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!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Sex Ed 101

EO: Mamma, if a boy golden retriever marries a girl dalamayshun, then can they have babies?

M4 (anticipating question about mixed-breeds and hybrids) : Yes babu.

EO: Can the boy dog also have babies?

M4 (realising it was straying closer to sex ed territory): Errr, no...

EO: Then in Lady and the Tramp, how come Lady has babies who look like Tramp?

M4 (wondering how to explain genetics to a 7-yr-old): That's because Tramp is their father naa? Don't babies look like their parents?

Silence from the other side of the wall (he was in his room reading and contemplating while I was in the sitting room). No further questions. Satisfied with my answers, my son continues reading, while I heave a sigh of relief that the questions-that-could-have-been-but-weren't, did not crop up.

Safe...for now. But how much longer? *shudders at the mere possibility*

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A Walk Down Memory Lane

Ever since I was a tween, I wanted to visit Shanti Niketan with my mother and her younger sister, Choto Mashi, my favourite aunt. The reason I love Tagore, Rabindrasangeet and Shanti Niketan so much is these two lovely women in my life. Why, I fell in love with Shanti Niketan before I ever even visited the place! And all thanks to their stories, their memories, their songs and reminiscences.

MaaJanoni was was there for just two years; she did her MA in Bangla Literature there. A phenomenal actress, MaaJanoni was well known for her histrionics and was very popular. She always was and still is one of the most gregarious people I've ever known. The Bro takes after her; I'm a wallflower just like DaddyDearest (was).

My gentle, sweet, introvert of a Chota Mashi studied there for five years; BA (Hons. Bangla) and like MaaJanoni, MA in Bangla literature. My Mashi was known for her vocal talents. Now I may be biased, but I think she is one of the best Rabindrasangeet singers I know!

During Basanto Utsab (i.e. Holi in other parts of India), all the students of the university used to get together and sing and dance. The campus would be aflame in gorgeous shades of yellow and all the girls would don floral ornaments. The tradition was started by Gurudev (Tagore) himself. A photographer's and tourists delight, the popularity for this festival has grown in leaps and bounds. One year, MaaJanoni and her friend were laughing and talking when a photographer came up to them, complimented my very lovely mother on her unusual flower-seed jewelry and requested their permission to take a snap -- they both obliged. By June that year, my mother was married and soon after, she was living in the US with her husband. In a letter from one of her cousins, the following year, the cousin had stated that he wasn't missing her at all since he saw her everyday. How? There she was, in the March section of the 1975 calendar! So that's explains where the photographer was from!

That picture still hangs in my parents' home today. Growing up, listening to these and other such stories, how could I not want to visit this place which held such an important place in my mom 's and aunt's hearts?

So it was always a dream for me to visit Shanti Niketan with them and to see 'their' Shanti Niketan. I wanted to see it all through their eyes.

And finally, two weeks ago, this little dream of mine came true!

I cannot even begin to describe the immense joy and pride I felt as I let MaaJanoni and Choto Mashi take us on a walk down their memory lane. I saw the stage where Mashi received her degree and my mom's degree on her behalf, during convocation. I walked about in their lovely outdoor classrooms. My sons walked upon the open-air stage where their grandmother had once performed.

I had goosebumps as MaaJanoni showed us the famous Shaalbithi, the tree-lined avenue, where Kobiguru would walk, always lost in his magnificent thoughts, hands clasped behind his back. To think that I was walking on the same path...*shivers delightedly*

We clicked so many snaps, they relieved so many memories, my sons ran about reveling in the greenery and fresh air, my cousin and I laughed to see our moms so happy...

It was one of the nicest days we had in a long, long time. Truly a day to remember.

Friday, November 12, 2010

This Beautiful Love

Darling EO and YO,

Today I really lost it with the both of you. And over school-work.

EO, your grades were appalling and even though I have said to myself over and over again that I would never let grades, marks and percentages be benchmarks in how I judged you, I was crazy let-down by the test marks you came home with. What really got me furious was that you knew made careless spelling mistakes and couldn't finish.

YO, you just, you just...gosh, I don't even know where to begin!

After a lot of screaming and crying (oh yes, I cried too, big bucketfuls of tears I wept!) I went out of your room to calm down and to get us some chocolate --yes, yes, me too.

As I left the room, I banged the door shut but something made me stop and look through the crack. EO, you were sitting at the table doing your homework, YO, you were sitting on the carpet clutching your classwork in your hands. What I saw next, made my knees give way...

EO, you turned around on your swivel chair, YO you looked up at your big brother; next, you held out your hands to each other, clasped them tightly for a few seconds in silent solidarity...and then quickly looked away for fear that the harridan would storm into your lives yet again and wreck havoc with her insane fury.

Your wordless comfort to each other shattered my heart into a million little pieces. Yes, it shamed me into feeling like something worthy of being flushed down the toilet, but it also comforted me in a strange way.

That one little gesture just reaffirmed, all over again, that the YO was the best possible thing that I could do for you, EO. I gave you to each other and even though you are as different as Jupiter is from Neptune, you are both bonded to each other forever. By blood, of course, but as you grow older, also by shared experiences and moments. I want you both to love each other because you just do and not because you have to, and often, because you are so different from each other, I worry about your own love growing.

But there are moments like these to reassure me that maybe I worry needlessly.

Like last week at your friend's birthday party in McDonald's, EO. You boys were playing a rather fast and furious game of musical chairs, with the YO being somewhere towards the bottom of the age chain. The first time the music stopped, EO, you managed to sit down and with one hand you 'saved' a seat for your cousin and with your other, you grabbed the YO, pulled him to you and made him sit along with you on your chair. Ok, technically I knew that wasn't allowed, but I just had to let it pass, because I though it was the sweetest thing. The music began and the next round started...this time, you managed to save the YO but not your cousin. By round four, just as you managed to pull the YO onto your lap, a much bigger, taller and very obviously stronger classmate of yours called you out on what you were doing. You tried to shout him down, but when he tried to drag your brother off the chair, you lost it! You put an arm around the YO's shoulders and wagged your finger vigourously under your friend's nose, screaming, "Don't you dare touch him! Don't you dare touch my younger brother!" You, YO, had your arms around your brother's waist and had snuggled your head into his chest all the while. EO, you were amazing.

My darling boy, you could have easily been beaten into EO-jam by this much bigger boy, but that thought didn't enter your mind at all as you donned your mantle of a big brother looking out for his younger sibling.

Of course, in the interest of fairness, I did have to pull you, YO, out of the game and you were both upset with me about it.


I guess if nothing else, you'll both bond over the how-Mamma-was-so-horrible-to-us-and-that's-why-we're-so-screwed-up stories when you're in your teens.

Just remember, even when you're both hating me, I gave you each other.

And also, that I love you both more than you can even begin to imagine.

Forever and always yours,

Monday, November 1, 2010

Teacher, teacher

The EO is big on corrections and pointing out mistakes...of course he isn't very good when it comes to doing his classwork corrections back at home unless repeated warnings, pleadings and finally dire threats are issued! Sigh! Boys!

Anyway, you all know what a bookworm the boy is turning out to be. No? Well here's how much --
  • 98% of the time, he would rather read a book of his choice than go play outside. We have had quite a few battle royales during many an evening where he has tearfully begged me to allow him to stay cosied up with a book upstairs rather than run around with his brother and cousin. Believe me, nobody understands his passion for the written word more than me, but sometimes I have to channel my inner bitch-mom and snatch said book out of his hands and force him to go downstairs and get some fresh air. It's for his own good! I swear! air...strong legs -- yes, yes, my son will thank me later on. He will, right? Right?!?
  • Bed-time is always, ALWAYS preceded by Story Time. If I am going out, I have to read to them first; if I am out, then dad has to do it. Story Time is truly our time. We bond, we laugh, we snuggle and cuddle and giggle and wriggle! I make funny voices and faces and get all dramatic and try to make the story come alive for them. If nothing else, I hope my boys will always remember me fondly for our Story Time together. I hope the memories of our special time will be strong enough for them to forgive me for whatever it is that I will do to earn their ire in the Adolescent Years (shudder!!)
    Anyways, back to stories, book, reading and the EO. One story is never enough at bed-time. Two, three, four...nope, simply not enough. He would ideally like me to read to him till the birds are ready to take on the early worm. Well, on school nights, I usually read out two stories to of each boy's choosing. Then, after the good-nights have been said, the cheeks been kissed, the noses been rubbed, the ears nipped at and the tummies tickled, it's lights out and doors closed. However, after I leave the room, I can hear voices coming from the room and I catch a sliver of light from under the door. Yup, it's the EO who's convinced the night ayah that he needs to go potty...all so that he can spend some more precious minutes with a book.
So, back to the EO and his penchant for correcting mistakes, which can be pretty embarrassing if he decides to correct a grown-up in front of other grown-ups!!

We were off to lunch at Cafe The with dipali of 'of this and that', The Sue of 'Sunny Days' and Eve of 'Eve's Lungs'. I carried his latest fave along, "The Puffin Book of Classic Indian Myths." Now he's reading a story in the car and he suddenly asks me, "Mamma, what is the English for Maa Durga's trishul?"
"Trident", I replied.
Then he shakes his head and gets all serious. "Mamma, there's a mistake in this book. I think so the people who wrote this did not know the correct word for trishul and so, in the Ganesha story, they wrote that Shiva took out his sword and cut off Ganesha's head. That is not right, naa Mamma?"

Awww! Not only is he a book-worm, but he knows his mythology as well! He soooooo is MY son! Take that MIM!


And today, after school, when we were coming back home, he said that his teacher had written something incorrectly on the board. They had finished a chapter and were given a fill-in-the-blanks exercise and she had written:
'She live in a -blank-'
So the EO tells me, "Actually Mamma, that's incorrect, naa? It should have been, 'She LIVES in a -blank-', right naa, Mamma?"

Sigh! And this from the boy who sometimes say 'mistaked' and 'tooked'!