Monday, June 30, 2008

Shortlived hobbies, passions... call it what you will...shortlived sure they are!

One such hobby was Glass painting. I gave it up after I found out that glass paints release fumes which may not be good for the developing baby inside the womb. And am sure it will be a couple of years more before I pick up another glass to paint!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Celebrating birthdays

My baby turned one last Wednesday and what a nice day it turned out to be. Initially, we were not sure whether we really wanted to "celebrate" the 18th as her birthday. Back home, we (my side of the family) celebrate only the "star birthday" (the day when same star/planetary position occurs as it was on the day of the birth as per the lunar calendar). I'm not sure how hubby got the same idea into his mind - but good for me and my ideals! Anyway, this year, her "star birthday" is coming on the 5th of July. And that's when the Ayush homam is scheduled too. So what to do on the 18th? We didn't want it to be a non-event.

At the end, we decided to do what everybody does! Hold a small party for all the neighbourhood kids with games and such.

To start with, I began the day with applying "nalangu" to my little one. I remembered my mom religiously follow this ceremony for us on our birthdays, diwali and such. We felt so special at those moments. Wanted Baby Rabbit to feel the same as well. And what better time than her first birthday to start following this tradition?

At first, I wasn't sure what exactly to do! I searched the net looking for how to do nalangu - and at every page, I came across the same thing - the playful activities they do at marriage/wedding ceremonies. Nobody seems to talk about the "birthday nalangu"! I chided myself, took the phone and called my sis. After making her repeat the Telugu song that my mom used to sing while applying the nalangu on our feet a couple of times, I felt confident enough to do it on my own. Of course, you may ask why all this nervousness for a simple activity? Well, its not simple at all - not if you are trying to lay down a tradition to follow that does not exist in your in-laws place. And think! I had to "perform" before them - and do it with total confidence at that. My mother in law is a kind of person who can easily spot a phony/weak from miles away and make them her prey (wow! that rhymes... and I hope my husband doesn't read this post! gee!).

You will be releaved to hear that the Nalangu went amazingly well. Thanks to my daughter for pretending to be totally engrossed with what I was doing to her feet. Couldn't resist capturing those little feet on photo. Here they are...

In case you are wondering who is the big feet, thats her father. You can't apply nalangu sitting only one person. It's customary to have two people sit side by side (like an oppu ku chapan we keep in games I guess! hehe!).

After nalangu, it was time for hot oil bath for the princess followed by her favorite breakfast. Then on to couple of temples for the archanais. Then a furious round of shopping for party hats, decos, whistles, return gifts, game prizes, eatables, etc, etc. The entire afternoon went away in a blink trying to decorate the veranda and gift packing the "return gifts".

The party was a big hit. The kids enjoyed it loads and kept pestering us to organize more games for them. They were even willing to sing and dance to get the gifts! All in all, couldn't have asked for a better birthday for my baby.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Giving birth to Hippo kutti/Baby Rabbit

My baby turned one this Wednesday and I am not able to believe how quickly the past year has gone by! I still remember the agonizing days during the end of my term – how we (me, mom, sis, dad, hubby, curious neighbors... seemed like the entire world!) all waited anxiously for me to get just a tinge of pain. Day after day, nah make that minute after minute, my mom used to enquire “have you got pain?”, “Is your back paining?”, “Do you think you should take hot water bath to bring on the pain?” ... so on and so forth. I used to get so furious and had to consciously try to talk myself out of the red rage that I could foresee erupting. Poor mom – she was as eager as me to get the baby out. Perhaps even more – the umbilical cord connection between me and her never severed I think :) I am after all the younger kid and she was full of “can you bear the pain, my poor kid... Can you this, can you that... I pray to god...”

To continue with the tale... The due date given by the doc was the 4th of June. But we were kind of hoping that the baby could come out a little sooner – maybe on June 1st. Then somebody would sure have become overjoyed to have his daughter share his birthday. But alas! June 1st came and went and there was no sign of labor or even false pain!! So did June 4th. The trips to gynac became more regular – she was one kind old lady. I can almost say that I fell in love with her during those times – her kind words, encouragement, and not to forget unconventional advices like “Drink warm milk with two spoons of castor oil – am sure that will loosen up those muscles and bring on some pain”. Don’t be shocked with that last statement! I did drink that concoction – it went in smoothly enough with no side effects whatsoever (I have a stomach of steel!). But no pain. Not for castor oil, not for jeera kashyam, not for the dizzying walks on the terrace. Seemed like the baby did not want to budge an inch. Ha! That reminds me... Those continuous monitoring of the baby’s movements to ensure everything is alright. Man, that was a scary thing. One hour goes by, the baby is motionless and boom! all sorts of nonsense thoughts enter your mind... But never mind, let’s get back on track.

The days went really slowly. Each day, I used to wake up and think “yes, today shall be the day... I just need to concentrate and visualize going into labor – then its sure to start...” But however hard I wished or visualized, nothing seemed to happen. It was so hard - so mentally taxing. Nothing to do at home, no life or death emails, no colleagues in desperate need of help, no friends to chat with (they were all busy at office being needed by their colleagues I suppose!)... it's a surprise I didn't go mad at that time. And guess what? I naturally had to resort to bad moods and yelling at people. Even raising a hand or two at my poor nephew for his constant "running around" and "creating choas". But I do need to really thank them - my neice and nephew. Come three-thirty, they were there at my house straight from school, uniform, tiffin box and all.... to ensure their chithi is ok and to see if their little cousin had come out yet. My first kids they were and shall always be so in my mind. I have them to thank for my sanity today. Perhaps exagerrated a little but true enough.

Inevitably, a day came when the doc said it’s too risky to prolong anymore. It’s time for forcing it out!! That did not seem like a kind thing to do to the baby inside but hey what the heck, no amount of cajoling, sweet talk or threats seemed to change Hippos kutti’s mind. Yes, that’s what we used to call her – Hippo kutti and later Baby Rabbit. My clever hubby’s idea! No prizes for guessing how the first name came about! I had bloated up worse than the aunty in Harry Potter!

So after seeing good dates, once in the Tamil calendar, and again in Kannada calendar (my mother in law didn’t want to be left out in the decision making for the future progeny of her family!), we decided to wait till “amavasai” or “no moon day” passed in both the calendars. Got admitted to the hospital the early morning of 17th June 2007. I felt so alive, so eager... I was like “yes, this is it, this baby can’t say no to the doc, it’s got to come out at least now”. I climbed onto the examining table with aplomb only to climb back down just as quickly when the nurse on duty chided me for wearing my pants! Gee, I didn’t realize :D. And then my nightmare began. Internal examinations, preparations for labor... and all the other gory-sounding things (they are not really that gory I guess). How I hated the internal examination procedure – I used to literally start shivering and go all tight from head to toe the minute I spotted the nurse/doc approaching me with glove-clad hands! Anyway...

After all the initial checks and the final conclusion from the head nurse on duty that “it still hasn’t opened up enough down there”, they decided to invite me inside the labor ward. Wow, that’s a privilege – for a woman who was nowhere near labor :) So there I was, smiling bravely looking forward to the next steps... I followed the nurse inside the labor room and dummmmmmmm! I stopped dead. WHAT WAS THAT? SOMEBODY IS BLEDDING ALL OVER THE TABLE INSIDE... Mind you, I am not afraid of blood neither am I afraid of seeing the delicate things in life like a baby coming out. In fact, I would quiet like to witness this amazing thing. But what about the other lady on the table? Perhaps she would mind a stranger gawking at her... ahem! With an irritated expression, the nurse turned back and realized I was not following her anymore! With a tch, tch, she led me to another entrance where this time fortunately there was no delivery happening at the doorstep!

Bring it on guys. I can handle injections, I can handle trips, I can handle swallowing medicines (not big ones though please, I puke at the sight of them)... bring it on I say. Bring it on they did. Oh boy, did they bring it on. First, they hooked me up to saline water... alright that was just a prick on my wrist. Then the stupid assistant nurse got the vein wrong and had to find the right one. Ok, I can tolerate that for the sake of her education. No problem. Now, did you find the right one? Ouch... What the heck, that’s not my wristttttttt! Fortunately, my kind doc walked in just at that moment and rescued me from anymore unnecessary piercings! “Time for some shots – but don’t worry ma, we will give it through the saline water. But make sure you monitor the baby’s movements and pain level every second”. Ok, I can do that. Alls well that ends well or so I thought. After some four hours of enduring the slower than the snail pace of saline trips, I decided its not going to work. Whatever medicine they used to start the labor pain/contractions is not working. I still did not get a single contraction! The doc came in, did the dreaded thing again and decided to move me to the normal ward. Off I went, shame-faced this time. Maybe, they can try once more? Alright just once more, one more shot... a little more powerful medicine this time. Back to the labor ward, back on the table, back on the saline trips. This time, I did get few contractions. Ya, there, right there I can feel it... It is pain at last! Eureka! Wow, god, I love you! You decided to give me the pain after all... hey wait... it seemed to be going away. Come on, don’t desert me, my pain... Come on... :( It did not listen. I lay there in the labor ward, saline dripping, hoping for the pain with all my heart...

Meanwhile, there was this lady on the next table who was going into full labor. I had such fun watching the nurses running around, the doc commanding for this and that... and the lady shouting weird stuff :) The best moment was at the end – when the baby was almost out (I was watching from the sideways and the curtains were covering her table partially so unfortunately I could not see the miracle of birth but I did hear it!) – and the mom screamed “I don’t want the baby, pls take it away, I can't bear the pain” and the doc snapped, “this is 10 months too late, you should have thought of this on the “D” night” hahaha! That was fun. The surrounding nurses quickly whisked away the new born, and all I could see from my horizontal postion on my table were just some hands and white cloths! I was so jealous of that lady. Why cant I get the same pain??? So unfair....

to be continued...

Edited to add: Continued here

Friday, June 6, 2008

Click, The Photo Event and Helping Bri

CLICK is a monthly theme-based food photography contest hosted by Jugalbandi. Each month, entries will be invited based on a culinary ingredient or concept.

This month’s theme is: YELLOW for Bri. Yellow is the colour of hope. Through the work of the LiveStrong Foundation, it has also come to signify the fight against cancer. Bri is Briana Brownlow @ Figs With Bri. Bri was diagnosed with breast cancer two and half years ago. A mastectomy, chemotherapy and two years of relatively good health later, the cancer is back.

The team organising the JUNE edition of CLICK at Jugalbandi has also organised a fundraiser to help Bri and her family meet her out-of-pocket medical costs for ONE YEAR.

The Click entries can be viewed here. The deadline for entries is June 30, 2008. The fundraiser will extend until July 15, 2008.

You can support this campaign by donating to the fundraiser, by participating in CLICK: the photo event, and by publicising this campaign.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

For old times sake

Why do i keep going back?
I do feel reluctant to let go of the six-odd years of efforts and identity. Maybe I have been hasty. But I do not regret the decision. At the same time, there are a few out there who still seem to be passing through these pages on their way to Mount Everest. For those, maybe a small clue will help. If they are persistent that is. And it goes without saying they need to have a few working neurons and glials.

Do leave me a comment when you chance upon the new me next time. So that I can realize am not so kewl.

And I am talking about this. Making it extra apparent for best friends who become stupid overnight.
Melange-Wisdom of uncertainty

Of old age…

Hmm, where do I start? Should I begin with the mild ache and stiffness of my knees that I experience almost every day these days? Or maybe I should talk about those svelte lean girls with their high ponies getting the better of the attention all the time? Or perhaps the longing thought for a strenuous trek in the Himalayas that is always followed by a reluctant realization that maybe that won’t be possible at all in a few year’s time? Old age is approaching and it seems to be in the fifth gear. Scary. Very scary.

What happened to those days of riding like a mad woman on a motorcycle by the Marina beach? I remember the various friends who were gifted to sit behind me plead with me at various instances “Will you please slow down… We don’t want to get killed now, do we?” and a confident me replying “Come on di, we have a long way to go and trust me, nobody knows riding or this scooter more than me”. The carefree times of youth when we thought nothing can get us down. The high of risking it, which can come only with utter confidence that nothing is going to happen to you. Ya, maybe a mosquito might bite you but nothing worse than that. Come on.

But now, a slow realization is dawning on me. Having witnessed painful incidents, both as a stranger in the road as well as a best friend, I know how fickle the life as we know it is. It can change in a moment’s notice and how. From a secure cherished kid, life can sometimes cruelly make you an orphan overnight. I’ve seen one of my friends go through this and I must admit that it left its mark on me as well. I can still recall uncle lying in the easy chair with a cup of coffee in his hand, inviting me inside his house, “va, va, ava ippo vanduduva, she will come any minute now”.

And as days fly back, this only seems to be getting more and more reiterated. Take, for example, the other day….. when hubby and I was going to the office as usual. Oh, what that’s crowd, enquired the ever-curious me. We even parked our vehicle at a distance and got down to investigate further. What a gory sight. A young fella, mind you he was not a single bit drunk. And neither was he a speed-crazy college-goer. But it was over, his life. In a moment of a wrong decision.

At home, I can see the MIL becoming more tired every day. The lady who used to wake up at 5 in the morning and keep going till 11 in the night with not a single break, seems to now prefer lying down all the time. Even my mom. And my pop. They are growing older and older before my eyes and I can see they are losing it.

My own body….. the invincible one that I thought it to be. Aches and stiffness. Definitely signs of old age. Scary. Very scary.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Indian Mommies

Yet again, I discover a whole new world of amazing blogs out there. This time, they are mommy blogs. And I have fallen hopelessly in love. With them and my new role as a mommy. Here I come...

The first thing to do ofcourse is to re-design my blog to suit my new status. So bear with my little experiments, widgets, and all the Web2.0 compliance attempts (if you can call it that!!).

New beginnings

Sometime back, this blog had a different name, different look and a lot many different stuff. But after a particularly sensitive post and its consequences, I decided to move to a slightly more anonymous identity. I do not want people to call me up after reading my posts and enquire "oh poor thing, are you really lonely? what happened? did he... blah blah blah". However well-intended they are.

I am a very private person emotionally and I see this blog as a place where I can express myself freely without the usual need for appearances, etiquette, and all that crap. And when a friend called up after reading this post, I really freaked out! I decided then and there that my blog needs to go underground and disappear from the vision of friends, family and acquaintances. Unless ofcourse I end up asking my hubby or best friend to visit my blog after composing a post I am proud of!

So, here's to new beginnings! A drop of wisdom is born and I hope it gives me more freedom..... to rant, rave and reel :)

Monday, June 2, 2008


Remember the game of Statue that we used to play while we were kids? When you are supposed to stand still without even batting your eyes...When desperately try not to move and fervently pray you don’t get a sneeze or a scratch? This is Statue that I am playing with myself – am holding still without batting my eyes – and while at that, am taking a look at my life...

  • It feels exhilarating to start all over again. And its seems to be happening at the right time in my life
  • I am almost jobless at work and yet content for the time being
  • And life at the personal front has just settled down - my baby is going to turn one any day now and I have resigned myself to the way of life i have chosen
  • Leaving the baby at home and going to work almost kills me, especially when I see her trying to wave me tata every morning with tears in the corner of her eyes
  • I have become a mom and it feels like I have won the world. I want to spend more time with my baby but the pressures of life makes me keep moving without stopping for a even a thinking minute lest I realize something and take decisions that are not conducive to the situation am in
  • After all, what would I do if I quit work and sit at home?
  • Yes, there is baby, but what about me? What about the nice big house I want with the beautiful garden of my dreams? What about the car? What about the amazing life I plan to give my daughter?
  • Nah, quitting work is not an option. Not anymore. Never was.
  • But will baby grow up learning the right things? What about my role as a mom?
  • Friends….. a word that I don’t utter these days. All my friends are back in Chennai and with my decision to move in the name of studies, career and marriage, perhaps I have forever foregone those wonderful souls that were around whenever I wanted them to be.
  • Husband – ya, I am getting there. Nagging wife, loving wife, 2 year wife, numerous google searches, vetti time spent on ivillage reading all those self-help, how-to articles! Long way to go!
  • Family – And by family hear I mean my amma, appa and my akka. And of course my niece and nephew. They are the real family to me. And how I miss them. Time is flying by so fast and before I realized it, my sister’s baby has grown up to a big girl. The baby that I held in my arms straight out of her mother’s womb (alright little exaggerated there!). Will I ever get those days back?
  • I wish…. I wish so many things that I do not have the courage to utter out loud. I wish so many things…
  • So many things……
  • And I'm writing my blog in a bulleted list!!!!!!!!!!!