Friday, May 30, 2008

A house for Mr Biswas...and me? Part 2

The cool flat comes with a cool aunty. Yes, it does not get any more stereotypical than that. Aunty lives in London and is in town only to sell the flat. She has four kids and all of them are doing really well but that does not mean that she is willing to sell the flat cheap. In fact, earlier she was living in a building nearby and letting her brokers do the showing-around. Very soon she found out that her brokers are telling prospective buyers that the flat can be had much cheaper than the asking price. Smart woman that she is, she packed boriya-bistar and moved into the flat, hired NCB and Co., jazzed up the flat a little bit, bought some furniture and started baking fresh bread when people came to look at the place. Ok, maybe not the last one. Sheesh.

We decided that we would not rush into things. Prima facie, the flat looks great but it needs work. So, we got an architect to come and take a look at things. FIL and I accompanied the architect to the flat. I got very excited and started asking all sorts of questions. Aunty was looking at me strangely but I persisted.

Me: So, do you think I can break down this wall and put glass here?
Architect: Yes, yes, should not be a problem but what will you do about the safety aspect?
Me: I will let M bother about that. I am in charge only of the aesthetics. Now, what about this commode? Can I move it that side?
Architect: Yes, I think it can be done? You may need to break down the lofts and increase the height.
Me: Ah, yes, I was also thinking on the same lines. Now, can I make a window in this wall?
Architect: Madam, this is an external wall. If you make a window here, the building will collapse.
Me: Stunned silence

Aunty has been humouring us all this while but the deal is nowhere close to being done. She is speaking to her army of consultants - lawyers, accountants, extended family, the works. We are waiting patiently for her to revert. Well, maybe not all that patiently but then, what are our options? It is her flat, she has to do full tasalli before selling it.

In the meanwhile, Pramod, our trusted driver plus all-work-man already considers the house bought. He approves of the place whole-heartedly, he tells us and has already noted down the number of the bus that he will need to take from the station. To top it all, he has also made friends with the guard of the building and was seen having a nice tete-a-tete with him the last time we visited Aunty. Shant, gadadhari Bheem, M keeps telling him but he is not listening.

Right, so that is the update. Next post, next time!! Till then, enjoy my misery.....

Monday, May 26, 2008

A house for Mr Biswas...and me?

Our forays into the annals of Bandra real-estate have been chronicled diligently elsewhere in this blog. Would you like it if I continued the rest of the post in this sarkari babu fashion? No, I didn't think so.

The sequence of events has become downright predictable. We see a prospective house, we screw up our faces in disgust as we take in the peeling plaster and the dirty staircases, we fall into a dead faint upon hearing the price, we put tail between legs and retire to some comfort food at Mangalkunj, the residence for the last four years.

Our old trustworthy broker (OTB), oxymoron though that is, also understands this sequence and promptly takes us to see the most unpalatable of apartments every time we express the wish to buy something in Bandra. 'Building is maintain', he proclaims, though said building is as far from being maintained as I am from being not.

So, a few days back we decided to break the shackles of OTB and decided to explore other agents. M went through a couple of real-estate websites and read out descriptions of apartments in Bandra that had me drooling more than Adi when he is teething.

"Call him up right away," I instructed M. M complied and proceeded to make conversation with the broker in the tone that he reserves for some incredibly important higher-up in a phoren office.

"Pseud f***er," he summarised succintly after the call, "we are meeting him tomorrow outside the park."

The next day saw us outside the park five minutes before the appointed time of rendezvous, pacing restlessly.

"How will we recognize him?" I asked out of idle curiosity.

"We won't. He will."

And so, when five minutes later a total dude-type character and forgive me for being so local in my language, walked up, with really cool sunglasses and designer jeans and a nice car and the works, we were stunned. I have a standard reaction to being stunned. I start laughing. And so, bearing with M's warning looks and nudges, I giggled and guffawed all the while saying, 'this, this guy is our broker?'

My friend J says that places like The Bagel Shop and Just Around The Corner are frequented by people from an alternate universe. I think our new cool broker (NCB) would be right at home there.

NCB is not only cool looking, he also hangs out with other cool brokers, all in their early twenties and MOST IMPORTANTLY, shows us cool flats.

One of these flats is situated in Pali, nestled in a really quiet and quaint neighbourhood. The staircase running through the building looks like its been shone with spit and I mean that in a nice way. It has a small terrace which can house plants and a kitten called Kittu in a basket.The flat even has, gasp, sea-view in patches. A lovely sea-breeze blows through the flat at all times. And I should have been a broker myself, if I can sell flats so well. What I meant to say was that the flat in question is really, really nice. But one should not mentally start selecting the exact colour of the curtains if one has not bought the flat. Right? Right.

To be continued....

Sunday, May 25, 2008

A tiresome anecdote

This morning I was having second thoughts about our upcoming trip to Europe.

Me: Listen, do you think we are being crazy, dragging off our baby to Europe just so I can attend that concert?

M: No, no, baby. We are just being adventurous. We are the awesome twosome.

Me: Huh? There's not just the two of us. There's Adi too. That makes us the gruesome threesome.

M: Uhoh!! We forgot Mumma (my mom)....she is also coming along.

Me (dolefully): Yes, I guess that makes us the loathsome foursome.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Feeling better

Its the pills to the rescue once again. For someone who has spent an entire childhood in hospital compounds, I sure have started avoiding them. Anyway, I am feeling better and thank you muchly for asking. I am now working on a report that needs a lot of reading and a lot of focusing and a lot of concentrating - things that I am apparently and evidently and empirically incapable of. Added to the already full list of Adi related to-dos, I am a busy lady that is running away from it all and blogging instead.

Ah, an award! From Mandira at churningthewordmill.

Thank you, thank you. So many people that I could pass it on to but the name that just jumps off the tongue is doubtlessly Dipali and the ever-so-nice Suester. I have an idea that both of them would have already got this award several times over buy hey, its mine to give away so...

My friend PG is full of interesting anecdotes. Sample this: she bangs shut the door of her apartment and is on her way out. As she bounds down the steps, she runs into her neighbour who is standing outside her own closed door, looking quite drawn. This neighbour has a two and a half year old daughter.

PG: Hey, what are you doing here?

PG's neighbour: Well, my daughter just asked me for proof that I am her mom.

PG: Ha ha ha, so what did you tell her?

PG's neighbour: I told her that I cook for her and clean for her and do all her things. I told her about she grew in my belly and how when the right time came, the doctors took her out.

PG: Great! So is she convinced now?

PG's neighbour: Yes!

PG: So what is the problem? PG's neighbour: She now wants to know what is the man that she is expected to call 'Dad' doing in the house.

I nearly rolled off the sofa when I heard this. Of course I won't be laughing all this much when the dreaded time for the birds and bees questions arrives.

Oh, I remember another one. This kid goes up to the father and asks - Daddy, where did I come from? Dad ponders over the questions and being from the evasive school of thought says - son, we wished for a child and applied to Mr Stork. Fortunately he listened to us and then a few months later he wrapped you up in a bundle and delivered you to our terrace from where we picked you up and started taking care of you. Son looks thoughtful and asks - Achha, toh issme sex ka koi chakkar nahin hai?

I am sure you are now dying to tell me the one about.....go ahead, leave it in the comments. We can all do with a few laughs here.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Weaning Adi

I have tried to placate myself with so many platitudes these past few days. Life is a series of weanings for your baby - off your milk, your bed and finally your home. Gee thanks, that makes me feel wonderful. Or how about weaning is not about rejecting but releasing. Right, of course, I am releasing stress hormones alright. I thought I was so ready for this. More than this, I thought my little fella was ready for this. Looks like he was readier than I am. Because why else am I

- feeling like I have been put through the wringer. Seventeen times. In a row.
- feeling lower with more sleep than I have got this last year than I ever did with waking up every fifteen minutes. Oh dude, I know about prolactin and all. That is not what I mean, you know. You know?
- rejecting M's repeated attempts to get me out of this funk by taking me out to coffee, for lunch, for dinner, for bungee-jumping, whatever makes me look a little bit less like a lost puppy
- feeling rejected by Adi rather than it being the other way around
- feeling like he has grown up, left the nest and is now somewhere in college, drinking beer and being a frat boy even as I am cooking his meals, changing his diapers and making him sleep
- feeling that this was too early
- feeling that this was too late
- feeling confused, lost and lonely
- feeling selfish and self-obsessed
- feeling like a martyr about to be thrown into the hell for bad parenting

As if the brain damage that I am inflicting on myself is not bad enough, I am in such terrible pain. Ibuprofen is my new best friend, in fact, it is my only friend. Complicated situation this - I can have any darned painkiller I want because I am not bfing anymore, but hey, if I had not weaned Adi, I would not have needed painkillers. Life sucks. More platitudes rolling off the tongue, what?

The only saving grace is that Adi is sleeping better than ever before and he looks better rested than when he was waking up for comfort feeds. Clearly he needed this. Sigh, if life really is a series of weanings, never have I felt so ill-prepared to handle it.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Tiffin time!

I am so busy these days living out my life that there is no time to record it.

What did I just say? Does it even make any sense?

Anyway, I have ten minutes I think so to work, to work.

Current brain-buzz music for me is all songs starring that lovely lady - Katrina Kaif. She may be very pretty but that is not what I mean by lovely. Actually my boy really likes her. Katrina Aunty is helping him eat these days. Yes, yes I am a terrible mom. I switch the television on while feeding Adi. If I am in luck (and thanks to the producers who are signing KK left, right and center, I am) songs from Race or Namaste London or some such are playing. Adi stares mesmerized at the woman dancing or grinning (she grins a lot, what?) and I shovel in spoon after spoon of food into his goldfish mouth, opening at intervals. Yes, people, Shahid Uncle with his Nagada, Nagada has been replaced by Kat.

At number two comes Kareena Aunty. Kareena Aunty is also thankfully getting a lot of screen space these days and it is all very, very good. In fact the other day we went to see a flat in a building in Khar. The broker smugly informed us that the penthouse is owned by Kareena Kapoor. M and I looked at each other and thought the same thought - Ah yes, she can help us feed Adi.

Padma's leave also means that I spend ALL my time cooking for Adi. Thanks to my zealous attitude, I want to serve the boy fresh food for every meal and yes, you're right, this is the case because I know that it is going to last for just a month. As I was saying, all my time is spent slaving at the stove. If it is not oats, it is khichdi. If it is not khichdi, it is daliya. On and on and on. First cook and then feed.

We went out for a couple of hours on the weekend and told the grandparents to give Adi formula when he woke up in case we did not get back in time. We got back in two hours and opened the door to this scene. Grandma was swinging a bunch of keys back and forth to distract Adi. Adi was not distracted. An entire box of tissues lay balled up and discarded at the dining table. There was as much milk on Adi as there was in him. Some milk was still sitting in the bowl, crying to be left alone. Grandpa was trying his best to shove some milk down the boy's gullet who was having none of it. When I picked up Adi, he smelt like a dairy. He was immediately taken to the bathroom where he loudly proclaimed "Nahai, Nahai" (bath) and sure enough, Nahai nahai was arranged for. Since then M and I have decided that we need to get back in time for Adi's meal.

Of course poor grandparents are not to blamed for the failure. How were they to know that the answer to the problem was actually Katrina Kaif?

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Like a babe in the woods

A day before Aditya's birthday, M and I went to a bookstore to pick up some books for the kids who would be coming to the party. Just when we were getting our purchase billed, we saw a member of the staff trying to console a little girl crying miserably. The child could not have been more than five or six years old. Turned out that since the bookstore holds activities for children on weekends, the mother had left the child there, all alone. The child was bawling and asking repeatedly for her mother but the lady in question had gone away, probably back home.

The search for the mother started. The staff member (an efficient woman judging from her composure) tried to get the child's phone number or the name of the building where she stays but the little girl was in no state to talk. She did not have her address and phone number in her pocket either. This went on and on. The child would not say anything except "Mamma, Mamma". The bookstore staff told us that the child's family were regulars at the store and since they knew the mother's name, they would check the member database for their phone number. Sure enough, the mobile number was traced but it was not reachable. The child got more and more distressed with every passing moment. Finally, one of the people from the store went out to get the mother (he said he knew the building). After a few minutes, the staffer came back with the child's uncle (mother was too busy?). She clung to him like there was no tomorrow. M and I breathed a collective sigh of relief too and went about our business. Of course I could not resist telling the uncle that they needed to be a tad more careful with where they were leaving their kids but I was nowhere near as forceful as I am wont to.

I don't know what the mother's story is but whatever it is, it is not fair on the child to be left alone amongst what she obviously considers strangers. Being a regular at the store, the mother may feel that her child is safe with the staff there but come on, in this day and age? It was possibly none of our business but in the absence of the child's family, we just felt responsible and definitely could not leave the store till the child found her home.

Dear Mom of that lost girl, You will probably never read this but if you do, I want to ask you to be a little more cautious regarding your little girl. It is a child and they don't come with replacement guarantees.

Poor kid.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008


So much is happening in my life these days. For one thing, there is going to be a new baby in the house. Or two. Or three. Or as many eggs the Lady Pigeon has laid in her nest in my kitchen. Yes, you heard that right. There is a pigeon who has decided that the top of a shelf in my kitchen in the safest place in the world to bring in her brood (?) into the world. Naturally, I am responsible for the well-being for the Lady Pigeon and her young ones from here on (even as I battle bird-flu nightmares) and have been reading up about pigeons online.


What is a group of pigeons called?

A group of pigeons is called a flock, flight or kit.

I knew I shouldn't have fed the birds that land at my windows. They are all practically my pets now. I can't help it. If I cannot have the St. Bernard of my dreams then I will make do with the crows and pigeons that I can get.


Padma has left for her village for a month. My in-laws are staying with us till she comes back but Adi refuses to go to them. Therefore, for all practical purposes I might as well kiss the last remnants of my social life bye-bye (said with a wavie). I am hoping I can steal an hour every day to hit the gym. We size zero types are like this only.


The house feels so empty after the last week's commotion. My nephew is just a month younger to Adi. It was hilarious. They used to get hungry at the same time, want to play with the same toys, vie for attention, get sleepy.....I am reconsidering my request for twins!


Sis and I were talking in the kitchen after the babies had gone to sleep. Suddenly we heard a flapping noise from near the ceiling. Sis asked me check what it was. I told her that I had been watching too many scary movies lately and was scared of what might be lurking inside. Sis tried to reassure me by saying it was probably only a cockroach or a spider or a lizard. She is very strange that way. Naturally I did not open the shelf on her advice. Now of course I know that it was only Lady Pigeon.


About the blog, yeah, I am still thinking, people. I am the firm, decisive kinds, as you already know. Let me dither on this for a while and then once my mind is made up, I will put up a post. Thanks for asking me to stay though. It is a huge boost to the ego.


Sunday, May 4, 2008

Twelve month letter or where the hell did the last year go?

Dear Adi,

Happy birthday!

I had to write this letter even though I have a thousand things to do before your birthday party this evening. The camera needs to be charged, the cake lady needs to be reminded and I need to stop making this into a to-do list.

The house is full of family and though you don't know this, they are all here because of you. Presents have been pouring in but some people have opted out of the gift route and given you money instead asking me to buy something nice with it. Now, there is this amazing hand-bag at Gucci that I have been eyeing....

This last month you've started to walk around fearlessly and that has not been such a great idea. If you were a little fearful of tripping over the toys strewn all over the floor and breaking something, you might be a little more careful. Given that you don't seem to give a damn, I need to.

Since you started walking, you also shot up in height. Your arms decided to follow suit and now you are able to reach most things that were earlier just distant temptations for you. That is fantastic, boy and I really need to move everything one shelf up.

The Mumbai heat and humidity made way for the air-conditioners this last month and your nose promptly opened all taps. This won't do, child. Either your mother melts away into nothingness or you get used to cool environs.

Your father and I are planning our first long trip with you in tow and are freaking at the thought of the flights and the hotel stays and the food problems and the jet lag. Deep breath. Positive thoughts. Optimism. Deep breath.

Right, so you have discovered television recently. As in watching television. You seem to like Anil Kapoor of all people, Adi and we need to have a word about your preference for hirsute, ageing filmstars. Fortunately you are balancing it out by also showing a distinct liking for Hrithik Roshan and start gobbling up your oats to the tune of Krazzy 4. I had thought that I would ban television till you turned eighteen. Oh well.

Hey, this is your birthday letter and I need to also get a perspective on what the learnings for the last year have been. Now let me see. I have learnt how to do without unbroken sleep for the last 365 days straight, to eat when there is time rather than when I am hungry, to be confused and guilty about parenting vs career, to care about you to the exclusion of everything else, to best the art of camouflage clothing to hide all the lumps and bumps, to be anxious and personally responsible about every single accident and crime that happens on this planet....I have been busy alright.

After all, for all this, I see you becoming A REAL PERSON, hopefully the sort of person who will grow out of his liking for Anil Kapoor but even you don't, I will still love you, son.

It has been amazing, this last year and the most life-changing ever. Now, raise your katori of formula while I salute you with this glass of tequila, CLINK! To hundreds more, son. You are the best thing that ever happened to me.



PS : Hello, readers. It has been great to have you around these last few months in my eventful journey to becoming the most perfect example of motherhood, ever. Some of you have been leaving behind your comments and I really appreciate that. Others have been flocking but in anonymity and that is alright, too (though it would be nice to say hello to you and put names to statistics). Right, so I don't know how long I am going to continue with this least in this form...but that discussion is for another time. For now, how about raising your own glass of milk, juice, wine, water or golden tequila to my little boy and saying Happy Birthday? Thank you very much!