The mother... ok.. father...ok.. the parent of all battles!

Men will be men and women will be women. The battle of the sexes will continue till the end of time. Let me begin with this conclusion, as I don't intend to resolve anything here. It's a wild goose chase and I know better.

Somehow till they exchange rings 'forever', the man is the epitome of everything right, and the woman - the most beautiful thing on earth, well the universe possibly. And then something happens -as if by cue. After her forehead is adorned with the sindoor, or they say 'kubbol hai', or 'I do'. Something dramatic - happens. And life alters.

Within the first year of marriage, the woman realizes the husband is 'no longer the same'. That he is this selfish, lazy slouch who won't move an inch around the house. And if it is the game season, then god forbid the woman utter a word. A really important, rather life changing commentary about a demi god is lost. The highlights, don't have the essence of the game. There's no way in hell they can watch a replay to 'feel' the match. Repeat telecasts are for losers, who work their @$$ off in the office, or for husbands who loooove their wives or mildly put, are 'henpecked'.

The woman somehow has something really important to discuss only when there is a match on. How come she chatters away all the time about some stupid eye liner or a new pair of shoes otherwise, but makes an 'important' point only when the ball is mid air? And how can men be sure that this is not another discussion where she is not necessarily expecting your answer, but is thinking out loud? Do they listen to her, do they move the eyeball to the ball on TV? What's the right choice? Women can be so cruel.

The return of the jedi (read mother-in-law)
Her Mother-in-law visits
The middle aged husband is suddenly all of 6. The doe eyed mother's eyes are still filled with pride, to see her son tie his shoe laces.
Suddenly the food that he has been eating even for more than 10 years of marriage, do not provide enough 'nourishment to a growing and hard working' body. Pastas, noodles and salads are hardly any food. The goodness of ghee and butter is quintessential to that already bloating waist line.

His mother-in-law visits
He is still pampered. He is the 'prince' of the house. Especially, when he smiles cordially to her like he means it. But somewhere in the back of her mind, she still thinks, 'My daughter could have done a lot better than this guy'. And 'this is how we do it' somehow does not ring a bell with the new guy in the family, who like her husband is glued to the TV. His mother-in-law just hopes her daughter does not face the same 'trauma' she did after marriage.

enter person 3 - the kid
She thinks:
He is too immature, cannot handle the baby. Is a baby himself. Would rather trust her girl - friend who's visiting after 12 years of stay in a rehab, vs the father of the child. He somehow is not wired to handle the baby right.
Why wont he make that extra effort to feed the infant?
Why wont he notice that the diaper needs to be changed?
Why wont he stop her from hurting herself? Why does he always have to be told? A monkey does better when it is told.

He thinks:
'What harm can something so tiny do?', till ofcourse he sees the bottom 3 feet of the house in a different hue. Even then, it's art -awesome art! But then, his X-box is in the litter box, and the remote control is misplaced. That's when lightning strikes. The remote is misplaced. Now, he'll have to walk that extra 3 feet to change a channel. The little person now has his complete attention.

And why hassle over food now? If it is hungry, it will eat. We don't have to show him the moon or the stray dogs for a few morsels to go down that tiny tummy. It isn't worth the effort. We have research and we have proof. If you are paranoid, you run behind the kid. Don't blame us for being so wise.

He does change the diaper. When the smell becomes unbearable or she asks him to. There's no other reason why. There's something written on the diaper bag on frequency? Well, he never saw it. And if he didn't see it, it's not important.

So, the kid fell and hurt himself. He will learn not to do it again. Why the paranoia. Why the expectation of a paranoia?

He does what he is told. Period.It is hard as it is to listen to the mouth that responded to the 'I do', give so many instructions in the first place. There could be a few misses here and there, but boy! the speed of instruction is 10 times faster than the C in Einstein's famous equation. Something's bound to be missed. And when it is, it perhaps was the most important thing!

Well, that's till the kid's just about made his presence known. And life's just begun!

In Love with her World

Driti does not like watching TV. BUT.. (you need to imagine a big fat, huge BUT (with a single T)), she loves watching her rhymes. If when she was an infant, she liked watching animated cartoons, as a toddler, she likes watching actual 'small people' do their singing.

And while she is at that, she will ignore the whole world. She does not need her dearest Mamma or almost dearest Papa, or the pampering thatha, not even Paati. Infact, if we stand in front of her, obstructing her view of the big screen, she'd immediately get up from her seat and push you aside. And if you were like me, and wouldn't budge, she'd do the cute "Mamma, please move"

I added another song to her favorites "Hot Potatoes", by the Wiggles. But she refuses to dance. Given that her parents have a pair of left feet each, the least I'd expect is for my kid to be a sport who has anatomically the correct set of dancing equipment. So I dance for her. Just to encourage. Yes Yes.. not the ideal dancer, but still I think am better than a shorter version of the lame Amitabh Bachchan steps by the better half.

I don't know if this is OK - letting her watch rhymes, but she sure picks up words. It's either the rhymes or her school which helps her do this. So when she said 'again', 'door', 'buchi', we did not teach her that.

Whatever, Tom, the Piper's son does, he puts in a precious smile on my kid's face. I guess, that's all that counts.

Word Power Made Easy

Norman Lewis' book with the same title, is close to being my Bible of the English language. My essential take-aways have always been the 'story' behind the word and the mnemonics he suggests to remember the newly 'learnt' words. I was a huge fan when I was t preparing for my GRE like any other South Indian Engineering student. Today I think it is safely stacked under my dad's wobbly table. It still fills in for a firm foundation, so what if it's not for a foundation in the literary world.

Children on the other hand use mnemonics like nobody's business. The best part - they do not know that they are actually using this technique. Just like the bumble bee. It defied the laws of aerodynamics, just because it never read about it.

So daughter dearest, has just returned with us from a trip to Himachal Pradesh. This is probably the first time she was 'aware' of what she saw.
Mango Trees and Papaya trees were of huge interest to her. Her particular fascination was with a certain Mr Buffalo and a Mrs 'Tow' (read cow). Every 5 mins, she'd say ' Buffalo chahiye' Chahiye is a word she uses after every noun. You need to understand that she is sharing some information regarding the noun in question and catch up with her. So through out the trip in Himachal, it was 'Mando Tee' (Mango Tree), Buffalo, Tow, Atshu (Akshu - her cousin) in addition ofcourse to 'dadda', Tatiya (Katya - her cousin), and Sidonie (her friend).

My father in law was the most doting of her. Following my father ofcourse. My father would never say 'No' or be stern with her. And she knew this fully well and took advantage of the situation many a times when Appa was around. I digress. So my father-in-law soon became her favorite person, running behind her, picking out the finest balls (read lemons), getting chased with a stick and you name it. He was a 2 year old in a 60 year old's body. He was her 'devotedly yours' person.

So when we finally came back to Hyderabad, she ofcourse missed him a lot. (Well, not the most - most would have been 'bui' - her aunt - my sister-in-law and Tatiya).
So whenever FIL called, we used to help her connect with him. 'Dadda' - both the relation and the mnemonic. She remembered. And did not need any more help.She took the phone off our hands and said 'Dadda!'. My FIL's joy knew no bounds. "Haan Princess", he said excitedly. " Buffalo", she said immediately. Ady and I could not control our laughter. Poor FIL did not know how to react. "Yes Princess", he said disappointed, from the place with the Buffalo. :)

Sin City!

There's only one word that can describe our vacation to Vegas -Awesome!

Ady was to go to Seattle for a conference, and we figured, why not I go for it too. The only hitch was prolly Amazon may not be all that comfortable sharing business plans with a Googler in. So we decided that I'd explore the place and he'd explore the business plans and HR support structure. Ady wanted to trade places, but we acted mature and I went only to shopping malls.

Thanks so much to a dear friend Aruna, I did things I'd never normally do. And just because of that, it was all the more exciting. Because these are things I wouldn't normally do, I don't discuss too. So you don't get to hear what these were :)

When Ady could finally finish with his Conference, we visited Mt St Helens. No no, it was not all that depressing - just because it was an active volcano, the approach, the rawness of the nature around - was simply beautiful. I heard there's another mountain - Mt Rainier - it's snow packed and stuff - so a breath taking sight. We didn't go for this as husband dearest had already visited the scenic beauty, and he wanted to see something 'new'. My desire to see a snow capped mountain, is a while away I guess.

Cut to Vegas!

Now, as soon as we entered the airport, it was a different world. Yes. You can let your imagination run wild - in any direction. They don't call it 'sin city' for no reason. But we, like the disciplined Indian kids, focused on the shows that we could see. The LCD screen flashed Cirque-du-solil shows - with amazing acrobatics. Ady was more amused by Sienfeld's quick quips.

We stayed at the South Point Hotel, at the end of the strip. We hadn't done enough research so did not know what the right location to stay in was. We assumed, anything on the strip was good. We just didn't know 8 kms away is not exactly ideal.

As soon as we landed, Mr Singh took off to play poker. He had apparently earned $25 on a mock gambling game and he was very confident he could earn more. He was confident he could beat the system. He gave me a dollar to go play the slot machine, so I don't whine, scream or get tensed when he loses money - it's all a part of his strategy. And I played for like 10 mins with that dollar, spending a cent a time, till I finished all 100.

In the evenings, we visited all the other casinos, with a clear understanding that there will be no nail biting experiences in the evenings (read no gambling). My favorite was the gandola ride in the Venetian. The interiors are done so beautifully. You actually feel the hot and arid Vegas is pleasant and romantic. Ours was the last dedicated ride of the day. Our boatman was in an especially great mood and sang more than his quota of songs for us :)

Another experience I will never forget is the Stratosphere Casino. We went for the crazy rides there.Big shot was my favorite. You're strapped into a chair with your legs dangling, and then they shoot you straight up the tower's steeple, 160 feet in like two seconds. Then you're let to freefall.And just when you think, it's over, you up again. And the ride starts at the 108th floor!!! Not for the light-hearted. I'd like to say, I'm the braver one compared to Ady.(yay!)

'Extreme' is another interesting ride - It's like half a roller coaster. You're taken in one direction - OUTSIDE the building and there are these sudden jerks that make you think you're going to fall off- it's crazy why would you go outside the building. And the answer stares you in the face - that's why it's thrilling!

We saw 'Mystere' one of the Cirque-du-solil offerings. But I can't say much about it, as I dozed off because of the jet lag. Nothing negative about the show though, 'coz I got up to loud cheering from the crowd.

We also went to the Grand Canyon helicopter ride and landed in the canyon. While you have man made splendors on the one side, the magic of nature is a totally different experience. An experience to remember!!

This was a much needed vacation and we truly made the best of it. And how much did we make/lose? Well.. what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas:)

Dialogues through life

Life pre 2003:
Hyderabad, Parental Home:
Standard Dialogues:
1. Vasu, come home by 6:00 ok.
2. I'll pick you up if you're late.
3. I'll pray to God that you get Good marks.
4. Don't fight with your little sister
5. Eat properly

My Reaction: Can I please get my space?

XLRI, Jamshedpur
Scheduled calls back home - daily - 9:00 PM, when std rates are low, from public phone booth, beating long queues with cute smiles to the 'booth uncle'
Standard Dialogues:
1.Take care of yourself beta, eat well.
2. let us know if you need more money.
3. I will make your favourite idlis when you come back home.

My reaction : Wow! Distance really makes you more important!

2005 - 2007
Delhi, New Job
Standard Dialogues:
1. Take care of yourself
2. Eat well
3. I'll make your favourite food when you're here.
4. Why doesn't your company give you leaves?

My Reaction: When can I go home?

2007 - 2009
Post marriage
Standard Dialogues:
1. Take good care of Mapilai (SIL)
2. Prepare good food. I'll tell you the recipe
3. When are you guys coming to Hyderabad?
4. I'll make your favourite dish - tamarind rice - without ground nuts.

My reaction: Wow, now both of us are important

Post Driti
Standard Dialogues:
1. What is Driti doing?
2. I'll make her favuorite food You can pick out the groundnuts and eat.
3. Is she eating well?
4. She is such an angel

My reaction: My baby is really precious. But where on earth did I disappear? :)

Driti's world:
1. Driti, come home by 10:00 ok?
Ma, my name is 'Sam', can you please not embarrass me with old fashioned names?
2. I'll pick you up if you're late.
Ma, I can drive down.I don't need an escort anymore you know!
3. I'll pray to God that you get Good marks.
Chill Ma! It's not like the end of the world! And we call them 'coolness quotient', 'marks are so 'passe'
4. Eat properly
That reminds me, where's my 'organic' compressed oxygen bundle? I'll be famished by noon!

My reaction: Is this action replay in fast forward??

Feeling the rush - Filing the IT Returns!

Never, Ever, Ever delay the filing of your IT Returns till the last minute - unless ofcourse you are some super whiz and would exactly know what it takes, or your Dad is the IT honcho who can pull strings for you.

I always file mine on time. This time, I just hope I don't miss the deadline. Why you ask? Hmm...a long story.

I was on a break from work for a couple of months, so I lost touch with reality. I used to remind Ady, so... Ady's not to be blamed. FIL retired from work, so ITR was no longer a big deal for him - so he forgot to remind us. Appa gave up following up with me when I was married. There was 'another responsible person' to take care of me. And I hadn't corrected him. He didn't have to know the truth.

Only when I saw all the commotion in office, all the fuss about filing returns on the 26th of July, did I realize there was something that had slipped.

Thankfully I had my ITR handy. So I went to the helpdesk, (thank you Google) and filled in all my details and submitted. Ady's was pending. He was and still is in Seattle. So he'd be losing an additional day. He sent me the details. Since he changed companies, filling his form was a little confusing - even to the consultant - just making it clear before you start judging me. And 27th was Ady's Birthday. I couldn't yell at him for giving the details so late. So like a dutiful wife, I did my best to make the day special for him. So he literally had two days of freedom from the yelling - IST and PST. at 12:02 AM on 28th, i called him "Get the details. Why are you so late? blah blah.." knowing fully well it was all my miss.

Then the consultant sent in some details, home loan, sans home loan... some figures, which I did not like. But I decided to pay. it's better I do it on time and claim later. I'll prolly get the money back in time for Driti's wedding, some 25 years later.

Citibank did not deem it right to tie up with the tax department, and I forgot Ady's ICICI details. So I had to plead with Appa, and he is an SBI loyalist. SBI took a call and scheduled to make the online payment tomorrow. So no challan yet.
I canceled the payment finally. Browsing the unfriendly SBI site - calling the consultant a zillion times in between.

And then I wrote a step by step mail to Ady
1.go to
2. click on the 4th bullet: e-payment: pay taxes online
3. choose challan no.ITNS/ 280
4. choose 0021
5. enter your details : your pan is: BLAH23BLAH
6. Fill in address details: HOME YOU STAY IN
7. please give my email id and mobile no. as you wont be able to access yours
8. choose: 300 - self assessment tax
9. bank name - enter your bank icici (if you notice citibank is not listed and hdfc does not have so much money and my login has expired. that's why i cannot pay)
10. enter the characters displayed
11. it will take you to the login page of icici. enter the tax amount. don't enter anything else - surcharge etc. ENTER ONLY TAX AMOUNT. ( whatever the amount you think we should pay. i've given up here)
12. please check the details... does it say payment will be made tomoro, today etc... make sure payment is instantaneous. i got stuck with sbi, because payment was scheduled for tomoro and we did not have the challan no.
13. once you enter, you will get a cin generation (challan identification no) -
14. just send that to me along with all transaction details, like ref no etc.
15. just do a print screen and send everything
16. Also share your icici log in and pwd details, just in case.
17. Relax. I'll do the worrying after that.
18. I've crossed my fingers.

Of Oysters and Octopuses

A three year old, of a friend visited home last week. He and Driti quite hit it off. Well, she hit and he took off. But somewhere, at some level, some deep level - invisible to the naked eye, I think we saw some friendship brewing, 'cause my baby, did offer her prized 'dancing and noisy Pooh' to him to play with, and he suspiciously took it from her. She loved it that Ishaan was equally in love with her toy.

Ishaan and Driti's dads had gone to get some liquids, if you know what I mean. So,Ishaan's Mom suggested we switched to the Animal Planet, so there's peace and quite in the house. Apparently Ishaan likes to watch animals, and Driti likes to make the sound of animals - so we had reached a neutral ground.

They were showing something about Oysters. Every time they said Oyster, Ishaan said "Ball". Maybe he was referring to the pearl, we assumed. Pearl is also spherical.We corrected him every time -his mom and I - "Pearl baby not ball". But he kept saying ball. We let him be.

So when his father came in, we told him. But he had to hear it to believe it. He waited patiently for his son to prove the allegation. As expected, when the narrator was saying - Oyster, he immediately said, "ball".

"What ball Ishaan?" his father asked apprehensively, another proud parent. "He got up and kicked. "Fooball"
And we put two and two together. Oysters- Octopuses and football!!! He had been watching the game with his dad.
The poor boy was confused between Paul and a nameless Oyster. Who Knows? next time, it could actually be an Oyster! :-)

The Week that Was

This week's by far been the worst - at least health wise.

Driti and I were both down with the flu - I gave it to her, and then just when I thought I was ok, I had to give in to my silly urge for Schezwan Potatoes. Not that they were bad or anything, they were not the right recipe for getting back to health.
I didn't think twice before the indulgence, but I so do now!

I couldn't couldn't and one more time, couldn't eat anything else after that. It was always, inflow - outflow. So, nothing actually stuck in my body. Damn those potatoes.

So, Ady insisted I should visit the doctor, and the doctor - insisted I should get a shot, and the nurse, insisted it had to be on my vein.

A superb shot was followed by a seemingly unending list of medicines. What the hell's that? I have only one mouth. I can't take 7 at a go!

To add to the woe, my maid fell sick. Thank goodness, we decided to leave Driti in Amma's house. I finally realized I can't share sickness with her. Sickness and health is reserved for Ady - he married me right?

And now, Ady has to go to Seattle - on his Birthday! Could it get a little more cruel in here? Yes.. I need to travel 25 KMs - staying at Mom's place -one way. I just hope to God, come Monday - its a hale and healthy week. And Ady has a great birthday!

Play Date at Work!

Hema, my friend at work and I had long planned on getting the kids over - a play date may be. In her place or mine or maybe at the office, to let them see where their Moms worked, especially since its now Greatest place to work in India.

But, as usual, something always happens. Either Hema does not get a cab, or is too scared to travel with Anagha or Ady tells me not to take Hema to Archana's (another friend from office)house, because it's too far and Hema is totally pissed off that I didn't get my darling, or Hema and I are on a mutually exclusive set of days of break.

So today, we finally made up our minds, and decided come what may, we'll get the kids. We asked a few more colleagues to get their little ones too. The pact was to get as many kids as possible, just in time for TGIF. A &D were born a week apart, and they deserved to know the products of the notes their mothers exchanged. Yes, everything from morning sickness, to the brand of diaper, to the next career steps, Hema and I discussed almost everything. And it was time the girls met with each other, before Hema went back to the land of the Queen.

After a last minute cancellation by easy cabs, I arranged for another cab to pick her up. The princess of London needs help with the local four wheeler service.

The girls arrived at 2:30, mothers in tow. Vikram brought his little darling as well, the youngest of the lot. All of 11 months.

It was fun to see the whole office amused at the screeching sounds and baby talks.

The children had fun meeting with Aunties, and Uncles and playing with all kinds of balls. Small, big, pool.

Driti barged into a manager's cabin, followed by yours truly, not realizing he was in a call. She screamed, I screamed, only to be shushed, shoved and shown the door. Of course he did come back after the call to give her a big hug.

Driti, Anagha and Yutika were adorable together. The office and the swings did seem to entertain them.

It was a play date alright, but more for the parents than for the kids. I don't think they knew or really cared much about it. As long as they got their cookies and other 'vital' needs they were just fine!

Here are some pics!

Off the Side!

I'm hoping Sunday will be the last day for all the madness - atleast for the next month. - Is that too long a period already?

I'm talking about the new epidemic - football. Honestly, I don't like watching sports. Courtesy marriage, I've just started enjoying Table Tennis - the rally, not a full -fledged game. So if you start with your smashes, chances are you'll be playing with an invisible me for the next shot. So given my appetite for sports, it is but obvious that this season is a real pain ... everywhere. Added to this is Paul. Yeah! We did not have enough Soothsayers around already so we're turning to a skeleton less, bilaterally symmetric cephalopod.

I was thinking Cricket Matches were the only 'events' that came between me and the remote. It's always, "this is the most crucial match" - crucial for what? humanity? to remove world hunger? to discuss the brewing inter country nuclear issues? I fail to see the 'big' picture.

The numerous formats that they come in, only adds to the agony.' It's only a T-20, just 3 hours" - ok - maybe I can watch it like a boring movie, or "only a one day", or "only a series", or "the quintessential world cup". Now, where on earth did football come from?

I've been married only 3.5 years, so may be I've missed the world cup 'experience' of football in 2006 (heaving a silent sigh of relief here) . But this world cup, the only good things are 'Zakumi' and 'Waka Waka' Driti already runs to hold anything I hate the sight of - a cricket bat, a tennis racquet, the less intolerable badminton racquet, or the football. Is this where I see my future? Am I going to be a (dread dread) 'Soccer Mom'?

At this point, I actually like Blogger. The recommendation is to change racquet to racket - yep- great minds think alike. The sports industry is indeed a racket - against all sitcoms that loyal audience track.

If you're complaining about the sitcoms, as a waste of time - they atleast end!!
And they last only for a half hour - once a week. Okay sometimes.. once a day, but still - its only half hour!

The sporting events never ever end!!

And no...if the suggestion is to record the sitcom, here's a follow up: When do I get to watch it? There's always that crucial match that's on!!!

Is That So?

Driti now knows that a nod of the head in the up-down direction means YES and a movement from side to side means NO.

Ady actually taught her this. I've been trained to confuse everybody with my head bob like most South Indians. Is it a 'yes', is it a 'no', only the nodder knows. Our head bobs usually cover all the four directions.

With Driti, however, the problem is different. She sometimes gets confused between the meanings of YES and NO.

The answer for any sentence which starts with 'Do you want/ will you ...' is the vertical nod of head, even if she does not want what is being offered.

I speak to her in Tamil and she can clearly understand when I am asking her something. The questions usually start with Yenna - what, or end with appidia - Is it/ is that so. And her answer - always a YES.

Yes. I am an Engineer, I had to put my theory to test. She nodded her head in approval for anything from Do you want a slice of bread to a glass of pina colada to ... Do you want a hammer!!

Per Driti - 'A question always should be answered with a YES!' Only when they thrust something in your mouth, even if you don't want it, say NO. She is quite the positive person! :-)

What surprised us most however is none of the above.

After a triumphant pronunciation of 'cha-pa-ti', Ady and I thought of teaching her 'Encyclopedia'.
Czech does not exist anymore, so no point teaching her outdated info. We thought over the suggestion from our Senior in College, Jayadev and gave it up.

Today, early in the morning, we started with 'Good Morning' to which she responded with ''Mornin' as if to say, "that's all you deserve"

Then we tried 'Monkey' to which she responded with 'Monney' - "OK she's going in the 'right' direction", I teased Ady.

And then ... ENCYCLOPEDIA - her response startled us. She did not repeat or even try to repeat anything. Instead she nodded her head 'YES'
We weren't sure why. This is definitely not the response to Encyclopedia. Does she want it? Does she approve our usage of the word? She was confusing us.

We repeated the word a few more times - and the reponse remained the same.
Then we tried to split the word. Maybe she'll find it easy to pronounce? ENN CYCLO PEEDEEAA.
That's when Ady realized - "Hey this sounds like a Tamil question. 'Enna' and 'appadia'"
"What- cyclo-Is it?"

No wonder she was nodding her head. Baby girl felt we were asking her a question!

Aw.. She's teaching us soooo much! I hope we're able to impart as much knowledge to her as she is to us!

The Joy of sharing!

The soft drizzle, the gentle breeze, the lush greenery. It is the season when Zeus is in an especially good mood. It is also the time when we find a lot of couples walk hand in hand / under one umbrella - Raj Kapoor and Nargis style in Pyaar Hua Ikraar Hua.

It is also the season for flies and mosquitoes. Mosquitoes love the flavor of my blood. The extra tasty dish on the menu is seldom spared. It is also a reason Ady finds me a non- rain lover.Blasphemy!! I have to shut the doors, even if it is pleasant and drizzling :-(

Anyway, so this weekend, we visited Amma's house. And Driti found two flies.
She started running behind to catch one. Yes. Easy task! :-)

Amma told her.. "Eee", that's what a house fly is called in Tamil.

So she knew what her bait was called now. She kept running behind the flies the whole time with "Eee" The flies seemed to enjoy the play as well, cause they indulged her for a good half hour.
And then when Driti had to had to eat her lunch, we got her into the house. Amma had spilled some cloves on the floor.

"Ee.." she ran and picked it up! Fully satisfied that her mission was accomplished. Just when we thought she was going to put it in her mouth and we had to take swift action right away, she put the 'Eee" in Appa's mouth! Appa was stunned! Appa's mouth was still open, so she even shut it :-) He had no choice but to eat it now. And Driti was so happy she had fed grandpa 'food'

The kid likes sharing alright!

Mom Rules!

Driti's started going to Day Care. But she clings on to the teacher. She doesn't even look at the children there. "She prefers older and wiser people to young and immature kids", I keep comforting myself.

The other day, I went to the day Care to pick her up. She was sitting in the teacher's lap, refusing to get down. There was another boy, about a year older to her, also in the same boat... er .. lap, and the two of them were actually vying for a one-upmanship, or in this case, a one-upkidship.

"Driti see, Mamma", the aaya said, coming to the rescue of the teacher. Immediately the little elf jumped down the teacher's lap and came running to me. It was as if the teacher did not exist anymore. Arhaan, I found out the name of the other kid sharing the 'throne' with Driti, was her 'almost friend'. He tried playing with her and She prefered the teacher. That's why he mounted the lap. To sit with Driti. So cute! So as soon as Driti got down, he got down as well. The teacher came up to us - Driti and me, trying to kiss her goodbye. And No! She wouldn't let her touch her!

"This happens" the teacher said. "when parents come, children totally change", stealing my thunder. I thought I was that special person in Driti's life.

Arhaan came over "Deetee... bye..." and the girl... "Pffff..." she pushed her tongue out and hugged me tighter. Atta girl!No boyfriends just as yet. I hear her say... "My Momma's the best" If you put all the sounds together, you can hear her say that. Atleast I think so!

I can make a mess

Sameeksha loves the Goddess Earth. Partly I think because her mom shares the name with the Goddess. One of her sincere oblations!

The Big Bully

Sameeksha at a Birthday Party. Boy! this one took us by surprise. Don't miss the cry of victory at the end. All this, for a balloon? :-)

Where's the abdomen.MPG

Driti will tell you.

Disciplining the Dog.MPG

Someone's going to make a great Mom! and its not me! :-)

Some Family Fun!

Saturday, 11 June 2010

We were to reach Golconda Resort at 11:30 AM. Ady had made arrangements at the resort and the Kiners were to join us there.
As usual, we reached at 12:45 sharp! It was nobody's fault (are you reading this as my fault? well.. ok.. ya.. it was me.. but for the record, it's not always me. Some other times, its something else, which causes me to be late, for example, spilled milk on the floor because Driti believes in feeding the Goddess Earth before she eats, and so on). The Kiners had reached at 11:30 AM. Punctual. And noticing the hosts missing, they decided to hit the pool!

Mikaela and Henry have 2 adorable children - Simon and Sidoney. Simon tries to copy the Indian accent and does a great job at it. His current favorite phrase is 'jolly good fellow'. Sido is a sweetheart! An absolute darling! She loves spending time with Sameeksha. She even pronounces the name accurately. Driti (Sameeksha) loves her too, and the girls always have fun together. Hugs overflow when the two meet. As Mikaela puts it...'Soul Sisters!'

So when we reached and Driti saw the kids in the pool, she wanted to hit the water too (literally!)And she readily slipped into her bathing suit! (she usually protests when we try changing her clothes). She looked adorable in her lil watermelon suit. To quote Sido " Her suit is so cute! I could eat her! I love watermelons!"

But Ady changed his mind, he said he'd rather play the other sports and hit the pool in the evening. It was very hot, and he felt the sudden change in temperature may not be very good for Driti. So the cutie had to get out of her suit, and we went up to the tennis court. Well, Henry, Ady and Simon did. And Mikaela and I voted for Simon as the best player.

Sido tried to climb over the see-saw. (teeter -totter, per Mikaela) She did not believe in the regular routine of sitting on it! She helped Sameeksha around it though and also helped her ride the toy horse.
After the game, Ady and Henry joined us and said, "the ball doesn't bounce well". Ofcourse it didn't! :-) Mikaela and I burst out laughing at the excuse the guys provided for a poor game. Simon was the rockstar! On the winner, Ady and Henry said that each had won the match. Now, the match was clearly not a draw, so am guessing, neither actually kept scores :-)

We then took off to the pool table. It was the Kiners vs the Singhs. And yes, the Singhs won the game (all credit due to Ady, I just made sure, I hit a ball, irrespective of whether it was ours or the Kiners'). It was a best of 3, and each game came with a bet. So we won, a dinner that Mikaela would prepare (well, Ady felt since he and Mikaela never cooked, it would be interesting to bet their cooking prowess), a trip to Ramoji film city. Sidoney wanted to baby sit Sameeksha as the third bet. So we let that be, ofcourse with the help of her parents.

We had to eat sometime! So we went down for a buffet lunch. Sido couldn't stop feeding the fryums to Sameeksha and Samee could not say no to Sido. Wow! they were literally drowning us in their love for each other!!! :)

Another round of pool and beer (which Samee and Sido tried desperately to get their hands on), preceded the swimming pool fun.

Samee and I were the only two people who did not know how to swim. So we had floaters around and she looked cute. (I am not commenting on how I looked. Please note, it was only for survival)

Driti almost fell asleep in the pool. Sido could not get enough of the water, Simon was a lil scared to enter the pool. Henry was the gymnastic stool for Sido, Ady the life-guard, Mikaela was the monkey in Simon's ball game and I was the novice- an almost first timer in the water.

Soon it was time for us to leave. We had to meet Shitanshu for dinner. It was his treat for the birthday last week! Alas! Sidoney and Sameeksha had to part. So Sido settled for a 2.5 hours of baby sitting the next day. And the fun continued the next day at the Kiner residence, while the parents went to the spa!

Not yet 'pass'ed the 'port'

Trying to renew your passport could be quite a task. I'm not sure about the other locations, but my experience in Hyderabad was a horrible one. Not so much in submitting your forms at the counter as in the process before that - getting a date in tatkal, and filling your form up.

The earliest date available on the site was 28th of July - this is tatkal mind you, so I should get my new passport at lightning speed when you compare it to the usual process of 2-3 months. But getting a date on the 28th of july would mean getting the date on my travel date. A little risky don't you think? I thought so too :-)

So somebody suggested that I should go through an agent, who can help me fill the form and get a date at the earliest.

So I found one. This person came with a very strong reference. I had little time and a huge task at hand. So I did what I had to do. I trusted him. I diligently filled the form and handed it over to him.

"How long will it take to get the new passport?" I asked him while handing over Rs 5000.
"Maaaaadam... long process madam. You will have to get the dates. Fill an online form, submit at the Passport Office, then get passport. It will take about 20 days." He must've seen the 'why do I need you?' look on my face, cause he quickly added..." But I will get it to you in 7 days madam!"

"Ok.. what are the forms that I need to be prepared with? I also want to get a passport for my baby. So can I do something for it right now?"

"You have to add spouse name madam" he said. He was using 'Madam' so many times, it was driving me crazy. But I did not want to correct his 'habit'. I needed an early passport. Too risky to rub the guy the wrong way now.

"Ok. and my name... I want to change it to Padmaja Ganeshan Singh"

"No two surnames madam.. only one. Keep Singh"

There he was ... deciding for me. He said I couldn't have both my maiden and married surnames on the passport. This was really strange. After a lot of protest.. no it's not what you're thinking, I agreed to drop the Ganeshan. He said it would take a lot of time to get two surnames added.

Finally, we came to the forms. "Just Bank statement and Marriage certificate along with a photo of ours to say that we were indeed married madam". He also said, it needn't be our marriage photo. Just any photo of the 2 of us together. Perhaps the husband's face, usually tells the story of his wife.. may be some male code that I can't decipher, and hence any pic would do.

I submitted all the documents to him. The Bank statement was an auto generated online document. It also came with a disclaimer that it did not require any attestation for validity.
But the guy refused to listen. "Panga ho jaayega madam", he said, trying to tell me that there'd be a huge problem if I did not get the statement attested.

So I requested him to go to the bank and get the statements. I gave him an authorization document.

For the first week, there was no call from him. There was no date at all to visit the RPO.
I followed up day in and out. I escalated to his manager. And miraculously, he called me the next day with a date. "June 4th Madam. Please get the documents I told you"

"Ok. is there anything else?"
"No Madam. That's all. And forget about the Bank statements. I will take care of it"
'Efficient' I thought.
So June 4th meant Friday of this week. I called him on Tuesday and Wednesday to check if the attestation was in place. I was getting a lil worried now.

"Don't worry madam.I'll do it na? You just come around 9 -9:30 AM on friday"

The RPO is in Secunderabad, and since I stay 25 KMs north, I need to plan to leave home at least an hour and a half early. And getting Driti ready by 7:30 was not something I wanted to attempt on the D - Day.

Thanks to little mercies like mom staying in Secunderabad, I decided to leave on Thursday with Driti and stay at her place.

I called the agent at 8:00 in the morning of the 4th.
"Madam. Your passport is damaged. Please get Rs 5000/ - And also get your 10th class certificate and 4 passport size photographs"

After troubling me through 2 weeks, this guy had the cheek to tell me the additional documents at the nth hour, that too, when I called. My passport damaged? He blew my lid off.
I yelled at his irresponsibility and unprofessional behavior. He hung up on me and asked me to find another agent. I spoke to his boss. The agent called me back in 2 mins.

Lucky for me, dad keeps a copy of all my documents.

The agent made me wait for half hour, before surfacing from some shady place. I was armed with Pappu, my friend on my side.

The bank docs were not attested. "Chal jaata madam", he said repeating what I had said. The documents did not need any attestation. I looked at the sadist for scaring me with the 'formalities' when they were nothing.

I submitted the documents at the passport office. The date of delivery was supposed to be 11th Of June 2010.

Here we are..

Dear Passport,
Where ever you are, please come to me soon. I promise I will take good care of you. I now know your worth.

Eagerly waiting for you,

The Alumni Meet

Somethings are an Experience, and cannot just be explained. What happened last Saturday was one such event.

Bidhan reached the place a lil earlier than us ... well he was on time, we were late. Pappu and Shitanshu were on the way, TP had just about left his place.

"Why do we always have to be late? Can't you plan things early?" Ady was really excited about this event and was looking forward to it the whole evening. So now, when my shoe broke, he was upset that we're losing precious minutes hunting for a shoe shop.

"Sorry Ady, I couldn't plan for my shoe to break before we started". I said wryly.

"No. I mean...", he was calm now, " Why are we late always?"

I looked at the invitation again. It said 7 onwards. And it was only 7:30.

"Ady, we're not late. Nobody would have come yet." "But for Bidhan", I quickly added.

So we searched quite a few places, before we decided it was best for me to go home and change my shoes. Thank fully, we stayed close by.

Venue:Boulder Hills - 8:00 PM
Event:XL Alumni Meet

One of the best meets ever. May be because of the friends, location, or simply because it took us back to college - The event was exciting.

We started off with the Karaoke, braying away the songs like a pro. TP, Bidhan, Meena and I were the official singers (well, we'd like to call ourselves that, although if you dig a little deeper, you may find that, we gagged and hand cuffed the DJ, before pulling the mike off of him)

We danced like maniacs. Pappu was the center of almost all songs.

"Bachna ae haseenon.. Pappu aa gaya!"
"Pappu can't dance saala!"

We danced like maniacs. Ady was only 7 drinks down. He said so even after he refilled his glass the 14th time. Bachchan songs are his favorite, so 'Bachchaaaaaan, Bachchaaaaaan' was his favorite attack on the DJ.

His boss was around as well, so he could not use any of his trade mark slogans.

We had some soft rock and roll numbers in between. These were special requests from the juniors. How were we to know? So.. "Ek, do, teen, chaar.. DJ ki...#$*$ maar"

Then we decided, it was high time we took on a rival neighborhood college..

"$%&* mar jaayega...#$$* ki maut...XL waale.. gayenge....mar gaya..$%#$%$##$#$"
That's all I can write here. You need to be in XL to actually decode this :-)

We surprisingly met a couple of our colony folks at the Alumni meet. The world indeed is a small place. Apparently the alumni meet is where we can socialize the most.

It was a well organized party. Thanks to the batch of 2011.

No meet is complete without the 'Summer of '69', 'XL ki kudiya', 'GMD', 'XL meri jaan'
So with this ritual, TP, Ady and Pappu decided they needed to add one more. At 12:00 AM, they decided to play C grade Dumb C with the juniors. And God. It was fun!

C grade Hindi films to a batch of ultra modern yuppies! To know the names of the movies, please reach out to me separately. This is a family safe post :-)

So if I were to give away awards:

Most romantic: Bidhan and Meena (non XLer)
The almost totally drunk: Pappu (he was 2 wines down and needed just one more, before the bar was out of stock. He refused to drink anything else)
Most energetic: Sowmya (danced to the maximum no. of songs)
Most sportive: Eresh (batch of 2011 and had the highest no. of slogans against him)
2 Idiots: TP and Bidhan
The 3rd Idiot: Chatur from the junior batch
The maximum no. of drinks: Ady.. 7 going on 7
Most passionate ex- flames: Ady and Sheetanshu!!!

This alumni meet by far is one of the best I've attended.

Truly the spirit of XL meri Jaan remains!

Tips to check an internet malfunction

We usually visit my parents on alternate weekends. That's usually the time they look forward to. To meet and play with their grand child, and enjoy the company of (ahem..) Ady and yours truly.
That's also a time that we try to read on stuff - Trivia, that s absolutely insignificant, but rouses interest. Did you know that 40% of McDonald's profits come from the sales of Happy Meals? or that 315 entries in Webster's 1996 Dictionary were misspelled? Or that John Wilkes Booth's brother once saved the life of Abraham Lincoln's son? That's ok if you didn't. Just search for useless trivia and you'll find it all in there. Here's the site, I got this information from.

Anyway, we either try to learn new things, try finishing unfinished books, paint (that's Ady by the way. And he's an awesome painter. Truly. Will dedicate a blog to his paintings soon), write (me) or just catch up on a movie. (Ady's a big time movie buff. Me- not so much. But I guess it's all a part of being - happily married :-))

So you see, we have a list of activities to look forward to during the weekends. And Dad's BSNL connection is indeed super-fast, and dirt cheap. Well, it's super-fast only to me to be honest, besides mom and dad. I think the net favors the Iyer family, 'Cause whenever Ady tries to use the internet - boom, timed out or 404! And the Engineer that he is, he tries checking out what the problem is almost always. He checks for the connection status, rechecks the modem, the power plugs and what not. He calls me to check if I can be of any help. ( I am not much of an Engineer when it comes to big 'tronical stuff. My reference to the Computer as a big 'tronical stuff, should have given you the idea right away!Hardware is not my cup of tea or orange juice for that matter. So when somebody asks me what my qualifications are, I say an MBA clearly and lower my voice and add Engineer, under my breath). And every time I just laugh out that the computer is acting out to Ady's touch! So he gives up on me and calls Amma for help.

Now in Tamil families, the mapilai, or son-in-law is like the crowned Prince. Whatever he says, has to be adhered to. He is also the most important guest on any occasion. The Father of the girl, who otherwise could be a terror in the house, meekly surrenders to the mapilai's whims and fancies. No dinner, till the mapilai is home. No staying at the mapilai's house for longer than a couple of hours. No tea or caapee (Tamil filter coffee), without first offering to mapilai.

So Amma immediately responds to mapilai's calls and answers dutifully "What is it son? Do you need anything?"
The mapilai responds (he doesn't actually boss around, so becomes uneasy at so much of attention being showered) "Amma the net isn't working. Do you ever face this problem? How do you fix it? The connections, modem response are all fine. I don't think there'll be heavy traffic at this time as well. So was wondering if you knew how to reconnect?"

"Yes! Yes! Son. The traffic is not heavy at this time. But lorries pass through the highway. Do you think that could be a problem?"

I could not suppress my laughter. Ady gave in a very small chuckle.

"No Amma, I am not talking about the vehicular traffic. I am talking about the internet. Anyway.. I just want to know if you've ever faced a problem with the connection and what do you usually do?"

"Oh! I call Prasad, the internet guy", Amma responded trying to figure out what was so funny about the traffic. "He comes and fixes. But it is very easy. We don't need to wait for him. Shall I repair son?"

"Yes Amma!", Ady said, now feeling a little stupid that his Engineering degree was not helping.

Amma came, turned off the main switch. Hit the modem twice. Turned the switch on and behold! we were connected!

"So that's where you learn to beat stuff", Ady remarked to me after profusely thanking Amma. "But remember, my home theater is not a place you should try this out!"

"Why not? I answered. It works doesn't it? :-)"

5Ds and 'Rustic'ated

The last 10 days were simply awesome! We were cut off - literally and figuratively from the urban chaos. We were in places with zero and almost zero connectivity.

The trip was essentially to drop mom-in-law back at Dhaliara - Ady's village in Himachal and let everyone else dole out their coochie-coos for Driti.

Here's a pictorial summary, before the prose :-)

Here are some pics.

Day 1: Saturday: 8th May: Delhi: Driti quite enjoyed the flight and really jelled well with the air-hostesses. She always gets free stuff when she travels. I bet that's because of her height and limited vocabulary.
Didi and Jiju picked us up at the airport. They are in the process of moving into a new house (read bungalow) and it was indeed very sweet of them to want to host us with all the shifting work. Driti also got a chance to bond with her Katyayini Jia. ( Jia=older sister in Jiju's side of the family). In the evening, we went to catch up with old friends from XL. Pattu, Sudha, Nishant, Tasha, Priya and Sayan. It's really nice to see that all of them were XL couples, with the exception of Priya and Sayan. Boy! Did we have a great time. It was nice to catch up with friends after sooo long. All the women - trying to be domesticated for a change- were the kitchen experimenting with various dishes. The Burmese Soup I made seemed to be a hit! Wish we could have stayed a little longer so Ady could get a chance to taste Sudha's chicken. Hubby dearest is almost turning herbivore - courtesy - yours truly :-)

Day 2: Delhi/ Noida continued: We met with 2 sets of Mamajis, Bhaiyas and Bhabhis.Katyayini accompanied us to Noida. She wanted to be with her sis. While at Noida, Aarushi, another niece, about a year older to Katyayini, found the ideal playmate in her sis. So the same age girls kicked it off, leaving Driti to find and destroy stuff.
In the evening, we decided we'd meet with our long lost friends. (Purvi - it'd been 2 years since I last saw her, and Aishwarya - 1 year since Ady met him). We met at the Great mall in Noida and Driti gave Purvi masi a strawberry shake bath! :-) Really nice to catch up with old friends I must say! Especially since they'd only be extra fond of your kids, and won't complain at the mess they create!!

We left for Delhi - Saket in the evening. We missed meeting Sahasrajeet, Driti's second cousin as he had already beat us to Palampur the previous day. So we (read mostly I) cribbed to Bhabhi on the injustice meted out to Driti - for sending her brother off on exile.

Day 3: Dhaliara - The train journey from Delhi to Chandigarh was as usual replete with pranks from Princess Driti. The poor gentleman who was forced to share the seat with us in the chair car train, had to swap his biscuits, spoons, newspaper and toffees with Ady. Driti only spared the tea flask - because it was too heavy for her to lift! But she did sing out her high pitched song to please him toward the end of the journey.

Papa received us in Chd. The road trip to Dhaliara was simply scenic at its best. We stopped a while at Bombay Picnic Spot and Driti refused to go back to the car. She thoroughly enjoyed herself. The swings, the see-saw, the merry-go-around et al did the magic.We enjoyed ourselves as well. Lot's of stuff at dirt cheap prices. Need we say more.Yes - and lots of food, that's a WIFM as well for food lovers. But the fear of Father-in-law kept us on our toes. He's not the guy from the military per se - but he does have all the characteristics. Atleast the part of being absolutely punctual. He is the one person, who makes sure we're the most well behaved too! Though I must say, his grand daughter is making him a lot less stern. She's perhaps the first child he's changed the diaper for!! We have it on record, just in case he backs off from our treasured claim!

Day 4: Dehi Pukhar : A small strip in Dhaliara, this is where we actually stayed. Peaceful and no connectivity at all. We got to see buffaloes (actually), snakes, mongoose and animals we would never have cared to notice in the noise of the city! Driti now actually knows that the cow say.. 'Maaaaa' Experiential Learning if you will!

Day 5, 6: Dalhousie : Sudha, Pattu joined us in Dalhousie from Delhi. We visited khajjiar (also known as the Switzerland of India), did a lil zorbing and horse- riding through the apple gardens! Th best part was when the cowboy (for a lack of better word), carried Driti and walked along with the horse I was riding for about 7 mins, when she refused to sit, and remarked " Everyone has kids ma'am, they are never heavy!", when I asked him to stop for a while, if he felt she was getting heavier. His reply brought a tear.

Later in the evening, we visited a Moti Mahal restaurant. It was a restaurant, a grocery store, a bakery , an ice-cream parlour all rolled into one. We had read reviews about this place. This was supposed to be the best in quality in Dalhousie. It was a little unbelievable. Anyway, there was no way to dispute the contention, so we ate the oil soaked koftas, paneer without complaining.

Our post lunch walk brought us to another restaurant. Moti Mahal Deluxe. Ahem! So much for name sakes!

Day 7: Road trip - back to Dehi Pukhar

Day 8: Dugri, Ludhiana: To attend a friend's wedding. Reminded us of our wedding. Ostentatious Punjabi style fun wedding! Good food and music!

Day 9: Dehi Pukhar : Hi to friends and family and prep back to Hyderabad.

Day 10: Back home! For the sake of the Ds I'd like write Domalguda or Durgam Cheruvu, alas w stay in Hi-Tech City :-(

This is definitely one trip we'll never forget. We got to meet almost everyone and visit places we'd been planning to in a while!

Himachal, Friends and Family truly rock!!


Driti speaks quiet fluently these days. And she speaks super fast. The only problem is it's difficult to understand what she says, if you're not involved in the entire context.

Like us, she has her set of favorite words as well. 'Deetee' being the frequently used. She has another favorite. This is a close second to 'Deetee'. It's 'Guyum'. Now I think it means 'Give'. 'Cause whenever she uses that word, she takes something away from my hands.

I'm holding a bottle of water. "Guyum", and that's being pulled out of my hands. I'm holding 'Monkey Baby', a term we use to refer to her Monkey soft toy and her at the same time. 'Guyum', and there's a tug at the monkey's tail.

So I've decided 'Guyum' is baby for 'Give'. Like Rachel, who immediately checked the dictionary out when Emma uttered 'gleba', in an episode of 'Friends', I did a quick net search. Perhaps I have a genius at home too. Go ahead do a Google search. If you do find something interesting let me know. For all that I could find out was baby to me. Nothing made sense. And I don't even have the context here!

Monkey Baby and I would be able to get that missing piece of the puzzle! :-)

Until then, Buyum (I think that's baby for Bye!)

Who's Birthday is it Anyway?

I am very bad at remembering Birthdays, anniversaries or any important dates. (Strange considering I scored a 97% in History in School). May be its the age catching up.

You tell me its your birthday tomorrow, I will still not remember unless my BB or my calendar reminds me on the day. And if its not there on my calendar, it's not your special day! So even if you show me your birth certificate, chances are I'd think they're fudged.

My mom, and Mom-in-law on the other hand are memory machines. Even if it's a cousin's cousin's, sister-in-law's, niece's son's wedding day - they'd know. So apart from my calendar, the only 2 people I trust are my moms.

The place I am therefore stuck is when it is their birthday! Who's gonna tell me then? Yes! you guessed it. Mom reminds me of Mon-in-law's and Mom-in law of my Mom's. Yes. I am that shameless! Sorry.. but it just doesn't register. (I am good with numbers though. So if you thought it is a problem in registering numbers, I'd say the diagnosis is incorrect. I can tell you the increment percentage, attrition numbers, employee codes any time of the day. So there! You can tell me what the problem is now!)

So tomorrow apparently is my father in-law's birthday. How did I know? This cute message from mom! I love you ma! What would I do without you!

"hello dear
pls don't forget, tomorrow is ur father-in-law's i.e. 2.5.2010. wish him as nd when u get up. i know u r vry busy lady , hence as a personnel assistant, nd well wisher , i am reminding u da.
my lov  to u and ur hubby and mil. nd my special lov nd kisses to my s.heart...rani" himachal ki rani:
ok beta tke care bye"

Now yes, since it is Papa's Birthday,  Mom-in-law won't tell us. I need to be the responsible bahu and remind   Ady, before Mama reminds us tomorrow.Thanks Amma for helping me add a feather to my cap. But just a small favor....Could you please remind me tomorrow morning? :-)

Quarter Life Crisis!!!

Per our Sunday ritual, Pappu and Shitanshu were home to visit Driti. Whenever Pappu is around, there is usually a tumultuous conversation. We discuss almost everything on earth. From Oxytocin to ND Tiwari, to Cloning to Modi. Almost everything. Think of a topic and chances are we've already discussed about it, or Pappu is reading about it now.

This time however, Pappu was in a reflective mood. "Am I doing the right thing? Is there a purpose of doing anything at all in life? Am I supposed to be slogging it out crunching numbers, finding trends between things, which do not for a second affect my life? Do I have to work for money? Should I work for money?" Just when we thought something was seriously wrong with our Pappu, here's what he said " Actually, the money is not that bad. Do you ever have such thoughts?", he suddenly turned toward me. " Am I the only person who thinks this way?"

"Quarter life Crisis" , I smiled.  " It's just coming in a little late for you."

"Do you go through it too?"

"Yep. I did go through it. When I was switching companies. I used to go through it quite frequently. Now, I don't know. May be I don't think too much anymore?"

"What about you Ady?", he asked.

"If I were to think that ways, it's going to be called Mid-life crisis for me", he said gloomily, suddenly realizing he was 30.

"Oho! " I said. "What's the matter with you guys?"

"Yeah! Why do you want to think too much into what this 10th glass boy is saying", Shitanshu remarked, commenting on Pappu's build.

"But   I am confused. I don't know what to do." said Pappu.

" You should go home and cook for us", Shitanshu remarked.

" Hey, do you know how they make KFC chicken?", Pappu suddenly took off on a different tangent.

So we learnt more about their recipe and why we should not eat it.

So I mentally recorded, "Not knowing what decision to take is Quarter- life Crisis. Not knowing if your decisions are right, is Mid Life Crisis! :-)"

Daddy's Day Out!

So Ady was reading my blog the other day and was upset. Upset that I hadn't written anything about him. Isn't he the apple of my eyes anymore? Has the DD taken over his place? The 'All important person in my life' till about a year ago, was now suddenly replaced?

So this post is solely dedicated to my dearest husband.

We were trying to wean Driti and make her a lil more independent (if that's possible, considering she's totally on her own when her friends are around. You should see her ignore us royally during play time. Oops, I'm losing the flow. This post was supposed to be on Ady, not Driti!).

We decided, night time was the time she was actually very clingy. And if at all we plan on a vacation, it's going to be very difficult. So we decided to go watch a movie. And guess which one we ended up watching? Well, in sometime now...:-)

I must thank Ady for taking me to this movie. I LedOL after about ages now. Hilarious I must say. Or may be just because we were going for a night show in sometime now. I am not much of a night bird, and Driti only became my excuse to not go to movies late in the evening!

Our date started around 7, when we left for the movie theater. We decided to just go to the nearest theatre and watch any show that was playing! No advance booking, like the old college days. So I ran to the counter, while Ady was parking the car. We reached at 8:00 PM. So we weren't sure, how long we'd have to wait for the next movie. We'd probably have to wait another hour or 2 before the next movie.

"When's the next movie?" I panted at the counter. " 8:45 PM". The guy at the counter answered. " I'll take 2", I pushed in a Rs 500 note in.  He was surprised I didn't even ask the name of the movie.

Ady joined me at the counter now. The movie buff that he is, he asked me which movie I had bought the tickets for. "The 8:45 show" I answered. "The name!" he stressed, now wondering why he had to be so clear. " Oh.. I don't know!", I said, looking into the tickets. "What?"

"Date Night!" and we both smiled. This was indeed our date night!

"Let's go grab something to eat. " I said. Am famished. It suddenly felt like 3 years ago, when we were just you know..'Dating!'

So we disposed a half eaten frankie (yuck!), drowned a cold coffee and ice tea respectively, and decided to dig into our bucket of pop corn and burger at the movie.

"Mom, Dad! I'm hungry, can you pls make me breakfast?" The movie had started. When Steve Farrell looked into the clock, it read 4:57 AM.  The movie had my attention now. This could be us, in a few years.

With each passing scene, I was literally ROTFL. I loved the movie. May be because it was a movie that we went to see - like in college!
Ady was surprised I was laughing so much. "It's not even that funny!" He remarked. "Seriously? It's hilarious!"

I loved the movie. Ady loved it that I loved it. We had a ball. We had so much fun placing who could be at what stage in their lives through the movie, we loved it to the core. We saw ourselves sometimes too. By the time the movie finished --- I was in tears. ('cause of laughing btw).

Note: This is not a rave review for the movie. We just went nuts. Under saner conditions, we may not have enjoyed it as much.

We dug into 'Amore' after the movie. I asked him for almost anything, I could feast on, though I was completely full. I wanted to relive my college days. I ate one fourth of everything and thrust the rest in Ady's mouth. It was super!

Thank God! For little nothings! Life is such a joy!

Of Angels and Princesses

Driti could easily climb up the stairs. The catch there was she'd want to do it independently.  So we let her; stealthily following her behind. Till about 2 days back, she couldn't get down. This was a huge boost to our ego. That she 'wanted us' in her life! Silly, but a kick nevertheless. Human beings have an inherent need to feel important. And although my dad refers to me as an angel, I think I have this need too. An anomaly- yes... but my explanation there is Angels need to feel human sentiments in order to help them! :-)

Anyway, back to my Princess (notice the interchange of words. I am not calling her an Angel here!).
So this time in the Park, she suddenly went up to the slide and started climbing up the steps. She sees so many children do it day in and day out, must've thought 'How difficult can it be?'

The only catch was, Mom-in-law couldn't follow her up to the top. So she cunningly ruined her plans with an alternate source of amusement. The swimming pool. But the head-strong girl that we have, did not budge. So that's the scene setting.

This was the moment that the Angel (yours truly) walked in to the Park, straight from office, looking for her Princess. 'Ah! Mama to the rescue!' I thought.

Mom -in-law looked at me in relief. "Please take your baby to the pinnacle.. she seems to like mountaineering all of a sudden" " Will do!" I just wished I had a magic wand at that instance to wave around.

But the most I expected of Driti was to climb a couple of steps. So arrogantly, I did not even remove my sandals.  But she kept climbing till she reached the top. (If you've read my previous posts you'll notice Driti does this to me often.. she wants to remain unpredictable I guess). I dutifully followed. Reaching the top, there was only one way down. Through the slide. Now, this was an awkward situation. All the other playmates were under 10. I was over 10 and under 30! (see how cleverly I'm leaving my age to your imagination!:-))

But a Mom's gotta do what a Mom's gotta do. So I did, the unthinkable. MIL was spell bound. I was too. I slid down the slide, with her on my lap. Like it happens in the movies, there was silence all over.  I thought I had broken some ' No adults on the slide' rule. I quickly thought of how I would explain my act. "Well, you see, contrary to what you see, I am an Angel. And it is my duty, to protect people. Kids are my most important clients". Then I  thought, not everyone would be ready for the truth. Well not just yet. When I was still thinking of an explanation, I suddenly heard faint clapping. It was coming from where my MIL was standing. "Very good Driti!" she screamed in excitement.  And before I knew, everybody was screaming and clapping. Phew! Thanks to MIL, the scene shifted totally to Driti! :-) I clapped too! That's how you divert attention!

Only then did I realize, that my ankle had scraped through the edge of the slide. I hadn't removed my sandals. But then... Clap! Clap! Clap! the world doesn't need to know that Angels scrape themselves too! :-)

Get off the bus! NOW!

After a real long time, I was traveling in the bus. Well, one of the reasons, was the autowala was asking me to shell out a 100 bucks to travel 2 kms, which under ' not peak' hours would have been 15 bucks. I spent Rs 2 in the bus. The journey is an experience. A microcosm of sorts. And if you're in Hyderabad, and have never traveled in a bus, I urge you to do so, in sane hours only.

I was traveling back home after some shopping. I was running a little late and I had to reach home by 6: 30 PM, thats when Driti's secret alarm goes off and she realizes mama's not in yet.  The woman sitting next to me also seemed to be in a hurry. She kept looking at her watch and outside the window, as if that would frighten the traffic and clear the way for her to reach her destination.

I think she saw me looking at her, 'cause she turned toward me as if explaining the reason for her very 'natural' behaviour. " You see my son's exams are happening, and I need to reach home on time, so I could study with him",  I think she meant to say, she had to make him study. "If I don't go, he won't study me". Again I thought I should hear that as 'If I don't go, he won't study without  me'. I was hoping it was not English she'd be teaching him. " You not making children, so you can't be understanding" Translated to " You don't have children, so you can't possibly understand, you kid!", " As a matter of fact, I do. I do have a child"
" Oh I see!"  ( no translation required), " You looking like college student, with bag and all" (she was refering to my laptop bag. I had gone shopping directly after work). " How old?", she quizzed me, as if I were lying to her because of some hidden agenda, she wanted to find out.

"Oh! That's ok", she dismissed, as if to say  a 1 year old was much easier to handle than her school going kid.  I wanted to invite her home that minute, so we could have a contest on which of us does the real work in bringing the child up! But I decided against it. Perhaps in a couple of years, I'd look younger, what with running around when my kid's exams are 'happening'. So I did the most diplomatic thing I could do. I smiled.

She kept peeping out the window so much so that I wanted the bus to fly down to her place.  " Small children only crying for food, and sleeping. Big children, making us cry" , she laughed.  I smiled. Now waiting desperately for my stop. It was just round the corner.
" Boy/ Girl?"
" Girl"
"Girl children really quite. Not as naughty as boys." I was wondering how bad it'd have been. My daughter was in no way silent. She was definetely not the docile kinds. She is an outdoor 'person'.
" Oh! I won't know', I answered.
"I telling no?"

" My stop", I said. "Oh you came of first aa?"  translated" Your stop is here before mine?"

"Yes" I replied, secretly thanking god, for the little miracle, before I forgetting english speaking.

Who's in a name?

Driti, Mom in law and I were at the park yesterday. A new resident walked past us, trying to pull the leash on her son, who was only a little short of falling on the ground and screaming for ice cream. I could gather from their conversation that she had promised her 5 year old an ice cream if he took bath that day. She had however not kept her promise as 'papa wasn't home yet', and the brat was trying to force his way through by threatening to  take a sand bath, if his effort wasn't rewarded. "Oh Amrit", she pleaded with him, "why can't you behave yourself, and stay quiet like this cute little baby?", she said, referring to our little angel. Just when we were about to hit the 9th cloud, our princess thought the better of it, and helped do a quick reality check, by stuffing a handful of pebbles in her mouth. Both mom in law and I rushed to her, screaming "Driti!', "Sameeksha!". Now it was the turn of the brat and his mom to stay 'quiet like the cute little baby'. They were looking for 2 kids, and one seemed invisible, 'cause mom- in law and I leapt in the same direction. Only, there was just one kid to respond to both the names!

To clear herself of the confusion, the brat's mom asked  "Um... that's a cute baby. What's her name?"

Obviously, oblivious to the unrest we had created in the lady and her kid's mind, we both replied, "Driti", "Sameeksha".
The same thing happened again.. While I referred to darling daughter as 'Driti', Mom in law referred to her as 'Sameeksha'
"Well", I tried explaining, now looking at the exasperated look on the woman's face a little more closely.
"She is Sameeksha officially and Driti at home", Both Mom in law and I smiled.

"Oh ok! nice names!", she smiled back. As if his curiosity was now doused, Amrit started pulling and pushing again, and the woman tried to control him, this time without citing her previous example, noticing that the cute baby, had 4 adult fingers, in her mouth, trying to extract that last pebble. The mouth at the other end of the fingers was also screaming in pain, as the 'angel' seemed to mistake the finger for a carrot! "Ouch! am sorry!", I apologized for screaming.  "Teething" , my mother in law explained, trying to justify her precious grand daughter's 'perfectly normal' behavior.

'We need to be consistent, when we introduce Driti', I told my MIL, once the lady left the scene. ' We can't confuse people with two completely different names for the same kid.' It's not like, we're calling her Sammy or Sam. We're calling her 2 beautiful names, which in the real world are usually used for 2 different people.
MIL agreed. " Yes. Let's call her Sameeksha. Since it is her official name",she said. " No. I meant Driti. Since this is going to be her play group at home!" "She'll get confused beta."  I knew it was time to use my trump card. I had two names, and I don't think it bothers me at all!

First Words you say?

Driti does not like to talk much. Especially, if you ask her to. She'll do it only if she pleases.
So although she knows how to pronounce words ( before you raise your eyebrows with a 'motherly instinct eh?'), let me clarify that this is no motherly instinct. I heard her :-)

The other day mom-i-l and I were in the kitchen trying to teach the new maid - the art of mixing the flour to make the dough of impeccable consistency, so the roti is soft as butter.  (well, mom in law was teaching, and I used the opportunity to secretly learn as well.. yep she does not know, I've never kneaded :-)), and Driti said ..'AATA' referring to the dough. We were jubilant! We were proud of our little prodigy. She knew the raw material to her staple food, and at such a young age!

So, the 2 of us (the maid was not much of a sport, so she didn't show much excitement), jumped up and down repeating 'AATA, AATA' and suddenly Driti looked at us as if we were a couple of fools learning new letters in life!

That's not  only where she left me red faced. Early in the morning today, the early bird got up to wake her sleepy mom. She sat over me and pulled my eye lids over. 'Eyesh' she said.  I got up at that very instance and ran over to mom - i-l. 'Mama', I jumped with excitement. 'Driti just said 'eyesh' pointing to my eyes'
'Acha', my mom-i-l was equally excited. 'Eyes bolo beta' she said, pointing and poking at her eyes.

Again, Driti gave us a 'what's wrong with you guys? kinda look'

The only words she consistently says is 'Bye', 'Hi' and ofcourse , 'E-I-E-I-O' from Old Mc Donald.

'Ah the pleasures and embarrassments of learning with a toddler!'

The Birthday Bash!

It took us quite a while to close in on the perfect card. We did not want to use pink or purple, fairies or angels. We wanted our daughter's Birthday to be a different one. And she made things a lil easier. She looooves animals and fishes. She made it easy for us to choose a theme. So it was easier - now to choose the right card. 

Each of us used a personal touch - to make her special day - even more special. I made the  invitation card, 

Ady drew a remarks card (and I am not sure if was because of the occassion, but the card was one of the most beautiful pieces of Ady's work)

Here are the pics from the event. 

Driti Turns One!

March 24th 2010

Dear Diary,

Thank you for a wonderful day today. I know its a long shot, but I hope Driti remembers atleast something from today. How many children actually have the privilege of the company of both sets of grandparents gracing the first major occasion in  their lives. Driti, for one is blessed. Touch wood.

Both Ady and I took an off today. Work can always wait. Driti is not going to turn one again. I can't believe my priorities have changed - and so drastically. Work used to be everything for me. Not anymore. I'll do my job. But I'll live my life. I owe a huge Thank You Card to Ady, for helping me think right.

We bought 5 sets of new clothes for Driti. One for the morning, one for the evening. One for the morning of 27th, when we actually will throw a party for her - for the staging and one for the actual party. The fifth one was a 'just like that' dress.

Mama made Kheer for Driti and we bought a lil cake. Amma, Appa joined us in the evening, and all of us went to N Grill. It's a nice place and real good food. Only next time, remind me not to take folks who only prefer Daal, Chawal and Roti (Yep... the Dads from both the sides.) Amma and Mama enjoyed their meals. Shitanshu came over to wish his 'niece' just because he wouldn't be able to make it to the party on the 27th. He was going to Mumbai. It was just the 7 of us and Driti. But it was a priceless moment.

Driti may not have noticed a difference and that this was her 'special day'. The Brat that she is, is used to all the attention and pampering from everyone around.

We recorded special messages for baby dearest. And Ady and I couldn't help but wonder, how soon time had flown.