Kripya order karein!

Kripya order karein!
Kripya order karein!

Friday, September 28, 2007

I laugh at most things but at this I cannot....

...and therefore, if this is your daily dose of the funnies, be warned at the beginning. That is the best part about having a blog, see? you can just change the tone and tenor when you want to.

We are off to Delhi for a week tomorrow. Everyone knows what Delhi means. It means proper winters (not just a chill that could be passed off for the air-conditioner turned on a little longer than usual), PVR/Priya and all the loafers who loaf there, burger and Paaaapsi combos consumed by designer dudded dudes, the barely-political Delhi University, wide roads/flyovers/subways that are not dug up, the concept of enjoyable rains, eve-teasers...and more

Well, no. For me all Delhi
means today is a two-hour long flight. Two hours, just counting the flying time that is. Door-to-door it is probably close to five. FIVE hours in which we need to entertain a baby that has the attention span of a goldfish, change diapers with no simplifying facilities, clean spit up off his clothes and ours and change him innumerable times (he renders bibs obsolete) and we need to feed him. Adi is exclusively breastfed so it should be the simplest thing in the world to feed him. At least, that is taken care of.

Na, na, naaah.

If I need to feed my child, I need to go look for a 'private place'. Now, if we were to get into semantics, a public place is precisely that. That being the case, how in the world do I find a private cabin in that vast and decidedly public airport? Actually, the problem does not begin at the airport, I am not even supposed to do that in the privacy of my own car, thanks (or not) to the prying eyes of every single motorist on the way. Even in the aircraft, if I need to feed Adi, I hide under a hot and uncomfortable shawl (and even this should be attempted only in the relative privacy of business class such that exposure is limited...like most things in life, bf has been made elitist, how nice. Paradoxically, I have seen many more women from the lower SECs in Indian breastfeeding than the more affluent ones.)

I know that I am not the first mother to feel victimized thus. Why, Facebook has only recently banned a mother's account because she dared to put bf pictures of herself up on her page. Apparently, FB is comfortable only with members posting Fun Wall posts and poking each other. How about some virtual therapy to be sent FB's way?

BF is an intensely private experience. No mother needs to hide behind a shawl or sari pallu or dupatta to keep it that way, if only people would just leave her alone.

I am not aware of the Indian laws on bf and though I did try to google it, nothing satisfactory came up. I plan to read up. If you have some suggestions, leave them in my comments and I will definitely check them out.


I haven't become an activist overnight. I am a very low-energy person who is very content not ever rising to the bait (it expends stamina) but right now, I am SO BLOODY PISSED OFF. The paradox is just evil. It is perfectly acceptable to showcase a woman's breasts to sell every goddamn product on earth (except, perhaps breast pumps) but try putting them to the sole motive they were meant for and suddenly you are a ripe candidate for obscene behaviour in public and therefore a threat to the overall good of the society.

Let us be a little solution-oriented for a minute. What can I possibly do to change this situation? Should I send a petition to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare or some such? Say, a miracle takes place tomorrow and a law was passed to protect my rights to breastfeed in public (if it doesn't already), how will that change the cultural ethos that makes every pervert in this country look at a breastfeeding mother with emotions that do not count as plain platonic?

Maybe I am just asking for a simpler world. Never an easy one.

I liked this http://www.leagueofmaternaljustice.com/. What do you think?

I need to go and express milk that flight tomorrow. The funnies will be back tomorrow. Today, I am just plain sad(denned).

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Winning the lottery (adi sleeps!) and getting an alias

When I was expecting Adi, I often read about the different parenting models. When I was not sprawled in the loo with my head down the toilet, I was carefully weighing the pros and cons of the different parenting styles. My life was perfect then, I tell you. Looks like people have debated for the longest time whether it makes sense to let babies cry it out, not cry it out, start crying yourself when they do or just pray to mighty God to end it all.

So far we have been following with Adi what I believe is called attachment parenting. One of the great tenets of this wisdom is co-sleeping. Except that Adi never liked to share our bed. You see, it was just a little more fun to make parents sit up while he slept on our laps through the night, instead of just letting them lounge on the bed. At the slighest display of an inclination to sit down he would immediately do an earthworm on us, all wriggly, squiggly. For the last two nights, I decided enough was enough and I have been forcing Adi to sleep in our bed. He quails and twists and turns and tries to tell me to GET UP and START WALKING while he relaxes but I am not having any of that. I hold on to his tiny hands and hug him and refuse to get up. Resultantly, the little man is kind of sleeping much better, right there next to me.

(Dear God, please don't jinx it just because I have written it out.)

I didn't know attachment parenting could also be forced.

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When we all moved from Hotmail and Yahoo to gmail, I imagined that life would be spam free. What prompted this rather naive view of things you ask. The reason is that like all of the civilised world and some tribes in north-western Africa, I believe that Google can do no wrong. Google is my version of the Sachin Tendulkar of the 1990s who never ever played a selfish innings. Don't try to tell me otherwise. Better men and women than you have tried and failed. In fact, I believe that Google is a non-profit organization that is in business only to feed poor children and whatever money is left over (little as there is of it) is used to build shelters for stray dogs *wipes tear*.

Imagine my surprise then when I find this e-mail in my inbox.

LOTTERY BAORD

Dear Lucky Winner,

We are pleased to inform you of the result of the just concluded annual final draws of UNITED KINGDOM NATIONAL PROGRAM. After this automated computer ballot, your e-mail address emerged as one of two winners in the category \\"A\\" You are therefore been approve to claim the sum of 1,000,000 (One Million Pounds Sterling)
with the information below:

REF No: UK/9420X2/68/BRT
BATCH No: 074/05/ZY369/BRT
TICKET No: 56475600545188
SERIAL No: S/N-5368/02
LUCKY No: 887-13-865-37-10-83

To file for your claim, Contact the processing Consultant:

Contact Person: John Campbell
Email: claimsagent8990@yahoo.co.uk
Tell: +447045721627

Do fill out the claims form to Mr.John Campbell,in other to process the claims of your prize without delay.

PAYMENT PROCESSING FORM
(1.) FULL NAME
(2.) FULL ADDRESS
(3)NATIONALITY
(4) DATE OF BIRTH
(5) OCCUPATION
(6)TELEPHONE NUMBER
(7) SEX

Sincerely,
Mrs. CINDY HOWARD
FOR UK NATIONAL LOTTERY.


Let us forget about why and how the spam filters of g-mail this one time. (It is too early for me to talk about it. Let the hurt subside a bit.) The mail content by itself is a goldmine.

First, the Lottery Board needs to spell its own name correctly.

Then, the people who get their kicks by sending out this stuff really ought to work towards inspiring credibility. There ought to be just a teeny tiny flicker in my mind that says, "What if it is true? Let me just send my details and see what happens...". With mail ids like interno75 and claimsagent8990, I have the instant and intense fear that if I as much as scroll over this mail, some unknown evil force will come rushing towards my computer and in the next instant, there will be a loud bang and it will go up in flames.

I also wish our income tax department would take a leaf out of the book of the UK Lottery 'Baord'. If only our Saral forms were this saral, wouldn't life be just peachy?

I can't believe I just said that. Who says 'peachy' in real life?

Probably interno75, claimsagent8990, Mrs. Cindy Howard and Mr. John Campbell.

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I have been noticing that none of you, dear readers have given out your real names in your blogs. Is the internet really that evil? Have I committed a grave mistake by being so out there? Should I just shut shop here and relocate to Tasmania?

I would really appreciate your point of view.

Thank you.

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Baby on the Beach - The Goa Story, Part II

Adi flew like a pro. No, this is not one of those phrases where I seek humor in exaggeration. This little human knew not what fear of flying means. He didn’t sleep during take-off but neither did he fuss. He played around with his empty bottle for a bit, got completely wide-eyed as the plane started to leave the ground and then looked away in a slightly bored fashion. Mahesh and I looked at each other, slightly bewildered at what had just happened and then broke out our widest grins.

A little too soon.

Mumbai to Goa is just forty five minutes and barely had the seatbelt sign gone off that the crew jumped up to start throwing food at the passengers. Starched white napkins were laid out and cutlery put out as we wondered how to fit infant, food and self into the same tiny space. At that moment, in abject horror of the most complete kind I realized that Adi had not only pooped, his diaper had also joined forces with him and done a non-cooperation number on me. Resultantly, my child and I were covered in the same bodily waste. Ah, the agony! Mahesh and I availed ourselves of the diaper changing table that is fit in the loo and which to that particular moment, in complete honesty, I had never known to exist. But thank the Lord it did. Within a few minutes, the crap-covered baby came out smelling like roses. His mother of course was a different matter altogether.

Somehow, we didn’t eat much on the flight.

The flight could not have ended soon enough for us. Thankfully, soon we landed in sultry Goa. Sultry is a rather mild term. ‘Muggy as hell’ does not even begin to describe it.

The medicine finally took effect and by the time we got into the car that would drive us to the resort, Adi had conked out. Not for too long though, no sir. As we checked into the hotel, the boy was up and about and ready to party once again. The doctor had asked us to give the medicine half an hour before the flight to make him sleep for four hours and here the darned thing had kicked in after four hours to knock him out for precisely half an hour.

Somewhere at the back of my mind, I had imagined that the holiday would be just that, a break from my normal routine. Somehow I thought just being away from home was enough to make the magic of a vacation work. It slipped my mind that I was taking my work with me and it would keep me up nights just like it ought to. Just because the sea was a hundred meters away didn’t mean that we could have it easy. Worse, there was no Padma to provide respite.

Let me take this moment to praise and thank the Lord for having given me a Padma.

Thank you, Lord. Please don’t ever take her away. I will be good, I promise.

We got our money’s worth on that McLaren stroller. Long walks, longer walks, endless walks. Up and down, up and down. Lobby, room, corridors. Garden, beach, cafĂ©. We walked and walked. Sometimes we were rewarded for all the walking.



The subject of this post probably makes it appear as if we spent practically all our time lounging on the beach. In reality we went to the beach only once and then the sky got overcast and we hurried back indoors fearing Adi would get wet. This was in fact one of those few times when our parental instinct has served us well and thirty seconds after we reached indoors, it started pouring.




The resort was beautiful of course.


There were many nice restaurants and a great looking coffee shop and a promising pub too. In another life I would have consumed a lot of tequila and behaved badly enough to be thrown out and asked to never return again, else the dogs would be let loose on me. However, now I am a model citizen. In fact, here I am, posing like one. I request you to refrain from commenting on my fatness.


So, now it is time for taking stock. How did the trip really go? Well, here is the thing. This is the first time Mahesh and I did something so grown-up and mature all by ourselves so it did serve as a huge CBM. We went away from the familiarity of home and the support of other people like Padma and managed just fine and returned home in one piece. I guess you could say that we somewhat redeemed ourselves as the proud recipients of the cutest baby on earth.
.


It is now time to start planning a two-week trip to Machhu Picchu

Monday, September 24, 2007

Baby on the Beach - The Goa Story, Part 1

So, we went to paradisiacal Goa and Adi just took to the place enough to start sleeping through the night and not fussing at all.

No?

Yes, I thought you might not believe me that readily. Here’s the full account of what really happened.

The entire trip started on the same jolly, carefree and spontaneous note that has now become our trademark. We started from home at 10:30 am for a 12 noon flight. The airport is about ten minutes drive. We had already tele-checked-in too. Smart and efficient, one would think. Or not. You see, you can never ever take Mumbai traffic for granted. Never. If you do, it will come back and bite you in the bumper. And so it did. Long queues (serpentine, I believe they are called. They looked like vicious vipers alright) awaited us the moment we left the house. Adi looked out of the car in a nonchalant fashion while Mahesh and I feigned indifference, taking only furtive looks at the time. Forty five minutes later, the traffic hadn’t moved an inch and the indifference had given way to muttered oaths. More time passed and it looked as if we were indeed going to miss the flight that promised to take us away from the squalor and slums of Mumbai to the sun and sand and camera-wielding Japanese tourists of Goa. The muttered oaths were now full-fledged, full-throated, “What in ****’s name is going on?” and alleging incestuous relations on most of the car drivers along the route. Much frantic watch-watching followed. Finally, the bottle-bloody-neck or whatever it was that was holding up the traffic (probably my fallen hair) opened up just a tad and we started crawling forward. Thanks to some seriously rash driving on the driver’s part, we were at the airport with precisely two minutes to spare. We broke out the multi-tasking campaign and while Mahesh handled the luggage for the security check with one hand while balancing the semi-professional camera and the diaper bag with the other, I held on to an excited Adi while trying to fish out money to buy his infant ticket with the other.

In all this excitement, we nearly forgot that our supremely alert infant needed to be given the calming medicine to make him sleep on the flight. So while the loudspeakers blared out our names, threatening to leave us behind if we didn’t board AT ONCE, we got busy giving Adi some drugged milk. That done, we became quite relaxed, having got over the fear that Adi would scream loud enough to make the pilot lose balance. You could go as far as to say that we started to think that we would have fun on the flight.

Ha!

Have you heard of the phrase ‘mind over matter’? Our son was a living example of just how far a human could go to fight sleep. Despite the 3.5 mls of infant sedative circulating in his system, he was all bright-eyed and smiling at the stewards who informed us that we should feed the infant during take-off and landing. Sure, we said. As the plane stared taxiing, I took out the bottle of EBM and started feeding Adi, praying with all my heart that his ears would not hurt as the flight took off. Ten minutes later, the milk was over and the plane had slowed to a stop. This is the closest that I have come to panic. No milk, medicine that won’t take effect and a four month old embarking on his first flight…..this is the stuff they should teach to scare off teenagers who are planning to get pregnant before they should.

I need to go now but part II follows soon.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Go Goa!

Pampers, wipes, breast pump, feeding bottle, baby oil, baby shampoo, baby bath gel, baby comb, What to Expect - The First Year, Calpol, Vitazymes, Pedicloryd, 24 onesies, baby towels, stroller, crib (?), rocker (?), baby blanket, Padma (?), rattle, Winnie the Pooh, diaper bag, familiar bedsheets (?)....the whole darned apartment???

Whatever happened to spontaneous, free holidays? :(

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I will be back with Goa pictures. Have a nice weekend, everyone!


Wednesday, September 19, 2007

An apple a day...and he still manages to keep sleep away

Post the doctor's blessings to let Adi try out new flavors, yesterday was the first time we tried something other than breast-milk for him. I cut and re-cut into smaller pieces and boiled and strained and basically took the holy life out of a poor apple before Padma gave me a strange look that seemed to ask - "What is the point in starting solids if they are more liquified than liquids?". Much chastened, I doled the mucky liquid into a bowl and tentatively offered some to Adi. He tried some, grimaced and ate some more and then decided he had had enough and proceeded to call for an Extra Large Thin Crust Veggie Extravaganza. Thirty minutes nahin to freeeee....


I wonder if solids will help him sleep better.

I am driven to desperation by the lack of sleep that this baby exhibits. Just how desperate, you can tell by the fact that last evening I searched the net for Feng Shui Tips to Help Infants Sleep Better. And of course I found plenty of sites that matched the site. (I don't think there is anything left in the world anymore that cannot be googled successfully. I tried Hfiflfgjrvn fksfhkshf iuroehfmnv and got 17 million answers. Yes, I do these things.) Determined to put theory into action, I moved Adi's crib about to help his chi move better and dispel all negative energy from the system. They also recommended planting a bamboo tree in our bathroom but I thought that would be a tad impractical. Plus, the landlady might not like our tropical theme.

I was reasonably certain that filled to the brim with apple puree and relaxed by the gently moving positive energy in the room, Adi would wake up only 6 times instead of his usual 10.

I will not say how the night went.

However, if you know where I could buy a reasonably priced bamboo plant, please do let me know.

*****************************************************************************

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Marital bliss

“So she asked me what I ate through the day. I told her that I sometimes sniff at a piece of lettuce and at others wave at a spoonful of peas. Mostly I just live off the fresh sea breeze and some tap water. I also wanted to add love to the list but she didn’t look even remotely sentimental.”

“I see. How did the Pure Magic biscuits disappear from your list?”

“Dunno…no, wait…because they are magical?”


*************************************************************************************


“That is the seventeenth successive time that you have forgotten that the shower is turned on while opening the tap.”

“Stop counting.”

“Why? You count my Pure Magic biscuits.”


*************************************************************************************


“He takes after you. He doesn’t sleep.”

“I know.”

“Aren’t you going to insult me right back?”

“No.”

“Wow.”

Time lapse

“You’re just trying to think of something really nasty, aren’t you?”

“Yes.”

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Monday, September 17, 2007

Stop or my mom will shoot

I have always prided myself on not being one of those sissies who pale at the sight of a needle (Hi, SN!!Yes, I am referring to you. No, I don't spare anyone. But you know that.) But that was before heartless gnomes in white coats started sticking needles into my baby's thighs. Now, I nearly blow a blood vessel every time Adi gets a shot.

Have you seen anything more cuddly than a nice, plump infant thigh? Nor have I. Then, just how do perfectly sane and otherwise kind people have the heart to poke them with sharp objects that are better off kept in a museum glass-cage labelled Torture Devices of the Dark Ages?

As soon as the needle went in, Adi broke into a blood-curdling wail. His infamous, lower-lip-sticking-out wail. For the next twenty minutes Mahesh held him, rocked him and quietened him while I climbed over the doctor's table and throttled her till she promised me that she would never, ever mistreat my poor child like this again.

Um.

I smiled at her and thanked her and said, of course we would be back in a month's time and it was an honour and a privelege to have her treat Adi.

It was then that I realized that I had been shaking like a leaf and was in the imminent danger of fainting if I didn't sit down AT ONCE.

I hate needles.

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Sunday, September 16, 2007

Why don't people speak the English the way he should be spoke?

Overheard at the gym on occasion of Ganesh Chaturthi:

"But I asked you if the gym was open and you said that it was and now I have come all the way and you tell me that you are shutting down."

"Mumble mumble"

"But you should have said that it would close at 4 pm. Why didn't you tell me?"

"Mumble mumble"

"But there should have been some IMPLICATION. If we had been IMPLICATED, I wouldn't have come at all."

"Mumble mumble"

"Sure, it is a festival. All I am saying is put up a notice to IMPLICATE everyone that you would close at 4 pm."

"Mumble mumble"

"Fine, I am leaving now. Next time if you don't IMPLICATE me about your closing hours, I am quitting this gym."

"Promise?" No,actually, "Mumble, mumble"

Sigh....evil bully lady. This one is for you.

in·ti·mate
Pronunciation: 'in-t&-"mAt
Function: transitive verb
Inflected Form(s): -mat·ed; -mat·ing
Etymology: Late Latin intimatus, past participle of intimare to put in, announce, from Latin intimus innermost, superlative of Old Latin *interus inward.
1 : to make known especially publicly or formally : ANNOUNCE
2 : to communicate delicately and indirectly : HINT



I am not scared of you. You are skinny. And I work out.

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Saturday, September 15, 2007

Cap'n Kwirk and his many adventures

Tagged for listing Adi’s kwirks, I would have thought that someone who has not reached his half-birthday is too young to develop eccentricities. Uh uh.

  • He doesn’t sleep. Every website, parenting article, parent and doctor tells me that a four month old infant should be sleeping for fifteen hours a day. I can only give you a despairing look and ask you “Why did he have to lose out in the genetic lottery for sleep? Between a father who can sleep before he enters the house and a mother whose sleep-deprivation has inspired entire sleep clinics, why did he have to take after the latter?”

  • There is a congenital enmity between Adi and his right ear. He, therefore tries to wrench it off his face several times a day. My protestations at this treatment of Poor Right Ear are met with screams that send me scurrying for cover.

    Applications for the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Right Infant Ears (SPCRIE) accepted here.

  • He normally screams at a certain decibel level to warn people that he needs something and they better get cracking as of yesterday. However, he sticks out his lower lip only in moments of acute crisis such as:

    The pressure cooker whistle goes off
    The mobile runs its cycle and stops
    Parent enters room and does not rush to pick him up

    Yeah, he is a great Lower Lip Sticker Outer.

  • He likes to punch the air, especially while feeding. If a human organ gets in the way, well, what can I say? Tough Luck!

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The 20-20 Cricket World Cup match last evening between India and Pakistan was an absolute delight. Or so they tell me. To satisfy my innate human curiosity, I asked normal questions such as “But whyyyyyyyy did he do that?”, “Oh, so that is a spin, right? Is that the same as a swing?”, “Of course I remember what you told me last time. Now, when is Rahul Dravid coming to bat?” (I LIKE Rahul Dravid. He is a Cricket Geek. I am extremely fond of geeks). Having been sent packing on my ear, I retired to the bedroom to check on Adi’s. He was not pulling it. In fact, he was practicing what they tell me infants do – sleeping. Nice, I thought.

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I need to do something about the template of this blog. Any suggestions? And if you are a talented web-site designer and are looking to do some pro bono work for a poor struggling WOOHM, do feel free to contact me. Thank you.

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One more thing - I am not tagging anyone in particular for infant kwirks. I don’t know too many moms with infants yet and the ones I do know have already been tagged. New to this game I am. Tag someone I will not. Wait to know more people I will.

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Friday, September 14, 2007

The one where I can't make up my mind what I want to write about

I love lists. They are the perfect foil to my disorganized self. Here's one that I thought of this morning. It is called Ten (Eleven) Things I Thought I Would Not Be Caught Dead Saying

  1. "Of course, McDonalds is as good as Olive".
  2. "No, 60 cms is way too big." (Holding up a tee at Zapp, Bandra)
  3. "Nahin, mujhe American wala hi chahiye." (Buying Pampers at Patel Stores, Bandra )
  4. "Oooooh lovely! His poo is not green anymore." (Changing diaper in the morning)
  5. "Do you think I could get out of the house for an hour? I need to go to the gym."
  6. "Can you hurry up that massage? I need to be home soon." (Random beauty parlour)
  7. "But what would I do with a beauty products/free spa treatment voucher?"
  8. "Could you arrange for a crib in the hotel room? No, we will not need rose petals on the bed." (Booking a hotel room)
  9. "No wine for me, thank you." (oh yeah, this one really is tops!)
  10. "Mussourie would be better than Greece for a holiday." (planning a holiday)
  11. "What is the big deal about missing Chak De. Its just an SRK movie."

***

Disclaimer: I am still figuring out how to link properly. With some R&D and a dash of good fortune it should work out.

When I started Adi's own personal Wonder Years (thanks, Janavi!), I had never read a mom blog before. I had no clue that the Internet was so full of awesomely written and (more importantly) really funny momoirs. Even now, as I continue to surf through the equally tumultous journeys of kids the same age or older than Adi, I come across some real gems.



All this is great but today I have been tagged by ddmom to write about Adi's 'kwirks'. This is so much fun! It is like being part of the coolest gang in college, the one that goes to all the happening parties and hangs out with all the hot boys. (So what if I missed out on that? I could always go to SPIC-MACAY recitals.)

Yeah, I am so terribly mature.

***


Do you watch Ekta Kapoor's soaps? No, you don't like to be a peeping Tom (Jane) at other people's bathrooms either? That is good.

Actually, I don't need to. I have Padma and Padma has a family. A family so full of exaggerated yet well-defined characters that I am currently following their happenings on a daily basis. There is the evil sister-in-law, the ailing mother, the do-gooder brother, the impish children. Her life is replete with drama and doings. I am sure she is inculcating the imperative habit of gossiping in Adi. Poor child, he should not miss out on the above just because his mother has moved out of the Meerut mohalla that comes out of her mouth everytime she speaks in her UP accent.


***


Feeding Adi may be strengthening his bond with me. It sure is loosening my scalp's hold over my hair. I am supposed to lose one-bloody-third of the luscious mane that I grew during pregnancy. I didn't know that was a clause in the contract (nothing fine about fine print, I say). It is coming out in clumps and just to ensure that the departed clumps don't feel lonely, more follow. This morning the building secretary called to say that my hair was successfully clogging all the drains in Bandra and could I please do my shedding elsewhere. Hmmpphhh, what would he know? He is bald.

***


Thursday, September 13, 2007

Hufflepuff

With the enthusiasm typical of people who regularly fall off the fitness bandwagon only to climb aboard again, I landed at the gym bright and early (i.e. 9:30 am). Considering that I haven't been there in the last several months and have put on enough pounds to completely hide my original face, I was not recognized at the gym. The same trainer and dietician who had drawn out my fitness chart and nutrition program in great and painstaking detail the last time I was there, stared at me blankly before breaking out unrecognizing, welcome-to-our-fitness-center-aren't-you-totally-going-to-love-it smiles. I despaired at these smiles as I am experienced enough at this gym thing to know what it means. It means that these people are about to make me and my (non-existent) fit body their life's sole target. It is truly amazing how they never learn. I mean these are the people that clearly have the highest failure rate at the projects they undertake. And yet, day after day, they seek out fatty tissue to melt and love handles to burn.

Now, I am the sort of person who needs to be left alone in her misery. Leave me to my slow treadmilling and even slower cycling and I am quite content. At least as content as one can be with a heartrate threatening to bring about that first stroke.

No way, buster.

Sure enough, hardly had I tentatively climbed on the treadmill when I was spotted by The Undead. A muscle-man came bounding up. I smiled, unsure of myself and carried on walking, hoping he would take the hint and collapse right there on the floor, muscles and all.

Are you new? Joined today,eh? Why don't you start with weight-training? Very good muscle tone, very good calorie burning. Eh?

I muttered something about weight-training not being conducing to my body-type, the mere suggestion of which was enough to make muscle-man regard me with intense suspicion. These trainer types consider weight training next only to religion and sometimes they work out even on holidays. Religious ones.

No, no, you come do weight-training. Very good for lower body fat.

Whose lower body are you calling fat, you gorilla? I wanted to ask him. Instead I just switched off the treadmill and went to the exer-cycle, repeatedly looking over my shoulder to ensure he was not following. Thankfully, he was distracted by a supermodel type who entered at that point, cool gym bag and designer sneakers and all. For the next half hour, he dedicated himself to announcing the merits of weight-training to her. She smiled, and pushed her hair out of her eyes and even giggled at him a couple of times. He was mighty puffed up, I saw.

Left to my own devices, I continued to puff at the cycle. Two reedy teenagers stopped flirting with the trainers long enough to weigh themselves.

46 kilos!! Oh my god, I haven't lost a thing. Shit, I am so fat!

At that point, I obligingly got up from my cycle and broke her face into 46 even-sized pieces.

Yes, I did.

Maybe I didn't. But I sure wanted to. Bloody smug, superior, rexy* types.

I don't think I am going back. Let Adi suffer his fat mother for all times to come.


*rexy = anorexic girls who are sexy. Where HAVE you been?
***

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The changings, the wakings and the feedings

How can a 7 kilo being pack such a punch, I wonder as Adi repeatedly knocks off my glasses from my nose as I commit the grave and unforgivable mistake of trying to cuddle him, my only child. Finally, after the sixth time he has done it, I decide to resort to disciplinary measures.

"Knock it off, Adi!!"

And he does. Again.

Between the time that Padma takes her exalted presence and aura away from our home and Mahesh comes back to start his second job, I am left all alone with Adi. My learning is - it is the toughest task in the world to entertain a four month old baby. In fact, I would bet that it even beats entertaining a three month old baby. After showing him all his toys in a pre-decided sequence and preventing him from swallowing them along with his left hand and right foot, shaking his rattle incessantly, giving him rides from the drawing room to the bed-room and back again, showing him the road and the various college students who lounge at the sandwich shop nearby, I come close, very close to just handing him the TV and DVD player remotes and ask him to watch FRIENDS season 9 or something. I mean, it manages to entertain me and I have watched it five times already.

Once Mahesh is home, there is much throwing around of dimpled smiles and adorable gurglings. This angelic behaviour is switched off at the micro-milisecond that we decide to have dinner. After ensuring that he has given both his parents severe and chronic indigestion from meals gulped at admirable speed night after night, Adi changes into his nightsuit. His first one for the night, that is. Considering that each nightsuit has some eighteen buttons and the current average is running at five changes, it is really not a marvel that I am developing carpel tunnel syndrome.


The entire night of course is just a blur of waking up, feeding Adi, making him sleep, reciting Vishnu Sahasranam to invoke blessings, putting him back into the crib with crossed fingers (a task that admittedly requires peculiar digit dexterity), watching the sleeping infant with suspicion (he might just wake up as soon as you turn your back)and gratefully collapsing into the still-warm bed.


Maybe one day I will have the energy to show him picture cards and Baby Einstein stuff, right now I am suffering from the sort of fatigue that goes beyond the bones and settles into the hidden place where you hide your darkest secrets (like those sixteen Pure Magic biscuits that you scarfed on that one night).


Fearing that I might grow roots (fat ones, naturally) sitting on the sofa all the time and reading and surfing and watching movies, I commenced on the wicked, wicked journey called weight-loss. All my old clothes came out of the cupboard to see me off and cheer me on to the gym. I accepted this ecouragement gratefully as I am well aware that self-motivation, fitness and me - these are non-compatible items and have the propensity to self-combust if forced to reside together.

In fact, there is only thought that propelled me into action.

This may be the time when Adi thinks to himself -

"Knock it off, Mum!"

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

A solid post

To start or not to start, that is the question that has me oscillating between shoveling some Cerelac down Adi's throat (sure its going to be that easy) or continue to feed WITH MY BODY till the Holy Doctor gives us her blessings (definitely not before six months, she threatens). Peer pressure to start Adi on solids too is mounting . We hear of many child prodigies who have been raised on a steady diet of ragi and rice from pretty much the moment they could raise their tiny heads to look at the course material for a medical plus law degree at Harvard. Adding to all this tension is the fact that Adi is getting the European look - lean and tall. Now he will clearly revel in his body when he goes to the Levi's store as a non-diapered, non-breastfed (will that day ever arrive?) individual. In the meanwhile, we would very much like him to grow some extra-fat love handles to provide leverage as we prepare to partake of his delicious edible-ness.

Coming back to the point, to start solids or not....hmmm...hmmmmmmm....hmmmmmmmmm???

* As I hum to myself, Padma very helpfully washes the new extra-delicate, super-expensive bibs from Mothercare on the SUPER-STRONG-WILL-BLAST-WHATEVER-IS-IN-RANGE cyle in the washer-dryer. Resultantly, the plastic melts off. Uh, well, maybe it was from lead-laden China. Just as well. *


Also, solids might mean that he will sleep through the night. Who knows, maybe he wakes up every two hours through the night only because he is underfed and needs some chocolate cookies topped with some ice-cream to go back to sleep. The Lord knows it works for his dad.

Every night.


I am also adding another skill-set to my resume - watching a baby in order to prevent him from turninng over and falling off. Adi now flips from back to tum and vice-versa. This was the historic milestone that his grandparents were looking forward to with immense excitement (So many muscle groups, all coming together to aid that one flip....ahhhh) Naturally, Adi waited for them to leave for Singapore before he performed the feat. Now, he is turning over all the time. I am also getting a good look at his ability to take success and failure in the same stride. If he turns he blesses us with a beatific smile. If he doesn't turn he screams like we are making him walk over hot coals. Such stoicism.

Its great of course, all this turning business. I thought my anxiety about him could not get any worse (I mean, I can't bring myself about to take a five-minute nap...being asleep means losing control and we know about my issues with that.....frustrating). He has proved me wrong yet again. Now, all my falling dreams are about him falling.

Now, if only he could speak and tell me whether he needs solids or not.






Monday, September 10, 2007

Separation implemented!

It was all rather hush-hush as Adi slept on and his grandparents slipped out of the house. Rather anti-climatic. One was sort of looking forward to overt displays of emotion from the normally we-are-so-stiff-upper-lip-we-need-lip-balm Tam Brams of the family.

And now the house is mine again!! You know what means. It means that I am now free to instruct Adi about the intellectual superiority of Zoom over BBC and CNN and Kajre Re over Mozart and Bach (blech I say)....tra la. Yes, Adi...they say Zoom, issko dekho for a reason.

Give me Bollywood or give me death, cruel world.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

The first separation


Poor Adi. He doesn't know it yet but he will be facing his second au revoir tomorrow as his grandparents head back to Singapore. They came in a week after my mother left (a week that had me very close to talking to the frig and washing machine....but more about that later). Adi was five weeks old at that time and was often given to wailing inconsolably at night. Mahesh was convinced that it was colic. We never found out what troubled him (probably just gross ineptitude on our part) but his grandparents were very welcome at the time. They would hold him, rock him and soothe him like neither Mahesh nor I could ever could.

At one point, I was convinced that the sole purpose of a baby's existence is to make his or her parents look bad and provide ample opprtunity for grandparental smugness.

Their sheer experience and competence had me worrying that we had committed a great folly by having the baby and HOW WOULD WE EVER HANDLE HIM ONCE THEY LEFT?????

Well, that day is also upon us and it is not so bad. We can understand his various cries and whimpers and fall at his feet at the right moment without him having to resort to incessant screaming, we know that bibs help multiple onesie changes (duh), we can bathe him without the fear of watching him go down the drain, we can sing to him without him looking at us like he can't wait to grow up and shove a harmonium down our collective throats, we can also pull faces idiotic enough to draw out a smile....yes, its not so bad after all.

It was good to have help and now we are really and truly on our own on the toughest project that we have ever had to handle in our lives. From now on, its all about how well we can manage Adi. May this journey be everything it promises to be. Amen.


Saturday, September 8, 2007

'Huge' body image issues and tattoos

Here's a thought that struck me at 3 am this morning, as I waited for my firstborn to slip into sleep deep enough such that he could be switched seamlessly from lap to crib. As is common with thoughts that strike one at hours of the morning when one is best sleeping and not philosophising, it appeared intensely insightful at that point. Now, of course it seems to me rather mundane. But since I had decided to pen it down then, here it is now....


All my time and energy and most of Mahesh's is spent in ensuring that Adi comes to no harm, that he is well-fed and happy and in no discomfort of any kind. All this because we hope to raise a child who is physically, emotionally and intellectually strong enough to look after his own good in the longer run. So, how do I deal with the fact that one day, this same child will grow into a rebellious teen who will want to inflict unbearable pain on himself, get himself a wound which will then become a strangely shaped permanent scar and worse, ASK ME TO GIVE HIM MONEY TO DO THIS!!!


Tattoos are not cool.


Also not cool is the size of the jeans that I have been reduced (?) to wearing. Malaika Khan, Sonali Bendre and ALL of Hollywood moms seem to come home from the hospital bearing their little bundles and sporting their pre-pregnancy jeans. Its like a going-away gift from the hospital. It was wonderful to have you with us. Thank you for letting us pull this creature out of you. As a token, we are keeping 10 kilograms of your baby fat with us. God knows with the amount Lilawati Hospital charged us for the cesarean section, that is the least they could have done.


Most women would agree with me that the real battle of the bulge is won or lost in the changing room of a Levi's store. It takes no prisoners. The weak-hearted and the large-waisted are thrown out on their 40" bums. There is no struggle tougher and more heart-breaking than trying to fit into old jeans that look at you like estranged friends. I am pissed off with you and I am never letting you into me again. Go away, stranger.


At last, I made my compromises and my peace with a new size and a new pair. It was not low-waisted. At least, I don't have a tattoo that I would like to show off.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Musings in September

It could not have been easy for her. There was no money and whatever little there was, could not have been used to buy disposable diapers.The 1970s were too early for P&G to consider India a viable market for Pampers. There were no baby wipes, no mobiles to hang in the crib (hell, there were no cribs), no running water (specially of the hot kind) and there was no hired help. There were other kids to manage and an entire house to run on the smallest budget.


She must have been tired a lot of the time. Most of the time. Maybe even all the time.


I rarely find myself wishing I could be in my mother's place. Except for one thing. Her uncanny knack of taking the right decisions where the kids were concerned. She could do it when she was a naive young thing of 18, rearing her firstborn. She can do it now when all three of her kids are grown up and two of them have children of their own. How did she do it? How did she manage to unerringly pick out the right thing to do every time?


There are so many decisions to be taken, so many choices to be made. How does one decide what is the right thing to do? How can we, the second-generation professionals from erstwhile middle class families ensure that our kids are not 'spoilt', that they think of deferred gratification as second nature, that they consider academics the only saviour that can save them from an ordinary life?


Its the toughest for people like us. We have gone without so many times. We have been denied more often than we have been indulged. And even that indulgence came at a price that we were aware of. And now that we have the means, we are in a mad rush to fulfill all the desires that we have struggled long and hard for. We are cramming our lives full of the pleasures that we grew up wanting. And we are doing it at a maddening pace. We pay more for a single meal at a restaurant than our parents spent on a month's worth of groceries and we know it. The first pangs of guilt at this unabashed consumerism are also past. We have learnt to live this lush life.


Except now. Now there are considerations more important.


How will we ever say 'No' to Adi when we are unable to say it to ourselves? How will we ask him to take success and failure in the same stride when the smallest disappointment causes us sleepless nights? How will we teach him that money is not the sole arbiter of happiness when we ourselves treat it as our only passion, or worse, the thing that fuels all our passions? We don't know the answers. But we think about it often and hopefully in time we will grow the wisdom to treat this dilemmas just.


My father used to say that at the age of fourteen, a child needs to be treated as an adult and should be party to all that troubles the family; this is the point at which parents should stop shielding him/her from their worries and seek his participation in solving them. I have also heard someone say that for the first ten years after a child is born, the parent is the slave; the next ten years the child is the slave; and post that, they are equals. I think there is merit in both the arguements. The tone and tenor of a child's relationship with the universe is formed early. Therefore, maybe its not too early to teach Adi the importance of politeness and humility, of determination and individualism, of kindness and consideration, of hard work and resilience. After all, the world is not getting an easier place to live in.


And if things get too tough/messy/complicated, I can always seek Mom's help.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Introducing Padma

As the parents-in-law begin packing their bags in their usual, meticulously Tam Bram fashion, I am expected to have a series of fits borne out of the anxiety of bringing up Adi in their absence.


(evil laughter)


Enter Padma. The lady with the magic touch. The angel who can make Adi sleep THROUGH THE AFTERNOON!! May I say it again? Yes, THROUGH THE AFTERNOON!!


However, unlike other angels, Padma was not a Godsent. Little bit of history - she used to do a part-time stint for us, coming for a paltry two hours or so when she would do the dishes and clean the house and leave us asking for more. You see, she had a way with Adi. She could speak to him in a strange sing-song voice that he could take without screaming blue murder. She could work noiselessly around the house, a critical skill that needs some serious mastering. To make matters more tempting, she could do all this with a smile.


Needless to say, WE WANTED HER.


VERY MUCH.


"If she is good with Adi, get her," was Mahesh's brief brief.


The first attempt at poaching met with a stone wall and a straight refusal, though nicely worded (as I said, Great Attitude). But I am nothing if not resilient, particularly with matters that have a bearing on Adi's sleep patterns. I continued our efforts using Saam, Daam, Dand and Bhed. As is usual with such negotiations, the canditate was willing to consider movement at the right price. If her spouse had not been a drunk bastard who used to beat her black and blue and had long since left her, I would have sent him flowers.


Adi seems to like this NEW SLAVE and has been spending time with her without looking to check every two minutes if mother has gone and got herself a life. Whew!


On the other hand, I have become the woman that I used to detest. The woman who would alight from a chauffer-driven car, with an ayah in tow holding baby while Mem Sa'ab shopped. But dude, have YOU ever tried shopping with one hand while holding a squalling infant in another?


Tuesday, September 4, 2007

House hunting or how to get demoralized in several parts

We never learn. That is what sets us apart from other Mumbai dwellers who have come to terms with the fact that in return for the endless hours they put in their work, horrendous commutes in the face of deathly traffic, regular trysts with death during the annual monsoons, they cannot and should not expect to have a decent standard of living and a reasonable place to call their own.

Since we don't learn, we set off to see houses yet again. Only this time we also added the added complication of wanting a play area within the building for Adi to run around in a couple of years and...GASP...a gym and pool within the condo compound.

I won't even talk about the difficulty of finding such a place. Suffice it to say that unless one has a last name ending in Bachchan or Ambani, this practice is rather useless and a bloody waste of time. The few buildings that did come close to our description asked for rents that caused Mahesh and me to have minor coronaries, right there on the white mosaic floors.

So as usual we leched at the beautiful bunglows of Bandra with wonderful names such as Peace Haven, Fernely House and simply, 18th Hill Road, ate some ice cream and came back to Mangalkunj. Now, since we have a good deal going in MK, there is no point in moving unless we can find a more spacious alternative. But all we seem to run into is more specious alternatives.
Poor Adi...looks like he will have to play street cricket, quite literally.
He is also teething. That means that I need to sit holding him, through the night. For entertainment, I can hear my heart break into a million pieces as he snivels in his sleep due to the pain caused by his fangs trying to break through the gums.
But he is four months old today! Four months of having my heart cut out of me and see it walk away (eventually), four months of no sleep, of endless anxiety, of new skills learned. Four months of seeing my old life slip away from my hands. Really, four months of growing up a lifetime.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Here is a picture

Rendition of an urban mother with child at leisure
or
My baby, my baby, MY baby, MY BABEEEEE!!!
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