Showing posts from September, 2007


You realise you are the mom of two pre-schoolers when you hum nursery rhymes and list nursery rhymes among your favorite music. And you think the Tom and Jerry show is just as interesting as an action-packed movie. I have learnt to accept Popeye, Scooby Doo and Bob the Builder and not look at them with scorn as I would have six years back.
The moment I switch on the PC, both plead: Amma paattu (music/rhyme). Mira is more specific: Amma paatu eeya (idu = put) And I love listening to it along with them. The rhymes DVD is also my best weapon to keep them still for at least 20 minutes.
And today I have come to work leaving the kids in their dad's care. If he survives the onslaught, he will come pick me up from work in the evening and we will all go for a Kerala festival (a belated Onam get-together for the Chennai diaspora) called Aavanipoovarangu 2007 at St. George's school. They have some 12 'life-like' caparisoned elephants like at the Thrissur pooram. Seems the Chennai p…

Thumbelina & Rumpelstilskin

Mira loves to preen in front of the mirror when she has a new dress on. Here is she wearing a skirt blouse her grandma got her.

She also loves to pose for camera, even if she had just been crying for something. Here's her with a tear glistening under her eye.

Sometimes she looks like a tomboy. Which is why we generally remember to keep a black spot on her forehead.
The two have their fighting fits, but Big Bro is always the first to come running when she slips and falls. Or hand over her bottle of milk before taking his. My obstetrician had told me that the lesser the age gap, the better the bonding - that after a while they wouldnt need us parents and will depend on each other for companionship.

Right now their body weight is almost on a par - 10.8 kg and 10.4 kg. It wont be long before Mira overtakes. And right now they look so puny they remind me of two fairy tale characters - Thumbelina and Rumpelstilskin!

lil big people

... the state of things at home. (not to mention the sound effects provided by the clanking of steel vessels being dropped on the floor) As I was telling a colleague on googlechat, I am ready to be admitted to a lunatic asylum. Mira is at home and to make matters worse Ash has a week's holidays at school.
Asked boss for leave for today and tomorrow. V will babysit on Saturday, Monday and Tuesday (a holiday for him being Gandhiji's bday but a 'working' holiday for me). Wednesday remains a question mark.
A maid is arriving with my mom from Kerala next thursday since there are no train tickets for an earlier date. She is an old candidate who backtracked at the last minute in our earlier hunt for a maid two months back. She had said that her son didnt want her to go, though later she came saying she was willing to come for a higher salary. I am told that she cant peel onions since she is allergic to it. And onion being a basic ingredient for most of our sidedishes, it looks …


The dr. has confirmed it is chicken pox for Mira though the blisters have formed scabs now. V has taken the cp vaccine, at last, on the dr's advice. Been prodding him the past 2 weeks but he had been putting it off.
The dr. said Ash is not likely to get it now as he must have been exposed to the virus around the same time, and anyway he would have immunity since he was vaccinated. We suspect that Mira got it from our friend's place than from her school.
Chicken pox seem to be doing the rounds in the city now. Two of my colleagues had it last month. But Tamilians look upon the disease as being possessed by a god, Amman. And they have some strange rituals associated with it. Relatives flock to the place to be possessed too. A neighbour's flat had its doors wide open when their kids all had CP. Otherwise they always kept it padlocked! A way of giving the disease to anybody who goes past. Only, I ran to the hosp then (Feb 2007) to get Mira vaccinated.
I am worried if my inlaws g…


I should have known that somthing was to go wrong when I burnt a hole in a dress the other day while ironing it. I shouldnt be believing in omens but then we Indians generally do, whatever our religion. And burning a dress is considered a bad omen like breaking a mirror or a glass. No use trying to say that I was careless since I knew that the iron box needed to be serviced.
Mira seems to have chicken pox, I discovered after she returned from school. Looks pretty mild considering that she was vaccinated last year. The blisters, some on her bum and on her arm, have almost dried. Some are as small as tiny pimples. Surprisingly we did not notice it earlier with all the hullaballoo at home. I vaguely remember seeing one on her buttock the other day and thought I should examine it later, only I forgot.
We need to take her the paed to check if she needs to take any medicines. She seems a bit irritable. She probably got it when we went visiting a family friend two weeks back, and who got pox…

Maidless days

The maid just called to say her hubby has cancer. She was crying over the phone. Asked us to look for a new maid.
Sad. I liked that poor man though I have spoken to him only on the phone. He was soft-spoken and always spoke like an innocent kid. I think that was the root of their financial troubles - a simpleton he was often cheated in all the business deals he got into.
I am on leave until Thursday since there is a lull on the work front. A frantic search is on for a new maid. No agencies, just word-of-mouth.
V's parents left yesterday night. Mummy wanted to take Ash along but V was against it. Taking him alone doesnt solve the problem - Mira is here and somebody has to be here to take care of her. If no maid appears in the horizon end of this week I might have to leave both kids with our parents.
V is thinking of the day care option, Mira's playschool has a day care till 6ish. That means I will have to leave their lunch and tea before I leave for work. Ash will have to be herde…

The bash

A Minnie mouse strawberry cake, a dinner of mutton biriyani and mutton fry at Savera, a 4-star hotel on Radhakrishna salai, a few guests and a feverish Mira constituted the party.
Mira was running a temperature - she generally brings home the flu bug on fridays - and bit tired for the party. We had two unexpected guests, who joined us for dinner too. A couple of folks we had planned to call had taken ill/their kids had exams. V called four of our next door neighbours at the last hour - his way of preventing people from buying bday gifts. But yet, one of them took time in coming - they ran to a shop to buy a dress for Mira.
Mira's offwhite frock with some cute pink flowers had been a gift from her aunt. We cut the cake with the nursery rhymes in the background, and preceded by a prayer by V's papa.
Dinner was good. Well, the guests liked it. Poli and kozhukattai were served as starters, on the house. There was this grand old lady dressed in traditional Chettiar style, making polis…


Mira's birthday today. I tried to get her for a photo session before she left for play school with a box of candies, but it wasnt a satisfactory shoot. She was more interested in sitting on my lap.
Will upload pics by tomorrow. Busy days at work, and crazy days at home in the absence of the maid.

Crisis again!

The maid is going home today evening as there is an emergency at her place. Her husband needs an operation for a bowel-related problem. Secondly, her property and house in a god- forsaken region of Kerala is being sold and she needs to be there. The fact that she might not be able to come until they find an alternative settlement and if her husband needs her continued care makes things a bit worrisome on our babycare scene.
IF things are manageable she says she will come in a week's time or else try to send a substitute. I hope either works. But nothing like her when it comes to looking after the kids and cooking us wholesome meals. And she never takes offence when we tell how she should go about things/ how tidy we want things to be etc. Most Malloo maids think that they know best about everything and doesnt take advice kindly.
Things are just going to go haywire from tomorrow, and I have guests till Sunday night. I am counting on the kids' paternal grandparents to look after t…

Two beaches and us

A proper weekend holiday - Saturday being Lord Ganesha's birthday and a closed holiday for my organisation - meant that we could laze at home and rest our wearied souls. On Sunday morning, both of us took Mira alone to church (Ash was asleep) - to get the Lord's blessings for the birthday girl.
With my parents-in-law in town, we wanted to go somewhere for an outing other than the malls. Chennai doesnt have too many sight-seeing options and our visitors would not have enjoyed an archaelogical or cultural tour of the city, so we resisted taking the ECR road to Mahabs.
So after a late lunch, we readied ourselves (except the kids, who needed adult assistance) for an early trip to the sea at Marina. The Marina beach is one of Chennai's star attractions and there is always a huge crowd on Sundays. But for once we didnt have to fight for car parking space - the fact that it was still sunny and a cricket match relayed live on TV kept people at home.

The kids had a jolly ride on the m…

Sculpture tree

A tree in Palghat (Palakkad), Kerala... looks authentic, though it came as a junk mail. Though I do not know where exactly it is.

Blog hospitality

A blog is like a home. Your home of inner thoughts, asides, dreams, rants... You like fellow bloggers visiting your online home and leaving a compliment each. And at the same time you like to pay them a return visit and compliment them too or share a thought with them.
Or you visit them first and leave a comment. But when they dont reciprocate in kind, you feel disappointed. Or just lose interest in them.
But some are so way above you that you worship their blogs and itch to leave a comment in them, no matter whether they condescend to take a look at your poor blog or not.
- so thought me while taking a quick shower before heading to work. My idle mind starts weaving thoughts and ideas while in the shower, in the bus/auto or while taking a stroll through the corridors in office. Of course there are other occasions when I dont know what I am going to write next or how my ideas are going to take shape. The pen guided me as I wrote; now the keyboard guides me and the monitor gives inspira…

Mutton soup for the mommy soul

I was on a mutton soup binge till today. And thank God, it is finally over.
The last I was put on a regular mutton soup diet was in the post-partum Ayurvedic care period that is almost a ritual in Kerala - most women recovering from childbirth endure it, whether they like it or not. I didnt, but I didnt want to anger my mother-in-law who put me on a daily diet of Ayurvedic kashayams and arishtams and lehyams, mutton soup and an hour-long bath, administered by a professional bather, in boiling water that scalded my skin no end. I didnt mind all the attention and pampering but I dreaded the 7-day bath. I guess that is when women in Kerala really learn to shed their inhibitions. It was supposed to strengthen the body and prevent any backache. However, I ended up with a recurrent backache and a 'mummy tummy'.
I am going off track... What I was trying to say was that I had to finish up this soup prepared for the kids - so that they'd put on some weight - because a couple of days …

My English songbird

That's "London Bridge is falling down".
From just "Twinkle, twinkle..", Mira has progressed to new rhymes, though she sings them in her own words, incomprehensible to adults - same like Ash. They only borrow the tune from the original!

Schools in Kerala observe the week following Gandhi Jayanti, Mahatma Gandhi's birthday, which falls on October 2, as sevana-vaaram or a week for sprucing up the campus. Students excidedly clean the campus - sweeping, digging, picking weeds etc - taking a break from their strenuous lessons.
Sevana-vaaram has also come to connote any rigorous cleaning process at home. Yeserday was one such day for us at home. I cleaned up the kitchen shelves while V cleaned the lights and fans - and managed to break the blade of a wall-mounting fan. Since he broke it himself, there was no harangue in the aftermath.
The maid and the kids, who contribute to 70 per cent of the mess around the house (the maid's share can be put at 25%) were by …

Death of a professor

My professor and guide for MPhil passed away yesterday. He was suffering from intestinal cancer for over a year.
Sad to say, I never found time to visit him and his family in the last 7 years. The last I went to their place was to invite for my wedding, I think. I am ashamed of myself.
Maybe I should get V to drive down to his place on a Sunday with the kids.

Daily hurdle

IT is like the calm after a storm once the kids leave for school in the morning, I was telling V after the duo finally got out of the house suited and booted. I guess all parents of young children feel the same way.
Getting Ash to get out of bed in the morning is a feat. He is a Kumbakarna (the legendary Asura prince who slept for ages, a la Rip Van Winkle) once he is asleep. Even if we manage to rustle him out of bed by 8.30 am, he keeps his eyes shut and pulls down the mosquito net again saying: "Achacha is sick... Achacha fever".
So next we sprinkle some water on his eyes and face. Or I switch on the rhymes CD - he listens for a while and by then, is willing to be taken for a toothbrushing session. In a matter of half an hour, we (the maid, V and me divide the tasks) get him (and his sister) to bathe, poo, get dressed, take their milk, pray and leave. With some luck, we force feed some of the breakfast too. Ash has a starting trouble, but once he gets into the business of e…

Teacher's day out!

Today is Teacher's Day, the birth anniversary of India's scholar-President S. Radhakrishnan. A great statesman, he happens to be like Nehru one of my national heroes. They might have been philanderers but as statesmen, they were par excellence. I wouldnt have remembered the day's significance if Ash hadnt returned home from school 5 minutes after he left for school. The school authorities had not mentioned that it was going to be a holiday, so we packed him off to school as usual. But Teacher's Day is not meant to be a holiday, but just a day when teachers can relax in staffrooms or watch as students conducted mock classes. I once masqueraded as a teacher, in a sari of my mom's, when I was in Class 8, I think, in the Indian school I studied in Dar. I first went to a kindergarten class and sweated my session running behind lil brats who scooted this way and that. By the time I had finished a couple of classes, my sari, safely fastened with a dozen pins at all possi…

It's birthday time!

So reminds Babycentre in its newsletter for this mom of a 23-month-old.
It goes on: How exciting for all of you, as another milestone is reached. As your child attends parties and has his own party, you'll need all the help you can get! If your child is being a party-pooper and not sharing, don't panic. It's all part of the learning process. The experts advise you not to let sharing become a parent-child battleground. Let your toddler work out his sharing issues.

We are already gearing up for a big bash this year, to make up for the low-key celebration on Mira's 1st birthday last year. My inlaws are coming from Kerala, while my parents are in two minds about coming - the mosquitoes and lack of space in a small apartment being the deterrents. But I think at least my mother would attempt to come.
V still hasnt decided if he wants a big party calling all our neighbours or just our immediate friends and family circle in the city - the latter would mean we can hold it in the f…

Old Toys

What we got at the seconds sale in the church after the service. This is the first time we are getting any seconds stuff for the kids. I guess yard sales and junk clearance are not popular here but anyway we found it had lots of takers though most of the folks coming to the St. Peter's & Paul's church are very well-off. The proceeds from the sale went to an old age home.
We got these for the kids since I find it is a waste of money getting them anything new - the interest span in any toy is limited to an hour at the most, and the toys suffer the worst forms of persecution at their hands.
Ash loved them but Mira was frightened of the scorpion and chameleon. ***There was an Onam celebration at church but we came off before the games and the feast. The speeches by a Syrian Chrisitian IAS couple, the chief guests at the function, were good. It was also the church's first birthday as an independent entity - it was a chapel until then - so we were treated to idli-vada-sambar-c…

My son

Ash is growing out of our wings slowly. Yesterday, Vinod tried to cuddle him after lunch - he comes home for lunch as his office is close by - and the little punk said: "Appa, I need to sleep. You go to office" (though not in as many words). Once upon a time, V had to curl up with him on the couch if he was to sleep, but here is a big grown-up boy, all of three years, wanting not be disturbed as he watched a bit of TV and went to sleep.
And it also upsets him when we spank him for being naughty/bullying Mira - such as sinking all his teeth into her skin. Even if we just scold him harshly. There was a time when he didnt give a damn but the way he curls out his lower lip and starts sobbing now, we have no option but to forget our anger and hug him and tell him that he shouldnt hit/bite his lil sister. There are time when he likes Mira but within him, he has this animosity towards her. For having taken the attention of his parents away from him, when he was just one-and-a-half.