book. Wanting to buy it, opened it to read a few pages. I was shocked to say the least. The font color was bright green (adikka vara pachai!), the quality of the paper was bad and I just wanted to throw the book. I can honestly say that the books we xeroxed when we were in college looked far better than this one. In spite of that, I wanted to buy the book for its recipes. But at the last minute decided not to. Every time I open the book, I will be losing my temper. I can’t be in a bad mood while cooking for my daughter, can I? But seriously, who designs such layouts? And is nt Tarla Dalal supposed to be one of the top names in India? I noticed that some of her other books were also quite bad to look at. Probably the contents are good but should nt they be pleasing to the eyes too?

Talking of eyes, similar things happened to me at this Opticals. I bought a new pair of contact lens and with it got the starter kit with a small Solution bottle and a lens case. The lens case was of very bad quality. I have better quality plastic in my soapu dabbas. Ashu can use them to sharpen her pencil if I allow her to. And the guy at the counter says that the lenses are original Bausch and Lomb when I complained. I explained to him that I am not complaining about the lens but the lens case and he gives me a funny look and says this is what they get. So that explains everything. This is what THEY get? I understand. Stupid me. Here I was thinking that THEY cared.

Here we are changing templates to impress strangers reading about our lives and gossips. What a world we are living in? Anyway, ended up buying The Alchemist at Crosswords and am in the 24th page and I already love it. The content as well as the print.

December 08, 2005

"A baby changes your life so much".

This is the most repeated statement I ve heard this year! Of course it does! But what people don’t tell you are the little things that make your life so miserable. I don’t mind the middle of the night feedings, early morning snack, the cleaning, the baby proofing, the staying at home part, etc. But I never expected that shopping in a department store would be such a task. There are steps everywhere. I have never noticed so many steps in my life. So taking the stroller is out of the question. She’s getting too big for the sling, so I just carry her in my arms. You get into the "particular" store, take a shopping cart, make Ashu sit on it and flex your arms. You put the stuff in the cart and then you look for detergent powder and don’t find it. You ask the staff and they tell you that it is in the first floor. First floor? Ok. So where’s the lift? No lift madam. What? No lift? Ok. So you park the shopping cart full of groceries near the stairs. Take a shopping basket, lift Ashu in the arms, climb the stairs, buy the damn detergent and other stuff while managing the wiggly thing in your arms and come down the most dangerous stair case you ve ever seen in your life. Now your shopping cart is gone, you ask the staff and find it another corner thankfully the stuff still inside, put the basket on top, put Ashu on the cart, (flex your arms!) and go to the check out. The scanning equipment does nt work, so by the time they enter the 16 digit code for the 19 things you ve bought, you curse your life, your marriage, your husband, that night 16 months back, the store, the staff and the girl in the tight Capri and high heels who buys a Gillette disposable razor and walks out of the store without a care in the world. (Except for her hairy legs!) I was her in my past life. (Minus the tight Capri that is!) Sigh!

December 07, 2005

Desperate housewife!

I hate being called a housewife. There I said it. I hate being assumed as a housewife although the assumption is certainly true in my case. Unemployed? Yes. Jobless? Yes. Stay at home mom? Oh yes! Homemaker? Probably. But housewife? Certainly not. Just the sound of that word makes me go crazy and if I get my hands on the person who coined that word, God save him from this housewife. When people use this word, I can hear a slight disapproval if that person is working, a sadistic satisfaction if she's a housewife as well, a look of pity, a look of accusation,... May be I am reading into it too much but its there nevertheless. I have to be honest here. I am slightly ashamed that I don’t work. But 4 years ago, I decided to quit my job to glob trot with my husband and now that I am a mother as well, I don’t regret it one bit. These 4 years have been the happiest in my life. I lived the life I always wanted to live, I traveled to places I always dreamed to go, had the best years with my husband which we can never have again and last but not the least, it was financially ok for us with me not working. You can’t describe this entire experience in one word - housewife!

As soon as people ask me if I am housewife, I nod my head and hurriedly clarify that I WAS working, I quit, I might go back to working, etc.. I remember once while I was traveling by train, I fibbed a long story to a co-passenger how I was working for this company (my husbands company), how I was traveling to Chennai to get my work permit visa (dependent visa), answering his questions about how "my" company was doing, "my project", "my" work hours! Man, that felt good. (Gotta thank HD here for sharing his office news with me!) I do long to be a career woman. But I did have it once and absolutely hated it. As they say, the other side will always be green. I hope I find something interesting, close to my heart, something I am passionate about to work on. I am doing nothing right now to go look for it. But someday I will and when I do, I will be proud of it. Just like I am today.

December 05, 2005

What’s (not) in a name?

I still have my maiden name, which means my surname is my father’s first name. HD has his father’s first name as his surname. Right from the moment we found out we were pregnant, like every other couple we started thinking about a name. Not just a name but also a surname. What would our child’s surname be? Shall we keep His' surname? But it’s my father in laws first name. I can’t keep my father in laws first name as my child’s surname. It will sound weird. Why can’t we keep my surname then? At least it will be my father’s first name. Knowing I was talking silly, HD made sense by telling "Lets keep my fist name then". But its too long said I. Poor child of ours. S/he (we did nt know the sex then you see) will have a tough time if s/he goes to pardes. The US/UK/Schengen visa department will have a tough time pronouncing. And s/he ll sound old with that name. Why don’t we keep the shorter version of your name just like everyone calls you? So all settled then. It's going to be the fist part of HD's first name. By this time 2 trimesters had gone and it was crunch time to find a first name for the kid. Since we could nt find the sex of the baby (Ashu was quite a lady and crossed her legs in both the ultrasounds and would nt let us know that she was a girl!), we had to look for both a boy and a girls name. As we had to register the birth immediately, we would nt have much time after the delivery. In the mean time I was having nightmares that I am unconscious and I deliver a baby and HD names the baby without asking me. So we had to decide fast. We made a short list and decided on the names at last just before going to the hospital. Anyway, coming back to the surname, now all 3 of us have 3 different surnames and we are all the same family. Why can’t we just have the initials like we used to in those days? Now we sound weirder if that’s possible.

The first ever Post Ashu got while we were in Swiss got returned to the sender because only our surnames were in the postbox. Her's was nt, And what do u think the post was? Her birth certificate! I am sure this naming business is going to haunt us the rest of our lives. One of my friends said that she’s going to keep her husbands surname for one kid and her surname for the other. I hope she keeps her word and does that. We will look a little less weird that way. All said and done, I am very sure Ashu is going to grow up and call us some pretty special names!

December 03, 2005

Kan vizhithu soppanam kanden.

You know why we have babies. It is God’s way of putting us in our places. If you have every raised your eyebrows anytime in your life at a child or his/her parents, then you ll have a baby of your own and s/he will do exactly what you did nt approve of when you were the blissful non-parent! I remember so many occasions when the parents proudly tell how their child likes this one particular film song and dances or laughs or sings along for that song alone. One time it was a popular Tamil serial's title song and another time it was "manmadha raasa". I used to think how irresponsible of the parents to expose their children to such things. Now it's happening under my own nose. And I’m solely responsible for the deed. Ashu loves "suttum vizhi sudare" from the movie Ghajini. She stops crying when this song is played and also gives this enchanting smile. She looks at the TV even if the song is played on the CD player and according to me looks for Surya! It so happened that I sang this song to her more than a dozen times while rocking her to sleep on my lap. Then one day this song comes on TV and madam turned to the direction of the sound and we all were so thrilled. Then another day she stopped playing midway and froze for a minute when this song came. She is so pleased with herself and gives such a pretty smile that I’m having a tough time not to take pride on the fact that my baby girl likes a filmi song! At least it’s a beautiful song I love. It could ve been worse. It's not "Tharuveeyaa thara maatiyaa". Anything to console myself.

December 02, 2005

The only time I hate being a woman.

When I am extremely weak, being kicked in the stomach and can't do a thing. (However tiny the kicking feet are, it still hurts!)

December 01, 2005

List of things I missed and make me feel good to be back.

Multi cuisine restaurants (Indo-Chinese! Here I come!)

Close up lemon and mint tooth paste (Can I eat it?)

Tamil TV channels (for now at least!)

Ashu's 'stay at home' grand mom (not for long though!)

Wet grinders (Home made idlis and dosas, yum!)

Auto rickshaws (irrespective of the drivers)

Fresh lime soda (sweet not salt please!)

Door delivered groceries (100 gms of mustard seeds. No, that’s all. Nothing else. Thanks!)

Seinfeld re runs on TV (Joy forever!)

Buying bangles and bindis in the fancy stores (Why 'fancy'?)

Touching both my cheeks while passing by pillayaar kovils in every street. (I once did it looking at a movie theater. I ve been away too long!)

Power cuts. (Sometimes! There should be some thrill and mystery in life, right?)

Flowers (Jaadhi, Malli, Mullai,...)

Knowing that my parents don’t need a visa to visit us. (:-)

Feeling that I am home. (Priceless!)
baby growth