In The Thick Of Kali Pujo, In Calcutta

A long-cherished dream of mine came true last year – one of visiting Calcutta. This trip was very special because we accidentally landed in the city in the midst of one of its biggest festivals, Kali Pujo.

Do visit my photo blog here to read my thoughts on being in Calcutta in the thick of Kali Pujo. Thanks!

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The 2016 Year-End Meme

It is the end of the year, and I am in introspection mode. Hence, this post.

  1. What did you do in 2016 that you’d never done before? 
  • I took up a short meditation class with The Art Of Living group. I haven’t been following anything they told me to follow, post the class, but it sure gave me an insight into yoga and meditation. I hope to go deeper into this in 2017!
  • I delved deeper into the world of food blogging. I began to understand different types of ingredients and cooking processes better, started experimenting a lot more. I started attending various food-related events, and started getting to know the food bloggers’ community in Bangalore a bit better.
  • We celebrated the kid’s second birthday.
  • I experimented with a part-time job, quit after a short stint, and became a full-time stay-at-home mother.
  • We visited Calcutta, a place I had always dreamt of visiting! We got to be a part of the Kali Pooja celebrations there, something that I will always cherish.
  • We visited the Sai Baba temple at Shirdi, another place that I had always wanted to visit.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next?

The only two ‘sort of’ resolutions I had as 2016 began were: To lose weight and begin to lead a healthier lifestyle, and to figure out what I wanted to do with my time post baby.

I would say I haven’t succeeded at all, with respect to the first resolution. Today, I am even more heavy than I was at the start of 2016. 😦

With respect to the second resolution, I have been moderately successful. I still haven’t figured out exactly what I should do, but I can say I am on the way. 2016 saw me experimenting with a few different things, trying to understand myself better as a person. May 2017 make me see light in this regard!

Now, for 2017, I have the same two resolutions plus three new ones.

1. I want to seriously lose weight and move on to a healthier lifestyle (which is at odds with the food blogging that I do, to be honest).

2. I also want to delve deeper into myself and find out something that would keep me satisfied and productively occupied, without having to compromise on my time with Bubboo.

3. Moreover, I want to devote time, money, energy and attention to fulfilling those little dreams of mine, like travelling to a place on my bucket list or buying something that has always been on my mind.

4. I want to work on bringing Bubboo up really, really well – do what it takes for that. Not that I am not doing that already, but that is a large life area I’d like to dedicate more focus on in 2017.

5. Finish all those pending tasks that I desperately need to get around to doing. They have been pending for ever. Create a passport for Bubboo, for example, and get Aadhaar cards for us done, things of that sort. Hopefully, the house and our lives should run more smoothly once we get around to doing this.

3. What date from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

I would say there are a whole lot of moments from 2016 that will stay in my memory forever. Little moments doing silly things with Bubboo, for instance, or attending my first event as a food blogger.

4. What was your biggest achievement of the year? 

I began to accept myself the way I am, began getting comfortable with myself, began understanding myself a whole lot better.

5. What was your biggest failure? 

I failed at keeping stress at bay. I failed at keeping mommy guilt at bay. I failed at keeping my weight under control. I We failed at maintaining a spic-and-span house.

6. Did you suffer illness? 

Yes, I did, off and on. Let’s just say 2016 wasn’t my best year, as far as health was concerned. In fact, I have been appalled at just how vulnerable my health is, in 2016.

7. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed? 

To be honest, my family’s. We were at loggerheads through most of the year. This is one thing I hope will improve in 2017.

8. Where did most of your money go? 

Baby stuff, the running of the house

9. What did you get really, really, really excited about? 

Nothing really, really, really excites me these days – there is always something or the other on my mind, things/events have been happening at the last minute, and I have been unable to really soak in the feeling that I am about to do something exciting.

That said, I was happy about attending the food-related events I attended, celebrating the bub’s second birthday, and visiting Calcutta.

10. What song will always remind you of 2016?

This song. I loved the wealth of meaning in it. And, yes, I heard this song only in 2016!

11. Compared to this time last year, are you happier or sadder? 

I think I am at the same level.

12. What do you wish you’d done more of? 

Been more mindful of the voice of my heart, maintained a better home, maintained my weight, and paid more attention to my health in general.

13. What do you wish you’d done less of? 

Eat junk food.

12. Did you fall in love in 2016? 

Yes. I began to love myself more in 2016, I would say.

13. What/Who was your greatest musical discovery? 

To be honest, we haven’t been listening to much music at all. There has hardly been any music playing at home for the last 2 years, which does make me really sad. I can’t say I made any new musical discovery in 2016, except for the Mohabbat Hai Yeh, Jee Huzoori Nahin song I mentioned earlier.

14. What did you want and get? 

Time at home, with the bub.

15. What did you want and not get?

Peace of mind

16. What was your favourite film of this year? 

I didn’t watch many movies in 2016, but I caught up with some good ones that I had missed while living under a rock after childbirth. 🙂 Of these, I loved PK, Ki & Ka, and Piku.

17. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? 

I turned 34 this year. I had a mostly blah birthday – I got my periods the same day, I remember, and the hubby was working. The OH and I fought over some silly thing. We then went out for an Italian dinner, and the bub behaved – that was the only bright spot of the day. Oh, and my mom made me some awesome gajar ka halwa, just like the old days, and that totally, totally cheered me up!

18. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? 

Losing weight, for sure.

19. What kept you sane?

Blogging and cooking.

20. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013. 

I’ll tell you more than one!

  • If you love something about yourself, your life or the people around you, acknowledge it. Be grateful.
  • Keep doing the things that nurture you.
  • It is okay to put yourself first, if you aren’t harming anyone else in the process, that is.
  • Believe in yourself before you try to get others to believe in you.
  • Acceptance is important, but make sure you aren’t complacent. If there’s something about your situation that you would like to change, work on it.

21. Which new places did you visit in 2016? 

Shirdi. Calcutta. I saw Madras with new eyes, too.

22. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

Dil dhoondhta hai phir wahi fursat ke raat din

That’s it for now, folks!

How has 2016 been for you? Do take up this meme and reflect on the year gone by!

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This is not the first time I have taken up this end-of-year introspective meme. Check out my previous versions of the very same survey.

In 2012

In 2013

On Bubboo’s Turning Two, And More

I still can’t believe that Bubboo is two – that it has been TWO YEARS since this little bundle of joy was placed into our waiting arms – but it is true. We celebrated her second birthday last month, like I was saying here. In fact, it has already been a month since her second birthday. Does time fly or what?!

This year, we celebrated Bubboo’s birthday on three different days, just as we did the last time around.

The weekend prior to Bubboo’s birthday, the in laws came over, and I surprised them with a full-blown sadya kind of meal – tomato rasam, rice, fried appalams, palak keerai kootu, radish sambar, cabbage curry, kotthukadalai sundal, and curd rice. Amma made rava kesari, to complete the meal. Much time was spent generally chatting and eating and drinking tea and bonding. Bubboo enjoyed prancing around in between everyone, basking in the attention. I surprised myself with all that cooking for about 10 people, and was mostly tired but satisfied. 🙂

The day of her actual birthday, the OH worked from home and we just had a fun time playing around at home. We dressed up and went to a nearby temple in the evening, and that was that. I made her wear a pink-and-white lacy, frilly dress, satisfying the urge in me to dress up my baby in a very girlie-girl way.

The weekend after the birthday, we invited some very close family over and treated them to lunch ordered from a nearby, favourite restaurant. Bubboo wore jeans dungarees with a red tee, much to the surprise of the guests. 🙂 We are like that only!

We cut cake that evening, one with her favourite farm animals, in the company of few relatives and her close friends from our apartment. Bubboo was comfortable, considering that there wasn’t much of a crowd around her, just people she knows anyways. For the cake cutting, we steered clear of pink and frilly dresses, and made her wear a smart pastel green and blue print dress with a belt. I had gotten her a hand-made hairband and clips to go with it and, thankfully, she co-operated by wearing the pretty hairband!

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Bubboo’s second birthday cake

I thought of this cake, considering the bub’s increasing interest in looking at pictures of animals in books and in watching those around our house. We ordered the cake from the same home baker who did the cake for Bubboo’s first birthday and for the OH’s birthday earlier this year, and she did a wonderful job with it. She made cute, cute, cute replicas of all the animals that I told her Bubboo recognised. We chose the chocolate and orange combination once again, and it was a great hit.

For return gifts, there were these pretty pink decorated cupcakes, again by the same home baker. Vanilla-flavoured this time.

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Decorated cupcakes, the return gifts

After Bubboo, the way I see birthday cakes has changed drastically. I am not content any more with birthday cakes bought from a store at the last minute, having to choose from the selection available. The way I see cakes these days – like Angel from Baking Cakes In Kigali – they are a canvas on which you can paint any picture, depending upon your mood. They can convey what you want them to convey. Special occasions are special, and I would like the cakes commemorating them to be special, too.

I am happy to report that Bubboo received mixed gifts for her birthday – it wasn’t all just pink and white. She got things like books, a gun and remote-controlled car (Yes, much to her father’s glee!), kitchen sets, magentic alphabets and numbers, her first Barbie doll, plastic fruits that she can cut (pretty amazing!), and a cloth teddy bear. While the car and the gun have been secreted away by the OH for future play (not with Bubboo! 😉 ), Bubboo is enjoying playing with the rest of the things.

I hope Bubboo remembers these homely birthday parties, and learns to love them for the preciousness that they are.  I hope she learns that it is okay to be a stereotypical girl if she is happy with it, but then, it is also okay to break stereotypes when she wants to. I hope she learns to celebrate special days the way circumstances allow them to be celebrated, but celebrates them for sure. I hope she cherishes these friendships she has formed in the early, early days of her life. I hope she has a whole lot of lovely birthday memories to carry her in life, and to pass on to her kids, one day.

If We Were Having Coffee…

… I’d tell you of how Bubboo’s second birthday celebrations went off smoothly. She seemed to like the cake I had ordered (one with her favourite animals on it!). She also seemed to enjoy herself, given that there wasn’t much of a crowd around – we had invited only very close family. I can’t believe she has entered the third year of her life!

… I’d tell you of how tensed I am feeling about the fact that we still haven’t decided on a school for Bubboo. Everywhere around us, people have gotten admissions or are fighting tooth and nail for them, or their 1.8-year-olds are already going to school. I know we are doing the right thing by waiting it out, researching schools, and trying to get Bubboo into one where she will fit in, but still I can’t help worrying – that’s how I am. We are still not even decided on whether we’ll be going in for Montessori schooling or traditional. It feels like such a big decision – it’s the first few years of her life when her brain is rapidly developing, and I am freaking out at having to get it perfect, for her sake. Wish us luck and clarity, please, will you?

… I’d tell you of how much I’m enjoying experimenting in the kitchen these days. I mean, I always used to enjoy that but, lately, I am getting more and more creative in my experiments. I am using new techniques, new ingredients, daring to deviate from the way things are usually done in the kitchen. I love just how much I am learning in the process.

… I’d tell you of how I am facing a sort of reading slump these days – nothing, absolutely nothing, is making for interesting reading. The latest I picked up were two well-accepted books – The Matchmaker Of Perigord and A Man Called Ove – but could get into neither. I think the lack of interest could also be because of the fact that I have got a too-full plate as of now, my fingers into too many pies. Way too much is happening, at a very rapid pace, and most of it is leaving me stressed out and tired. I will wait for this phase to end, and hope to pick up a beautiful, beautiful book that will simply blow my mind away.

… I’d tell you of how much I loved attending some foodie events recently – the sampling at Route 42, the Diabetic Dessert Trail, and the Diabetes Masterclass. Each one of these events has been enlightening – in the sense that it has opened me up to a whole lot of possibilities, as far as food blogging is concerned. I have learnt a lot about the food blogging ecosystem in Bangalore, at least, and can’t wait to learn more.

… I’d tell you of how some big-time changes have happened at the OH’s workplace, and we aren’t sure of how things are going to turn out in the times to come. We surely have our fingers crossed. Things haven’t been very smooth for him, at work, lately, and we are wishing the recent shifts will change things for the better.

… I’d tell you of how I am feeling far, far, far away from the corporate professional I used to be, once upon a time. I don’t think I can ever get into that kind of role ever again, except if it is a really, really special firm. It is sort of sad to think about how, maybe, I might never work again, but something deep inside me has changed, and I can’t deny that. I hope I will find a middle path.

… I’d tell you of just how tough it is to try to be a food blogger and try to keep your health in check, too. The two seem to be mutually exclusive to me, at least as of now!

… I’d tell you of how we’ve been going almost cashless for a while now, thanks to the demonetization. Good move or bad, I don’t know, but the demonetization has surely taught me that anything can happen at any time, and that you have got to accept it. It won’t be long before we have got to go stand in a queue at a bank – we have escaped doing that so far, somehow.

… I’d tell you of how my heart goes out to a neighbour’s 16-year-old daughter, who recently met with an accident. The girl is a a sportswoman who has always dreamt of making it big. She has never been academically inclined, and studies on a sportsperson’s quota. She was returning home, walking, after her early-morning practice recently when a drunk car driver jumped the red signal, hit her and ran. Thanks to CCTV footage, the idiot driver (I don’t have any good words for him!) has been arrested, but the girl is now lost. She has had a near-death experience, a life-threatening surgery, a rod in her foot, and a big, big, big blow to her career as a sportsperson. Why on earth do people drink and drive? Fun for you maybe, but see how much it can impact the life of the people you might hit on the way! No fun for them. 😦

… I’d ask you of how you and your loved ones have been doing, too!

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For Weekend Coffee Share, an interesting meme here. Do check it out!

 

 

 

 

Man Proposes…

… and God disposes, they say. And then, God goes on to propose another plan, I say.

A while ago, I was so irritated at the OH having to leave on a sudden work trip to Calcutta, alone. It was a trip that happened at the very last minute, and the bub and I couldn’t join him then. I had every reason to be miffed. We hadn’t gone on a proper trip in ages – the OH, Bubboo and I. The OH and I haven’t been getting alone time at all, which is not going down very well with me. And, well, this was Calcutta he was going to – my dream destination, the place I have always wanted to explore. And his trip was smack dab in the middle of Navratri, the best time to be in Calcutta, when all the Durga Pujo pandals would be set up and in action.

I ranted and raved, but nothing changed the situation. To add insult to injury, the OH was so strapped with work while he was in Calcutta that he didn’t have time to pick up the kind of souvenirs that I would liked from there. All he could manage to get was a box of sweets from an airport kiosk, and they only served to whet my appetite for Calcutta all the more.

Then, God decided to intervene. We started planning for a vacation during Diwali, when the husband was off work for four days. We decided to head to Calcutta, taking a couple more days of leave. It seemed to be a good decision, what with Calcutta being a major city and not too remote a destination, where we would have feared to take the bub. Also, the city had a whole lot of things that I wanted to buy, plus there was the lovely foodie scene there for me to explore. Then, the OH’s workplace asked him if he could be in Calcutta one more day and work at a client’s place there. He said yes. So, we ended up in Calcutta over Diwali, on a work-cum-pleasure trip. We happened to land there smack dab in the midst of Kali Pooja, with all of the city lit up and cheering.

We hadn’t known Kali Pooja was such a big thing in Calcutta before, and were thrilled at the chance to be there for the occasion. The gaiety, the chaos, the lights, the colours, the feast to the senses that is Calcutta during Kali Pooja more than made up for my angst at not having been able to witness Durga Pujo there. Had we planned to visit Calcutta during Durga Pujo, we would have been able to vacation for only two days, but this time around, we had the opportunity to stay put for almost a week! The way I see it – I had to let go of something, in order to receive something better.

So, yes, we just got back home from one of my dream trips. It wasn’t exactly a relaxing trip, but it was definitely good. I have my heart and head full of memories, stories, sights and sounds from the streets of Calcutta. I’ll be back soon to share them with you, for sure.

Till the next time,

Ciao!

PS: Hope you guys had a great Diwali!

Bubboo Snippets

The little one loves being ‘Doctor Aunty’ these days. She does everything that a doctor does, and calls herself ‘Datuk Aunty’.

Datuk Aunty comes rushing at us with a malicious grin on her face, and gives us big injections with her forefinger, just about everywhere on our bodies.

The husband and I have been on the receiving end of some rather painful injections lately, I must say. 😐

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“Did you buy the moong dal?,” I ask the husband.
Moong dal,” a little voice echoes in the background.

I walk to the kitchen to make us a cup of tea each.
Amma.. kitchen.. walking,” says the little voice.

The husband puts out the coupons for the milk delivery man every night.
The little voice, observant as ever, says, “Appa, milk, coupon”.

Every little thing we do in the house is observed, commented upon, including our visits to the loo and the flushing of the toilet. More than half of what we speak to each other gets repeated, in bits and pieces.

Little boss is watching, ALL the time.

The husband calls the little one ‘The Echo’. I think the name is quite apt.

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Amma, daddy paavam. Daddyku mammam? (Ma, poor daddy! Where is daddy’s food?”)

“Daddy office. Daddyku roti kudu! (Daddy is working. Give him rotis!)”

“Daddy, idli for you!”

“Daddyku dosa venum! (Daddy wants dosas!)”

Ayyo, this Daddy fan club at our home! 🙂

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Fattabye = butterfly
Jippachi = giraffe
Aapis = office
Nakshitu = nasingithu (pressed)
Toto = dog
Bau = milk
Tumba = tumbler
Okkachi = okkaru (sit)
Asish = ostrich
Kapucheep = kerchief
Thankoo = thank you
Tattayee = tata, bye
Pepe = paper

Kiddie speak in our house, if you are wondering what this is. Just for the sake of records. 🙂

 

 

Of Bubboo And Her Appa

The OH loves his food piping hot, so hot that sweat should drip from his face while eating, the hot months of summer included. I, on the other hand, am the sort of person who wouldn’t even bother to heat up the food I cooked a while earlier, if I am going to be eating alone.

To his credit, though, the OH doesn’t create a big fuss about food that isn’t piping hot. If I have finished cooking just a little while ago, he will proceed to eat it as is. If the food has gotten cold, he will go on and heat it up himself. He doesn’t expect me to do it for him.

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The OH hates, absolutely hates, fresh coriander. He often doesn’t eat a dish just because the ‘smell of coriander’ was too overpowering. I, on the other hand, absolutely adore coriander. I just can’t imagine making certain foods – like rasam – without the coriander, stalks and all included. (Imagine my shock when the husband told me, just about a couple of weeks into our marriage – You know what? I HATE coriander! I just gave a ‘Gah!’ kind of expression, then, but I was really shocked, scared at all the differences between us that we would discover later.)

Since then, I have learnt to tone down the level of coriander that I put into my cooking. We have, sort of, found a middle path.

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Today, Bubboo wants food that is straight off the stove. She will eat a few bites of roti or dosa, and then want to move on to another, freshly prepared roti or dosa that is hotter, because the one that’s on her plate has ‘cooled down’. I’m not kidding. We have seen this happen more than once.

Today, Bubboo refuses to eat foods that have coriander in it. She makes a ‘Yuck!’ kind of face if she encounters a bit of coriander in whatever she is eating. She says ‘Kothamalli! (Coriander!),’ and proceeds to spit the said morsel of food out.

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Genes are clearly in play here. But then, I wasn’t expecting them to show up this early. I am unprepared.

How did I end up with two kids of the same type? How on earth am I going to handle this duo ganging up against me, in more ways than one?

 

If We Were Having Coffee…

… I’d tell you that after buying an earthen surahi, experimenting with growing our own vegetables, and switching to hand-made, chemical-free soaps, we have taken a couple more steps towards healthier, more sustainable living. We have begun experimenting with a couple of entirely chemical-free shampoos and hair wash bars, virgin coconut oil, and sugar-free toothpaste. We still haven’t decided on brands that we would like to continue buying, as far as these things go, but I am excited about this. I am satisfied, too, happy that we are taking more baby steps towards our goal of going as much chemical-free as we can. I am also experimenting with unprocessed, organic apple cider vinegar in the bathroom, for my scraggy, dry-as-grass hair. It is still way too early to tell you how much we have been benefited by these changes, but I hope we reach a conclusion soon.

… I’d tell you of one more baby step we took recently to ensure the use of less packaged products. Instead of buying packaged wheat flour from the supermarket like we always do, we picked up wheat from a grain merchant and got it ground at an old-fashioned flour mill. Tedious process, but totally worth it. The colour of this flour, the texture, the taste, is so very different from packaged flour that it is a revelation. Now, I know my whole wheat flour is just that – wholly wheat flour! While I was at the flour mill, I was struck by how tough the operator’s job must be, and felt sad that these mills might be a thing of the past soon. 😦

… I’d tell you that, lately, we have been trying to rotate the foods that we consume, on a weekly basis. Oats, quinoa, ragi, rava, vermicelli, bread, butter, ghee, pulses, wheat, idlis, dosas, adai, rice – everything is now being consumed on a routine basis, not too much or too little of anything. The same is the case with the vegetables and fruits we are eating. I am very conscious, these days, of how many times a week we are eating rotis and rice, or how many times we are consuming processed foods like bread, rava and vermicelli. Sugar has been cut down, too. That said, all of this is still in the very initial stages, and we have a long, long way to go before we can proudly say we are a healthy-eating family. We do still have our cravings, our sugar fixes and pigging out of doors, but we are trying to be more conscious and aware about all of it.

… I’d tell you that I went in for blood work in an attempt to resolve the health issues that I was talking to you about, here. The results have left me only more confounded than before. My doctor tells me not to be worried, but I am. I hope to find a way out, to see the light soon. Please do keep me in your prayers, will you?

… I’d tell you that I am falling more and more in love with Bohemian and Turkish-style jewellery of late (There’s definitely something about my connection to Turkey, in spite of my never having visited the place!). Thanks to a picture of South siren Nayantara wearing a Bohemian neckpiece over a very simple cotton saree at a recent awards ceremony, I began checking out more such jewellery and falling head over heels for it. I even went ahead and picked up a Bohemian-style necklace for myself – now, I can’t wait to inaugurate it! And this comes from a person who finds it hard to get dressed, for whom junk jewellery was a big no-no till about a year ago! The further I dig into the world of junk jewellery, the more amazed I get these days. 🙂

… I’d tell you that, lately, I am also falling deeper and deeper in love with sarees, especially those simple handloom ones. I think they have a charm of their own. I think they look classy, and are suited for any occasion. I think you can wear them just about anywhere, as long as you pair them with the right sort of accessories. There are so many gorgeous sarees from different parts of India, and I so want to hunt down at least one piece of each for my wardrobe! That doesn’t bode very well for the concept of minimalism that is fascinating me too, these days. What do I do now, people? (On the subject of handloom sarees, you must check this out. Isn’t it sad that these sarees might disappear from the face of the earth, soon, if we don’t do anything to save them?)

… I’d tell you of how, lately, I have become a wee bit more conscious of where the clothes that I buy come from. I loved listening to the stories of the weavers and vendors about the clothes they sold, at an exhibition that I recently visited in HSR Layout. On the subject of conscious cloth buying, you must check out this video. It is an eye opener!

… I’d tell you how surprised I am that it is going to be Diwali soon! Last year’s Diwali is still so fresh in my mind, I can’t believe a full year has gone by – and I don’t remember doing anything particularly noteworthy in this one year.

… I’d tell you that I recently finished reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic and Lisa Grunberger’s Yiddish Yoga. The first book was an utter disappointment, but I quite liked the latter. I will be putting up detailed reviews on the blog soon, hopefully.

… I’d tell you of how miffed I am that the husband is currently off on a sudden work trip to Kolkata, a place that I have always dreamt of visiting. The trip was so unexpected, and everything got finalised only at the last moment, so Bubboo and I weren’t able to accompany him, much as we would have loved that. First Istanbul, now this. I get the feeling the Universe has this big smirk on its face at having played this joke on me. Gah!

… I’d tell you of how tough it is to jostle for space with your parents, to try to reason with them and request them to let you bring up your child your way. It is a huge help having family nearby and we hugely appreciate their help (It is not for nothing that they say ‘It takes a village to bring up a baby’). I don’t subscribe to the belief that you should do every single thing for your child and your house with your own two hands, but with the whole lot of emotional drama that asking for support from parents or in-laws brings with it, I do understand the motive.

… I’d tell you of how it just doesn’t feel like Navratri in our little bit of the world. I would so love for something to happen to get me into the festive spirit, before the nine nights end. There has been no special cooking, no dressing up, no dressing Bubboo up, no going out to visit temples or golus, no watching of garba. 😦 I miss Ahmedabad like crazy at this time of year.

… I’d ask you if you had checked out Deepika Padukone’s Tere Saath Tu for Myntra. I absolutely love it! Here’s the link, if you haven’t heard it already!

… I’d also ask after you and your loved ones. I’d ask you what you have been up to lately, and what has been making you happy and sad these days.

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For Weekend Coffee Share, an interesting meme here. Do check it out!

What Has The Little One Been Up To?

When I recently went grocery shopping, I picked up a new toothbrush for the kiddo. I shunned fancy brushes with cartoon characters and glitter and what not, in favour of a very plain orange-coloured Johnson’s toothbrush that cost me INR 30.

I came back home and gave the little one the toothbrush, and discovered that she was super-duper excited to have it. She refused to let go of the toothbrush for two full days, holding it in her hands 24/7, even while bathing, changing clothes and sleeping! She kept  saying ‘Ammu new brush’ and ‘Amma got it for me’.

I am touched. It takes a child to be excited and happy about the very little things in life. The little one never fails to teach me – lessons small and big – every single day.

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The little one shuts her eyes tight and says ‘It is dark. There’s no light.’
And then, a moment later, she opens her eyes and says ‘The light has come.’
This is her latest antic, one that has us endlessly entertained. Apart from the cuteness factor, I find, in this little game of hers, the philosophy of life too.

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…. and for no apparent reason, the little one has, occasionally, begun to call me ‘Ammi‘ and ‘Mummy’! I am pretty sure no one around us uses these words. How on earth did she learn then?

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I cuddle, kiss, cajole, fight, threaten, bribe and try everything I can – for close to an hour – to change the little one’s dress. Nothing works. I am almost in tears and in visible distress when I give up.

Enter her daddy.

He just says, ‘Come, we’ll change your dress.’ And she stops her whining and goes all quiet and meek. And just like that, in ten seconds flat, the little one is all dressed up neatly, hair combed and smelling fresh and clean.

This is not the first time this has happened.

Why, babe, why?

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The husband has been on the phone for a few minutes when the little one goes up to him and says ‘OK, Bye!’

Time to end the conversation, apparently.

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‘Ammu, get down and walk. Don’t ask me to carry you all the time,’ I tell the little one.

Pavvale (parava ille/ it is okay)’ she replies.

Pavvale‘ is her response to most things I ask her to do. ‘Come let us go, the park is about to close’, ‘Eat your food, please!’, ‘Get down from the swing, we will go on the slide’ — most such requests are met with a ‘Pavvale‘.

Rather diplomatic, not to forget cute!

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A gypsy woman selling porcelain dolls for golus, a pair of young men in a Maruti van dolled up with colourful bedsheets that they are selling, an old lady offering stainless steel vessels in exchange for human hair, a man selling a variety of greens out of a huge basket on his bicycle, a balloon man who sells cheap plastic and paper toys, a loud lady who sells the reddest of country tomatoes off a cart, a couple of Men with a drum and a trumpet and a . beautifully dressed up cow — just a small sample of the vendors the little one and I get to see, on a regular basis, while we chat and unwind on our balcony. Can’t say life from the balcony isn’t entertaining!

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‘Ammu, what are you doing there, in the balcony?,’ I call out to the little one.

Veshamam (mischief),’ she replies.

She knows exactly what she is doing!

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I spend just 10 minutes – barely 10 minutes – sending out an e-mail that has to be sent urgently, and the little comes running to me. She is well entertained, cared for by the husband or my parents, but still insists on rushing to me. She then proceeds to put her arms around me, taking my palms in hers, kissing my hands, and just generally turning me into mush. This continues till I shut down the system and go off to play with her.

This happens every single time I try to do some work, for about 10 minutes of time.

She knows exactly what buttons to push with me. Every single time.

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While the little one is entirely Daddy’s girl during the day, she becomes a complete Momma’s baby in the nights. Through the night, she needs to snuggle up to me, hug my hands, and sleep with my hands and/or legs locked by hers, often a triple-lock system that I just cannot escape.

The husband often tells her, just before all of us are about to doze off – ‘Ammu, give me a hug, please? Come, I’ll tell you a story!’

And the little one is quick to respond – ‘Vendaam. Pavaale. Amma kitte. (No, I don’t want. It’s okay. I want to be with Amma!)’

And then, she promptly proceeds to cuddle up to me.

Ah, sweet revenge!