Friday, June 29, 2007

The monsoon is here, and what a welcome we got...

The birthday party having been done and dispensed with yesterday, we got up bright and sparky this morning at seven am with no mamma bellowing in our ears to get our sleepy heads out of bed. “Mamma, don’t want to go school. Want to go budd day pahty only.” Oh yes, son, like the world celebrates one birthday everyday just for the express pleasure of your presence gracing the occasion. Must add though, he was the modicum of good behaviour at the party, except for five seconds when he decided to do a bit of investigating and just disappeared from vision into the crowd. The party was being held in the playzone area of Infinity Mall in Andheri, and as anyone who has been there knows, the escalators are right there. Next to the playzone. Begging to be ridden on. And knowing the brat, he might have taken on the dare. After all, it isn’t often that he gets a chance to get on them without dragon mamma holding onto him. Luckily he was spotted before he wandered off too far, and the smelling salts called out for chicken hearted mamma who was just flitting around like a beheaded chicken yelling out “Krish, Krish,” rather than doing some constructive searching like sending out a search party with megaphones and sniffer dogs, and getting security to cordon off the area. Another mamma spotted him toddling off and yelled at him to get his butt back into the playzone, which he did without protest since it wasn’t mamma doing so. Of all things, my son had wandered into Landmark. A bookstore! All hope is not lost. He might still redeem himself and become a book lover. Grabbed him and smothered him with kisses, and wondered if I would embarrass myself in a public situation by sobbing in sheer relief, but luckily the lachrymals held, and the waterworks didn’t burst forth. What a bleeding heart I am. We played in the playzone, we went on the rides, we ate cake and gorged on wafers, flirted shamelessly with a pretty classmate in a pink girly party dress, who was, in that uncanny way little girls are, being coquettishly cute. A good time was had. For those who kindly asked, we did not wear the Shami Shamiya outfit, we had a ‘nu TShirt and Pantz’ which was tempting enough, and thank the lord above it was in red. Which allowed for him to be spotted in the distance. Which reinforces my theory that kids should be dressed in hit the eye colours when being taken to a crowded place. How many Hindi films would have lost their basic ‘separated in the mela’ theme had the kids been wearing neon yellow and pink polka dotted shirts. Also gives credence to my maternal grandfathers insistence on buying an entire ‘thaan’ of gaudily coloured cloth for his brood of nine for the Bandra Fair (which is the ultimate party for every Catholic person who has grown up in Bandra), they never ever got lost in the fair. “Yup, he’s tiny, and he’s wearing a bright yellow and purple shirt like this.” Retching gagging sounds at seeing said purple and yellow print at close distance. “Saw him thataway.” Note to self: Buy more incredibly gaudy tshirts for the brat. And as for self, for those who kindly asked, was too exhausted after therapy and traveling in the rain to be bothered and so took incredible pains to coordinate black skinny fit jeans and black gold foil print obscenely designer brand name shouting Tshirt and the gold shoes. And of course, these being bought in better and slimmer times, had the wonderful experience of being a muffin top, with rolls of lard escaping unhindered from the no mans land between waistband and top. But am shameless when it comes to my fat. Would rather wear good clothes that displays fat, than bad clothes that hide it. But this is stuff better suited for blog deux. Voila. So back to brat land.
At therapy this afternoon, the heavens sobbing piteously, the kind of sobs which have thunder and lightning accompanying them, and therefore a terrified mamma of flooding roads and the like. Therapy done and dispensed with, ruckus raised and other kids flattened with complete irrelevant bravado, and disciplining administered, decided to call for the car. Let me explain. The road to the clinic is a main road, therefore no parking possible. The driver drops us and then drives off lazily into a shaded bylane to grab his guaranteed two hours of unhindered sleep. The chap’s phone goes on the blink, and is unreachable. So here I am, in pouring rain, holding hyperactive brat, who is straining at the leash to be let loose in the rain, with no raincoat and umbrella (these being in the car) and searching through bylanes for the damn car. Even hired an autorickshaw to go through every possible place he could have been parked, while the brat kept getting wetter and thoroughly enjoying the season. “Its rainy season, mamma?” He asks putting a hand outside the rick, which I promptly pull back in considering the rain is more like being stuck under a waterfall at the moment. In the panic of the moment, thunder causes instant bladder emptying on mamma, therefore, the need to strip. For junior, not mamma, haven’t become that shameless yet. Needless to mention, change of clothes are in the aforementioned car. So here I am, in pouring rain, huge therapy bag, food bag, and naked below the waist brat, in an open auto in the pouring rain and howling wind. Finally, disgusted with being fully wet, both with cold rain and warm pee, tell the auto to take us home. Stop at a roadside shack and call to man to bring across a windcheater and jersey pants for the now shivering brat, which is sold to me at a triple premium profit. Cursed the man down to his forthcoming seven generations for not having the brains to get the damn car to exit point at the time he knows we always leave. He reached home two hours after us, having had the stroke of genius to go up and ask for us TWO HOURS after our time of departure. Now is it me, or are these people genuinely dumb. Or is there an afternoon nap involving deep REM sleep involved here. Anyway, home safe and dry. And charged with the incredible adventure of being drenched in a stormy monsoon rain. Called up the grandmother to inform her of the same. “Nana I made su su in the pant, on Mamma lap.” “Why son, you are a big boy now…you must tell Mamma when you want to do su su.” “Jai Jai was beating other Jai Jai in the sky. I got frightened.” The Battle of the Gods in the sky would scare any mortal. My darling son, I wish I could hold you tight every moment so you never ever get so frightened again.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Happy Birthday Party to me...

The brat goes for a birthday party this evening. He has already decided he will wear his 'Shami Shamiya' (Himesh Reshammiya, for the uninitiated) cap, jacket and pant. This being a leatherite racing jacket with matching cap and pant, I can just see him sweating out the little fat he has in his self created sauna. The air is cooler now that the rains are here, but he is already an itchy mess with prickly heat all over thanks to paranoid mother who made him wear flannel full sleeved nightsuits since the airconditioning would be on through the night, and his nose was running like a faucet, with yellow phlegm depositing itself on the pillow covers and encrusting his face like scabs. So, here is mamma, thinking up what she should be wearing (Yes, I know, how does it really matter, of all the stupid things, but vain vain me...and also me, with a zero social life, therefore, kiddy birthday parties become an occasion to play dress up), and how on earth will she convince brat to drop the jacket and leather pants concept! Am already mentally going through his wardrobe to find suitable alternatives to dangle before him, and knowing my son, I already know he will reject them all....nothing is as tempting as the Himesh Reshammiya clone look, unless I make him wear his Spiderman costume.
To add to the situation, its pouring cats and monkeys in the city, and am worried about the city flooding over. Maybe we might just decide not to go for the birthday party, in which case, me being the bleeding heart I am, will feel terribly sorry for the poor mother who has organised it, and has no one turning up, and for the poor little critter waiting for his friends to show up and raise hell, to find all his friends keeping away thanks to the rains, and therefore will ensure I read there through hell or flooded roads. Am I stupid or am I stupid? Anyway, the brat loves going to birthday parties. He gets all the junk he wants. Cake, wafers, pizzas, burgers, sweets, sweetened drinks. And seeing the largesse set before him, he promptly loses his appetite (Not that he has any to start with), and then there are the magicians, the jugglers, the tattoo artists and all the sundry entertainment squad deployed to maintain some sanity in any birthday party containing kids below five. I can be assured a good time will be had. And best friend in the whole wide world will also be turning up. They had a telephonic discussion verifying date and time about it yesterday and are looking forward to it. The brat is already discussing weapons of mass destruction to be used to raise hell--chairs, balloons, streamers and such like. I am packing in two strips of Anacin. Will need it.

Monday, June 25, 2007

My little skeleton...

The brat is on a diet. No matter what lusciously tempting delight I wave spoonfuls of in front of him, he resists valiantly. I have tried it all and failed miserably. Milk has become a sworn enemy to be battled with all sources at hand, including spitting out, clawing mamma's eyes out if she persists, kicking mamma in the shins and the like. I have tried porridges, and cereals and cornflakes and fruit loops. I have tried biscuits and pastries and cookies and nutribars, I have tried every damn fruit under the sun, I have tried plain old dal and rice and chappati and veggies, and I have tried exotic pastas and tandoori chicken and baked dishes and you get my drift. He is just not eating. I weep when I bathe him. Every bone on his body is out there on full display. If only I could suction out some of my fat and transfer it to him, god knows he really needs it.
At some points he is an absolute angel and demands food like an ogre, sometimes running me out of stuff in the kitchen to feed him. But those times are few and far between, the rest of the time has me running around in circles balancing a spoon and a plate trying hard to get him to sit still long enough to eat something, anything. I am desperate. I even allow him to eat packages of them snacks and wafers now on days when he refuses to eat anything. And the flow of fat is in inverse proportion, the thinner he gets, the fatter I get, like I am suctioning out all his meagre fat to add to my already corpulent self.
And then there are the well meaning aunties (considering I am already in aunty category, guess I could be guilty of this myself). The scene goes like this. Bump into old acquaintance aunty at park or mall or assorted public arena. The how are yous are dispensed with and attention turns to the brat who is probably wheeling around on uppers through every nearby shop in the vicinity....
"Oh God, he's so thin. What happened, he's not been well?" "No, touch wood, he's okay now." (This with reference to his infinite hospitalisations for seizures and assorted stuff.) "Then why is he not putting on..." This phrase 'putting on' needs to be banned by the law. I am always putting on, the son is never putting on. I shrug nonchalantly. "Both of you are so healthy," aunty continues, in a show of largesse, while I wince again at the use of the word healthy. Gosh. I dont want to look healthy. Not in the Indian context. Healthy means rolls of fat flowing outwards in gentle lapping waves. Healthy means a contented laughing Buddha of a face. Healthy means doctors cant find a vein under the fat layers when they want a blood sample. I have always been healthy. If this is healthy. The husband all six feet, broad bones and solid fat, is healthy. Very healthy. My son, nicely rotund until his first year, is now a skeleton. The pediatrician assures me that a kid who burns calories like he does will never put on weight. So does the homeopath. I guess they know what they're talking about, so I heave a sigh of relief that it is not my bad parenting skills and my lack of effort towards fattening him up that has made him thus. Until I bump into another aunty. Does anyone have any miracle recipe to fatten their kids up and boost appetite? Please do share, I am in mortal fear of bumping into these aunties. I guess they think I am siphoning off the brat's share myself.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

How pushy can parents get....

This absolute disregard and flouting of medical ethics is what has me flabbergasted. A doctor couple lets their teenage son perform a caesarian. Now they backtrack and say the kid was only handling the instruments. This after submitting a damn video showing the entire operation in the hope of the son getting into the Guinness Book of World Records.
What if it had been you lying on the table, anaesthised, and waiting in hope for your child, the one you had been carrying for nine months, to emerge safe and sound from the operation? What if something had gone wrong during the delivery and the baby or the mother's life was jeopardised? How do we know everything went to plan and there has been no permanent damage done? And most of all, how dare they? I hope to God that this case doesnt die a natural death, but both these doctors are not only suspended, but also given prison terms to ensure that such blatant flouting of medical norms never ever takes place.
As for the son, I can only pity him, being forced into being a performing monkey all for the sake of his parents greed to get him into the record books. And as for the patient, I wonder if she had known about this experiment happening with her and her baby, and whether her consent was sought for this. Right now, am stalking off into a corner to fume in silence....

Its raining babies...

Dropped the brat off at school and went visiting. A friend had just had a new baby a couple of weeks ago, and I had to physically restrain myself from rushing over the moment I heard the news, and give her some time to recuperate. I remember being inundated with visitors in the hospitals while still physically attached to the catheter and dealing with breasts which had suddenly morphed into mountainous geysers spouting milk onto everything, and bleeding litres of blood onto every sheet and nightgown I got onto, and wanting to physically chuck out every well meaning guest who came in to visit us. Being in the hospital after delivering a baby is not the pink lacy nightie and sweetness and light that Hollywood films would have us believe, especially not if there is a Caesarian involved.
The baby here was the epitome of good behaviour and cute as a button. She gurgled and smiled happily, and cooed away to this delighted audience. My uterus began contracting violently in mock labour then and there, and I wondered if would really be too much to begin nagging the husband on baby Part 2. I've just about relaxed on the house bit, the poor cornered man might just take a spade and beat me to a senseless pulp.
Many mommies to be waddling around in school bearing their baby bumps with a fierce pride that make me want to shrink up in shame for not having done enough to propagate my gene pool in this cosmic sludge. But then this momma made it look so easy. Her house was spic and span, the preschooler who is with the brat incredibly well behaved and obedient, and the husband sat indulgently with the new born, rocking her to sleep. Had this been in the Manral house, chaos would have been an understatement. The MIL would have been frenetically searching out newer corners to clean up, and barking orders at the entire world to follow her dictat, the brat would be swinging from the curtains, the husband would have been grumpy and surly at having his night ruined by constant baby feeds and crying, and yours truly would have been a zombie, in no state to receive or entertain any guests. And of course, all the servants will take it on themselves to add to the chaos and go absconding at times of greatest need.
Another friend is waddling around with a nicely rounded baby bump and she has a kid who is as naughty, if not naughtier than the brat. And she lives alone without any back up of MIL or mother, has no full time help and is a very very brave girl. Or perhaps it is me who is the coward, who dares not even try for a repeat experience, the first time round was hellish enough. Have just about begun sleeping through the night.
But then the biological clock is ticking furiously and now am officially 36 today, therefore, officially over the hill to be having anymore babies......

PS: The birthday gift much to my drop jawed amazement is a black dial with diamonds and steel bracelet Longines. Isnt this man the best?

Monday, June 18, 2007

Are our kids badly behaved?

This article by Vir Sanghvi is what I am referring to. At the outset let me state that the brat is the epitome of badly behaved. He is so badly behaved at times that I have been known to dissolve into tears in a public situation if I am alone and unable to handle him. I have also been known to pop anti anxiety pills when I fly alone with him. So I am not taking the moral high ground about poor upbringing and such, since I have tried my best to inflict some sort of discipline to no avail. But his badly behaved comes from his need to be constantly in motion, seeking out stimulation. He cannot be still, and as for sitting in one place for more than 15 minutes, I will bet my last dollar he will not last five, even if there is an entire tub of icecream set in front of him. But he has parents who try to get him to behave in a public situation and even at home. He is pulled up if he yells too loud, he is reprimanded if he pushes and shoves at the park. And spanks are administered if he gets out of control. My issue here is with the parents who dont bother. The husband and I went for Shootout at Lokhandwala the other day, leaving brat behind with the mother, for the simple reason that this was not a movie the brat can see. Even when the brat goes into a movie hall showing a picture meant for him, and he refuses to sit still or generally behave himself, I have no qualms quitting the movie midway and taking him home rather than inflict him on the paying public who would rather see their movie in peace. We had a Gujarati family behind us, with a three year old. I was quite appalled that the parents had brought their kid to such a violent movie, but rationalised that perhaps they didnot have a babysitter. After all, we were guilty of dragging a two year old brat to watch Zinda too, which was not the most peaceful of movies, thanks to being sans a babysitter on that particular day.
This particular kid spent all his time pulling my hair out in single strands, kicking our seats and generally making a nuisance of himself. All of which I sympathise with, being the mother of a child who could probably out nuisance this fellow. But I expected a word of an apology at the least. At one point when my hair was being yanked out rather painfully, I turned round in shock, to have the mother tell me to tie my hair up. I went WTF ballistic. Its my hair, I'll swing from the trees with it if I please, but at least make a pretence of restraining your child. I would have been walking the aisles with the brat by now, having apologised profusely a gadzillion times and he would have even got a spank or two. The mother then cribbed in the native tongue to the husband that I was acting hoity toity.
I know how difficult it is to have a kid who refuses to behave. At restaurants, I am the mother running around in the courtyard with the kid who will not sit still at the table, if I must go to a family dinner where his presence is mandatory. Otherwise, our eating outs are restricted to McDonalds and Pizza Huts and KFCs where he is welcome and there are a million other kids to keep him entertained. Or else we order in. If he is troubling some other kids, I am the first to butt in and resolve the issue either by warning him sternly or physically dragging him away from the situation. On a flight, when he was kicking the seat of a lady in front, I apologised and changed his seat. Although I did take umbrage at how rudely she barked at me to restrain him. He is constantly reminded to wait his turn, say his please and thank yous and sorry's. The father refuses to play with him if Mamma reports bad behaviour and thats the toughest punishment he can get. How hard is that for us to do? What I have noticed is that children are forgiven bad behaviour by adults because they are children. "Arey, jaane do, bacha hain!" And thats where the trouble begins. The brat is improving slowly but steadily. He has met other children who wont take his punching and will punch him right back, and Mamma tries to make him understand that the way he feels bad about being hit is the same way other smaller kids feel terrible when he gets at them. I dont know if I am successful in disciplining him but I do know that I try. What gets my goat is the parents who dont try at all. But expect the world to smile sunnily at their little terrors. My little terror get a smarting one his butt. And knows he has to start behaving himself, or else.

A big boy now....

Be still my beating heart...Today, thanks to the fact that it is one week into school and high time that the kids recognised where their new classes are located, the new modus operandi was that there were no teachers taking them in and routing them through the stairs like a squabbling line of red and white ants. No, they were supposed to squabble their way to their classrooms on their own. Now, to paint a visual picture of the school, there are three gates through which the children enter. A narrow lane through which all the cars and school buses enter. And chaos reigns. Especially, since us newbie mothers insist on coming right inside the premises and handing over the kids to their class teachers. There are some brave souls (I hail them their nerves of steel, and wonder if I can borrow some) who do their good byes from the gate itself and leave their kids to meander their way into the classrooms, killing some ants on the way and fishing out the occasional earthworm. Of course, the entire route is lined by the bus ladies and the attendees who reach out and quickly re route little investigative minds and limbs back into the way to their classrooms. Now, until last year, I could physically see the brat's classroom from the compound. I would stand like a manic mother (the helicopter mother I believe the species is called) and wave insanely till my arm was ready to fall off to the moment he entered class. Then I would leave, secure in the knowledge that he was in class. Now the classroom has been changed, and is through a little corridor off two staircases which have to be navigated. Two flights of stairs to get him there. My heart sank when I realised that, in the chaos of the entire school getting to their classes, the brat was expected to make his way to his class on his own. I stood waiting for him to climb the one stair case I could see. Then he turned and went up the other stair case, and I couldnt see him anymore. Suddenly, my heart began beating so fast I thought the entire school would definitely be able to hear it. Okay. I am a coward when it comes to the brat. I almost charged up the stairs to check whether he had reached the right class, but an iron grip plucked me from the stairs and placed me back outside the gates, assuring me that he would have reached his class. My heart is still beating wildly, despite other parents assuring me that his bag is labelled, therefore even if he does happen to wander off, he will be redirected to the right class. But this is child who can manage to get lost in his own house, and the school is so huge...but my boy is a big boy now. He's not my little baby anymore. Why do they grow up so fast? Now, he's already reached that irritating phase where he doesnt want to be held or hugged or kissed. Unless he's cranky or hurt. "I big boy now. I dont want kichu. Kichu is for babies." My darling, you will always be my little baby.
Until I reach back to school and get him in my arms, my heart will be beating wildly. Reminds me of the first time I sent him on a school field trip last year. I had half a mind to follow the school bus in the car, until the husband promised to divorce me should I do anything so ridiculous. The toughest thing is to let your babies grow up.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Manic Monday

It was a bright and sunny morning, rather an anticlimax to the steady, mirthless downpour that had deluged our Sunday evening. Spent the entire evening listening to the brat bay at the rain from the french windows in the drawing room, commanding it to stop. So that he could go to the mall and run around in circles there. And momma dearest, being momma dearest, refused to step out in the rain. The rain has some great memories associated for momma, and she refuses to ruin them with overlay of brat raising hell memories. Therefore, the baying. The rain, of course, refused to obey his commands and continued pouring down. Therefore, we gave up all hopes of going to the mall, and retired to the bedroom, where we wreacked havoc on the wooden flooring by scratching broken dinky cars on it, much to mom's distress. Looking at the way the heavens were weeping last night, I laid out the Spiderman raincoat, the Spiderman umbrella and the gumboots along with the school uniform and school bag (also a Spiderman bag) for use this morning. Got up to see the sun grinning cheekily at us, rendering all the well laid plans of moms awry. But the brat was not to be thwarted. Therefore, we went to school in the raincoat and gumboots, with the umbrella open. In the bright hot sun. Braved the strange looks other moms gave me with insouciance. Sometimes, it is easier to give in to him, than argue with him.

Friday, June 15, 2007

To the man who would not be father

Dear Husband,
It is over three and a half years since the brat was born and our lives changed irreversibly. I remember fighting tooth and nail with you to drag your butt to the infertility specialists, I wanted a baby. I had wanted my flesh and blood since I realized I had only my mother to fall back on. The maternal urge was so strong I had to physically restrain myself from snatching kids on the street and smothering them with kisses. You, on the other hand, were a free soul and had no intentions of letting a kid cramp your style. And you were the kid in the family, pampered, adored and waited on hand and foot. You were not likely to give up the throne without a fight. And what a long wait it was. We went from specialist to specialist, until Dr Indira Hinduja. I went through endoscopies and complicated in vitro procedures and throughout you were there like a rock. Waiting, indulgent and calm even though I would be climbing the walls when the pregnancy tests would refuse to show a positive. And then it happened, the miracle I was waiting for. Were you waiting for it too, or were you merely indulging this obsession of mine? After all, I had chucked up everything, a job, a career and an entire lifestyle on my 24 x 7 quest to get pregnant.
You came with me for every sonography, every blood test, every doctor’s visit, even though it meant juggling your schedule, and working through remote control. I sat at home like a queen for nine months, while you managed everything about the office on your own, with me making only fleeting visits on the days I visited the gynaec. It was a precious pregnancy. I was on bedrest. Well meaning friends told me about husbands who strayed during such pregnancies. I was stressed, but I believed that you cared too much about me to hurt me in such a way. They called me na├»ve. I called it trust. And I believe you lived upto that trust.
And the brat was born. An emergency caesarian scheduled because the baby had the cord looped around his neck, a super fast heartbeat, tachycardia and possible foetal distress. God was testing me yet again, I don’t know whether brat’s issues have resulted from this, or whether he has some genetic code gone askew. I do know, and I am told, that when brat was taken out of the delivery room, and placed bawling his lungs out, in your arms, you were speechless for a good five minutes. I am told that this macho man had a suspicion of tears in his eyes. And when you dragged me home, after merely two days of my caesarian because it was Diwali day, and how could I and new brat celebrate the first festival in the hospital, I realized that was your way of showing your love for us.
When the brat was diagnosed with SID and PDD, your temper tantrum with me was a refusal to accept the diagnosis. I hated you then, for being so overbearing, but I see you now, refusing to accept that the brat is different and insisting that he be treated like every other child, and realize that your way is the best way for brat to be able to integrate rather than my over mollycoddling, which was making him all the more difficult to deal with.
Initially you were scared to carry the brat or even hold him, now you are the one he runs to when we come back home, not me. He waits for his Pappa. He wants to play with his Pappa. He wants to brag about his stars earned during therapy to Pappa. He doesn’t want Mamma except to help him with the mundanities of getting through the day. For all the fun activities he wants Pappa. And now he wants to sleep next to his Pappa too. Mamma be damned. Anyway, all she does is chase around him the entire day barking orders and nagging him to get things done. Pappa is fun.
When I see you two, sleeping on the bed, holding each other, his head on your arm, in the same spot where my head used to be earlier, I feel my heart swell up and burst with love. You are a wonderful father. Even though you don’t realize it. You indulge, you discipline, you play and you love all in equal measures. I hope the brat realizes how lucky he is to get such a great father.
Happy Father’s Day, dear husband.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Daddy dearest..

I see my father everyday. When I look in the mirror and when I look at my son. If I close my eyes, I cannot remember his face. All I can remember is him laid out on the bamboo mat with cotton in his nostrils and my mother like a statue carved from stone. He was 42. He had married late, he waited sixteen years to marry my mother. I came later. I did not understand what death was in reality. To wake up every morning and not find the person around, and know that it wasnt just another official trip, but that he would never come back. And then came the change in the lifestyle, the scaling down from a lavish two bedroom official quarters to a one room kitchen in the kind of neighbourhood that my mother wouldnt even let me walk through earlier for fear of the louts hanging around. The eating of khichdi everyday because mother was struggling on a salary which was less than what she would spend on herself for a month when dad was around. Because my dad was the kind of man who would help out anyone who came to him with a sob story down to his last penny, and even, in reality the shirt off his back. I remember him coming home one day in his vest and asking him what happened. "There was a beggar lady with no clothes, so I gave her my shirt. No lady should have to walk around exposed." I didnt understand then, but I do know. I hated him after he died, for not saving up for me, for leaving us at the mercy of relatives who promptly disowned us, until my mother put her tears aside and got back to the business of bringing me up. Today when I meet any old friend of my father's, I know what they will say before the words are out. "What a wonderful man your father was. He was a true karmyogi." And the troubles of the growing years are suddenly erased at the sheer pride of being the daughter of such a wonderful man. I see the same traits in my husband. And I am frightened. My husband is like my father. Handsome, larger than life, generous to a fault, exuberant and indulgent. I see the pattern repeating itself and I wonder was I really searching for my father when I met and fell in love with the husband. Big built and sporty, like my father. My father played regional level cricket, my husband used to be a national level swimmer. My father would carry me around on his shoulders until I was almost as tall as my mother. My husband braved flooded streets and riots to get me back home safe from wherever my job as a fledgling journalist would take me. A man who takes me to stores and lets me shop my heart out with a moue of disappproval because he knows its the only thing that cheers me up. A man who despite having no inclination for children indulged me and went with me for the long drawn out fertility treatment and for every pre pregnancy test from sonography to blood test. Of course now, he adores the brat more than he does me.
Cardiac arrest is what happened to my father they tell me. He had gone for an office picnic. There were bruises on his body that had no business being there had it been a mere cardiac arrest. God blessed me and gave me my husband and my son. I couldnt be more thankful and blessed.
Daddy I have missed you every single day.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The first day of school...

The brat went to school today. To Junior KG. With his Spiderman bag on his back, his Spiderman umbrella in hand, and his Spiderman tiffin box packed. And his Spiderman handkerchief pinned to his Tshirt with his ID card. He could have been slinging webs across the corridors so Spidey charged he was. He strutted around like a rooster on display, chest thrown out, back arched and hips aswagger. And he wasnt the only mini-Spiderman on display, every boy was marching around with a Spiderman school bag on his back, while the girls had much more variety with Powerpuff girls, Barbie and Ariel being the most popular options. If I had my choice, the brat would have had a Johnny Bravo bag, there's a cartoon character after my own heart. Of course, I would have had a Jessica Rabbit. Or maybe Catwoman. Cmon, who am I kidding? Little Lotta would do fine.
Anyway, there was much chaos in the vicinity of the school, this being the first day and more cars than people on the road, with every parent coming in to drop their darling kid. And having graduated up from playschool and nursery, Jr KG starts with the rest of the school, so the entire shebang was rolling into the narrow premises at the same time. It was straight out of a scene from the movies. Naturally mayhem ruled, and the teachers dealt with it in the sweet, gentle way only pre primary teachers can. I would have been swatting humans out of my way with my handbag, and gunning down errant car parkers with an automatic. And some hand grenades thrown in for good measure.
Adding its tuppence to the disconcertenment was the humidity which must have been 150 per cent. Yes, I am joking. But, actually, bad enough to have me sweat off all my carefully applied make up. And I pride myself on applying some mean make up. Some parents thought I was crying at brat returning to school. Yes, tears of joy, I replied. With rivulets of sweat running down my back I handed the brat over to his new class teachers who took him in with such joy and delight, that I am sure his reputation has not preceded him. He stared at them in puzzlement and decided he would give them a chance. I warned them repeatedly that he is not the child who will stand put in a line, and needed to be held onto. Luckily, I waited till the line went into class to see him wander off investigating friends in other divisions only to be pulled back in line by a now frazzled teacher. Yes, some friendly sparring went on between old pals long separated by the two month break. No teeth were broken and no hard feelings. Sadly though, all his pals have been put in different divisions, I had half a mind to go beg and grovel for him to get transferred to another division, but then steeled my heart to him being forced to make new friends. He kept asking me pitifully through the rest of the day, "Where is Anay, where is Vyom, Where is Arnav?"
When I went to pick him up, he absolutely refused to come home. My heart broke for my poor baby who yearns for the company of children so much, he would rather stay at school than come home. Of course, we were the last out of the school compound we had so much catching up to do with all our friends. So will mamma stood around and gossiped with friends brat and friends played climb the gate and hang upside down from it. When I turned around to take a casual peep at what he was doing, I almost fainted with the shock of seeing this miniscule creature on top of the gate hanging upside down, chortling away with laughter. It took a police uncle watchman to get him down on the threat of being carted away to the lock up. Luckily no therapy, so we came into office with mamma and proceeded to demolish one of the computers while the computer servicing chappie was sitting right in the office, so not much damage done there too. We left for home and fell asleep in the car. The best thing about school. It tires him out to the bone.
This morning he flat out refused to wear the school uniform. "I big boy now. I not wearing shorts. Shorts is for babies." Amen.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Back to school

The brat starts school on Wednesday and there is much joy in the Manral house. The mother in law is waiting for the days of relative peace, when she has her mornings to herself. Yours truly is waiting to catch up with old friends and resume her nicely indolent life of coffee mornings and extended brunches with other moms. The husband is waiting the return of the wife to the office, with the brat back into school. The good part of working for one’s own outfit is that one can synchronize one’s holidays with the brat’s—never mind if the husband is frothing at the mouth over the two months of enforced vacation one has been on. Yes, I am lucky, I have mother and mother in law to help me with brat, but they are old and feeble and throw up their hands at the thought of the brat being inflicted on them for the entire day. I don’t blame them, I throw my hands up in horror too, if I am ever subjected to such a day. Two hours is my threshold for being sweetness and light and the kind of mother the Hindi filmdom has patented [minus the cooking, of course, my poor child will never crave for ‘maa ke haath ka khana’], after which the patience wears out and the umpteenth car is dashed against the floor, and the shouting begins in dead earnest. The brat can now time me to when he gets sent to the naughty corner, which he shuffles away to in his ghetto man meets rap star gait, dragging his assorted garage of toys to, in order to be able to play in peace, away from this harridan of a mother constantly on his case to do an ‘activity’. Ah, how I long for the kind of kid who will sit by my side, scissors and glue and paintbrush patiently in hand and create exquisite works of art and craft I can proudly display on a shelf in his room. Right now all the shelves are only overflowing with broken dinky cars I don’t dare throw out because I never know when the brat will suddenly throw a hissy fit and demand the exact same damn two wheeled car I had chucked into the overflowing dustbin a couple of seconds ago. {For the record I never give broken toys to the orphanages, just the stuff he has outgrown and will never find use for again, and always stuff in perfect condition.] And as for sitting silently beside me doing an ‘activity’, if the brat is ever found sitting silently anywhere, it only means two things, a] check around for some colossal damage or b]he wants to sit on the potty and is debating whether he should actually take the trouble to ask me for the damn thing or let me figure it out on my own.
Am training the brat to answer the basic question—“which class are you in?” Answer: ‘Junior KG.” “No,” replies brat, bristling with anger. “I go to Nursery. Don’t want to go Jr KG.” And here was I putting up posts of whooping delight on his being promoted.
I am in actuality, quite anxious about his going into junior kg. Yes, he is three and a half and he is a year behind on all language and skill development milestones. Translate that to he is young for his class, and already a laggard developmental, so the rest of the kids in comparison are like little Einsteins out there picking out their ABCs and drawing beautiful shapes and colouring within lines. All of which the brat has no inclination to do whatsoever. All that is sissy stuff, what is important for him is to do the guy stuff, the fighting, the throwing, the boxing and yes, the occasional crooning into the make believe mike with cap and jacket on. I take hope in the fact that Einstein too was a late bloomer and hope this bud blooms soon. I get up in cold sweat with dreams of him being sent back to nursery thanks to his inability to cope. But I console myself that I did tell the school to retain him in nursery if they felt he would in anyway be out of synch in Jr Kg, and they in their wisdom decided to push him ahead, so they would have thought him capable of coping. I only don’t want to be pushing him inorder for him to cope. He cant. Even if he does try. And he doesn’t try too. I don’t want to be a mom who is no fun to be with and is only chewing the brat’s miniscule brains to get alphabets and numbers and concepts into it…but then, he does have help. He has therapy thrice a week and a special educator sitting with him for a while in class. So he should hopefully cope. In the meanwhile though, brat has pulled out the Spiderman bag and packed in all his dinky cars in it. “Going to school. Going to Jr Kg. I big boy now.” Yes my love. You're growing up so fast its scaring me. Its a big world out there, and I can only be with you for so long. Right now, let me figure out whether I can put my fears aside and trust you to come on your own in the school bus. Without picking a scrap or doing the hokey pokey leaning out of the window.

I nominate...

As a sequel to my previous post, am delighted to pass on the Thinking Blogger Award honours to the following bloggers who light up my life in their own unique ways. And to toot my horn a bit, suddenly came upon my blog listed in the most read Indian blogs listing in The Best Blogs of India. In the mommy blog section. In august company with The Mad Momma, Moppets Mom, Tharini, Gauri, Boo and Rohini. Had no clue how long my blog had been lying around there, and it was rather like finding a 1000 buck note on the street. So excuse me if I look all puffed up today. Its not PMS bloat, I assure you.

Tharini: I am in total awe of this lady, with her ability to manage not one but two kids (yes, Mad Momma, you too, as all of you with two kids out there), and create exquisite craft works to boot. Makes me want to slink into a dark corner and hide for my absolute inability to get anything artistic out of my brat, unless of course, you count scissors taken to bedsheets and sofa covers.

utbtkids: She takes an effort to research out topics she writes about, and that scores full marks for her, considering one is slacking terribly and keying together random anecdotes to hold the blog together.

Rohini: She's a working mom, and has a wonderful little son, and manages to hold everything together with immense grace and poise. Superwoman, you inspire me.

Average Jane: She writes like a dream, and her stories leave traces in your mind, long after you have logged off..

If you choose to pass it on, these are the Thinking Blogger Award rules:This award was started here. You have to award five others whose blog you think deserve this award. Should you choose to participate, please make sure you pass this list of rules to the blogs you are tagging.
If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think.
Link to this post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme.
Optional: Proudly display the ‘Thinking Blogger Award’ with a link to the post that you wrote.Please, remember to tag blogs with real merits, i.e. relative content, and above all — blogs that really get you thinking!

Still trying to scrap together one definite last one, so many vying for the spot in my brain, will update this post once I decide. But now I have to leave. The brat is running in circles through the office and destroying whatever he can lay his hands on...

And yes, the ones I would have added on, if they werent already on the winners list, MM and Grail.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

My first ...

A Thinking Blogger Award, from the goddess of all Mommy bloggers herself, The Mad Momma. So pardon me while I preen a bit, I rarely get any awards these days, except a Best Mutter of the World card from the brat on Mother's day, picked with obvious help from the father....So here it is, displayed nicely, I hope, while I get down to thinking whom I want to tag for this one....

Weekend break leaves mother of one a wreck

It was the weekend, and terrified of the prospect of enduring my company non stop with no interruptions for two entire days, husband proposed we go to Pune and visit his sister, a proposal promptly endorsed by brat and ma in law. Having no veto power absolutely in any family decision, except ones that concern killing rodents and exterminating cockroaches from under the kitchen sink, the onus of which always lands on yours truly, I went along for the ride. And what a beautiful one it was. For one the southwest monsoon is imminent. When I say imminent, I mean the dictionary meaning of the word. The threat of rain hung over the horizon like a promise over the sultry, humid air, and the drive up the expressway to the ghats was to die for with a million clouds punctured with clear crisp yellow sunrays coming through in the way that only trained fine artists can ever hope to replicate with pure pigments mixed to perfection. The mountains had already changed their tint from a faded dull burnt brown to a fresh, vibrant green that just leapt out at the retina making me feel like I was on a acid trip....with the brat hollering Sufi songs in the back seat adding to the surrealism.
Pune was nice and burning to a crisp with the occasional pleasant drizzle in the evening making one forgive the air for being so nasty to one earlier. The skin is nicely fried to parchment and will spend more time and slather on more Creme de La Mer and hope it gets moisture replenished soon. But this is sounding like my other blog which is all about me, so lets get back to the brat in question. After howling like the hopefuls auditioning for the main lead in the radio version of Doyle's The Hounds of the Baskervilles in the rear seat all through the drive for reasons as varied as burgers and fries, , he emerged refreshed at the end of the drive and raring to go. The eardrums being punctured by the howling, all one wanted to do was curl up in a corner, face covered with a blanket, with earplugs to drown out all extraneous sounds, but was resigned to going down with a borrowed three wheeler cycle and do a million rounds of a gigantic compound which humbled one to the existence of a God, one having only traversed the breadth of the aforementioned compound in the car earlier.
Awoke this morning to much laziness and after a short debate decided that lunch was going to be a buffet at a restaurant. When I am on holiday, I am on holiday. And getting into a kitchen is not part of any agenda even when I am not on holiday. The sis in law being a brilliant cook is always put upon to provide lavish lunches, and was exhausted with her house getting an overhaul and living with dust layers for the past month and was vocally endorsing the break from slaving it out over the stove. She's another one of the great cooks, hostesses, organised people and supermoms and superteachers aka working women who has me feeling kneehigh in comparison. So there were we at the Taj Blue D, right next to her home in Koregaon Park, when the brat decided that he wasnt interested in any lunch wunch thingie, no matter how many different items from the buffet yours truly was parading before him to entice him, and all he wanted to do was get into the pool which, unfortunately, is right outside the brunch area. So while I was checking out the dessert counter with a sly eye and contemplating how many things I could actually fit on one plate without going down in history as the greatest glutton, even after concession offered for the fact that the brat might nibble one one item, the brat made a dash for it....right out of the swinging glass doors, and navigated himself through complicated passageways and stopping a step before the deep end of the pool. Followed by a totally outofbreath and panting yours truly, with the heart doing a drum beat to rival the tribal beats of the Amazon. I approached him gingerly, not wanting to startle him into going right in, and he turns around. "Mamma, dont want to go swimming. Not brought my swimsuit. Cannot swim in jacket."
The moral of the story: Having a sartorially inclined kid can sometimes be a blessing. Thank you Reshammiya...

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Mumbai Mommy Bloggers Meet: Update

It is with deep regret that I inform you that my grandiose plans of having a Mumbai Mommy Bloggers Meet has been put on ice for a while, the two other blogging moms I know from Mumbai, Rohini and Surabhi being out of town and no other declarations of interest....
If you are or know of any other Mumbai Mommy Blogger please do ask them to contact me, or do write in....
Now I go to lick my dashed hopes...

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

On popular request...Krishesh Reshammiya

Here is the only picture I have of brat in idol avatar--the leather cap and jacket and trousers, all bought for birthday ensemble in slavish adoration of the nasal wonder. Alas. When will my son get good taste in clothes and in music?

Mumbai Mommy Bloggers Meet- Wanna Sign Up?

Am exceedingly curious about all the Mommy bloggers I read about everyday, and therefore, spurred on by the success Poppins has had with her Bangalore Mommy Bloggers Meet Up, am thinking how nice it would be to meet up with other Mommies who blog...
Therefore...if you are a Mumbai based Mommy blogger and want to meet up with the other of your kin, get in touch. Let me know your location in Mumbai (town/ western suburbs/ eastern suburbs) and which area would be convenient for you....

I'm hoping this can work out by the last week of June, around Bandra which is conveniently midway for all locations. All kids welcome....

Hoping to see my inbox tinging continuously....

Back home from Nana House...

Its been a long week since we came across to Nana House to kill some time between school closing and reopening. Needless to say we have now outstayed our welcome and Nana is now praying on bended knees and tightly shut eyes every night for us to return home and continue to wreak our destruction there. The brat was brought here with the express purpose of him interacting with other kids, there being a zillion in the housing complex the mother lives in, all of whom unconditionally adore him until he flings something at them. The bestest friend being Sonu, who is seven, but I suspect bordering on three mentally, which explains why they get along like a mansion on fire, set ablaze by a stunt director, with all the requisite well timed blasts at relevant intervals, occasioned by the flinging of dinky cars and assorted toys turned missiles. The mother has been busy salvaging the ornaments that she so lovingly litters around her house and painfully dusts everyday for lack of better things to do, she being blissfully retired. Wonder what genetic mutation caused me to be her daughter, I need to be kick assed into taking dustcloth into hand when I see the brat chasing dust bunnies around the house. Maybe I exaggerate a bit, or maybe my behaviour is in reaction to having lived with cleanliness fetishist mom and mom in law all my life, and agonising over whether I inadvertently left a breath mark on the wash basin mirror while brushing my teeth...have spent days in the office agonising about whether I forgot to hang out the towel with the edges perfectly in line, for fear of the tongue lashing I would get once I reached home. I lapse in cleanliness in sheer revolt. But I am digressing. The topic under question being that of me and brat returning back to the fold this evening. The issue meets mixed reactions, with brat all for it, and me, greedy me, wanting to wring out one additional day at the mothers, and being able to sleep in and rise as per my pleasure, and being served delicious favourites through the day (this is what comes of having a mother who perpetually feels you are looking haggard and starving, even if all proof is to the contrary including weighing scales that scream in terror as one nears, and jeans that need one to jump and wriggle and do the belly dance on the floor in to get into). So there we are all set to go home. Am not looking forward to going home. It means rise and shine at 6 am with the milk man. Bye bye sleep. And I am a girl who loves her sleep. The brat no doubt will be delighted to have more people to lord it over, and have at his beck and call. I will no doubt be hardpressed to find more innovative places to take him to every evening considering that school is still a good week away. Therefore will need all the prayers from you kind folk to help me keep my sanity intact, specially when 5 pm screaming fits demand immediate mall gratification.
I would like to think the father has summoned us home, because he misses me, his beloved wife. But if truth be said, I am now just the unnecessary accompaniment to the brat. And the brat is the one everyone is waiting for with bated breath, and since I come as part of the package deal, I must be borne with patiently. Ah, how the mighty fall.
This morning the brat got up and opened the cupboard, dragged a stool to it and pulled out a blue checked shirt and denim trousers that he had outgrown and demanded to be dressed in them, over his night clothes. The splitting migraines of earlier episodes of dress up still fresh behind my eyeballs prompted me to dress him pronto no questions asked. Therefore, there was brat in mickey mouse pjs with blue checked shirt left open in the front and denim trousers turned bermudas at eight in the morning. Unwashed, unbrushed and unfed. "Nana I going home, bye." At this, Nana, bleeding heart that she is, flicked off a tear or two, "You're going home,son, you dont want to stay Nana house?"
"No. You lock the fridge."
There, from the horses mouth. The saga of the ingratitude of grandkids who want perma access to refrigerators and the chilled Pepsi and water bottles within even though the nose is flowing with yellow phelgm. "And it was for his own good,"says the Nana, ruefully. "And now he hates me." I patted her gently on her shoulder.