Thursday, May 26, 2011

So we're off to Pune today.

Just mamma and the brat. In a bus called Neeta Volvo. Which is airconditioned at the specific request of the brat, who is thinking of this as one big great adventure on par with his trip into pahad land by train last year. He has already packed his backpack with enough action figures and Beyblades to keep himself occupied for a journey to Char Dham and back. Not, of course, that we plan on doing the Char Dham, but you get my gist. Mamma is a little stressed out. The only travelling she has done alone with the brat so far has been by air, and that too, short domestic flights, the longest of those being to Delhi, so keeping him occupied and peaceful has been for two and a half to three hours at the max.
At this point I must bow from the waist to those mothers with small children who make transcontinental flights. Respect.
I've packed his backpack with Oreos, Bourbon biscuits, juice tetrapaks, Lays. And his beloved chutney sandwiches. I'm keeping a novel I'm midway through in my handbag. Maybe I'm being ambitious.
We go to Pune for a few days of R&R and unwinding. This summer, the brat has not had a vacation, so this is the closest he's getting to one. Wish us luck for the journey. Mamma must be getting soft in the head if she's stressing out about going on a four hour bus ride.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The karate kid is here...

Since a better part of the summer vacations and ergo, the summer camps are over, the brat has been suffering from karate camp withdrawal symptoms.

This is what he gets upto for a better part of the day...

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A New Tag-What Mommyhood Has Taught Me

It's been a while since us Mommybloggers came up with something to celebrate, well, mommyhood, so the lovely Monika and I came up with this. A tag that has us list out five lessons of life that Mommyhood has taught us, these could be sweet, bitter, funny, touching, whatever. These could be survival tips or cooking tips, or something as simple as the best thing to get puke smell out of hair.
So, the rules are simple. Put the badge up. Write out five lessons that Mommyhood taught you. And tag five mommybloggers. Without further ado, here are mine five.
1] The human body can survive on months of a maximum of maybe two hours of sleep at a stretch per night. Yes. The brat was a terrible sleeper, and didnt begin sleeping through the night until he was maybe two and a half. Every couple of hours, he would bawl like a two hourly alarm and needed a bottle of formula mixed and shoved into his mouth to get him to settle again, until of course, he decided to poop and needed cleaning up and such joy. Or later, when night toilet training begin and I had to haul him off to the loo every couple of hours to prevent er, accidents. The human body can survive without sleep. I'm not even beginning to talk about how good I got at falling off to sleep in public transport.
2] I have more strength than I thought I did. I can take almost anything that happens now and be unfazed by it all. Only call me if you see blood is my standard dialogue now to the brat. "Dhairya" is what the exact word would be if I could get the essence translated into English. After seeing the brat through five febrile convulsions, one in which his eyes rolled back and his skin and nails turned blue, through years of such bad constipation that hospitalisation was required, of an autism spectrum diagnosis, I know now that I have infinite more reserves of strength than I had ever imagined I could have had. Not to mention the physical strength required to pick up a rolling on the floor, tantrumming 25 kg brat and deposit him in quarantined time out zone.
3] There are more than 24 hours in a day: A mother is elastic, she can manage to fit in everything, school, classes, homework, her own work if she works out of the house, running a house, managing staff, everything, with finesse and without a sense of entitlement to gratitude.
4] Not to be judgemental. I've come across moms who are so quick to judge, quick to dispense advice, quick to assume that their way of parenting is the best way and we would be so honoured if they decided to impart some gyaan to us. I've had moms put me down as a lazy parent because my son went for tuitions from the pre primary. I've been judged because my son didn't go for multiple classes, of being not an involved mom. I had other priorities. Similarly other mother's might have other reasons for doing what they do, or bringing up their children the way they do.  To each their own.

5] Compassion. Mommyhood has taught me compassion. To understand another's troubles, to feel for another mommy going through a tough time, knowing what it feels like to have a young child waiting at home, what it means to have a sick child, who is feverish all night, what it means to be worried for your child's grades, what is means to be tired and have absolutely no me time because you are so caught up every second of the day, even down to the five minutes you have a bath when your child is young. Compassion for other moms. Compassion for my own mom, who has raised me against all odds.

And most of all, and I go into a sixth point, Mommyhood has taught me how to live with my heart walking around outside my body. Mommyhood has taught me that I can totally stop thinking about myself and only think about my child and his well being in an emergency situation, making me walk barefooted through chest deep floods infested with dead carcasses of buffalos from the inundated tabelas, post the Mumbai deluge only worried about getting home to be with my baby. Mommyhood has taught me that my life is no longer just my own. Now I need to live for another.

And I tag

Monday, May 16, 2011

Never thought I'd see the day

The brat was invited to a budday pahty on Sunday. The birthday party for Parul's delightful duo, Adi boy and Ragu baby (who incidentally, decided her birthday party was the best time to take an extended nap, and surely put her very very patient dad's shoulder out!). Ergo, we landed up at the venue, spit polished and powdered.
The brat (I should honestly find a new moniker for him, he is no longer brattish, but embarassingly well behaved most times) sauntered in much excitement happening upon spotting the beeg cricket ground, where an actual, true to life cricket match was in progress. Wid umpires. And real stumps. And read white cricket uniforms. His jaw clunked open and stayed in that position for quite a while.
He couldn't bear to tear himself away from the window watching the live match, and had to be physically hauled back to the party, and what a party it was--tattoo artist, sketch man, name keychain man, throw ring stall, pop corn, candyfloss, puppet show, magic show, DJ, games host and the most scrumptious sesame toast floating around calling Mamma's name in capital letters, among the other deep fried temptations which made Mamma throw all dietary restrictions to another day. And this is how the brat sat.

He lolled around like the proverbial Gussie Fink Nottle, limp as an asparagus, refusing to up and shake his booty even when the kind DJ played all his favourite Justin Bieber numbers, even when mamma offered to be his dancing partner. Or maybe the threat of that was what kept him glued to his seat.
Damp like the proverbial wet blanket, he only sparked up when it was time to ingest his solids and at the end of the party when the balloons were officially thrown open to be burst with a toothpick. When the redurngeef was handed over was the moment of most animation in the course of the entire afternoon.
Alas, the brat is now a jaded, cynical, birthday party veteran. And this at barely seven. Which might be a good thing, mamma thinks, it might get her out of throwing a birthday party next birthday.

Remember the Bournvita Quiz Contest?

Thanks to his dear Chanda Bua being on Kaun Banega Crorepati, the brat developed some sort of a passing interest in quizzing. Much to my delight, me being an inveterate quizzer in my college days, with trophies and medals and certificates to my credit, and my general knowledge (back then, of course, now I have the mind of a seive, everything falls out), the stuff that legends are made of. Ah, a chip off the old block, I thought. I brought out the encyclopedias and the atlases and the visual dictionaries and attempted to get the tyke interested some more.
Unfortunately for me, his interest lasted only till the next cartoon serial on the cartoon channels and Amitabh Bachchan as a host was too senior to engage his interest beyond the mandatory first few questions. Consequently, the brat still has a GK quotient of the levels that has me quail with embarassment when he decides to air his knowledge in a public situation.Of course, if you put him to a rapid fire round on the Batman movies, or any superhero movie, he would win hands down no dispute, given that he's watched each around one million times. This despite my best efforts to get him to up his GK quotient. All the quotient he wants to up are Beyblade Metal Fusion and Justin Bieber. I believe he knows Justin Bieber's fake phone number by heart. Anyway.
I remember, back when I was a mere chile, and this was just a bit after the dinosaurs roamed the earth in search of new hominids to devour, there was a show called Bournvita Quiz Contest which had school children being quizzed on various topics by a quiz master called Derek O Brien. Yes, the same Derek O Brien who today has plighted his troth with Mamta Di and TMC and is currently painting Kolkata green, metaphorically speaking of course. To me then, the ultimate in coolth was to be one of the kids up there, on television, taking the rapidfire questions. Unfortunately somehow our school never made it. Me being the retiring wallflower violet kind of person, I didn't dare get into quizzing until I entered college, had ditched the soda bottle glasses and gained a micro smidgeon of self esteem. Ergo, when I received a mail asking me to support the bringing of the Bournvita Quiz Contest, I was all for it. So here below is the mail asking for public support to bring the BQC back. I for one, would love to have it back, purely for the brat to watch and start loving quizzing the way I did.

What about you? Would you want the BQC to come back?

Here's a mail I got from Rahul, who is spearheading the movement to bring BQC back.
Let's Bring BQC back!

Childhood friends and a nostalgic conversation over tea brought all kinds of latent memories to the surface and interesting conversations to the table. Right from old flames and tree-houses that we built, to TV shows watched together amidst shrieks of excitement. In fact, the one that usually got us the most excited was the Bournvita Quiz Contest, a TV show with a purpose. I still remember the healthy competition it brought out between us: we pretty much had our own BQC session at home. Now that I think about it, that session was what encouraged us to pay attention and learn so that we would know the answer the next time. I wonder why they stopped the show. It was such a sure-shot way to get children to develop their mind without it seeming like too much work. I really would enjoy it if the BQC returned – better for us and better for the next generation.

At a time when television programming has hit an all-time low, the world seems to think they've hit jackpot – the profusion of shows that clutter today's TV are taken to mean variety and superior programming. What people fail to realise is that the actual content of these shows is mediocre at best and quite terrible if you tell the actual truth. They seek only to entertain, not impart any kind of knowledge. I think, like always, we should look at history to replicate success and engineer learning at the same time. An immediate example that comes to mind is the Bournvita Quiz Contest, a show that amply demonstrates programming that is beneficial to all viewers. The BQC had a simple format: student participants were asked quiz questions by a dynamic host. But it served its purpose so beautifully because it served to entertain and educate at the same time: edutainment! A celebrity was thrown in on every show for excitement, while the question-answer session brought in the teaching element. If you ask me, that's the kind of programming that kids need today: interactive learning on a mass scale. Any idea how to revive the BQC?

Derek O'Brien has joined our movement now its time you do your bit in taking this movement ahead and bringing back intelligent viewing on television. 

Derek O'Brien's letter to Cadbury!

The fans have taken this movement to another level! This started off about 3 months ago and the response has been amazing, with almost 148,000 people wanting BQC Back. It started off as something simple - an experiment of sorts. They are also sending out banners to people who want them - so far 70 people have written in asking for them. If you want your banner or if you have any suggestions on how we can spread this movement together you can email them on

I definitely want BQC back - Come join in the movement!
It was started about 3 months ago & on our Facebook page we're targeting everyone who watched the show, likes to quiz & is smart! The goal is to Bring BQC back.

Let's start the golden days of BQC again! 

Thank you for your interest!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

The brat watched Stanley Ka Dabba

When I told the brat we had been invited to watch a movie, he was all agog with excitement thinking it was a superhero movie that had been so kind as to request his presence. His enthusiasm was a little deflated when I named the movie for him, but since it was a preview and something that none of his friends had been invited to, he was definitely a trifle chuffed to be on the guest list.
Ergo, one day before the preview I caught him strutting around in the lobby, intimidating the younger ones about how he was invited for a special preview, ergo he had rights to bat until he damn well got bored of batting. Don't ask. The logic didn't fall into place, and he was swiftly verbally clouted (have to add verbally before ye hordes of brat defenders come out and bash me to senseless pulp in the comment space) and asked to hand over the bat when his turn was up.
Yesterday, we spit polished ourselves, put on our new tshurd and digital watch with the time set wrong and sauntered off to watch Stanley Ka Dabba.

The recliner seats were an immediate success at the preview theatre and he liked this movie before it even began. And then the chirpy Adi boy came in along with his mom, the lovely Parul and accomplice in crime happened. The brat, though, frankly, needs a new nomenclature. He is no longer bratty. Quite heartbreaking, the boy has grown and actually, shudder, is behaving in public.
The movie, as the title suggests, is about a boy called Stanley and his dabba. Or rather, the dabba he doesn't bring with him to school everyday. As a hyper-mom, I noted with concern, the bruises on Stanley's face, the dirty school uniform, the torn pocket, the frayed bag, the fact that he had no water bottle and, blasphemy, no dabba. The boy's friends all adore him, because he is a real delight, and are keen to share their dabba with him, but for Khaddoos, played by the director Amole Gupte (the man who conceptualised Taare Zameen Par before he had that big fallout with Aamir Khan), who prowls around looking to scavenge off everyone's dabbas, teachers and children alike. Finally, the children decide to avoid Khaddoos and hide from him, getting him into a rage and ordering Stanley not to attend school until he gets a dabba because in his misplaced rage, he assumes Stanley is the reason he can't eat one of the kids' (Aman Mehra's) dabba. No, no, this is not a story about a dabba or a school, this is a much larger story, one that delivers a message to you in a simple, heartbreaking yet simultaneously heartwarming way. Any more on the storyline and this would be a spoiler so I leave the synopsis here. Now for the performances, Partho Gupte as Stanley, Amol Gupte as Khaddoos, Divya Dutta as Rosy Miss and Divya Jagdale as Mrs Iyer, the science teacher were outstanding. Raj Zutshi as Raj Zutshi came in as an interesting cameo but did nothing to either add to the story or drive it forward. The nitpicker in me wondered why fourth grade kids would be learning A anaar ka a in Hindi when this was something the brat has done in grade one.
But apart from that and a couple of other little nigglings, the film was impeccable. Go watch it. Now. Take your children for it, children above five I would say, who would understand and get sensitised to the message the film is trying to convey. And as for the brat, he came away a little worried. Asking questions. And needed a lot of reassurance before he finally went off to sleep in the night. I'm hoping he does realise after this movie that he really does lead a privileged life, and understands that he needs to be grateful for it, and learn to be more giving.

And honestly, because I've been asked this question, I think I need to address it here. There are similarities in terms of treatment with Taare Zameen Par, but Stanley Ka Dabba is a film in its own right. But I cried in Taare Zameen Par. I didn't cry during Stanley Ka Dabba. That could have been because I identified with Ishaan Awasthi and his mom, struggling as I and the brat were with Learning Issues at that point. But you go ahead, draw your own parallels and conclusions.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

So is this the next fast bowler phenomenon in the making?

What with the ICC World Cup and the IPL, the brat has just about started watching cricket and figuring out the game. He also recently got his first official wooden bat and ball (the latter of which he promptly lost in the very first couple of hours after mamma had handed over hard cash for its possession).
He spends a better part of the evening, pre-Beyblade and darkness playing cricket in the compound and has friendly matches with the next door neighbour in the corridor between our flats.
Mamma had never, ever, taken the trouble to actually watch him playing, assuming naturally, that the child having just begun and with his spatial perception issues, would be still getting a grip on things. So imagine her absolute open mouthed surprise when she saw him bowling like this:
His run up, his arm action, his little jump in air before hurling the ball, and his bang on hitting the three lines drawn on the wall stumps all had mamma staring in a curious mix of shock and pride.
So now, he has three career options open to him, Doctor- thanks to the handwriting which qualifies him for the career without any debate, Bollywood chorus back up dancer and fast bowler, as is evident above. Of course, if all else fails, thanks to Karate class, and his innate, err, aggressiveness, he might just set up dukaan as a 'Hire-A-Goon.'

Monday, May 09, 2011

The history of the Manrals...

Since I have an, to put it politely, complicated ancestry, I decided to dig out the ancestry of the brat's paternal side last year given that one had heard tales of them being among the noble clans of Kumaon.

I meant to post this up for the brat to look at whenever, in the future if ever, he decided he wanted to know who he was, and what his ancestors were, given that I have no documentation to pass on to him for any information he would want from his maternal side of the gene pool. As for me, err, I discovered I have more in common with Kate Middleton than I realised.

This is the source of reference:

And these are the paras: 
It has been shown that excluding the Doms and the Bhotiyas, there are two main classes of Hindu population in the Himalayan Districts : (1) the early settlers and conquerors represented by the Khasas, (2) the late settlers from plains who are a very small minority.
9. It is obvious that the Manrals with whom we have to deal are neither the aborigines nor the early settlers and conquerors represented by the Khasiyas, but the late settlers from the plains. At page 8 he observed:
Nearly all the high caste Brahmans and Rajputs claim to have migrated to these parts, at the earliest, a thousand years back, with the exception of Suraj Bansi Thakurs who have a tradition that they came from Oudh 2000 years back,
and at page 10 he says:
Rajputs who claim descent from the immigrants from the plains are in Kumaun, (1) the Suraj Bansi Katyuris represented by the Rajbars of Askot and Jaspur, the Manrals and others, (2) the Raotelas.
10. From his book it appears that Manrals are those Suraj Bansi Thakurs who came from Oudh two thousand years back. At page 28 he says:
The earliest ruling dynasty known to authentic history is of the Katyuris. The Katyuri Raja of Kumaun and Garhwal was styled 'Sri Basdeo Giriraj Chakra Churamani' and 'the earliest traditions record that the possessions of the Joshimath Katyuris extended from the Satlaj as far as the Gandaki and from the snow to the plains, including the whole of Rohilkhand.
11. A description of the Manrals is to be found in Mr. Walton's District Gazetteer of Almora and at page 94 the following passage occurs:
By far the most illustrious in descent and the most respected at the present day are the Bajwars and Manrals or Manurals. Both families are descended from the Surajbansi Katyuri rajas who once ruled in the north of Kumaon. The Rajwars now live in Jaspur of Bichla Chaukot and Askot to the extreme east of the district, where they hold an impartible raj. The Manrals represent the branch which on the deposition of Birdeo, the last Katyuri King, and the annexation of his kingdom by the Chands, settled in Pali. Their name is connected with the Manila peak in Palla Naya above Bhikia Sen, and the village of Sain Manur on the same ridge in Walla Salt, The families are said to hold sanads granted by various members of the Chand dynasty, and by the Gurkha governors of later days.

The husband's village? The Sain Manur as mentioned above.  Their native goddess? Manila Devi. Isn't history fascinating?

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Happy Mother's Day to you too!

So it was Mother's Day yesterday. I had zero expectations from the brat, based on the fact that I was the one he turned to whenever shopping for anything is required, specifically with my wallet to be one for dosh to be handed over to pay for whatever was to be bought.
The previous night, I took myself off to sleep after the brat took himself off to his room from where he shooed me out unceremoniously, doing some wizardry that he obviously didnt want me to catch a glimpse. He was probably writing out and drawing out another of his long and elaborate Ben 10 stories I assumed and drifted off into deep REM sleep. I vaguely recalled the brat coming into our bedroom and keeping something by my bedside, whispering something in my ear, before wandering off to daadi's bedroom where he sleeps these days.
I woke in the morning to see a double page foolscap sheet on my bedside table, on top of the unequal piles of the 'to read' books shouting for my attention.
'Dear Mom,' it began.
Written in red. In the big indeterminate script that has his special educationist telling me to take him for Occupational Therapy and me resisting firmly, because, by God, that child has been through three years of therapy and it is quite enough for him. As long as his handwriting is legible, I refuse to take him to therapy clinics-even visiting them is heartbreaking given the various cases one encounters there, god bless those poor children and their strong strong parents.
"I want to say sorry to you for all my mistakes. It is my mistake. I have spoken bad words to you. I have been a naughty boy. Please forgive me. I will get you a watch for your birthday.
Your loving son,
Krish Manral."
My jaw thudded to the floor. Morning dogbreath slayed all the viruses in the room. I picked myself up and tried to remember what it was that he had got a dressing down for the previous day. The best I could remember was me telling him in most disappointed manner that the use of the word 'Saala' conversationally was not what I expected from him. What made me even more delighted was that he had written out this missive on his own. Punctuation and spelling perfect. I did a cartwheel. I smothered him with kisses while he slept.
It was perhaps my best mother's day gift ever. That he, who needs to be dragged by wild horses to his desk and to paper and pen, wrote this out by himself.

We spent the day at nana's house. Nana asked him what he had got for his mother for mother's day (Mamma had picked up a perfume for Nana and Daadi) when he insisted on handing over gift to her for said day. Nada, he said, or in his colloquial speak, thenga. Nana fished out a couple of crisp notes and handed them over to him instructing him to buy something for his mother on his way back home. He tucked them carefully into his pocket and promised me the sky, of which specified were perfume, chocolates and a watch. We trotted off home in the evening, with him asking me what it was I wanted.
We got out of the gate and turned onto the main road. We walked past a sportswear store which had hanging outside Tshirts of the various IPL teams, the child practically salivated, he stared goggle eyed, his feet rooted to the spot and he could not be persuaded to be dragged away.
"I wanta Royaaal Challengers Tshird."
Mamma deflected this with the standard statement she has these days for such sudden demand situations. "I'm not carrying enough cash."
"Den use d card."
This generation of children with their concept that an unlimited credit card can pay for all their whims and fancies.
"This shop doesn't accept cards, let's go."
His eyes twinkled, he fished out the crisp notes Nana had handed to him. "I god money. See. Nana gaveittome."
"Err, brat, wasn't that to buy something for me, for Mother's Day."
"Id was to buy sumping to make you happy. And if I will be happy, you will be happy, correct."
He got his Royal Challengers Tshirt. An illustrious career in law or politics awaits him.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

The camps are done with...

The brat is now swimming a dog paddle, without a float, and in the deep and consequently walking with chest stuck out rooster style. Ergo, he called back on a promise mamma had made when he needed to be dragged to the pool with a lasso round his neck and physically pushed into the pool, with mamma steeling her heart to the shrieks of terror that rent the air once splash contact had been made. "Anything you want," mamma had promised, "If you learn how to swim once the camp is over."
Anything, Mamma thought, would at the max be a Beyblade. And a Beyblade she could deal with. But no, the brat had other things in mind. Namely, a Beyblade stadium. For those of you, similarly suffering mothers with kids in complete thrall of the Beyblade mania, you would recognise what this contraption is. A Beyblade stadium is basically a glorified deep plate like thingie in a violently radioactive shade of orange in which these pintsized Beybladers can play their universe decimating Beyblade battles. Its a huge contraption. Given that the home is already littered with boxes on boxes of the boy's 'stuff' I quailed at the thought of this huge thing entering the home. And then thought maybe I could use it as a bird pond once he tires of it, and decided to get myself to a store and pick it up. Remember, thin plastic. Horrible orange colour. The kind of stuff those disposable plates one has at kiddy birthday parties. Rs 749. I fainted right there at the cash counter in most unseemly fashion. I picked up the glorified plastic paraath and looked at it closely to check if precious metals had been used in any manner in its manufacture. Nada. The plastic was of such quality I wondered if it would last the journey home without cracking. Nonetheless, the joy of anticipation in the child's eyes made me hand over my debit card with nary a moue and sign for said item. The boy danced in joy, he informed every passing stranger that he had got a 'Beyblet' stadium and now he was going to be the king of Beyblet matches.
He landed home and got on the intercom immediately and within five minutes the home was swarming with pintsizes of various denominations all come to play in the new stadium. For yesterday, the brat was the King of the Pintsizes. I must try this kind of incentivising for the next skill I need him to master. Maybe a Beyblade arena if he finally gathers up the nerve to cycle without the side wheels? Yes?