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, May 28, 2009

Birthday, Andamanese Style! The Islands -- Part 4

January 27th

Happy Birthday to me!!
Should I tell you my age? Ooops! I think I already did in that poem of mine! Ah well, first and last time ever on this blog that I do that.
Here's the thing. I don't really celebrate the 27th of Jan as my birthday anymore. It is officially the anniversary of my 25th birthday. So, on January 27th, 2009 I celebrated the 8th anniversary of my 25th year.

Normally, I get all melancholy and contemplative on my birthday. But here, in these surroundings, amidst Nature at her best, brightest and finest, it was impossible to feel anything other than -- grateful.

Grateful for my boys. Grateful for the MIM's health and the health of my parents. Grateful for my friends. Grateful for all of God's blessings. Grateful for all of Nature's perfection. Grateful for poetry. And strange as it may sound, grateful for discovering the world of blogging -- it has given me so much!

So what did we do? Not much, we travelled back from Havelock to Port Blair. In the evening, we shopped a bit and even though I knew the MIM was getting slightly irritated, I pushed it a little bit by checking out everything before making my final choices. Hey, it was my birthday!! :)

Then, my three boys treated me to a fine dinner at the Fortune Resort Bay Island, the Taj property in Port Blair. It was an open-air restaurant; the breeze was scrumptious, the view breath-taking, the food delicious and the company scintillating! :)
The MIM got the boys to sing me "Happy Birthday" for the fifth time that day and as I beamed and basked in the glory of their love for me, I suddenly noticed my EO looking a bit perplexed. After the singing was done, he asked me, "But where's the cake?" We explained that there wasn't going to be any. Then he got really, REALLY worried and asked me, "But how will you know what old you are?"

I had such a hearty laugh...the perfect way to bring down the curtains on my birthday, ooops, 25th-year anniversary, don't you think?

Friday, May 22, 2009

Andamans Again: Part 3.75

To Me: On My __ Birthday
January 27th, 2009

Dear auntyjis of flabulous proportions;
with thunder thighs
and quadruple bums;
sporting cellulite
and wobbly tum-tums --
to you all I owe an apology,
and this I offer most sincerely.

I've often snickered
and rudely smirked
at your flowery swim-suits
complete with skirt.
The frilly ruffle
meant to hide
jelly thighs
and buttocks wide,
has many a-time,
I must admit,
been a huge source
of entertainment.

Even I, with my
not-so-perfect body,
found the look
disastrous and shoddy.
Looking at you
dressed in water-proof shroud,
of my more-than ample
curves, felt proud.

My pride has now
crumbled into the dust,
as my sniggers have come back
to bite my big, fat butt!

Oh how I've swallowed
all my pride.
When I looked in the mirror,
I nearly died!

I now understand,
oh I truly do,
why that frilly ruffle
is like a friend, true-blue.

It tries to shelter
and protect,
even offer you
a little self-respect.

Gone are the days
when you could cavort
in a sexy one-piece,
or even a bikini, sport!

So take heed,
all you stick insects.
Yes, you with those
boobless chests.

Revel in your
size-zero status;
your flat abs,
your pebble-like breasts.
For before you know it,
(it'll hit you hard!),
you'll be making friends with frills
that cover lard!

I've donned the frilly garb, you see,
at the ripe old-age of 33.
Yes, oh yes, I've also become,
a very ruffled auntyji!!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

My Heart Over-Floweth...

Yesterday, my YO was in a very chirpy, happy mood. He was full of hugs and squeals and laughter and love and dance. He kept us entertained with his antics and had us, my EO, their ayah and me, in splits; with his funny faces and hilarious dance poses to a music that seemed to be playing only in his head.

At some point, the EO, all ready for his karate class in white karate uniform and orange belt, lay down on the floor and went drifting off to his own world. His eyes and thoughts were far, far away.

Suddenly, the YO sat down on top of him, tickled him, made a funny face at him and then just lay down on top of him to envelop his big brother in the biggest, tightest hug that his thin, tiny frame was capable of giving.

As if that heart-meltingly beautiful sight wasn't enough to get me all misty-eyed, my EO had to turn to me and gently, sweetly, sincerely say, "Mom, thank you for this little brother."

I didn't have trouble saying "You're welcome, my sweetheart." I had trouble hiding my tears.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Two Off My List...Part III of the Andaman Adventures

January 26th 2009, Republic Day
I was so excited about this day that I just couldn’t sleep due to the excitement of it all! Finally snorkelling!! Hurray! A hurried breakfast and a short drive to the jetty later, we were finally sitting on one of those colourful motor boats I had been eyeing from the moment we arrived on the island. Speeding over and being at a close proximity to the water I had been sighing over ever since my first viewing from the airplane, was thrilling, to say the least. I wanted to keep my hand in the water through the entire journey, but I had to be the responsible mom and not give any ideas to my over excited EO.

As we neared Elephanta I could see and hear proof of other tourists frolicking on the beach. The beach wasn’t wide and it didn’t stretch till forever, but it was surrounded by trees, which gave it an idyllic charm. No crude, thatched-roof huts, to tin-roofed snack shops…just tree stumps serving as stools and branches serving as clothes-lines. We set the boys up with their tools, swam around a lot with EO; YO was more interested in discovering the taste of Lays Sour Cream and Onion flavoured chips seasoned with sand. And then...the MIM and I took turns to go snorkelling.

Gentle reader, IT WAS MINDBLOWING!!! The coral reef, the huge blue starfish, the schools of rainbow coloured fish, everything, all of it, just took my breath away! I wanted at least twenty more pairs of eyes to drink in the beauty of it all. There was so much to see and marvel at. I felt so lucky to have this dream come INCREDIBLY lucky. That is now one thing I can cross off my The List. You know! The "things to do before I turn 40" list!

We had a lovely picnic, packed for us by the Wild Orchid hotel from where we booked the snorkelling trip. After lunch, it was time to go back. A glass-bottomed boat hitched up with our motor boat, and so we were able to give the boys a glimpse of the underwater garden. The YO was too young to understand, but nevertheless, he got very excited when he saw all those fish and the EO just wanted to see the blue starfish that I was talking about. Unfortunately, we couldn't show him any, but he was fascinated by the whole experience.

We came back tanned and exhuasted, but thrilled to the core.
For the evening, we had hired a car to take us to the Radhanagar Beach, rated as one of the top ten beaches in India. It was a 45 minute drive and we went through the incredibly lush, green, tropical vegetation. That itself is quite a wonder, meant to be stared at, marvelled at, wondered about. You just can't help but thank God enough for these pockets of natural greenery left in the world.
Radhanagar Beach is stunning. White sands as fine as powder, the myriad shades of blue, in the water as well as the cloudless sky, the lushness of the greenery...words don't do the magnificence of the place justice, so I won't even try. All I'll say is that we were in awe! We stayed there till sunset, drank in the beauty of the sea welcoming the sun and left soon after.
After a good dinner at the resort, the boys watched half a movie on the MIM's laptop and just crashed. And then...
...another fantasy of mine came true! Hehehe! That's one more I can cross off The List. And no, I'm not going to tell you what it was. All I'll say is that it was deliciously raunchy and naughty, and I felt so alive, so vital and ten years younger. And on the eve of one's --th birthday, that's so not a bad feeling to feel!
Oh and yes, of course the boys were out of sight (but within our hearibg know, just in case they woke up crying!)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day to Us, One and All!

I had a gorgeous Mother's Day!

Took my mum out for lunch yesterday along with the YO. Spent the entire day shopping, after that. Tried calling her this morning to wish her, but she was out.
Wished my MIL with a gooey, soft, milky, chewey chocolate chip cookie. She said it was 'heavenly'! :)
Got a beautiful, handmade card from my boys (made with LOTS of help from their dad!) They gave it to me with lots of hugs and kisses and 'I love you's!! :D
Went out for lunch to 'Machaan', a jungle-themed restaurant. The animals there were amazing and at the switch of a button, some of them actually moved!
Bought some toys for the boys and my EO chose a lovely Mother's Day gift for me...a book titled "Mothers are Special." :D
The YO got his first big screen experience...a 3-D movie no less! About dinosaurs, called "T-Rex." He loved it!! The EO however whimpered a couple of times and clutched on to me during the entire movie. Yes, my karate champ is quite the little scardey-cat at the best of times...
And after all that excitement, we cooled off with a swim followed my some ice-cream and fresh lime sodas at the Saturday Club.

Yes, I had a GORGEOUS Mother's Day!!
How about you beautiful women?

Thursday, May 7, 2009

At the Andamans...Part Deux

January 24th, 2009
In the morning we tried to be optimistic. We monitored our baby’s fever, stayed indoors and rested. After a conversation with our paediatrician, we decided to put all our faith in God, allopathic medicine and five years of parenting experience to work…and we made up our minds to go to Havelock. We rested the boys, ordered in and tried to catch up on sleep. In the evening, a school friend of mine, AM, who organises fishing trips on the island came over for a chat. He was leaving for Havelock the next day too. He gave us a lot of good advice and told us not to miss out on Havelock. We didn’t want to. The YO had shown no signs of fever either since late afternoon, so yippee!

The EO warms to people easily. And he also loves being adored. He took an immediate likeing to AM and set about trying to win his approval. Now AM is an absolute man's man; macho, outdoorsy, tanned, gruff voice, the works. The EO thought that the only thing to do to get AM's approval was to practice his karate moves...something he doesn't do at home even after lots of begging, pleading, pouting and ultimately threatening. It was late. We had an early morning. I needed my kids to go to sleep. The MIM and AM were drinking and chatting quietly in the sitting area as I got the boys ready for bed. Luckily, the YO zonked off, but the EO just went about kicking at imaginary flies in the air. Finally, I had to literally haul his ass into bed. I tucked him in, kissed him and sang him a lullaby. He looked at me very tearfully and announced that his "heart is sad". I died a zillion times over and frantically asked him, "Why my shona, my sweetheart, my heerer tukro?" To which he replied with as much sadness as he could put in, "Because you won't let me do my karate. How will I do well if you don't let me to do it Mamma? How?! How?!?"
The sneaky little devil! Mastering the art of emotional blackmail so young, are we?

Well, I gotta say, it worked. He was given ten more minutes to 'practise'/impress AM. After a round of applause and innumerable "Wow!"s and "Very good!"s, he FINALLY went to bed...and crashed! Phew!
January 25th, 2009
The ferry left at 6.30 am. Another night of little sleep (third night in a row!) and we set off for the jetty with another family from the hotel. A four hour trip later during which the EO and I played loads of silly games, gorged on tons of junk food while YO stayed chipku to his super-hero father, I marvelled time and again at the sheer splendour of the natural surroundings. An absolute photographer’s delight! My nature-loving soul would have felt complete had my YO not decided to have a meltdown of mammoth proportions in front of the other passengers where he wanted his baba and ONLY his baba. This even caused some of our more ‘concerned’ co-passengers to remark to my husband that he was “closer to you, right?” They ‘thoughtfully’ did this behind my back while the EO and I were up on deck. To say that I was embarrassed is of course an understatement. It was definitely not one of my sterling moments as a mother.

The view as we near Havelock Island is, to put it mildly, spectacular. There's only one word to describe Havelock -- paradise. A pristine, unspoilt, virgin, natural wonderland. And even this description does not do it justice. Havelock Island is an experience waiting to be lived.

From the jetty, we set off to our resort. Just one pucca road going through lush vegetation, and nestled amidst all the lush greenery were hotels and resorts sporting quaint names such as El-Dorado, Poseidon, Wild Orchid, and the like. Also, every now and then, you come across beach-hut-like shacks advertising fishing tackle, snorkeling gear for sale or hire and even motorbikes for hire. (A great way for a couple to see the island!)

We stayed at a lovely resort named Silver Sands. Gorgeous wooden cottages, an open-air bathroom (just the essential areas covered), low lighting…splendid for a honeymoon couple, of which there were loads. The wooden cottages had one HUMONGOUS bedroom, low lighting and a door which led to an....wait for it....yes, yes, it's coming...OPEN AIR BATHROOM!! IT WAS AWESOME! So beautiful, so amazing! Not completely open, just half a ceiling covering the essential areas like the wash basin, the toilet and the shower area. The remaining half had a lovely palm tree and a wonderful rock garden. The MIM and I freaked, the boys freaked and we all did a little dance that resembled a cross between Ring-A-Ring-A-Roses and the Birdie Dance. Two seconds later we realised that the EO's energetic jig was due to the call of nature when his voice broke through all that merry-making with a loud and shrill, "Potty!!"

After lunch and a nap, we ambled onto the beach, which was a stone’s throw away from the resort. I swear I thought I was in heaven! The blues of the water, the white of the sand, the serenity, the calm, the colourful fishing boats…it just had to be! The MIM and I just stood there drinking in the sheer beauty of the place.

The EO and I then went to wade in the water, while the MIM helped our YO to build sand castles. It is indeed one of life's greatest joys to be able to splash in knee-deep, crystalline water with your child and to share in his laughter which is as pure and clear as the water you wade in.

We need places like Havelock Island in this world – places untouched and unspoilt by mass marketing and crass commercialisation. While the beaches of Goa and Puri have a charm and character all their own, the beaches of Havelock are a reminder of how beautiful our Creator intended this world to be.

However, unfortunately, almost as soon as you enter the island, there is a garish monstrosity of tinted glass and neon orange (!) being erected. It is an eyesore that assaults every fibre of good sense one possesses. Where are the eco-groups and NGOs now, I wonder?

Monday, May 4, 2009

Summer vacation's round the corner...

and you know what that means, don't you? It means the possibility of another holiday. But before I write about that, I think it wise to write about the Andaman trip like I've been promising to do ever since I came back! So without much more further ado, here's...

Part 1 of our Island Adventures
January 23rd, 2009
(BTW, readers of M&B magazine may find certain parts familiar to a certain article on the same subject in the March issue. Please don't think that I stole someone else's thoughts, lines and words...that article was written by me!)

Ours was an early morning flight, 5.30 am to be precise! That meant putting the boys to sleep early on the 22nd. Of course, the MIM and I tried to follow the same rule as well, but we all know what they say about the best laid plans. The alarm screeched at us at 2 a.m., after what seemed like a 43 second snooze, and the MIM and I got the finishing touches together and woke the boys up. We arrived at the airport before it was even open! Ah well, having learnt well from the early bird, at least we got the most coveted seats on the flight, with time for coffee to boot!

We asked for two separate window seats even though that meant that we wouldn’t be able to sit together, but at least this way, both of us along with a kid each, would get a view of the islands from the clouds. And when two hours later, after a hearty Indian Airlines breakfast and a ten-minute snooze, we got The View. That was the first of many, MANY breathtaking moments on our trip. It was literally like looking at emerald droplets floating in a sea of sapphire. The MIM, our EO and I were awestruck (YO was fast asleep). Before the trip, I had shown the EO pictures of the islands in travel books and on the internet. I had briefed him about what we were going to see and (hopefully) all the adventures we were going to have. That’s why, when he saw what he had previously only seen before in books and the internet, right under his very nose, he was at a loss for words! (And believe me, that’s a really big thing because you have no idea what a chatterbox he is!)

There was a van from the hotel waiting to take us and the other soon-to-be-vacationers to The Sinclair’s…touted to be the best in Port Blair. As we drove from the airport to the hotel, the first thing that struck me was how CLEAN the city was. I mean not-a-single-scrap-of-paper-on-the-roads clean. This is also a part of India. The inhabitants of this city are Indians too. So why such a stark difference? It means we can take pride in our city and throw rubbish where it’s supposed to go. So why not in Kolkata, Mumbai and Patna?

The view of the ocean on our way to the hotel, lifted our spirits. We checked in, had our baths and inquired about the ‘Things to do in the Andamans’. There was a boat leaving for the Ross Islands and so we called for a packed lunch and set off for our first touristy thing to do. We first lathered ourselves with sunscreen and made sure we had lots and LOTS of water with us. The boats, or more appropriately launches, from Port Blair to Ross Island left from the Water Sports Complex. Before the tsunami, there were many adventure water sports here, like water scooters, para gliding, kayaking and the like. When we asked why they hadn’t started again, we were told with a wry smile, “Everything in India is always late.” Understood brother!

The boat ride was a mere and pleasant 20 minutes.

We came back exhausted, crashed for an hour and then headed off to Carmyn’s Cove, said to be the only beach in Port Blair. We got there after the sunset and the tide had already come in. Not much of a beach and the hubby and I were disappointed. The boys had their shovels at the ready, found a patch of dry sand and proceeded to enjoy themselves. We left soon after.

That night, thanks to the loooooong and tiring day, coupled with the excruciatingly long wait at the jetty in Ross Island, we found the YO burning with a high fever. Heat fever thanks to the exhaustion! Luckily we had all our medicines. It had been a long day and it turned out to be an even longer night, with the MIM and me taking turns to carry the YO around to soothe him and keep him comfortable and cuddled. We were due to leave for Havelock Island the day after. Instead, we contemplated taking the next flight back home... (to be contd.)

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Kickin' It Up, EO Style

It was an absolute mad rush today! Around 150+ kids, with various assortments of moms, dads and maids. Quite a motley bunch these little karate kids! From three feet tall to double the height. Tiny little things with belts denoting a high rank and huge hulks at the first level. They were all there. And no matter what the age, the height or rank, they were all super-excited. They had all been chosen to go to the next level.

After the loooooong, gruelling day, many of these adorable tykes who probably couldn't even spell their name yet were good enough to get to the next level in karate, had to be carried out of the hall by a proud parent. Twelve/thirteen year old boys, proudly wearing their new brown belts, which speak for themselves about their high levels of skill and proficiency, came out of the hall and became children once upon seeing their moms...tantrums, meltdowns, exhaustion and 'aabdaar' just took over. Not karate champs anymore, just tired, hungry children looking for a mother's love to soothe the tiredness away.

And my little champ? He is now officially an orange belt! Yippee my little one! Go kick ass!

Friday, May 1, 2009

A Noble Cause, A Great Effort

Tharini of the delightful blog, Winkie's Ways has written this touching post on an intiative known as "Feed My Starving Children". Please read her post, you will not help but be moved.

And try and help out...somewhere, somehow. You know you can.