The blurb ob by blob...

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Mother, writer and daydreamer. Also chocoholic and chick-flick lover. But mainly mommy. To two boys, at that! When not escorting my Elder One (EO) to karate class, I'm trying to get in as many cuddles as possible from my Younger One (YO). And when not doing either, I'm hard-at-work trying to maintain a steady relationship with my laptop. And as for the Man I Married (MIM), well, let’s just put it this way – even though we share a bedroom, our most meaningful conversations are held over the cell-phone!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Of Potty Mouths and Penis Envy

I knew I was going to be in trouble the moment I heard the words, “It’s a boy!” And I knew I was in double-trouble the moment those words were uttered to me one more time. And not because of impending fist-fights, broken bones, muddy shoes beyond the state of cleanliness and stinky bathrooms. I was thinking of the gender-defining paraphernalia that they had inherited from their father.

Those of us who have boys, have seen the sight that shocked the Nirupa Roy-like close-to-divine, maternal-love-feelings out of our large, maternal-juice soaked souls – that of our precious, adorable little cherubs holding on to their family jewels for dear life! And with a goofy, gummy smile on their face! I clutched my heart, swooned and cried in my head the first time I saw! “He’s a, he’s a, he’s a, oh my goodness, HE’S A BOY!!! And my sweet, angel-faced son likes playing with his, with his, with his, with his…oh! I can’t even say it!” Up until then, I think we just tend to look at them as genderless, tiny humans, who the closest thing to God and heaven upon this Earth. Symbols of purity and innocence to restore our faith in all that is good and chaste. Pah! Reality bites! With newly sprouted teeth sharpness!

Read all about it in the baby-books or the Internet, even ask your paediatrician, and they’ll tell you that it’s completely natural. Sigh! So boys will be boys, eh? But must we be confronted with this mind-altering truth when they’re just wee babes of six-months? What can one do though, to make the endless touching stop? Just keep moving the hands away, we’re advised. And that’s what I started doing, all the while trying hard not to link words like ‘sexuality’ and ‘pleasure’ to a baby, that too, my baby! However, I have to confess, the process soon had me laughing. Everytime I’d move his hand away from his, er, privates, they’d zoom in on them again as if the little thingamajigs had a homing device installed! No loss of direction, not a second’s worth of hesitation, just perfect placement…each time, every time, with said goofy grin firmly in place! It almost seemed like the poor little mite couldn’t help himself. It was as if a spring had been inserted in his arm, which made the whole process seem mechanical and not of his own volition.

So is that what it's all about then? That it's natural and they can't help themselves? I don't know. Maybe for now, but as they get older? When at eight or nine, (yes, as young as that I'm afraid, as a friend with a nine-year old told me) they discover a strange, new sensation brought on by touch and they come to understand what the word 'pleasure' truly means? Is that the appropriate time to introduce Mr. Parakeet and Madam Bumblebee? Do I explain the concept of things that are 'ok' to do in private and not in public? Don't crucify me please, but I am breaking out into a cold sweat just thinking about it.

So, I guess I won't. Not now at least. Plenty of time left (hopefully!), before I am confronted with these uncomforatble truths. I just hope for tons of patience, maturity, understanding, a few bars of Twix and a bottle of Peach Schnapps when the time comes.

In the meanwhile, I think I'll stand back as the Elder One and his elder-to-him-by-three-and-a-half-months cousin brother, the Nephew, rush to the bathroom to take a leak at the same time, while the Younger One looks up at them wistfully, wishing he were tall enough to whizz along with them and indulge in some heavy-duty male-bonding. I'll pretend to be scandalized whenever he runs away from the ayah before he can have his pants put on and stands in front of me in all his half-naked glory, saying "Mamma deko, nangu-pangu!" (no literal translation for this as it's Bong baby talk; the closest I can come up with is "Mamma see, shame shame!") I'll mock-scold him whenever he rolls away from me at night when I'm putting on his diaper and he wants to, shall we say, hang loose. Because right now, at this stage, wicked grin or not, cute cackle or not, it is all done in blessed innocence. What do they know of right or wrong, sin and shame? It's a part of their adorability. It's all a game -- a game of "catch-me-if-you-can-and-put-my-pants-back-on," where luckily, we always win! But the fun part is the giggly cuddle and squiggle that happens post the catching. But yes, to ensure zero embarassing moments for me when I go shopping, I had to wean their hands away from down there during their clutch-and-hold phases. Pretty much like the breast and milk bottle scenario, all over again. The weaning, that is!

And from the nether regions, we now move upwards to another anatomical part of theirs. The mouth. Now, the mouth can spout some of the cutest sayings in the most adorable accents with the most delightful pronunciations that leave you wanting to trail them all day long with a handicam or at least a cell-phone with 'Video' taking abilities. And if you have neither near-by, ten you grab a pen and pad and furiously start to scribble down the charming babyisms. They practice new words, break into song and rhyme, give kissies and eat biscuits by the chubby, little handful all with the aid of the mouth. So it's very surprising, shocking really, when suddenly, they start using those adorable Cupid's bow shaped fixtures for swaping 'dirty jokes'!

Of course at the Elder One and the Nephew's level, it's all about what fell into the potty and Mamma's horrified reactions and non-stop, under-the-breath mutterings! Other than that, it's all about who can spot a pile of doggy-doo-doo on the road and what glorious fun it is when a pigeon poo ps on somebody's head! I've seen them collapse into heaps of uncontrollable giggles even when they're with their friends and are bonding over their collective brand of toilet humour! Who can forget the enchanting "Who Dropped a Stink Bomb?" blame-game? And they so know it's wrong, because they try to do it in whispers and out of earshot! The little devils!

But what shocked me was when a couple of days ago, I found the Younger One and his elder-to-him-by-seven-days-cousin-sister, the Niece, making each other laugh by saying, in turns, "Potty keye niyechi!" (I ate potty!) And they were in splits! These two deliciously adorable, not-yet-two year old babes and therefore still considered recently-delivered posts from God's mailbox, were potty mouths! To say I was horrified would obviously be an understatement and seeing the look on my face the little monsters realised that they had achieved the desired effect! Seeing them turn to each other and laugh conspiratorily made me stare at them in wonder! The bigger boys, in comparison, started with the poop routine at much later stages in their life. Definitely when they were three-and-a-half, four...or thereabouts! But these babies? I know everyone says that the younger ones develop faster and learn quicker, but this is ridiculous!

So what next? Do I sit down and teach them a common Calcutta 'dirty poem' that did the rounds in primary schools? 'Donkey, monkey, elephant,cow/Sitting on the potty/ Eating pulao!' The Elder One and the Nephew know it and it never fails to bring a smile to their lips. Do I join the doo-doo bandwagon and ask them to make some space for me in their little world? Well then, I guess it's move over Baa Baa Black Sheep, here comes Toilet-trained animals instead!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Run Baby, Run

I have to share this with you all. Actually, I needed to record this for myself too, for posterity, for times when I'm old and grey and sitting in a cafe in Paris reading through my precious memories. But yes, to share with you too and I only hope that I can do this visual delight justice, it needs a photograph.

I don't have a writing desk. I sit on the floor, my laptop on a small table in front of me and I 'work' in the living rom. Normally, after lunch I let the Elder One watch some TV, or usually a movie that I pre-approve for him. But my very, very, VERY, I-can't-emphasise-enough-how-very chatty son, is not one for sitting still and keeping quiet. He keeps up a constant dialogue with me and more often than not, it's about the movie he's watching. I do try and answer him, but I confess, a lot of the time it's just grunts, mm-hmm's and monosyllables. But sometimes, when he needs more from me, he scoots on over, bends forward from the waist down, gets to my eye level, gazes at me with those gorgeous, brown eyes of his, smile/concern/appropraite-movie-matching emotion written all over his angel-like face, and asks me what he so urgently needs to have answered. Often, he just wants to share a discovery or a realisation that has hit him. But many, many times, he just wants to laugh with me. Whatever the need may be, the earnestness of his expressions, the posture of his little body, the ever-present twinkle in his eyes; always socks me hard in the chest. Imagine if you will, an almost three-foot little being, bending down to have a clear view of his Mamma's face, eyes shining with innocence, emotion and sincerity.

And yet, I remember, when not too long ago, this same little boy didn't need to bend to catch my attention. Another memory comes rushing back to me, of this darling boy, who had just perfected the skill of walking. I was sitting in the same position, and he was sitting next to me, playing with his toys. I didn't even realise when he had gotten up, but suddenly, I felt movement. I looked up to see my precious baby, walking by, face firmly fixed on mine, to see if I was watching. I can not even begin to describe the expression on his face that day! It was a mixture or unadulterated joy and triumph. I don't remember what I saw after that, my vision was terribly blurry. But I do remember my heart-pounding at the incredible smile that had been meant for me!

And now, history repeats itself in the form of my Younger One. When he walks or runs by in front of me. Eyes alight with life and sheer glee . I adore the way he runs, with no apparent sense of co-ordiation, legs and hands strewn about in a sense of happy freedom.

And now, I digress...

My precious babies. I wish for both of you so many many things. May you be able to run around under the sun, kicking a football,chasing birds and butterflies. As you grow older and are confronted with the realities of the world, I hope you never run away from problems and learn to confront them instead. I hope you always cherish the exhilerating sense of freedom that you were born with and that allows you to run, jump, laugh, scream, howl and so much more, as you wish. There are so many unfortunate people in this world for whom 'freedom' is a fancy word. Never question it, my sons. May you always ask questions to learn, know and grow. What boring minds you will develop, my dears, if you are not filled with passion and curiosity. May your eyes always shine with the delight that I see in them now. But may they also radiate intelligence and compassion so that people know that you are boys/men of incredible sensitivity and understanding.

My wish-list for you is never-ending. Just like my love.

Fear In Our Hearts

Yesterday, an e-mail was sent to a news station, wherein a dreaded terrorist group had threatened to simultaneously set off bombs in certain well-known areas of Kolkata at 10 pm. Among the list was a hospital (?!?!?), the High Court, some of the busiest, bustlingest areas of the city, and a couple of residential areas...including ours.

For two whole hours, the city had come to a standstill. The residents were paralysed by an unknown fear. Those who were out on the streets, were praying to get back home to their loved ones. Those of us who were sitting at home, eyes glued to the TV sets, were praying for our loved ones to return safely to us. After the clock had struck the crucial hour, the police announced that they had managed to trace the mail to a cyber cafe and the whole thing turned out to be a hoax.

I won't go into the different conspiracy theories doing the rounds right now, but I do want to talk about being scared by something faceless yet so dangerous.

The Man I Married, whenever he gets disgusted with the politics of the country, the corruption, the unreasonable demands that education makes on children, the growing concern for a child's safety and security, and a whole host of other issues, starts to seriously fantasize about migrating to another country. In fact, it's a favourite past-time of his.

MIM: How about Switzerland? We don't have to worry about any wars there, right? It's a neutral country after all. Then there's Iceland where I believe children are really safe. Holland is beautiful...

M4 (i.e. me): What about the North Pole?

MIM: Not a bad idea...isn't that were Santa Claus lives? The boys are bound to be happy and safe there! After all, who would want to bomb Santa Claus?

Hmph, the same people who could think of bombing a hospital or holding young children and their parents hostage in school. How ugly is our world becoming?

I hated being so afraid yesterday. I was afraid for the Man I Married who had gone out of town and was driving back at night and hadn't reached yet. I was afraid for my Mamus who traveled by local transport, weary and exhausted after a long day at work. And most of all, I was worried for my two innocent children, fast asleep in their bed, not knowing what was happening and how Mamma was feeling.

Fear is crippling. And I hate these people who have such a hold over us. And that's just the beginning of my once miniscule 'hate list'. It has grown in epic proportions since last night. I hate looking over my shoulder searching for God-alone-knows-what. I hate that I have started looking at a cycle with a mixture of terror and cynicism. I hate that I have started looking upon people with suspicion and mistrust. I hate that I have to think fifty times before I step out somewhere, alone or with my boys. I hate feeling unsafe. And most of all, I hate that I should have to bring up my sons in this environment of hate.

Yesterday's hoax, scare, dirty joke or whatever you choose to call it should be a wake-up call to us all. We should fight back. We need another "India's Most Wanted" programme. We need to show the police and the armed forces our support; that we believe in them and will offer our unstinting faith and cooperation. Faith can move mountains, they say. Maybe, if we show them a little faith and support, the corruption that exists might disappear. We need to be proud of our country again. We have to start believing 'Mera Bharat Mahaan' and we need to instill this feeling of nationalistic pride in our children. We need to set up a citizen's watch in each and every neighbourhood. We need to show the world that we will not cower and hide in caves. Each and every one of us, across the length and breadth of this country, need to show those that would do us harm, a collective middle-finger.

We need to fight back and show these asshole terrorists that maybe they can bully us and bomb our streets, but they can't bomb our spirits, our faith, our love for country.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

How Much Is Too Much?

I have been accused time and again, by friends and family that I don’t just mother my kids, I smother them. An accusation that was hurled at me relentlessly and even cruelly, I might add, ever since the Elder One was born. My decision to not go back to a full time job was met with disbelief. “What are you going to do?” they all asked. “Simple, mother my son.” My choice not to keep an ayah was greeted with incredulity. “How are you going to manage?” they all wanted to know. “The way mothers all over the world do”. Crazy, stupid, obsessed, possessed, mad…these were just some of the words used to describe me and my choices.

Well, to all of them, I have always blown big, fat, juicy mental raspberries. And I’ve just gone ahead and done my thing. Now that the Younger One is in the picture, my time is even less my own! Again…those same adjectives are being whispered behind my back. For the love of baby powder and formula milk, they’re not yet five and two! They’re babies yet --- my babies! And it is my will how I love them and how much! Wait…strike that, because in fact, it’s not even my will. The love I feel for them is not in my hands. It’s powerful, it’s all consuming and so, so natural, that I don’t even know where it begins and where it ends.

I am their mother and they are my babies. It is my prerogative to love them the way do. It is my right to cuddle them whenever and wherever I want. It is my job to make sure that they know Mamma loves them best and that she’s always there for them, no matter what. It is my pleasure to hug them so close to my heart that I can almost feel them leaving their imprints on it. It is my bliss to snuggle in between them when they are sleeping so that I can bask in the aura of their purity and adorability. It is my damn business to protect their sweetness and innocence for as long as I am able. It is my duty to shield them from harm’s way. And it is my great, good fortune that these two amazing boys are mine and that I have been chosen to be their Mamma.

My mom, my parents-in-law, many friends and sometimes on rare occasions even the Man I Married, all thought that I was wasting my potential. I beg to differ. I think I’m living up to it now. I have finally realized what I was meant for. I am now the best that I could possibly be. I am not for a minute saying that I am the best mother in the world. Never! But I am trying to be the best for my boys. And in the process, I am becoming a better person in my own eyes.

And isn’t that important? To feel worthy in ones’ own eyes? At the end of the day, we should be happy with who we are and the paths that we’ve chosen. I am not declaring that my path is the ONLY path, but it is the one I have chosen to walk upon and it makes me happy. Not once am I saying that women who leave their babies at home and go to work are bad mothers and don’t love their kids. Some of my closest friends have demanding jobs with long hours and I know the love, adoration and joy they feel when they look upon their cherubs. Not once am I saying that having hired help is bad. I didn’t have one the first time round out of choice, but now, with the Younger One, I need help…and that’s what they’re there for, to make things easier.

There is a lovely Chinese proverb that goes like this – to understand your parents love, you must raise children. And I so believe in this. It is only after having my babies that I have begun to fathom the fullest extent of my parents’ love for me and the Bro. And I can quite confidently state that no one will love my boys more than their father and me.

That also means, that no matter how much I love the Man I Married, in big ways and small, in ways known and unknown, in manners expressed and unexpressed; at the end of the day, the love I feel for him is probably teeny-tiny and itty-bitty when compared to what the MIL and FIL feel. I understand this and I salute and respect them for it.

At the end of it all, does it really matter who loves whom more or less? Because it’s not a game where points are kept and big sackfuls of love are weighed and compared. It’s all about being loved and lucky enough to have people who feel for us the way they do. So when my boys finally do meet, marry and settle down with their significant others, I will just wish them love – everlasting, ever growing and ever true.

All I want to be able to say to my boys when they grow up is this – Mamma loved you best. In the best way she knew how. In the best way she possibly could. With the best of everything that she had. And she will continue doing so. Always.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Baby Sayings

Our TV was on the blink so I decided to put a movie on for the Elder One, who was recovering from a bad case of the viral, on the laptop. It was the Man I Married's precious, new laptop, so I was telling my son, "Do not touch ANYTHING!!"

He thought I said 'catch' and since he's been ill, I have turned into a paranoid Mamma, making sure the sun, wind, rain and dust don't come anywhere near my son. So, my precious boy looks up at me and asks, "Not to catch a cold mamma?"


Friday, July 25, 2008

Of Fever and Floodgates

I really needed to have a good, long cry.

Both my boys were ill and it always, ALWAYS breaks me to see them this way. There is something totally soul draining and heart wrenching about two lively, active boys lying down in bed, weary, watery eyed, feverish and pukish. These two little pieces of my soul who give meaning to the phrase ‘with twinkling eyes and mischievous smiles’; for whom the Bengali word ‘chonchol’ (Hindi, ‘chanchal’) was thought up; who wear me out even if all I’m doing is sitting with feet curled up in a sofa with a comforting cup of elaichi chaa in my hands and watching them, were fighting a bad case of the viral and all I could do was watch helplessly, wishing that my body could suck it out of them by osmosis, prayer, sheer will-power, anything!

This happens whenever they fall sick. I become a pool of tears and my bones seem to melt into a mass of frustration, anger and misery. I carry storm clouds of gloom over my head, ready to drench anyone who comes within a mile of me, with my wretchedness.

I start to berate myself for wishing a moments stillness from them when they’re running around pretending to be Superheroes and trying to climb cupboards and curtains. From now on, I’ll just stand there with arms outstretched, hoping that they don’t fall and even, God forbid if they do, I’ll be able to catch them and even, God forbid I miss, what’s the worst that can happen? A bump on the head and some tears, nothing a spoonful of sugar and a kiss from Mamma won’t fix. (For those of you staring at the comp screen horror-struck, let me assure you…no way can they climb ALL the way to the top…they just try, that’s all!)

I start to wish that I had given them that biscuit or that piece of chocolate just before dinner after all. Next time I will. What can happen? One less spoonful of rice or pasta, or two bites less of roti. Pah! That’s it! Absolutely nothing to equate it to the lopsided smile that reaches their eyes and my heart!

I begin to hate my attachment to my precious computer. All the deadlines, assignments, well-loved blogs, Facebooks and G-mails can surely take a backseat the next time either ray of sunshine sidles up to me. If the Elder One wants a serious discussion on Transformers, I will have the time for a chat so that I can see the animated expressions light up his lovely face and I will come away more wiser after this educating experience. If the Younger One wants to pull me by the hand to show me a ‘baby tikkiki’ (tiktikkee, or domestic lizard), I will get up and follow him wherever he chooses to lead me, be it under a table or squeezing in my bulk (at least trying to) between the cupboards, just to share in the joy of his discovery.

When the two of them lie with their flushed faces on my lap, expelling hot air through their perfectly shaped mouths, their gentle snores seeming like divine music, it takes every shred of self-control and dignity I possess, not to liquefy into a pool of tears. I keep one hand upon each of their warm bodies, I try to shut down the tear ducts that are fast filling to burst-open capacity. And then, one of them opens their eyes, reaches for my hand, shifts his head, meets my gaze and gives me a wan smile.

And the dams burst open.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Bringing Up Men

I may as well get this out there in the open before some insensitive being ‘jokingly’ tells my boys, “Did you know your mummy wanted a GIRL?” I’d better say it first rather than endure heart-breaking, grief-stricken looks of “Is that true?” from them. You know the look I’m talking about; big, gorgeous, brown, eyes laden with unshed tears, a quivering lower lip and a look of betrayal that goes straight your heart and stays there for as long as you live!

Yes, it’s true. I wanted a daughter. Both times round. The first time it didn’t happen, I thought, “Oh well, there’s always next time!” The ‘next time’ came and went, and I struck out again. I thought to myself, “Great! Now what?”

I mourned all those pretty dresses, multi-coloured hairclips and ruffled underwear that I was never going to buy. I lamented all those Cinderella and Snow White theme birthday parties that I would not be able to plan and throw. I kissed goodbye to all those Nancy Drew’s and Malory Tower’s that I would never get a chance to read to her. No make-believe tea parties, no collecting Barbies, no giggling over girl stuff, no advice on nail-polish and make-up and sigh, no sharing deep-dark secrets like first crushes, the ‘IT’ girls, heart aches and what I really thought of Daddy when I first met him.

Was my life only going to be about cricket, football and broken bones? Would I have to be tortured by burp contests and food fights at the dinner table? Did I have to pour buckets of water to separate my two future WWF wrestlers-in-the-making as they practice the Death Grip on each other? Was I going to end up with a permanently hoarse voice thanks to non-stop yelling about toilet seats and smelly socks?

I don’t think I need to spell out that I love my two boys beyond words, beyond measure, beyond every conceivable and inconceivable thought in the universe. They are my heart’s song and my soul’s laughter. Just the mere thought of them brings a lump to my throat and I am so incredibly blessed that they are mine.

But there were times when I missed holding that bundle of pink in my arms. Yes, that’s right… ‘were’, not ‘are’. I made my peace with all the girlie thoughts and realized that I had been presented with a wonderful opportunity here!

We women, aren’t we constantly cribbing about the lack of broad-minded men around us? Men who are free from the traditional thought processes of the patriarchal system? We keep bemoaning the fact that while the previous generation, especially our moms, did a great job in bringing us girls up, they forgot to erase the ‘God complex’ from their little boys’ minds. So, while they raised us, their daughters, to believe that we were no less than men and could scale the highest mountains and swim the deepest seas…they forgot to impart that bit of wisdom to their sons. Suddenly, a whole generation of men was left unable to cope with these strong-willed, free-spirited, independence-happy, beautiful, brilliant women, who were breaking down walls, scaling corporate ladders and achieving many firsts. These men were left feeling defenseless that their arcane methods of ‘taming the shrew’ would no longer hold them in good stead. So while our moms were teaching us to be the best that we could possibly be, they neglected to share this new bit of philosophy with our brothers.

It’s up to women like me to set the balance straight, so that some semblance of order can be restored and peace can prevail. Maybe the Battle of the Sexes can finally reach an easy truce.

Of course I’ll teach my boys karate and kickboxing. But I’ll also teach them the art of whipping up a perfect Irish Cream Soufflé. I’ll endure hours of Bruce Lee’s and spaghetti westerns, but by Georgina, I’m gonna teach them how to sit through a chick-flick. When they tell a girl they’re going to call, they’d better mean it. If a female of the species beats their pants off in a game of chess or even of one-on-one basketball, they should know that it’s a talent to be admired and NOT an effort to be dismissively praised. They have to learn that news of their sweeties’ success should be met, not with condescending pats on the back, but with heartfelt roars of approval, a bottle of well-deserved bubbly and a toast for her future triumphs.

This is all so exciting! There’s so much to do! So excuse me while I put away my dreams wrapped in pink. I now dream in blue, green, yellow, gold, silver and all the colours of the rainbow. I want to colour my boys’ world with sensitivity, imagination and intelligence!

I’ve been blessed with two boys who are simply amazing. Fifteen to twenty years down the line, I hope all the women they meet think so too!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Moments of Eternity

Here is a present for you
my child.
It is a gift
passed on to us
by Time
I give to you the joy
of a fresh new morning with
soft sunlight
and dew moist blades of grass.
I give to you the pleasure
of a starless sky
mosaiced with willful clouds
and a full moon
playing hide and seek with each other
in errant abandon.
I give to you the freshness
of a soft, gentle breeze,
redolent with the perfume of the jasmine flower.

Walk upon this Earth,
little child,
and learn to
and experience –
each of life’s myriad emotions.
A single smile
can capture a
fleeting moment of happiness.
A single drop of tear
can crystallize
an eternal feeling of sorrow.

I am not immortal
and neither are you,
but know,
that in the beauty of Nature
and the strength of feelings—
there is such a thing as Eternity.
It came with the gift of Life,
which I bequeath unto you.

Second Chances

(Written quite some time back)

I was playing with my ten-month old son one day when the alarm rang. I sighed, slowly tearing myself away from my little boy. It was time to pick up my other great love, my elder son, from school.

Once again, like many countless times before, thoughts of how unfair I must be to my younger one began to plague me. The oodles and heaps and piles of time and energy I spent on my elder one…humph! No comparison to the diddley-squat amount I spent on my younger one. For my younger one, I have hired help. Someone to help me bathe him and put him to sleep and more importantly, to occupy him when I’m busy…busy mostly doing things for or with my first-born! For my elder one? No way! I was a rabidly obsessive first-time mom where my elder son was concerned…no one, just no one was even allowed to touch him!

Of course I love both my boys equally and can’t imagine a life without either. While my elder one charms me with his imaginative stories and endless questions, my little one delights me with his adorable, six-toothed smile. I marvel at their differences and rejoice in their similarities. I am awestruck by my first-born’s tenderness towards his little sibling and amused by my younger one’s devotion towards his big brother.

But just as I’m an important part, if not the most important element of my elder son’s universe, do I matter that much to my small one? Does he miss me while I’m not around? Does he…love me?

I think these thoughts at least a thousand times a day; moments spent away from him, wrenched away from him, pulled away from him…for whatever reason, valid or otherwise. Does he love me?

All my friends with two children assure me that what I’m going through is perfectly normal. My mother and mother-in-law chuckle at my apprehensions in that ‘been there, went through that’ type of manner that I’ve grown accustomed to hearing from them, both being mothers-of-two themselves. Relax and enjoy them as they are, however you can, wherever you can, whenever you can. Ok, great advice, thanks, I will. But, does he love me?

I was ready to leave for school. I stood in the doorway of my little one’s room and looked at him for as long as the screeching alarm clock in my head allowed me to. I tried to fill up all the spaces inside me with the picture of him sitting in the middle of his brightly coloured toys, concentrating on one particular piece, fascinated by some detail that must have caught his inquisitive eye.

He must have sensed me standing there, because he immediately looked up, gave a whoop of delight, threw away the toy that he was playing with and started crawling towards me as fast as he possibly could. He stood up on his tiny, shaky legs, clutching at my kurta for support. How could I not pick him up for a cuddle? Once in my arms, he looked soulfully into my eyes for an eternity, his tiny hand on my cheek. He then put his little head in the nook of my neck and gave a gurgle of absolute contentment. And my heart shattered into a million little pieces.

It had just burst from a soul-wrenching kind of happiness!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Little Cookie Monsters

What is it about children and cookies...or as they say in this part of the world, biscuits? They love the stuff! Chocolate chip, raisin, butter, jam, different flavoured creams...even the plain and simple Marie biscuit will induce a smile of such utter joy, that your heart will flip...mooshed-up, mashed-up biscuit slop all over their teeth and gums not withstanding!

I have always found the smell of cookies baking in the oven to be very comforting. Not that my mom baked. It was all pretty much conditioned. The TV ads in America, where I spent my childhood, were so tantalizingly yummylicious, I could actually feel the warmth of the cookies and their heavenly aroma permeate through the TV screen and drug me with thier mere existence. My eyes would glaze over and I'd float off to my happy place, comfortably stretched out on those fragrant clouds created by the wafts of those chocolate chip cookies I so drooled over. I am pretty sure that a lot of the fat I carried with me throughout my tween years has to do with inhaling the sheer goodness of the good stuff.

Well, conditioned or not, my psyche equates baking cookies, the aroma as well as the act of, to purity and honest-to-goodness honesty. And I want to bake loads of the stuff for my two little cookie monsters. I'd be lying if I didn't say that my tastebuds aren't involved in this noble, Supermommy thought of mine...they are. Very strongly in fact. Because you see, I am a cookie monster too...a big cookie monster at that! I love chomp-chomp-chomping on cookies! And none of the namby-pamby, dunk-it-in-your-tea stuff. I'm talking about the flavourful ones full of fatty sin. The melt-in-your-mouth Shortbread biscuits...served with strawberries and cream, ooh! delish! Then the nutty ones...butter pecan, chocolate peanut, walnut and raisin, they play havoc with my tongue...and my ever-thickening waistline! The ooey-gooey-chewey chocolate chips are an all time fave...their mere aroma transporting me to Brady Bunch days of milk and cookies. And the ones that turn me into a selfish, hoarding, no-sharing, un-mommylike monster? The peanut butter and chocolate cookie. Mmmm! Just writing about this is making me salivate! I looooooovvvvvvveeeeeee peanut butter and I am a chocoholic, so if you are going to put my two favourite tastes and textures together, it is no wonder that you are going to get a very happy and very fat, little me! A bite from this wickedly, delectable creation is enough to send me on a high unlike no other! Sigh! It's a good thing andbad thing that they are not available in India. Good, because then these would end up being the only things I lived on and that would mean monthly sessions of liposuction...or worse still -- the gym! Bad, because, sigh, you know, I'm not allowed even a momentary bliss of indulgence!

But back to my boys and biscuits. While the Elder One is rather choosy about what he sinks his teeth into, his latest and only favourite is the vanilla cream sandwich-biscuit. Not surprising really, since he is really into white chocolate and vanilla ice-cream as well. And we are talking plain vanilla ice-cream, not even chocolate sauce! My son?!? How on earth did the chocolate gene miss him? Now the Younger One has no such loyalties and is happy going through all the colourful tins and dabbas displayed on the kitchen shelf. However, over the last week or so, in true younger sibling style, he has only been asking for the ones his big brother loves so well. Offering him any other kind results in his big eyes growing bigger, eyebrows touching hair-line and a look that says, "Don't you know by now?" And to drive home the point, since mamma must be stupid after all, he stresses a very forceful, "Eitaa naaaaaaa!" (Not this!) So I give him his current favourite, the big brother endorsed, vanilla cream sandwich-biscuit, and he rewards me by flashing that big, toothy grin of his and by offering me a bite from his precious biscuit.

This is my morning milk and cookie ritual with my Younger One. Everyday, after I come back home having dropped off the Elder One at school, I sit down with a mug of hot, coffee-flavoured milk (yes, milk! Don't laugh! This is a post-pregnancy hang-over which I have decided to hang on to) and I wait for my little cherub to come flying into my arms so that he can ask me for a "Bikki?"

Ahh! My dearest little cookie monster! For you, anytime!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

A Rose By Any Other Name...

Did any of you ever want to change your name? For the longest time, I did. During my tween and teen years, I hated my name. I felt it didn't have rhythm, poetry or exoticism. Even the meaning sucked. I would daydream about changing my name to something classical sounding, like 'Amrapali' or lyrical, like 'Mrittika' or 'Kuhelika'. But since I knew I never would, I put them down on the 'Names For My Daughter' list, inside my head. (I have two boys, so we all know how that turned out.)

Then I made peace with the name my parents hurriedly put on my birth certificate. In fact, I learned to find some semblance of music in it thanks to a college senior who knew Sanskrit. She broke it down and explained what the different syllables meant. The result was so lovely! That certainly made my name shine in my eyes and ring in my ears!

But now, after years, I wish my name was different. And not one of those names that I used to fantasize about in my youth. I wanted my name to be Aditi! And the irony there is that I studied in an educational institution bearing the same name and I always thought that it was a weird name for a school! Anyway, the reason for this, my latest craziness, is really quite simple. A song. A beautiful song that I listen to 55 times a day! The song is 'Kabhi Kabhi Aditi' from the movie 'Jaane Tu...Yaa Jaane Naa'.

What a gorgeous song! The tune, the lyrics, the mood! I can't sit still when it happens, my shoulders get a life of their own and start moving to the song's rhythm divine. There's such a sense of sweetness in the song and now that I've seen the movie, I feel it even more. If my name were Aditi and if the darling Man I Married could sing, I would get him to serenade me with the song everyday, all day, if possible!

But sigh! Sadly, my name is not Aditi. Not even remotely. And no one is ever going to write a song for me. So, I guess I'll just pretend.

That's good enough, isn't it?

All For a Pair of Shoes

'Sex And The City' Movie Review

Okay, okay, I confess. I’ve seen ‘Sex and the City: the Movie’ twice already, even though I found it under-whelming the first time round. And here’s the funny little bit, I’d see it again if a girlfriend asked me to, because that’s what girl buddies are for! And wouldn’t the ‘sexy’ quartet be proud of me!

Yes, the movie does take off from where it left off and we do get a glimpse of their lives, five years thence. And a common refrain after the end of the series was, “And that’s it?” But truthfully speaking, what else was left? What more could they have done to keep us glued to our seats with expressions of scandalized delight writ all over our faces?

What was left to do? I mean, Carrie got her Big, Charlotte her baby, Miranda her career and Samantha had already got everybody she ever laid eyes on in the series…who was left for her to do? And so the series ended. But this is the age of more, and we hadn’t quite had our fill. We wanted more of these bright, gorgeous women whose lives and wardrobes we so envied.

That’s why the big gaping need for a movie and a movie needs a story…or in this case stories. So, what can we do? Let’s seeeeeeee, wedding theme for let-me-finally-get-mine Carrie, maybe-separation time for too-busy-with-my-career-to-have-sex-with-my-husband Miranda, do-I-love-him-or-do-I-love-me-more Samantha and happy fairytale endings for yes!-my-ovaries-do-work-after-all-thank-you-very-much Charlotte!

The moviemakers also tried to throw in things that would hopefully make us guffaw so loudly we might pee in our Victoria’s Secrets. So we have a horny dog, some potty humour and sexy sushi…all in the name of laughter gone riot. At the end of it all, we just end up going, at the most, tee-hee.

But trite story lines and super slim, sexy bodies at forty aside, there are definite moments when the women in us did roar our approval. The gorgeous Vogue wedding shoot had my friends and me wishing for a re-do of our own special days…or a magazine spread with perfect photographs at the very least! The Mexico trip reminded us how important these girlfriend get-aways are for the soul. And the nights-out-on-the-town? Well, keep those Cosmopolitans coming, is all I can say!

Yes, we gape at the clothes and shoes. Sometimes we even gag at their sheer hideousness, but that’s what we were expecting to do in any case, right? So as far as the fashion, the never-ending saga of Carrie and her Big, the cinematographer’s capturing of the streets of New York and the generous use of cuss words was concerned, the movie didn’t disappoint.

So what more was there to expect? Why were we left feeling wanting…like after a roll in the hay that was good, but just not mind-numbingly-toe-curlingly-bone-meltingly-breath-stoppingly brilliant?

Because in the end, we all knew what was going to happen. In the series, we followed with bated breath as Carrie and Big got it on again and broke it off again, on again and off again…again and again and again. In between there was the other great all-American stud and the sexy European aristocrat, keeping her bed warm and our imaginations company. We all knew, that to make for a nice, happy ending, Carrie would eventually have to get her man, her Mr. Big, but until that happened, she had lots of other adventures that kept us happily occupied. Samantha’s sexcapades were also, without a doubt, one of the biggest thrills for dedicated SATC series loyalists. Her appetite shocked, yet electrified us to our very core.

But in the movie, there were no big thrills. Nothing to shock the most liberated of the female tribe. No other men for us to drool over. It was all rather staid and tame. Add to it, an idealistic personal assistant who carries around a Love charm and mouths the tritest of dialogues, the result will be rather ho-hum and not yippee-yi-yo-ki-yay!

Yes, of course we wanted Carrie to get her wedding and her closet. It’s just that in the true spirit of excess, I wish there was more, that’s all. But then again, in the spirit of girl bonding, I will see this movie again with someone from the female tribe.

And one more thing…it’s really time we give our Bollywood movie endings a break. Let’s stop judging the offering of ‘Happily Ever After’ endings for their sheer ridiculousness and take a peek at Hollywood’s offering. SATC gives us a happy ending…but obviously. All it takes is a pair of shoes!

Thursday, July 17, 2008


You said you would
drink from my eyes
and sip from my soul;
so I offered you both
asking nothing in return.

and broken,
I hope you rot away
to food poisoning.

Mamma's Secret

(This poem was published in the inaugural issue of Mother&Baby, May '08)

Hey boys and girls, I have a secret for you,
It’s about the everyday things that all mammas do.
When mamma tickles your feet and your little toes,
When funnily she starts to twitch her nose;
When she starts to ruffle the hair on your head
And dances with you on top of the bed;
Whenever she makes you a chocolate milkshake
And the two of you laugh till your bellies ache;
When mamma kisses you every morning and night,
And when you are scared and she holds you real tight;
Through all the breakfasts and lunches and dinners she makes,
With all the puddings and cookies and cakes that she bakes;
Whenever she takes you for a pretend ride on her broom,
Even when she scolds you and then softly cries in her room;

It’s in all these little things that she does for you,
That mamma’s secretly telling you that she loves you!!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Bubblegum Days

You were part of my
bubblegum days.

I watched
and worshipped
from afar
as you played your guitar.
street smart,
bitches all around.

“Stay away from him,”
the elders would wag fingers
and tongues.
But I’d watch
and worship
from afar.
I so wanted
to be your bad girl.

That summer,
blowing bubbles
on my gum,
I grew boobs
just for you.
I secretly read
the Kamasutra,
bought red lipstick
and practiced kissing
on my hand.
I so wanted
to be your girl,
your bad girl.
But instead,
I’d watch
and worship
from afar.

You’ll never know
how much I educated myself
just for you.
Hendrix, Jethro, Floyd
and Marley,
I grew to love,
because of you.
I chewed gum,
bunked Rabindrasangeet classes
and learnt the guitar instead.
I secretly read
the Kamasutra,
bought red lipstick
and practiced kissing
on my hand.

At night,
my head upon my pillow,
my hand upon a breast,
I’d hear you playing
between my eyes
and so I’d dance
on your guitar strings.

I bought red lipstick
and practiced kissing
on my hand.

Chewing bubblegum
all the while,
I watched
and secretly worshipped
from afar.

Even today,
whenever I smell
strawberry, cherry
or juicy fruit,
my lips hanker for a kiss.
I hear those chords
upon my heartstrings
and I think about
when I bought my first
and only red lipstick,
when I watched
and worshipped you
from afar.

My bubblegum days.
My ‘You’ days.
When I watched
and worshipped
from afar.

Monday, July 14, 2008

The Importance of Being Hritik

(This article of mine appeared in this month's issue of Mother&Baby...July '08. I hope you guys enjoy it!!)

The Importance of Being Hritik

Hritik Roshan is more than just a Greek God with oodles, pools and hidden reserves of talent. He is more than a sculpted body to lust for. He is more than a sexy daydream who makes many female (and I’m sure some male) insides flutter deliciously and then melt away in a deliriously wanton manner. Sigh.

You can talk all you like about the machismo of Jackie Shroff and Vinod Khanna. The chocolaty good looks of Jimmy Shergill and Neil Nitin Mukesh. The cool dude attitude of Chhote Nawab and Baby B. And the ‘je ne sais quoi’ about the Badshah and the Big B.

Hritik is all that. And so much more.

Sue me all you other Hritik fans, but I was only marginally impressed by his first film. While all my friends were falling around me in dead faints, I was giving him a ho-hum. In ‘Fiza’ I gave a salute to his acting skills. Then, a couple of years later, ‘Koi Mil Gaya’ happened and I sat up and took notice. There seemed to be intelligence and talent oozing out of every pore. And finally, dhoom! It hit me! In ‘Dhoom 2’ I was a goner! I sank like a brick weighed down by a tonne of lead. Wow!

And turns out, I wasn’t the only one. Even my hubby and bro-in-law (and they are both macho pieces of manhood with high levels of testosterone), sat up and went ‘Wow!’ Yes, yes, the ‘Krazy Kiya Re’ babe also happened to be a strong factor, but they were mighty, mighty impressed with his dancing skills. The title track of the movie became a firm favourite in our household almost overnight. That dance was my undoing.

And my son’s.

Yes. My four-year-old fell hook-line-and-sinker for this magnificently structured man with the mind-blowing dance moves. He was even christened ‘Hhoom Machale’ by my boy. By express request, I would have to play the song and the video at least ten times a day and at first, my son would just watch with his mouth wide open. A few days later, suddenly I saw him get up and try and copy the dance moves! With absolute sincerity and total dedication, he tried the leg raises, the splits and the pelvic thrusts. He even took my dupatta to uses as a scarf! It was side-splittingly funny as well as heart-wrenchingly adorable. It was one of those moments when I physically felt my heart lurch as it sprang to life to take a photograph.

I soon discovered that my nephew was a fan too. And together, these two adorable boys would try to shake a leg like the man himself. They even played ‘pretend’ games where they would fight over who would get to be ‘Hhoom Machale.’ And their mission? Oh just about anything from saving the world to winning races. The hero in their little games was always you-know-who.

A couple of days later, I was dressing him up for a wedding and I said, “You’re looking so handsome my sweetheart!” Immediately he went to the mirror, looked at himself and then looked back at me with his big, beautiful eyes sparkling, a huge smile flashing. He then asks me so seriously, so innocently, so sweetly, “Like Hhoom Machale?” I hugged him close to my soul and said, “No, so much better!”

So thank you Hritik. Not for the daydreams and the dancing. But for these sweet little moments that I shared with my son. And all because you’ve got the right moves.

Oh and yes, in thy name, I can always get him to finish his food. “Eat your parwal sweetheart. You want to be like Hhoom Machale, don’t you?” Gone. All of it. In just a few quick bites and gulps!

So yeah. Thanks.

Sunday, July 13, 2008


Muse in flight, heart dry,
Blood red oozes on my page.
My words choke to death.


The clouds split, and spit.
Earth lies back as new water,
Courses through her veins.


A fine cup of tea,
A book, popcorn, melody.
The drizzle of rain.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

In Deep

Can I wrap myself
in your coffee bean smell
and snuggle in it’s
morning-madness memory,
yet routine,

Hang about your neck
like a withered garland,
drained of all fragrance,
a pale shadow
of it’s former glory and beauty,
yet rightful occupant
around the temple deity’s
stone neck?

Can I rip
the buttons off your shirt,
claw your skin,
mark you,
bleed you
and then lick you
till you tingle,
you like it,
you scream?

Can I hate myself
for just,
for just,
for just….

I don’t know.

I know.

You know.

For just…

For the sake
of what
it once was.
For the sake
of what
we once had.

Just for that.

Creative Menopause

For a while there,
I was worried.
terribly worried.

I thought
lost you.
I thought
never get you back.

It’s a sinking feeling,
of deep,
A depression
which smothers your
out of you.

I’d sit lost
and dumb,
like a lonely semi-colon,
helpless in my
of fear
and failure.

But now,
you’ve gushed back
into my life.
You’ve found me
and I’ve got you good,
oh so good! So great!
I’ve got everything!

I can write once again!

Welcome back,
my precious,

For Want

For want of a darling, perfect man;
For want of that exhilaration called love;
For want of a spiritual calling
And heavenly messages from above.

For want of riches, fame and fortune;
For want of sheer earth-shattering genius;
For want of eight more measly inches
And a face that’s truly glamourous.

For want of memories sweet and precious;
For want of unrelenting, creative bliss;
For want of that awareness of being cherished;
And for lack of adventurous, passionate trysts.

For want of feelings of self-fulfillment;
For want of a life that seems complete;
For want of second, third and forth chances
And senses fully replete.

I go the distance alone,
With nobody by my side,
Behind these pieces of poetry
My true feelings do I hide.

So I smoke and fuzz my brain,
I eat chocolate by the tonne.
Were it not for jazz and moonlight,
To emptiness would I have succumbed?

Friday, July 11, 2008

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Okay, let me first get this out of the way…I LOVE HARRY POTTER! I just love the entire series and I was going nearly insane waiting for the last book. It’s finally here, in my hands, my home, my heart and I intend to keep it there forever. I am just waiting for my boys to turn ten so that I can introduce them to Harry (the books, my eldest has already seen the first two movies) and hopefully they will have made a new best friend for life. Somewhere in the somewhat-near, somewhat-distant future, bedtime stories will be revolving around magical exploits in and around Hogwarts. Through my boys, I hope to relive the wonder of these magical tales and see things from their viewpoint and through their imagination.

Man, I love, just LLLOOOVVVEEE Harry Potter! J.K. Rowling, you are a genius!

Phew! That felt good, getting it off my chest.

And now. Book Seven. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Where do I begin? What do I say? Let me try.

Being the Potterhead that I am, I can say with absolute conviction that in my opinion, this is the BEST in the entire series. So much better than a Mission Impossible or a Sunny Dutt ‘action’ movie. In fact, no comparison! This book, peace and quiet, an endless supply of café latte and some huge chocolate bars and you’re all set for the weekend.

Without giving much away, this book had everything and more…adventure, secrets revealed, temper tantrums, sentimental mush, drama, heartbreak and a battle of good vs. evil to end all battles. The most important factor about this book is that it answers all the questions that we have been mulling over for the past n number of months. And these are some great answers that we’re talking about here.

We heartily cheer on our favourite wizarding musketeers, as they try to figure out where the remaining Horcruxes are, how to destroy them and ultimately Lord-What’s-His-Name and his boisterous band of psychotic Death-Eaters, each one a pure study of mad, bad, dangerous evil. Especially riveting is the character of Bellatrix Lestrange, who comes across as a fanatical-bordering-on-obsessive Lord Thingamijig groupie.

And it is this evil that makes me wonder if this can be classified as children’s literature at all. Yes it’s true that the books have been getting darker and darker as Harry and his friends grow up and make that transition from tween to teen to young wizard adult. But how much violence can an immature, impressionable mind take in? Do they fully grasp the meaning of what it is to take a life? The word 'kill' is never a word to be taken lightly.

So who is this book for? Not ten and eleven year olds, surely. Fifteen plus? Yeah, I guess, but even then, will they ever be able to fully take in the complex emotions etched out so brilliantly by Rowling? Will they ever appreciate how instinctive it is for a parent to sacrifice his/her life for their child? Will they recognize the compelling and overwhelming power of love and how it can make you do anything? Will they understand that even when the world seems like the worst possible pace to live in, there is reason to carry on, that there are some things worth fighting for?

I am not trying to sell this book short at all. Never. In fact it is a book that all (gasp, dare I use the term? Ahh, what the heck?) elderly teens should read, because it is thought provoking and there is so much to be learnt here. The wonderful thing is that Rowling thwacks us with these lessons in a delightful, unpreachy manner, which makes the whole process entertaining. Valuable lessons in friendship can be imbibed from Harry, Ron and Hermione’s commitment to one another. We learn that we have to live with hope, because without hope, there can be no way to carry on and life not only becomes meaningless, but truly desolate and utterly empty. We are faced with the truth that even our heroes and our icons have flaws and are not infallible, it’s what being human is all about. We learn not to judge a book by its cover and so many other valuable life lessons. Clichéd, maybe, but lessons that can never be taught enough.

So to all you fans, who have started reading it or are still waiting to read it, ENJOY! Savour it, keep those hankies ready, maybe a huge bowl of hot buttered popcorn or onion bhajis and keep a friend handy too, in case you want to rant, rave or simply talk about it all. To all you Potterheads, I wish you everlasting bonds of friendship, the Harry-Ron- Hermione kind!

Yeh Lazy Lazy Mummy!

Shame on me! Just shame on me! It's been how long since I've registered to be on this blog? And how many blogs have I posted on it? You count...I'm too embarrassed!

I can't even plead 'busy with kids' as an excuse! I have recently come across this wonderful woman's wonderful blog, TheMadMomma, and she does it all! She has shamed me good and proper. If she can handle house, hubby, two kids and job, then why can't I do it? All it requires is discipline and organisation right! Well, I have been trying for the last few days...and I've failed miserably! How does The MadMomma do it? Simple...I'm convinced she's Wonder Woman!

Anyway, I may not be able to type a blog a day, but I promise to be more regular than I have been this past one year. I'll start off by posting some of my old writing, even if it doesn't fall into the 'mommy category'. At least I'll be posting and sharing...and at the same time, archiving!

But in the meanwhile, if you want to read a superbly written blog...this isn't it, just yet! Skip on over to for a good laugh, some serious thought and a great read! You can all thank me later!