Monday, October 29, 2007

One Hundred Posts of Non-Solitude

100 posts.


I started this blog at just about this time, last year. I was generally bored, frustrated and sick at the beginning of my pregnancy. I just wanted to get my mind of things, at that point. That's what this blog was for. It was completely unrelated to the most significant part of my life - the pregnancy and the baby that was to come.

But then of course, I realized that there were parts of the pregnancy that were pretty special and memorable too (and I needed to vent and complain somewhere!), and so I thought I would start another blog, which I have subsequently discontinued after Peanut was born. At that point, it was only for family and friends to read, but if you want to read a pregnant lady's rants any time, knock yourself out.

Anyway, this blog has really evolved since it started - and so have I. And I guess we're both still evolving. For example, it's pretty telling that before Peanut was born, I could actually maintain two separate blogs - one on the pregnancy and one about other things in life - but now, it's all very much, to quote Poppins 'About my Baby...Wait, aren't they the same?'.

I'm also told that the tone of the blog has changed a lot. Well, how much of your original irritable and sarcastic self can you retain when you're writing about tiny little Peanut? The frequency of my posts have increased since I'm on maternity leave and obviously the content of the posts revolves mostly around her right now. I'm fairly sure motherhood is bringing out a most caring, unselfish side of me - although my hackles still rise when I get all that frickin' unwanted advice from people around me.

Which brings me to another point. I've never really been a person to reach out to strangers. I have very few friends who are very close to me. I mentioned earlier that I usually come off as someone with too much attitude. But as I interact with more and more people while blogging, I feel that there are actual relationships that are being forged here - and somehow it seems to me that there are so many people out there who are so interesting, who may be going through or have gone through the same things that I am right now, and in general, are just so much fun to get to know through their writing - and the comments they leave behind here. So while I get annoyed with the unsolicited motherhood advice I get all the time from those around me in the offline world (I hate that phrase but it's useful), I absolutely lap up the experiences of other young blogging Moms - the most important difference I find being empathy.

The bloggy Moms are largely non-judgemental and have been through similar emotions and experiences in the recent past. This is important to me to know, because I'm literally the first in my circle of friends to have a child - and the older generation of our family seems to have completely utopian views on how to raise kids, and their cloudy memories suggest that they raised their own children in an atmosphere of blissful perfection 'My children never cried this way...' (Yeah, right).

Look, I may not be a great Mom, but I'm learning, hey? But I'm pretty much figuring the only way to deal with this is to plaster a fake smile on my face and move on, and to accept that the advice will keep coming - and most of it, if not all - is as well-meant as it is irritating. And the thing is - I can always come and bitch about it here.

What else, what else? The bitching part reminds me of the anonymity bit. Sure, this isn't an anonymous blog and I never really wanted it to be. I've been warned by a friend or two on a couple of occasions about revealing too much, and sure, there are freaks out there -but to be honest - I don't see how I'm revealing more here than most people reveal on Orkut or Facebook! Sure, there are times when I need to regulate what I write because a lot of people who know me read this blog, but for the most part, I share whatever I want to share and keep it mostly light-hearted. Unlike some others, I don't treat this blog as an online diary - it's just some thoughts that I put out there, a way to record some memories and increasingly, a way to interact with other people.

And that's another bit of evolution here - my writing was very one-sided when it started, largely because I knew I was only being read by a few of my friends and family. It's different now and I find myself starting to pose more and more questions to those who read this blog - and this stems out of a genuine sense of curiosity about what you think about a particular issue.

Another thing that is changing is that earlier I only wrote when I had something funny to say - but lately, I just write whatever I feel like writing about -such as this post- and it is really far more liberating. This is a good thing - especially considering that you lot who come here for the laughs don't really PAY me for it, hey? Also, I don't want or plan on having those Google Ads here, either. Am sure I will miss the 75 paise that I would have made thanks annually to my wide readership, but I'll somehow scrape through, I think.

Which brings me to my final point then. I know there are a few people who drop by occasionally, because of the comments they leave behind...I can think of Svety, Quirky Quill, Nandita, Stuti, Mona, Timepass, Still Searching, Unpredictable, Rayshma, Chandni, Sameera, Suki, Poppins, Aqua, Argee, Rohini, Moppet’s Mom, Parul, Dipali, Sue, Nm, Squiggle’s Mom, Cee Kay...a lovely, sporting, supportive bunch in general.

And then there are my family and friends, including Vani, Abhi, Richa, Shilpa, Garima, Nimisha, Ganju, Shome, Mahogany, Vijay, Mash, Gitanjali and her pals Gaurav and Saurabh, Ma, Mini...

But while I'm really just a small-time blogger, I do sometimes wonder...who are the rest of you? And why do you mostly read me on Mondays and Wednesdays? (Dumbass question with an obvious answer!) Incidentally, Monday also sees a disproportionately high number of page reloads - that bored in office, eh? Wink, wink. I know how you feel!

I don't have dem fancy-shmancy trackback thingies installed on my low-tech little blog. Anyway, if you've come back here on more than a couple of occasions, this may be a good time for you to de-lurk. After all, you do want to wish me a happy 100th post, don't you?

It would be nice to get to know you - but even if you choose to remain silent for some reason, well, that's okay too.

In any case, you should know that I really do appreciate you all dropping by. We must do this again sometime.

Maybe at the 200th post, hey? Let's do lunch.

The Solo Vacation Tag

Mahogany tagged me with this beautiful tag decades ago and I have finally gotten around to doing it. The tag simply asks you to write about which is the one place in the world that you would like to go for a solo vacation.

Now, the reason I've had some trouble with this 'solo vacation' thing is that I am one of those who hasn't even ever gone to watch a movie alone. It's not like I can't - in fact, at times, I think it might be better to go for a movie alone. And I do like my alone time when I'm reading a book or jogging or whatever - but there are just some things I feel are better done with someone to share it with.

Perhaps this is only a phase in my life. Maybe sometime in the future, I will grab a backpack and say 'Ok, bye' and take off for a solo vacation somewhere. It's just that right now, with a three-month-old at home, there are currently enough adventures and discoveries that take place everyday and I just don't want to 'get away from it all' as some of my non-mother friends seem to think necessary.

Anyway, meandering back to the point. Where would I go if I had to take a solo vacation?

Well, I've always wanted to go to Corfu, ever since I've read Gerald Durrell's most famous series - My Family and Other Animals & Birds, Beasts and Relatives & The Garden of the Gods. I haven't been to that many places in Europe but the next time I go there, I'm going to make sure I do go to Greece and I hope to see the warm, colourful, beautiful island where Durrell spent his happy childhood years. I know I may be setting myself up for a fall because I remember reading that Durrell was most upset in later life about the fact that the popularity of his books turned Corfu into a tourist destination - and the commercialisation left it a changed place, resulting in its losing its original charm.

But it's funny - of late, I've been thinking a lot about how much there is unexplored - by me, and many people I know -within our own country. My mother was posted in Shillong year before last, and a lot of people, family and friends went to visit her and had a fabulous time with her - but Vijay and I were 'too busy with work' to take a few days off and do this. Pretty stupid, huh. The North-East is just one part of the country I haven't been to - whenever I've gone travelling for work to different parts of the country, it's often ended up being a dumb day trip and I've rarely seen anything apart from the inside of the hotels or the conference rooms. The time off I've had in the last few months has really made me think about how silly this has been.

This was driven home for me last month when I was watching a tourism advertisement on a travel channel and I was like 'Wow! What a beautiful place! I need to go there!' - and felt pretty idiotic when it turned out to be India. ( Hey, they didn't do the regular Elephants and People in Turbans thing - just showed a lot of landscape, sea, forests and all! Not my fault!)

But finally, the thing that has really been bothering me most of late - I've realized that it's been around 15 years since I saw a sky full of stars. I've always lived in cities - Delhi, Bangalore and Bombay - and you just can't see the stars from here, anymore. It was only as a kid, when we visited our family friends in the hilly little town of Dharampur, that I remember looking up and seeing what appeared to be millions of stars. I remember just staring up in complete awe for the longest time. It was a truly beautiful sight.

I then proceeded to forget about it for so many years - but it came and hit me like a ton of bricks recently that I just don't get to see the stars anymore! So this tag should have been relatively simple for me - I just want to get to any place where I can see the stars. And I mean, LOTS of them.

I have taken to jogging at night over the last few weeks in Delhi, and every night I look up and mournfully count the five stars that are visible over the city. And I realize that this is the one thing I want to make sure I do as soon as possible. Get an eyeful of millions of stars, at least one more time. And wherever I happen to be when I finally see this is where I will want to be most when I see it. That, my friends, is a ridiculous sentence, but I suspect you know what I mean.

In the meantime, I try and make do with the fact that the evening sky looked sorta pretty the other day as I looked out my window. Here's a picture.

And here's what Mahogany wrote when he started the tag. He blogged about his trip in the two subsequent posts.

Shome - since you're blogging again, I tag you to write about your Tabo trip and post some of those fabulous pictures.
Ganju - keep having those exciting weekends in the U.S. and telling us about them. Just sort of bung them in between your usual descriptions of your laundry, toilet paper and vending machines (Sheesh).

Anyone else who wants to do this tag, please feel free to take it up and tell us all about it. Don't worry, you can make it as meandering and introspective as I have. Tell us what you're thinking. And how do you feel about living in the city that you live in ?And I'm especially interested to know when and where was the last time you saw a sky full of stars.

Last, but not least, I'm curious -have you ever gone on a solo vacation? Heck, have you ever gone to watch a movie alone? Gone out to eat in a restaurant alone? What are the advantages you've found?

A lot of questions, but an inquiring mind wants to know. Do tell.

What's a Wombat, She Asks?

Here you go, Parul...

It is one of my prime regrets in life that I went to Australia and returned without having spotted a Wombat.

And Sue...I really want to hear that poem you mentioned...

'Wombat Stew! Wombat Stew!
Crunchy Munchiee! For my Lunchee!
Wombat Stew!
Wee Hoo!'

Is just so cute. The versions I've seen online suggest that the book by Marcia Vaughn has the rhyme as

'Wombat Stew! Wombat Stew!
Gooey, Chewy,
Yummy, Brewy,
Wombat Stew!'

I like the Crunchy Munchie one better.

And thus ends the most arbit post I've ever written.

Heck, Y On Earth Not!?

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Words That Are Fun To Say - 1

There are some words that are nice for no reason other than the way they roll off your tongue. And for no particular reason, I have decided to compile a list of these. The first few are:

1. Repartee
2. Wombat
3. Machete (Courtesy: Ganju*)
4. And my current personal favourite: Boutros Boutros-Ghali

Try them! And do you have any favourite words?

Note: Peanut likes to say 'Huhhhh...huhhhh....huhhhhhhhhhhh'. Very versatile as this can be said in a wondering tone one minute, and with biting sarcasm the next.

*Ganju, has the word courtesy ever been used with your name before? Ha, ha. Just kidding, ole buddy.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

In The Still Of The Night

Somebody kindly gave Peanut a doll some time back. Now, I'm all for dolls for little girls and with my usual creativity decided to place this one, called Candy, on a blue lamp above Peanut's bassinet so that she could see her whenever she woke up. This is the view of Candy that Peanut gets.

It works very well - except that since blue lamp is also directly above my own bed, and the doll indeed fascinates Peanut, she keeps performing gymnastic feats and craning her neck while I'm feeding her, in order to maintain eye contact with Candy, instead of with me.

At night, I take Peanut out of her bassinet to let her sleep next to me. I find that this really reduces the hassles of getting out of bed to feed her during the night. And just when it was really working for us, with her sleeping 4-5 hour stretches after her last night feed, she has started waking up every hour on the hour to feed - no doubt due to her proximity with me.

And last night, when I lay there bleary eyed, I realised that the damn 8 glasses of water during the day were taking a toll on my bladder. Fighting my instinct to stay in bed in my half-asleep state and gazing enviously at Peanut, who I imagined to be mockingly peeing in her diaper at that very moment, I finally decided that I would get up to go to the bathroom. And that's when the most frightening sight caught my eye, causing my heart to jump to my throat and nearly obviating my need to go to the bathroom. For that moment, I was convinced that this was finally the big IT - the very end.

Yes - I had forgotten about Candy dangling over the blue lamp. In the dimly lit room, her pale, long-legged body dangled seemingly suspended in mid-air, bent over in a ghastly manner, with her glinting golden hair cascading menacingly from under her blue hat - overall, a wholly macabre sight, not recommended for the faint-hearted.

And faint-hearted I am, but I managed somehow to stifle a scream - the thought of waking Peanut from a peaceful slumber proved about as scary as being confronted by this ghostly figure. Reasonably quick on the uptake at times, I realized that this was only the lovable and harmless (by day) Candy. I laughed, slightly nervously, at my jittery reaction.

But imagine being unprepared for this sight - imagine seeing this suddenly in the still of a shadowy night. Come on, it is scary and you know it.

In any case, it got me thinking - I've really seen too many scary movies. Till a while back, I had this thing for watching scary movies - and I would really, really get scared to the extent that I would have trouble sleeping.

Why do we like being creeped out? I avoid scary movies nowadays (case in point - Himmesh's Aap ka Suroor - the Moviee - but then, that's a different brand of scary) but I haven't avoided them enough in my past.

It started with that movie, the Poltergeist. Where the heck were my parents when I was watching that as a kid? It's such a gross movie and not at all suitable for a seven year old.

Then there was Omen. I think I saw only one of the parts and I thought it was really badly made but still scary. And I'm fairly sure I saw only parts of Psycho, but those parts were enough since they consisted of the Shower scene and the Ending. And that horrible, horrible Child's Play series.

I didn't even watch the Evil Dead, but my loving cousin Mini told me the whole story and that creeped me out enough.

There was this movie called The Witches, which was also really eerie in parts. Come on, I was under ten when I first saw it. It was coming again on TV the other day and I deftly changed the channel.

More recently, I have been scared by the Ring - what a dumbass story, but the effects, oh the effects! Brrrr...

And I thought the Sixth Sense was quite brilliant but there really were a few heart-thumping moments in there. Of course, Shyamalan's quality of film-making has drastically dropped with every subsequent film. Unbreakable was passable, Signs was barely watchable and The Village was unforgivable. And yet, each of these managed to give me at least a few shivers. I didn't watch his latest, was it 'Lady in the Water'? The name was enough to scare me. Did any of you see it? Well?

I also thought 'The Others' was really frightening, and about on par with the Sixth Sense. But before this turns into a scary movie review post, let me meander back to the point - which is, WHY have I done this to myself? Having an overactive imagination is fine when you are using it to dream up unspeakable wrongs done to you by your harassed, mildly protesting husband - but it is not so fine in the dark night when poor, innocent Candy becomes a horrific ghost-figure out to kill me dead.

Well, I'm a mother now, after all. I can't let these silly things bother me anymore. After all, I need to convince myself there are no monsters under the bed before Peanut starts asking me about them.

But one thing is for sure. I'm going to keep a sharp eye on what my baby watches as she grows up. In fact, I really do look forward to watching those things with her. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Hello Dolly, My Fair Lady, Mary Poppins, Oliver...what wonderful, happy, musical movies. Exactly how life should be - and exactly how it's not, but never mind that. What are your favourite children's movies?

In the meantime, it is now getting dark again - so excuse me while I go and put Candy in a more...uh, comfortable place.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Vocabulary Expansion

Less than 3 months old, and yet, a vocabulary of over 3 whole words

First word: Aye (as in Aye, aye, captain)

Second word: Hi (as in Hi, Mom!)

Third word, with two syllables, said for the first time today and the real reason for this post: Aga*

Babies today are clearly geniuses! Especially mine! No sir, no 'ah-goo' for her! Ah-goo is such a standard meaningless overused term. She went straight for a word with meaning.

(Oh, shut up, all of you... let a girl have her fun, hey?)

*Note: Pronunciation - Aa-gaaaaaaaaaa, with pitch progressively increasing, oft culminating in a strange hacking cough from the effort.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Observations and Conclusions

Observations set 1: The Power of Schmooze Award

- Squiggles Mom has awarded me with the 'Power of Schmooze award' - which means I ''converse casually, especially in order to gain an advantage or make a social connection''. Huh? I do? Thank you! I think...
- Squiggles Mom also used these phrases while tagging me with this award 'This will come as a shock but you actually have an award' and 'I want to see how gracefully you accept this (cheeky grin)'- Since I have no idea who to pass on this particular award to because I really don't know how to judge this, I will selfishly clutch it to my chest...wait, I do know! Dipali! She's a definite schmoozer, in the 'social connection' spirit - not the 'gain an advantage' one.Yes!! (Wipes brow in relief at having thought of her)

Conclusions set 1:

- There are too many awards flying around. If a tiny, nondescript blogger such as me can be awarded two of them in a week, you know there are too many awards flying around.
- Squiggles Mom appears to hate me, I know not why. She also appears to be right about my lack of grace in accepting this award.Oh well.Thanks anyway, SM (cheeky grin)

Observations set 2:

- I don't write for a few days and all my friends and family can tell me is 'Why aren't you posting new pictures of Peanut?'. No one has asked me why I am not dazzling them with my brilliant prose anymore. No one has expressed any concern about my wellbeing, or asked if they can help hold the baby for a while, so that I can type on my laptop. All they can say is 'Where are the pictures, dammit?'

Conclusions set 2:

- You all hate me, I know not why.
- I have a definite persecution complex
- And ok, you win. New post coming up soon.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Conversation with Vani

More news of the vonderful Vani - because I'm too lazy to type out anything new today.

vani: i must tell you.... I bought these lovely (tees.. or so i thot!!) from the BKK weekend market.. with pretty flower prints on them..
have worn one to office today.
you there?
me: am there
waiting to hear what the tees really were?
vani: and am now discovering that it is actually a vest!!
so here I am in office today ... in a flowery baniyan!
me: ha hahahhahahahaha
i need to use this for my blog, hey?
vani: what would you do without me!!
me: indeed
vani: and now you would want a picture of me tapping away in office in my baniyan right!!?
sorry... you're not getting it!
me:'re spoiling it...what's a post like this without a matching picture?
chalo never mind. we take what we can get.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Take my advice...

...and never give anyone any advice.

Advice, after Himmesh, is doubtlessly the worst thing on this planet. Have you noticed that the word 'vice' resides in the word advice? And you, my innocent friends, thought it was just a coincidence.


As a new mother, I get to hear loads of advice. Look, some of it is pretty useful - when it is asked for. It is the unsolicited advice that is the truly vile stuff.

But in the spirit of trying to take it all lightly, I recount some of the true gems that I have received:

a. When I told my mother that Peanut has been consistently cranky during her bath these days, and almost always bursts into tears, especially when we wet her hair to try and shampoo it - her immediate and serious advice was:

'Why don't you use Johnson's 'No More Tears' shampoo?'

Right, Momma. Thanks. That will solve it, for sure. Considering that the problem is that she cries because of her hair being wet even before any shampoo touches it. Talk about taking branding seriously.

b. When I remarked later to Vijay that the water temperature for Peanut's bath seems to make a big difference as to how happy or unhappy she is about bathing, he said:

'Yes, yes, I've noticed that. You need to make the water temperature as close to the temperature of her pee as possible...haven't you seen how happy she is when she pees all over herself?'

Wow. Another pearl of pissdom from my darling husband. He should write a book on child-raising. Just so that I have the pleasure of burning it and then stomping out the flames.

c. One of the maids at our grandparent's house, Asha, lectured me when we went visiting
' You should give the baby your own milk. Do you give the baby your own milk? Your own milk is best for the baby. There's nothing like your own milk...' ad nauseum.

I assured her, somewhat tartly, that I knew that and I was indeed breastfeeding Peanut. This, I thought, was a bit much. Now simply everybody is bunging silly advice in my general direction.

This was also the day that we had taken along bottles of pumped milk so that Vijay could have the pleasure of feeding Peanut. He was doing so with great enjoyment when I caught sight of Asha, watching this from the doorway, with a horrified expression on her face. This self-appointed advocate of breastfeeding clearly thought I had been lying to her all along.

I was rather irritated but couldn't be bothered to explain the concept of breast pumps and expressed milk to her - and anyway, she disappeared soon after, when she saw me looking at her - but not without a last lingering, reproachful stare at me.

I wanted to run after her and smack her silly, but restrained myself with my usual patience.

d. I've already mentioned Vani's wonderful advice during pregnancy 3D ultrasounds 'Tell them to look at the baby from all angles...'. When she came over to see Peanut recently, she kept telling me 'I'm sure it must be so boring for her to be mostly inside the house...seeing the same things over and over again...'.

Now I'm not denying that there may be some truth in this statement, and it's always nice to take Peanut outside, onto the roof or generally visiting. But considering she is fascinated by her farts and spellbound by her own toes nowadays, and gapes at the blue lamp behind my head in awe as I burp her, I hardly think she is getting too bored -yet.

And anyway, you know you're in trouble when you start getting any advice from Vani.

e. Oh wait. It gets worse. Because even worse than getting advice from Vani is getting advice from Abhimanyu. Firstly, he is always scoffing at my pictures of Peanut, advising me to buy a Canon instead of our lowly Kodak.This would be okay, but then he brings his brother's Canon over and then takes terrible pictures of her, triumphantly showing them to me while I lie 'Hmm. Very nice.'

And even he doesn't limit his advice to the pictures. He tells me I don't know how to cut her nails. 'You should always trim them round for the fingernails, and straight for the toenails.' I asked him how the hell he would know something like that, but he refused to divulge where he had picked up this singularly girly piece of information.

f. Finally, our beloved maid, the K, is full of advice and information about the baby. Firstly, there are the usual half-hourly reports on the baby's activities, spanning 'has raha hai...' to 'sho raha hai' to 'khel raha hai' to 'potty kar raha hai'...looping all the way round to 'potty karte hue has raha hai'.

And now, she has taken it a step further. Having brought up my baby sister, she is still totally obsessed with her although the latter is now 24 and going to work. So now, everytime the baby cries, I have to struggle to comfort her, while hearing the most annoyingly mournful information 'Masi nahin hai na, isliye ro raha hai...' , repeated over and over until I send her away on some random errand merely to make it stop.

Thus, the K has masterfully combined her obsession with my sister and my baby - driving me nuts in the process.

Let me assure you, all this is the mere tip of the adviceberg. But nowadays, I just try and remind myself that all this advice is coming out of concern for the baby's wellbeing. So it's all good and to be handled with grace and maturity.

After all, when my husband helpfully says, with great authority and conviction, as Peanut cries particularly loudly, crankily and miserably ...'I think something is bothering her'...

...I am forced to wonder: Where would I be without penetrating insights like that?

Thank goodness for my family and friends.


Don't you just hate it when you go on over to read someone's blog to find they haven't posted anything new?

Isn't it just bloody? I think it's just bloody.

And you find yourself thinking, well, they could have had the courtesy to post SOMEthing - ANYthing - even if they didn't have much to say or much time to say what they had to say.

Or then again, you may end up wishing they wouldn't post anything at all, if what they were going to post was such unmitigated rubbish.

(Sigh. Just feeling lazy. Going to take a nap and may post later. Better luck to you, elsewhere...)

Monday, October 1, 2007

Abhi's unique gift

My pal Abhimanyu called a couple of days back and said 'Oye! How's Sundari? I'm coming over to see her' - Correctly interpreting this to mean that he was keen to visit my baby, I told him to come on over in the afternoon.

That morning I had decided to try out, again, the baby gym that Vijay had bought for Peanut. She tends to be fascinated by the flashing lights and the music for a few minutes before breaking into panicked wails - and it was the same that day as well. Grumbling to myself about Vijay's excesses, I rescued her, but left her gym set up on the bed.

Later, Abhimanyu burst into the house and into our room, with his usual 'Oye!'. He then gave Peanut a silly, adoring grin, remarking how she's getting prettier every time he sees her.

I noticed he was carrying a huge, artistically wrapped package under his arm - and at about the same time, he caught sight of the baby gym on the bed. The grin dropped off his face immediately, replaced by a look of disbelief and despair - 'You're kidding me, right?'

I started laughing ' You didn't! You bought her a baby gym, too? The same one?'

He continued to stare in a depressed manner at the gym on the bed and said in an uncharacteristically small voice 'Noo....I think that one is bigger and better...'

I felt sorry for him because he looked so disappointed -but also a bit irritated 'You mean you haven't been reading my blog for weeks? I wrote about Vijay buying that for her and that she's scared by it.'

He quickly changed the subject, asking accusingly 'When did he buy that?'

'A month back'

He said 'But I bought mine a month back... (implying that it was thus impossible that Vijay could have simultaneously done the same) ...I just kept forgetting to bring it over'

I told him, never mind and thanked him for the very generious gift, and assured him that it would probably be very useful - after all, one can never have too many baby gyms, I said.

Slightly cheered by this blatant lie, Abhi then insisted on setting up the gym on my bed. Now, considering that our room is so cluttered by toys and other baby stuff for Peanut that I worry about one day not being able to find her in it, I tried to dissuade him from this, saying we would most likely use it in Bombay instead - but he would not listen. Promising me that he would put it back in the box, he picked up the instruction manual and set it at all up. He then spent some time chatting with me -while gazing at his gift in satisfaction,and alternating this with the occasional malevolent stare at Vijay's purchase.

When it was time for Abhi to leave, I gently pointed out that with the two large baby gyms, and the baby's rocker, there was now no room left for me on the bed and reminded him of his promise to carefully repack the gym. He then unceremoniously stuffed it back into the box, with one giraffe's neck sticking out and half the pieces falling onto the floor. I ushered him out somewhat gladly - and he promised to be back again soon.

Anyway, upon closer examination, it turned out the baby gym that Abhi has bought is a longer lasting one because it's for three stages ( lying on the back, tummy play and sitting up) - and though it lacks the flashing lights and sounds of the other one, considering that Peanut seems overwhelmed by them, this may be a good thing. So all in all, very useful indeed.

And even if it weren't, this was a very thoughtful gesture from one of my oldest and best friends, my sarcastic and offbeat designer pal, the most unlikely to ever be so fascinated by a baby - my Peter Pan, the boy who never seems to grow up - the one who still resents the thought that he is now to be called 'Uncle' by anybody, even if it is Peanut.

There's only one thing I can say to you at this point, Abhi.

'Thank you, Unkil'

And, oh - read my blog more often.