Monday, December 31, 2007

Catching a ray of light

Only a child can make you look at something that's a part of your everyday life with fresh eyes.

We were visiting some family friends for lunch. Squiggles was very sweet and slept right through lunch. Just as I'd finished dessert she woke up. I brought her out to sit with everyone in the living room.

I sat down on a two-seater sofa and I propped her up against the cushions next to me. She lay back and was observing her surroundings. She was all words, mumbling sweet nothings. A beam of afternoon sunlight streamed through the balcony door and passed in front of her. Suddenly she noticed the light and reached out with her soft pudgy hand to try to catch it. As her hands closed, she found nothing. She reached out to grab at it again. Again her hand closed around empty air. And so it went on. The air particles must have become illuminated and caught her fancy. She was arrested by the sight. Her concentration was complete and she was totally focused on grabbing this elusive thing. It was just such a beautiful moment. There were tender smiles on our faces as we watched her. The desire to hand it over to her clear on our faces :). Her fascination with it was unexpected and gave all of us such pleasure.

The image of her curling her hand, trying to reach out for the sunshine will remain etched in my mind forever, and if I forget, these words will remind me.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Squiggles in Chandni Chowk

Squiggles is having fun.

Squiggles is loving her car rides on Delhi streets at the moment. Unlike boring Singapore where her view is severely restricted in the car seat, here she has a great view in the lap of one of her indulgent family. Smiling strangers, waving at her at red lights. Pedestrians, cycle rickshaws, goods being transported, Cows, Donkeys, Birds - All provide immense stimulation. She's been to the local market in her pram and enjoyed her walk amongst all the hubub and activity.

Today we took her to Chandni Chowk and she rode with us on the Delhi Metro. There isn't a Metro station close to our house, so we got a lift to the closest Metro station. It made me so proud to travel on the Metro. It was clean and well maintained. I'm so happy that it has turned out so well and provides much relief to millions of commuters. Squiggles loved the ride. She was squealing at a beautiful lady on the train and cooing very prettily. Obviously I felt like strutting at such 'cute' behaviour by my child. As we stepped out in to the galis (lanes) of Chandni Chowk, she happily absorbed all the noise and activity and looked around curiously. She was clearly enjoying herself, so we did as well.

Chandni Chowk was great fun. Squiggles was in her Baby Bjorn and was jiggling her hands and legs vigorously. The two stores that we patronised found themselves the proud recipient of some fragrant poo filled diapers. This was her way of showing she liked them. We enjoyed some yummy dahi bhallas, paneer pakodas, grilled cheese sandwiches, Indian style espress coffee. Yummm. One of the shop owners was mentioning how business had improved with the advent of the Metro since people were no longer afraid of a slow and arduous commute. Since we'd already pigged out on so much food, we couldn't try the parathas in Parathewali Gali. Maybe some other time. Since it's so easy to get there now, I think I will be going again before we leave.

Milestone Alert - Backward Crawling

Squiggles Atthai (DD's sister) was playing with her this morning and dangling some gold bangles in front of her. My greedy daughter, in a bid to grab the gorgeous bangles, ended up crawling backwards. On all fours. Two steps back. Witnessed only by her aunt and no one else. Her grandma held a small ceremony to mark the occasion. She held Squiggles under a door and poured some sweets and coins over her head!!! I know, it does sound funny but it was kind of cute. I love the fact that for every achievement in a child's early years, there are simple little traditions which make it so much fun. And it made me feel glad that we were here when it happened, so we could follow the tradition.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Milestone Alert - She has a name for me!!!

Imagine a goat going 'maaannhhhhh, maaannnhhh'.

That's exactly what Squiggles says when she spots me or my breast. She goes, "Maaah, Maah" in this little whining tone as if she's asking for some milk. The first time she did it was on Thursday morning and says it once or twice a day now.

Yippppeeeeeeeeeeee ..... she said mama first, she said mama first.....

*grinning widely*

Delhi Tales - Part Two

Since it was my aunt and uncle's silver anniversary, as usual, there was a big bash planned. Besides that, my cousins had also organised a bridal shower for my aunt. It is customary in our family to throw a bridal shower for the bride. This is just another excuse to have fun really. I have no idea how it originated but it is religiously followed and mostly hosted by my mom.
This time too we held one for my aunt though it was unanimously agreed we would have it at their place. It wasn't meant as a big affair. The agenda for the night was to do 'shringaar' and make her wear flower ornaments. And of course, sing, dance, and eat.

When we got there Squiggles was already asleep, so I quickly put her down in one of the spare bedrooms. Everyone excitedly followed us in.

"Ohhh, she looks just like her dad"
"Yeh to uski carbon copy hai"
"No, no she looks like her grandpa"
"Thank god rang to maa pe gaya hai" Thank God, she's taken after her mom on colouring.
"Eyes bilkul baap par hain" Eyes are just like her dad's.
"She's so tiny. She looks very big in the photos"
"My baby" That was my 3 year old niece who took no time in hijacking my daughter.

Finally I managed to evict them from the room and we got on with the evening. My uncle was the chef of the day and had used one of the rooms as the kitchen for the evening. He had dished out his HUGE hot plate / grill and like a khansama (chef) was busy grilling and frying different meats and veggies. Inevitably there was a food fight between my cousin who would only eat the fish and the rest of us who wanted a bite of her fish even though there were plenty of other things going around.

After we'd had our fill, we started with the ceremony. All the women surrounded my aunt and started the 'shringaar'. Then, we decorated her with all the beautiful ornaments made from roses and white flowers - kamarbandh, maathe ka tika, bracelets, earrings, necklace, anklets. She was all teary eyed and sniffling through the whole ceremony but then that's what traditions like these are for. We'd even sent her to the parlour to get her mehendi done, just like a bride would do.

Obviously no evening is over without song and dance. My cousin played all the latest dance numbers off the laptop and all of us danced, mostly a bit crazily but it was alot of fun. In the middle of all this chaos, Squiggles woke up. And she was immediately descended upon. The dancing momentarily stopped in her honour. But then someone had the wonderful idea of dancing with her. And then it began. Each one vying to hold her and dance with her. If she would start whimpering and clamouring for me, somebody else would push the others aside, confident that with them she would quieten down. The fact that she came out with some stunning smiles was quite cool actually. I was afraid that she would scream the house down. But she seemed to be enjoying herself. She was comfortable with the loud music and all the weird people looking at her, making funny faces and dancing like idiots.

I took her to feed her inside and everyone followed me inside including one of my male cousins. When we pointed out that he shouldn't be around, he just shrug his shoulders and said that really he didn't see any reason why he should have to leave just because he was born a male. Since we have all seen each other in chaddis since we were kids, I let it be. I was well covered with a shawl and he was watching the TV. It got a bit too much though when my uncle trooped in as well. He was asked to leave but then he looked at my cousin and wanted to know why he was allowed and not him!!! He was pushed out the door :).

At some point Squiggles fell alseep and we continued with all our silly antics and finally collapsed in the wee hours. The next day my niece hijacked my daughter. Squiggles was her baby and she kept dragging all the visitors and help to my room to see her baby. It was really lovely to see her with Squiggles. She would constantly stroke her cheeks, or kiss her, smile at her and want to hold her and play with her. Squiggles responded well to all this adoration and cooed and gurgled in response. It was lovely to watch the two together. They spent the day together, literally in each other's pockets.

The evening was all set for the big bash. I wore a borrowed saree since none of my blouses fit me anymore and I had a chance to wear some jewellery for the first time in a year. The last time was at my baby shower almost a year ago. Squiggles went to bed at 7.30 that evening in a chic dress but then didn't wake up till 4.3o the next morning. She slept through the entire party!! I was glad because this left me free to enjoy myself but everyone else was so disappointed because they all wanted to see her, play with her etc. My dad's sister tried her level best to wake her up but I think all the travelling had finally caught up with her and she was zonked out. Every half hour someone would troop in to her room to see if she had woken up or could be woken but it was not to be. As a last ditch effort another cousin of mine tried waking her at midnight but couldn't succeed either! I had to check her breathing because inspite of some really loud music and the constant kissing and petting that was going on, she kept sleeping. She got loads of presents despite not having met anyone. This only means I now need to troop around and visit all my family because none of them have really seen her! I'm not sure if I'm happy with this outcome...hmmm.

We're now back at DD's parents and Squiggles is warming up to them. They're really enjoying themselves with her. My MIL was a tad upset when Squiggles showed a marked preference for the maid but I think she's over it now :). For all those of you who read my list of petty fears, you'll be pleased to know that all my fears were unfounded and my MIL did run the washing machine for Squiggles clothes without my even mentioning anything!

Ta da

Monday, December 10, 2007

Delhi Tales - Part One

Hiya folks,

It's been a crazy crazy few days. We landed safe and sound in good old Dilli in the wee hours of Thursday. Squiggles' first time here...yay!!! Of course, we almost didn't get here thanks to the world's worst airline - Jet Airways - but that's another story which deserves it's own post and I just don't feel like going on a negative tangent right now. I feel positive. Sigh... it's so good to be back. Full of black yucky mucus within a few hours of landing :) but good.

As I have hinted at, the flight was aweful but we will gloss over that for the moment. I have to say one thing about us middle class desis, we're not helpful at all. I think Delihites have fallen pray to the big city syndrome. As a mom travelling alone with an infant I was suprised at the lack of helpfulness or courtesy displayed during the flight and after by my co-passengers. People hurriedly trying to overtake me to save 30 sec in the security queue and in the immigration line, not letting me through while alighting from the plane. When we landed we were taken to the airport terminal in a bus from the plane. A sweet security chap helped open my pram and put it on the bus for me. But when it came to alighting all those fat men just got off the bus without the slightest consideration. In fact, it was a woman with a big suitcase of her own who offered to help me get the pram off the bus. Thank you, whoever you are.

Squiggles' tatha (grandpa) was waiting for us just beyond the immigration counter. It was quite obvious that he had eyes only for Squiggles' *wry grin* and was pleased as a punch that she was awake. Suprisingly, immigration, bags and customs was really quick. It couldn't have taken us more than 15 min to clear everything.

As soon as we got out of the terminal the chill hit us. Even though the pilot had announced it was 14 degrees, it felt much cooler. We quickly got into the car and headed home. There is so much construction going around in Delhi, and roads have changed so much over the last few years, that even though I have driven on Delhi roads extensively, it all seemed a bit confusing. We got home at about 4 in the morning where Squiggles' grandma was waiting. I promptly offloaded her into those waiting arms. As can be expected, she didn't stay put. But after a really crappy flight I can't blame her. In fact considering the circumstance she did really well.

I'm really glad Squiggles was awake though. She cooed and smiled a bit. Enough to soothe eyes that had been waiting for her for the last few months. Obviously they would have loved it if she had jumped all over them but this wasn't too bad either.

The next morning the madness began. Phones were ringing all morning. All wanting to know whether we had reached safely and of course when they would get to see Squiggles. I missed most of the calls since Squiggles was a bit overwhelmed and super tired so she wouldn't leave me for a moment.

A very dear friend of mine from WIMWI (Well Known Institute of Management in Western India) was in town and due to head back home the same night. We got in touch and she came over to see us after the customary grumbling about why I couldn't have married someone who had the decency to be live more centrally :). Stuff that only a good friend can get away with. I hadn't met her for 5 years. The last time we met was at my wedding in Chennai. In the meantime, both of us have become mommies. It was so good to see her. I realised I miss her. I know she's very busy with her life at the moment but I wish she would make more of an effort to be regular with her email and I said as much. It was so weird to see each other and the kids. Weird but nice. Kind of surreal too. As she left I was hit by a strong wave of nostalgia. The thought of god knows how many years it would be before I would see her again left me holding back tears. She's expecting her second child now... :). I wish we lived closer.

In the evening friends of my in-laws came to see Squiggles. They stayed for a couple of hours and I got so hungry that I had to discreetly gobble the leftover Gajrela (Carrot Halwa) in the kitchen. I haven't done that in ages... hiding in the kitchen from guests and eating. Squiggles finaly condescended to sleep at 10 that night. I then got down to the phone and spoke to a few of my aunts and cousins who had been chasing me since morning but was just heard mumbling incoherently.

The next day we tried to get ready early but inevitably it was noon before we could leave home. We went to Squiggles' aunt's place. My SIL is expecting anytime now so there's a lot of excitement and nervousness around. We spent the afternoon there. The plan was to then head to my mom's place to join in the celebrations for my aunt and uncle's silver wedding anniversary. That's when Squiggles would get to meet my side of the family for the first time. I could visualise the scene. It would be worse than a zoo, all these faces staring at and crowding Squiggles, talking loudly and commenting on every feature of her face, passing her around and snatching her from each other and worse. And it all happened just as I feared and worse! But more of that tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

An appeal

I'm massaged at 8 in the morning. That is simply not on. Things are getting crazier in this household every day. If that wasn't bad enough, I'm bathed soon after and made to wear a new dress. This is all so strange and bewildering. This NEVER happens in our house. I mean massage is usually mid-day and I'm given my bath whenever the mood fancies, sometimes even as late as 4pm. In fact sometimes it gets so late that lazy mama gives it a skip altogether. Since I don't have to do anything myself I'm kinda OK with it. But it's set me wondering. I know we're leaving for Delhi tonight but surely there's no reason to bathe me that early, our flight is at 11 in the night after all.


It gets worse when Mama goes for a shower as well. Now really it is a rare sight to see her all nice and fresh at 9 in the morning. Usually she's bleary eyed, stumbling along and dressed in her pyjamas that have seen better days. But today she's ready and wearing a blue salwar kameez. Something's definitely up. She starts gibbering something about where we have to go but I'm kinda ready for a nap. I woke up at 4 this morning and again at 7 so I'm feeling a bit tired. Mama is older so she can better cope with such erratic hours. For me it's really hard.


I wake up to see Mama grinning. Apparently her friend called from the US to say that she's expecting a baby. A baby is someone smaller than me, according to her. Must be kind of weird I'm sure. Not that I'm interested I assure you. I'm unceremoniously picked up and hustled and bustled about. We head down to the parking lot and Papa and Grandpa are there waiting for us in the car. That's a surprise. I rarely see them during daytime. I beam... maybe this is what it's all about. But they don't get out and we head along. Mama puts me in the car seat again. How many times have I told her in clear terms that I do not want to sit in it. But does she listen? No! Sometimes she is really slow. It's exasperating.


Well, we finally reached where we were supposed to be - the temple. This is really weird. Ma is not a temple person at all so what are we doing here? We trudge in. Papa has a few words with a guy with long hair. The really weird thing is that he's wearing nothing on top.... not even a ganji. Mama shushes me and tells me not to be irreverent, as if I know what that means. He smiles at me so I'm OK.


And then I get it. It's a magic show. The long-haired man does some hocus pocus and there is some fire. He gets together loads of flowers and says lots of things in a nice loud voice. I have no idea what it means. But papa keeps telling me to look towards a really beautiful statue. It's covered in really pretty clothes. I wish mama would get me one of those. She's busy clicking photos and papa is telling her not to. She tells him to relax since no one else is bothered. Typical conversation between the two.


Meanwhile the man applies something on my head. Mama takes me from papa and sits down. The man asks papa for his gold ring. This magic show is turning out to be quite expensive, I'm thinking. He dips into a beautiful silver bowl full of yummy looking rice. Sigh...I'm never going to get that. I've been asking for weeks but they always move my hands away. I'm ready for disappointment again. These pigs, they keep stuffing themselves and just keep me on a milk diet.
I was about to wail when I spied the gold ring filled with the prasadam heading towards me. Before I could blink, it was in my mouth. In the shock of it all, I almost dropped some. I quickly ate it lest mama had any funny ideas of taking it back. She did manage to get some out of my mouth though but I held on to a few grains. Finally.... finally these jokers actually give me something decent to eat. And it didn't stop with the long haired man. Papa fed me, then mama, then grandpa. Of course daddy was most particular about not giving me any more. He just touched my lips with a little bit. I did lunge but he was quick to remove the yummy prasadam. Grandpa was much nicer than these two modern parents of mine. He gave me a nice big lump which I enjoyed immensely. He asked mama to give me some more but papa played the party pooper and gave loads of reasons why I shouldn't be given any more. In the same breath he asks mama to save the prasadam for him so he can eat it when he comes home from office in the evening. The nerve of the guy.


While all this was happening inside, it started raining. Papa and grandpa were mighty pleased. Apparently it's a good omen. I could see Mama rolling her eyes. It was kind of funny. I hope they won't stop at this now. I could really do with some food. I'm sooooooooo hungry. You will appeal with ma won't you on my behalf?

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Of embarrasing moments in the gym

I don't know why I'm doing this. If I feel like having fun, surely it shouldn't be at my expense?

It's my second time at the gym post baby. My personal trainer hands me a skipping rope as part of my cardio session and announces '100'. Skips, he means. I'm not too sure I can manage even 20 but since I'm paying him I decide to give it a shot. 10, 18, not bad so far. Skip no. 22 oooppps... I can feel something. One little drop of water escapes. Skip no. 57.....the drops are changing to big fat drops.....Uh oh. Should I stop??? Skip no. 81....I better stop. This is fast getting worse. I just pretend that I've had enough and hand back the rope to him. I look down and there is a big stain down there! I just mumble something to the guy about muscles down there being weak. He nods understandingly, "You should do your Keigels". ?!!!? Hide me somewhere please.......... I carry on with the workout as if nothing weird has happened. Why didn't anyone TELL me that this is another price for being a mommy?

I'm lifting some heavy weights, doing a chest exercise. I'm looking at myself in the mirror when I realise my breasts look a bit wonky. It's as if my left breast has moved to the centre of my chest. I quickly readjust my bra and realise there are 10 other people in the gym and I have been walking around for the last 15 mins like this...sigh.

I'm bending down doing another stupid exercise. One moment there's nothing and the next second there it is, in all it's white glory. My breast pad! The one with the super adhesive. Lousy stuff. Never bought that brand again.

I'm doing a set of sprints to warm up. I bend down, hands on the floor, heads up, waiting for the go ahead to start. "You've dropped your pad", announces the ever-so-helpful trainer. What? Where? Again! It's lying there on the floor in all it's pristine glory. I quickly sweep it up and crush it in my palm and curse the pathetic excuse of an adhesive. I hide it in my hand and discreetly throw it in the bin as head back to the gym.

After a stressful back exercise, I stretch. Hands behind the back, hands clasped, strrrrrrrrrretch. POP! My bra has unhooked itself. Naughty little thing. I stumble backwards, careful not to turn around lest my fantastic trainer figures out why I'm walking out the door with a quick "I'll be right back". As I head out the door, he starts following me! "Are you alright?", he shouts. I nod vigorously, "I'll be right back". "Are you sure? Do you need any help?". Help!!! Noooooooooooooooooooo.

C'mon tell me I'm not the only one. Pllllllllleeeeeeeeeeeeeeassssssssssse.

Tharini - Now you know :)


Friday, November 30, 2007

But I'm J

After all, wouldn't you be pleased that your child was happy to play with someone else other than you?

If they cooed and gurgled in response to someone else's voice?

If a smile as wide as the vast ocean opened up when they saw someone else?

If it was the same person in all the above cases?

The person who will have primary care for your child once you go back to work.

But no. The contrary woman that I have become, it means that I am jealous. There I've said it. I AM JEALOUS. Of my maid :((.

Now it's not that Squiggles spends all the time with her. Usually it's a couple of hours in the day when I go to the gym or if I have some errands to run which would be much faster accomplished if I left her behind. Plus, I think overall she's a clingy child (I told you I was confused) so I consciously want her to be comfortable with people other than me. But the problem is that she's not comfortable with people, just ONE other person.

And it's not as if she prefers my maid over me. If she sees me, she starts clamouring for me. It's just that whenever we're playing together or just chilling out and she spies her, she breaks out into a grin, calls out to her etc. Which is great, isn't it? It's almost as if I want Squiggles to give me all her attention when it is convenient for me to play with her (I know that I am very childish and immature) but also to happily go to someone else when I have other things to sort out but still kind of want me even though I'm busy.

To give credit to my maid, she is super with kids. She has 2 of her own and has a wonderful way with children. Ever since Squiggles was a few days old and in the height of her colicky state, she would manage to calm her down where my mom or I would fail. She keeps advising me on how to handle her. If I'm being reasonable I will listen to her and what she says usually works. So I ask you, shouldn't I be happy??? And I AM. But I'm also J.

*starts beating her head against the screen*

Now I really don't want Squiggles to stop liking her. Honest. Because that would make life verrrry difficult. As I said she's clingy and if the only other person she goes to suddenly falls out of favour, then I've had it. So I don't want this state of affair to stop. But I'm J.

*starts smashing her head against the screen*

I want the sane woman who used to live inside my head back. Pleeeeeasssse come back. Please.

Does anyone know a psychiatrist? A good one.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Of cabbies in Madrid

Madrid was the venue for our 4th anniversary celebrations. I'd found cheap flights on Easyjet long before I found out I was pregnant and way before there were any signs that we would ever move back east. That was our last holiday as a couple.

As with any holiday that I plan, I had meticulously researched the city, its sights and nightlife, weeks before to make sure we wouldn't miss out on the things that we were keen on. I'm a fan of Flamenco. I've watched a few Flamenco performances in London and thoroughly enjoyed them. One of my favourites was a performance by Paco Pena and his troupe at the Royal Festival Hall in May 2004. That was the only time I have ever heard 'once again', 'encore', impromptu clapping and whistling in a performance in London. It was that good.

I was on the lookout for an authentic Flamenco experience in Madrid. A lot of googling later, Corral de la Morreria caught my fancy. Though on the pricier side it could count among its patrons the likes of King of Jordan, several American presidents, many representatives from Hollywood etc. So of course, that decided it :). See, I now have something in common with all of them! I booked our places for the Saturday night show. It was our anniversary that day and this was going to be a special treat.

The restaurant cum theatre was a cosy place. The whole concept was for you to enjoy your dinner while watching the performance in the style of the old days of restaurants/bars hosting artists. Every guide book will tell you that the real Spain starts coming alive after 10pm. No self respecting Spaniard (southern) will consider stepping out for dinner before then. The restaurant had two sittings. All keen to experience the real Spain (in one city!) I booked the late sitting hoping that all the 'tourists' would be in bed by then. Again everyone had the same idea :). When we got there it was already brimming with tourists. But hey we were tourists too, so no complaints.
It was a charming little place. I'd expected it to be bigger but it was comfortably cosy. Tables were within touching distance of each other, the hum of chit chat dominated the air. Candles flickered, creating romantic shadows. As we took our seats the singers came on to begin the performance.

The most fascinating thing I find about flamenco is the music. Even though a lot of people will associate Flamenco with the dance, live music is an integral part and it is that that brings the dance to life. Pre-recorded music just doesn't do it. Flamenco is all about melodious singing accompanied by the Spanish guitar and a lot of rhythmic clapping and foot tapping. As the voice of the lead singer soared in the room I knew we were in for a treat. His voice was mesmerising. And he was soon joined by the other three male singers. The rhythm set by their hands and feet.
And then the dancers in their gorgeous costumes.
Song after song, dance after dance, they continued to enthrall. Dinner was delicious but secondary. Impossible to concentrate on food when such magic is being created. We were disappointed when the performance came to an end an hour later.
But at least it gave us a chance to concentrate on the food!

We had almost finished dinner and were thinking about leaving when the second performance of the evening started. Not sure whether we were allowed to watch it a second time and yet too greedy to leave without being shoved out, we decided to risk it. But no one asked us to leave. Instead we just got drawn in to the show again. Though the artists were the same, the songs and dances were different this time.

At last, mindful of my pregnant state, DD suggested we head back to the hotel. It was past one in the morning. There were a couple of cabs waiting outside.

SM: Look, there are cabs waiting outside. Do you think someone has called them or are they just waiting generally?
DD (helpfully): How would I know?
SM (rolling her eyes upward): Let's walk out to the main road and get a cab there. These guys will charge us extra just because they know we came out of this place.
DD: Don't be stupid. You've spent a fortune in there and now you're worried about a few euros. It's late, you're pregnant and we won't get a cab this late that easily.
SM: Humph... OK, then ask him if he'll go.

DD walks up to the cabbie and gives him the name of our hotel. He nods vigorously and we climb in. I'm secretly glad DD didn't agree with me because I am pregnant and a little tired and I'm wearing heels (vanity thy name is woman)! Of course I didn't say any of this to him. As the cab moved off I had a quick look at the meter. The cabbie hadn't switched it on. I nudged DD.

SM: He hasn't switched on the meter. He's going to take us for a ride. Ask him to switch on the meter.
DD: Stop losing it. He'll switch it on.

100m later.

SM: He still hasn't switched on the cab meter. He will ask us for a ridiculous amount when we get to the hotel. Tell him to switch it on.
DD (again helpfully): What can I do?
SM: Tell him to switch it on!!!
DD: No, you tell him.
SM: You're the guy. You tell him. I'm pregnant. What's the point of you being around? DD, you should be ashamed of yourself.

Very reluctantly DD asks the cabbie to switch on the meter. He promptly complies.
Cabbie: Where are you from? America?
DD: India.
Cabbie: Aahhh.

200m later

The car comes to a sputtering halt. The cabbie turns around with an apologetic look and says in broken English, "Sorry. Car broken. Cannot go. You leave."

We get out of the cab and start walking. 30 sec later the same cab whizzes past us, takes a U-turn and heads back towards the restaurant. DD and I look at each other and burst out laughing. We've been bumped! By a cabbie in Madrid. This is so filmy! You can expect this to happen in Delhi with the autowallahs or with cabbies in Mumbai but Madrid! We were still grinning a few minutes later. It felt like a mini adventure. Stranded in the middle of the night in a strange city, don't know the language, clearly targets for any bullies, pregnant woman on heels, metro shut down hours ago and hotel a few km away. We start walking as we reminisce about all the bollywood movies where we've seen that happen.

After walking for a bit, DD spots a cab across a square and does an award winning sprint to catch the cab, hops in to it and comes to pick me up at the corner. This time we have a nice cabbie. And the hero and his pregnant wife head back to the comfort of their hotel.

I wonder how different this year's anniversary will be. We will complete 5 years in a few days. And what do we have to show for it?

Squiggles and a lot of wonderful memories.

Milestone Alert

Squiggles can now sit on her little tush without any assistance from me for a few seconds at a time. Of course, she soon topples over. One second she's sitting all merry and the next she plonks down side ways, head first.

As a result, the proud parents keep making her sit but more to enjoy the spectacle of her toppling over which always gets a few chuckles going!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Alert - One deaf female coming up

I think it would be an understatement to say that Squiggles has been screaming. Not your normal screams but high pitch cries that have been wreaking havoc on my right ear drum. I am convinced that if this continues for very long then I will soon be enjoying my hereditary deaf genes. And that is going to leave her where? Crying and mummy not picking her up because she can't hear her. Can anyone please explain this to the madam?

Cause for such crazy behaviour is yet unknown. Not that she's crazy but I haven't figured it out yet and until I do I shall classify it as crazy behaviour.

*one finger in the ear to block out sounds*

Thursday, November 22, 2007

The real tag: 22 things every guy wants to know about women

After my little joke here are my REAL responses!

1.How do you feel after a one night stand?
Wish I wasn't wearing heels.

2. Do you ever get used to wearing a thong?
Yes....duh??

3. Does it hurt?
Only if you have appendages down there!

4. Do you know when you are acting crazy?
Woof Woof

5. Does size really matter?
Yes and whoever says otherwise is lying.

6. When the bill comes are you still a feminist?
Never having been there when the bill arrives I can't really say.

7. Why do you take so long to get ready?
I'm delaying the inevitable.... seeing you again!

8. Do you watch porn, too?
When you're watching it.

9. Will something from Tiffany's solve everything?
That's just one of the ingredients. Obviously here size DOES matter.

10. Are guys as big of a mystery to you as you are to us?
How hard can it be to understand 2+2=4.

11. Why do you sometimes think you look fat?
I AM too fat for the skimpy clothes I want to get into. It would never do for you to say so though.

12. Why are you always late?
What's a couple of hours in the grand scheme of life, eh?

13. Does it bother you when we scratch?
Depends on what you're scratching.

14. Do you wish you could pee standing up?
Yes, so I could squirt you in the face.

15. Why do so many women cut their hair short as soon as they get married?
Just to clarify, which hair are we talking about?

16. How often do you think about sex?
Often enough but that doesn't mean you'll get any.

17. What do you think of women who sleep with guys on the first date?
You want to know where I stand on the issue of multiple partners??????

18. Would you?
If it wasn't clear by my response above, NO.

19. Do you realize every guy wants a girl just like his mom?
That just proves how stupid they are.

20. Why does every woman think she can change him?
Because from time immemorial she has been successful.

21. Does it matter what car I drive?
Yes. Especially if I want to have a go at it.

22. Do you ever fart?
You moron, you think any woman would #17 after that question. No wonder you're left with scratching yourself all the time.

The tag still stands Choxbox, Sujatha, and Suki :).

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Tagged: 22 Things Every Guy Wants to Know About Women

Moppet's Mom is a very crafty lady. She's decided to reveal it all and wants me to join in! Never one to back down from a challenge. Here goes.

1.How do you feel after a one night stand?
My feet ache.

2. Do you ever get used to wearing a thong?
Do you?

3. Does it hurt?
Oh no. You should try it sometime.

4. Do you know when you are acting crazy?
Me? Crazy? What? Who told you that? Tell me their name! Now!

5. Does size really matter?Of course not! (wink, wink)

6. When the bill comes are you still a feminist?
When the bill comes, I'm an opportunist. I never let the opportunity to have someone else pay up pass.

7. Why do you take so long to get ready?
Why don't you take a little longer to get ready? You sure could use it!

8. Do you watch porn, too?
Don't need to, thank you very much!

9. Will something from Tiffany's solve everything?
No. A sincere apology would probably cost you more, but it works much better.

10. Are guys as big of a mystery to you as you are to us?
No. We're not the smarter sex for nothing, you know.

11. Why do you sometimes think you look fat?
Having to hold my breath before I can button my jeans might be a clue.

12. Why are you always late?I'm not.
Why do you assume that a woman will be late?

13. Does it bother you when we scratch?
No, it's natural. Men are just closer to apes on the evolutionary ladder than women are.

14. Do you wish you could pee standing up?
No. But I realise this is a big achievement for your kind, so well done!

15. Why do so many women cut their hair short as soon as they get married?
To relieve boredom.

16. How often do you think about sex?
Nowhere near as often as you do, I'll bet.

17. What do you think of women who sleep with guys on the first date?
Decisive.

18. Would you?
Yes. No. Maybe. Not.

19. Do you realize every guy wants a girl just like his mom?
Really? I'm glad I didn't marry Every Guy then.

20. Why does every woman think she can change him?
Because Every Guy's mom obviously didn't do such a great job.

21. Does it matter what car I drive?
No. It matters how you drive it.

22. Do you ever fart?
Yes. But only YOU can do it on demand.

I tag Choxbox, Sujatha, and Suki.

Friday, November 16, 2007

'Nothing' Holiday tales

I'm trying to think of a word to describe our holiday but I can't think of one. It was just what we needed. Very relaxing and simply wonderful. We did absolutely nothing. Zilch. Na da. Nothing. It was completely different from our usual holidays. There were no planned days, no must sees, no nothing. We ate like pigs, drank like fish, bummed around, wallowed like hippos in the pool, and just did nothing. I know I keep going on about it but one more time.... NOTHING!!! And it was brilliant. I'm all for nothingness :).

Squiggles was wonderful...... most of the time :). As much as can be expected of a 5 month old and much better than our expectation (it always pays to have reeeeaaaaallllly low expectations!).

I have to admit though that I could be found several days before we were due to leave praying fervently that Squiggles would be alright and nothing would prevent us from leaving for our much looked forward to break. Visions of nebulisers kept haunting me. DD had been coughing for several days and I was afraid that Squiggles would catch it from him, thus preventing us from going on holiday. So, for a change, I went around admonishing DD to have more cough syrup, plying him with Haldi ka Doodh (hot milk with turmeric) and asking him not to pick up Squiggles.

Of course once we reached there safely I was constantly haunted by visions of having to catch an earlier flight back home because she was ill. Please tell me that all mums are crazy. I used to be totally bindaas (carefree) before and now find myself going mental with crazy fears.

The flight itself was uneventful for all other passengers including Squiggles except of course for me. Mindful of all the sensible advice given by all my blogging mummy friends I was determined that Squiggles should feed during take off. Quite characteristic of our relationship, Squiggles demanded milk much before take off. I tried putting her off by distracting her and constantly harrassing DD by asking him every 10 seconds "Should I give her milk now? Should I give her milk now?". Finally, as the plane started moving, out of sheer embarrasment from all the squealing and squirming that was going on, I started feeding her. As fate would have it, there was a queue of planes waiting for take off and we had to wait for 5-7 mins on the runway. Predictably against all my determination to feed her during take off, Squiggles promptly fell asleep just as the plane started gathering speed for take off. As the plane rose in the skies I could be seen quite harrassed forcing my nipple into Squiggles' mouth who was quite firm about not wanting it and kept her lips tightly shut. Silly child. I kept trying to force my nipple in her mouth for the next 10-15 mins with DD looking on exasperatedly. I, quite convinced that she was going to be in pain when she woke up, and he, quite convinced that he had gotten on the plane with the wrong woman - an escaped lunatic instead of his wife. Needless to say she was fine and I was perspiring by the end of it all.

I decided to be more relaxed during landing and take my cues from her behaviour. Invariably since I had decided to be more 'cool' about it Squiggles decided that she was indeed very uncomfortable with all the pressure and proceeded to maul my breast and nipple throughout the descent. Sigh.

We finally landed and for a change were not the first ones out of the plane. Gathering the enormous amount of hand baggage - 20 diapers (someone suggested on my blog that I should carry twice the amount that I thought would be necessary, you see), several changes of clothing, god knows how many burp cloths, blankets, car seat, my purse, baby carrier etc. - we couldn't have got off any earlier (we were the last ones off the flight). We were going to get visas on arrival in Phuket so hadn't bothered to apply for it beforehand in Singapore. Since my dad had warned DD that we would need references for our Thai visa application, it was obvious that DD would disregard that advice because of its source! Anyway with my quick thinking and even quicker call to Moppet's Dad, we were sorted.

We collected our many bags and headed out to look for our transport to the resort. Our agent had arranged it and considering the number of things she got wrong I was pretty relieved to spot someone holding up a placard with our name on it. DD loaded all bags in the rear but Squiggles' mammoth pram and car seat could not fit in. There was no choice but for poor DD to hold the pram (or should I say travel system) in his lap in the 30 min drive to the resort :)). If he felt a bit ridiculous arriving at our luxurious resort with this big green thing in his lap he didn't let on. I know if it had been me, the entire 30 min ride would have been punctuated with curses!

Every bit of stress and depression was washed away as we entered the resort. It was twilight by the time we reached there and the resort was bathed in twinkling candlelight. Sounds of rushing water reached us and fresh lotus flowers greeted us as we entered the lobby. It was magical. I couldn't have wished for a more beautiful and romantic setting. Many a time you look at photographs of hotels on websites and cynically assume that it cannot be as good. But for once I was spellbound. It was more, much more beautiful than I had envisaged. Check in was quick and we were led out to a golf buggy which would take us to our villa.

We didn't get a chance to take many pictures of the resort by night but here's one of the bar area.

And a few of the resort in daylight.


There were many firsts on this trip - Squiggles' 1st holiday, Squiggles' 1st flight, Squiggles' 1st stay in a hotel/resort as well as.....

Squiggles' 1st time on a beach


Squiggles's 1st time in a swimsuit

Squiggles' 1st time in a pool


Squiggles' 1st time on a boat

DD's first massage.....!

After being pummeled by a fat woman on the beach DD decided to try out the 'Gentleman's package' at the spa. Now it sounds dodgy I know but considering where we were staying I was confident that DD was safe from amorous advances by thai beauties. He came back thoroughly relaxed and raving and this is what the conversation was like.

DD: That was superb (it's his mot de jour)
Me: Really (wicked smile). So did you umm.... you know.
DD: What?
Me: Did you ... you know.... ummmm........ get.....ummm... (go on to complete the sentence)
DD: You are crazy. Where do you get such ideas from? It was great. I fell alseep halfway through the massage.

Phew.....Very relieved, I gave him a big hug :)). He responded by laughing heartily, big rumbling laughs from a big man.

Another highlight of the holiday was the bonding between DD and Squiggles. She finally saw him for more than 30mins at a stretch and was forced to spend quality time with him while I was spa-ing. Here's DD walking her around in her baby carrier while I gulp down my 4th plate at breakfast (did I mention breakfast was super yummy).


I managed to get two glorious massages at the spa while DD dealt with an inconsolable Squiggles. Did I feel guilty? Nah..... alright just a teeny bit but not enough to stop me!!

This is where we had lunch on our last day.

Oh and I forgot to mention that DD bought me a bottle of Dom Perignon from the 1999 vintage to kick start our holiday. Mainly because I've been going on about the fact that his colleague and he shared 2 bottles to celebrate his impending fatherhood at a time when I couldn't even smell it. And also because he's such a sweetheart.

I feel absolutely great...very refreshed and raring to go. Which reminds me that we're off to Delhi in exactly 3 weeks. Me alone with Squiggles. Now that should be interesting......not.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Deepavali - The Festival of Lights

Feeling very self important a little girl walked hurriedly towards the kitchen. Bending under the shelf she spied the tell tale trail of mustard oil and followed it into the pantry. The bottle of mustard oil in hand, with a skip in her step she dragged out the bag of diyas from the store room. She knew the big roll of cotton was in the medicine cabinet. And finally what she needed was a pack of matches. Tearing a piece of cotton from the roll, she carefully and meticulously stretched it until it was long and thin. She chose a diya from the bag. Carefully she poured some mustard oil and dipped the cotton wick in it. Lips pursed and holding the match far away from her body she lit the diya. Slowly the flame came alive, flickered and then steadied. The glow from the flame of the first diya of the season warmed her heart. As she went about placing diyas all along the perimeter wall of her home, a sense of pride and satisfaction glowed in her eyes. If you looked carefully you could see the diya reflected in her eyes. If you looked harder you could see the same fire burning inside.

Today's fancy ready made diyas with candlewax don't appeal. Painted diyas don't appeal. Tea light candles seem too fancy for something so pure and simple. Fairy lights are a modern invention. It's the traditional mitti diyas that I miss. I miss the ritual of preparing the baatis (wicks), the satisfaction of pouring the oil into the diyas and the gentle sense of everything being right with the world when the diya comes to life.

For me it's Deepavali, not Diwali. It's the hand made diyas not the store bought ones. The excitement of sharing sweets with family, friends and neighbours. Dressing up, wearing pretty bangles and little jhumkas (earrings). As I sit far away, my Deepavali remains incomplete without my diyas. Tea light candles fill in.

Here is this year's diya.


And Squiggles in her Diwali outfit courtesy her Appammai.


Here's wishing all of you a wonderful and happy Deepavali!

P.S. Squiggles has misunderstood the importance of Deepavali. Instead of appreciating it as the Festival of Lights she thinks it's the Festival of 'Drink-as-much-milk-as-you-can'. So we have been spending some quality time together!!!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Holiday Holiday Holiday Holidayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy

Yippeeee.....................

11 months and 10 days

That's how long it will be since my last holiday. That was to celebrate our 4th anniversary and we chose Madrid. I'd booked our flights months ago, long before I knew I was pregnant. We got a fab deal on our hotel and it was a relaxed and chilled out break.

Now almost a year later we're off again... finally :). DD and I both love travelling. Our holidays are usually action packed and we rarely spend any time in the hotel. Both of us are ever so keen to explore, discover off the beaten track spots and just soak in the atmosphere. While we were in London we would average 1 long break (10 days to 2 weeks) and 2-3 short weekend breaks each year. This was in addition to our annual trips to India but those we never considered as holidays. We would often return back from India needing a holiday after the hectic family and friends meeting, food hogging home visit.

So the need to take a break, get away from the mundane has been gnawing at us. Somewhere at the back of our minds we've been waiting for Squiggles to grow up just a bit and for us to feel more comfortable in our role as parents before we venture out on a holiday with her. So, unlike any of our holidays before, this is purely about relaxing and getting used to holidaying with an infant.

Phuket................ here we come. White sandy beaches and clear blue water. Yummy, spicy Thai food. Heavenly and cheap thai massages. Nothing to do. No cooking, cleaning or whatever. No giving instructions to maid. No grocery shopping. No thinking what should be on the menu today that will meet DD's approval. No gym :). Only DD and me...... oh and Squiggles LOL.

I'm hoping she'll be half good because expecting her to be 100% good is tempting fate. If I can get a massage a day and one other treatment I shall be pleased and purring like a cat. Sigh... I am tempting fate!

It's been a rocky start to the holiday though. I found a travel agent in Chinatown (bad bad idea) and though I didn't have any references, they were affiliated to a major travel group which handles holiday packages on behalf of Singapore Airlines. So I thought they would be squeaky clean and easy to deal with. Boy was I wrong! I have spent several hours on 4 separate occasions trying to sort out what seemed on paper to be a simple plan.

Suffice to say, DD was yelling at her yesterday because she had so screwed things up. I'm not going to go into details but I finally picked everything up from her this afternoon and I hope eveything improves from here on.

Now the trickiest part of the holiday. What do I need to take for Squiggles to make sure she's comfortable and is happy because that is directly corelated to how much we can enjoy the break. So all of you who have gone holidaying with an infant, this is your time to give gyan (advice).

Here are the things I'm struggling with.

1. I give her a bottle of formula to supplement breastmilk. How can I sterilise her bottle and other stuff while we're holidaying without having to buy an expensive steriliser? We just boil her stuff at home at the moment.

2. Can we take her in the pool?

3. I was reading somewhere that infants under 6 months should not be exposed to the sun. Do we need to get her a cap/sun shade type thing?

4. We're planning to buy a baby monitor so that we can sit outside in the garden and use the pool if she's sleeping. Any suggestions on brands if you've already bought one?

5. How do I keep her calm on the flight? What was your experience? What should I be prepared for?

6. Anything else that I should keep in mind? I will be taking her medicines just in case.

Oooooh I can't wait. And even the fact that I don't have a swimming costume and don't deserve to wear one isn't dampening my enthusiasm. I soooo need this. I'm so excited :))))).

I haven't gone yet!!!

I realised from the comments from my last post that everyone thinks I've already left for Delhi. Well, I haven't. In fact I'm not due to go till early Dec :). You see I'm a great planner and so I even worry in advance. But thank you all for your support, helpful suggestions and for not telling me I'm the worst person on this planet. I've finally figured out that if I chill out and let Squiggles be brought up in the goold old fashioned Indian community way then everyone will have fun and so will I. So, thanks for knocking some sense into me.

I realised this morning that I haven't checked my own blog let alone someone else's because it has just been crazy. I have re-surfaced briefly and will try to catch up with all of you. I've had visitors constantly for the last 10 days. In between all of this I'm trying to organise a holiday for the three of us before Squiggles and I head to Delhi and am stuck with a most incompetent travel agent so it's been quite stressful. I used to laugh at SAHM's who used to say they were really busy. Well I'm eating my words now that's for sure. Working life seemed like going to the spa in comparison.

Got to go now but will be back with a bang!!!

Friday, October 26, 2007

I am sooooo petty and foolish

A friend asked me on orkut, "So, are you looking forward to your Delhi trip?". This was my response. It was so long that I had to email it :) and here it is, unedited except to anonymise it.

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As I was saying I'm looking forward to my delhi trip but I am a little apprehensive. For several reasons.
1. I'm going to be there for almost 6 weeks and it's the first time I will be staying with my in laws for that long.
2. I've never stayed there without DD so it will be a bit weird. But the good thing is I will have Squiggles which should save me from getting too bored :)
3. Veggies south indian... sigh. at least if there was paneer in the diet then that would keep me reasonably happy. Since I can't eat dal because I am feeding Squiggles that should play into my hands though. ALL south indian food has daal.... This is my trump card.
4. DD's sis is expecting and is due around that time. I hope I don't get stuck at home because of that. Though they were happy to go gallavanting about when they came to see S so maybe that won't be an issue.
5. I will be dependent on his dad's car and driver. While I personally have no issue taking S in an auto I'm pretty sure DD's parents are not going to be happy about it. S might actually enjoy it because of all that ear deafening noise! I'm happy to drive but again there will only be one car . Sigh. My parents will also have only one car. They've sold the second one which I used to borrow before. I won't be allowed to hire a cab either.
6. Since I'm now practically living with my parents I don't have the excuse that I did before of going and staying in DLF (my parents home) for extended periods of time. And they don't get that I am so close to my cousins and aunts and uncles. I don't think I have ever heard of any relative staying with them other than grand moms. And they really aren't that close. This is a major one.
7. I hope S keeps well.... which she should because she will be starting solids but only just a tiny bit and I will continue to feed her. But it's Delhi winter time.....!
8. Here in Singapore I can hand over S to the maid and get a break during the day. I don't think I can just plonk S on DD's mom and leave!! She doesn't keep well and I don't think she can carry S around really. Plus his sister's baby will be born so she will have her hands full already. Which means S stuck to me 24*7 which isn't a short term issue but a long term one because it will become a problem when I come back.
9. Whenever S cries I am going to be under the microscope. I rarely walk around with her when she cries and I'm pretty sure that if I do the same over there they are going to think I am shit and will keep telling me to pick her up.
10. This is so petty but I am going to have to wash her clothes. I know this sounds really spoilt but I hate washing clothes by hand. It's so boooring. They do have a washing machine but I need to wash her clothes separately because of the detergent and there's no point running the machine for such a small load.
11. S will pick up bad habits....E.g. I put her down to sleep while she's awake. Sometimes she cries as a result but I usually don't cave in. If she starts getting rocked to sleep then it's going to be a pain to change the habit later. She will be sleeping in my bed there which means when she comes back she may not want to sleep in her crib again.

OK. All of the above sounds very petty but the fact is I am thinking about all of this. So, no point denying that I am petty...... And the useless individual that you are, you won't be around for most of my trip. Boo hoooooo.

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This only shows me in a bad light but hey no one's perfect. My in laws are actually very sweet. They've recently renovated the house so that when we go S and I will be comfortable. My MIL has a chronic back problem but she will still be emptying cupboards and cleaning rooms to keep everything ready for us. And all I can worry about is the lack of food to my liking and inability to visit my family as often as I would like to. To be fair to them in all my previous visits they've always encouraged me to spend time with my family but I've always felt guilty.

I know they're looking forward to spending time with S and I want them to have that pleasure and yet I want to have fun too. By meeting my friends and family, shopping without feeling guilty that I'm burning their son's hard earned money (which I will be!), just being able to relax without always having to be nice (coz I can't really show them my real self can I, they would just faint and we don't want that). Oh God, I am so selfish...... please give me the sense to become a little less selfish.

And DD if you're reading this then kindly refrain from the following sarcastic comment, "You can do whatever you want. You don't have to spend time with my parents... blah blah blah". Because the fact is I do want to be nice and for them to have fun and at the same time I want to do my own stuff. God, I'm repeating myself now.........

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Of Cloth Diapers and Other Stuff

Almost a month ago I thought it was high time I made a few decisions which were slightly less selfish (just slightly mind you). One of them was to start Squiggles on cloth diapers while she was at home. The others I don't remember at this point in time (okay so maybe I should, but I don't. And your point is?).

Full of this unwavering resolve to protect her tush I marched into a kiddie store. Like the super efficient mom that I am I picked up a packet of 10 cloth diapers with some crazy instructions, 2 packs of 100 nappy liners (yes, that's 200 and yes I went a bit overboard but the nappy liners were on offer and I am nothing if not penny wise, pound foolish).

I came home with this miss-goody-two-shoes grin on my face, feeling quite righteous and rightly so. I was going to change the face of the earth with my environment friendly initiative not to forget the many benefits to Squiggles' tush (I will say tush as many times as I want... tush tush tush tush tush tush...............). I took out one cloth diaper and opened it up, felt the soft cloth (almost held it up to my face but remembered just in time the purpose that it was going to be used for and held it 0.01cm away from my face instead). Hmmm...should I start now or tomorrow? I gazed at the instructions uncomprehendingly. This looked a bit (just a tiny bit) tough. I had just steeled myself to using the little grey cells which were currently on a secondment when I thought 'Damn! I've forgotten to buy the safety pin. There's nothing to hold up the f%$*ing diaper!' Shit.

Never mind. The next time I went to a store I would just pick one up. Really there was no need to think this was a disaster. Silly me.

It was another 2 weeks before I managed to pick them up. Now, you didn't hear it here but maybe it took that long because of a certain person's fear that they wouldn't be able to fold the nappy in the correct way and a little concern about where all that pee and poo would land up once it passed through all the layers of that oh-so-soft cotton. Shhhh...

So this Sunday just gone past, I brought out all the paraphernalia - cotton cloth, nappy liner and safety pin. Hmmm... maybe I should have bought those waterproof undies coz isn't the pee going to leak on to me??? Nah, nothing to worry about. What's a little wee wee for a mom. Another reason to start that Sunday was that she'd poo'd first thing in the morning so I was pretty sure that I wasn't going to land up in a pile of crap anytime soon (usually it's of my own making. Ok that's gross. Stop).

The instruction leaflet is in front of me. There are loads of triangles here with some lines drawn. Hmmm. I open the square piece of cloth and put it on the bed. Squiggles is lying nappyless on her changing station, cooing quite sweetly actually. She has no idea of the bliss in store for her.

The instructions aren't making any sense. God, this is haaaard. I went to a WIMWI (Well-known Institute of Management in Western India, duh) and I can't fold a nappy. How stupid am I? I thought of calling the other alumnus of the school who also happens to reside in this household but then didn't want to lose face so I resorted to the individual who hasn't been to any such fancy school instead. Now, my maid has 2 kids of her own and she certainly hasn't contributed to the profits of P&G yet so she was the best choice (that was very logical wasn't it). Except that it's probably been 15 odd years since she folded a nappy.

So, there she was with me peering over her shoulder hopefully as she tried to fold the nappy. First this way, then that. With me constantly saying "Nah, that can't be right." or "No. No. That looks all wrong". Even though I was certainly not qualified to comment but you see I'm the boss and therefore I can get away with anything.

Finally she turned assertive and insisted it was to be tied in "this" way. By this time I was quite fed up and cursing the workings of an idle mind. I tell her to do as she pleases as long as Squiggles is in a damn cloth nappy by the end of it. So Squiggles is promptly removed from the changing station and plonked on the piece of cloth which has been folded in a weird way. My maid promptly does something and secures all those folds with THE safety pin.

I pull and tug at the diaper and I'm quite uncomfortable. There really is no way that pee is not going to leak all over me. So after several re-tries I give up and figure if she pees, she pees. I've had enough of our bumbling efforts and frankly I couldn't care less. So, I pick up my sack of potatoes and head out of the room. She's a bit hungry so I think let me just feed her and get that out of the way. She grabs my breast as if I haven't fed her for weeks (which could explain why she still isn't putting on any weight). We stay in that position for a while, Squiggles comfortable and I hunched over, very uncomfortable. I drift off into my own world, as you can only while breastfeeding. I'm feeling all warm and cosy. This feeling of benevolence doesn't come to me too often so I decide to bask in it for a while. Except that it's getting a bit too warm for my liking and a little too wet. I look down and spot the tell tale water mark on my pyjamas which is growing bigger even as I stare with an ever widening O. Mother's Instinct, I should've heeded it.

I sort Squiggles out but in anger I refuse to have a shower myself. I'm pretty sure all those mommies in villages don't go running to their fancy bath tubs every time there is an'accident'. This is punishment for DD who got me in to this situation in the first place. Humph.

"Can you f@*^ing read these instructions and tell me how to wrap this goddamn nappy?". And yes I resort to undignified yelling. So??? Quite reluctantly DD picked up the leaflet and stared at it for a while. I am proud to inform you that the other alumnus of the erstwhile WIMWI was similarly baffled. Obviously in this entire episode I was most worried about losing face in front of such an esteemed individual. So you can imagine my relief when I was able to snatch the instructions from his hand and walk off in a huff shaking my head, muttering unintelligbly "useless, useless men".

And oh about the waterproof undies for the not so waterproof nappies. They're still in a store somewhere awaiting my arrival with my hard earned money to waste. No, I haven't given up.

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This has become a bloody long post so I will keep the 'other stuff' short.

Just saw a little 3 or maybe 4 year old being dressed atrociously by her mom. She was wearing a chaniya choli for dandiya. She had a pot belly which would put DD's to shame and yet her mom had made her wear a tiny choli (blouse) with her belly bare. It reminded me of all those fat women who can't resist wearing low waist jeans with short tops so that everyone can admire their ugly tyres. I promise you Squiggles I will be considerate and will not embarrass you like this ever. Of course I will embarrass you in other ways.

And now I can't be bothered to continue so bye.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Folks, guess what???

Squiggles just turned over from her back to tummy! Yipeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee. At precisely 2102hrs Singapore time. Oh god I am so sad :))). At the age of 4 months, 2 weeks and 1 day. Get a grip girl. And DD was there to witness it as well which is kind of sweet since he misses most of her 'firsts'. I need to get a life. But I'm so happy.

*trails away skipping and humming tunelessly*

Friday, October 19, 2007

A tradition, from me to you

When I was a little girl there was always one festival that I loved and looked forward to above all. The day I would be revered like a deity. The day I was supreme. It was the Ashtami (the 8th day) that fell during the Navaratri (Festival of nine nights). My mom would fast during the Navaratri and it was on the Ashtami that she would break her fast but only after she'd done THE puja in the morning. Every morning I would start my day with, "When are you going to do my puja?". She would always respond smilingly, "It will come, don't worry. Ashtami is till a few days away".
I'd wait impatiently for the week to pass, constantly lamenting the requirement for the puja to be held on the 8th day. Patience has never been my virtue :). Finally after what always seemed like months (in fact exactly 7 days), the morning sun would herald the much awaited day.
The preparations for the day would start early. The prasad had to be prepared. Traditional stuff - kale chane (black chickpeas), sooji halwa and hot puris. Once she was ready she would sit me down in front of the mandir (temple) and bend down in front of me. Very carefully she would pick up my feet and lovingly wash them with water. Then she would wipe them gently with a soft towel and place my feet back on the floor. Reverently she would touch my feet seeking my blessing. A little red tikka would find it's way on my tiny forehead. A little bit of the sweet milk that she prepared specially for me as Charnambrat. A beautiful thali filled with all the yummy treats that she'd prepared earlier would rest by her side. She'd break off a bit of the puri, take some of the halwa and chana and feed it to me. And keep doing so till I'd had my fill. She'd then hand me a token sum of money which was free for me to spend as I chose.
Last night when I realised that today was Ashtami, all the wonderful feelings associated with the day came rushing back to me. I was smiling as I thought about how excited I would get about the day, how special and superior I'd feel because my mom would wash my feet. And how such a simple gesture made me feel so cherished. I thought how lovely it would be for Squiggles to have such memories too.

So, even though there were a number of things lined up for the day, I decided to do the simple ceremony for her. My own tradition for her, handed down to me from my mom and now for her to enjoy and hopefully one day to hand down to her daughter.


Here she is with her dainty little feet bathed in milk.



"Ooh I want one". She truly understands that the whole purpose of the day is to enjoy the food!

"What's this Ma?" She won't be saying that for long!

"Something else that can go in my mouth. Good."

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Night Night

DD's friend from London sent Squiggles this really really cute PJs from BabyGap. They're sooooooooooooooooooooooooo cute, I think you get the picture. No really, you get the picture. Here.





I just had to show you guys. I want one too. NOW.

Oh and while I'm at it, I've been going bonkers with the camera today (plus DD is out for dinner so I have nothing better to do) and here are a couple of my favourites.




If you look carefully you can see a drop of her drool just below her chin :).

Sweet words and a kind soul

Awards are always nice. You like them and appreciate them. So, when Mnamma dropped by and said she had one for me I went through a range of emotions - excitement, happiness, calm acceptance and then nonchalance.

That is until I went along to her blog to read about it. And my jaw dropped. In fact I'm still struggling to close it a bit. The generous soul that she is, she not only gave me the award but also had these wonderful things to say about me.

She is smart, funny and writes wonderfully. She has this knack for finding humor in even some of most mundane daily happenings! Here is to you ‘Posh Domestic Engineer’:)

Mnamma - Have you been reading someone else's blog????????????????????

If it weren't for the reference to 'Posh Domestic Engineer' I would have thought she'd made a mistake. So I read it again. Sure enough all these words were being used to describe me. Wow. I know I know but it sure feels strange *shaking head from side to side in disbelief*.

Me???? Wow.

So, even though the award is nice the words mean much more. Mnamma, you managed to find time from your busy life of being so many things in addition to a wonderful mommy of twins to say such kind things. Thank you. It means a lot.

In turn, it's only fair that I don't hog it all to myself but share it with the people who really make this a community.

Desi Momz Club - All the fantastic mommies at DMC. I need to get my rear in gear and get involved too but there's time for that. I have to tell you that I love reading up on what you all are up to.

Kodi's Mom - I don't know why but I like you :). Maybe it was Kodi's cake that did it (I'm still dreaming about it). I love the way you write - straight from the heart. And you always have a warm word to say whenever you visit any blog.

Choxbox - Maybe it's the London connection but you're my link to a world that I no longer inhabit. And so this award is very appropriate as you take me back to a place I love. I know you've already received it but what the heck it's free *oops*.

DotMom - I enjoy reading what you have to say. You write so clearly and calmly that I tend to linger to see if something else will turn up.

Y - YOnEarthNot??? I think you're really funny and I want to see how gracefully you accept this award *cheeky grin*.

Ta da.

Does anyone else also think that...

.... Shah Rukh Khan is going the Michael Jackson way???

I recently saw promos of his latest movie 'Om Shanti Om' and boy oh boy does he look effeminate or what. I am convinced he has had a face lift. It's like his facial skin has been stretched, it's so sleek and smooth. He gyrates like a hijra (eunuch) - chest all waxed out, shiny substance rubbed over....ugh *shudders*.

This is how MJ also started his evolution from black man to RIN safedi white.

SRK's made enough money, has countless cronies, is treated like a King and yet continues with this grossness. Let's see some genuine acting mate. Where's the DDLJ guy who made hearts flutter, I ask.

And for all the SRK fans out there.... I'm wearing a bullet proof vest (I'm not afraid, honest).

Friday, October 12, 2007

Positive Infants

As I mentioned the other day, Squiggles and I did something special this Wednesday. I realised a few weeks ago that I'd been in Singapore 6 months and didn't know anyone besides my parents and cousin. What with being 8 months pregnant, having a baby, moving homes with an infant, hosting guests from India and just getting used to motherhood I'd been lazy about meeting new people. I was getting bored of just sitting at home and only mouthing goos and gaas all day long. I needed to get out there, meet some people, preferably with babies, so that Squiggles could benefit from being in a different environment with other adults and babies too. I don't think going to the mall counts because that's more like going to the circus really. All flashing lights, people rushing about, lots of noise - I'm sure that's how Squiggles perceives the whole thing.


So, when last week I received an email from the centre where I attended my ante-natal classes about a mother-child 8 week session I thought what the heck let me give it a try. This was their excellent marketing stunt.


Combine gentle yoga play, careful sensory stimulation ideas, massage and lots of musical moments, expressive communication and you have here a program that engages young infants, creates and strengthens neural pathways and aids their growth. All these while accompanying parents develop the skills of positive parenting through guided parent forums.'


I'm trying to find ways to meet new people and this seemed a good way to start. Plus they were offering a trial session so I didn't have to sign up for the full 8 weeks till I'd sampled it first hand.


The session started at 2 but I decided to get there earlier so I would have enough time to feed and change Squiggles. It's a good 30 mins away and even though I fed her before we left home I fed her some more when we got there just to be sure she wouldn't be hungry and cry during the class.


There were 5 other Mommies and babies there. The youngest baby there was all of 2 weeks old! In fact Squiggles was the oldest baby there :). I'd almost forgotten what she was like when she was tinier but it was so nice to be reminded of just how oh-so-sweet newborn babies are like. I really must admire that woman. I was so zonked out in the first couple of weeks that heading out of home alone with Squiggles was not something I would have even considered. And here she was all alone with her 2 week old looking so cheerful and happy.

It was a nice friendly group and we soon started chatting as all new mums do. Does he do this? Does she do that? Oohing and aahing over each other's kiddos. Someone even said that they thought Squiggles was younger than 4 months which is definitely a first for us! A couple of people were late so we waited for a bit and chatted to the teacher. I thought she was a bit artificial. You know the kind of people who smile deliberately and are ultra sweet. I've found that here in Singapore people in the service industry are all very smiley and sweet. Now I don't mean that I want sour faced people but rather a lot of it seems feigned and not genuine. Or maybe after the non smiling British it's taking me time to get used to what may be genuine friendliness. Whatever.

Anyways, she was really good at the whole thing. We did little stretch exercises, sang songs, danced around with the babies, did texture stuff. Not rocket science, most stuff that I would do with Squiggles through the day in any case. I realised I didn't know any of the songs except Wheels on the Bus and I was really relieved when we came to that one, so much so that I mentioned it aloud as well. That's when an Australian lady next to me looked at me and said "Me too. I only know ABCD". I realised none of us knew the songs and we were just pretending all along! Phew, I didn't feel like such a useless mom after all. By the way, does anyone out there know any Hindi rhymes or songs for kids? Or if you know where I can find them I would be grateful. I seem to be singing only English ones to Squiggles and I want to rectify that.

It was a lovely afternoon, all young mamas completely enamoured with their little ones, secretly praying "Please don't cry". There was a shared camaraderie and feeling of warmth that pervaded the room. Maybe I haven't been out with like minded people in a long time. But it was very relaxing. The babies looked at each other curiously as they lay on the mat. The older babies cooing and gurgling through it all. Squiggles behaved beautifully which was a relief as she has really developed an attitude recently but that's the subject for my next post.

However the one thing that really made the session worthwhile for me was the realisation that unconsciously DD and I had ended up making very negative comments around Squiggles lately. Typical statements pervaded our home - "She's so cranky", "She's such a tantrum queen", "Oh she's going to cry now". Not that we didn't say anything positive or kiss her or hug her but that the negative statements were there more frequently than is good for any child. During the class, after every exercise the teacher would ask us to hug and kiss the child and "honour them for their participation". Every time we did that I saw Squiggles gurgle, coo and smile and I realised I wasn't doing that often enough at home.

I came back with the firm mind of changing how I said things around her and I think it's already working. For example, she always starts crying when I put her in the car seat, so now when I do so I say, "You're such a good girl. I know you'll enjoy the car ride." and I follow that up with a few smothering kisses. I'm leaving her with something positive while I leave her in an environment which she doesn't like. Or now when she's whimpering during a diaper change however annoyed I am, I bend down and hug her afterwards and thank her for being patient. And the whimpering stops and she looks at me with her eyes wide and her face splits into a grin. She's been very difficult for me to handle lately and I have been feeling very frustrated but this approach makes me feel like I am making an effort to approach everything in a more positive way. I can see that it makes her more relaxed and I find myself feeling better about the time I spend with her.

Needless to say, we're going back :) and I'm looking forward to making some new friends.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Busy Busy Busy

It has been that kind of a week. I've had so much on, not one moment's peace and yet I didn't do anything! Do you know that feeling? Well there's loads to tell so hang on to your seats coz this is going to be one loooooong post :).

Where do I start. Oh The Body Shop had a massive massive sale last Friday so of course I couldn't miss it. I cancelled my training session (which is sacrilege) and took Mum, Squiggles and my maid along. It was fabulous. Mum and I were like a couple of chickens, look here pick up stuff, look there pick up more stuff, put the previous stuff back, pick up other stuff, oh the stuff there is cheaper blah blah blah. I bought loads of body creams, gift sets, lipsticks, shower gels to give as presents when I go to Delhi in Dec (oooh I can't wait). I know that I won't have the time to buy specific presents for everyone because of Squiggles so I hoarded. It's such an easy present as well since most people like The Body Shop stuff. And I bought myself a mandarin orange salt scrub which I still haven't had a chance to use but I know it's going to be fabulous. I ended up spending loads but that's besides the point isn't it :).

Then went along to buy frozen foods for family in Delhi since my Mum was going to India this week. Anybody looking at my trolley would be forgiven for thinking there was a food shortage just that they hadn't heard about it yet! My whole family is a foodie just like me so sending food is the best gift you can send. In fact if you send presents but no food people are so disappointed whereas food without presents isn't a problem. Got back home late and just crashed. I had frozen pizza for dinner (like the ones you get in Waitrose back in London... sigh I miss those) and DD was happy with dosas, a win-win situation.

On Saturday went gymming in the morning and couldn't drag DD out of the house until the evening because of the bloody grand prix as well as countless replays of all ODI's that India has ever played. Now I do love cricket but really I can't get the whole excitement of watching a replay when you already know the result! It just beats me.

Saturday evening was fabulous though. When I managed to drag DD out of the home, we went on a long drive with my dad and Squiggles. We decided to navigate without a map and just meandered along, ending up in places we had never been to before. In 45 mins we had covered most of Singapore :) and just by chance we ended up close to a fabulous Italian restaurant where we wanted to eat but didn't have the telephone number to make a reservation. Instincts or what?? So, we booked a table for 9.30 the same evening. Then we headed down to a gorgeous cafe which I'd last been to in my last month of pregnancy. We had some really nice tapas and coffee and headed back home. Squiggles was a model baby through most of it. She slept on the long drive, woke up in the cafe and behaved beautifully, threw a hunger tantrum on the way back so ended up feeding her in the car, very typical.

Barely had we made it back home than it was time to head back for dinner. I nursed Squiggles, put her in her PJs and we headed to the restaurant. She was a darling and fell asleep on the way and slept all through dinner even though it was really noisy. It was a really relaxed dinner. A gorgeous Chianti, great food (pizza just like I've had in Rome, superb), divine desserts. We had this Chantilly cake which really melted in the mouth, honestly I am not exaggerating. I've decided I'm getting that cake for my birthday. Yummy. We headed back home and crashed about midnight.

The next two nights were a bit zombie like because Squiggles woke up during the night for a feed. So the days are a bit of a blur. Actually now that I think about it the blur is clearing. Oh how could I forget, she was super super cranky Sunday and Monday. I cannot express my frustration with her those two days. It was her 4th month birthdhay on Monday and it was really hard for me to stay positive with her throughout the day. I had no idea what was wrong. She kept whining and wanting milk. I felt like I was on demand 24 hours. She refused to go to anyone else. Really tough.

In the midst of all this, we had her 4th month check up on Tuesday morning. I dropped my dad at work, rushed to the doc with the entire entourage (mum, S and maid :)). Her weight gain was stagnant over the last 2 weeks. So, we're back on her reflux medicine. The doc asked me to try giving her a bottle of expressed milk everyday to get her used to taking the bottle. We're back for a review in 2 weeks. If she doesn't take the bottle by then, then we may need to start giving her solids. Here in Singapore the docs don't give solids until 6 months especially for girls because they believe this is the best time for the child to build up on calcium deposits which will help them later on in life. So, that's the answer to your question Rbdans.

My mom left to go to the hairdressers while we were at the doc. I rushed around to get Squiggles' medicines, formula (while we're trying out the bottle the doc didn't want me to waste my precious expressed milk, once she takes the bottle I will start giving her expressed milk), cloth diapers and other stuff. Realised halfway through that my mum had walked away with the car keys!! So we were stuck in the mall until she was through with the hairdressers which was in a different part of town. Sigh. I decided to buy a birthday present for my sis while I was waiting. Left Squiggles with the maid in the nursing room and started shopping earnestly. Mom called to say she was asking her maid to come to the mall with the spare set of car keys. I finished shopping but the maid was no where to be found. She turned up 45 mins later by which time my Mom had already reached home but couldn't get in because she didn't have her house keys and her maid was out delivering the spare car keys to us! Finally we got the car keys and I took my mom's house keys from the maid so I could give it to her on the way back and set on our way. We had barely reached the lift when my mom's maid came running back because the keys to her bicycle lock was with the house keys. Such a comedy of errors. Phew.

We reached home at 1 and barely had time for mother daughter to have our respective showers and lunch before we headed back to mum's with stuff for her to take to India. Took a breather for 30mins then headed to the airport to drop Mum off. Picked up Dad from the office as well as he couldn't bear not to bid her farewell. Mum's off for 2-3 months and I'm mighty upset. For all the usual selfish reasons - where am I going to get good food from, who will help/guide about Squiggles, who will I vent all my frustrations at etc. etc. If Squiggles is even 5% better than me then that will be a big relief. On the way back picked up DD from the office as well and came home and crashed. Had barely put up my feet when Squiggles was at her tantrumy best. Several hours later crashed again. By which time I was so tired that I couldn't sleep. So lay awake in the dark staring at nothing, tossing and turning. And soon it was morning and the start to another day.

It was a much better day and Squiggles and I did something different which deserves a separate post. So, I will promptly do that one as soon as I've finished ranting. Phew.

Now that I have all that out of my system I can relax.

Oh I forgot to mention one very important thing, silly me. The doc said that Squiggles is a high maintenance baby and that I'm doing very well by dealing with her patiently. Now Squiggles, you're probably reading this when you're in your twenties. See, how nice I was even when you were such a demanding little brat. See how nice I was, am and will be. How're you gonna beat that girl???

By being super nice to me you ungrateful one!!! Which means you just need to buy me the gorgeous Ferragamo clutch that I've seen but cannot afford, the Aston Martin DB9 that I'm lusting after and while you're at it a villa on a sea cliff with a fully functional spa would quite nice too :). And no, I'm not joking.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Happy 4th Month Birthday Squiggles

Hey you... Happy Birthday. Here's a quick look at what you've been busy with. You were super cranky today so this is going to be a post in photos.

One good thing about Squiggles is that she isn't fussy about food. She can eat anything.


She's thoughtful this one. Each momentous crying session is preceded by some serious thinking.



She has started displaying her creativity. In the absence of an actual phone she still manages somehow.


Peek-a-boo takes on a new meaning in her world. The only problem is she can't get rid of the book now :).


She does have a keen sense of fashion though. Check her out in her latest frock.



And another one!


Oh look the legs are defying gravity!


That's all for now. A more detailed update later on :).