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June 27, 2014


Dear Antu,

My heart weighs a tonne as I write this and its not only because I have to start buying train and bus tickets, swimming pool and other miscellanious entry tickets now that you are six and they are not free anymore! Well that too! But mainly because you are SIX! The first thing you did today after waking up was to go and stand against the height chart and see how much taller you have got now that you are six! :) You have had the most exciting year but then being Antu is always exciting! You are always singing or dancing or living in your fancy pretend world! We are all mere servants who exist to fulfill your every little wish! A simple "no" from me will make you cry buckets and declare "You don't even like me!" and stomp off! Your dad though is a big fan of your extreme drama and laughs at the most inopportune moment making you even more mad! Will the man ever learn, you think?

First year of Kindergarten is almost done and you are in love with your school, your teacher and friends. You walk to school and back on your own and so very responsible with your things. You notice everything thats happening around you and come home and tell me everything! You have started reading a lot and progressed to chapter books now and its heartening to see you follow your sister in this regard. I found you reading while walking to the car the other day and I had to ask you to stop doing that but not without a secret smile in my face! :) Its so sweet to hear you talk in German to your friends and please forgive me for taking secret videos of you doing that! Almost every video begins with you asking me "Are you taking a video?" and me lying "Of course not!" I know. I am awful like that!

You have a birthday party tomorrow at home with a few friends from school and you have planned every last detail! Your excitement is infectious and even Ashu, who could nt care two hoots about her own party, is planning stuff for you! But then having seen how awesome you were to Ashu on her birthday and the multiple birthday parties she had this year, its not surprising. Got to give it you for being so fair! You make everyone around you feel special and make sure everyone treats you special too! You even demand it! Which is something I can learn from you! At heart, you are a total daddy's girl but include me once in a while so that I don't feel hurt. Its the same with the Thathas, Perippa and Maama too! You have figured out that men are lot less complicated and most of all, they don't tell you what to do which is all you ever want!

You have a beautiful singing voice and know all the "Frozen" songs by heart and keep singing all the time. You love puzzles and origami and playing dolls. You love to dress up. You are cycling and roller blading already and go to swimming and ballet classes. You have said you want to learn the Piano and not Violin! You are Miss.Chatter box! Whenever we talk about moving out of Switzerland, you say "no way" and are almost in tears. Its touching how connected you feel to this place and the people. After all, this is the only home you have ever had. Today your aunt called and I was faking to cry on the phone and you were quick to tell your Perimma "Amma is crying because I am not a baby anymore!" Well you will always be my baby and no number can change that ever, got it? I love you loads my little baby and have a great birthday!


June 19, 2014

Friends, Romans, countrymen,...

It was our 14th wedding anniversary on June 5th. It happened to fall on a long weekend, so packed our bags and went to Rome and Naples for 4 days. Was a fun trip. The girls had a blast eating Pizza in the birthplace of Pizza. The two days in Naples, we hunted down the oldest pizzeria, the best pizzeria, the famous pizzeria and ate pizza like it was going out of fashion! According to Antu, the best trip ever! And we also got two rooms with a connecting door in our Hotel which was the highlight of the trip for Ashu! She would nt let me use even the bathroom in their room!!! :)

For me, the highlight was Mt.Vesuvius and Pompeii. Man, Pompeii was amazing! A city which was destroyed by the volcano 2000 years back and then discovered intact 200 years back! Its like The Mummy meets Tomb Raider! We went to the Mt.Vesuvius first and walked along the rim of the crater and Ashu was all "we are walking on a volcano! which is active! which is very dangerous!" And in the afternoon, we went to Pompeii. Ashu had read a Magic Tree House book on Ancient Rome and Pompeii so she was fully prepared! We saw the houses, ovens, baths, port, temples, ... even the chariot marks on the roads! Water fountains, scribbles on the walls, frescoes, plastered dead bodies, pots, furniture, Forum, Amphitheatre,... Even a Brothel! I took a candid photo of Hd coming out it and have threatened to use this evidence against him! ;)

We also went to the Capri Island from Naples and it was so beautiful! We went quite late though so could nt go to the Blue Grotto which is supposed to be amazing! Next time, perhaps! Since Hd and I have been to Rome before, we did not do much except walking, walking and more walking and showing the sites to the girls! Poor things cooperated well without complaining too much. There was always the Gelato break whenever we were too tired or or making Ashu tell some trivia about the ancient Romans and traumatize Antu! (Did you know that they washed their clothes in urine, they ate Flamingos, etc... ) I, for my part, traumatized Ashu by describing the battles in the Colosseum and she just could nt understand how people can watch people getting killed and be entertained! ( Did you know that sometimes the Romans flooded the Colloseum and had boat battles?!)

Italy has become truly out favorite destination! So much to see and so much to do. Relatively cheaper, great food. Its hot and dirty and but the place is alive! I guess its a lot like India! :)

June 08, 2014

"People who create their own drama deserve their own Karma".

What goes around, comes around! Nothing makes you believe in Karma like when one becomes a parent! Today around 2 pm, Ashu gets a call from her friend, Az asking if she wants to go to the pool with her. Ashu looks at me and I nod my head and she excitedly says yes to her friend, packs her bag and leaves the house. To the pool which is 5 mins walk from our house. At least thats where I assumed they were going and thats what Ashu told me as well. Cut to 5.30 pm - no sign of Ashu. At 6 pm, I am worried. Hd who was watching Nadal making history was worried enough to take his eyes off the TV and look at me. He then walked to the pool to see if she was there or in the nearby park but the pool was closed already and no one in the park. Then I started calling Az's home number, her parents mobile number but no answer. So I walk to Az's house which is 2 mins walk from our house. No ones home. I call three more of Ashus friends who are all in the neighborhood asking if they know where Az and Ashu went but no one knows. At 7.30 pm, my sister calls and asks if Ashu is home because I told her at 5.30 that she's not home yet. Now she's worried too! I knew Ashu would be fine and she would come home soon and safe but the not knowing where she was, was driving me crazy. And the fact that the girl did not think to call from her friends moms phone and tell me where she is and when she will be coming back. Not to mention the guilt trips I was taking. "I am an irresponsible parent! I should have checked with Az's mother. I should have told Ashu to call me if theres any change. " sigh. Anyway, Ashu got back at 8 pm. She had gone to another pool which is a 10 minutes drive away.  "I did nt know you will be worried, Amma. I was having so much fun that I did nt know it got so late. I did nt have my watch." Simple. And she got so upset that we were all worried for her. Sigh. 

The entire 2 hours when I was worried and looking out of the window every 5 minutes, there was only one thing I was thinking about. My Thatha. My Paternal Grandfather. I was 20 years old and in college. Usually I would be home around 5 pm. But on the day I would come late, I would find him standing outside the house, near the gate looking into the direction I would come from. If it was after 6.30 pm, then I can bet on my life that he would be standing there waiting for me. Sandhikaalam (dusk) was the curfew time according to him and in the morning when I left home, he would say "sandhikaalathukulla vandhudu" (Come back before dusk) and that was his way of saying good bye. Even when my parents did nt care, I knew Thatha would be waiting for me. And the most interesting part is that when I arrived late, he would see me and smile and walk back inside without asking me even a single question. I do not think I made him wait every other day but I do remember that in a span of 18 months, at least once a week I would momentarily forget about him because I was busy talking to the boys (what else!!) and would get home late and there I would see him in his white veshti and a mel thundu, waiting near the gate. And I don't remember he ever asking me why I was late. Not even once. And the next day, he would see me off with his usual send off. 

In those 2 hours, I was thinking about Thatha and his unconditional love and support and how patient he was with me and wowed to be the same way with Ashu. You give your child all the freedom they need and hope they are responsible with it. Thats all one can expect. And after all the careful planning on what to tell her and how to handle myself, I failed miserably! Guess one has to be a grandparent to achieve that kind of Zenness and a mere parent just won't do. In other words, Thatha did not slap me in my face because he knew Karma would! 

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