Monday, January 30, 2012

Home Shifting

We have finally moved out of our old flat - which was a tiny two bedroom apartment - into a new flat - far, far more spacious.

Will post later about the actual housemoving process which was a lot of fun. But I am just so RELIEVED as of now with the new place.

Basically, we were a small family when we moved into our older flat 4 years ago - two of us working parents and one kid and a maid. Then the twins came along, Vijay's parents moved in, and net-net - suddenly there were EIGHT of us!

I once saw a sign on the door to the office of a famous psychiatrist ( I was interviewing her, NOT getting treatment, in case you're wondering - although there's no shame in therapy, ha ha) - which said ''Dr Anjali's Own Sacred Space''

I feel something similar about my own large room ( oh, there's a husband sharing it but that's a minor detail) - am thinking of putting up a sign that says

''Finally, Space for Mah Own Crap''.

Not the same, but similar.

*Breathes sigh of relief*

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

And Here Comes The Book - Just Married, Please Excuse!

Just a quick update, then.

After the loooongest wait, the most exciting thing ever for me ( oh yeah, the first pregnancy and then the twins aside, blah blah blah) is about to happen very shortly.

In April, my Book comes out.

Yes, sir. While I've been reasonably silent about it in the last few months because it was just SO far away, the time has come!

After much debating and voting on Facebook on the name, I had finally selected a couple of options - which the darling Chief Editor at Harper Collins vetoed, and I bow to her (significantly) higher wisdom in such matters.

Be prepared thus, to buy multiple copies of a rather amusing read ( so I've been told by some very few people who have read it so far) called: (Drum roll, please)

Just Married, Please Excuse!

By Yashodhara Lal Sharma.

You will be hearing a lot more about it shortly. In the meantime, your congratulations and good wishes are very much welcome in Comments. And this time, I promise to reply :-)

Go on and sing out if you're looking forward to a book-sized doze of me.

And to my esteemed blogger-turned-author friends, Parul and Kiran - I shall be leaning on you for plenty of advice!

To the rest of you - I will be leaning on you to buy several copies ( each, of course). If you've enjoyed the writing for the last few weeks, months, years on the blog - now's your chance to do me some good.

And oh, the lurkers ( and I KNOW there are lots of you, Statcounter tells me everyday) - your chance to say 'Hello and Good Luck' now. Go on, don't be shy.

Friday, January 20, 2012

More Bad Parenting

* The woollen patch:

For the longest time, my daughter's school had been asking for a 10*10 inch patch of wool, to make a blanket for the poor as a community service project. How noble, I thought and didn't do anything about it.

After a couple of months, we got a note saying that it was nearing the last date for the project and therefore, could we please kindly send the patch. Sure, sure, I thought and didn't do anything about it.

Two days before the last date, I panicked and told Vijay that we need to give them the patch of wool.

'Cut up some sweater?' he suggested. I scoffed - that was a ridiculous idea. If we were to do something for the poor, they would benefit from an old sweater in its original shape than as dismantled to form part of a blanket.

'I will knit it!' I said. I was due to take leave and thought this would be a cakewalk. I used to knit, back when I was a child. Okay, one time when I was about twelve, I knit a scarf for a Needlework class. With my mother's help.

'Hahahahaha' said Vijay.

I politely questioned his laughing at me and he proceeded to politely question my sanity. 'Do you know how long it takes to knit a 10*10 inch patch?'

'Ohh! A couple of hours, probably!' I said carelessly.

He looked like he was going to argue but then a look of strange calm settled on his features and he said demurely 'Sure honey. Go ahead'.

When we finally went shopping that evening, I found the knitting needles and wool- nice bright red wool- fairly quickly - from two different shops. The implements and raw material turned out somewhat incompatible with each other - and with my requirements. Basically, I bought really thin wool and thin needles which later on would cause me to want to tear my hair out, because it would end up taking so terribly long to complete even one row of stitches. For the time being, I just waved them cheerfully and triumphantly at Vijay.

Only later, when I had struggled enough with youtube videos trying to learn how to get started - (''How the hell do you tie a slip knot??'', playing the video over and over and frustrating Vijay enough to finally grab the wool from me and tie the knot himself ) did it occur to me that this would perhaps take longer than a couple of hours.

Over the next two days, I was bleary eyed - almost cross-eyed - with the effort of trying to create the 10 inch by 10 inch patch. The various problems were as follows -

* I was out of touch with knitting and had no rhythm whatsoever.
* The wool and knitting needles, as mentioned before, were just too thin. It was like working with needle and thread. Almost.
* Pickle and Papad kept unravelling it while Peanut kept asking when it was going to be ready - every 5 minutes.
* I misjudged everything while making the first row -and what I thought was a 10 inch row eventually turned out to be almost two feet long. Therefore, every subsequent row took as long. Longer, as I grew more bleary eyed and cranky.
* Let's be frank. I suck at knitting.

I was doing very intricate and beautiful work for about the first four rows. Then a feeling of despair set in as I realized this was taking way too long and I wouldn't be able to finish it, and all the other interruptions started to set in. The next four rows therefore were terribly patchy - I was distracted and started to drop stitches and then try and recover, leaving some gaping holes in the middle. Then, when I took a close look at the work so far, I felt really guilty about the patchy work and so the last four rows I did were also intricate and beautiful. All in all, I put in about six hours on the patch over two days, and that's all I could do - twelve rows.

I told myself - and Vijay and Peanut - that maybe it didn't really HAVE to be a square patch and a rectangular one would do just as well. I privately imagined that the teachers would be quite horrified but perhaps the community blanket could have my little pathetic patch sewn on in one corner - almost like a label or something on which they could say 'With love from Nursery E' or something sweet like that. I convinced myself that this would be fine and that it was really ALMOST square anyway. I closed the stitches. And sat back. In horror.

I had made a patch that was not just two feet wide, but also a mere 4 inches in height. I had thought once I remove the knitting needles I would be able to stretch the patch somehow to make it look square, but there is a slight difference between 10 inches by 10 inches and 24 inches by 4 inches. To top it all, it wasn't even consistently pretty. It had that four rows right in the middle which were sure to allow cold air in during harsh winters for the poor person who got to eventually use it. It was not good. It was just...weird.

I was depressed and guilty and Vijay swayed between mocking and sympathetic. But Peanut was quite happy about the whole thing - she cheerfully snatched the finished product from me and took it to school. I asked her anxiously later what her teacher had said and she said -

''She said it's ooookayyyy'.

From the tone I could gather - Peanut is a very good mimic - that her class teacher had been disgusted but recognized that since it was not Peanut's fault but her errant mother's, some amount of damage control was necessary and thus, she had basically used her most comforting and sympathetic tone while talking to my child. Fair enough.

My children can probably use all the comfort and sympathy they get.

In my defense, I must conclude by saying that all of this will probably teach them to be strong and self-reliant individuals in the future.


P.S - also, nothing much has changed since my childhood. I STILL HATE SCHOOL.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Bharatpur Day 2

I can't believe I haven't found time to complete the Bharatpur story. Therefore, quick attempt. This will be, unlike the previous post, just notes on the highlights.

Highlights, therefore:

1. We went cycling the next day in the Keola dev national park and my bottom hurt for a week or so after that. The landmark here is that this is the first post that mentions my bottom. It's a strange feeling. Moving along, quickly, the cycling was the BEST fun. This was in spite of the fact that there were no ladies cycles available and I had to ride a man's cycle which was too big for me and was in serious danger of hurting me and ensuring that I would not be able to bear a fourth child .... Hey...first post that mentions my...never mind. Vijay taught me how to ride properly, dismount (without hurting myself) and to pedal with maximum output and least effort. Useful two hours. And we saw some birds too.

2. Vijay was insistent that the rickshaw driver I had given a big tip to the day before would be lying somewhere drunk in a ditch - my heart leapt for joy when we spotted him at the end of our cycling trip - he had been anxiously looking out for us 'Un log ko aaj kaun andar le gaye'? He was mollified to note that we had taken ourselves in on bicycles; and I haughtily told Vijay he must have more faith in people since the man was talking to us and clearly NOT lying drunk in a ditch somewhere.

3. Vijay converted himself from a scoffer-of-my-mother's-many-cameras into a Canon-toting-shutterbug, who developed a fascination for photography and took some really lovely shots of some birds including me...i mean, and also me... which I have put up on Facebook in case any of you are interested.

4. I got to pat a stray black puppy and try out my newly cultivated American accent, just for a lark. Both activities drove Vijay crazy, as a dog-hater as well as a 'angrez-log' hater. Well, he doesn't hate either, he just doesn't like them much. I later subjected him to my American accent while we were driving back to Delhi and to his credit, he did not actually carry out his threat of throwing me out of the car.

5. We ate too much in the Bagh's wonderful restaurant and basked in the sun after every meal. The Moong-dal-ka-halwa was to die for. I died for it. And became a little fatter, I'm sure. Heavenly, heavenly meals. I told myself that the cycling had ensured that I could take the extra calories. It's okay to lie to yourself while on Holiday. In fact, it is a pre-requisite to enjoyment.

6. Vijay continued to fluster and annoy people, even the lovely staff at the restaurant - the nice waiter said 'how many cubes sugar, sir', only to be spontaneously told 'Mujhe to der cube ( or however you write the hindi word for one-and-a-half) chahiye'. The man hovered uncertainly until Vijay assured him that just one cube would do.

We had to rush back one day earlier because the kids were apparently inconsolable without me at night - and in short, ended up only staying for two days instead of three. We managed to squeeze in a place called Deeg, which was nice but not faaantastic, you know what I mean? Will try and write a bit more about that later. Dammit, it's been so long that I've lost my notes on the trip. Must not let so much time pass before posting again.

But overall- it was the best, best trip possible and our annual holiday was an unqualified success, even though it was very short.

Highly recommended, Bharatpur.