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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!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

"Lend Me a Tenor"

Well guys, the play was a success!

On Monday (March 23rd), when we went for our stage and tech rehearsal, I walked in with a feeling of awe. G. D. Birla Sabhaghar boasts a lovely stage. The acoustics are brilliant, the hall is beautiful, the seats are cushy and there's a sense of grandness and plushness all around.

While the stage was being set and the sets were being nailed into place, I took a walk all around the hall. Stage right, from the wings, there are a set of stairs taking us up to the first floor where we have the green rooms. Our costumes were already hanging in the closets and they seemed to be winking at us. I then went to the second floor where we would be changing. There was a sign outside our door that read, "Female Artist". I don't know why, but I got a real kick out of that. I was a 'female artist'. I felt as if I had arrived...I could almost hear the applause in my head. I paused outside the door and looked at the words for a while, drank them in and let them tumble about inside my head for a bit. Then I went in and saw that our costume designer had pasted sheets next to a mirror for each of our characters, listing out our costumes, accessories and props, scene by scene. That made me stop, stare and smile too.

Tuesday night (March 24th), or Opening Night (that sounds so much grander, don't you think?), the audience was great. There were a few glitches on stage, but thankfully, nobody noticed. Strangely enough, I wasn't really nervous. Excited and all fluttery-butterflies-causing-a-mildly-pleasant-ticklish-sensation-in-the-stomach, but not nervous. And the reason for that is that no one from my side was there to literally mark my every move.

But, just before I was due to make my entrance, a hundred thoughts started swirling in my head. All the possible 'worst things that could happen to me right now on sage' scenarios started to play themselves out in front of my eyes... What if I tripped on the hem of my gown while twirling onto stage as I made my grand entrance? What if I stumbled and fell thanks to the uncomfy high heels? What if I forgot my lines? What if my co-actors suddenly blanked out? What if? What if? What if? Too many ' what the bloody ifs?' for comfort. But, but! Once I got on stage and became somebody else...they all just melted away! :)

The second show (March 25th) was fabulous. The hall was full to bursting, the audience laughed more, thereby totally pumping up out morale and we even felt ourselves cranking up our performances a few notches. A few new goof-ups, but the audience was none the wiser. And I was shaking like a leaf! The pleasant, fluttering butterflies had morphed into giant UFO's playing football with a planet in crowded outer space. Reason? MIM, parents, in-laws, BIL-ly Boy, SIL and HOARDES of friends were in the audience. Even our lovely dipali of 'this and that' fame was there! And she even came backstage! Awww! I was so touched! Phew!

And yes, truth time, I goofed up on day two. I gave one of my co-actors the wrong cue, thereby totally stumping him. But I quickly righted my wrong and we carried on as if nothing happened. Not a good memory to relive!

I can't even begin to tell you how liberating it felt to be on stage again, doing something that I absolutely LOVED! I didn't realise how much I missed it until performance day. It really had been a long time.

I think I'll do it again sometime.

Provided I'm asked, that is!

Monday, March 30, 2009

The Prince and the Cockroach Squasher

(Edited to add the bit at the end...)

Yesterday, the four of us and my parents went for a birthday party. My Maa-Janoni's schoolfriend's grandson's 1st birthday! (Whew! Could you say that in one breath?) ANyway, it wasn't really a kiddie affair at all...more like a formal introduction of the little tyke to family and friends, since the three of them have just moved to Kolkata from London.

The venue was a nice swanky banquet hall in a nice swanky hotel. There wasn't any kiddie 'entertainment', like you get nowadays at birthday know what I mean, magic shows, clowns, ball pools, etc. But we were early, the banguet hall was huge and I had two little boys who were born restless and with ants in their denims. They just took one look at the open space and telepathically communicated to each other, "Let's make Mamma lose the weight she claims we put on her!", and they started running from one side to the other. The MIM and I had quite a time trying to keep the bundles of wriggles on a chair for a good length of time! (Note to self...birthday party with boys minus ayah also means lose the heels and stay short!) But the hosts and my mum's friend kept assuring us that they weren't causing any harm and we really didn't need to sit on them. So, we relaxed a little bit and truthfully speaking, they were so happy. I was just scared witless about one of them running into a server with a precariously balanced tray laden with soft drinks and juices. When the crowds started growing, so did my anxiety and I tried to think of an in teresting way to occupy at least one of them. I set my sights on the EO, because I knew the YO would follow his big brother's footsteps. And it turned out to be quite literal too!

I asked the EO to count the diamonds in one row from one end of the carpet to the other. It was quite funny really, he couldn't walk in a straight line (hmm? should I conduct a study about alcoholic-like effects of Mountain Dew in children under the age of six?) and started walking in a zig-zag pattern...with a YO, in absolute puppy dog fashion, trailing him, trying to copy him and falling over his own two little feet! After repeated attempts, the EO came to me said that he couldn't do it.

I took my big baby by the hand, led him to a corner and showed him how it was done -- by putting one foot in front of the other upon the diamonds, so that he could remain in a straight line. My EO looked at me and exclaimed horrified, "But Mamma! Fairies walk like that! (???) I'm not a fairy!"
I chuckled at his point of view and also thought how relieved his father would be to hear that ;p when he said something even cuter...
"I'm a prince!"
And it didn't end there. He went on, "And you're a queen and my baba's the king."

Aww! My little sweetheart! My dear! My prince! You certainly made me feel like a queen I must admit!
What 'thing' do I detest most in the world? Cockroaches! My nightmare is to be trapped in a box with them crawling all over them...eeewww! Blech! I couldn't even write that without my heart beating faster and my skin crawling! Yuck, yuck, YUCK! I once even broke some, umm..err...bathroom furniture, because a cockroach crawled onto my arm!!

Anyway, so here I am at my Maa-Janoni's and she's sprayed bug spray all over and the miserable wretches that Time left behind are crawlinh out of the houses pores and struggling with their last breaths before flopping onto their backs, waving all three pairs of legs in the air and fading into oblivion. The more resilient ones, however, are limping across the floor, hoping to find an un-sprayed, unaffected drain somewhere nearby (hah! not bloody likely!)

Well, when I saw these things, slow, dimwitted and ugly, moving like blobs of sludge, I got up on the bed with trusty laptop and stayed there. The EO screeched in a manner that could put a Victorian soprano to shame and I couldn't help but recall that just last night he was making some kind of remark about not being a fairy but a prince! So while he tried to scramble up the ayah like a monkey on a banyan tree, and I looked on totally unamused, who should arrive on the scene but my little hero, our saviour and henceforth known as Enemy No. 1 of the Family Genus Species "Cockroach Grossicky Pukalot" a

There he stood, arms and legs akimbo, equally outraged and fascinated by the mere precence of these things. Thinking fast and acting even faster, he promptly decided to chase the one nearest him and cover it with his napkin as if trying to suffocate the evil out of it!

Aaah! My little hero! You cockroach squasher, you! Mamma need never be afraid of those horrid things now, need she?
And then of course my gallant cockroach annhilator goes and plonks himself on his grandmother's dressing table top, finds a BIG bindi, picks it up gently between his themb and fore finger, lightly and delicately places it between his eyebrows, admires himeself for the longest time and then turns to me with a twinkle in each eye and a smile that goes straight to my funny bone.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

My Baby's Growing Up While It's Christmas in Goa

Yes, I know. The title of the post is very intriguing, but read on and all shall be clear...

It started on a Monday morning, on the 9th of March, to be precise. The YO's school called up asking me to be at his school around noon with a certain amount of cash ready.

At the scheduled time, I was ushered into a room where other moms whose kids studied in the various pre-nursery sections, were assembling. I chatted with the few I knew and then the administrator walked in. She told us that our not-yet-two-and-a-half-feet-tall babies would be putting up a concert for us in school. There was a collected gasp of delight as we pictured our babies on stage. Just how adorable would they be? The concert was scheduled for the following week, on the 19th, Thursday, at 6 p.m. We had to send our kiddies an hour earlier so that they cold get into costume and make-up. The heme of the concert was "Celebrating India".

This was the first time the school was organising a concert where the pre-nursery children would be performing. The EO and the Nephew never had a concert, but they did in Nursery, and the Nephew was scheduled for his final concert in this school on the 24th (he starts the new school too with the EO). The Niece also starts a new school from the coming academic year, so it was going to be fun seeing her and my YO on stage.

We were then asked to go to our childrens' classrooms where we handed over the money for costumes etc. to the class teacher and she told us what songs our kiddies would be dancing to. My EO was going to be in a Goan Carnival Dance and a Christmas Dance. Aaaahhh! That explained why the little one had been singing Jingle Bells all through March! I thought it was rather late for Christmas hang-over to strike!

Well, 19th dawned soon enough. The babies didn't have school in the morning. We dropped them off at 5 p.m. Then, at 5.40, my parents, the EO, MIM, Mum-in-law, SIL and BIL-ly Boy went to school and took our places. The EO was greeted with lots of hugs from his once-upon-a-time teachers and he shyly lapped it up.

A make-shift stage had been made. There were chairs for the parents and low benches for elder brothers and sisters. The SIL and I managed to find two seats in the front which we swooped down upon, 'cause come on, we wanted a good look at our babies, even if it meant sitting away from the rest of the family. Selfish? Yes, maybe, but I don't care. Where my babies are concerned, I want to be able to drink up their sight as much as possible...without resorting to violence, of course! ;p I got a corner seat, but it was better than where we were originally sitting, so I can't complain too much.

The EO sat in front with a friend whose sister studies in one of the pre-nursery sections. The students of the Sr. KG (the Nephew's class) were also going to perform, to lengthen the program a bit. So, we had a lot of personal interest at stake!

And then, the show started! What can I say except that it was cuteness overload all the way! The Nephew was in one of the very first items. He was doing the bhangra and it was so much fun! It reminded me of the Bro; he was in a bhangra dance too, for his school concert when he was in the 1st Std.

Soon, the Niece came on and she was looking gorgeous in a colourful ghagra. The moment she stepped on stage, she froze and the SIL and I looked at each other. But, after about 30 seconds or so, she snapped out of it and did her thing! Well done, little one!

And then, the narrator took us to Goa. I could feel my heart baby's stage debut! I could hardly believe it. And when he walked on, leading the line, wearing a silky white chirt and bright red pants, clutching onto sticks with colourful streamers, I got all teary-eyed and nearly forgot to breathe. My heart was pounding, but throughout the entire day at home, he had been threatening me that he wouldn't go to school, wouldn't go to aunty, wouldn't dance on stage. But when the music started, my little boy started doing the moves that they'd been rehearsing for a month. He had a shy smile on his lips and I noticed that his eyes were fixed on something, or rather someone. Following his gaze, I realised that he had locked eyes with his big brother, who in turn, was looking at him, all smiles and with loads of love, encouragement and pride shining in his eyes and wrapping it around his younger brother. That got me even more teary-eyed, witnessing, from the fringes, the silent brotherly bonding and love-fest that was going on in front of so many, many people who didn't have a clue while I was the only one who could see it, feel it, understand it and greedily soak up the memory of it to warm the depths of my soul.

After a few more dances, the Niece came on again, this time for a Diwali dance and no, she didn't freeze. She had a blast playing with the flower petals and scattering them all around her. That was just part of the dance, but she was having so much fun with that, she decided to dispense with the other steps and concentrate on the feel of the petals in her soft, fair hands. Two or three other girls had the same idea as well.

Soon enough, t was time for the YO's second dance, "Jingle Bells". This time, in addition to his earlier costume, he was sporting a red vest, a Santa cap and he was holding a tambourine-like instrument in each of his hands. Again, he came out, kept his eyes glued on his brother and he danced to the hilt! The lump in my throat magically came back again and it seemed bigger than last time! I couldn't get enough of the sight of him seriously and studiously recreating the steps that he'd been taught. He did the whole thing from start to finish, without faltering and by the end of it, I was ready to stand on top of my chair and scream myself hoarse, "Bravo, bravo!" I didn't, of course, but I did clap until my hands were sore.

The program ended with the Sr. KG kids singing "Vande Mataram" and the audience joined in as well. We gave all the kids and their hard-working, patient, loving teachers a well-deserved standing ovation. Their sincere dedication had made this colourful celebration of the best things about our country, a memorable experience.

The MIM had to go rush back to work, so I didn't get a chance to see him. But while waiting to pick up the kids, BIL-ly Boy sheepishly admitted to me that he thought another child was the EO and he misled everyone into believing the same. My parents, my Mum-in-law and gasp! horror of horrors, my MIM!!! I was flabbergasted! Hmph! He actually dared call himself the father! It was only when the YO came out leading the pack for the Goan Dance that MIM dear jumped out of his skin and yelled to the family, "No, no! That wasn't him, THAT'S him! That's YO! That's my son! That's my baby! My baby boy!" Yeah, well, he may have redeemed himself as a father in his own eyes, but I'm still in two minds about disowning him from that position!

While I was waiting to be called to stage to pick up my little star, my other love, my EO came up to me, his eyes aglow with love for his baby brother and he said to me, "Mamma, I want to go to stage and pick up YO, ok". In other words, he wanted to be the big brother that he is!

When the YO was finally brought to the stage to be handed over to us, the EO quickly ran up, grabbed his little brother by the hand and proudly told him, "YO, tumi khub bhaalo korechcho!" (YO, you did very well!) The YO looked up at his dada and excitedly exclaimed, "Aami Santa Koz koyechchi!" (I was Santa Koz {Clause!}) When his eyes caught mine, his smile grew bigger and his eyes shone more and he repeated what he had just told his dada, "Mamma, mamma, aami Santa Koz koyechchi!"

Yes my baby, I saw! I saw! And you know what? I'll never forget it!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Two This-Morning's-Incidents

To stop myself from thinking about today and getting all hysterical and operatic (although I guess it would help me get into character ;p), I thought I'd relax with some good music and good blogs. Forgot about two screaming brats on summer holiday, but hey! At least the mission of not working myself into a bundle of nerves is working!

The EO, my son, my teeny-weeny bundle of baby-blue joy is well and truly a big boy! He's actually sitting here, here, right in front of me, and reading! On his own! With no help! The book? Well, absolutely one of the best early readers written for children all over the world...Dr. Seuss' "Green Eggs and Ham". It's silly, it's easy, it choc-a-bloc full of rhyming words, it's got action and it's down-right fun! It's a must-have in every house with a child. But, the EO is reading! On his own and his face is just glowing with triumph!
Well done my little genius, my star, my heart's delight! You've made this book-worm Mamma of yours so happy she can do cartwheels! But since I never really could and I can't chance a hip-replacement surgery today of all days, please settle for the next best heart doing the cartwheels and me recording this for posterity in the bloggosphere!
Both my boys were sitting on DaddyDearest's lap this morning, listening to a record (yes, my parents still listen to those old things, and I quite love 'em too). The record happened to be my all-time childhood favourite and the EO has already succumbed to its magic while the YO is slowly but surely getting drawn in as well. "Hingshuti Doittyo" or "The Selfish Giant".

Now, as I mentioned, it was a childhood favourite and the record jacket has a beautiful artwork, with all the lyrics and the entire script, written on its back. Now both, the record jacket as well as the picture have seen better, better, much better days. My two boys were fighting over it and it really is in no state to be manhandled, or in this case, brathandled, since it already carries bandages of cello tape bearing witness to fights of another eon ago, when this Mamma was a girl and she'd have to sit on her younger brother to get it out of his icky, sweaty hands. So my dad just removed it from the vicinity and put it somewhere where it couldn't be torn to shreds in a split second.

This gesture invited my YO's wrath and he started pummeling DaddyDearest's arms with his tiny little fists. The EO, outraged and horrified, got out of the cosy haven of my father's lap, took his younger brother by the arm and made him face the wall. He then scolded him for being a naughty boy and came up to me to seriously tell me that I should call him only when I thought he had been punished enough.

When my mom came in on the scene, she took one look at my dad and me trying to stifle our laughter and asked the EO what happened and the EO very seriously said, "O daduku key dhoraa maaraa korchchilo, tai aami okey punishment diyechchi. Okey stand in the corner kore diyechchi". (He was hitting Naanu, so I've punished him. I've made him stand in the corner.)

I then told him to go and get his little brother. He went, took him by the arm, made him stand in front of my DaddyDearest and said, "Daduku key sorry bollo" (Say sorry to Naanu). The little tyke's quivering, lower lip was enough for a grandfather's heart and that was the end of that saga.

The YO, sufficiently hurt at his elder brother's authoritarian behaviour, decided to avoid him for as long as possible.

But, five minutes later, I hear the sound of laughter and what do I see? My EO lying flat on his back on the couch, the YO lying down on top of him and the two of them pulling each other's cheeks and making up all sorts of funny endearments to call each other!

Sigh! If that ain't brotherly love, then I don't know what is!

Monday, March 23, 2009

My Calcutta Debut

I have some very important posts about my babies pending. But tonight I need to write about moi.

I love acting. Theatre is one of my bigger loves. You know how some people can't watch movies or eat in restaurants alone...I can, but not too happily. A play or a concert however, is something else altogether. I can watch a play alone and I have on many, many occasions...and that too, very happily. I used to hate missing out on a good play in Bangalore and the lack of company never deterred me from missing something really good. I haven't had a chance to catch too many plays here In Calcutta, much less act...but all that is going to change tomorrow.

Tomorrow I act in my FIRST play in Calcutta. I've been a part of a couple of book readings, in English as well as Bengali; I've MCed a couple of events and I've even sung and danced before an audience. But tomorrow will be the first time I will be donning the grease-paint, putting on another person's skin and morphing into someone else, albeit for a few hours only, here in aamaader Kolkata.

The last time was Bombay, more than six years ago and what a fabulous time I had then...the show was spectacular and went on for the longest time. It was a musical too and with a very reputed and respected name as well, so I was a really happy chicca that one year in Bombay.

You know what, actually, this won't be my first time in a play. Just last October, as part of the evening entertainment of our neighbourhood Durga Puja, I acted in a Bengali play. So I guess technically that was my stage debut.

But heck! Tomorrow is my ENGLISH play stage debut and in G. D. Birla Sabhaghar, no less...not some rickety old, mangy excuse for a stage made by hastily nailing together a few rotting planks.
The name of the play is "Lend Me a Tenor" by Ken Ludwig. It's an out-and-out comedy, full of slap-stick humour, ribald jokes, innuendos and risque business. My goodness! My first adult play! Tee hee! "I feel like a fancy French tart!" No, no!! That's just one of my lines in the play! And no! That is not who my character is! I actually play a lady of great social standing; one who is supposed to be a paradigm of elegance and culture. Her name is Julia Levrett and she is Chairperson of the Opera Guild...hence, the elegance and culture. However, she is a bit OTT, has dramatic flair and lives her life as if in an opera. So you see, dear friends and readers, she's quite like the dear, loony aunt who makes family get-togethers fun!

I am most kicked about my costume! For the first time ever in my life, I will be wearing a GOWN! And let me tell you, I was worried, frightened, shitting bricks and having nightmares about the final outcome! See, the other three women in the play are slim and sexy. In fact, two of them can teach Kareena Kapoor a thing or two about being a natural size zero and still looking luscious. The director made absolutely no bones at all about the fact that he thought I was fat...he actually asked me to lose weight and he told the costume designer at least a couple of times, that "Julia is fat!" Anyways, let's not dwell upon those instances where murder and not the play were top-most on my mind, but suffice it to say that I was having mini heart attacks wondering what I was going to be trussed up in! I knew the other three women were going to carry off their gowns and dresses like divas. I was worried that I'd look like a sack of potatoes -- a very, very fancy sack of potatoes, a silken sack of potatoes, but a sack of potatoes nevertheless! However, the designer has done a brilliant job! I am wearing a stunning off-shoulder and totally backless concoction, spun out of black lace and moss-green silk. I don't remember wearing anything so sexy and daring in my adult life...and no, the secret somethings that were a part of my honeymoon definitely don't count.

It’s not a great play, guys. It’s neither brilliant, nor thought-provoking. It’s neither intellectual nor stimulating. It’s a mindless piece of farce that I hope will entertain and have people chuckling, laughing out loud and guffawing snortily. If the audience leaves smiling and doesn’t get down to dissecting the unrealities of it…then great! We'll have achieved what we set out to do and I for one, will be one happy actor!

And right now, I'm all excited. Of course I'm all tense and traumatic, diva and dramatic, but the bottom-line is that my head is spinning and I'm goose-prickly all over.

The shows are tomorrow and day-after. Most of my friends are coming on Wednesday. Now MIM, parents, in-laws (incl. BIL-ly Boy and wife) as well as a dear aunt-in-law, are also coming then.

I hope I can get some sleep, because God knows I need it.

If nothing else, I need the butterflies in my stomach to stop fluttering about. For a while at least.

Pray for me, please! Won't you?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Because I need to remember...

just how sensitive and loving my EO is. This post is about him.

~Because DaddyDearest hasn't been in the best of health, the boys and I have been staying with my parents. DaddyDearest has a severe chest infection and his blood pressure has shot through the roof, not to mention that his sugar is high! He is a diabetic, but never suffered from high BP before. Along with the doctor's prescribed medication, I decided to start him off on alternative therapies -- accupressure and a weekly massage.
The accupressure-fellah comes six times a week, tapes the pressure points on and instructs DaddyDearest when to take them off. During one of the sessions, the EO happened to be around. He watched with grave concern over what was happening to his grandfather. He took it all in silently, then he went over to my DaddyDearest, took the old man's face in his hands, looked deep into his eyes and asked him softly and sincerely, "Daduku, tomaar kawshto hochchey?" (Naanu, are you in pain?)

~When the masseur came over yesterday to give my DaddyDearest his first massage, I went in for a bath afte explaining my dad's spondilosys to the masseur. After I came out of my bath, I saw the YO playing with his toys, but I couldn't find the EO anywhere, so I asked Maa-Janoni where he was. She said he was in DaddyDearest's room watching over him. Apparently, when he said he wanted to go in, Ma-Janoni tried to dissuade him, but he burst into tears and said that he would go off to Bangalore and not take her. He sat in the room, quietly watching over his grandfather and whenever Maa-Janoni and I would peek in, he'd put his finger to his lips and then show us his hand and assure us that everything was alright.

~ Due to a very important engagement, I couldn't take the EO to his classmates birthday party yesterday. But my parents willingly agreed. Apparently, he had a blast with all his friends. But, all that fun didn't make him forget about the fact that he had to his grandparents were 'his responsibility'. Admist all the tatoo-making and running around and the general chos, my EO came over with packets of popcorn...first for his beloved grandmother, and then a couple of minutes later, for his grandfather. My mom was all teary-eyed as she told me all this.

That's how I am as I record all this.

He Said "I'm Sorry"

He apologised. Sincerely.

Well done Mr. Gaurav Chopra. It takes courage to admit you were wrong and say sorry.

Well done.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Sleeping with...

my two babies, squashed in between so tight I can hardly breathe, I know how the cream of an Oreo cookie feels...

absolutely DELICIOUS!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

When the heart is heavy...

is there anything more beautiful or soothing than Rabindrasangeet to comfort it?

DaddyDearest hasn't been too well the past almost one week. Chest infection. Now that's come slightly under control, but his pressure is through the roof.

Am trying not to worry, but it's not easy.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

If We Are Who We Watch...

The EO is Ben10. Ben10 in a Bengali boy body. Really and truly. He lagaos the lingo and dons the designs. All that's missing is the REAL omnitrix. But for now, he's got two expensive, flashy, replicas made in China until he acquires the real thing.

The YO has become obsessed with Noddy. So much so that he has started looking like him...huge, big eyes, an impish grin and a wobbly head.

The MIM, if you look hard enough, bears a slight resemblance to Arnab Goswami. My man's just got a more squashed up samosa for a nose, is a couple of shades more wheatish in complexion and smiles a lot more. Glasses and passionate, argumentative logic firmly in place, though!

So why the hell don't I look like Kate Walsh or Marcia Cross!! No?!? Ok, Suchitra Sen or Sonam Kapoor? Awww come on! At least Kajol!!
And speaking of Ben10...
There's something that's just so awfully thrilling and touching and enchanting about the fact that sometimes, just the very rarest of sometimes, your five-and-a-half year old chooses Mickey Mouse over his favourite, boy/10 alien avtaar superhero.
Believe me, it's quite a "YES!!!!!" moment.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Gentlemen – The New Endangered Species

A friend asked me to write this. He wanted a few became an article! Go figure! Anyway...I hope you enjoy...
They say chivalry is dead and that ‘gentlemen’, as a breed, are extinct. I beg to differ. Chivalry ain’t dead, it’s just comatose and in the ICU while ‘gentlemen’ have probably boarded their father ship and gone back to the planet from whence they came. Or maybe they’re just hiding out in the bathroom with a smuggled TV set, watching hours of mind-numbing Test matches and James Bond flicks. Well, whatever the case may be, there’s not one to be spotted for miles around!

And if truth be told, I think it’s us superwomen who have scared them off good and proper! And we didn’t even need to show them the door. To preserve their sanity and their family jewels, they clawed through the walls to high tail it out of home and hearth. Seriously. Let’s sit back and review, shall we…

After years of male oppression, suppression and domination, we have finally broken out of the formulaic a-girl-is-born-to-get-married-to-worship-her-husband-and-give-birth-to-his-many-babies cycle. We have shaken off the patriarchal dust with a violent, Shakira-like flourish of our hips and stepped out of our keeper’s (read ‘Male’) shadow and into the light. We have trampled upon their innate God complex with Mother-Durga-astride-Her-lion like intensity only to establish temples in our glory in the form of designer boutiques and other places like the neighbourhood mall.

We climb corporate ladders with the grace of a ballet dancer and the skill of a chimp, often holding our laundry in one hand, a baby in the other and a grocery list dangling from our mouths. We can be Kamasutra babes in the bedroom yet Yashoda maiyya in the nursery, all the while keeping our CEO persona in the boardroom firmly intact.

Bras burnt and Wonderbras firmly in place, today we revel in our hard-won independence and god help the poor man who tries to get in our way. Like the mascot of our female tribe, Lady Praying Mantis, we just might bite his head off. Except, in our part of the animal kingdom, it’s called ‘bobbitizing’.

So, the last few gentlemen who were left ran off scared. “I am woman, hear me roar!” By the time we finished roaring, the poor dears were left cowering and unsure of themselves and their many intrinsic deeds and acts.

Were they still supposed to hold open the door for us? Or would we push the doorknob into their beloved nether regions for thinking us helpless?

Were they expected to always pick up the tab at restaurants? Or would we break the wine bottle over their heads for being so chauvinistic?

Was sending flowers still considered an act of sweet thoughtfulness and tender romance or condescendingly silly mush-mush?

And if they did lose their hearts to one of us, were they still expected to get down on one knee with diamond-ring-in-a-box and ask us to be theirs forevermore or were they supposed to wait for us to do it over an SMS or e-mail?

Poor guys. It’s no wonder they disappeared.

Gentlemen. The royal Bengal tiger. The Puerto Rican parrot. Water. Petrol. Precious, few and far between. And all in need of saving.

Friday, March 13, 2009

So Long, Farewell...

Well, that's it folks. All good things must come to an end, they say. And so today, I say "Goodbye." This is one more closed chapter...

in my EO's life. Today was his last day in this school. From next month, he'll be going to that other school. I thought I'd be howling, but because of the viral he missed school from last Wednesday right up to and including this Monday. And then, to top it all, Tuesday and Wednesday were holidays. So, it was basically yesterday and today that the EO had. Not enough time for my hysteria build-up to happen, I guess.

Unfortunately, I arrived a little late to pick him up, and he was standing there with two of his other classmates and his beloved class teacher. She was looking grief-stricken. Now she loves my EO tremendously, and I know it's not fake. I can normally tell if someone's feelngs for my children is genuine or not, and her love for my son is as true as a freshly baked, chewy, chocolate chip cookie...soft, warm, tender and comforting. I felt for her, I really did. She got down on her knees to hug my EO and she had tears in her eyes. She looked at him and lovingly asked him, "Will you miss me?" My son looked deep into her eyes, gave a sad smile and nodded. She said, "I'll miss you more than you'll miss me." And then they hugged. Then she looked at him and said, "Whenever you miss me, just close your eyes and I'll be there." And as soon as she said this, my little boy covered his eyes, a corny-yet-glowing smile on his lips, and then moved his hands away with a the same way we play 'tookie' or 'peek-a-boo'. That gesture, so sweet, charming and utterly innocent, brought a tear to mine eye, and his teacher and I looked at each other sadly.

I will be seeing her again, for the the parent-teacher meeting and we promised to exchange e-mail addresses then. I took a photograph of her with my son and two of his classmates who were still waiting to be picked up.

I then needed to go to the main building to submit a request for his TC. Now to go from the primary block to the main school block, you need to cross over a HUGE lawn. The EO took off his bag and started to hand it over to me saying he wanted to run across. I opened my mouth to tell him to carry it himself, but immediately shut myself up, remembering that he wasn't going to get this opportunity again.

It was a bittersweet moment, watching my first-born run as fast as he possibly could over the beautiful, grassy lawn as carefree and happy as should be every child's birthright. I stopped to stare at him running. It seemed symbolic for so many things, but I took it the moment for what it little boy, grabbing an opportunity, making the most of it and enjoying the moment. When he got to the other side, he stood there with his hands on his hips, a huge, goofy, happy smile spread across his face, his eyes dancing with joy. And I savoured that image for a long time.

Goodbye GH School. You've been wonderful to and for my son, and I owe you much by way of happy memories and for embracing my son with love, learning, good manners, good friends and two great teachers (last year as well as this).

Goodbye and thank you.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Crowded Room

Sitting in a room
surrounded by emotions and face,
I sit with lost souls
searching for faraway places.

Secret lovings
and longings
locked up inside,
nowhere to go,
just somewhere to hide.

Hearts rolling
and rocking
in gentle despair,
within loving unloveds –
it all seems so unfair.

A mirror before me
do I suddenly see
and I look myself totally
full in the face.
I acknowledge the fact
that I’m a lost soul –
lost for a forever,
in this time and space.

There's something very endearing...

...about a 36 year old man enjoying a bowl of Chocolate Biscuit Pudding, first thing in the morning, like a forbidden treat.

Monday, March 9, 2009

My Mother's Daughter

Wanted to post this yesterday, it being Women's Day and all, but with the EO still battling his fever and the YO gearing up to succumb to it, I never got a chance. Anyway, better late than never, I hope...

My Mother’s Daughter

I am Eve’s daughter.
I am she.
Still punished,
raked over the coals.
For what?
A bite?
Running around naked?

For being human?

The joke’s on you.
I revel in my body;
it’s curves,
and valleys.
I feel,
I think,
I lust,
I live.
I have a brain!
No puppet am I!
I love making love,
having sex,
making babies
having them too…
The act of creation
is mine!

I am Eve’s daughter.

I am Draupadi’s girl-child.
Her blood
is on your hands.
Her shame,
smeared in your psyche.

She whored for five men,
the God of Fire
her witness.

Not enough.
and exhibited
in front of the lusting world’s eyes.

And for what?
For being beautiful?
For bedding five men?

For being a queen.

it was not enough.

You murder me in my mother’s womb;
drown me in tubs of milk when I’m born.

I dwindle in number.

Who will wed you now?
Who will you rape
in your marital bed?
Don’t expect me to whore
for you again.

I have a voice.
I will laugh,
and curse.

I am not my mother.

I am Eve’s daughter,
Draupadi’s girl-child
am I.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Wistfully Yours...

I wrapped myself
in the night sky
and came to you;
the stars hanging from my ears,
moonlight in my eyes.

You fed the bonfire
with past hurts,
bitter words
and wasted moments.
In it’s glow
we found the music
that we feared
had been lost to us forever.

Morning drenched us
like an ice-cold bath.

Looking wistfully
at the embers,
we carry on…

Friday, March 6, 2009


A friend of mine sent this to me today and I was just blown away! I knew right then and there that I would have to share this with you all...

Be sure to tell me what you thought!

To the 'gooni' JB...the Doi Begun!

I promised the fascinating JB of the wonderful blog, Emancipation of Eve, that I would chip in with a recipe for her yummy new food blog, every now and once in a pink moon, or something. Well, the pink moon doth shine and since she asked me about a particular 'doi begun' (brinjals with yogurt/curds) recipe, which I happened to mention in the comments section, I thought, 'Why not?'

So JB my dear, this one's for you...

There are two ways of making this. For the conventional method you need:
small brinjals, cut lengthwise -- 500 gms
turmeric -- a pinch
oil -- for frying
ghee/butter -- 2 tbsp
chilli powder -- 1/2 tsp (optional)
jeera/cumin powder -- 2 tbsp (dry roast the jeera and make into powder)
salt -- to taste
sugar -- 1/2 tsp
  • Rub salt and turmeric on the cut brinjal pieces, fry, drain excess oil.
  • Whip together till smooth, the curds, salt and sugar. Set aside.
  • Heat ghee/butter and add the fried brinjal pieces.
  • Add the curds. Stir and mix well.
  • Let it simmer gently on a low flame for ten minutes.
  • Before removing from fire, add the jeera powder and red chilli powder.
  • Serve with rice.

Now for the unconventional method, which my MIL often makes:

The ingredients are the same.

  • Rub salt and turmeric on the brinjal pieces, fry, drain excess oil.
  • Whip together till smooth, the curds, salt, sugar, jeera powder and chilli powder.
  • In the deep serving dish, arrange the fried brinjal pieces.
  • Pour the curds over it.
  • Garnish with a sprinkling of cummin powder and red chilli powder.
  • Serve with parathas or the Bengali favourite...luchis!! (puris made from maida)

There you go JB! I hope you enjoy it!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

My First Born

The EO's sick. Bloody viral. And even though there are a zillion thoughts zooming through my head and many posts which I should have written a long time ago, I can't think coherently now. Yes! Yes! You all know I become a blubbering mess if either of my little one's fall ill.

So, I thought I'd do a tag. Actually, I've already done it on FB, so this is just a copy paste with edits, but since my Namesake as well as dear friend Monika,Ansh have both tagged me...I thought, why not? This is for you, my gal pals! The FB one has all the snaps though... ;p

Also, I think it made sense to put this here since the EO is all flushed and feverish and making me all'll make me feel better. So my darling EO, this is for you too!!

Oh yes.
Like, really?? Oh alright…oh yes!
Thrilled to pieces and scared to bits.
Aww…do I really have to? Ok, 27.
By peeing on a stick. ;p
The husband…of course! Then the torrents of phone calls started.
17th September 2003
Na re, na re. But that smugness was zapped right out of me the second time round!
Burgers! And brownies!
The husband. He wasn’t living upto my expectations of doting-pampering-husband-about-to-be-father at all! Sob!
I wanted a girl, but in my heart of hearts, I knew it was a boy. However, I had a list of lovely names for girls picked out...with just a few afterthoughts for boys thrown in! It was my Ma-Janoni's story in reverse!q
14. HOW MANY POUNDS DID YOU GAIN THROUGHOUT THE PREGNANCY?Aww…do I really have to? Ok, 14 kgs…you want pounds, you do the math!
In Bengali we call it a ‘shaad’…and I had two, one from mum and another from mum-in-law. Plus countless others from loving friends and relatives!
I knew. In fact, I even helped my mom plan the menu! ;)
Sciatica pain due to which I quit my job earlier than I was planning to. Plus, a terrible pneumonic patch in the lungs…and this was when I still didn’t know that I had actually conceived and had to take really strong doses of medication...that was scary, because I took the preg test while I was sick (intuition, late periods...) and when the test came back positive I got scared thinking about the medication. The doc changed them immediately! Plus flashes of rage and depression. Here's one the middle of an argument with the MIM, I broke a glass table...yup, I just tipped it over ;) Don't worry, that was the only 'major' incident!
Woodlands Hospital, Alipore, Kolkata
Zilch. A big, fat zero!
Almost the entire family!
The husband, the doc and his team.
Sigh! A bloody, effing C-Section! I believe that is the 'natural' thing these days. :(
I started losing weight during the last two weeks of my pregnancy. Apparently the amniotic fluid was drying up and so I 'had to' have a C-Sec!
Yes, that long needle that they put into you bloody spine! An epidural! From painful to painless in how many seconds?
3.15 kgs
14th September 2003
5 years, 5 months and 18 days.

I tag, Mystic, Noonie, Dottie, Mad Momma, Itchy, Dipali, WordJunkie and Parul.

And for those of us who have second-borns and maybe even third-borns, what say we start a tag in their honour?

Sunday, March 1, 2009


Sorry gentle friends, for that rather loud title, but I just saw two movies over the weekend and that is the reaction I was left with after each.

The First WTF?!?. A Bengali movie called 'Antaheen'. After ages, and I do mean effing-light-years, I saw a Bengali movie that was near perfect. On so many levels. Such an impressive line-up of actors and they were all absolutely spot-on. Rahul Bose, who is on my yummy list, breathed the character as did newcomer Radhika Apte, Sharmila Tagore and the delightful surprise package of husband-wife duo, Aparna Sen and Kalyan Ray. The characters were believable, we know people like them in our lives. The music...aah the music! Finally, after the good ol' black-n-white era of Bangla music magic, I wanted to buy the OST, and I wanted to do it immediately, like right after the movie ended. Bravo, Shantanu Moitra...I can understand if you ever win the National Award for Best Music Director for a creative, musical work of art like this, rather than the shamelessly plagiarised 'Pal, pal, pal, pal' from 'Lage Raho Munna Bhai'. The cinematography was astonishingly slick. I mean, I have never seen Calcutta look so beautiful, so warm and welcoming, so ethereal.
As for the sory line, it was sweet, simple and drew us in. I felt like a character in the story, standing on the fringes, waiting, watching, observing...patiently wanting to play my part. In a line, I can say that it's about 'loves and longings in Calcutta'. This is director Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury's second venture. His first offering was the beautifully crafted 'Anuranan'. There were just two big faults in that movie...Rituparna Sengupta and the end. Here, while he scores a 10/10 for casting, he did it again...he screwed up the end again...big time and in the exact same way he ruined his first movie. When 'what happened' happened, our jaws dropped and we froze for innumerable minutes. The movie theatre clouded over with the collective, disappointed disbelief of the spectators. The WHF?!?!'s were almost palpable and audible. If Mr. Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury makes another movie again, and he most definitely should, I would humbly request him to change the ending from what-is-obviously his standard delight. Please make more movies, truckloads of them in fact. Just, don't do an 'Aniruddha' to the ending. Spare our feelings!

The Second WTF?!?. A movie known famously as 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button'. Angry mobs are going to come after me for saying the things that I'm about to, but I'll be brave and do it anyways. So *gulp*, here goes...I am not a Brad Pitt fan *ducks for cover and waits for the hullabaloo to subside*. Ok, now that the outrage, disbelief, irate tirades and teeth gnashing have stopped, do let me add that after seeing this movie, I can get why the general female and gay population lurve him so. For those two-and-a-half hours, I nearly did too.
People, what a beautifully told story of a tale that could be written in one line -- the story of the life of a man born old and who ages backwards. That's it. That is the story. But what vision the screenplay writer and director have to draw this out into a gripping, moving, visually appealing and stunning work of cinematic genius.
Right. So what exactly were my WTF?!? moments, I hear you ask. Well, they weren't 'moments' so much as wonderings and the 'W' isn't so much as 'What', but rather 'Why'. Will someone please explain to me how and Why-TF Cate Blanchett was not at least nominated for an Oscar? I haven't seen Kate Winslet in 'The Reader' yet and I'm sure she was great in it, so maybe CB's portrayal as Daisy wasn't Oscar-win-worthy, but it was definitely Oscar-nomination-worthy. I mean, nobody can stop talking about Brad Pitt's portrayal 'through the ages', so to speak. Well, CB more than matched up to him, I feel. The second Why-TF wondering is that this lost to Slumdog Millionaire? I mean seriously? Okay, give Danny Boyle the Oscar, yeah sure, I get it. But Best Picture as well? Another Academy decision I'll never understand.