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!

Friday, October 30, 2009


I'm a great believer in educational toys and games. Oh, I love the silly stuff too but nothing like a Scrabble, Pictionary, brain-teasers and puzzles to keep engage a young mind and stimulate his thinking skills. So, it's no wonder that our home is full of puzzles of many different kinds...animal puzzles, number puzzles, the alphabets, colours, shapes and Disney characters too! There are foam mat puzzles, colourful cardboard puzzles and lovely wooden ones too!

I asked the YO, who loves school but is allergic to learning of any kind outside the educational building, to sit with his wooden alphabet puzzle next to me while I worked on my computer. No matter how much cheering and singing I did each time he got something right, he had sniffed out the true goal of this activity-- that it was meant to reinforce knowledge. After a few letters had been done, he looked at me, eyebrows furrowed, forehead creased, expression one of disgust, and asked me irritatedly, "Eitaa ki school?!?" (Are we in school?!?)

Both my sons are very fashion conscious. They are all about the jeans and are both trying to become masters of The Right Look.
Now normally, the EO doesn't have a problem with the clothes that I pick out for him. In fact, if he's being especially difficult, all I have to do to change his mood is to offer him a favourite T-shirt and his world becomes as right as a sunny day with lots of ice-cream!
He had a tea party to attend and I chose a funky pair of pants for him along with a matching T-shirt. He wanted to wear a different T-shirt, one with long sleeves and which didn't go with the pants as well as the one that I had chosen. A heated discussion ensued, in which Mamma and son argued back and forth, with Mamma winning because --
a) Mamma could easily revoke her decision to let EO go to said party,
and b) because Mamma is a big bully.

After he came out of his room, all freshly changed and handsome, in the clothes that I had picked out for him to wear, he launches into a final attack, "Mamma, the clothes that you wear, do I tell you which which ones to wear? So how come you tell me which ones to?

My boys have me stumped!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Cute Conversations of the Unforgettable Type

So the YO runs up to me while I'm eyeball and brain deep in e-mails and says something. It doesn't register. I don't even grunt in reply, so he decides to repeat himself and I catch a snatch of it. Not too sure if I really heard what I did, I asked him to repeat himself.

The conversation ran thus:

YO: I am Noddy, Mamma.
Me: You are Noddy?
YO: Yesh. I am Noddy. (extending his arm and handing me some air) Heyaar ijj your prejjant.
Me: This is my present? What is it?
YO:Bob da buildaa.
Me: (at a loss for words...) Ooooo...
YO: Mamma, my hat hajj fall down, mamma. Pleejj gib me hat, mamma. (pointing to non-existent hat next to my feet).
Me: (picking up said non-existent Noddy hat and placing it firmly on his head) There you go. Now Noddy, who am I? (eager for a part in his lovely little world)
YO: You Mamma! (he says this triumphantly, as if he has correctly negotiated a trick question) Bye Mamma! I go my car!

And my little Noddy-YO zooms off at terrifying speed on his little car leaving me to watch after him in amusement as well as with a strange kind of wistfulness.

Am I not play-worthy any more?

The feeling disappears as soon as it comes, because he comes back to me again and then again and yet again. Sometimes to entertain me with his words, sometimes his thoughts and most of the time, with his antics. I may not be his best playmate, but I sure am his favourite audience!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Aaah! Father Time! What Showest Me Thou Next??

Yesterday, was a Special Activity Day at the YO's school. It was an activity day and I had to accompany him and take him from room to room where there were different activities centred around the "Five Senses". Each room was dedicated to a particular sensory action and the teachers in those rooms did corresponding activities with the kids. For example, in the 'Smell' room, there were three bowls of different flowers...jui, rajanigandha and tube-rose. There were three other bowls covered with white gauze and the child had to smell and identify the matching fragrances. In the 'Taste' room, there were five different types of things to taste. The 'Sound' room is where the kids literally had a blast! They banged on drums, kettles, pot and pans; went berserk with the maracas, bells and xylophone. There were different instruments from China and Africa as well!

My gregarious little imp stayed chipku to me during the beginning and wasn't very forthcoming at first, but after a while, he started opening up, taking part in all the activities with a huge smile on his face and a twinkle in his eyes. He 'chatted' with a few of his friends and did some semi-cartwheels with them before the slide show in the 'Sight' room, but all the while, he kept looking back to make sure I was there. Once his eyes would meet mine, he'd give me a huge, toothy grin and go back to doing what he was, content and reassured that Mamma was right where he'd left her. I'm always there baby and I always will be...even when you stop looking...I'll always be there.

I love going to the YO's school during Special Activity Day. I used to love going with the EO too. It gives me a chance to see him in his other environment, the one that I am not a part of. I get to see how much he's picked up, how he interacts with his 'peers' (such a grown-up sounding word!) and teachers. And most lovely of all, I get to bond with him, and delight over the things that he's mastered while he gets to preen and show-off. I can literally see him grow ten-feet tall when I shower him with praise and award him with a little applause. And that sight?...ooooff!!...phenomenal, I say!

I also get to meet one of the EO's teachers and she always wants to know about him and what he's up to. The warmth in her eyes as she talks about him is genuine and it makes me feel good...and a little wistful too truthfully; because it reminds me that not too long ago, my baby was here, having fun and loving it, and now he goes to some stuffed-up old school in uniform everyday, with a huge, heavy load on his back.

I also met the EO's first ever teacher there yesterday! She left soon after the EO 'graduated' from her class, to get married and have a baby. And yesterday, she was there with HER son, doing the different activities with him, as a mommy. We chatted for a while and I marvelled again at the passing of Time. My first-born's first teacher with her first-born!

How Time flies! How baby birds grow wings and fly!

Keep holding on to my hand YO, for just a while longer...I'm not ready to let go yet.

Monday, October 26, 2009

M4 is lost... the pages of "The Lost Symbol", the latest by Dan Brown.
Regular programming will continue once she has devoured and digested the contents.

However, before I sign off, I would like to tell you all, about this site a good friend of mine has been working on. I think it's brilliant and something we mommies can all use as a reference guide. As a favour to me, please do check it out and if you like what you see, do spread the word. There's a contest going on now too! FUN!!

Here's the link...and remember, suggestions are most welcome!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Happy Diwali...and Happy 3rd Birthday, YO!!!

My darling pixie-prince, my teddy bear, my coochi-coochie-coo,

It’s your third birthday today! FINALLY!! Yaaaaayyyyyy!!!!! You have been waiting for this day desperately, ever since your brother’s birthday party, last month; you’d ask me at least twenty times throughout the day, “Aajke aamaar budday?” (Today's my budday?) and your little face would fall each time I said, “Naa babu, aajkey na...aashchey!” (No baby, not's coming!) Whenever we went anywhere, you thought we were making tracks to your birthday party and you’d begin to cry as soon as you’d see the gate to the house and begin wailing, “Naa, naa...baari jaabo naa!! Aamaar budday paatee jaabo!!!” (No, no!! I don't want to go home! I want to go to my budday paatee!!!)

Well baby! Your day is here! You had ‘two’ birthdays actually, this time round. Today being Diwali, we knew it wouldn’t be a good idea to throw a birthday party, so your party with your friends, presents, Noddy cake and the works, was on the 15th and today, we had a different, but definitely wonderful celebration at home and at my mama’r baari. But more on the celebrations some other time. This letter is about you, me and this past one year...

Do you know, that as much as you were looking forward to your birthday, I was dreading it. You just up-ed and grow-ed on me sweetheart and where was I? Wasn’t I looking? Wasn’t I paying attention?

It's are not just not-a-baby-no-more, but a toddler-no-more! And it kills me to think that I somehow missed it all. I wish I was more 'in the moments' of your transformation from pupa to caterpillar rather than obsessing about the fact that you are indeed transforming. I was all mopey and down from the fact that my young one, my little one, my last one is, well, not a baby anymore. And never will be. And I'm afraid I've missed out. On your babyhood, your toddlerhood, moments, kisses, missed opportunities...and I'm never going to get those chances back. I wish I could turn back the months and watch everything on repeat mode with editing as and when required.

However, it's done. You're a little boy now, with a big personality and a huge smile and I promise you one thing my son, no more wasted moments.

But I have a confession to make here. While you were potty-trained a long time ago and weaned an even LONGER time ago (another lifetime, in fact!!), there's one thing that you are not yet still free from and that is due primarily to your father's stiff resistance and my half-hearted attempst, and that object is...the bottle! Yup, you still need your bottle of milk first thing in the morning, as soon as you open your eyes. You want it for your evening milk as well, but even though it's a mini-battle (anything food-related is a battle with you my son!), you finally do have it from a cup, except when you're sick or cranky due to no afternoon nap. I know I should try harder to make you switch from bottle to cup in the morning as well, but there's just something so beautiful and tender and yes, adorably baby-like as you fall back on the pillow in a grateful thud and start putting the milk away.'s just makes me cling to the illusion that you're still a baby. Okay...maybe three more months?

You, my late-bloomer in the speech department (and I say this because your seven-day older cousin was chittering, chattering and chirping away in the most adorable way imaginable) are now speaking in not just long, lengthy sentences with logic and reason, can speak in three-ish languages now! So yaaayyy! Your Bangla’s the best, your English, adorable, and you Hindi, very entertaining!

You’ve never been a big fan of The Cuddle, like your big bro, but whenever you feel like it, you cover us from top to toe with the sweetest, softest, gentlest kisses in the world! They make me sooooo greedy for more, and you only indulge me if you feel like it, but if you’ve dispensed with your quota, nothing on earth can make you part with even one! While it pains me a little to see you squirm in my arms and twist away, what more than makes up for it is the way you suddenly, out of nowhere, come and plant these kisses on whatever body part you can grab! It’s always most unexpected and never fails to take me by surprise! Muwaaah!

You are so a ‘baba-ka-bachchaa’. The relationship you have with your father is something special. Whenever the two of you are together, it’s like you are ensconced in your own little world and I can only watch from the fringes. Yes, I do feel left out at times, but mostly, there’s a lump in my throat and a melty feeling in my heart as I watch you both, thoroughly entranced. It's touching and tender and funny too, and I'm just so grateful to be a part of it even if it is as spectator.

You are such a dare-devil! Nothing scares you my baby! It's like Speed Racer is your guru, your hero, your idol! You have this 'car' which we bought you for your last birthday and you're always racing around on it, skidding and performing tricks on it! You fall down on purpose and crash into things on purpose...and always get up with an impish grin on your face and a mischievous twinkle in your eyes. And last week, we bought you a cycle for your birthday, and you're already performing baby!! F1 racing? Tour de France? Or just plain old entertainment? Whatever it is baby, keep that deadly combination of smile-and-twinkle and you'll have quite the fan base, I assure you!

Oh, but about the 'not scared' bit, well there are two things, actually. You hate going into a dark room by yourself and you hate heights. The latter is quite confusing really, considering you love climbing up things...window ledges, curtains, table tops, kitchen even bring the wicker modas to places you can't reach and attempt to scale peaks. And yet, whenever your baba or kaka pick you up above their heads for a whirl, or try to make you sit on their shoulders, you cling to their heads like a baby monkey clutching onto a banana tree with all four limbs! Quite the sight, my baby, quite the sight!

But everything about you is a sight, my jaan! I watch in wonder as you grow from giggle to chuckle to belly-shaking laughter; from anger to wail to full-blown tantrum; from cuteness to sweetness to pure, unadulterated delight!

You take my breath away darling, in many, many ways...and I absolutely know that you always will!

God bless you my jaan! Happy, happy birthday! I love you more than you can imagine...I love you more than I can imagine!

Thank you for being mine,

Friday, October 16, 2009

Of Magic Keer, Murderous Fathers and Libidinous Gods

Mythology has always been a passion of mine and that too from a very young age. Indian, Greek, Roman and Norse. There was a time in my life when I knew the names of all the Gods and Goddesses of these vast and varied pantheons along with their back-stories. That time in my life was when I was nine years old!! (Yup! I can't help but marvel at it myself!!)

Although I still do remember lots, there are big gaps in my memory as far as the Latin, Greek and Nordic myths go. I should go back and refresh my memories...

However, Indian mythology has a strong-hold over me. I've read at least seven different versions of the Mahabharatha -- THE greatest epic EVER written, in my humble opinion -- and I am ready to read seventy more. I never tire of it.
I have over 100 Amar Chitra Kathas and they rank on my list of 'Top Ten Material Possessions'. And yes, I will buy more! Twas a dark day in my young like when Maa-Janoni sold the sixty odd that I had to the raddiwallah! Yes! My own flesh and blood! The woman who gave birth to me! 'Tis a pain worse than a 24-hour toothache!

I can do a separate post on Amar Chitra Kathas and maybe one day I will. this post is about something else...

Growing up gorging on these wondrous myths and legends, my concept of the Gods and Goddesses, Indian values (moral as well as social), the Hindu way of life...they fascinated me...and at times, confounded me...and at other times, scared the holy crap out of me! What fascinating stories! What frightening consequences! What colourful lives!!

How could Krishna have more than 108 wives? Did He Have favourites? If He could, why couldn't mortal men?
And Shiv actually Burnt Kama to a crisp? He nearly Destroyed the Earth with a dance?
So magic kheer could get three queens pregnant, huh? Wow! Sure takes all the fun out of baby-making!
And a magic mantra that could help you summon any God of your desire for a booty call?
And how could one man beget 60,000 sons?
Gods with weaknesses; rishis with black tongues and powerful curses; immaculate conceptions; surrogacy; incest; illegitimacy; nuclear warfare; in-vitro fertilisation...all of it, ALL of it, right there in our myths, legends and epics.

But so many of these stories of our Gods and Goddesses actually played foul with my innocence; toyed around with my sense of morality and right'n'wrong; and just caused me to question, question and question some more. And the questions got tougher and tougher...

How does one justify Ram, 'the perfect man', killing Vali the way He did? And His treatment of Sita?!? (That one still makes my blood boil and it's why I'm not a big fan of the Ramayana.)
Wasn't Ravan a devotee of Shiva and Indrajit a devotee of Durga? So explain puja, worship and devotion to me here... In fact, many of the 'asuras' were devotees of various Gods. So does that mean, after all, that the Gods and Goddesses do indeed Have favourites?
And how on earth could Draupadi tell which son beloged to which Pandava?
The apsaras...celestial nymphs, multi-talented artistes or divine whores?
It just goes on and on...

And today, I saw my son face a similar horror and dilemma.

He was watching 'Bal Ganesha' on TV. Nothing new; he'd seen it a couple of times before. Today though, I think he was really, REALLY paying attention. He actually understood what happened to Ganesha and how he was 'put together' again. He looked at me horrified, "Shib takur killed Ganesha? His OWN son?!?!?!?" and "Why did they kill that baby elephant? That's not fair! You shouldn't kill animals, right naa mamma?" and "Why did they use an animal's head?"

Sigh! I wonder what's going to happen when he discovers what a Shivalinga actually is!!

It took a lot of growing up and a LOT of reading to understand that these stories are pregnant with meaning, allegories and even euphemisms. I've just touched the tip of the ice-berg and I know I have a long way to go before I reach, if I ever do, true and absolute understanding.

My son has started his journey today. He is the religious sort, because that is how he has been taught. I haven't taught him to question yet, but it seems that he's started on his own and I am so glad. I'll be here to guide him as best as I can now, but as he grows older, I hope he looks for the answers himself. While I marvel at those with blind faith, the kind that the MIM has, I prefer to keep my eyes open myself. Maybe it makes me a bit cynical, but it makes my faith that much stronger, hard won and precious.

I hope he finds faith, even if he has to go through a period of doubt and questioning to get there, because ultimately, we all know what a little faith can do. And I'm not just talking about God, here.

The trek through our numerous myths and legends is an adventurous one, an enchanting one as well, and I hope both my boys are eager for it. I know I still am...

And speaking of little children and their questions, here are two funnies I'd like you to chuckle over :
1) A friend of mine was narrating the story of Ganesha to his niece. After the story, she looked at him wordlessly for a few minutes as she digested all that she had just learnt. "So Parvati got upset with Shiva because he walked into the bathroom when she was taking a bath and that's why she made a boy to guard their palace?" My friend answered in the affirmative to which she threw her googly, "Why didn't she just lock the door?"
2) A little child, after hearing about how Kamsa killed Devaki and Vasudev's children because the Heavens had prophesied that their eighth child would be the death of him, asked his mother, rather incredulously, "So why didn't he just keep them in separate cells?"

Children! They come up with some howlers, don't they? They also come up with some real toughies!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Big Sentences and Little Boys

The YO has been fluent in Bangla for a very long time. Even though he started talking 'late' (and here the yardstick is the Niece who is older to him by seven days and against whom we couldn't help but measure his progress since we live together), he can hold his own rather well in a conversation/fight/discussion.

However, that being said, he still manages to stop me in my tracks by the things that he says.

I was having dinner, a light, home-made, chicken biriyani and he asked me what I was eating. Now table manners being of utmost importance to me and my mouth being full, I didn't answer back, so he helpfully asked me leading questions; "Chicken?" he asked and I nodded my head vigourously in the affirmative. I then gulped my food down and asked him, with much hope, "Tumi khaabey?" (Do you want some?)

And my little boy uttered, in the clearest tones and with the most perfect pronunciation ever, the longest sentence of his whole life, "Na! Aami chicken bhaalobaashi naa karon aamaar chicken jhaal laagey." (No. I don't like chicken because I find it too spicy.)

And while I'm not gonna focus on the fact that he doesn't love chicken, (Really YO? Did you not get any of my good genes at all?...there, end of non-focusing), I'm celebrating my son's first ever longer-than-him-sentence, complete with reason and logic! Phew!

Monday, October 12, 2009

A Pathetic Kind of Pathos

Remember that mean Bengali teacher of the EO's? It looks like she's gotten under their skin good and proper, because on Saturday, after the Niece's birthday party was pretty much over, the EO was in the midst of a boisterous game with some of our friends' kids who had stayed back for some good, old-fashioned adda.

Now they're being really noisy and loud, and they were all in the thick of the game, when suddenly, the EO detaches himself from the group, sidles up to me and plaintively says, "Mamma, please transform me from Bangla to Hindi."

I would have laughed at the cute swap of words in his sentence had the pathos of his plea not gone straight to my heart instead. I asked him why and he said, "Because Bangla ma'am is so mean and Hindi ma'am is not mean. So please will you transform me to Hindi?"

My darling son! If I had the power to 'transform' you into anything I would have 'transformed' you from a six-year old into a six-month old...

This won't make any sense to you now, but chin up, this too shall pass...and hopefully sooner rather than soon.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Transformers Party: Birthday # 6 for the EO

Yesterday was the Niece's birthday. She turned three. Bless you sweetheart, may you always be the adorable, joyful entertainer and chatterbox that you are now!

Today, is Maa-Janoni's birthday. Happy birthday my Mamma. Having you near me is like having heaven nearby. Thank God for you and may good health and the spiritual happiness that you draw your strength from, always be yours.

I've been having the blahs! lately (duh! as if you haven't noticed!), which is why I haven't posted much in the past two weeks. Even though there have been things to write about, I'm just not getting the motivation to type it all out :(

This blog of mine was started primarily to record significant events and moments in my life as a mom and more so, about my boys. Even if I ever stop writing about all 'the other stuff', I hope to continue this blog of mine as a memoir of my boy's birthdays.

And that's why, 27 days after he turned six years old, I'm writing about my EO's birthday party. For him.

While he's been eagerly looking forward to birthdays for the last three years, this was the first time that he actually stared a countdown for it. So every morning, he'd wake up and say, "You know Mamma, only 'x' more days for my birthday and then how old I will be then? SIX YEARS OLD!!" Man! The little dude just couldn't wait to turn six. I on the other hand was praying desperately for a formula to stop time...

Last year was the big 'Ben 10' birthday party. In this past one year, master Ben Tennyson has turned five years older...something that is possible, I believe, in the wonderful world of TeeVee Land. The taller, ganglier look and the leap in age weren't the only things new about the precocious, alien-transforming, boy-hero. Also new were ten more alien avatars. While I can reel off the names of the earlier ten avatars in less than five seconds, I'm still trying to figure out what's what with the new alien life forms. Anyway, to cut a long story short, the EO wanted a Ben 10 Alien Force birthday party...and I nearly aged five years myself at the thought of procuring return gifts concurrent with the theme.

So I put my foot down and turned my little boy's sunny smile upside down...and hated myself for it. So I promised, unthinkingly and unwittingly, that whatever else he chose, I would definitely do, I would not say "No, can't be done!" Yes, I'm stupid like that. Because the theme he chose was 'The Transformers'. I begged him to go back to alien avatars and teen heroes, but he wouldn't budge.

Yup! Stupid, stupid, stupid! STUPID! That's me! I guess I thoroughly deserved it!

Along with the theme, the EO also chose the place for his party. A really cool video-game parlour plus bowling alley near our place, called 'Sparkz'. We'd been there for a couple of birthdays and the kids always have a blast! The star attraction of the place? The bumper cars!!

And yes, on the 14th of September this year, my EO and his friends had a blast royale! Because the age range is so wide, from less than a year to 15 years, we need to consider games and activities that everyone can enjoy. Now, thanks to the bumper cars and video games, the 5+ age group was well-covered. I needed a couple of things for the younger lot to enjoy. Since the food zone, where all the cake-cutting and eating was scheduled to take place, was nice and big, the MIM and I asked for some extras...such as a tattoo artist, a ball pool and a bouncy castle.

There was 95% turn-out and the kids went wild. The MIM was in-charge of the bumper car section and at one point during the chaos, I actually thought he was going to be trampled underfoot in a mini stampede!

The Grandparents Generation had all turned up, beautifully dressed and smiling indulgently at the noise and general hullabaloo. My parents, the SIL's mom and MIM's parents, three aunts and an uncle made up that generation.

There were thermacol cut-outs of various Transformers all around the party area; four Autobots (the good machino-techno-thingumies) and one Decepticon (the evil ones). And this I have to say -- the cut-outs were mind-blowing! Every year we have theme appropriate, thermacol cut-outs to decorate the party zone and normally made by the party planner. This year, we had to use the Sparkz guy and I am so, SOOOOO glad that we did, because he did a phenomenal job! The Autobots of choice were Optimus Prime (leader and my EO's favourite), Bumblebee, Jazz and Ratchet. The only Decepticon representative was Megatron, the leader. (Yes, I know all this stuff. I know about Hot Wheels and Bakugan and Power Rangers too! I wish I didn't, but I doooo....)

The delicious chocolate cake had the Autobot logo drawn out in icing and the khoi bag was also a tribute to Optimus Prime. The food was catered by Don Giovani, a well-known food joint as well as in-house caterer at Sparkz. On the menu, we had veg pizzas with baby corn, onion and tomato toppings; freshly made dosa with a plethora of chutneys and sambhar; veg chowmein; chicken lollipops, chicken burgers, chips and cold drinks. Everybody ate well and raved about the food. Personally, I loved the chicken lollipops but the burgers could have been better.

And so, another birthday came to an end. The icing on the cake? My EO thanking me and saying that this birthday party of his was not just cool but "super-cool"!

And that's where I get the strength to do it all over again!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

An Early in the Morning WTF Moment

A peeved MIM complaining to me after being given two rounds of vigourous 'Good bye and have/hab a nice/nishe day' hugs: M4, please explain to EO that he needs to be careful! Every morning he throws himself at me and knees me in the groin! He's six years old now, he should understand these things. You need to explain to him. Who's going to teach him these things and make him understand?

Me: Erm, you?!?

So I take it he would have been happy to explain menstruation to the daughter-that-we-don't-have?!?