Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Starting to blog again, I think. At least to record my thoughts and S and A's experience in the new country.

S and A started school yesterday. Both HD and I were so worried about S's middle school entry so late in his life (he's 12 btw) and not so worried about A (she's 9, but I know she can handle any shit without batting an eyelid). 

The topmost worry was how S will eat in the paltry excuse of a lunch period which was 21 minutes. They both were mighty hungry during the lunch break and finished eating in ten minutes. Do you even know how many mouthfuls they take at home in ten minutes? Nil, zilch, nada. That's my kids for you, all cheating ingrates I tell you.

They both came home pretty excited and we breathed a huge sigh of relief. 

S is most impressed with his Language Arts where the theme is going to be Harry Potter for this year. I'm liking how the system integrates several things - literature, the need to read, the need to process what you read and use it in your class etc. He loves STEM which I knew he'd love (which science geek hasn't?).

On our way back, three girls walked past us from the opp direction, said hi to S. lol

A dresses herself from this year, unlike last year when I had to do her hair, pull up her pinafore and button it and get her socks and shoes and the other crap that goes with the uniform. Despite doing all this, she still used to look like she didn't bath. Now it is better.

After deciding what to wear and checking with me (yay, at least she still needs my opinion), she asks me if she looks cute. lol

All in all, I am looking forward to the stint here and get mighty entertained.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Happy 6th, sweetie


Did you know that you were too tiny when you were born? You looked smaller to me because I had never seen such a small baby before in my life. No, scratch that. You were only the fourth baby that I had ever seen and the rest of the three were bigger when they were born. And you looked cute like a little monkey with hair all over your body. No, I don’t call monkeys cute. I call you cute because you are mine.

You are a rebel, a brat in the real sense, a little person who has a mind of her own, who is funny and don’t have qualms about calling herself the joker of the house. I can spend endless hours just looking at the way you talk, the different expressions your face makes, the different ways you smile, the different modulations in your voice and I also look at you when you are not watching. You talk to yourself. Do you know how cute it is? Sometimes when the brat sings you sit a little out of sight and shake your head, or mouth the words without making a noise. I find watching you a tireless task, a task that I’d love to do all my life, which I’m sure you will not appreciate.

I am glad you are a foodie, but you know how much to eat. In fact, except for the baked items, I don’t see you saying no to any food, especially South Indian food. I also like the fact that you stop instead of stuffing yourself silly. How do you know when to stop?

Till a year back, you were the wallflower of the family. You were the kind who was an add-on to any activity. We never stopped and thought ‘ok, she might like this activity’. It was always ‘I don’t know what she is interested in. I guess she can tag along’. But now, you have likes and dislikes. Am I glad? You like to read. This amazed me. It still amazes me that you could read quite fluently. You like your keyboard classes. This amazed me. It still amazes how you learn your notes and play them correctly and never give up till you get them right. And what I am truly surprised is that you are not being taught the way young kids are taught. You are in your third month of the class and you are being taught ‘Twinkle twinkle little star’ only now. Till now it has been finger exercises, notes, scales and such mundane and boring stuffs that a child your age is not supposed to find interesting. You liked your Karate classes in Bangalore. I promise I will find a good karate class this year.

You are outgoing. You have many friends. You like to hang around with older girls. You find girls your age or younger boring and immature. You complain they cry for no reason, they don’t share or they have mood swings. Do you know you have an attitude? And that I like it? I don’t want you to grow up to be a person who puts up with silliness. You also have the maturity to understand that you need to do certain things whether you like it or not. You stoically do it, without giving into childishness. You never throw tantrums. Like when you and your dad had to go to Chennai for a couple of days, you didn’t want to go. You had agreed to go impulsively and just before you left you were feeling quite miserable. But you held your head high, swallowed your tears, walked away with him stoically without giving me a backward glance. How come you are so mature?

You are a bundle of contradictions. But you know what? I never worry about you. Because you are always sorted. You know what to do when you face with problems that children your age have. You have a sense of humor. Girl, remember this, it will take you far in dealing with stress and pressure when you grow up. It is really important to laugh at oneself.

If you fall down, if you are hurt, you should tell me. You need to remember that if you get hurt, it is not always because of your fault. It is ok to cry if it pains. I may not be able to take away the hurt, but I’ll hold your hands, hug you and tell you that I love you and it might help you recover faster. You don’t have to be very adult and not let me know who or what hurt you. You need to stop thinking you can handle it yourself. I am here and I want to handle it for you. I don’t want you to swallow your tears and go about your life. You are only six, today. You can do that when you are twenty. Even when you are twenty, I want to be there for you, if you want me to be.

I am looking forward to grow with you this year. And I am glad that we are becoming friends. It does look like you enjoy my company, I certainly do. You are a little trooper. Have a wonderful year ahead with lots of laughter, love and learning.

Love you loads,
Amma

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Mom and kids pics / blog

This post just reminded me why I blog, what it means to be a mother who documented what she wanted her children to know about her, how much she loves them and eggs me to take more pictures with the kids so that they remember me as I am with them. Sigh.

"Too much of a mama's life goes undocumented and unseen. People, including my children, don't see the way I make sure my kids' favorite stuffed animals are on their beds at night. They don't know how I walk the grocery store aisles looking for treats that will thrill them for a special day. They don't know that I saved their side-snap, paper-thin baby shirts from the hospital where they were born or their little hospital bracelets in keepsake boxes high on the top shelves of their closets. They don't see me tossing and turning in bed wondering if I am doing an okay job as a mother, if they are okay in their schools, where we should take them for a vacation, what we should do for their birthdays. I'm up long past the news on Christmas Eve wrapping presents and eating cookies and milk, and I spend hours hunting the Internet and the local Targets for specially-requested Halloween costumes and birthday presents. They don't see any of that.

Someday, I want them to see me, documented, sitting right there beside them: me, the woman who gave birth to them, whom they can thank for their ample thighs and their pretty hair; me, the woman who nursed them all for the first years of their lives, enduring porn star-sized boobs and leaking through her shirts for months on end; me, who ran around gathering snacks to be the week's parent reader or planning the class Valentine's Day party; me, who cried when I dropped them off at preschool, breathed in the smell of their post-bath hair when I read them bedtime stories, and defied speeding laws when I had to rush them to the pediatric ER in the middle of the night for fill-in-the-blank (ear infections, croup, rotavirus).
I'm everywhere in their young lives, and yet I have very few pictures of me with them. Someday I won't be here -- and I don't know if that someday is tomorrow or thirty or forty or fifty years from now -- but I want them to have pictures of me. I want them to see the way I looked at them, see how much I loved them. I am not perfect to look at and I am not perfect to love, but I am perfectly their mother."
Exactly the reasons why I blog.

My bliss

The world is asleep
Silence is stilling
Only the fridge hums
Or the clock ticks
Or the fingers fly on the keys

I read and write,
I translate
For work and play
Hemingway and Brainpickings
Drinking a tall glass of milk.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Pearly wisdom - 2

Refrain from watching yummy food being cooked / photographs of gorgeous food / thinking about eating the most mouth-watering food, when down with flu / fever. It just makes the situation a little bit more unbearable.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Pearls of wisdom - 1

Living next to a temple / wedding hall can be most torturous to your early morning sleep and general well-being. 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Of 600, crosswords and test prepping

600th post.

Time flies. I started this blog when the baby was about 4 or 5 months old. Now, she is on the latter part of her 5th year. Close to 5 years of documenting. Whew. Just thinking about it is so taxing on the nerves.

I am reading 'Love in the time of Cholera'. I am also doing The Hindu Crossword, after almost four years. We had switched to Times for the lack of masala in The Hindu. But too much of masala has caused grey-cell erosion. So in Hyderabad, I wanted only The Hindu. Just as I was doing the crossword, I also was reading up on Cryptic Crosswords in the internet. Hmm, interesting.

I have always been skeptic about the baby being a reader. You know how when the elder child is into reading, the younger one is into sports or whatever. And both the brat and the baby are like chalk and cheese. On Saturday, we went to City Center Mall or some such thing. Of course, we had to visit Crossword. The brat picked a few books, like Tinkle, Wishing Chair and such. The baby had been all along pulling me and asking me to help her find books. For the record, she didn't let me browse through the adult section, till we were done with her book selection. I think I'm spoiling her rotten. It is just not possible to resist her, when she holds her palms together with utter mischief in her eyes, pleading "pleeeeaaassseee". Back to the point, I diverted the brat to the novels section and of course, he wanted to buy the 'River of Adventure', because that way he'd complete reading the Adventure series. So off he went to put the Tinkle back, while I mentally congratulated myself in diverting him from picking yet another tinkle. The surprise was when the baby, all the while complaining that she couldn't find anything interesting to read, there are no books other than board books / activity books, settled down with two early reader books. I was happy to get her out of my hair and went away to look for the books which were calling out to me to pick them. After a while, she came looking for me and said, 'I have finished reading these two books. All of six stories. I like these, so buy these to me'. So my dear readers, or should it be reader (Hubby Dear), the point of this paragraph is that the baby has finally arrived in the reading scene. So watch out brat, next she is going to gobble up all your books :D

The brat had a glimpse of what studying really is, yesterday. He had his Hindi unit test / class test / crap test / whatever and he wanted me to help him. I was like, "Are you insane? When have I ever bothered about a test? I was not bothered about it even when it was me who was taking one." But like a good mom, I sat him and we finished studying ('we' being the operative word here, by the time he finished studying, I was thorough with his answers) the question and answers, erc, dictation words, meanings in three lessons (which included a poem recitation). Next time we shouldn't have this much to prepare for a stupid class test, because he will be attending the classes, unlike this time when the lessons were taken before he joined the school in mid-term. Next time we shouldn't prepare, may be he can if he wants.

The brat said he is bored of studying so much. I agreed, I am too.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Warli vs Saura

I was going through the pages of the magazine Businessworld, 20 Aug 2012 issue and gobsmacked to see a GE ad which looked so much like Warli art, but called the art as Saura. I couldn't find any difference, except that the stick like images of Saura art looked a bit more curved. The rest looked the same.

Some of the information I found on the net on Saura art are

1. It is from Orissa.
2. They were made to mark special events like birth of a child, good harvest, marriage etc.
3. "Idital" paintings were part of Saura art, painted in the darkest rooms of the house for the tribal people to contact and appease the dead ancestors of the tribe.
4. They are paintings steeped in religious belief.
5. Warli is fluid and primitive in style and Saura art exerts more restraint and a colourful style (they both look the same to me).


So here is a warli painting...


And here is a sample of Saura art...


So, can you spot the difference in styles? If you did, do let me know :D

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Bored out of wits

I am bored. From last Wednesday, I was on a roll. Working. Till past midnight. Sleep. Wake up. Send the kids off to school. Laptop. Work. Till past midnight. It was like I was on a loop. Yesterday evening, I decided no more translation work for the next four days. I haven't even completed the first 24 hours of this self-promised decision and I am bored. Already.

The favorite complete-my-sentence with Hubby dear is "Life sucks. Big time". Why should life suck? I have a great job, yes it is under-paid, over-stressed but I love it and it is my f-ing decision to take a project or not, even when sometimes something is pushed down my throat. The Hubby dear is doing well too. He has a job that he really wanted. We moved cities, no there can't be boredom within a month of moving. Two great kids, who need almost no maintenance. Money is not that bad. In line with my purpose in life, we keep moving ahead with every step in our life, trying to provide good education, happy home and healthy life to the kids. Right now, I can't think of any problem that is really pressing to be resolved, though I can offhandedly count three or four items which might quickly move from the bottom of the priority list to the top 5 things that should have been done a week ago.

I am bored. Not motivated to do anything. Wondering if I should take up some more work. I don't want to listen to songs. I don't want to read. I don't want to sleep. I don't want to watch TV. I don't want to do anything, but feel bored.

They say, when the going gets tough, the tough gets going. But I think this needs to be added too, "when the going is boring, only the tough gets going". 

Monday, August 13, 2012

God help me with the brat.

I know I've put on weight when the brat tells me 'It looks like there is a baby in your tummy'. I can't make excuses like top which I'm wearing makes me look frumpy. He says 'then, why don't you change it?'. Then the conversation develops to why we don't have another baby, it would be fun, he could play with it. I list the 'n' number of reasons why it is a bad idea, but pat comes the reply, 'why does your mom have three children? why does appa's mom have three children?'. I ask him what if the baby is very naughty and scribbles on his notebooks, tears his books, snatches toys from him and generally be tough to handle. He gets the Magicpot magazine where there are parenting tips and asks me to read it to know how to handle these issues.

I need a wall now to bang my head.

I love Paris

We are self-confessed lovers of Paris. From the time, we visited Paris, and the baby caught sight of the Eiffel tower, even the regular TV / cellphone towers in Bangalore had become Eiffel towers to her. She was so captivated by it that she had decided that she wanted to move there, whether with us or by herself, whichever was sooner. A day never passed without her mentioning about the Eiffel tower and how gorgeous it is and how wonderful it was for her to turn anywhere and catch sight of it and you get the drift, right?

All I could do was get her own Eiffel tower, though talks about moving anywhere will result in me mercilessly killing the person who discusses it, due to each back-breaking and heart-breaking move.


So now, every time we want to see the Eiffel tower we run to the kids' room and look at the wall. And I surreptitiously found her doing full-length saashtaanga namaskarams in front of it. Lol.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Grr....

The brat sits down to eat his dinner. I religiously clear away books, newspapers, stray pieces of papers, to-do lists, any piece of paper which has something printed / written on it. I do this so that he doesn't get engrossed in reading it and forgetting to eat. I turn back to finish my work. I think he is eating and turn back to check. He is reading the inside part of the Johnson and Johnson earbud's lid. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

What is a test?

I never wanted to have this conversation with the baby, or the brat for that matter.

Everyday homework is about half an hour affair for the baby, as she likes to really spend time on it. Today was as usual. I saw that her teacher had written a note under the day's homework that there is a test tomorrow. I didn't give it much thought. 

Lights were out and she was in bed, trying to doze off. A tiny voice asked me what a test meant. I told her that the teacher would ask the student to write / say something without seeing the book so that she gets to know if the student understood what was taught. She said that she has a test tomorrow and asked what she should do. I told her she has a test in Hindi consonants and she can write what she remembers, and that the teacher will check if what she has written is correct or not. I told her not to worry and try to remember what she can and write and it is alright if she made mistakes. 

Now it was the brat's turn. 'I only glanced through the questions for tomorrow's test. Is that alright?', he asked. I said it was enough if he understood and remembered what was taught in class. And suddenly from nowhere, "will you get angry if I scored less marks?". I said, "of course not". 

At times like these, I ask myself if I have done them wrong by changing their school and their carefree routine. And I remind myself that I'm never going to pressurize the kids to get more marks. I also remind myself that this move, the change in their school, the change in their routine, the change in their lives are all so that they get accustomed to different experiences and they learn how to cope in varied instances. It is not the education at school that they are going through, but education in life, for handling difficult situations. I am not a tiger mom, but I do want the kids to experience different things, the good, the bad and the ugly, and also to lean on us for support when they need. And I keep reminding them everyday that no matter how big a problem is, it has a solution and no matter what, I am there for them. I can't protect them always. I don't want to mollycoddle them, I don't want them to be scared of unpleasant situations. I say a silent prayer that they don't get pressurized by teachers or peers.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Random

Like I said in the previous post, the brat had fitted seamlesslessly into his new school. The baby hadn't. She had been mercilessly cribbing about her school. Add to it, she wasn't well for almost ten days. She was down with UTI, throat infection, fever etc. So she missed almost 7 days of school. I was so worried after I sent her to school. The whole day, I wasn't able to concentrate on anything.

As I saw her getting down from the school bus smiling, I was surprised. She told me then that she likes her school and it was fun today. I am SO relieved. 

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Initial thoughts on the move

I take a month to settle down, get used to the place and the likes. During the last move, Hubby dear had already moved, scoured the city, found an awesome house and we just had to land with bag and baggage. We were done. Shifted. My dad had come along. He, being the impatient soul that he is, had pushed us, no literally drove us, to settle within the first couple of days. Settled. Here too, I really have to give some credit to ourselves, we were settled in a day and from the second day we started cooking. Though we had the gas connection, stove, gas cylinders, the regulator had a gas leakage problem and I had to cook with the induction stove, racing against time before the next scheduled power cut.

The wise UTBT kids said that Hyderabad's schools are 5 years behind Bangalore. I'd also add that Hyderabad, not only schools, is 5 years behind Bangalore. No offence, it is just an observation. Hubby dear and I always think about the next move as a step ahead. Sometimes, we used to wonder how we'd be able to downsize our current lifestyle (not that there is much style in the lifestyle that we lead) if something happened. And we are doing that right now. Downsizing from a really progressive city to the one which is still kind of confused whether it can become progressive or not. Mind you, I'm not talking for the areas that come under the name Cyberabad. I'm only talking about Hyderabad.

I can't deny that in the past ten days, I felt sometimes that may be it was a bad decision to push Hubby dear to move here. But I'm getting there to a place in my mind, where I am accepting our life here. I was very apprehensive about the kids settling in the school. The brat settled seamlessly into the mainstream school, from day one he was on the go. No doubts, no confusions. For the baby, it is different. In the three and a half years that she's been going to the school, all the three schools she went to were small schools, two of them Montessori and one was run by Aurobindo Ashram with a class strength of 20. She finds the change a bit disconcerting. She cribs that kids are always screaming, it is too noisy. I say mentally, 'Welcome to the real world, darling'. I always knew she'll take sometime to settle, we'll just have to see how long she takes.

On the upside, my broken Hindi is getting better by the day. There is an Alliance Francais, like a 5-min walk from our house, literally begging me to not waste the opportunity of learning another language (though I am still contemplating, because French doesn't sing to me like Spanish or Italian did).

So there. The much awaited (for me) post on the move and the thoughts on settling down in a strange city.