Why Climbing Mt Everest is Easy

This would have been my third victorious return from Mt Everest. I would've packed my bags in a jiffy, done all the rigorous strength and stamina building exercises, happily kept quiet to preserve my oxygen supply and come had ice-creams to celebrate my conquering of the summit. I would've been the first woman representing the South and North India to ever climb up there – and 3 times.  29029 ft *3 times.

But instead, I utilize all my energy - physical and mental trying to win over my 3 ft  dynamite. I can still pick her up and put her to bed if I am too tired and kiss and distract her with something shiny now, but I feel the shiver down my spine every time I think about her teenage years. If this is just a glimpse into the years to come, my tenure as ‘the mother’ is going to be a long and arduous one replete with hair-pulling and high blood pumping experiences.

It’s not so much the physical endurance. I do like running, so she gives me ample reasons not to go to the gym. And nothing can beat the labor pain. So my threshold of pain has increased leaps and bounds since the last time I had a paper cut and made a big deal about it.
It’s the mental shock that she gives me with her ready replies or as they say ‘haazir jawaabi’ in Hindi that I find a little (I won’t admit defeat beyond this measure) difficult to handle.
Today for example, Ady and Driti were having a discussion on why she should eat her dal and curd. The senior was making a case for eating both of them, the junior, the South-Indian junior – just for the curd.

A: “Driti, dal is very smart. It knows the answers to all the questions. You should eat it. Mix with curd if you like”

D: “No. Curd is smarter. It knows all answers”

A: (acting every smart himself) : “Let’s try” and he asked the curd the following question “Curd, what is the capital of India?”

D:  “New Zealand” (she heard me whisper ‘new’ something. And New Zealand is the only place she knows, starting with ‘new’. Thanks to her uncle who lives there. Her aunts in Delhi, live in India.  And she doesn’t know Delhi is ‘New’)

A:  (looking very satisfied): “No. See, it does not know. Now let me ask the dal” And he looks all very smug as he asks the dal “Dal, what is the capital of India?”

A: "New Delhi" he answers trying ventriloquism.
D:  “No, even curd is smart. See…” and she sets about asking her own question to the curd
D: “Curd, what is the most popular character in India?” If dad can, so can she. “Chota Bheem”  was her ventriloquial reply.

And Ady and I did not have a retort. At this rate, she’d just get what she wants. So we had to use our powers to distract and get her to get some protein in her body.

This was definitely one of the few times that I had to think of a comeback.  I didn’t know if I should be proud of her ready retort or upset at my lack of response.

I just hope this is the extent she’ll go even as a teenager. I know my limitations. I just don’t know how strong my strengths are!!

So you see, Everest is a much easier conquest than actually explaining why food is good to the little monster.

Where's the Party Tonight?

Given a choice, I would much rather sit in a cozy corner at home than go out and meet new people. I'd much rather sit with a book, my laptop or a sitcom and interact with people virtually than shake hands with people in 3-D. People I know, I have no problem interacting - it's the new people that cause butterflies to do trapeze routines in my tummy. 

D on the other hand - is a party animal. A social butterfly. She refuses to come back home after school. And because she knows her teachers and friends will also go to their respective houses at some point. She'll reluctantly come with me complaining, "You're mean Mamma".

When on play dates, as soon as she lands in a friend's house, she'll say: "Mamma, you go. I will have my play date and you can pick me after a long time"

Her new school is close to a lot of human activity and high foot fall. So getting her from the car to her class, takes eternity. She'll talk to everyone. She'll ask everyone what they're doing. If she finds a smoker near a 'No-smoking', she'll go and tell him "You're not supposed to smoke here. Why are you smoking?" The embarrassed guy (it was a guy) would just walk away and apologize to her.  She's into the "Why is there a cross over there" phase now. She wants to know why you can't use the lift when there's a fire. Why kids can't sit in the grocery goods part of the cart in the supermarket. Why you can't take U turns. Everything. 

So anyway, when we do get to the school, she'll want to decide which class she wants to go to; which one is more fun. Hers or the younger kids or the older kids. And she'll take a while to decide while I keep looking at the time and goading her. Nothing can rush her. She'll do everything at her own pace. I wish I were like that. 

And when weekend finally arrives, she's up at 6 in the morning.  She'll come running to us pounce on the bed and say, "What are we going to do today?"

I'll say "Dance class and swimming class, Driti"

"But after that? Where else will we go?"

"Sleep Driti"

"But if we keep sleeping, the Sun will go away and we have to sleep again"

Such clear priorities. I can already hear her as a teenager. "Where's the party tonight?"

The Mentalist and Me

It was a lazy Sunday morning. Coming to think of it, almost every Sunday is turning out to be lazy. Perhaps it does need some RedBull after all. Anyway, the point of discussion is not Sunday here. (ADD me). It's what happened on that fateful Sunday. 

Ady was up like an excited kid and was getting ready to go for his tennis match. Yeah, any sport which has a ball gets him excited.  I've thought of a couple of chores I could get him to do at home throwing the ball in. But I've ended up playing on the tennis court and lost more times than I care to admit. Again, I digress. So anyway, while I was lazying around with Driti, Ady was  getting all sporty with a head band, a wrist band. 

Just as I was falling back into deep slumber after having been woken up by the sounds of the man-of-the-house, trying to open the closet door 'silently', Ady called for me. "Can you please come down?" "Whyyyyy?" I moaned. 
"I'd much rather you come down. I don't want to speak about it with Driti around" he insisted. 
"But she's sleeping"
"Ok. In that case", he said very calmly "We've been robbed"
"What?" I got up at the speed of, if not faster than light. 
"Is everything gone? How did we sleep through all the breaking in? It's all because of you" I started. "You had to watch that movie late into the night and keep me awake and tired" I continued, running down the stairs.
"But it looks the usual amount of dirty to me" I paused confused. 
"Yeah, if you give me a minute to explain, I can tell you" Ady threw his hands up in exasperation. 
"The car. Somebody broke into our car"
"The iPod?"
"No. The iPod was inside the house. It's the GPS. Actually both the GPSes, the stands and the phone charger" We had borrowed an old GPS from a friend and had bought a new one recently. And not surprisingly, we kept both of them in the car."

Ady got into the car to check for stuff broken and stolen. "Use a cloth!" I screamed. "You'll erase the finger prints" I had watched too many Mentalist re-runs to know better. 
"Just call the cops first. This is a crime scene"

And Ady hadn't watched CSI or The Mentalist. So he reluctantly listened to the expert and called 911. He gave a detailed account to them and as he hung up, I asked animatedy, "So are they coming?" Strangely, I was excited about watching the cops in action. The fact that our property was damaged somehow took a back seat. No pun intended. "They love donuts," I added. "Should I get some?"

Ady looked at me like I was some crazy person. "That won't be necessary" he said. "They're not coming" 
"What do you mean? This is a crime!"
"Yeah, only you and I seem to be hyper reacting. The police asked me to call the insurance. They said it's very common here. They'll just call back with a complaint number"

I stared at him like a daft person. I couldn't believe all my Mentalist watching was of no use. 
All our neighbors reacted similarly. "Oh, it's your first time. You left the GPS on the dashboard?" Rookie mistake, we understood. But no one told us when we did. Everybody said it was stupid to leave the GPS on the car. How do we know? In India we left our car open so many times. Maybe it wasn't that attractive but nobody tried to take anything from the inside of a car which had a car seat.

Anyway, it was an aaha moment for us - Car break-ins are common - it's a part of settling in. Cops apparently don't all eat donuts. It's a stereotype. (I learnt this in a cultural awareness class). And the one statement we heard so often.... "Welcome to Seattle"