Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Letters to a little girl - eleven

Dearest Ragini,

Late for the eleventh letter. Small problem, given that you and the big brother have been diligently falling ill. I need to do something about you two. Perhaps a drastic change in diet and nutrition? Or maybe I should send out a mannat into the big, bad universe promising to give up ice-cream if you two show some semblance of staying well for ten days at a stretch? What, what, I ask, little girl, what?

Alright, so the troublesome facts out of the way, let's focus on the good things. The boy was always fascinated by the dining table, spending hours pondering over the problems of the world under its wooden canopy. These days he likes to lead you under his small desk and looks like bumped heads are a small, small price to pay for getting to be in such a marvellous, luxuriant little nook. Sometimes I think I will never understand kids. Specially my own. Sometimes I also wish I could get to spend five minutes under a table of my own before the world came crashing down.

The battle with food continues. I wish you were less of a gourmand, who likes to turn up her little button nose at everything that the kitchen has to offer. Uff, this soup, take it away, I cannot bear to look at it. You expect me, ME, to eat this kheer, you incompetent blot on the face of chefs the world over? Ha, ha, nice joke, thinking I will partake of this fruit because here's the thing, see, I will not.

I did say we were going to talk about pleasant things. Just a minute while I tackle one last thing. What is with the sleep, huh? How can you stay awake between 5 and 6:44 am because 6:45 is when the alarm goes off for the other kid. I can almost hear you murmuring in your sleep.

Must. Not. Sleep.

Must. Stay. Awake.

Up. Till. 6:44. Oho, that's the alarm. Finally. I shall now snooze while bhaiyya takes over, zzzzzzzz.

At least I have seen all of this and then some more before so yes, you are fighting with an experienced hand, punter.

The good stuff is also aplenty. For one thing, the two of you can and do spend a lot of time playing with each other. And since Adi is most proprietary about you, proclaiming to the neighbours the other day that Raagu is his daughter and always, always referring to you as my baby, going as far as looking most worried and saying, I have to teach my baby so many things but she just doesn't listen to me, what do I do, what do I do, complete with much hand-wringing, I am hopefully looking forward to the year when both of you will keep each other entertained by discussing your parents' many flaws and said parents will take off for a nice little vacation somewhere. Hope springs eternal and just keeps springing.

I tried dragging you to watch Rio yesterday but thanks to the phlegmy, eww, chest and what-not, you and I had to beat a hasty retreat, leaving the world of cinema to the old and venerable four year olds amongst us. He told me later that he had rather imagined Rio to be about cars. Rather unfair, given that the poster had a gigantic blue bird spread over it. Oh well.

Right then, on to the messy world of advice, little one.
  • Everyone comes across a lovely bathroom every once in a while where there are small, individually packed mini-soaps in a silver dish, perfume bottles, flowers in delicate vases, a case of lovely make-up and folded, fragrant hand-towels. You will feel a slight sense of adventure, a rise of the inner criminal. You want to do something that is not altogether right, something that needs to be carefully executed. One word of advice. Resist. (She will find out.)
  • Spare a second look for old houses. They say so little but hide so much.
  • It's perfectly alright to ask the waiter to pronounce the dish for you. Even if you are dining at the French Laundry. Consider it part of the bill.
  • There is no point in stating a problem again and again. Either come up with a solution or keep silent while you figure out a solution.
  • If you have to start a sentence with 'I don't want to say I told you so but...', stop right there.
  • Ditto, 'I don't want to hurt your feelings but....'
  • Don't laugh at people who cry while reading 'Love you forever'. I have my reasons for this one. Ask me sometime.
  • Have ambition. Plenty of it. How else will you change the world?
  • All of us run the risk of ending up as characters in someone's book. That's just the way it is. 
  • It is alright to treat astrology and palmistry and janam-patris as guilty pleasures. Just don't take them too seriously. 
  • The ocean is a pretty good show. Watch it alone for maximum enjoyment. 
  • A fight will intensify in direct proportion to the frequency of the words 'always' and 'never'. 
That's it for this time. Next time will be the last letter. But not the last of the wisdom, heh.




Richa said...

last letter, why so?

Though they are for Ragini, but I read them as though they are being addressed to me. :)

Love them totally!

D said...

I love the advice you send out your daughter's way. Especially heart the one about being ambitious. I heard this conversation between two mothers of baby girls once and haven't been able to get it out of my head - "You don't want your daughter to be ambitious, right?" one asked. The other said, "No, girls needn't be ambitious. She should just be happy."


Anonymous said...

Just curious -- why you used French Laundry of all the famous restaurants of the world? It's one of the best, but not the best (as the ratings go)

Just curious since I used to live close to French Laundry.

Manika said...

Great post, Parul. I'm reading your book these days and loving it! By the water cooler - I don't mind if I finish it quickly bec I still have Bringing Up Vasu to read after that! By the way, I totally totally relate to the things you say here - have two kids 4 and 2 myself. It's a madhouse around here too:-)

Mamma mia! Me a mamma? said...

1) That petition-to-collect-letters-for-new-book idea just keeps looking better and better...

2) Sorry, but I just have to ask -- Parul, will you be my mommy?

3) Last letter? *faints*
*comes to and mutters* Hmmm, maybe another petition to keep it going for another year? Didn't Adi get till two??