September 23, 2008

Thoughts at Thirty

At ten I thought I could conquer the world,
At twenty I thought dreams are meant to come true.
At thirty I think I know what reality means,
I can now smile at my dreams and work hard at my goals.

At ten I could not wait to be all grown up,
At twenty I thought youth is there to last forever.
At thirty I know the value of time and stop to enjoy the moment,
With inspiration from yesterday and eagerness about tomorrow.

At ten I tried to follow every word I was told,
At twenty I differed to almost everything I heard.
At thirty I am happy when I agree and proud when I disagree,
And I know how to balance my happiness with my pride.

At ten I thought good education will take me far,
At twenty I thought that a great career will take me farther.
At thirty I think patience will take me the furthest,
With patience on my side, everything else will follow.

At ten I took things for granted,
At twenty I wished things got granted.
At thirty I know I cannot take anything for granted,
And also know that I should not grant everything.

At ten I was happy with life,
At twenty I was excited about life.
At thirty I am looking forward to life,
To enjoy what I have and experience what is to come.

August 27, 2008

Twenty One months

Time just flies; the fact that I feel I just delivered but A is now twenty one months old just proves that. Yes she is a handful now, but to run behind her is a pleasure not to mention the money we save not needing to go to the gym! And she is an earful, she talks and talks and talks some more. I think I said I missed the baby but I love this toddler. Every day is packed with more fun, excitement and laughter.
She does a lot of things worth blogging about but the highlight so far is her talking…it out beats anything else she does. So here in her own words...

Me: Hello..A
A: Hey Mimi, what are-ya doing there? I am good how are you?
Me: I am ok; just a little….
A: Are you tired? Are you sleepy? Are you hungry? You want mamm mamm? Wait I will get for-ya. Are you full?
Me: I am fine..don’t worry. So what are you doing?
A: Changing Lili’s diaper. She has done aah.
Talking to Lili: Do you want to sit on the potty? No? You want to wear diaper?

Me: Shall we read a book?
A: Mimi rhymes book? I want nursery rhymes…I want Yankee Doooodle
Me: Okay Yankee Doodle….
A: comes to town..riding pooony, stuck feather in his kaap and called makaroni…lala….laaala
A: Is this Barney song?
Me: No its Yankee Doodle
A: No it is Barney song. I saw in TV in aunty’s house. It is Barney song.

(In the amusement park)
Me: Are you having fun A? Come let us sit on this ride.
A: No I don’t want. I am scared.
Me: Why are you scared? Are you not a brave girl?
A: No I am not a brave girl, I want to go home.

(When I am getting ready for work)
A: Mimi you are wearing this dress? It is looking very pretty. Shall I put button for-ya?
M: Thanks baby..I am ready.
A: Mimi shall I put this earring for-ya? It is very butiful.

(When I am busy in the kitchen and I suddenly realize everything is too quiet for comfort)
Me: A..what are you doing?
A: Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah…mimi I got scared.
(Comes running to get me) See…what I have done here.
(The carpet is filled with shredded cheese because she got a bright idea to eat it with a fork!)

(When we had ordered indian food home)
B: What is mimi doing?
A: Mimi is eating paneer. Paneer is mimi’s favorite.
B: What is your favorite?
A: Rice is my favorite. It is very yummy and tasty tasty.
B: What is appa’s favorite?
A: Appa’s favorite is Naan.

(Playing with a puzzle that my friend S gave her)
A: Idu S dodamma kotta. It is very nice. Amele…elephant kotta. Where is dodamma?
Me: She is in Texas.
(Next day she goes to the day care and they have a guest from Texas and they have mentioned it in front of her)
A: (She comes home) Dodamma come to aunty’s house

(Getting down from the car after shopping)
A: I will carry the bags.
Me: It is heavy A, I will carry it.
(Talking to B) We have to stop this habit of hers where she wants to behave like a big girl.
A: (Listening intently) Mimi I am a big girl.

(Story Time)
Me: Can you tell me a story?
A: One day….there was a lion. Ant came to lion and lion rooaaar.

Me: Idu ninge beka, bedava? (Do you want this or no?)
A: Bedava
Me: Oh kaalige yen aythu? Yelli gaaya aythu? (What happened to your leg, where did u get hurt)
A: NaLe….nambo… play madakkaaaaa….A keelzhe dum bidha panakkaaaa….appo kaal abbu maadide.

June 14, 2008

Hero

Nine months, from a tiny cell to a beautiful baby with the food and air and the shelter provided by mom. She felt her move, she felt her kick, and she grew with her from a girl to a mom. The love and bond between mom and child is as wonderful as it is for all these reasons.
He watched her grow from a tiny cell to a beautiful baby through his wife’s belly and the work of his imagination. He smiled when she moved and leapt when she kicked and grew from a boy to a hero to be. If the love between dad and child can be as special as it gets, what can the reasons be?
A friend, a guide, a man with his arms always open for you, a talker, a listener, a critic always setting you in the right path, a clown, a joker, a man who laughs with you, a healer, a solver, a man who wipes your tears, a comforter, a protector, a man who is always there for you.
Every day is yours, but we never stop to mention just how much you mean. So on this day,
to all the dads, the real hero of every child…..and especially to the ones in my life…..A very Happy Father’s Day!

March 14, 2008

Waiting for Lili..


We ordered a doll for A over the internet and we have all been eagerly waiting for her arrival. Lili is what the manufacturers call her and since A picked up the name right away thats what we are going to call her too. A has had just one other doll, a very small baby doll. Thanks to our concern that she should not become a typical girl only playing with dolls and house sets, she never had too many girly stuff. She has a lot of soft toys, animal figures, books, learning toys...but never a cute little doll. We began to notice that she has started enjoying dressing up, noticing her clothes, feeling happy when somebody said she looked cute and wearing bindi and bangles, so we decided its finally time to buy her a doll. A has been seeing her picture everyday since a week and telling us that Lili will come home 'Appromma' (Later in tamil). So finally she
is arriving today...(I think I am going to hug the guy who will deliver the parcel).

March 5, 2008

Memory Teasers

I have been having a tough time with my memory ever since I got pregnant. All the books I read and people I spoke to claimed that this is a common thing during pregnancy. So I just brushed it aside and just made fun of it. But now in my 16th month post-pregnancy, I still struggle to remember things. I am doing a little better these days trying to get more organized in a (ahem) ‘mature’ way with the help of tools like Google Calendar. And this is why the article in this month’s Reader’s Digest caught my attention; ’Memory Tricks You Won’t Forget’.
Here are my favorite tricks from that.

1: How do you remember names?

Trick: Pay attention and visualize the name and create memorable associations.

I am introduced to my new colleague, Bobby Sawyer. First I listen to his name attentively and then I start visualizing…. Rishi and Dimple singing..Hum tum (tara rumpumpumpum) ek kamare mein banda ho…..
Now every time I meet him in the hallway I exclaim “Hey Bobby, how is it going?” and my mind goes tara rumpumpumpum….and he exclaims “You always look so happy when I see you”.

2: How do you remember where you last kept something?
Trick: When keeping something always remember to tell yourself loud and clear that you are keeping it there.

I get back home and as I am entering I remind myself, to remind myself while keeping the key about where I am keeping it. Somehow reminding myself two times seems to work!

3: What else did I have to do today?

Trick 1: Use your body parts to remember things when you don’t have a paper or pen to make a list.

I have forgotten the Indian grocery list at home (nothing new) so I call B and ask him to dictate the list while I am driving. I go into the store and I try to remember what I need to get.
Head – Nuts
Hair – Cilantro (Remembering being teased a lot of times as ‘Nindu jutta illa kotambri katta’('Is that your ponytail or a bunch of coriander leaves') ,
Shoulders (Bhuja in Kannada) – Bhujia
Hands - Haldi (Turmeric) and Chandan(Sandalwood) (Remembering Vicco turmeric....nahi cosmetic)
Fingers – Okra
Butt - Battani (Peas)
Legs - Legumes

Trick 2: Roman Technique – In this method you associate your grocery or party invite list or to-do list with the rooms of your house or route to work, etc.
A task list for a day at work

Entrance - Enter the latest code changes for testing.
Closet – File papers in hanging folders.
Living Room – Attend a meeting for deciding a date for the project going Live.
Kitchen – Meet a colleague for coffee to talk about what is cooking in the office.
Dining – Book a conference room for a lunch meeting.
Bathroom – Update the release document.
Guestroom – Finish up the user manual when pretending to be busy when there are unwanted guests in your cube.
Bedroom – Manager has a meeting between 2 and 3, best time for a nap.
Backyard - Prepare stratergical explanations for back-logs.

4: What is my password?
Trick: Rhyme the numbers with words

To remember a password of 2349 I tried this

Who (Two)
said my memory (Three)
is not more (Four)
than fine (Nine).

February 25, 2008

40 weeks of you

These weeks were some of the best in my life,
With the feeling of housing a tiny life,
With the joy of meeting a part of me,
With all the excitement of a mother-to-be.

You gave me energy that I never had,
Nothing ever seemed too bad.
I was absolutely in love with life,
It felt like walking in someone else’s shoe.

I sang and my listener moved,
I danced and my partner kicked,
I ate and my buddy did a somersault,
I was never alone, and that gave me a confidence like never before.

My tastes were different as can be,
My reactions were strangers to me.
I could carry myself in anything,
I could make myself not worry about a single thing.

I have often wondered if I was being you,
Is that how you are going to grow up to be?
Whatever it is I can tell you so,
I totally enjoyed the 40 weeks of you.

February 14, 2008

Flying through Changes

We moved into our new home about eight months ago; we have a pretty cozy nest going here. My partner and I live together here with our 4 kids. With the numerous changes that have come over this place, many of our friends and family have left the city and moved to greener pastures. But we are more the city types, we enjoy watching all the activities that go on through the day and the food- it is really hard to even think of moving away from this variety. What else do we birds need anyways?

I have been having a lot of time on my claws these days as the kids have been learning to fly and hunt for food from their father. I don’t have to go too far for food as we live in one of the trees in the backyard of a house, so there is always plenty of food that comes from the house. Earlier when we lived on trees near a house we always knew when they were cooking something, the aromas never failed to get us prepared. Now we rarely get those aromas, we know when something is cooking when we here strange sounds, it goes something like bee-eeeeep.

When I was little and stayed with my parents, the house next to our nest was filled with fun kids. They came out everyday and sang and danced and played all kinds of games. I never had a boring evening back then, I had so much fun watching them and trying to imitate them once they were back in. The kids in the house now hardly come out; I still see them through the window though. They are always perched upon a large seat staring at something; I never have figured what it is they keep looking at. But they are boring and being a bad influence on my kids!

My cousin runs an association for the safety and protection of our community, and she was telling me that we should start looking out for safer homes. Cities are no longer safe for us, she has told me, and I agree with her. I have myself seen so many of our friends fly back home to find their homes have come down to the street. That is why we ourselves moved from one of the street trees to a tree in a home. Usually we were chased away in a few days by the home owners earlier, but we are having luck on our side these days. They never seem to look up to see that there is a nest in their backyard!

February 5, 2008

Before and After - a Baby

Before: When we went to restaurants and the food arrived, we would relish it and eat it slowly in between a long conversation.
After: When we go to restaurants and the food arrives, we first keep aside a portion that is tried and tested to be less spicy for her, gobble the food up real fast and beam over her in between.

Before: When we got back home from work, it was lazy evenings in front of the TV, cooking together recipes from a cookbook or Chinese take-outs.
After: When we get back from work, it is energy filled running around controlling the mischief like switching on and off the TV continuously, quick meals with less spice keeping her in mind.

Before: On weekends bright sunlight awakened us sometime mid morning.
After: On weekends bright eyes and a smile lit face awakens us early morning.

Before: Most outings were impromptu; we decided now and were out of the door in 30 minutes.
After: We plan outings in advance; when we are adventurous we decide now and the plan is out of the door in 30 minutes.

Before: We grumbled about going to birthday parties and when we did go to a few we would be the first ones to eat and leave.
After: We get excited to see birthday invites; plan her dress in advance and are the last ones to leave as she is having so much fun.

Before: Friday nights were dinner at a restaurant and a movie at the cinema.
After: Friday nights are dinner at home and a movie on our laptop in our room to aid us to sleep in the middle of it.

Before: Conversations over the phone with family was about us, our progress at work, fun things we did on the weekend.
After: Conversations over the phone with family is about her, her progress, the fun with her, and all this only when we get a chance to speak over the phone after her.

Before: Days could be categorized as happy days, sad days, boring days, eventful days and so on.
After: Days can only be categorized as Fun days.

February 1, 2008

Fun at One

A (my baby) has started stringing 2-3 words together to make sentences. I thought I will capture all the baby talk and her funny ways to communicate before it turns into little toddler sentences.

Let me start with my favorite, what is your name and she says Anana. If she wants something she pats her chest and says Anana.

She knows two numbers. How old are you and she shoots up her index finger. And if you ask how many of anything are there, she says t-ree, with her index and middle finger wrapped together.

She has given me a new name, mi-mi. Don’t know how this started, she just came up with it one day (maybe its something to do with B referring to me as mommy to her). She also calls me amma at times, but it is mostly mi-mi, and if she is trying real hard to convince me about something it is mi-mi-ma.

If she feels a lot of love for someone, and she wants to express it she adds her name to ours, like, mi-mi-nana (that is mi-mi + anana) or appa-nana.

She was gifted the same kind of teddy bear by two people, so my parents told her that they were twin teddies and named them Ina and Mina. She calls out to them all the time as Ina-Mina as though its one word.

Her first animal sound was inney for neigh. When it started all farm animals said inney and we listened to it all day when she pointed to a pig, a horse, a cow and everything. Now she has added meow-meow, bow-bow and moo to her vocab.

She now knows how to communicate so that she gets what she wants. Like when we are asking her to finish up her dinner while we are eating ours, and she wants to tell B that she rather eat what is on his plate she says, appa mamm mamm. If B looks up at her to say what about my food, she pats herself and says anana.

She calls all kids ‘baby’ irrespective of their age. She is the youngest at her day care home and calls all the other kids baby. A few days after she started her day care, I asked her what do all the babies tell you at the day care, she pulls her cheeks with her hand and says, baby,baby much to my amusement!

She loves to ask for kisses (abba in her language), she points to her cheeks and says mi-mi abba.

She loves to talk over the phone to her thatu, tapi (she cant say pati), amamma, thata and her aunt (whom she calls by name!) She does a lot of pretend talk with her toy phone, and paces the room when she is talking. (We realized that is how B and I talk over the phone!)

Who says you cannot play Dumb Charades at 14 months. We had just blown candles and cut a cake when celebrating an occasion recently, after which she loved licking the icing. I put the whole cake away from her sight and started feeding her a piece I had cut. It did not have any icing and she did not like it. She tried to tell us something, but could not find the cake to point to. So she enacted the whole scene of blowing the candles and licking the icing to tell us she what she wants.

She knows what a restaurant is and gets all excited when we tell her we are going to one. When in a Chinese restaurant once, she kept nodding to the waitress indicating she wants food, when she realized that she is not understanding, she took her cheerios cup and showed it to her and said cup tappathi anana. Anything edible and circular is tappathi (chappathi) in her language, until she heard me tell naan at an indian restaurant last night. Every time the waiter came to fill our water glasses she called out her newly learnt word naan.

If she finds a book or a newspaper she pretends to read it and says, Ae-Eee or Ae-B.

She can understand 3 languages, thanks to the fact that I speak to her in Kannada, B speaks to her in Tamil and she is spoken to in English at the day care. It is amazing how kids learn at this age; though people told us we are burdening her with 3 languages she seems to treat it like second nature. When she talks she mixes all the 3 like mimi ba(come in kannada), baby tutam(water in tamil).

She absolutely loves the songs of the movie jungle book, and keeps walking on all her four limbs to imitate the elephants and mowgli march and sings akung akung.

Birds

We spent the last weekend in a cottage on a bay amidst water and wilderness. The scenery was beautiful and the whole experience very relaxing. But amidst all that I was enlightened about something. Birds! There were a lot of birds that came in front of the cottage to peck on the bird seeds we had scattered. There was one bird that caught our attention the most, the northern cardinal. The color of its feathers was a beautiful red and it looked by far the most attractive amidst the others. Not being very knowledgeable about birds, I took the help of a book at the cottage to identify some. And here I found a very interesting fact. The female specie of the northern cardinal looks a lot different and has dull brown feathers. As I looked through the pictures in the book it so appeared that the males of most kinds were far more attractive than their female counterparts. Well maybe this was well known, but I had no clue about it. And then I thought, of course peacock and peahen, duh!!

January 14, 2008

Taare....a star

B and I watched a hindi movie this weekend after a long time. “Taare Zameen Par”, yes we loved it. I guess it is popular enough for everybody, so I will spare you from the details of the movie itself. Beautiful subject and even beautifully made, totally enjoyed watching a movie like this. I think I am going to get hooked onto watching movies again.
In the process we discovered that our baby (I think I should start referring to her as something else soon) sleeps undisturbed when we watch a movie in the same room.
B cannot refuse to sit with me to watch an indian movie as I can quote this movie as an example when he says noooooooooooo.
I wept when the song ‘Maa’ played, much to B’s amusement, but what the…even Advani has cried watching this movie!

Give away?

After becoming a mother I have wondered how parents give away their babies to a stranger. I am amazed by how determined they can be to accept something like this or how desperate the situation can be to take such a bold step.
Maybe my thoughts are too shallow to wrap my arms around something like this as I am an extremely possessive mom. (So much so that I did not call a day care provider who had advertised “I will be a mother for your child”. My thoughts: Hello a mother? Am I not alive and kicking?)
No situation can be judged unless you are in it, so my comments here are only a personal opinion. But still….

When I was doing my masters at a university in the US, I met a girl in the bus. She looked Indian, but when I heard her speak she had too strong an American accent, so I assumed she was an ABCD (if I may). It was her first day in school and she wanted me to show her where the library was so we walked into the campus together. When we introduced ourselves, she threw an American name at me and I was a little surprised and curious and had all these Whats and Whys in my head. She made it easy for me when she said “Are you from India, I am originally from there too, which part of India are you from?” When I said Bangalore, her eyes almost popped out and she said “That is where my birth parents are, I was adopted and got here by my parents”. And in the next few minutes described all that she knew about her birth parents, that they were construction workers, that they spoke kannada, and her original name was something else and her American parents did not remember what it was. She said that she had joined school to be able to study and earn enough to go to India and find her birth parents.

I felt really sad for her, here was a na├»ve girl who hardly knew anything about her birth parents and she had dreams of going to a far off place called Bangalore (all she knew is she needed a lot of money to go there), and find her parents who are construction workers. How easy can that be? What an irony that her parents probably got tempted with this offer when they thought their daughter can go to “Amrica” and be a well educated person, when the daughter’s sole reason to enter college after her high school was to make enough money to go to India to meet them.

Maybe I spoke to her on a day when she got all emotional on hearing the word Bangalore and she is fine and is like any normal person of her age. But she continues to haunt me to this day, hope she is happy where she is.

January 2, 2008

Happy 2008!

The New Year is perceived to bring changes, but what changes do you notice when you wake up on the 1st? You are exactly in the same situation as yesterday, as last year and nothing has seemed to change.
In my opinion, the New Year is like a podium, an opportunity to pause from the routine and rise up from your current situation and make that change you have been wishing to make everyday. The change may be something really small or life changing, but the will to make it is what counts. And now when you finally decide to make that change you are not alone, as a lot of people are doing the same. There is a lot of positive vibe in the air, and that goes a long way when you need that extra push.
I think everybody needs a day every now and then to pause and recharge their life. A day to do a status check and see if things are going the way they are supposed to. I think it helps a lot to do this; it has always helped for me.
For those who have had a fabulous time last year, hope this new one is going to be yet another. As you have been soaring high, continue to soar higher!
For those who have been victims of a storm, hope all those bitter memories are now left as learning experiences in your mind. Hope not a minute of your new year is wasted feeling remorse, hope your good days start now and never end.
Happy New Year to everybody, build your dreams today and see them turn into reality through this year!