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!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A Hearty Half-Dozen, My YO

My darling YO,

Shripm. Chingri Maach. Piprey. Elf. Pipsqueak.

Yes my son. You're still small and skinny. Another year and it still looks like I don't feed you. Another year of me obsessing with weight...mine and yours. Another year of me teasing you about being the shortest in your class.

But oh no! You immediately get all fired up and confidently say, "No mamma! I'm not! I'm only the number four shortest in my class!"

I think this defines you. Your confidence in what you say and do. You comfort in who and what you are. Your marvellous ability to stand up for what is the truth and to stick by it. You've shown it time and again. Small and tiny you may be, but when it comes to standing by your truth, defending yourself and those you love, holding on to your principles and convictions, my little one, you are as strong and as sturdy as the mighty oak. 

I pray this quality always stays with you, my love. This and all the other endearing ones that make you so perfect and so proud to be your mamma.

Your love for us. For all of us! Oh, it makes me melt! You declare it from sun up to sun down, how you love your "mudur, fadur, brudder, cousin brudder, cousin shishter, nammu, dadu, manuku, daduku, (my) whole famileee!" And then, when you realise you might have left out someone, like your mamu for example, you start all over again! And you make it a point of telling us all! Sometimes in song!! 

To see you do your flips, cartwheels, tumbles and what-not, makes me rue again the fact that there is no such thins as 'gymnastics' in this city!! What a waste of a flexible body! What a waste of talent! What a waste of a beautiful smile as you twist, turn and contort about in ease and grace! I haven't given up yet, though. You are also a natural born dancer. Your body moves to the beat with such easy fluidity that I often have to pick my jaw up from the floor when I watch you. I am really thinking about putting you into Hip-Hop or B-Boy classes. 

You're already so comfortable on stage. Seeing your brother on stage has been a huge source of inspiration to it and that's why, these last three years, you've been rocking it during Durga Pujo. I also love the fact that you are enjoying drama class and how much you advertise it to your friends. It does become problematic when you call me "Mamma" during class, but truth be told, I haven't really insisted you call me "Ma'am". Sigh...but I'll have to, soon.

Your reading habit is also growing stronger! Another advantage of having an older sibling who enjoys books! Watching your dada immerse himself in the world of books has been another wonderful influence on you and I couldn't be happier. Of course, while I do indulge you with Chhota Bheem comics (which you ADORE!!), you're really into everything your brother reads. So even for you, it's "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" and "Captain Underpants" and while I'm happy that you're attempting these books, I am also trying to push you to read the ACK  and Tintin comics, the Tell Me Why volumes, the Geronimo Stilton books that he loves. And because you get part of your stubborn streak from me, I shall only continue to persevere :-)
The thing with you reading the tales of Greg Heffley & Co. as well as following the adventures of the undergarment captain, is that -- apart from them being wickedly funny and perfect fodder to tickle the funny bones of little boys -- you want to  participate in the conversations your brother has with his peers regarding these books, which I think is not only terribly sweet, but adorably awesome!

Time flies, my baby boy. Half the school year is already over and I still can't help but think how, just a few months ago, you were still in Senior KG in a Montessori school. The thought of it makes me want to bawl!! You had to be dragged kicking and screaming to Big School for a couple of days, but you've made your truce with it. Do you love it? Not passionately, but you do somewhat, kinda like it. Having your 'big brudder' there certainly helps and it also helps that his friends are all nice and big brotherly towards you too :-D

Monday, September 24, 2012

My Old Boy, a.k.a. The MIM @ 40

So around two weeks or so ago, the YO suddenly asked me : Mamma, at 83 means what?
Me (perplexed) : 'At 83 means what?!?' I'm sorry shona, I don't understand what you mean...
YO (shaking his head, shrugging his shoulders and looking so lost and confused) : I also don't know...
Me : It's ok shona, try again.
YO : Means, at 83 are we a children or a teenager?
Me (laughing) : Oh!!! Hahahahaha...neither babu. At 83 we are old.
YO : Oh! Means we are an old man? Like baba??

LOL!!! Today's the MIM's b'day and he enters his 4th decade. He may feel how his son thinks, but I think he's a bottle of finely matured wine! And yes, I did sing, "Main kaa karoo raa, mujhey buddha mil gaya..." to him today ;-p

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Tests and the YO

The boys are having exams. The 4th grader had his Bengali Lit paper yesterday and as per the schedule the 1st grader didn't have anything. So I kind of went all fainty and hyper when he walked in after school and said, "Today I had my G.K. test." In absolute crazed Bong-mom mode, I asked him how he did, if he managed to write everything, did he get his spellings right, what were the questions, etc. etec...all in one breath. The little one, eyes all big and round, shaking his head furiously and trying to get a word in edgewise put his hands up in a relax gesture and said, "Noooooo! It was not a writing one! It was a...a..." (struggling for the word 'orals') " was a talking contest!"

Ummm...phew!...I think...

Friday, September 14, 2012

My Newly Minted Nine Year Old

Dear EO,

You turned nine today. Nine. N.I.N.E.

Excuse me while I go sit in a corner, wonder at the 'how-in-the...' of it all, and weep at the 'where'd-the-time-flow?' of it all.


Nine years of absolute joy. A roller coaster ride. A stand-up comedy show. A life-time.

You've grown-up immensely in this past one year. You are still a book-loving, mythology munching, fantasy world inhabiting, little dude. You enjoy using big words...mispronouncing them often, but getting them right even more often. You enjoy prancing on stage (in fact, you revel in it). You enjoy your food and even have a little tummy-tum-tum to show for it. You appreciate sarcasm and even try to use your own brand. Your incredible brand of sensitivity. You day-dream about the movies you watch, the books you read and the stories you hear and you actually live with these characters in your head. 

Sigh. You really, really, really are soooooo my son! The similarities we share make me want to go "Yahoo!" and do the junglee-dance from the roof-tops!

And then there are those similarities that scare me. That passion for what's right in this world and what's wrong. At the injustice of things. At the simple and absolute trust you place in people you love. Your contentment in having just a few good friends. Your need to be feted and appreciated.

These similarities that we share? Yes, these worry me. They worry me greatly.

Three stand-out memories from the year.
1) We were at Bagdogra Airport earlier this year, waiting to catch the flight back to Kolkata. As is my habit, I bought you, your brother and myself some books and magazines. I bought you four ACKs. One was about Tipu Sultan. When you read about the cruelty meted out to Tipu Sultan's children, you started sobbing in the airport; your body shook with rage and incredulity and you ket saying over and over again, "But they were children, mamma...CHILDREN!! How could anyone do that to CHILDREN?" Your father and I tried to comfort you as best as we could and finally I bought you another book, a Geronimo Stilton, to distract you. It worked like a charm, but you never forgot the question. 

2) When you read the ACK about the Jalianwallah Bagh massacre. Once again the tears. The rage. The incomprehensible disbelief of it all. You read that ACK many, many times over trying to get the answers to your Why's, How's and How-could-they's yourself, because mine were all so damn unsatisfactory. You were convinced of the collective evil of the race that once ruled us and you couldn't stand to hear a word in their favour. A few weeks later, I chanced upon the ACK on Jim Corbett and bought you that, to show you that there were nice guys too. You didn't wholly buy it. In fact, you've even declared to MaaJanoni that if ever your baba and I are thinking of going to 'see the queen', then we'd have to go without you. Just a couple of weeks ago I tried to see if you'd changed your mind about that... Nope. You're stubborn. You're my son.

3) And finally, the one where you got stuck 15 feet above ground level, in an amusement park in a dark evening of Siliguri. We had gone to this park to while away a couple of hours. We did all the rides. And then we saw this harness attached to two 30-feet long poles strapped to a trampoline. The sign over there simply said "Bungee Jumping." You love your adventure 'sports'. Roller coasters. Hang-gliding. Rolling down a hill in a huge, transparent ball. You love them all. So obviously you had to go on this. The mechanism of this was simple enough. They strap you into the harness, you start jumping up and down on the trampoline and then, with the use of a remote control, they lift you higher and higher into the air, until you're about 12-15 feet above ground level, where they suspend you for about a minute or so, and then they bring you back down. You LOVED it! Your brother, not at all. You wanted a second go. We agreed. Just as you finished all your jumps and stretches and the guy holding the remote started lifting you higher into the air, we suddenly saw sparks flying from the remote. Then the whole thing burst into flames, the man dropped it, stamped upon it and then ran to the little shed to switch the entire contraption down. The only problem? You were suspended 15 feet in mid-air. Our hearts were in our mouths, but you! OMG!! You were beyond were in your elements. For twenty whole minutes, as those morons tried to figure out what to do, you kept not only us entertained, but all the visitors to the park as well. You were up there doing yoga poses, karate kicks and chanting Buddhist mantras. You helped your father and me keep calm and not lose our heads. A crowd gathered around and marveled at you. The YO was freaking out, shouting at the men to get his brother down NOW, but you were brilliant. The incident is not one that I would ever, EVER like a repeat performance of, but your sense of humour and your grip on calm was what took my breath away.

Yes. You're growing up. And how. It's not so easy having an argument with you anymore. You demand answers. Logical, easy-to-understand-and-accept answers, and unfortunately, I don't always have them. Luckily, I can still play The Mother Card and trump you any time, but I've got my fingers crossed as to how much longer I can keep using that. That, and using that incredible phrase that mothers have been using since time immemorial -- "Because I said so."

You started of this year wanting to be exactly the same things as you did last year -- viz. an actor, a guitarist and as the owner of an orphanage. For the first time in years, you've talked about a different career. You now want to be a secret agent, a spy. And you even have a top secret mission that you've entrusted to yourself, one which you hope will restore glory to your country. Adorable and oh-so serious at the same time. Such a big boy desire with grown-up rationale behind it. 

And yet, that childish innocence of yours, that incredible sensitivity that thankfully reminds me of the fact that you still are my little boy. Those bone-crushing hugs and that gorgeous laugh that is more divine than the angel chorus. Those eyes that continuously harbour a dreamy, far-away look in them, an absolute give-away to the fact that you choose to inhabit an infinitely more interesting world than the mundane one in which you are trapped. No matter how old you get my son, I hope you always have this world to retreat to. A world populated by heroes and musicians and writers and story-tellers. And the wonderful bit here is that when you think of superheroes, it's not just Batman and Spiderman, but real life heroes like Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, Chandrashekhar Azad, Surya Sen. When you think of musicians, it's not just the Akon, but also Michael Jackson and Freddie Mercury and Mozart and Beethovan.

Oh golly gee, my goodness gracious. You are adorable. And precious.

And you're mine.

And you're nine.


Love you, my darling big boy. In ways, words and manners that will never quite truly capture just how very much.

Always yours,

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Snippets about my Snippet, aka the YO

It's been a looong while since I've updated my blog and the terrible fact of the matter is that both my boys have been doing/saying blog-worthy, errr...noteworthy things.

Since my YO was down and out and fighting the viral, I thought I'd dedicate today's post to him...

The fever came on a Sunday, so obviously I didn't send him to school that Monday and needless to say, he loved it. So much so that he decided that he wasn't going to go back to school again. Ever. Ever again. The mere thought of having a five-year-old while away his hours, day in-day out, 24/7/365 for the rest of his life; and the incredible thoughts of keeping this particular five-year-old properly occupied day in-day out, 24/7/365 for the rest of his life, had me hyperventilating. Mad screams of, "What do you mean you never want to go to school again? How can you not go to school again? How can you even think it? What will you do for a living?" floated all around my head, but I refrained from bellowing these out, because after all, he's five and he was feverish and of course he was going to go back to school, because I said so! But I did think it would be interesting to hear about his future plans and so I asked him, "Babu, if you're not going to go to school and study, then what will you be when you grow up?" And pat came the reply -- "An actor!" Aaah well, my apologies to all those amazing actors who studied in NSD, Julliard and Carnegie Melon, but it seems like my little one thinks you've all wasted your time ;-p


The YO, for all is rambunctious nature, is quite a softie. And surprisingly, very clingy. If I'm five minutes late in picking him up and if he doesn't have a friend or a familiar face to wait with, he dissolves into sobs. And Calcutta traffic being what it is, I sometimes am late.
Well, it was one of those days when I was late and the YO was sobbing. His classmate's mom, whom I'm friends with, called me and apologised saying that she couldn't stay and comfort him as she had to go and pick up her daughter from another school, but she wanted my son to hear my voice so that he would be reassured that I was nearby. I told the YO that I was a hop-skip-and-jump away, so would he please be a big boy, stop crying and wait for me. He sniffled a yes.
Of course when I got there, he was still crying, so I picked him up, took him to the canteen, sat down, wiped away his tears and calmed him down. We followed our normal routine while waiting out the next half-hour for his brother, which normally involves me feeding him the rest of his tiffin, looking through his classwork note-books and chatting about his day (gah! I just realised how typically Bong mom I sounded while typing that sentence!!) When the bell rang, I started to get up so that I could wait near the foot of the stairs, but the YO stopped me, told me to sit and he would go and wait instead -- "This is how a small boy potecks his mudder, right mamma?"
Man! It was my turn to cry -- and I didn't even ask him what he was 'potecking' me from. He was just being a gallant gentleman, but didn't know how to say it...

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Queen's Language and Some Questions

My YO, flibbertigibbet, will-o'-the-wisp and whirling dervish all rolled into one, is basically a very nice boy, if I do say so myself (touchwood and thoo-thoo-thoo). No, he really is nice.

He minds his p's & q's. Will say excuse me if he burps or wants my attention when I'm talking to someone. He'll always say "Bleshyu" if someone sneezes and expects the same in return, and will loudly procalim the fact that he has sneezed if none is forth-coming -- "Excuse me, but I jusht did hein-cho" (the kiddie, Bengali way of saying 'sneezed').

His sense of manners and politeness have provided us all with many merry moments of mirth. Here are two recent samples.

1) I told him to practice his hand-writing and set him some work. He put his book down on the floor, lay down on his stomach and started writing. I told him his hand-writing would never improve if he wrote like that and asked him to sit at the table. There was a book on said table which took up a considerable amount of space and both his hands being full he looked up at me and sweetly asked, "May you please move this book Mamma?"

2) So we went to Saturday Club for a swim yesterday. Afterwards, we sat in the gardens and tea and refreshments. There were some young boys playing catch and when the ball rolled towards us, the YO quickly grabbed it and handed it over to the little boy who came running. I was looking intently at my son, expecting him ti ask me if he could go and join the boys since he loves playing so much, but instead he saw me, smiled, and asked, "I am a friendly boy, naa? Friendly and helpless." The EO choked on his ice-scream while I laughed so hard I scared away the crows nearby.

And speaking of adorable questions, this morning he came up with a chicken & egg type, of his own; Mamma, first when humans were born, how did they come from no mothers?" After thanking my stars that the question in question wasn't of the birds & bees variety, I decided to 'go ape' and tell him a bit about evolution. He was fascinated...not entirely convinced, but fascinated :-)

Thursday, May 31, 2012

My Heart Over-floweth...

About a month ago, when the MIM I married was away, WW3 was in progress in my bedroom...both boys were fighting for the middle space, so that I could sleep next to one of them. I said I'd sleep in the middle and then they could both get me. Nah, no good. They were not in a mood to share. Of course I had my way. I pushed them apart, put my pillow in the middle, said "Good night, I love you", switched off the lights and left the room. I took a peek some time later...they were fast asleep, the middle had been kept empty for for their clasped hands across the bed, resting peacefully on mamma's space.


Mornings in our house, are normally filled with least on holidays. A couple of weeks ago, while one boy was listening to music on the iPod & singing along ('Phantom of the Opera', if you please), the other was singing from a book of Disney lyrics. My heart and eyes were ready to burst!

Aaah! The difference a few days can make! Lately, all they're interested in is listening to the theme 'music' of their favourite WWE wrestlers. Sigh! As if there's not enough noise in my life already!

But then of course, the EO's words this morning acted like a balm on my very frazzled nerves..."Mamma, I want to learn the words of 'Purano Sei Diner Kotha'..." (a famous Rabindrasangeet)
Sigh! I guess I can live a little with 'Veil of Fire', 'Booyaka', Andrew Llloyd Webber and Rabindranth Tagore co-existing peacefully, side by side.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Sing a Song of Me

Maybe I'll paint my nails today.
Or go to the salon for some pampering.
Maybe I'll wear a sari today,
with silver jewelry
and line my eyes
with kohl
and laughter.
Or maybe I'll just stay in my pj's
the whole day
with clouds of perfume
dancing above my head.

I'll probably buy some chocolate
just for me
and eat it up whole --
every last smudge of it
and that too
licking off the melty bits from the
shiny foil.
Maybe it'll be Lindt.
Or Guylian.
Whichever one it is,
I'll do it guilt-free.

Perhaps I'll let the whole day slide away,
from one frame to the next,
minute by minute,
second by moment,
and I'll just let the ironed clothes be,
leave the books open,
and not care if the wet towel's on the bed.
As usual.

I won't care.
I won't.
I refuse to.

Maybe I'll write poetry today.
Or read some at least.
Buy a book.
Or three.

I'll stand in front of the mirror,
and accept myself
and my body.

My body,
with gravity-loving breasts,
dimpled cheeks
(of the derriere),
those blasted hate-handles
and that big mound
of quivering,
jelly-like lard
and NOT
mourn the decade past,
when I was younger
and definitely beautiful,
but just didn't have the wisdom to see it,
own it
and know it to be true.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

CSAAM 2012: The Forest of Dark

The Forest of Dark

In the forgotten space
of Child’s imagination
there exists a black spot –
the Land of Nightmares.
Here we find
the Forest of Dark.
Mouldy mushrooms
push their way through humus;
anorexic trees
stand naked
amongst rotten leaves,
reveling in their wicked,

Faceless ghosts
pop out from behind boulders
to grab at the dirty little girl,
shrieking with delight
at her shrieks of pain
and fear.

the ghosts melt down
into the slime
and in a thunder cloud of fore bounding,
the devil arrives,
seated on a big,
hard bed.

The devil is fat
and ugly
with yellow teeth
and giant hands.
The devil grins cruelly
and stretches forward
to pitchfork the little girl
on to the big,
hard bed.

The devil starts laughing.
The little girl starts crying.


The little girl wakes up in her own bed,
in her own room,
in her own house.

Mummy’s not home.
She’s gone to work.
Daddy’s not home.
He’s gone to work.
The door slowly creeks open
And the baby-sitter stands there.
The devil leers
as he slowly comes towards the bed...

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

It's April -- CSAA Month

This is a serious post and so I am going to dive right into it without any preamble.

Remember this wonderful initiative started by some admirable bloggers last year, to raise awareness about a much prevalent yet swept-under-the-carpet societal disease? Yes, I'm talking about Child Sexual Abuse and April is the month that the blogospere is abuzz with raising awareness against this hush-hush topic.

Do you have a story to tell? Do you have any questions to ask? Do you have any tips to share?

You can do it here: csa.awareness,
And yes, you can do it anonymously.

But let's not keep quiet. Victims have suffered in silence for far too long, it's time to be heard.

Blog posts with the logo (you can copy the image above), link back to our blog, with the words “CSAAM April 2012” in the title

Twitter posts or links to @CSAawareness, tagged “#CSAAM”
FB notes linking to our Facebook page
Emails to
Or just simply show support by displaying the Picsquare badge on your site/page/profile

This year, we hope to increase our focus and reach with our new CSAAM App and our sensitisation workshops. You’ll find both in our blog come April 2012:

Friday, March 30, 2012

Two Many Sadnesses...

Yesterday was the YO's graduation from Sr Kg. GRADUATION. SR KG.

Excuse me while I fetch the smelling salts and tissue box...

It was as final as could be. My little boy has now officially finished pre-school and is ready to head into the big, bad and infinitely tougher world of an all-boy's high school.

Why wasn't I ready for this?!?


The Nephew and Niece moved to Bombay today. Permanently. BIL-ly Boy's set up shop over there and so it's a move we were all expecting sooner or later.

The Nephew is like my third son. At one point in time, before the YO was born and when my SIL taught in school, he was almost attached to my hip. I would do everything for him and the EO together. There was a time, when he would wake up in the mornings and come into bed with the MIM, EO and me...making his place between the EO and me.

The Niece and the YO are born seven days apart. Their closeness is unimaginable. Of course, the three boys engaged in heavy-duty male-bonding, while both the Nephew and the YO have a common passion for sports.

My boys are already moping. And me? Well, I'm just feeling a little bit empty inside...

Thursday, March 15, 2012

My EO and Me...Same-Same

A couple of weeks ago, my EO came to me while I was on the comp (as usual...sigh!) and said to me, "Mamma, you and I are just the same. We both love to read, we both love salads, we both love acting, we both love music and singing... We are so same, naa?"

And like so many countless times before, he made me feel this extra-special kind of rush of love that only he is capable of making me feel. It makes me melt into the same pool of mommy-love that I had dissolved into the day he came into my world and changed it forever.

We had another incident soon after that, that brought out beautifully just how same-same we are and this happened right after his school closed post the unit tests. A friend had come over and all the boys in the house were playing, running amok, making noise and generally doing things that little boys do. Suddenly, the EO comes up to my room, all upset and ready to burst into tears. When I asked him what was wrong he said that the friend was fighting with him and etc. etc... I don't know why, but I didn't buy it...probably because of something he had shared with my mother and which she, in turn, had told me. He mentioned that he was feeling bad that Class 3 was over because they had had a lot of fun in class that year and he had enjoyed being in that class.

I asked the EO to lie down on my bed and he grabbed a pillow and started crying. I hugged him close, let him have his sob and asked him if he was feeling sad about not being in Class 3 anymore. He nodded. We talked about his class teacher who adored him, but thankfully didn't spoil him silly, giving him a dose whenever he needed it. We talked about his best friend in class who he'd grown really close to. We talked about all the fun things he had done. From his sobs and garbled words, I could make out that it was not being in this teacher's class anymore that was breaking him. I also told him that he could still see his teacher whenever he'd like, because he'd still be in the same school after all. I told him that his best friend would also still be there. I also reminded him that next year would have new surprises and fun moments in store, what with his brother joining the school :-)

My little boy's reaction brought back a long ago memory...

This happened when we were still living in New York. It was the last day of 3rd Grade. I remember sitting in the single seater at home, watching TV while DaddyDearest read the paper and MaaJanoni got dinner together. I suddenly started crying...I mean really, really crying my little heart out. I couldn't figure out why. Maa came running from the kitchen and the two of them tried to find out what was wrong when finally Maa hit the nail on the head -- I was crying for the teacher I was not going to see again.

Let me explain why she was so special...

That year, we came to India for a long holiday, while school in America was still on. Of course my parents took permission, but still, it was a really LONG time. By the time we got back, I remember hanging around in the school office for a while as they figured out what to do with me. The principal's secretary (I think) finally took me to another classroom (section), not my original one. I remember my teacher, Ms. Gordon, storming into that class, pulling me out and taking me to the principal's office where she fought to have me back in her class. From the little I over-heard as they debated and argued where to put me, I figured out that the school admin. had decided to shift me to a class full of 'weaker' students so that I could cope with everything that I'd missed and hopefully catch up by the end of the year. My teacher said that she was taking full responsibility for me and that she would make sure that I was on par with the rest of the class. Needless to say, she proved them right.

It's close to three decades since that incident and I still remember Ms. Gordon. I remember how she placed her faith in me and how she fought for me. She made me feel worthy and special and that why I will never forget Ms. Gordon of PS 33 Q, NY. Never.

And I hope my little boy never forgets a certain Ms. V.H. of SXCHS, his Class 3 teacher who made him feel so loved and special.

My EO and I really are very similar and I revel in shouting that from the roof-tops. We do have common interests and passions. We both love good food, and I mean the entire experience of it from the cooking to the smelling to the savouring of it. We both share an eclectic taste in music, running the entire gamut from ABBA to Rabindrasangeet to Rodrigo y Gabriele to Michael Jackson to Jashn-e-Bahara. Of course he likes him some Kolaveri and Chhamak Chhallo too...but then he shrugs his shoulders at my love for Genda Phool and Alanis Morissette. We love the stage and the mere thought of theatre has us salivating. We love reading and even have a common love there -- the Mahabharatha; I've read at least ten versions of it while the EO is already three down. He attacks my precious collection of Amar Chitra Katha with much gusto and I am always adding to the collection. He wants me to look up extra info on all his favourite entertainers (from writers to actors to WWE wrestlers to musicians) on Wikipedia -- this also happens to be a favourite past-time of mine! We can sit down with a book anytime and any where and we often do. We're both also very last-minute people and quite scatter-brained as well.

Then of course there's the sensitivity issue. We are both overly-sensitive and I hope in the long run this is something that he can work on. It killed me through my school and college years and it still does me in every now and again. I would be devastated to see him get taken advantage of.

And we both cried for our third grade teachers at the end of the year.

That's just one more thing that makes us same-same.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

And I Was Worried Why...?

I finally managed to take the MIM shopping today, for pants at Shoppers Stop three days before the sale ended. Phew! Achievement and big pat on the back due!

We were hurrying back because I had to take the boys to a birthday party and I was already twenty minutes late. As the car negotiated traffic and red lights galore, I got a call on my mobile and saw my MIL's name flashing on the screen. When I picked up I heard the EO's voice say, "Mamma!" and I thought I was about to be reprimanded for not being there yet and immediately started to pacify him when he cut me short by informing me that the YO had a fever. Damn! I told him to change and get ready for the party and asked him to tell his brother to lie down.

I was home soon and immediately ran into the boys' room where the YO was lying down with tears in his eyes. He was upset -- of course. He wanted to go to the birthday party too -- of course. He wasn't too warm and the ayah told me that my SIL had already taken his temperature and given him a dose of Calpol. Since the party was just across the road I thought I'd take him for a short while and told my little boy to get ready. He was out of bed faster than you can say "Happy Birthday!"

While we were getting him ready, the ayah told me that when the YO was told that he may not be able to go to the party because of his fever, he went to the bathroom, splashed his forehead with water and then went to my MIL and said, "See Nammu, see? Feel me here (taking her hand and putting it on his forehead) itsh cold now. Fever has gone. I'm fine and can go to the budday pahty. Right naa?"


And I was worrying about how he'll make the transition next month from Pre-school to Big School, why?!?

Thursday, March 1, 2012

It's March 1st, 2012

In other words, it's my baby's last month in pre-school. His LAST frikkin' MONTH!!

This realisation has hit me hard and it's one of the reason's I've been so quiet, to the point of being depressed. My baby has well and truly grown-up.

I know, I know...he's five-years-old and quite definitely shed the tags of 'baby' and 'toddler' quite some time back...but...but...but...sigh...

He's still my baby, dammit!

Yes, my little one has got admission into Big School -- the same one his brother and cousin are studying in. The fact that he's secured admission there is a huge relief, of course. The fact that he's old enough to go there is a huge big bubble of sorrow, threatening to burst at various points throughout the day.

When the EO started Big School, it did wound me, but not like this, because I knew that I still had the cuddlesome YO to baby. Plus, the EO did Big School in two steps, hopping from one to the other with consummate ease and what killed me was being forced to take him out of Big School 1 to put him into Big School 2.

But now, it's going to be one giant leap for my little son. From the loving, sheltered, protected environment of his Montessori to the big bad world of an all-boys, old school. From being one of twelve pampered and adored students, he'll be one of 44, jostling for attention or giving up in the process.

It's not going to be easy. I saw how hard it was for The Nephew who went from the same Montessori to this Big School. He was depressed for the first six months and would cry about it every morning. My SIL later confided to me how much it broke her heart. The EO, thanks to his two years in-between Montessori and present Big School, was already seasoned in matters pertaining to big classrooms, many boys and fewer teachers, and so it didn't take too long for him to settle down. So, I am already steeling myself for what's to come.

Of course, temperamentally, the EO and The Nephew are radically different. The Nephew is a shy, quiet introvert. The EO is gregarious, chatty and makes himself comfortable wherever he goes. Their personalities being such, I'm sure contributed to how they took to this most dramatic change in their young lives. In this regard, the YO is very similar to the EO and so I can only hope and pray that it will stand him in good stead when he takes that first step into the giant school yard.

Of course he's also stubborn and sensitive...

And what is he going to do in those horrid Bengali classes? How will he cope?

In fact, how will he cope with so many new subjects?

How will he react to the strict levels of discipline? No gems and smileys and stars for hard work here!

And his handwriting is just not up to speed!

And speaking of speed! God, for someone who's Speedy Gonzales on the field, it's amazing how tortoise-like he can be when it comes to getting his work done on time! least he's got the EO to seek out for a hug during break time...

Not to mention the fact that he'll be joined by two of his friends from this playschool over at the Big School.

Ok...I need to stop hyper-ventilating!

But, the fact of the matter is, in one month's time, my baby starts Big School. This is his last month in playschool. In one month, I will be mamma to two big boys.

And while the YO says he's ready and excited about going to his brother's school...I'm not.

Not yet.

Don't know if I ever, really, truly will be.

*breathe, breathe, breathe*

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


Memories are powerful mood-stimulants. They can seat you on a beautiful, Persian carpet and take you on a magic carpet ride through the rainbows of your past. Then again, they can dig a hole through worm-infested, smelly mud and bury you under the broken eggshells and rotten tomatoes of past pains, hurts and tears.

Yes. Memory can be a teddy bear. It can also be a bitch.

And music, for me at least, is always a trigger-er of past faces, names and places. Most of my memories are linked to music and triggered by music.

This morning, at MaaJanoni's place and we were listening to a favourite music channel of hers. A Bangladeshi couple was singing popular as well as some unfamiliar Bengali folk songs and songs inspired by old folk tunes.

One song reminded me of happier times in JNU, when I was part of a Bangla Band. I associate this song with a friend of mine, who now happens to be my sister-in-law (the MIM's cousin; yes, she is very much responsible for our nuptials).

The other song introduced me to an amazing artist. She is a gorgeous person and I am so thrilled to count her as a dear friend now.

The songs reminded me of times spent together. The memories made me miss them. The songs and the memories made me grateful to have them in my life.

Today, memory was a teddy bear. A singing, teddy bear, no less.

Thursday, February 9, 2012


Yesterday was my wedding anniversary and the MIM and I have enjoyed 11 years of wedded 'bliss' together -- hehehe! Hard to say that with a straight face, but yes yes, it's been mad, exciting and quite spectacular too along with some near misses!

As an anniversary gift to myself, I am starting a new blog...well, started a new blog would be more appropriate; yesterday I put up an introductory post. This has been an idea I'd been toying with for a long time now. Don't worry, I'm not going here, but I've since the voice of this blog is more personal and has mainly to do with memories revolving around my two boys, I've decided to start another one where the focus is all on WORDS; the written word, the spoken word, the sung word, they typed word -- yes, even the painted word and the cooked word. I plan on doing book and movie reviews, sharing links of interesting articles I've read and songs that have touched the chords of my soul; I plan on sharing recipes and hopefully doing author reviews and getting in guest posts too!

Of course these are all my good intentions and we all know what they say about these type of intentions and since I have no desire to be walking down the pathway to hell, let's take it one step at a time, shall we?

I decided to start off with something fun -- like organise a book give-away! Interested? Then what are you waiting for, head on over to the Chocoholic Bookworm!

With much excitement, pomp and gusto, I present to thee, my new blog and baby --

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Saraswati Pujo 2012

DaddyDearest's date of *sob* death, according to the Gregorian calendar is January 20th, 2010. That day also happened to be Saraswati Puja that year.

Now the Hindu almanac follows the lunar calendar system and all festivals, religious ceremonies and occasions are observed accordingly. Auspicious ceremonies and dates of ritual importance are all planned according to the lunar dates called 'tithi'.

So while DaddyDearest's 'D' anniversary will always be January 20th, according to the Hindu almanac, the tithi will always be Saraswati Puja.

Saraswati Puja will never be the same for me again. It's like I get to mourn him twice.

Last year, Saraswati Puja fell on February 8th and we held the first death anniversary rites for him. MaaJanoni and I didn't perform any puja for Maa Saraswati, since we wer so busy with the puja and yagna for DaddyDearest. The date also happened to coincide with my 10th wedding anniversary. Sigh...

So this year, I was actually celebrating Saraswati Puja for the first time since Baba passed away, viz, after two years.

I wasn't too well this year, so I got up late. It also happened to be my birthday the day before...

Anyway, I woke up and saw that my MIL and the SIL were already at work with the puja preps. I sat down with them and watched them decorate the puja thalis and the idol of the Goddess. I remembered I needed a garland for DaddyDearest's photograph. The MIM said he would get one for me.

Things seemeed normal enough. Had the boys take a bath and gear up in their ethnic wear. I bathed and dressed up in new togs given to me by the SIL the day before as a birthday present. As per tradition I made the boys put their school books in front of Maa Saraswati and called up MaaJanoni asking her to put the EO's guitar in front of the idol she had as I'd forgotten to bring it home with me. Out of force of habit as well as love for this tradition, I put some books and a pen in front of the Goddess too -- my Gitobithan (i.e. Tagore's book of songs), a notebook where I write poetry and my editor copy of 'Chicken Soup for the Indian Soul: On Friendship."

The flowers for DaddyDearest arrived and as I garlanded him I found my eyes watering, but to my immense surprise, I found that I didn't sob like I'd expected to and for some reason that just depressed me. Was I all cried out? Was I *shudder* used to his absence? Had I accepted the fact that the closest relationship that I would ever have with my father from now on would be with his photograph? Had my heart hardened?

While I pondered my lack of tears, the purohit arrived and the puja started.

When time came for the pushpaanjali, I helped distribute the flowers and showed the children how they should stand, holding the floral tributes in between their hands.. We started repeating the mantras as per the purohit's instructions but I already knew them by heart thanks to...thanks to...thanks to DaddyDearest and that's when they came -- the tears. They just started gushing out and I sobbed as quietly as I could so as not to distress the children and cast a pall of gloom on the rest of the family. Memories of the last two Saraswati Pujas came flooding to me as well as a very pictoresque memory of a piece of paper with myDaddyDearest's beautiful, almost Tagorean, Bengali handwriting. On that paper, along with a few other mantras, he had written the Saraswati vandana for me before I'd left for JNU. I could see that mantra in his handwriting so clearly in my mind.

It was a memory that had been tucked away in the corner of my mind and as I repeated those words that day, I couldn't help but see them float before my very eyes. And so my eyes spilled over, along with my heart, with memories remembered, words once oft-repeated on a daily basis and the face of a dearly departed.

The children of course caught on and they looked at me with such love, such tenderness and yes, even a kind of childish pity. When I finally sat down, my YO cradled my head to his chest and gently rocked me to-and-fro while kissing me repeatedly on top of my head.

I'll never forget this.

I'll never forget.


Thank God.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


My musical memories are many. Many, many, many. In fact, I associate different people and places with songs and melodies, not to mention occasions and events...

Childhood memories overflow with snapshots of DaddyDearest singing The Bro and me to sleep.
Then of course there's MaaJanoni and her lovely voice humming while cooking, or singing while simply staring at the rain outside the window while a powercut provides the perfect backdrop to her soulful renditions of Rabindrasangeet.
There's me studying for my ICSE late at night and into the wee hours of the morning;DaddyDearest's collection of Hindustani instrumental music surrounding me with peace and calm.
My happiest moments in school during my plus 2 revolve around the choir and inter-house music competitions.
My phool shojja.
Bedtime with the EO and YO.
Even my time with DaddyDearest in the hospital.

There are songs, melodies and lyrics that define these moments and so much more in my life.

Whenever I have found myself to be drowning in extreme excesses of emotion, I have noticed that Music has been my constant partner. Whether the depths of pain or the pinnacles of joy, the right notes have always cocooned me perfectly and like a feather I have floated through different worlds and sensations.

It is through Music that I know that I am truly alive.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Two Years...

My DaddyDearest,

Two years. Two years today.

You know, just a few days ago, a question popped into my head. I don't remember exactly what, but I'm sure it was something about music, or when you were a little boy, or when we were in America...they usually are. Yes, these questions suddenly pop into my head and when they do, my first thought, the absolute first thought that comes immediately, instantaneously, instinctively into my mind is, "Baba-ke call korey jiggesh kortey hobey." And then of course, it just as soon pours a bucket of ice cold water onto my head while simultaneously giving me a giant kick on my butt.

You see Baba, I still have questions that need to be answered. About you. About me. About our family. About us.

I still have things to share with you. About music. About food. About books and music. About your grandsons.

It's still so hard. So very, very hard. I still can't think about you without my heart hurting. I still can't talk about those twenty days in January without crying. I still can't listen to the music you loved and the singers you worshiped without sobbing loud, long and hard. Often, when I sing your grandsons the lullabies that you'd sing for The Bro and me, my voice cracks and I can't go on.

I still forget sometimes that you're not there anymore.

This afternoon, after MaaJanoni dropped me off on the street corner and I started walking towards home, I nearly froze in my tracks. I wasn't wearing my glasses, but I thought for second I saw you. I stopped and stared. The man walked closer...he wore glasses, had more salt than pepper hair and a nice big bald spot, wasn't too tall, not at all fat, shuffled along slowly, and walked with his hands clasped behind his back and a slight stoop. I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me and I started walking towards him in trance, almost expecting him to stop and say something. He wasn't as fair as you and wore his hair slightly longer than you, but as I finally focused on his face, I noticed that he wore a look of intense concentration just like yours. I almost said something to him just so that I could hear his voice and to see if he would have said something similar to what you would have said. Of course, me being me, I didn't say anything (I sooooo am your daughter), just gave him a half-smile instead. He looked back at me and continued walking...even his expression was similar to yours! I stood at the entrance to our house and kept staring at his back as he walked away. While there was a part of me that was disappointed that he didn't say anything, the other part of me couldn't get over his gait and just stood there drinking it all in.

You see, Baba? What I've become? A mad, crazy girl who expects random, old men to burst into words that you once spoke. A distraught, depressed daughter whose heart starts to beat rapidly because she's just seen a man old enough to be her father, walk her father's walk.

Really DaddyDearest, was it so necessary for you to go? Khub ki dorkaar chhilo?

I love you and always will. I miss you and I forever will. I'm broken and always will be.

Your devoted daughter

Thursday, January 19, 2012


"Hope in reality, is the worst of all evils because it prolongs the torments of man." Friedrich Nietzsche

Two years ago today, my father was having a bowel angioplasty.

Just twenty days before that, on Dec 31st, 2009, he had been through an ampulectomy to remove a tumour blocking his bile duct. While there were a few bumps and scares in the OT, the operation was successful and my DaddyDearest was recovering beautifully.

And then, suddenly, a week later, things started going terribly, horribly, frighteningly wrong. From a sudden heart attack to bouts on the ventilator to midnight calls from the hospital asking us to arrange for blood to spells on the ventilator to late night MRIs to an untraceable hemorrhage in the stomach to a lung infection contracted from the ventilator to shifts from one ICU to another...the two weeks that followed were a veritable journey through the different circles of hell.

January 18th was a terrible, horrible day with Baba on a frightening looking ventilator. His body, which had pared down to nothing but scars and bones, looked as if it was being slowly devoured by an alien, blood-sucking, octopus. Just before leaving the ICU at the end of visiting hours, I leaned over to him and said, as I had been saying everyday since his admission to the hospital, "My Daddy strongest." My weak, frail and pain-ridden father, who's eyes had remained closed the entire time we'd been there, lifted his right hand with super-human effort, looked straight into my eyes and gave me a thumbs-up. I think my heart broke just then. That one gesture filled me with infinite Pain...but also a fluttery, frail, gossamer Hope.

That night as well as the next day turned out to be full of infinite possibilities and Hope. The doctors decided to perform a bowel angio the next day to make a last ditch effort to trace and repair the tear in his stomach cavity...something that had refused to come to surface even after two emergency MRIs. 19th afternoon, while my mum, uncles and I were half-heartedly deciding what to have for lunch, I get an SMS on my phone -- the procedure had been successful! The doctors had located the tear and sutured it. My father's vitals were stable and he was recovering well. I think we all let out a whoop of joy and victory in the food court at Mani Square. We all let out our collective breaths which we'd been holding since day-break and finally recognised our hunger and gave in to it, talking animatedly amongst ourselves and yes, even laughing a bit.

That night, I felt so light and free. My father was going to be okay. He was going to be absolutely fine. He was going to come home soon. After all, not only had the tear been fixed, but his latest lung X-ray showed that he was responding to the medicines for the infection he had contracted from the ventilator.

The MIM tried to tell me to contain myself, but I snapped at him, telling him to let me be since I hadn't felt like that in a while.

Two years ago today, I was so many different kinds of hopeful.

The night of January 19th 2010, I was relaxed and chatty and full of positivity. I was all the colours of the rainbow. I was every song I had ever heard, I was a storehouse of unchained melodies. Oh yes, I had charged, full throttle, across the Land of Hope and was heading at full speed to the Continent of Hallelujah!

It was the wrong Hallelujah.

My beloved DaddyDearest died the next morning. He had a heart attack and there was a blockage somewhere in the heart. In an amazing display of irony and what-the-bloody-fuck, the injection that the doctors could give to clear the blockage would also burst open the suture from the angio performed fourteen hours ago.

I am wary of Hope. I don't let it excite me. I don't put an egg in its basket. I don't let it tinge me with stray blushes of pink. I don't let it tap dance within the range of my vision. I don't allow myself to be seduced by its siren song. No, no. Not anymore. Not ever again.

Hope is one helluva mind-f*****.

Friday, January 13, 2012

About My YO

I am so busy marveling at the similar interests that my EO and I share and going into rapturous ecstasy over his linguistic skills, that at times, I am guilty of over-looking my little one's growing oratory prowess.

Of course, being around the EO and The Nephew has made the YO quite the little chatterbox; he's not afraid to speak his mind, voices his opinions and puts into words just what he's thinking. He tries to copy their manner of talking and likes to use phrases and expressions that the elder boys throw about with such flippant ease. Their play-time together and pretend games have helped his imagination soar and he is also quite a charming and expressive story-teller in his own right. Their company has also accounted for his rather impressive vocabulary...replete with some of the wrong things too, unfortunately, but that is one of the hazards of little siblings hanging around elder ones...sigh...

However, I shall forget for a moment that in a voice loud, proud and clear as mountain water, he spelled out 'a very bad word' to my absolute horror and chagrin. I immediately asked him to spell 'school' and of course the look he gave me was as blank as my Class 9 Maths answer sheet.

But as I said, this is not about that. This is about the time when he was riding his scooty around the house, pretending to be a cool cat stuntman and then came to tell me that he almost banged into the two settees in the living room...

So my YO was riding his scooty around the house, pretending to be a cool cat stuntman when he suddenly charged into my room, full of excitement to tell me about the near and neat miss. "...and you know Mamma, so I wuz riding my scooty so coolly and so fastly when I almosht had an accident and I almost banged so hard into doze two twin brudders sitting over there."

"Huh?", said I, my mind going into stupid mode.

"Doze two twin brudders", he repeated for his poor, old and rather slow mother, pointing in their direction and laughing at his own cleverness.

When realisation dawned, I couldn't help but be awestruck at my little shrimp's imagination.

Sigh...perhaps BOTH my boys will be writers after all!

The EO is an avid quizzer. Already. GK is one of his favourite subjects and he actually enjoys reading kiddie encyclopaedia and 'Tell Me Why" books. This is another common passion that binds us together.

It was therefore a tremendous thrill for me when the YO, at yesterday's inauguration ceremony of the Apeejay Lit Fest, won a book for a sudden pop quiz that the emcee decided to hold as we waited for the Chief Guest to arrive.

The YO's class had been invited to perform at the opening ceremony of this three-year-old lit fest. They did an adorable dance to this very catchy song on reading. This was after the Chief Guest, tabla maestro Bickram Ghosh -- a musician I just happen to adore -- rapped out a story and a poem, told a few stories using rhythm and tabla bols, played on his cheeks (no, not butt cheeks and yes, really, really hard) and generally enthralled the young audience and charmed the young audience members' mothers as well.

But yes, before dear old Bickram arrived and did his playing and rapping and enthralling and charming, the emcee decided to have a pop quiz. I know, I already said that

Anyhoo, she made it really fun and asked questions like, "All the king's horses and all the king's men, couldn't put WHO back together again?" and "Where did the old woman with so many children live?"

Now as this was rather impromptu, the emcee sometimes forgot that she was addressing a bunch of four and five year olds, and would begin a question by asking, "How many of you have read Hans Christian Anderson?" Naturally she was met with silence. The same happened when she asked, "Do any of you read Enid Blyton?"

Ooof! Woman! They're just about reading number names and spelling out colours and differentiating between January and July! (however, here's a clever tip to keep a bunch of high-energy, excitable, noisy bunch of kids quiet -- ask them difficult quiz questions!)

So, whenever she was met with these spells of silence and puzzled faces, she'd quickly rephrase the question. So the Hans Christian Anderson one became, "Which pretty girl from a famous story by HCA, had an evil step-mother and two mean step-sisters?" and the Enid Blyton q became, "What was Big Ear's good friend's name?"

Many of you might remember that the YO was, once upon a time, hooked on Noddy and even had a Noddy themed birthday party two years ago. So as soon as he heard the name "Big Ears", my little shrimp just jumped up, threw his hand out in front of him with full force and screamed, "NODDY!" Of course there were a few others who also gave the right answer, but luckily the emcee saw my little boy and called him out to collect his prize.

My son was beaming and so was I. He beamed even harder when his Mamma answered a question correctly which was passed on to us after the children couldn't answer it. And his beaming got even brighter when he noticed from where he was sitting, that Mamma's prize included a couple of packets of his most favourite thing to eat -- biscuits!

We came back home yesterday, a beaming mother-son duo.

Sigh...perhaps BOTH my boys will be quizzers after all!

And of course it was the EO who pounced upon his brother's prize and finished reading it in two minutes, but hey, it was my YO who won it after all, naa?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Wishes for 2012

It's already Day 3 of a brand new year. 2012 is well and truly underway.

I wish you all the serenity of moonlit nights and the joy of chocolate souffle.
I wish you the peaceful moments of reflection, as quiet as the dawn and a cool calm to face those morning moments of madness.
I wish you beauty, I wish you love.
I wish you creativity.

Be bold. Be brave. Be beautiful. Be true.
Stay happy. Stay healthy. Stay hopeful. Stay you.