Friday, June 27, 2008

Shy guy

Not having known or seen too many babies in my life, I tend to assume that what Adi does is the norm, that somewhere he is the average in the law of averages. Now, so far when we have had other kids visit us, Adi has welcomed them brightly by diving under the dining table and staying there till the coast is clear. I of course thought that all kids are overcome by this sort of shyness when company comes a-visitin'. And so when we landed at pre-playschool (and we really need to find an acronym for that place), I thought that all the kids would try to stay close to their parents, stranger anxiety overwhelming their insides. Predictably, that was not the case. A couple of kids ventured forth without as much as a 'bye mom, I will write' and immediately started to form deep and lasting friendships with the other social kids, another little one left mom but did not approach the other kids, instead preferring to do her own thing in one corner of the room and then there were some others like the boy in question, who just refused to leave the mother's side.

We have a shy baby, I informed M, upon our return. Well, that is hardly a surprise given that he is our kid, said M. Huh, talk about yourself, I told M puffing up like a toad, I am very much a social butterfly, thank you very much. He grinned and said nothing. Well, maybe not exactly a social butterfly, maybe a moth? Anyway, M is right. I like to meet a few close friends and family of course and can spend hours gossiping and laughing but I also need a lot of personal, alone time. So I guess, I am partly...err....shy. M is also not exactly reclusive but I don't think you can really find him leading the crowds in fun and games.

So there you have it, we have indeed genetically conspired to give birth to a shy guy.

Maybe he will do some research-type work in some lab somewhere, I said, he definitely isn't cut out for professions that calls for glib talkers who talk nineteen to a dozen to strangers. Will you just relax, M asked. I can't, I said, its my baby's career choice we are talking about. Tad early to be deciding, kids change, he mildly averred but I continued to plot and plan. In fact I all but made a mental list of all the people who are shy but have gone on to do well in life. All would be quiet and then suddenly I would jump up in glee, shouting HRITHIK ROSHAN! or something. All this effort paid off in that I was able to compartmentalize my baby into a nice little box labeled SHY/INTROVERTED.

Armed with this wisdom, I shepherded the lad to PPS yesterday. I have no idea what came over him but on arrival, he let go of my hand and started exploring the surroundings. He then proceeded to stare at the faces of the other mothers and kids in the class, sometimes giving them a goofy grin. All in all, a complete change. Just when I thought that I had it all worked out too. Maybe M is right after all, maybe it is a little too early to tell.

Dude, this parenting thing is not easy.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Happy birthday, blog!

Right, so the blog has been around for exactly a year today and that is rather cool, I thought. Imagine blogging with a small infant in tow. Only somebody with a lot of perseverance, patience and dedication to the task at hand could do it.

What am I doing here then?

I wanted to mark this, ahem important occasion with a special post. As usual, all my creative juices dried up as soon as I decided to call on them.

I then decided that a moohn meetha karo was called for and get this, there is not a single piece of chocolate, candy or mithai in this house. Howzzat?? Very slimming but most disheartening nevertheless. I almost decided to chop a mango and eat that but suddenly that felt like too much effort and now I am chomping on some Calcium Sandoz Soft Chews of all that things.

I am guessing a simple Happy Birthday will have to suffice. So happy birthday, blog. Its great the way every now and then, I get an unlikely someone to tell me that they read my blog and hell, like it!


In keeping with the a movie a week program, M and I watched Sex and the City yesterday. Most uplifting I say. I wouldn't mind living in Manhattan on a freelancing writer's salary and wearing all those dazzling clothes and having a bunch of fantastic looking, dependable and loving friends around me at all times. No sir, I wouldn't mind that at all.


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Alibaug and playschool

I insisted on calling the place ALI-BOG. Soon it got on everyone's nerves and I lived happily ever after. Adi did not know that he was going to ALI-BOG but he sat quietly in his car-seat for about two and a half hours. I thought all my good karma had come to fruit at once and the rest of the trip would be completely nightmarish. Thankfully, it was not so. The boy seemed to enjoy himself tremendously. I had not carried anything in terms of food other than his formula. The first day at breakfast, I asked the chef to get me some porridge for Adi. The first time around it tasted quite raw and chewy. I am the sort of person who is seen fighting and screaming in stores and restaurants if service is not adequate so I immediately started cribbing about the non-perfectness of the porridge. The highly cooperative chef emerged from the kitchen and asked me exactly how I would like it cooked. Just like Mom makes it, I nearly said but held my tongue just in time. Well, roast it well before cooking it, I vaguely instructed him. He disappeared back into the kitchen and Adi decided that he had had enough. Give me whatever you are having, he shouted from his stroller which was serving double-time as the high-chair too. Several bites of masala omelette, aloo-parantha, toast etc later, I realized that a. the porridge would go waste after all and b. all things considered, the Italy holiday is not such a bad idea.

The resort was great and being completely new, the staff was pretty much standing on their heads to serve us. Most gratifying and highly recommended. The food was nothing short of outstanding, specially the one served at their fine-dining coastal restaurant. I think I will reserve the rest of my review for Trip Advisor. Do you people use Trip Advisor?


Adi has stared playschool. Or pre-playschool. Or pre-nursery. Or whatever it is that a thirteen month baby can attend. Essentially, it means that I accompany him to the school where he makes a mess with colors, dances to some music and plays with some blocks for an hour. All this is supposed to make him a super-achiever who can beat the pants off the kid-next-door at nuclear science.

I had serious doubts about this playschool business. For one thing, one of the teachers there kept referring to something called the 'dwellupment' of kids. Not to be a diction Nazi or anything but I'd like Adi's teacher to be replicas of God. At the very least. So I was a tad disappointed. Also it was reasonably clear that the school had a profit orientation and was not in it for kids' company and sweet smiles. That reminds me, have you read this? Fascinating stuff. Anyhow, turned out that I was worrying needlessly. Adi is quite happy pottering about at the place. He clings to me quite a bit. Part of it is his inherent shyness. The other part is that I am very cling-worthy.


My nephew Vir; M and my friend Mala's son, D and my cousin Mona - all have had birthdays recently. Happy happy, all!!


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Rain etc

Aha, now this is good use for a computer - writing aimless drivel in my blog. Significantly more enjoyable than using it to write ppts and analyzing data, in my opinion. But then, you may not agree with me. Anyway, so it has been raining ceaselessly in Mumbai and when one is sitting indoors and not having to hail rude auto-wallahs while balancing an uncooperative umbrella in one hand and fast-getting-wet dignity in the other, rains can be quite enjoyable.

Rains also mean hot pakodas and tea. Everything in my life mean some food or the other but rains are particularly incomplete without the consumption of high-calorie snack items. Therefore, yesterday, I finally gathered the courage to ask Shilpa to make some aloo-pyaaz bhajiyas for me. After giving this simple order and confirming that she does indeed possess the skills and equipment required to perform the task, I toodled off to the hall with Adi, all the while dreaming of the yummy morsels that would seen be making their way to my belly and then seamlessly to the hips. Fifteen minutes later, a peculiar whiff of something burning made its way to my nose. Hurrying to the kitchen, I saw some onions in serious need of Bernol making their way out of the kadhai and onto a plate.

Me: What? What? What?
Shilpa: What what?
Me: What the hell is this?
Shilpa: You asked me to make bhajiyas.
Me: Correct. So why haven't you made them? And what is this?
Shilpa: These are bhajiyas. I am very famous for making bhajiyas. In fact, I had opened a bhajiya shop some time back.
Me: I am not surprised that you are not in that business anymore. Please take these...bhajiyas...home. I don't really think I have the stomach for them.


I have been very irregular to the gym this last one month. Ironically, this has also been the month when I have weaned Adi and resultantly lost weight. Therefore, when I finally made my way to the gym looking thinner, all the trainers took a look at me and then accusingly said - You've lost weight. I stared back at them unflinchingly and in an even more accusatory tone replied - I know and I have not even been exercising. Maybe all this business about gymming to lose weight is not true after all.


I wore my regular tracks to the gym and clambered onto the treadmill. Praying silently but fervently to the Mumbai Marathon devi, I walked for a few minutes and then increased the speed. 6, 6.5, 7, 7.5, 8.....thump, thump, thump. The ipod is growing out of my ear and I am running merrily. Suddenly I feel that I am in the imminent danger of exposing self to unsuspecting strangers. Huh? WTF? I surreptitiously feel the band of my tracks and sure enough, they seem to want to leave my body. I hastily pull them back, stretching them all the way to the collar bone and continue to run. Not easily deterred, the tracks again begin to slide off. Aha! This is one of the redeeming factors of exercise. I have lost weight....ergo, clothes are looser. Unfortunate way to find out of course but never mind about that. I walked slowly for the rest of my appointment with the treadmill and am currently looking forward to shopping for a new gym wardrobe.


We did the unthinkable and depositing Adi with Padma last Sunday, went off to watch Indiana Jones. I enjoyed it tremendously and finished off one full packet of caramel popcorn in my excitement. No guilt, nothing. We are now planning to make Sunday morning movie-going regular. Next stop, SATC and Sarkar Raj.

Sarkar Raj reminds me of all the press meets that the Bachchans have been holding. Why are they so anti-media? I mean, its great to be polished and witty but these guys are positively rude to the journos. Come on, you're here to promote your picture, the least you can do is feign politeness. Someone asked Abhishek if he was planning to get a six-pack and he positively went up in smoke, blabbering something about having a one-pack and being very happy in that. Wifey Ash used this opportunity to cop yet another feel and added her own supremely intellectual two-bits about the importance of keeping real. Now, really? The Big B himself, used convoluted Hindi words to throw off the media and establish his humbleness once and for all.


We're off for a couple of days to a resort. Looking forward to dealing with Adi's sleep tactics in a different setting very much. Also, planning to catch up on some reading and writing. Padhna likhna seekho, o mehnat karne walo etc. See you on the other side of our getaway then.


Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Thirteen month letter

Dear Adi,

Into the second year with a bang....this last month has been so busy, child. You have deigned to be great friends with the grandparents in the last few weeks and that was fortunate because I could leave you with them for extended periods of time and could get a lot of work on my research project done. That party is now going to come to an end, sweetheart because they are leaving on Saturday. Padma will come back (hopefully) and you will have a new round of adjustments to make. Thanks to Padma's leave, I have been doing all your work too and I have discovered a number of new tricks to make you eat. Katrina Aunty and Kareena Aunty help of course but you lose interest in everything by the time the fifth spoonful rolls along. After that, I sing Korbo, Lorbo in a remarkably non-Bong accent; dance to 'Zara, Zara' and 'Main hoon Ghatothkach' alternatively and get your father to whistle like Lara Dutta in 'You're my love, my love, jaanejaan you're my love' in order to finish the meal. You can never blame us for not trying, son. Or not entertaining.

You've a number of tricks up your sleeve now. You show us how drills and hammers work, how a doctor checks you, how one plays tennis.....basically you've learnt that the hands and arms can be put to use in a lot of ways. You shake your finger admonishingly at us when we say,'No No No No' (maybe in trying to get you not to wash your hands in the commode or chew the laptop) and nod your head forcefully, albeit with some difficulty when saying 'Yes'! Recite Twinkle-Twinkle and you immediately go 'UPP!' in anticipation of 'Up above the world so high'. That never fails to crack me up! You continue to love roughhousing with us and nothing thrills you as much as being swung about in all sorts of mad ways. I think you will be a good partner to have on our next trip to Disneyland. I personally went on the Space Rocket ride seven times in a row, child and overdid it to the point where I was ho-humming while they turned us upside down at great speeds. But a few years left for that still....

The big event was weaning you after you turned one. You were ready for it because you forgot about it in a jiffy. I have started giving you the same food as we eat and you are perfectly happy with eating what must be super-spicy for you. No? Well then, who am I to argue? Bring out the aloo-gobhi and rajma-chawal. Of course, weaning you does not mean that you have started sleeping through the night. You still give serious trouble in settling down even at eleven in the night and still wake up at least once to sip some water or generally climb up and down a few pillows. One might suggest that there is no need really to go for such extensive aerobic workouts when the rest of the world in this hemisphere is peacefully sleeping but you will not pay heed, will you? I spend the entire night bolstering you with pillows so that you don't go dhumming all over the place. M says that the bed resembles Adi and the pillow factory each morning. One of these days I will strap a pedometer on you and check in the morning the distance you've traversed. But then I think about just how much worse it was when I was still feeding you and thus chastised, I back off. Weaning you also had the happy side-effect of taking off me the last of the pregnancy weight and I cannot describe in words the joy of wearing my old clothes without the fear of seams splitting and gross amounts of fat being exposed to all and sundry.

You have started running about now. And you have also learnt to let your body completely loose when you don't want to be picked up. You specially practice these new skills when you don't want to leave one person, normally me and go to someone else. For someone who weighs just over ten kilos, you can sure pack a solid punch. Climbing up and down the couch is one of your recent accomplishments, one that gives me heart attacks regularly even as I run to rescue your little neck. Other than that, we also rescue our glasses regularly. You approach your myopic parents, looking all innocent and glancing this way and that, you suddenly snatch their glasses and look very pleased with yourself.

I am most impressed with your fascination with your books, Adi and if there is one habit I hope you're not going to kick, EVER, it is this. You bring your board-books to us and demand to be read. You point correctly at everything - teapots and clouds, bears and rabbits, sheep and cows. For some strange reason though, this pointing business is limited to the books. Bring out the flash cards and you lose all interest. Adi, where is L for Lion, your father will bellow and you will point confidently at whatever is closest, be it C for Car or P for Pajamas. I think we will just stick to the books for now, love.

That's it for this time then.



Monday, June 2, 2008

A house for Mr Biswas....and me? Concluding part

Aunty called us over. We went, armed with the chequebook and the possibility of a huge bank-loan. Can we write you a token amount, we asked politely. Not so fast buster, said Aunty, my lawyer is coming down from London and will advise me on how best to remit the money. Wow, we said, lawyer from London, so impressive. I will call you back in three days, said Aunty, and beta, don't misunderstand me...I just want to take some more time. No problem, aunty, we said feeling very beta-like and returned home.

She is shopping the deal around, said my sister, my mother, my other sister, M's parents and the long-lost uncle from LA. No, no, no, no, M and I were adamant in our belief in Aunty. Nobody could lie so blithely with not one shikan crossing the forehead.

Three days passed. NCB and Co., not hearing from Aunty went off to check on her. I want three more months, beta, she informed them piously. WHAT THE F#@%, said NCB & partners. Aunty cooked up another cock and bull story about needing to hang on in India for three more months due to some legal gibberish...ask your party (namely yours truly) to hang on till then. NCB smelt a rat. What a pity, what a pity, he said, I had another party from Dubai who was willing to pay you much more but since you don't want to sell for three months, I can't bring them to the table. BRING THEM, BRING THEM, Aunty could hardly speak due to the saliva that was being produced at the thought of more money. Realizing what a complete avaricious person he was dealing with, f*** off, said NCB, we don't want to sell your flat, this is the second time you've done that.

Second time? Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Aunty had almost closed the deal with a celebrity some time back and we had been asked to back off. Then she called us again saying that she did not want to sell to a Bollywood actor (I am not disclosing names here!) and if we were still interested, we were welcome to come talk. Ah, but she had underestimated her own greed at that time.

I am truly amazed and impressed by how easily people can lie. I mean, it takes a certain kind of courage to sit alone across a roomful of strangers and say one thing while you mean just the opposite. It happens all the time in property deals, says sis who has bought and sold houses. Yes, but come on, here is this old lady, claiming to be a devout *insert name of community*, telling us one fabricated story after another and not flinching even once. Yes, I am most impressed!!

She could have just asked for more money, says NCB morosely, there was no need to tell these tales. Well, no, replies M, I am not willing to pay her a penny more than the original price. I did not bargain then and I will not do it now. And this from a man who bargains for a living. Ah well....

So basically, what we think happened was that Aunty was told that the real estate market is cooling off for the next 3-6 months and she should hang on to her flat and ask for a better price later on and not wanting to say as much she was trying to lead us up and down the non-existent garden path.

Sad, I so liked the place. But the landlady, not so much.

Hey, thank you all the comments that you've left. Being manically depressed after this episode, I will not be replying individually to you but when I do buy a house, you better come ready to consume the champagne!!