Sunday, October 26, 2008

Of exploding WCs

The brattie perched on the potty. In deep contemplation. Or is it concentration? Mamma can never tell. And now that we've become a big boy, the bathroom door is firmly shut, even if tempting things like Xmen and Mission Impossible are on the telly.
Somewhere, 15 floors below, some bombs explode.
I must explain, the bathrooms open out onto a duct, which creates hissing house of horror wind sounds on an average windy day, teeth chattering spooky sounds at the height of the monsoon, and thanks to the wonderful promise of a 22 floor echo possibility, is the chosen spot for bomb enthusiasts to exercise their skills.
Therefore, the bomb burst. And the door of the bathroom burst open and the brat came running out. (For those of you who will undoubtedly be curious, he had not yet commenced the business at hand, therefore all was clean and hygienic).
"Mamma, the toilet had bomb."
And continued in absolute incoherent terror. "Someone lit bomb in the potty. When I wuz sitting down. The potty expodid."
Mamma held his hand, calmed him down and opened the bathroom door and showed him said sanitaryware, very much intact.
Brat instinctly looked down at his plumbing area.
"But there wuzabom. It expodid."
Mamma explained how the bomb had exploded many floors below and how he should get back on his perch. But the urge had passed.
Sometime later, the urge struck again. And the fear of the expodingbom had him contort himself rather than risk sitting on the expoding potty.
So Mamma offered to accompany him, and supervise from the bathroom window slats to ensure no miscreants expoded boms in the potty.
This time round the task was done to no further exposions. Therefore says brat, "Mamma, the boms getting fwightened of you."
Mamma laughs, and not knowing what she's getting herself into, says in all innocence, "Yes, love."

After a bit, the pater decides to take his morning newspaper and step into the bathroom. The brat stops him sternly.
"Pappa, take Mamma with you to potty. No boms will expoding."

And with that,
Happy Diwali all.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Its Diwali time

and the brat is on firecracker wish list overdrive.
Given that he is not allowed within ten feet of any firecracker that is not a sparkler, this is at the best a wish list.
Yes, yes, I can just see myself as the mother waving him off on his first bike. Yup, I'm the mother who is going to be flying behind holding onto the pillion snarling at traffic to keep out of the way.
"Mamma, I wanna rocket."
"Mamma, I wanna fountain."
"Mamma, I wanna adambom."
Mamma plays deaf. The father's ears prick up. The son is showing signs of machoness.
"Beta, Pappa will get you 2000 ka ladh," says Pappa excitedly. "Will you light it?"
Mamma snarls like the little girl in The Exorcist and spits green ketchup at Pappa.
"Over my dead body." And mentions something about environment pollution, waste of money, child labour and such like. All which is dismissed with a wave of a hand by said Pappa.
Mamma is sure, given the prospect of lighting adamboms, Pappa wouldnt mind stepping over above mentioned body.
"Will you make him a sissy?" says Pappa with all the sternness he can muster up in face of feral mamma.
"He has to learn."
Mamma snarls something on the lines of there being time enough for such rubbish and the child will stick with sparklers under supervision but Pappa is having none of it.
Yup. Mamma can just see Pappa, eyes gleaming, giving the brat his rite of passage birthday gift on his 18th budday. The damn motorbike of her nightmares.
"Mamma, buy for me adambom. And umbrella rocket. And snake."
Mamma agrees to the last. Snake pellets. Anyone remember them. Black pellets that rise up when lit. Into snakoid forms. And leave round black marks on pristine flooring.
"Mamma, I wanna tipligun. To do bang bang."
Mamma gives up.

And a Happy Diwali to you too.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

And the budday was happy...





The entire city got into celebration mode. Shops downed their shutters in joy. Auto drivers did the world a favour and stayed off the streets. And huge hordes of people collected in Bandra Kurla Complex to share their joy at the fact that the brat was turning five.

Seriously though, Mamma had chewed down her manicure to badly bitten cuticle level by 11 am. The roads were deserted, the television channels on overdrive showing repeated loops of people randomly smashing vehicles, burning whatever they could lay their hands on, and getting whacked soundly for their efforts by lathi wielding police types, with riot shields, who seemed seriously pissed off at having to actually do some physical activity.

Therefore, the phone calls started pouring in since the morning. "Are you going ahead with the party?" "They're burning cars on the highway." "Why dont you cancel and postpone?" and the most vital of all questions, "Are drinks being served?"

The option of cancelling and postponing would have meant that Mamma's corpse would have been discovered with angry red throttle marks around neck caused by five year old hands, therefore was out of question. The only option actually left to Mamma was to be unseemly brave and declare grandly that no damn riots were going to stop this party. And then pray that the party didnt have unwanted hordes troupe in with hockey sticks and the like to join the revelry and decide on some field practice then and there.

Luckily, the venue was a sneeze away from home, and mamma kept calling all the service providers through the day to intimidate them into ensuring they got the message that, yes, the party was on. And no, Mamma was not joking. No, she did not have a death wish. Just reach there in time and do your job okay. The last sentence said in soft menacing tones. With the Or Else implied.


The venue was decorated to the theme of superheroes, in keeping with the current obsession. And so, the brat entered the venue dressed in his birthday outfit of orange corduroy jacket brown gold foil print tee and white pants (Mamma's obeisance to her favourite dancing hero, Govinda) and promptly threw a rolling on the floor tantrum to be allowed to wear his spidey costume. Only the stern unwavering presence of the Pappa quelled the storm with single fierce glare. By which time the kiddies began trickling in bearing gifts. And he was promptly distracted. And very properly handed them gifts over to driver to keep in safe custody in the car just in case some unworthy guests tried to make off with the stash. He would have posted armed guards at the boot of the car if he could. Mamma wouldnt have been surprised if he counted and backcounted them and ticked them off a list he'd made. Gentle trusting soul that he is.


Many of the mammas came by, threw their children at this Mamma and scampered off promising to be back by eight to pick them. Mamma admired them for their complete trust and faith in her abilities to manage the rapscallions on her ownsome, and almost blubbered in thankfulness at this validation of her adult skills at child management. But then, Mamma realised it was she, with many many five year olds running riot and was tempted to flee. But sanity prevailed and she downed two Pepsis in quick succession and was buzzing on enough sugar overdrive to be up to the task at hand. There is a research topic here somewhere, how cola drinks fuel your organisational skills. She quickly put the bigger kids each in charge of one younger one. Had her eyes rolling doing head counts every half an hour. Had the doors to the exit locked and bolted and staff stationed on high alert to prevent the kids from murdering each other over a prize. And Mamma had a sudden overwhelming urge to get a whistle round her neck and a baton in hand. And realised that the phrases sweet and little children do not go together anymore, in the current generation.

But, a good time was had by all. Despite the many who didnt risk getting out on a day fraught with uncertainties and tensions. And the brat returned home to the ritual opening of presents. Of which there were many. And all of which had to be played with right now this very moment and assembled from the one million pieces in plastic pouches that they come in. Needless to say, Mamma is muttering bitterly about pieces that landed under her back in the dead of the night, which came to consciousness through dark gothic dreams about ice picks in the back.

Yes, the brat had a very happy birthday. Now someone recommend a good podiatrist and spine alignment centre for Mamma.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

And here's how the brat became a big boy...

Carried by Pappa on his first trip to the beach.

Winning first prize at his first fancy dress competition as Noddy.
Having long conversations on Mamma's mobile, and then dunking it into hot tea and ruining it forever.

And being grown up and handsome last Diwali.

Through some gun play, some dress up, and some study.
To going to the park with Mamma, here all of nine months and fresh from his mundan.

With his first few teeth poking though and making his smile a million dollar one.


A month old and sleeping peacefully in mamma's lap, after a good feed and burp.
Here having a good butt scratch.
Lolling on the sofas.
And still a chubby baby.
I miss this baby, gurgling and Johnson's Baby Powder fresh.
And of course, you all know the latest Raikonnen avatar so not going to repeat those and Spiderman.

and yes, this pictorial journey is in no particular order, because this mamma is very lazy to sort stuff out according to dates. And has no clue as to how to change photograph order once uploaded. And because it only feels like yesterday that the brat was born.

Happy Birthday my love. May you have all the joy Mamma and Pappa could have ever dreamt and wished for you.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

And Raikkonen move over...


...Here's Krish Manral just before he straps on the gloves and puts on the helmet and gets behind the wheel.


Or rather, before he takes himself off to school where the budday cake was cut and distributed equally with no partiality and justice dispensed to pushers and peenchers and other such miscreants. This being so because the brat had no say in the cutting and distribution process and the teachers were at hand to ensure best friends didnt get a double share.

He entered school premises with the slight swagger and the discreet looking around to check who was noticing him and keeling over at this vision of handsomeness before their eyes. A slow motion walk that would have done a Bollywood star proud. Especially The Walk walk type stars, you know, them macho men types. A slow removal of sunglasses and handing over of said item (without taking eyes off from his adoring audience, mind you) to Mamma lackey, already collapsing under weight of cake bag, school bag, water bottle, etc. And Mamma lackey suddenly aware of uncombed hair, and unmade up face, and total unsuitability to accompany such a rock star.
And then, and only then, when we were convinced that the entire school was suitably in awe of his handsomeness, did we consent to put on school bag and clamber up the stairs.

Kindly note: Outfit selected by self. Mamma had no role to play except sign the credit card slip that had her fall to the ground, and send salesmen scurrying to take their shoes off, and place them strategically near her nostrils. Childrens clothes? Half the material Mamma needs for her denims and twice the cost. Coupled with gruesome embroidery the kind that Ed Hardy inflicted on adults and which has now percolated down to children's clothing with teeth rattling effects. As in, "Brat, is that a skull with a rose coming out of its eyehole." "Ya."

"Brat what is a skull?"

"Is a deadhead."

The last Mamma saw, a luckless B was being shaken like a mouse and intimidated by feral budday boy, "Say I lookin very hansome. Say you lookin hansom Krish. Say, say now."

Hopefully, B had the good sense to say so. And manage to escape. Unscathed.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

And my son grows up...

The brat slept next to me last night, like he has done for the past five years, and I couldnt help noticing the nightsuit, just that little short, just that little tight for him. The legs riding up in his sleep to his knees, and the stomach exposed to the blast of the AC, and me struggling to get him to keep his dohar on, and he kicking it off in his sleep.

He will turn five in a few days, and it seems like it was just yesterday that he was born. A mewling little ball of flesh who terrified me. I didnt know what to do with him. I had never ever in my entire life held a newborn and now I was wholly and solely responsible for a life. It was scary. He was my responsibility.

His skin was mottled blue with patches. I was assured they would fade over time, they terrified me, what was with this child's skin, would he be doomed to covering his legs all his life to hide the blue green patches all over. Yesterday, I suddenly realised, while bathing him, that they had faded away. The skin was smooth, brown. He has my skin tone, my son. And nothing else from me. Perhaps my eyelashes. And my insatiable curiousity. The rest of him is all Pappa. For a while he had fooled us. He seemed to look like me. Everyone said so. And now suddenly, he's done a volte face and become a reduction xerox of his father. I couldnt be more pleased. I see both of them, Pappa and son, sleeping next to each other, his leg thrown royally over Pappa's tummy, their faces like reproductions of each other and my heart bursts with joy.

He is also becoming a big boy. He is doing everything 'apne aap'. This means bathing himself, washing his bum (though I need to muscle in at this point and cross check that the faucet has been directed appropriately and for requisite amount of time), doing his homework apne aap. Which I have been encouraging, by leaving him with a page and explanations of the task to be completed and disappearing while it is being done, the downside is that he flat out, foot down firmly on ground, refuses to redo anything done wrong. Small price to pay for independence. Even if the alphabets are scurrying all around the page like ants thrown into disarray rather than in orderly lines. And he is playing with his friends apne aap. I no longer need to step in and explain the rules of the games to him, or help him follow the instructions. He's come a long way, my baby.

He had grey eyes when he was born, they've changed to a deep brown. Like his father's. He is a barrel of monkeys on a roll most of the day. He chatters non stop. And I remember the days I had to cajole words out of him. When I sat and made excel sheets of the words he was using, and segregating them into appropriate context of use and pronounciation. He speaks fluent English and Hindi today. And knows some colourful cuss words too, thanks to belligerent Pappa yelling at lackeys on the phone in his presence. And I remember the days when he would be lost in his own world. Not respond to his name. When he would repeat back questions asked to him. Echolalia, they said it was called. Its nowhere in evidence now.

And his inability to sit still for a minute. He now sits down for well over an hour and does his writing practice. And does it happily too. Without being threatened, cajoled or bribed to do so. I have to meet his teachers tomorrow for the mid term parent teacher meet. I know I will go to this meeting with not a single flutter in my heart, my son has surpassed every expectation I had of him being able to catch up with the rest of his class, and more.

He has become such a big boy now. I get a perverse pleasure from making him wear clothes he has outgrown. And I flick through photographs to see him like he was, tiny, gurgling, chubby, stubborn. Laughing when I kissed him and bounced him on my lap. And I see him as he is now, a big boy. Who furiously rubs his cheeks to wipe off Mamma's kichus, who forbids Mamma from hugging him in public, who is embarassed to hold Mamma's hand. Already. Mard ka bachcha. Who still comes running to Mamma when he falls down and scrapes his knee.

My dear son, you've grown up too soon for me. I miss your baby breath, I miss being able to carry you in my arms everywhere. I miss deciding what clothes you should wear, and I miss cuddling and kissing you whenever I felt like it.

Dont ever become so big that you dont ever need your Mamma. Indulge this old lady. Let her hug you sometimes.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Don call...

The brat is on a vengeance spewing spree. Hell hath no fury like a brat pushed, pinched or otherwise troubled in class. This being the issue of forthcoming budday pahty, and brat playing the 'Don call.." card as his ultimate denial of privileges or token of frenship.

So the morning starts, he stretches languidly like a cat as the rays of sunlight I cruelly let fall on his face from the bathroom window slats, via left open bathroom door. Opens his eyes. "Mamma, don call A fer my buddaypahty. He pushme yetterday."

"Okay beta," says Mamma, not even bothering to get into the "You went for his birthday party, so you have to invite him for yours."

"An Mamma, doncall K fer the buddaypahty. He peenchmyface yetterday."

Mamma shoves toothbrush into the brat's mouth to keep the litany from flowing. He pulls out toothbrush and begins complaining again violently. "An don call B, he throw my tiffin on d floor."

Mamma makes him rinse and spit. The litany continues. "And don call R, she complain to teacher about me."

In five minutes he had eliminated his entire class from the guest list. Weary Mamma sits down, towels him dry and asks him sincerely, "Whom do you want to call for your party then?"

He thinks long and hard. And starts. "Ben10. Hattori. Perman. Spiderman. Superman. Spunjbob. And Doraemon. Not Shinchan. He also a naughty boy. Teacher said don see Shin Chan."

Thursday, October 09, 2008

The budday pahty draws near

Tuesday. Oct 21st 2008. I have sweaty, oxygen deprived nightmares from which I wake choking and gasping for breath, nightmares of me being stuffed into a khoi bag with infinite sweets, infernal whistles, click clack thingies and erasers and assorted rubbish that make children scramble like lunatics to grab and fill their little plastic bags. The brat's birthday draws near, and he's going around inviting any unfortunate soul who happens to cross his path. The pizza delivery boy included. Is my buddaypahty. Come. Germee big prehsent. Short of taping his mouth shut everytime he steps down to the garden, Mamma cannot do zilch but expect a right turnout that would be more in place at an election rally than a mere birthday party. And the guest list is still evolving. The son, like the parents, is a come one come all sorts.
There are lists. Long lists waiting to be ticked off, and got under control. Like so much of mamma's life but thats a different issue and a different post in a different blog, so one will not dwell about it. Like the item about getting nasal hair trimmed. Its been languishing unticked for months in the mental checklist until a coughing spell showed me nostril foliage I could have sent remains off to the wigmakers.
But this is the birthday party checklist. Right now I have the hall. And the games host. And the DJ and the tattoo artist and the decorations in place. It helps that they're all a one stop shop so could do them all at one go. And I have the invitation cards designed and ready to be printed. And the return gift labels. I have the brat's outfit ready. Rather, the doting grandmother organised this way back when monsoon sales had everything at half price, so we have a jacket and a pant, and a Tshirt that is to be worn while the cake is being cut. Which brings me to the cake. That has to be ordered. I will probably remember to do this one day before the birthday and run tearing hair out to Hangout and grovel before the minions there to execute my very immediate order as in the next day. Yes, mamma is the epitome of organisational skills. Which is why she normally realises she has nothing to wear an hour before the do and runs screaming into next door malls to pick up the only decent things that fit, read tent kurtis, and runs out to ensure the guests havent done the cake cutting themselves. That brings us to the end of the party and return gifts. Ackkk! That lends itself to another round of frenzied shopping through wholesale toy stores where everything comes with a Made in China label and which mamma personally detests, but is willing to dig deep into to find something worth gifting. Last year it was a stationery set. The year before that was one of those visors with built in sunglasses that the kids never wore or if they did it never fit. This year, she's searching for something utilitarian and fun. She probably has still to realise she has very high expectations from wholesale toy suppliers.
The brat on the other hand is clear about what he wants. "Tell dDJ I wan Rockon. And Singyking. And Diwalipardner. And Spiderman song."
Mamma must remember to book herself for a massage the next day. Her feet will sure need it.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

De dhana dhan

The building complex we live in decided to hold a navratri dandiya function on Saturday. As far as planning and decision making go, we had every little detail down to a tee. Read, there were four frazzled women runnning around in circles through the compound on Saturday evening as gusts of typhoon level winds swept the premises blowing away painstakingly arranged chairs and even the DJs console and speakers. And we were still figuring out where the carpet would go when the winds blew it away towards the Karakoram range.

So Mamma was physically holding down featherweight DJs who were being blown off in the general direction towards Gujarat which in troth would have been a good business proposition, seeing as emergency DJs can charge a whole lot extra than those booked in regular time. Which is what mamma with her very efficient planning, as in, lets do this dandiya thingie tomorrow, discovered. A sincere prayer to Mata Rani to keep our laaj (honour) and let us not have a space flight simulation experience resulted in the winds actually quietening down and the thick black mocking clouds getting blown over, followed by a nice, pleasant gentle breeze, so Mamma is now convinced that there is something definitely to prayer that comes wrenched out from the bottom of the heart.

The brat, thankfully, was tired to the bone in anticipation of the evening's revelries and had taken himself to bed in the afternoon, snoring mouth wide open the sleep of the Kumbhakaran parents he has descended from. Which allowed Mamma to run around squealing, and putting things together, along with a couple of other similar enthu cutlet mammas from the building. And which involved a lot of standing around with hands on the hips and yelling instructions to watchmen and electricians and pandalwallahs given that the pappas had all averred sincerely that we mammas were wonderful organisers and would do a great job, and were sitting around watching television and swilling beer through the afternoon. Mamma did so much of shouting at the top of her voice to get things organised, standing in typical arms akimbo, feet planted like tree trunks pose, that she actually sniffed her fingers to check if they smelt fishy.

A couple of really nasty squabbles later we were set. And went up to change. And the brat was awake and ready and raring to go. The grandmother had in her devotion got him a pair of silver dandiyas and a new dandiya costume. Silver as in wooden painted over with silver paint. Mamma is not sending the child down with any precious metal on his person. Face washed and scrubbed. Evening gu gu ingested. And dress up happened. The dhoti tied on, the frock type upper worn and tied with the infinite tassels that hold it together. The cap placed rakishly at an angle. If truth be told, mamma would have been able to hold it to the scalp with the aid of a hair pin, so overdue is the brat for a hair cut. But of course that would have been girly, and minor eruptions were already happening over the `frock' one was inflicting on the poor macho male. "I not wearing frock. Evyone laffatme."

Mamma tuned into 24 hour local channel telecasting live dandiya nites and showed him the acrobatics of similarly dressed lads. "I not jumping round and round. Is stupid. "

Mamma, already having downed three Disprins for headache which had reached proportions that would guarantee no action in the bedroom till she reached the grave, locked herself in the bathrooom and dressed up, ignoring the whine whine whine seeping through the door.

When she emerged the brat was nowhere to be seen. The pappa had been whined into taking him down. Mamma followed. To see the brat preening like a peacock in hot mating season, showing off his togs to all and sundry down. Read raggle taggle bunch of kids of assorted size and dress of which exactly two others were dressed in similar style. Therefore they were given the dubious honour of starting off the dance. But the kids, they had different and more exciting plans as to how the evening was to progress. The dandiyas became weapons of assault, and they began playing cops and robbers through the crowd. Hiding behind chairs, taking pot shots at each other with their rifles, and yes, Pappa is going to be sternly warned about watching his Schwarzenegger movies when brat is fast asleep.

Finally, the long distance action didnt appeal, and the trio actually got down to fisticuffs, like men. With the brat deciding the dandiyas could do double duty as lathi. The top of his kathiawadi costume undone, hair dishevelled, this was the moment mamma realised, had it been the Hindi movies, where the hero is getting down to serious pummelling of the villian in the villians den, with said villian just waiting around to be bashed up with fake fighting sounds in the background. Bishoom, bishoom. At this point, he was physically hoisted and despatched back home to a punishment of watching television serials with the dadi by the Pappa. Which he did without a moue of protest. Perhaps, he realised he had gone too far. Perhaps he didnt dare argue with the Pappa.

Mamma reached home, holding her feet in her hands, and promising the Pappa that should she ever find her head beneath the headache, he could renounce the vow of celibacy she was foisting on him, to find all the contents of the many toy baskets on the floor and the bed.

"Brat," in very stern voice, "Please keep all your toys back in the basket."

Brat ignores the command royally. The headache takes on proportions that now require a lobotomy to be guaranteed relief.

"Brat!" Louder. With definite intonation. "Pick this up right now."

"You only pickitup." Rudeness, insolence and backanswering. The Pappa comes to the rescue before mamma pounces and shakes the insolence out of brat.

"Whatever toy you dont pick up and put in the basket in five minutes goes straight into the dustbin."

A worker bee couldnt have worked harder and faster to get things into the honeycomb.

Finally, the Kathiawadi ensemble removed, the mamma having conned the pappa to keep heavy weight legs on her own or failing which offering the pappa kitchen knife to saw hers off, and the brat all set to go to the land of Nod. The room dark and the mamma half snoring inelegantly.

"Mamma, I looking very handsome, no?"

"Yes, my love."

"V din say you looking very handsome. Thaswhy I fight wid him."

Mamma hugged brat and assured him he was the handsomest thing to hit the planet since Marlon Brando.

"Mamma I donwanna wear frock tumaru. Is not nice. I feel shy. Is for gurlz. I only take dandiya. Thas fer boyz."