Thursday, March 27, 2008

A Future in Computers?

Yep, she's always going for my laptop, she is. I like to kid myself that it's me that she loves, but her eyes really light up when she catches sight of my laptop - and she goes wild trying to get to it so that she can bang on the keys and watch the result on the screen.

So far this has resulted in her discovering a few features that I never knew about - and considering I don't have a clue as to how to undo them ( apart from unleashing her on it again, which really isn't the smartest thing to do), I have been trying to distract her from this.

Vijay has gone and bought her a keyboard ( as in the large casio thingy) which is roughly four times her size. It definitely amuses her - for around 5 seconds - and then the clickety clack of my fingers deftly moving over my own keyboard cause her to shift her attention right back to my laptop, and she's over here in a flash - before you can say 'Peanut, wait, no, whoa...dammit!'

Ah yes - almost as a direct result of this obsession, Peanut has learned to crawl. I was really in no hurry for this development, and indeed we have to double our vigilance - and I have to get some serious babyproofing done. But yes, a fitting development this is, having taken place just a few days before her 8th month birthday.

Which is today. Happy 8th month, little computer genius! ( Man, I sound like the K now...whatever!)

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Peanut through K's eyes

Of course, of course, the K is deeply in love with Peanut. She is very (overly) attentive and caring - in short, she thinks the world of her. She also therefore thinks that Peanut is to Superbaby what Clark Kent is to Superman.

While I've been writing updates on Peanut recently, I haven't mentioned the stuff that the K believes she can do. Such as:

* Wipe her own head with her towel when told - 'Sar ponchho!'
* Brush her own head with her hairbrush when told - 'Kangi karo!'
* Play peekabo on demand when told 'Tooki khelo!'
* Look at her feet when asked 'Aapke pair kahaan hai?'
* Recognize her own name, turning around immediately when you call her by it.
* Flick her wrist when shown how to do so 'Aise aise karo'
* Do her strange little dancing motion when asked to 'Dancy karo', or shown how to do so by rocking back and forth.

Oftentimes, people who don't observe her all the time (unlike me), are quite impressed by the K's demonstration of any or all of the above. This is quite amusing to see. Especially when I know that:

* Peanut's general tendency nowadays when given any object in her hand is to put it on to her head, especially when it's a large sized object. So when any cloth, bib, towel, brush is handed to her, she does it automatically. And then the K says 'Tooki khelo/ Sar ponchho/Brush karo' as the case may be - and gets very happy at Peanut's obedient 'reaction'.

* The highly impressive 'feet' of looking down at her own feet when the K asks her 'Aapke pair kahaan hai' is a great one. This usually happens when Peanut is having a meal on her high chair. Sure enough, as a response to this question, she peers down past her high chair tray to get a glimpse of her own feet. What is not so obvious is that the K, who is right in front of her, feeding her, is patting her feet underneath the tray while asking her this question.

* The name thing, of course, I have oft demonstrated - is really about the tone in which people tend to speak to a baby. In that same tone, even if you say 'Seth Dhanraj Daulatwala', she will still turn right around to look at you, and I assure you that is not her name.

* And as for flicking her wrist, or doing her 'dancy', it's rather simple. Whenever the K observes that Peanut is starting to do either of these actions, she immediately pipes in with the instruction 'Aise haat hilaao' or 'Dancy karo'. Peanut simply continues to do this but the less observant witness is floored by her apparently immediate response to the K's words.

Now, I'm not saying that some of this stuff above isn't true - Peanut, like all babies, is surprising us everyday with some new development or demonstrated understanding of a situation - and she does seem to play peek-a-boo, and for all I know, maybe she does recognize her own name by now. It's just the exaggerated extent of her daily achievements by the K, which sometimes gets to me a little.

But, far be it from me to spoil the party - oh, all right, I have tried often to spoil the party but since I simply cannot quash the K's enthusiasm, I am just giving up. Let her go ahead and believe that Peanut is the smartest baby on the planet, and then some. As long as she is around to lovingly and reliably take care of Peanut's basic needs properly, I'm perfectly okay with her trying to get Peanut to solve the Rubik's Cube in record time - maybe next week.

Friday, March 21, 2008


Goodbye to Naturals...Marine Drive...Bandstand...Hawaiian Shack...Bagels with Vani...Play dates with Adi and Parul...the Sea...a Sea facing apartment with a view a lot of people would kill for...Comfortable and lucrative work...and Zareena, dear old Zareena...

Hello to Nirulas...Parks...Family...Old friends...New Beginnings...Living out of suitcases...Ambiguity...And a feeling that it's all going to be alright because for the first time ever, I'm following my heart.

And my heart has led me home.

Happy Holi, everyone.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

What's Peanut Upto These Days?

Well, it's all very fascinating. For me.

Anyway, here's a quick list of what she does nowadays:

- Sit up very well; lean forward and balance on her knees; attempt to crawl and fall flat on her face. Seriously, I'm in no hurry to have her learn to crawl. Especially after today, when she propelled herself backwards, almost right off the bed - I caught her in the nick of time.

- Move forward in a rather singular fashion - she fixes her eyes on the object she desires - and then lies flat on her tummy; rolls over on to her side; and then rolls back onto her front again; basically inching closer and closer to her destination through this rocking motion. How do kids figure this stuff out?

- Cling on to me like never before. She is apparently okay when I'm not around - but the second she hears my voice from another room, or catches a glimpse of me, she gets very agitated and wants to come to me immediately. This was extremely gratifying in the beginning but it's getting to be a pain - especially because I don't like her to be upset this often.

- Make a strange dancing motion while sitting - rocking back and forth to her own internal rhythm. She also flicks her fist back and forth again, appearing mesmerized by the movement of her own hand. It is all rather amusing to observe.

- Clumsily attempt to be a more active participant in the game of peek-a-boo- lifting her bib onto her own head and then bringing it down with a swooshing motion and a laugh.

- Smack everything that she can get her hands on, to see the sound that it produces - the table; the plate; her high chair tray; the bedsheet; my tummy and thighs. Everything.

- Attempt to speak and make the strangest sounds possible - long-drawn out grumbly sounds; high pitched squeaks; gargly sounds; blowing raspberries; I know she's going to be able to roll her R's as a result of some of the vocal exercises she's been doing. Unlike my mom, who's always teased for not being able to do so.

Yeah, she's a real hoot. The most fun person I've met in a while. I am really enjoying the process of getting to know her. And she seems to like me quite a bit, too, for some reason.

It's nice.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Peanut and Adi's Play Date

...was set up for last Friday. It had been a while since I had last caught up with Parul (well, actually, it had been a week or so - a nice, leisurely 2.5 hour lunch at Out of the Blue, where we both ate a lot, drank wine and even had our palms read, of all things!). Anyway, I thought it would be nice to let Peanut and Adi socialize a bit, since the last time they met, they really didn't seem very interested in each other.

So the K, Peanut and I got ready and went over to meet Padma, Adi and of course, Parul. Had a really fun day, and Parul and I talked about everything under the sun as usual. Peanut and Adi's naps were taking place at different times, but there was around half an hour when both of them were awake and ready to play. They stared at each other for a bit, Adi looking at Peanut for longer, but Peanut deciding to initiate the action by grabbing his foot - rather forward of her, if you ask me. But after this, they spent most of their time competing for the toys that Parul took out of Adi's toy box. When Parul tried to read a book to Peanut, telling her that the pig says something along the lines of 'Oink, Oink' Adi came crawling over like a shot, to 'feel' the pig in the touchy-feely book.

It was rather amusing when they both decided to ditch the toys and go for my camera instead - and kept grabbing it from each other resolutely. Parul put a stop to it before it got ugly. For obvious reasons, I couldn't get a picture of that.

Adi has grown even more handsome. He has had a haircut sometime back, and has the cutest dimples. Like Peanut, his cheeks are so large that I had to ask him which are bigger, his face cheeks or butt cheeks. He didn't look very amused at this. I tried to pick him up, but he wasn't having any of it and just wriggled out - that kid is strong! I am going to have to do some major body-building to keep up with Peanut as she grows bigger. And boy, can that kid crawl. It's very cute to see him make a beeline for everything that looks remotely interesting in any part of the room. Cute, but scary. I must babyproof before Peanut starts to crawl.

The most amazing part of the day for me was Peanut's reaction to my being affectionate with Adi. She was playing on the floor with the K, while I was sitting next to Parul and Adi. I reached out and touched his cheeks while Peanut was looking - and she freaked, starting to cry and getting very agitated. I moved my hand away in complete surprise, and she started to settle down. I reached out again and tousled his hair, and she reacted in the same way again, getting even more upset. After my third attempt to prove that this was really her first clear show of jealousy, Parul called me an Evil Woman, which of course I am not - so I went over to hug my baby and shower her with kisses. Jealousy. Negative emotion. Felt great, though.

The funny thing though is that I've read that babies have no real sense of 'self' at this age - and that's why when she looks in the mirror, she's supposedly thinking that it's another baby she's looking at - but when I'm holding her in front of the mirror and hugging her, she's never reacted this way - which makes me suspect maybe she knows the difference between a Mirror-Peanut and an Adi. But then again, there's an extra Mama in the mirror too, so maybe she's ok as long as she's got her own holding her. Who knows? Babies are a mystery.

Got to go now, I think my mystery's pooping.

Edited to add: I am uploading the Kala Tika as suggested by Parul because Peanut and Adi look so adorable together. I think she was actually kidding, but hey. Who am I to argue in the face of illogic? Plus, she goes to the gym and all and looks stronger than me, so here goes. Thanks, Dotmom!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Brilliant - just Brilliant.

I haven't been watching much TV, but I happened to switch it on and catch this gem today. And thought I'd just do a quick post on it because it's related to this by the Madmomma and my earlier post.
It's the new ad for Cadbury Bournvita. Little child, around 7 years old, all cute and curly haired. Is sleeping peacefully at night. His mother comes and drags him out of bed. He is bewildered and asks 'Ma, raat ko kyon?'. She explains as she leads him to his study table, that this is the way that he will be able to do well in his exams, 'aur phir log kahenge' this juncture, he chimes in to complete her sentence with 'Dekho, Ravi ki ma!'.
She is struck by this insightful comment - but is not ashamed in the least - in fact, she is proud at the brilliance of her little boy. She produces a hot cup of Bournvita which is to help him study through the night and get that competitive edge. They are both very happy. The ad ends with a reprise of the main theme, with the little boy squeaking 'Dekho -Ravi ki ma!'.

Sigh. For now, I'm giving up on this issue. Wake me up a few years later when Peanut is giving her exams. But don't even bother at that point, if you hear her saying anything along the lines of 'Ab log kahenge -dekho - Peanut ki ma!'

Friday, March 7, 2008

A Trashy Short Story

She took a deep breath and looked up at him. His face was set in an expression of complete concentration - he was unaware of her gaze, lost as he was in the moment. He had turned this into an art form, and his hands moved up and down over her with the practised ease of someone who knows what he is doing, and who knows he does it well.
She sighed and closed her eyes. She remembered the days, in the early years of her marriage, when her husband used to be able to make her feel this way. Back then, they experimented with everything, spurred on by the giddy newness of their relationship. Discovering everything about each other was so much fun in the beginning.
It didn't last.
Now, they rarely did this anymore. And so here she was, with a complete stranger, telling herself that it was worth it, to be here, in these alien surroundings, just to be able to feel this way again. To be able to feel like a woman again.
He had finished now, and leaned back to scrutinize her expression. Her satisfied smile told him all he needed to know. He had made another woman happy, if only for a few moments - he gave her a smile just bordering on a smirk - but she didn't begrudge him that. Anyone who could make her feel this way about herself, deserved a little leeway - even though she knew, somewhere in the back of her mind, that the high she was currently experiencing, would only last until she got home and got into the shower.
For now, it was time to get back to her family. She got up to get ready to leave, ensuring that she straightened out her clothes and brushed them off properly. As she got out and walked towards towards the exit, she found herself wondering if her husband would even notice anything different about her tonight. She stopped in front of the desk of a bored-looking man. He glanced up at her and she asked 'How much?'. He quoted, in an indifferent manner, a sum that was much higher than she had expected to pay, but she didn't flinch. She just paid and left.

And knew she'd be back for more.

Because it was the best haircut she'd ever had.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Conversation with the K

I'm watching Discovery channel while having my lunch. There is a fascinating feature on the dinosaurs, and how they were wiped out.

'Yeh kya hai?' I turn around to see the K is at the door, squinting with frank curiosity at the TV- obviously wondering what these strange creatures being shown on the screen are.

'Yeh...dinosaur kehte hai' I tell her, forming my next sentence carefully 'Yeh pehle hote the'.

'Achha, achha. Pehle hote the', she mutters, and I turn back to the TV. She asks 'Pehle kya hote the?'

'Yeh...aadmi se pehle hote the...' I say, trying hard to explain. 'Bahut pehle'

'Achha, bahut pehle' she says, seeming to understand. She adds 'Yeh aadmi log ko khaate the?'

'No', I can see this is not going well 'Uss samay aadmi nahin the, na...yeh pehle ki baat dikha rahen hai...' I struggle to find the word for millions and give up 'Hazaaron saal pehle ki baat hai'. I find this phrase inadequate and try to make up by flailing my arms emphatically and saying 'Hazaaron, hazaaron, hazaaron...'. I stop waving my arms after I nearly fall off the sofa.

It seems to have worked. We watch the rest of the feature in peace. I am quite happy to have imparted some wisdom in her direction. And then she springs her final question.

'Toh ab yeh aadmi ki madad karte hai?'

Ah, the K. Always a sucker for a happy ending. Unfortunately, it wasn't so for the dinos. Sigh.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

You don't HAVE to be first!

My mother has been a bit of an overachiever all her life. Somehow, she passed it on to me.

Initially, I was a fairly dumb and happy child. I didn't have a clue of what was going on around me. I didn't care. I always did my own thing, and was very creative, always leading my younger cousins and siblings in creating plays, songs, games, and all sorts of general childhood fun and nonsense.

It came as a surprise to me when my best pal, Richa, suggested to me way back in class 9 that I could actually study before an exam. It was a real revelation, which gives you an idea of how dumb I was - I always thought that everyone only went to class and then went to exams. It had not occured to me that people actually studied - memorized - crammed right before an exam.

This simple idea changed the course of my life. Before I did this, I was always an average 70%-er, and my mother always wanted me to do better. I am pretty sure she had also advised me to study, but coming from her, it was easy to write off as a strange adult quirk. Who could possibly study after school, when there was so much to be done - bicycles to be ridden - badminton to be played - practical jokes to be pulled on our poor old hapless maid Teeja - and many other daily adventures to be embarked upon?

Apparently, me. Because after my conversation with my best friend, I started to study. And read the subject material. Some of the stuff looked interesting. Other parts didn't. It didn't matter. I had a sharp memory. I remembered everything. What was tough to retain, I read over and over.

As a result of this, I moved straight up from an average nowhere to top of my class. And upset quite a few people who were always competing to be first. It was rather amusing to see how indignant they were, that the irresponsible class clown was suddenly topping. They assumed it was a mistake.

The mistake was repeated over and over until the time I left school. Suddenly, it had begun to matter how well I did academically. I wanted to top and always did. I wanted to beat the others who thought I wasn't capable of it,. I took special pleasure in making it look easy. Term after term, I came out at or near the very top. Suddenly, my earlier teachers who were always punishing me for some reason or the other, and generally making my life miserable, all claimed they always knew I had it in me. I think a couple of my most hated teachers took credit for reforming me.

It was quite a decent balancing act. I continued to clown around in class, and had loads of fun in school. I liked writing and was the editor of the school magazine. I was in the music group, playing guitar and singing, alongside Richa. I was on the basketball team. But before exam time, I did get serious. I crammed. The Board years were quite nightmarish. And tension filled. But I did pretty well. In fact, I left my school as the topper in the Commerce field. And was awarded for being the best all-rounder.

I moved on to what is considered the best commerce college in the country. And then to one of the finest management institutes in the country. But with the passage of time, it wasn't so easy to do the balancing act. Doing well academically became the obsession. In college, I still managed to play some basketball and music. But by the time I was doing my MBA, it all became about academics.

It became a rarer and rarer event to go to the basketball court. I hardly touched my guitar anymore. I didn't participate in any extra curricular activities. I didn't take particularly good care of my health - I would survive on potato chips and cheese. I was as skinny as a stick. It didn't matter much. I entered my institute amongst the top twenty; and when I left, I was ranked in the top ten. I had won a scholarship that paid the entire fees for two years. And I left to join a top-ranking FMCG company.

You may have noticed that the word 'Top' figures a lot of times in this post. It has figured a lot of times in my life. But it has come at a definite cost. My early twenties have passed in a blur of hard work, result-orientation, and competition.

I wouldn't like to make that mistake with the rest of my life.

The fact of the matter is that all this while, I never really thought about what it is that I would like to do. I just pretty much always did what I was expected to do. Or what the others were doing. I couldn't quite figure out what I would enjoy doing for a living. My dream was always short-sighted. It was to crack the next exam, the next interview. There wasn't ever a long term plan or perspective.

Today, I am very happy to have a career. And my academic background has played no small part in getting me to where I am. Everything about our lifestyle, every comfort - all of it is due to the fact that we both earn a good living. And that is very important. But it is not everything.

I have always wanted to do something creative; something meaningful. Something related to writing or music, even indirectly. It continues to be a dream. And with the passage of time, a fuzzier and less achievable dream. It is becoming more and more difficult to imagine ever breaking away from my current path.

The point is - I think I would just have been better off if I had taken myself more lightly a few years ago. I could have still done decently in school; but maybe I would have pursued my interests more; maybe I would have considered a few lower paying but more creative fields. In fact, maybe if I hadn't done that well, I would have been forced to try harder to figure myself, my areas of interest and my dreams out. It is, of course, possible that I would have been struggling too hard to make a living, and therefore, unable to pursue those dreams anyway - but I suspect that reality would have lain somewhere in between.

These last few months have helped put a lot of things in perspective for me. I am still very grateful for my education and everything that followed because of it. But I recognize that I overdid it, and with time, lost out some great hobbies, and more importantly - some great times - some great years that are never going to come back. And ultimately; I am no closer today to my dreams or goals than I was ten years ago - simply because I still don't quite know what they are.

However, I am very happy in this moment - and it's thanks to the perspective that becoming a mom has given me. Because I have finally come to realize that nothing gives me more joy than being with my family. It has taken me some time to understand that these relationships are what matter most in the end. That ultimately, it's about people. I've got back in touch with a lot of my old friends, too, those who I didn't bother to call because I was too busy studying or working. Some of them still don't call back because they are too busy at work now. It doesn't matter. They'll come around. (This very drop in a highly inflated ego is something that is a nice by-product of motherhood too - although it is work in progress and I am still quite a fathead sometimes)

I look forward to becoming a far more well-rounded person again. And to sincerely try and enjoy whatever I am doing- whether at work or at play.

And for Peanut, to ensure that she gets a good education, of course; but more importantly, to help her become a confident person. And if she has to choose between being a well-balanced, decent student who knows how to have fun OR someone who is brilliant at academics and focussed solely on topping and beating others her entire academic life; I just want to be able to encourage her to be the former - and sincerely mean it.

(I have written this post because of a lot of debate related to the topic that is going around at the moment. And also for my three very talented, bright young nephews - who are still far away from the end of their academic years!)

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

The ABC of Y: Untag

I have been tagged by so many people for so many things that I have forgotten who tagged me with this one - but I have decided to do it because it is simple and comprehensive and obviates the need for doing the other tags ( The Eight Questions, Twenty Questions, Thousand Questions, etc.). I hereby Untag myself from all other tags, because there's no way I will ever catch up! Sorry, Parul, Kiran, Dipali, Sango and whoever else tagged me in the last two months!

A -Available? Ummm....just try asking anyone who calls me on my cellphone. The answer would be no.

B-Best friend: A Beautiful Girl called Richa. We are so connected that we got the same tattoo years back - independently of each other. Freaky!

C-Cake or Pie? Definitely Chocolate Cake. And Apple Pie. Damn!

D-Drink of choice: A cold large Orange Juice. In my drinking days, it would be that bloody Mary .

E-Essential thing used everyday: I'm using it right now. I mean my laptop, of course.

F-Favourite colour: Buh-lue! I love the color of the sky on a bright day.

G-Gummi bears or worms: Never tried either. Don't really want to.

H-Hometown: Delhi ...butI lowe Bangalore more.

I-Indulgence:Any form of sweet. Chocolates. Moti Choor ke Laddoos. Kaju ki barfi. Cake. You get the picture.

January or February:Oh definitely February. The most beautiful month in the year.

K-Kids and names: One number, Peanut.

L-Life:Is better than ever.

M-Marriage date:February. Didn't I tell you it's a beautiful month?

N-Number of siblings: Two

O-Oranges or apples: Don't you know they can't be compared? An orange on a winter day, in the sun. An Apple, to snack on in the middle of a workday. Workday? What's that?

P-Phobias: None, really. But yes. If I never saw another lizard again, I wouldn't miss it.

Q-Quote: Educated Children Are Never Bored. My mom irritated the hell out of me by using this whenever I said this in my childhood. Can't wait to use it on Peanut. In fact, I think I'll go and tell her this right now.

R-Reason to smile: My Family. And Friends. Music. A good book. How boring. Oh, but educated children...

S-Season: I'm Only Happy When It Rains.

T-Tag three people:NO! Everyone has already done this tag!

U-Unknown fact about me:Hmmm. Lemme think. Oh, ok. I have claimed I don't know how to cook, but I actually can (but rarely do), because my husband taught me in the first year of our marriage. We had fun making dinner together after work - regular dal, sabzi, rotis. My rotis are still never round, but they swell up real nice - and my alu paranthas are truly awesome. Just ask Vijay.

V-Vegetable you do not like: Karela, bloody hell! Zareena made it for my mother in law recently, and we both nearly choked on it.

W-Worst habit: Blowing things out of proportion.

X-x-rays you have had: All sorts. This is a really dumb question. But to the creator's credit, what else begins with X? Wait, what about eX boyfriends? That would have been better, no?

Y-Your favorite food:Oh come on, 'Y' for 'Your favourite food'? Clearly, the creator got bored by this time! LOOK, I LIKE CAKE! NOW GO AWAY!

Z-Zodiac: Aquarius. Can you tell? Whatever!

Never before has a tag been done so gracelessly! But yayyy....untag! Go on, untag yourself, it's liberating!