Showing posts from November, 2007

Mobile relief

The mobile has become a handy tool for killing boredom and fighting loneliness - SMSing or chatting on the phone can help you gulp down a cup of tea on a lonely bench in a male-dominated canteen. Or deleting messages from a full inbox. Or deleting unwanted numbers.

Unwanted numbers? That is something peculiar to parents of little, meddlesome brats. I open my Contacts list today and there are a dozen or more such unwanted numbers.
############# Here is a sample number.
11114441111111111111111 Here is another.
***77777 yet another.
Some even have names entered - such as "".. or aaa.

The first entry in the Contacts list even has to be prepared for calls at unseemly hours. Such as 12 midnight on a day you go to sleep early hoping to go for the early morning mass at church. Luckily for me, she is a very sporty pal and didnt mind the intrusion.

These are havocs caused whenever I keep my cellphone unlocked or unlock it for Ash because he wants to hear a recorded "London Bridge is fal…

Relative fun

On Sunday we had guests from Bangalore - V's brother and family. Ash was particularly thrilled that his favorite uncle and cousin were coming. The cousins vibe well as they are the same age - Minu is just three months younger to Ash.
Mira however clung to her parents for a long while and refused to come out of her shell. While on a moonlit night at the Marina beach, Ash and Minu let the waves - the sea was turbulent as it has been these past two weeks, and the waves often rose up high on the beach - wash their feet and played in the sand. If you wonder why we go to the Marina so often, I must say that it is Chennaites' prime source of entertainment and outing. And for sea-lovers, nothing like the sea on a full moon night.
Topped it with mutton biriyani and soraputtu (a shark delicacy) at Anjappar, a Chettinad restaurant on RK Salai. Mira got a high chair though she jumped off to my lap by the time the food came. It was too lonely on a high chair at the head of the table.

Vaava's vaava

This is Mira's baby doll. She calls her vaava, and takes care of her the way we do Mira. She chides the doll for not eating, gives her medicines, makes her use the potty and even tried to wash her under the tap the other day after pottying!
That's the baby sleeping, nicely wrapped up to keep her warm. Tailpeice: The doll sometimes doubles as Ash's girlfriend and pillionrides on his tricycle whenever Mira refuses to ride with him.

Comedy of terrors, Act 1, Sc. 5

(The Boy is in the parlour, eating a bowl of icecream and watching TV. The Girl is eating her share. The papa decides to test the Boy's love for him and for the icecream.)
Papa: Can I taste your ice cream?
Boy: No, you ask the girl.
Papa (going over to the girl): Can Appa have one spoon of your ice cream?
Girl (half hesitant, lets him taste): Now dont come for more.
Boy (meanwhile licks his bowl clean, states): I want some more.
Mama: No more. You will puke.
(A tantrum follows, and the Boy gets an extra serving. The girl gets an extra helping too, as a result.)

(The Boy and the Girl are out on a stroll with their parents. Stopping at the local provision store, the Boy demands a packet of Lays. Both get a packet each and start munching, dropping a few in the process.)
Papa (to the Boy): Can have one of your salted potato chips?
Boy (reluctantly parting with one): Here. Now dont ask for more. You will puke.

Blighted dream
I was reading this article in the latest issue of Tehelka and could empathise with the author. I had felt pretty much the same in December 2000, when I had a missed abortion or blighted ovum. It had been a major shock and disappointment to know that the two-month-old pregnancy was a non-existent one. It was probably caused because I was suffering from a mild typhoid or maybe it was just a quirk of fate.
V had taken me for a Malayalam movie, Joker, to help me relax after we were told by the sonologist that the foetus couldnt be saved - no heartbeat, nothing.
But I still feel a lil sad when I think of that baby I lost, who if she was born in June 2001, would have been 6 years old now... I always felt it was a girl.
On a lighter note, I am reminded of V's reaction when a nurse queried about the sex of the baby - she only knew I was admitted for an operation and assumed I was in labour. V told her that we had …

The Taj

Vinod went to Agra and to the Taj Mahal, one of the wonders of the new world. The first picture is of the gateway to the Taj.I have been to the Taj twice, while I was studying/working in Delhi - with my father and then with my brother. I need to go with my husband and kids next.On both occasions, I had taken a tour operator's bus service to Agra. It first took us to the Agra Fort, which is magnificent. I particularly felt overjoyed when I visited the room of Shahjahan's daughter Princess Roshenara, after whom my maternal granpa, a captain in the Indian Army, named me.The guide we had on both occasions spoke hilarious English. An Australian tourist at the Agra Fort sought my help to understand what the guide was talking all about. And when it was time to have lunch, the guide said: "You cant make love on an empty stomach, so let us stop for lunch (what he meant was you cant enjoy the monument of love, the Taj, on an empty belly)."The only spoil sport of those special…

Word power

Most days when we reach home, the kids come with complaints. 'Aunty pinched me', accuses my daughter pointing a finger at the maid. "Aunty whacked me," complains my son. The aunty gives a sheepish grin when we look at her suspiciously or says that "Oh, I just threatened him with dire consequences" etc.
We dont know what to make of it - we dont have an option right away. Ash's complaint could be genuine. Mira uses the word beat/thrash in a very loose sense of the word. It could just mean that she didnt get what she wanted or it could actually mean what she says.
Maids can be pretty mean with lil kids. The agony of the parents increases when it involves a kid who cant speak yet or express it well in words. Sometimes I worry if maid 'handling' has affected my son's behavior. Nannies who ill-treat babies in their care or eat up the food meant for them. My mom always tell me to feed the kids well before we leave for work so that even if they dont …

The PSBB miss

I have missed the Padma Seshadri application rush. I hope I wont regret it. I had one full week's time - from Nov 12 -16, 9 am to 12 noon - to collect the application form to pre-KG for Mira in one of India's best schools, as per magazine surveys, and I didnt do it.

Well, in fact, I went on Monday morning to collect a form studiously. But I didnt take Mira's birth certificate to prove that she was born only after Dec 1, 2004. The queue was daunting too and I had to be in office too before it was too late. So I left, checking with the security guy if Ash had any chance of getting into LKG. He said the only few vacancies that might arise would go to kids of people with transferable jobs but I could, with some pull, hope to find him a seat.

I entrusted V with getting the form and he never found the time till yesterday to do that - and now he has gone off to Delhi for 4 days for a company meeting. He wasnt too keen after he found out that the nearest PSBB didnt have a school van…

The Marina at night

On Sunday night, we were at Marina beach enjoying the breeze and all the melee. We walked to the sea, which was rough with the winds on.
We later drove to the fishermen's colony nearby, called a kuppam, to buy some fish at bargain prices. My heart went out to those poor ladies wrapped in their shawls braving the chilly wind and hoping to make a few bucks before bedtime. The houses packed one behind another had probably felt the worst of the tsunami of Dec 2004. Houses rebuilt with hope and determination. And love and fear for the Sea Mother, their protector and destroyer.

Teeth trouble

Ashwin has one rotting tooth, I discovered to my horror yesterday. His upper canine. A small hole in there. All those over-the-quota chocolates and candies, three years of bottled milk and liquified food (given in his sleep), not to mention not washing mouth after every episode of eating. It could also be that his teeth are a bit weaker than usual because of the steroids he had been taking for his eczema. They are a bit discolored too.
Me and my brother never had one single rotten tooth as kids at a time in Kerala society's history when most kids had puzhupallu (worm teeth?). My father was very proud of that fact. And now he is going to get really wild at me for letting Ash get a rotten tooth. Bad parenting, he'd say!
I have instructed the maid to make him wash his mouth after eating. And yesterday I tried to get it into his head that he needs to ward off worms from his teeth. I hope he understands the gravity of the situation.
Otherwise both kids can be pretty finicky - about wa…


The maid threatened to leave today morning. For one, she was not feeling too well because of the sinus infection - in spite of us taking her to the doctor. For another, she wont brook any criticism. We had asked her today why she put Vicks in the vaporiser when we had instructed her to put only water in that to inhale steam. As a result, the vaporiser short-circuited burning all the five MK switches next to the plug point. To top it, she histrionically says that it would have caused her death.
I am sick of her. Plain sick. But I dont have a replacement, so we pacified her and I hope she will stay on till my Xmas leave at least.
She is a bit too luxury conscious and opportunistic. Soon after she came, she told me that she'd like the aircon on for her in the night as she was finding it too hot. (She was probably used to living in airconditioned comfort in her last stint as maid in Dubai; but come on, Chennai is not the desert that Dubai is.) I told her it is only meant for guests, n…

A tale of 9 diyas

... and two kids! This year, for the first time, I bought some diyas, on an impulse, to herald the festival of lights. The kids enjoyed all the fun about lighting them and looking at them. Some candle-lit fun we had!

Diwali this year

The scenes outside our building with a rangoli prepared by the watchman's daughter; at Marina beach around midday; the skyline late in the evening; fireworks at the flat complex we visited; Ash watches as I light a "spinning wheel"; Ash tries to light a match; Mira watches the fun; and the kids playing inside.
Diwali was more fun than usual for us this time round. Unlike last year when Ash was away in Kerala, this year we had both kids with us. Ash had great fun but Mira was scared shit through most of the fireworks in the evening and clung to me for dear life. Only towards the fag end did she even venture to leave the safety of my arms. Last year she had even held a sparkler in her hand and had enjoyed the fireworks.
We had gone to V's colleague's place in the evening for dinner and festivities. Since their apartment complex had a lot of kids, there was a lot of fireworks and fun. We reached home around 10.30 p.m. after a heavy dinner of mutton biriyani and chi…


Ash likes these question and answer sessions with us parents. They go like this:

Ash: Where is Appacha(granpa)?
I reply: Appacha is in Kerala.
Ash, repeating: Appacha is in Kerala. Ok, where is Uppapa (paternal uncle)?
I: Uppapa is in Bangalore.
Ash: Uppapa is in Bangalore. Where is minuchi (his first cousin, Minukuti)?
I: Minu is also in B'lore.
Ash: Where is Ammacha (maternal uncle)?
I: Ammaacha is in London.
Ash (repeating it, asks next): Where is Spiderman?
I: Huh! Spiderman has gone to sleep. Why dont you also go to sleep now?

I guess it is his way of learning sentences, repeating them after me. Sometimes there are more WHERE questions involving more protagonists like those sitting right in front of him - where is Appa/Amma/Vaava etc.

It is going to be tougher when he starts the HOW and WHY questions.

A sick family

All of us have been sick this weekend, save for the maid. V and me returned from our workplaces on Friday evening with the beginnings of a cold which by Saturday attained the ominous proportions of a viral attack. Body pain and headache characterised the fever and I reluctantly checked with my boss if I could cry off though it was the last day of our production week. He magnanimously granted me instant leave, telling me in the process that his wife had been suffering from a viral attack for a week. Phew! that helped.

However both of us (V, not the boss) had to drag ourselves from our sickbeds to take a sicker Ash to the paediatrician. Ash had a hacking, barking cough, said the doctor, and so he recommended a nebulisation.
As we sat in the nurses' room while Ash had his 10-15 min of nebulisation, we watched kids being brought in for their immunisation shots. One came in bravely but went off crying, one raised a racket and had to be pinned down by both parents and a female attender, o…

Febrile twosome

The kids were both so sick yesterday that we decided to take them to the emergency ward of the Children's hospital after dinner. By then the OPD (out-patient dept) had closed and we didnt have the service of the best doctors, but just junior, duty doctors. The doctor said that dengue fever was doing its rounds now - we were glad we hadnt persisted with our home medications and over-the-counter drugs.

Mira had to be pricked to get some blood for tests - the nurse took her in and we could hear her howling some time later. They dont let in parents when they prick the veins of kids. Mira complained to me that the nurse 'beat' her - her only word to explain punishments. The doctor was particularly impressed when she took the anti-pyretic syrup given to bring down her temperature as if it were a glass of wine. And he said: "Such a lovely gal. I wish all kids would do that." The hospital called us up at 1.3o in the night to tell that it was not dengue, but just a mild in…