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November 30, 2010

The Girl with the Purple Glasses.

I dont know if its a milestone or not but the big news is that Ashu is wearing glasses. So a little more than a month ago, I took her to the eye doctor. Somewhere around June, Hd and I felt that her eyes need to be checked. We both are short sighted and thought that the sooner she gets checked the better. She did nt show any signs though. Nothing we noticed, that is. We got an appointment only in October. One part of me was cool about it and another part of course was a little apprehensive. The retinal dilation drops were given three times and the test was in the evening, Ashu was too tired. And it was a horrible experience for me trying to make Ashu cooperate and get it over with rather than come another day and go through the same thing once again. The doctor and the nurse were extremely patient with her. She was tested and the doc confirmed that she needs glasses. I remember I was 12 when I was tested and I was over the moon that I can wear glasses because they were cool. My parents and sister are nt short sighted so I felt really special. Thankfully, kids are still the same and Ashu was thrilled that she can wear glasses. One of her friends from school wears glasses and two more boys we know wear them too. And of course she sees me and her dad with glasses almost all the time. So thankfully she was ok with the idea.

A week later, we were off to this big Optical shop in Bahnhofstrasse. A kind saleslady guided us and Ashu was treated like a princess. She showed us the frames and after trying a dozen of them, Ashu selected a purple one. It looked nice on her, I thought. We ordered the glasses and walked out with a balloon! And a week later, ta-da! Ashus first pair of glasses arrived! I spoke to her class teacher about it and she told me that she will have a talk with the class about it. Ashu skipped to school that day and came back even more happier! Phew. It has been a month now and she wears them regularly. She is very careful with them too. She takes it off carefully and puts it on top of the drawer before falling on the bed face first! Even when she's upset about something! Thats more than what can be said of her mother! It helps that she is like her father in some things, huh? :) Here she is happily drawing with the window glass crayons! Best thing I ever bought, I tell you! Madam was upset that I would nt hang a Happy Birthday banner for her fathers birthday so she took it upon herself to decorate. :) On that note, Happy Birthday Husband Dear!

I ll be on a short blog break. See you on the other side.

November 25, 2010

Movie going experience indeed!

Last Friday, BFF and I decided to go out for a movie. She, very wisely, took the train while I drove from home since the bus connection to my place is nt great after 11 pm. Big mistake. I was near the theatre at 8.00 pm for the 8.30 pm show but absolutely no parking spot. I circled that area a dozen times. No luck. (Im sure my Paati would be saying, "pillayaara pradhakshnam panninaa punyamaavadhu kidaikum. ippadi cinema theatre a suthi irukkiye*?")There were so many cars parked illegally and the nearby indoor parking garage which I had counted as my backup plan (because its uber expensive) was FULL. 700 parking spots and it was full! At 8 pm when none of the shops are open. Only restaurants, bars and cinemas. Guess every one decided to go out on the one day I decide to go watch a movie! And do you think its easy to out for a movie for us poor folks? The same time the previous week the husband and his friend decided to go for the very same movie (The Social Network. I ll come to it eventually.) They decided in the evening and vamoosed within an hour and even found a parking spot 2 mins from the theatre! But us? Me and some other friends talked, talked and talked about going out for a month. One or the other was always busy. Or the kids were sick. Or the baby sitter was nt available. Or the husband was traveling,... yaada yaada yaada. And at last, S and I decided enough is enough and that we both will go whether the other friends could come or not. Once the day was decided, then theres the whole planning for the day, of course. Make dinner, eat dinner, pray all Gods that the husband comes back from office in time to hold the fort, go online and find nearby parking garage from the theatre, say bye to the crying kids who are hanging by your feet,.. Ok the last bit is not true. Ashu actually said bye and slammed the door on me! But you get my point, right?

And after all this, I cant find a parking spot! Grr.... Anyway, parked at another Parkhaus and literally ran from there to the theatre in the freaking cold for 15 mins to reach the theatre in the nick of time! S was waiting for me with our tickets while I walked in panting like a dog. Once inside, more surprise awaited! First row seats!!! oh Goody! Thankfully the two corner seats next to us were free and we moved there and turned our heads in a 75* angle to the right so that we don't have to stretch our neck upwards! But then it was all worth it! What a movie! I loved it. What fantastic dialogues! And the casting was pitch perfect. Did anyone think of Sheldon when watching Zuckerberg on screen? I did. (May be the dialogue delivery?) Though I have watched The Fight Club, Seven, Panic room and liked them all, David Fincher was never in my favorite directors list. I dont know why. But with this movie, hes up there in my list. (slightly below Nolan, mind you!) And I read that Rooney Mara who played Erika, Zuckerberg's ex girl friend, is playing Lisbeth Salander in Fincher's next movie, The Girl With The Dragan Tattoo. I cant W.A.I.T! I read the Stieg Larson books only recently and loved them. Yet to read the third book though. S, the above mentioned friend, pulled a fast one on me by lending me only the first 2 books! Since I tried to beg, borrow or steal "The Girl who Kicked the Hornets Nest" and did nt succeed, Im going to buy it. Soon.

"Pay them. In the scheme of things, its just a speeding ticket" is so going to be my new motto for 2011. Its one of my favorite lines from the movie. But Hd is a bit wary. He thinks I mean, Pay "for" them, them being shoes, clothes and bags. Cant blame him, can I? ;)

* "You should walk around a temple instead of a theatre". (It sounds better in Tamil what with the rhyming words and all, trust me!)

November 17, 2010

What is Antu upto?

Antu is growing up so fast that it hurts me unbearably. I don't know if its with the second borns but with Ashu I was always looking forward to the next stage. May be now that I know whats coming, it pains me whenever Antu reaches a new milestone. Crazy, I know! A month ago, Hd was short listing play schools for Antu and I glared at him. "She so ready, ok?", he said. "But what about me? Im not ready to send her. Ever", I replied. "The thought of sending her to school feels like someone is stabbing at my heart with a knife and then twisting it!", I added. He sighed, shook his head and gave up. Shes almost 2 1/2 now and I know its a good idea to send her from Jan. But it breaks my heart. However weird that might sound, it truly does. Yesterday I took her to a new play school for a tour and she just went in, took her shoes and jacket off and went straight to the play room and started playing. As if she has been coming here every day all her life! She even found a friend. The boy is a friends son and she has seen him a few times before. And an hour later, when I was ready to leave after talking to the caregivers, I had to go and find her and she refused to come! So my brain tells me that shes so ready but my stupid heart is in denial. Hoping 2011 will knock some sense into me!

I was watching TV one day and there was this commercial for some charity. A picture of a starving, sick African baby. All skins and bones and lying on the ground. Looking straight into the camera with painful eyes. Since I had seen this ad many times before, I quickly turned my eyes away from the TV with a bit of a guilt. And I heard Antu say so cheerfully and loudly, "Look Amma. A baby!" And she had such genuine happiness in her face and was thrilled to see a fellow baby on screen. I was captivated by the childish innocence. When do we start losing it?

When we ask the dreaded question, "Whom do you like more? Amma or Appa?", she does nt waste a moment before answering "Appa!" The ungrateful brat! 5 years and counting and Ashu has never ever said anything but "both" to this question. Karma, surely! I remember I used to say "only Appa" when I was a kid. Actually, I think I still do! :)

And another day she brought a drawing to me and said "Lookit amma!" I think she was tired of always seeing her sister bring me drawings to show and get all the compliments. So I oohed and aahed at the drawing and asked her, "Who did this, Antu?" and she immediately answered, "Ashu did it." My poor little kid! Im sure she ll get there one day!

Antu is such a happy child with a smile pasted in her face all the time. She has to reach out and touch babies when she sees them. She has to go sit near kids in parks. She comes to us for random hugs. Shes delighted to see Ashu after school. Its just impossible to be mad at her for more than 2 seconds because she ll totally charm your pants off with the most sweetest "sorry"!

Needless to say, she has her dad neatly wrapped around her little finger. The other day I had a talk with Hd on how hes letting her get away with anything and that he has to be more stern. And his reply, "But she's a baby. She's not even three!" This is the same guy who gave time outs to Ashu when she was 2 years old, mind you!

Talking about time outs, Ashu hates this word even now and takes it as a huge insult if I say the T word. But Antu? Gives herself time out happily and goes and sits in a corner for 2 mins, apologizes, gives me a hug and walks away content as if she has taught me a lesson!! What the hell!

She uses her left hand most of the times and Im eagerly waiting to see if she's going to be left handed. Im a secret admirer of lefties. :)

Antu started eating chocolates very recently and is not a big fan yet. I know things might change rapidly but Im proud nevertheless.

Shes a total party girl. She loves to drop Ashu at school and then pick her up. Loves when Ashu has friends over. Loves when we go to a friends place. Loves to accompany us to the swimming pool for Ashu's class. Can name every one of Ashu's friends and their siblings to boot!

She has a special bond with men. Her dad, her uncle, her grandpa, friends son, a friends husband,... are a "leetle" more special than the boring women in her life!

Both Ashu and Antu have always been good sleepers. They give me grey hairs in the food department but if theres one thing I totally escaped from, its sleep deprivation. And thank God for that. Because to be honest I am quite murderous even after 8 hours of sleep! But while Ashu was always rocked to sleep as a baby or by telling a story after story for an hour in the dark until she went to sleep after she turned two, Antu learnt to sleep on her own ever since she turned 7 months old. She even tosses and turns for an hour sometimes before going to sleep and is quite content just lying on the bed. Just like her mom, I guess! ;) The other day at party in a friends place with house full of adults and kids, Antu was nowhere to be seen. I went to their kids bedroom to see Antu on their bed blissfully asleep hugging a stuffed bear while kids were making a ruckus just outside the room. My heart just swelled. Theres something about sleeping kids, I tell you. Especially when they are out like that in a party leaving you to eat the Kuzhi Paniyarams in peace! :)

November 11, 2010

What do you do all day long?

Thankfully I don't get the above question a lot. People are generally wary around me, I guess. But to answer that question, some days are so relaxing. The Sun is shining, the birds are chirping, Antu takes 3 hours naps and Ashu gets picked up by a friend after school and I have a relaxing, long day reading a book or surfing the net or watching TV. Amidst the housework, of course. And then there are other days. Like the day when I had to drop Ashu at 8.30 am, come back home, get myself and Antu ready, leave for the school again at 10 am for the assembly where Ashu and co were dancing, then come back home, get lunch for us both, clean up, then go back to school at 3 pm to pick up Ashu and her friend. Drive to a birthday party with them. Drop the kids off and get some groceries done. Go back and pick them up. Drop the other girl at her place. Come home and its already 7 pm. Get dinner ready, feed the kids, bed time routine, clean the house and then get something to eat for myself. And before I know its almost midnight and I'm still scrubbing the kitchen counter! I realize I ve spent most of the day driving! Its time I get a drivers uniform and call Ashu, "Madam", I guess!

And some other day when Antu has gymboree, Ashu has school, I have a lunch to go to, Hd is traveling, Ashu is bringing her friend to our house after school,... and its crazy fitting everything in one day and dragging Antu everywhere. But yesterday was the pits. Murphy would ve been really proud! So the morning went well. Ashu in school and Antu and I at home. Wednesdays are early finish for Ashu and usually Antu cant nap those days because I have to leave the house just before 2 pm. Even if she's asleep, I pick her up and by the time I get to the car, shes awake. Yesterday was the same. She had a late lunch and was in full form and not a little bit sleepy. Around 2 pm, we go to the school to pick up Ashu and her friend A who was coming home with us. So far so good. Around 3 pm, things start going downhill.

* Ashu is extremely tantrummy. Shes behaving very badly.
* Antu is a like a wrecking ball creating havoc where ever shes going and whatever shes touching.
* Poor A is clueless whats happening in this crazy household.
* I ask Antu to nap. She refuses.
* I ask Ashu to be nice to her friend and play with her. She refuses.
* I get snacks ready for the girls.
* Around 4.30 pm, I lose my patience and take Ashu to a room and yell at her so badly that shes howling.
* Antu meanwhile has made such a mess in one of the rooms that I take her aside and yell at her as well. Now shes howling too.
* Around 5 pm, I say enough is enough and get Ashu ready for the swim class which is at 5.30 pm. Pack up Antu and with A, get into the car. The idea is to drop A and then go the pool since the pool is very near A's house.
* The GPS does nt get started and I'm worried. I go in the general direction of the pool hoping the GPS will come alive in a while and lead us to A's house.
* Meanwhile Antu has fallen asleep! uh ho.
* We are almost near the pool and the GPS is still silent. I park the car on the curb and pray to all Gods. Thankfully, it comes alive. Phew.
*I drop A and rush to the pool. Its already 5.30 pm.
* Park the car, put the sleeping child in my shoulder, carry the bag and run inside with Ashu. 2 sets of stairs and 2 doors later, we are inside the dressing area. Ashu cooperates fully, changes and one more flight of stairs later, we are in the shower area. Ashu again showers by herself and I leave her with the teacher. Usually I hang around by the side while Antu plays in the kiddie pool since the class is only for 30 mins. But today I tell the teacher I ll be back and go back to the dressing rooms. The bench is not too comfy so I sit on the bottom most stair with Antu on my shoulder. Lets say I was only missing a disposable cup in front of me. Would ve made quite a bit of money if I had a cup since everyone who crossed gave a me a pity smile!!
* One of the class moms arrived in a while and said she ll bring Ashu to me after shes done. Long live her!
* I was playing carrot harvest in my phone. Could nt even call Hd since there was no network. and then the phone dies on me!!!! (Good move, Murphy!) And Im thinking to myself, "Ashu better give Michael Phelps a run for his money or else..."
* Ashu finishes her class, takes a shower and comes to me. We go to the dressing room and by this time Antu has opened her eyes but is cranky and crying. By this time, I cant feel my right hand because it has fallen off somewhere! I plonk her on the bench and help Ashu dry her hair and change her. Then I see that theres a door right next to the dressing area which directly goes to the car park. Hallelujah! Don't ve to struggle two flights of stairs. So we go out only to realize that I ve left the entry ticket card in the locker door itself! And these doors cannot be opened from outside. ARGH!
* 2 more flights of stairs again with a crying Antu and a whiny Ashu. I ask the receptionist if she can bring my card but she tells me I ve to go myself and gives me a temp card. At least I found the card. And I go back to give the temp card, thank her and walk out. Its already 6.30 pm and I have a farewell party to go to at 7.00 pm!
* You want me to stop now, don't you? Well I wanted it to stop too. But it did nt. So hear me out.
* As soon as I start the car, I see the tank is almost empty. I panic. Pray to all Gods and somehow reach the gas station near our house. I fill the tank, ask Ashu to wait in the car and that I ll be back in 2 minutes, lock the car and go inside to pay. Ashu can see me through the glass door. So can I. Of course, there have to be 4 people in front of me all buying their entire weeks groceries at a GAS STATION! I keep an eye out at the car and signal to Ashu. Then my turn comes and I pay. I come out to see that the car door is wide open and Ashu standing outside and she's crying! Right by the side of a busy road! I was so shocked that I go speechless for a second. There are a few people staring at the scene. I quickly bundle Ashu inside and ask what the heck does she think shes doing? She could nt see me when I was paying, got worried (because I was out of her sight for TWO SECONDS!), took off her seat belt, climbed to the drivers seat, unlocked the doors, opened the door, climbed outside, did nt know whether to leave Antu and come and get me so she started crying. Because she was scared! I banged my head against the wheel, told her how dangerous her move was which made her cry more, of course. Then hugged her and drove home.
* Hd was home. Murphy took pity on me, I guess. About time, I say! I quickly changed, gave the shorter version of my day to Hd and left the house to attend a school mom's farewell party. It was at a friends place and a dance party at that. "Munni badnaam hui" many times and for the first time in my life, I wished I drank!

So come on all you SAHMs. Tell me the worst day of your mommy life.(Leave a link or write in the comment section.) Parul had the By the Water Cooler contest for the working types. Let us have some fun too. May be I ll consider the working moms stories too if its really, really bad! ;) No prizes vrizes because I'm no celebrity author. But I got two shoulders you can cry on!

Whoever said that "Giving birth is the easiest part of Motherhood", show me your feet please. *does saashtaanga namaskaram*

November 05, 2010


Every year, I get the blues on this day if I am out of India. This year is no exception. I try to make this day as exciting as possible for the kids but if theres no prospect of going out of the house bright and bushy tailed even before the sunrise and burst crackers, whats the point of getting up early and dressing up, pray tell? Nevertheless, I took Ashu and Antu out shopping yesterday and let them choose their new dresses. Ashu loved the experience and felt all grown up. I made Double ka Meetha sweet which Ashu and Antu refused to even try and Diamond biscuits which did nt even live to see daylight because Antu thought that that was dinner! Getting up early has never been a problem in this household. For the kids, I mean. So they got up around 5.30 am and came to our bed. And instead of swatting them away and curling up in my duvet like I always do, I yelled "Happy Deepavali" and got up much to their collective shock! But it was just the beginning. When I heated up some oil and massaged their hair with it, they crinkled their nose because of the strong smell and Antu who on regular days hates water in her hair, glared a "dont you dare at this time of the day!" look at me. Ashu was all whiny too. For a minute, I wondered what the whole point is! Ashu has school. Hd has office. As usual. What am I going to achieve by doing all this? Then I let out a deep sigh and decided I am not letting go of this tradition. Never. Its one of the strongest memories for me and if I close my eyes I can smell the arappu, nallennai and all the smoke form the burst crackers and sparklers. I did what any self respecting mother would do. "Do you guys know you can eat as many sweets as you want today? You can even eat your gummy vites first and then drink your milk, Ashu!" Bribe. Nothing works like bribe. Ashu could nt believe her ears. "Really, Amma? Wow!" And Antu who has never eaten a piece of chocolate until today and thinks that chocolates are "dirty" decided to change her mind and try one. Welcome to the big bad world of chocolates, my dear girl! If not on Deepavali, then when? Bathing, dressing up, etc.. were all done on fast forward with minimum crying by Antu. I decided to make Hd feel special too by making Pongal and Chutney and the man does nt know what hit him! Hes off to drop Ashu in school now. (Did nt I tell nothing works like bribe? ;) Parents, Sis, Bil and a special friend called to wish and now at 9 am, it does feel a little like Deepavali with my damp hair, the fragrance of incense sticks and candles lingering in the air, our new dresses with a touch of kungumam in them and a very tempting dabba of double ka meetha.

Wishing you all a wonderful, wonderful Deepavali!

November 04, 2010

Well! Well! Well!

YY has indeed arrived in the blog world.

Check out her recent post for some entertainment. I am so amazed by all the coincidence that Im quite speechless.
Let me try to decipher what happened.

2. SG decides to write a Golu post this year and searches for a golu photo in google images.

3. Of the millions of pictures, the one in Page 19 strikes his fancy and he uses it. (Im guessing here!)

So far so good.

4. When the commenters compliment on the Golu, hes quite non committal in the beginning. (Thats the conscience, I guess and one should always, always listen to it!)

5. But when commenter, Anu Bharat praises the Golu, he gracefully accepts the compliments!

Except that they are MY GRANDMOTHER and MOTHERs bommais!! (ok, ok. I got a little carried away too. "Our". Not "My". And now my sister's.)

6. A few days later, he participates in Paruls By the Watercooler contest.

7. A week later, Parul announces the winners and SG is one of the five winners. Parul links his blog.

8. YY reads that post and follows the link to SG's blog. (What are the odds, huh?)

9. And she randomly checks the archives only to see her own Golu photo staring back at her. (Again, what are the odds?)

Im shocked at all these coincidences. A Bay area resident writes about Bay area Navarathri complaining mostly about the food (on how theres no "originality"!) only to copy and use another Bay area residents Navarathri Golu photo (unknowingly, I hope!) and then not clarifying that its neither his picture nor his Golu.

Im so fascinated by this Butterfly Effect that Im neither angry nor upset about this theft. Just intrigued. :)

November 02, 2010

By the Water Cooler - Parul's second Book.

A very dear blogpal, Parul is out with her second book, By the Water Cooler. She has a fun contest in her blog. But Im late in announcing the contest so the last date for entries has passed by. But that should nt stop you from going there and reading all the entries. Such fun. I was going to twist the title a little and write my own entry "By the Microwave" and how my boss (Ashu) and a coworker (Hd) harrassed me while my super boss (Antu) watched and did nothing while I was heating milk for them in the microwave but I guess now the world will never know that story! ;)

Good luck, Parul. Wishing you loads of luck. Cant wait to get my hands on your book.

My review of the first book, Bringing up Vasu, here.
baby growth