Monday, May 31, 2010
You throwed and kept
(trying to translate what I normally tell them in Hindi- Phenk ke rakhta hai - meaning leave it scattered around)
Ojas- Mamma, last night you did not sleep near me naa? Thats why I did susu in the bed
Me- you never did susu in the bed?
Ojas- No... I did. just because you did not sleep near me
Ojas calls me on the phone- I want ben 10 toy
me- ok ask periappa to buy it
Ojas- he is not buying toy. He is buying me chocolates and it is making me cough
Thursday, May 27, 2010
It so happened that I was saying Ojas and Tejas are bad boys as they are not eating and then they started eating and told me nearly in tears- you called me bad boy. So I hastily corrected- no the story Ojas and Tejas are bad boys.
Soon they built on it and made a parallel world of bad Ojas Tejas, and their friends S, R etc etc and even Story Mamma and Dadda who do all sorts of nasty stuff to the kids- so much so that they tell me- Mamma you smacked me- have you become Story Mamma.
One day, Tejas was in a very bad whiny mode and was behaving like Stiry Tejas so I decided to tell him another story.
The story of Cryoo the cry baby who would be crying for everything.
Cryoo used to think that if he cries, his parents will give him whatever he asks for but actually it would always have the opposite effect on his parents and they would never give him that.
So one day Cryoo was crying and the God of Tears was passing by.
So he got annoyed witH Cryoo teh Cry baby and did some magic on him and told him that from now on you will be unable to laugh or talk- yu will only cry.
So when Cryoo's friends came to play- Cryoo wanted to talk to them and laugh but he could only say- waaaaahy diiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiid youuuuuuaaaaaaaaa coooooome.. aaaaaaaaaa
So his friends thought Cryoo doesn't like them and they went away and he had nobody to play with.
Then Cryoo's parents gave Cryoo some juice. Cryoo was very happy and wanted to laugh but he could only manage- aaaaaaa juiccccccce
And his parents thought he doesn't like juice and took it away.
Then they went for a movie and the parents got them popcorn.
But Cryoo could only cry- Popcaaaaaaarn... and his parents thought he doesn't want popcorn and ate up the entire popcorn themselves.
And so on and so forth until God of Tears took pity on Cryoo and extracted a promise from him that he will learn to ask properly and not cry!
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
You love your (soft toy) dolls and I love you too
You like to drag them in the mud and I also leave you to play in the mud.
They don't eat food and you also say no every time I give food
You make them sleep near you and I also make you both sleep near me.
Tejas- Ok Mamma, I am your doll.
Ojas- very seriously- Nahin. Hum doll nahin hain. I will buy you a doll from the shop.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
I can just see my worst nightmare turning to a reality.
So why is it so dull here?
1. The kids are not doing anything fun to report here, no milestones, nothing- except shuttling back and forth to Pondicherry and naming their new cousin Donut.
2. The camera is unable to talk to the laptop- long story- don't ask- so until then all my photo posts have been put on hold.
3. Seriously, a lot of things have happened- we have completely redone the living room, painted the walls, bought new furniture, done some works of art and the kids have given good poses for the camera but all of those good pics that can be easily translated into photo posts are just locked in the camera chip.
4. I cannot post anything on my weight and diet because I am not losing any weight
5. We haven't visited any new eating place - except Once upon a pirate in the Besant Nagar beach- nice place- with pirate theme decor, treasure chests and all. Multicuisine.
6. I haven't been travelling or shopping
7. The only thing I am doing is reading and this blog is fast threatening to become a book review blog so I am refraining from posting about them
8. My garden is in shambles- the painters have completely damaged my plants- and the paints have dripped over them - I cannot distinguish my plants from one another, pots are damaged, plants are dying- I have no energy to confront the painters and am silently waiting for them to complete the painting work so that i can get it back in mint condition again.
9. I have been watching movies weekend after weekend but have no real motivation to write about them- we watched Kites- a thriller love story- Lifecell gave us complimentary tickets in PVR. PVR could have better A/C by the way!
10. And offcourse last but not the least- even my dear readers are not leaving their opinion behind!! sob sob
Friday, May 21, 2010
Tejas- Huh, she gets it easy doesn't she..and we have to struggle to do our homework, put our toys away and then we get something that we want- and all that and she just has to do is count..
Ojas- Ok, atleast she did the smart thing of opting for a book on painting- which we really like to do.
Tejas- Yes, and this has a lovely attractive orange jacket that tells us about the Indian painter Jamini Roy
Ojas- the pictures are so nice- if only Mamma would explain each picture and not just read.
Tejas- Yes, she is always in a hurry! Not wanting to stop and answer our questions.
Ojas- yes, like for example, she doesn't want to describe the 2 women in the story- she wanted to just read the story of how Biswajeet's mausi took him to a painting "shop"
Tejas- she didn't tell us more about the Rickshaw in the story or what the boy was trying to watch on the TV
Ojas- and wonder why she wasn't telling the name of the old man in the story who helped the boy find out who was the "bad boy" copying the paintings.
Tejas- well, we will also not tell it out here else what's the fun for the readers.
Ojas-but offcourse we loved the cute little cows and Krishna in the paintings
Tejas- we also learned where Santhals live
Aside from Mamma- While the book is for older children and its too soon for my kids to understand much, the reason why I picked up this book when Tulika gave me a choice of a few books was because "Dancing on the Walls" and "Rangoli" as books that depict Indian art had been well received. And since I have Warli art at my home and we often come across or do Rangoli- I thought it would be a good idea to expose them to different painters also.
As Boo in one of the forums said that her daughter is aware of painters like Pollock!!! So I am glad I started the early initiation. And the good part is it flows like a story and even talks of the painter's story and style
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
This book is now available online.
While the book is for 8 years and above, I didn't want to really wait until then to teach the kids water conservation so I went ahead and purchased the book! Ok, I wanted to read the book myself so I bought it!
So 11 stories, written by 10 writers, with eye catching images- the kids' only complaint was why there are so few pictures.
I have read all the stories but I haven't been able to read all of them with the kids.
Bit whatever I have already done, have been well recieved.
The stories cover various concepts from sources of water to conservation to sharing of water- all of them very relevant to the current context. The water timeline in the end is also interesting and informative.
On Ownership of Water
Who Owns Water, Koluscap and the water monster, Tribute to a King, Tiddalik the Frog- Our states are fighting for water and so are the characters in the story- fighting to own water and keep it only to self. While in who owns water- the concept is covered in the form of a series of steps that converted a depression in the soil to a huge pond full of water and in Koluscap, water is dammed by the evil man from whose land the river originates and in Tribute to a King the King demands the king of the sea to accept is supremacy and in Tiddalik the frog- the glutton from has swallowed up all the water - the concept is the same- water doesn't belong to anyone- it has a power and mind of its own- we are just preservers of water.
Importance of Water
The Green Man, Queen of the World, The Dragon's Pearl- It is often said, never refuse water to anyone. And the characters do exactly that in Queen of the World. The story also stresses upon the importance of the right kind of water in the manner of - water water everywhere and not a drop to drink. In the Green Man- water is depicted as a source of eternal existence- in the way it keeps everything thriving and green near itself. And in the dragon's Pearl- water is a source of abundance and prosperity.
Sources of Water
A Well is born, Hero Twins and Swallower of Clouds- A well is born is written in verse explaining how a well is dug out and how the engineer and the village elder together combine science and experience to find the correct spot to dig the well. In teh swallower of clouds- clouds as a source of water and rain is brought out conceptually against the backdrop of heroes who go and prevent the giant from swallowing up all the clouds.
Power of Water
House of Sun and Moon- Favourite story for my kids- It talks about the power of water and its capacity to hold life within and also a potential to devastate life by flooding.
Selekana and the River Goddess- Expounding the fact that water is a source of bounty and without it - it is difficult to prosper.
Monday, May 17, 2010
A collection of 15 delightful plots (pun intended)- funny, wicked, devious and wide ranged.
A majority of the tales are inspired from real life and some of them are stated as fictional.
The collection is a diverse motely of backdrops ranging from the place of action- right from India to England among others, and themes from jail to romance to expeditions.
In typical Archer style, the tales are detailed, the plot is twisted and has a surprise ending!
I leave you to read them and savour them without adding more spoilers
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
They say early morning dreams come true.
And so I was dreaming... and in my dream I was talking to my sister who was sitting up straight in her hospital bed and telling me - the baby has come.
The phone alarm rang and I woke up with a start- totally confused and disoriented - 7 am. (don't laugh- I need alarm for 7 am even)
At around the same time, in a country that is around 12.5 hours behind us, the baby boy was born.
Fair, tall, dark haired and handsome...
So one set arrives on 01.11.20 05 and this one arrives on 11.05.20 10... just a play of digits!
Monday, May 10, 2010
Probably parenting does get less strenous as kids grow up.
I am a total momzilla on working days - everything happens on clockwork and in double speed- "wake up, eat, school, play, dinner, bonding, story, sleep cycle" is speed done. Because the next day should not get "scrood" if everything is not followed as per schedule.
I do more quality than quantity time with the kids. And am almost measuring on an activity basis my quality time spent with the kids.
Discuss school/ talk- check
Be with them during their playtime- check
During the limited time I get to spend with them which does not involve attending to their needs and food I have to pack in a lot.
During these holidays, I have realized that parenting under pressure is so different from a relaxed parenting that happens during breaks and holidays. While I still have my mental checklists, the time is fluid. Sometimes we are doing writing work just before bedtime or sometimes like last night the kids slept in the living room as I caught a movie on TV and hubby worked on his laptop. Rules are broken, time loses relevance, breakfast happens at 11 in the morning, kids take bath on their own and I convince myself that the next bath I will give them- to make up for the parts that were overlooked when they did their self ablutions.
In the quest for independence, I insist that the kids eat their dinner themselves and all meals on weekends except dinner which is the Dad's duty- communal eating from his plate.
My way of ensuring some Dad-sons bonding.
During the holidays, kids have been insisting- toom khilayo (you feed us) and I have regressed to spoon / hand feeding rather than self eating- been obliging them with an ease I am myself surprised. Else I was forever the impatient one. Eat yourself- I cannot run behind you- finish fast- type on working days.
I am still measuring quality but also making time for lot of quantity. Either by extending their waking hours or taking leave from work.
I finish my "house" work, sit with my book or laptop as the kids play with each other or their friends and even manage to get some shut-eye while they are bouncing off me. So no longer it is like I have no me time when I am at home with the kids.
And the kids are getting housetrained too. Switching off lights, shutting doors when the Aircon is on, trying to maintain the home, putting shoes inside the shoe cabinet, offcourse between number of change of clothes- independence leads to this also. Vain boys.
Friday, May 07, 2010
I have tried to bring about a focus in terms of holiday activity for the kids.
We did the summer camp within the complex for 2 weeks after which most kids went off for their vacation and we had to bring the camp to a halt.
I bought practice books- alphabets in english, hindi, Tamil, color books and activity books.
We bought crayons and paint boxes and put sets of pencil, eraser and sharpener in their new pencil boxes gifted by N Mausi.
We have also stocked up on lots of books to be read.
While we have been doing all this writing and activity, the pace of it has been slow.
Because the husband believes that if I force them, they will begin to hate studies (i touched a raw nerve somewhere maybe!)
Not that the kids are not busy- they are occupied all the time, playing outside, indulging in mud play or imagined play with their toys and with each other. Or watching TV.
And lots of cricket with the Dad who has been rigorously coaching him- so much so that the kids were eagerly analysing Tendulkar's play- Dadda, is he playing straight bat or cross bat?
And they have taken breaks in Pondicherry and Bangalore etc too.
They got to see their first circus at Pondicherry (I did not accompany them so no post)- but from what I heard, they saw lots of animals (no tiger or lions) and the elephant played cross bat and straight bat cricket.
We have progressed with our Hindi alphabets- the vowels- and they are easy because the basic shapes are not unique. They have even begun to identify lots of sight words - the oft repeated ones and sometimes I am lulled into believing that they are actually reading.
And today, just a moment ago, as Tejas completed 2 sheets of work and I asked him what he wanted to do- he says "Nothing" - and I let him do just that- which includes snacking, watching TV, jumping on my bean bag and kissing me repeatedly, fiddling with the invertor, and and now playing together with their soft toys and talking to each other theaterically in English.
So nothing is something all together! (which incidentally Ojas specializes in)!
Thursday, May 06, 2010
The book is very contextual so those who are not aware of India, Bollywood, rituals, culture may not really be able to appreciate it.
His detailing about his observations is admirable and the humour indepth!
I loved the Wedding chapter the most - it had me rolling on the floor.
And the 5 things I hate most had me nodding my head in agreement.
Go read it- it's fun..
Wednesday, May 05, 2010
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Tuesday, May 04, 2010
Infact the eating began much before the holiday started- met AD at GRT Azulia over a huge lunch of some great stuff which translated in English means- Mutton shanks and Keema and kababs.
Bangalore was all fun - we drove down the scenic highway admiring the hills and the greenery and the clear roads- and the drive was very easy simply because I was not doing the driving- the superman (husband) was.
The kids were as good as gold- reading, snacking and sleeping throughout the drive. Ojas particuarly doesn't need any excuse to go to sleep.
And I was focusing on my book, snacks and offcourse weaving all that I saw into long posts. Which I promptly forgot after the drive was over.
We stayed in a hotel which the kids loved simply because they discovered the bubble bath there. They want to come back to Bangalore and in particular to the hotel again for the sake of the bubble bath. Who says being shallow is not hereditary?
And what exactly did we do in Bangalore?
The husband had a late night meeting there and that's why we went. But the rest of us tagged along so that we could get a break and meet friends.
We had a huge lunch of chicken tandoori, mutton shanks at Samarkand in Infantry Road.
We met ArtNavy family and D over dinner at Art's place and it was just like old times. The decor was familiar, the people were well known, only the setting had changed. The kids also had no trouble from starting off from where they had left. We ate and chatted late into the night and as the husband went off for his meeting, the kids and me went off to dreamland and geared up for the next day.
The result was that while we were totally refreshed, the husband was not and therefore we had no time but to visit the aerospace museum, which the kids assured me they liked- proof was that they wanted to play with the pair of squirrels, loved touching the aircrafts and loved the airplane models we bought for them.
Lunch was with D again at a lovely restaurant- lots of fish and chicken and coffee with K's friend at Coffee Day -where else.
Dinner was at my dear friend's house and here again, the kids bonded exteremely well with my friend's kid and that was very heartening because we expect our kids to be great friends with our friends.
The kid was a total charmer- he totally drew my kids to him and I sincerely believe this much needed trait is a rarity.
We ate yummy mutton adn chicken curry with biriyani and as expected chatted till late into teh night.
Seriously for the first time, I was sad to leave Bangalore- an emotion I feel only when I leave from Delhi to Chennai.
Monday, May 03, 2010
The best tea can be had in Jahanabad, or you must taste the juice from this shop in Vijawada junction, or once we reach Mughalsarai, Banaras is just an hour away, or Muri junction is where you buy jhaal mudi on this route....
Tidbits that are Nice to Know -may not be useful but nevertheless interesting- like nuggets of knowledge being added to our pool.
On long train journeys, you have a lot of time to think, to imagine, to weave tales about people you see as the train slows down near a crossing or a village.
One finds it hard to imagine that life goes on in small towns like these, albeit at a much slower pace or much smaller scale than large cities or towns. Towns where one feels like shifting to, as far as cost of living is concerned.
Often I would wonder- who the hell lives in places like Gomo, Patraatu, Namkum, Ramgarh etc etc... and why does the train even bother to stop in some of places when no person ever boards here. Do they have good schools? Do they party? Do they go out with friends?
Chai Chai by Biswanath Gosh is a powerful concept and it fuels the imagination of those who are curious about places like Mughalsarai, Itarsi, Arakonnam, Jhansi that are important junctions from the rail connectivity point of view.
One spends a long time at such stations- 1 hour used to be the bare minimum during which the water tanks get refilled, food arrives or is duly purchased, legs stretched, snacks or magazines bought, water bottles refilled.... basically all maintenance work is done including that of the train.
One might wonder what else exists beyond the railway station. In today's fast paced life and big bucks earning mentality- who exactly are those people who choose to stay in these small towns, what do they do for a living, are they ambitious- chai chai answers these unanswered questions that play in our mind when we stop in such places.
I picked up chai chai with an open mind- it is not meant to be a fast paced story - it is a travel book so it is going to tell me little tales related to those places in a very honest way.
That said, I have never really read any travel book except Ruskin Bond's and they are anecdotal in nature and do not always tie the loose ends.
Chai chai starts with the most interesting city from a historical point of view- Mughalsarai and then traces steps to Jhansi, Itarsi, Guntakal, Arakonnam, Jolarpettai and Shoranur.
The book progresses exacly like a train does - slow in the beginning of the journey, stopping as it crosses various sections of the platform, stopping at the outer and thereby reluctantly picking up speed, making up as it reaches the destination.
The Mughalsarai chapter is the most detailed one that way and probably the saga became repetitive as the author stopped at other towns and therefore intense detailing was done away with.
The tone of the story is kinetic, one can feel the movement of the story as if one is journeying with Ghosh. Each chapter is anecdotal - stories without beginning and end- leaving a lot to imagination and I think that is the way it is meant to be.
Think of the people you have met during short journeys or autowallahs-you meet them just for that small duration and if you happen to get talking, you get to know plenty of details about them to make an anecdote but not enough to write a story. This book is just like a compilation of these mini encounters.
What gets a little dull and repetitive is the process of finding hotels and the mandatory trips to the bar which seems to be the only place to find people to talk to and in all probability it may be just so!
The vivid descriptions of the condition of these hotels make one smile and nod head and simultaneously shudder as we all have definitely gone through those stained bedsheets, no soap in bathroom, broken bucket mug type situations in some hotel or the other we might have stayed.
Ghosh looks for stories in the lives of ordinary people who go about their business of living.
This book might be like the story your brother or friend or spouse or colleague tells you after coming back from such a place- you just get a glimpse into the town from the point of view of a person who has spent just a couple of days there- and you move on without dwelling much on it.
The author has also gone beyond the brief- visited places of significance that are tantalisingly close to these towns - just like one might do if they were sent to a godforsaken place on an official trip.
The only thing the author did not do is visit the theatre in these towns!
Overall, the book kept me going till I reached the end but left me with a vague sense of - is there more to it apart from what is written in here? Perhaps there is or perhaps there is nothing beyond what the author has written- no interesting cuisine or a famous shop (like the tirunalveli halwa) or interesting natural landscape or handicraft or historical tidbit like Nalanda University ....the absence of which would have perhaps made it even more difficult for the author to assimilate the town into a chapter.
I feel the book could have done with some tighter editing without messing with the essence of it all though.
I also feel that this book opens up a lot of scope for this genre of writing- now if someone could weave a book around places that house Haji Ali juice centre, Karim's kabab, Tirunalveli halwa shop, Maner ke Laddu.......