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April 27, 2012


Dear Ashu,

Seven has been my favorite number ever since I can remember. I don't know why. I have no special sentiment about it but whenever the topic of favorite number comes up, I realize I have a special place for that number. When you were a baby, seven year olds looked like giants to me. But how can YOU be seven today? You are still so little and so cute! Well, I am a "little" biased, I guess! :) Like every year, you have been so excited about your birthday. Its heart warming to see that for you, its not about the party or the gifts. Just the fact that you are turning one year older! What I would nt give to become zen like you! I would never ever forget the way you stood next to me for more than 15 minutes waiting to see if I can put the skis on by myself after I had the fall. You could have just zoomed past. But no, that's not you. And when I told you to ski ahead and call Appa for help and to stay with Antu until we reached that place, you were gone in a blink. That meant a lot to me, kiddo! More because visualizing Antu in your place, I'm sure I would have had to drag my butt in the snow to catch her from running away in the opposite direction! I owe you big.

Talking about your sister, I apologize from the bottom of my heart for having unleashed her on you.You deserved better. Like your own twin or something! Not this pint sized super brat who's current mission in life is to make your life hell. I can only promise you that it will get better and you ll learn to ignore her!  But you have to agree that she is very cute when she wants to be. Like when she needs your help or when she wants something that you have or when she comes crying to you after getting yelled at by me! As always, you are being a fabulous older sister and looking out for her always. Hope you never stop doing that. Yesterday you lost your third tooth and when I suggested we pretend that tooth fairies are real for Antus sake, you got all excited and winked at me and whispered to me to leave a gift that you both can share! And in the morning when you saw an Amar Chitra Katha book under your pillow, you kept it back there and waited for Antu to wake up and made her open the gift. That was really sweet of you.

Usually one US trip and one India trip happen between your birthdays but this year, there has been an additional India trip as well. Talk about getting pampered. I am sure R's wedding will be fondly remembered by you for many years to come. Just like sis and I still talk about our uncle's (R's dad) wedding. While I was thinking that being in India would make you more outgoing, you completely clammed up and refused to even say hello to all the relatives. Theres no figuring you out. The more I nagged you to talk, the more you went into your shell. I hope someday you will explain all this to me. All said and done, I want you to be yourself. If you want to be that "mysterious woman" when you grow up, so be it. I ll learn to make peace with that. I just hope Antu invites me to the parties she throws! :) You have blossomed in school though. Unfortunately, you will not be continuing in this school for 2nd grade. It breaks my heart to leave this school after five long years but you are every excited about the upcoming change. God knows how you can have no fear for the unknown. But then as a kid, almost everything is new so that's alright, I guess.

You enjoy playing the violin and try to write your own music. You write and illustrate books. You sing and dance. You can almost read Tamil and with a little more practice, can write too. All thanks to your grand mother! You have lots of special friends but not one who is a little extra special to you. You love to draw, paint, cut, color and make things. Once you begged me to let you use the ipad on a non-screen time day so that you can search for "simple crafts" in youtube and make a penguin out of a toilet paper roll! Thank God you don't know to clear history yet! You read a lot. Until recently there was not one book in this house which I had nt read to you. We used to read, listen, laugh, think and discuss together. Now you are reading sitting in one corner and giggling to yourself and I feel so neglected and useless. And I don't know whats happening in that part of your world. From this cool mom who was reading to you hundreds of books, I have become the annoying mom who is asking you not to read while in the car, while eating and sometimes while waiting for the elevator. Seriously? 

I do think I have become more patient with you this year but I also make the mistake of expecting a lot from you. Sometimes, I forget you are a little girl and expect you to act responsibly all the time. Who asked you to be so smart and mature? The other day we were talking about extreme sports and you asked me why people risk lives like that. I told you that its their choice and that anything can happen to anyone at anytime and who is to say driving the car or going by a plane is any less risky? And pat came your reply, "But I NEED to go to school by car, Amma. I NEED to go by plane to US to see Perimma and Perippa. But people don't need to bungee jump or sky dive, right?" *gulp* And I thought I was the lawyer in the family! I wish you were nt so logical all the time and do some silly stuff now and then. I said silly not stupid, OK? :) Love you million, billion, zillion darling! Happy Birthday!


April 25, 2012

Summer Reading Program in Hyderabad.

Utbtkids has designed a summer reading program for Treasure House in Hyderabad. The description makes me wish I were a kid and that I lived in Hyderabad! :) 
The below is from her post.

The program is called Reading Bugs.

It is for children age infant – 15.

For parents of children age 0 – 5, I am offering a parent information work shop that talks about why reading is important, what are the early literacy skills that are targeted by reading to young children, what to read, when to read, how to read, why we are reading what we are reading.

For children age 6 – 9, THE BUTTERFLIES BOOK CLUB. The underlying goal of this book club is to make children aware of other genres. The world of books is not just magic, fantasy and what-ever-my-older-sibling/friend-is-reading. There is fiction, non-fiction, drama, picture books, chapter books, environmental issues, humor, classics, mythology, history, exploration/discovery/voyages…. and many more. Catch them young, when they have started reading independently and introduce them to the different choices so that they pause at their age level and explore choices at level instead of jumping to what is popular and run out of choices soon. I call this, my ‘prevent children from getting lost in the adventure/magic/mystery Bermuda triangle’ mission. Children will interact with Sridala Swami, author of Cheenu’s Gift and Sandhya Rao, editor of Tulika Publishers.

For children age 6 – 9, I am offering a workshop. MAKE YOUR READING BLOOM. The idea is to work with beginner and reluctant readers on certain skills that will improve comprehension and fluency. This will be a 5 session workshop.

For 10+ children, in keeping with my Bermuda triangle theory, I am doing THE MYTHOLOGY BOOK CLUB. This club will analyze mythology as a genre, compare elements from various mythologies, talk about mythological characters and beasts and has two author interaction sessions. Devdutt Pattanaik and Anu Kumar.

If you are in Hyderabad the place to be is

plot#1254/A Rd#63,
Adjacent to ICICI Bank rd#36,
Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad – 5000033
Phone#: (040)23550118

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