28 May, 2011

Aunty Mat Kaho Naa :(

It's a given that if you have some much-loathed extra baggage (read fat or lard depending on how coarse you want to be) and are toting around a kid you MUST be an AUNTY!!
Well, this aunty attracted the attention of another kid who clearly doesn't have a diet chart anywhere on the horizon. This child wanted to tell me that MLM had taken her badminton racquet. The object was returned post-haste much to MLM's distress.

The chubby chicklet then felt bad for telling on MLM and started following us around to join in playing with us. She and MLM played on the slide, on the ground and she unbent enough to tell me that she knew that there were different types of birds (crows clearly did not qualify in the line-up) and she wanted to spell it out for me.

She then wanted to exchange girlish confidences and started talking about the magic rope she shared with her daddy :) I hope it was a metaphor for a good time else am quite puzzled by what that's supposed to actually stand for...

But a genial kid she was and am sure I'll have to attend more spelling bees when I see her in the park again :)

26 May, 2011

The Indulgences of The Maternal Uncle's House..

erm...yeah..I know..it's quite a mouthful of a blog title and out of the blue it seems to not really make much sense. There should be some context, shouldn't there?

Well, there is indeed! Taken in Bangla, the title makes mucho sense. A Mama (or the maternal uncle) is the person whose house the grandparents are usually supposed to be found in. Grandparents mean heap loads of love, abundance of everything good and basically a total and nearly complete immunity from rules, regulations and of course, parental glares and edicts *smiles*

This is the first time that MLM and I are staying with my folks purely for fun. Earlier there were family functions et al and not enough time was found for my son to reveal the full gamut of his monkeyness to his grandparents- or to me  come to think of it.

Apart from becoming more expressive he started by getting the lay of the land as it were. He did a thorough recce a few minutes after we arrived and then proceeded to go and grab and mark as his own, most things which spoke to him. That I was usually scurrying after him didn't deter him much. If he needed me off his case, he simply called to his henchmen (aka my parents) and I was told to clear the way for the king of the land.

And kid is kingg in this case! The kitchen, bathrooms, the balcony, the birds in the sky, the planes he spies flying overhead, the occasional street dog, the maid servant, the cars, the driver (let me know when I should stop with my recital...) all have his patronage and he favors them with his smiles, the thumps of his hands and his incessant babble. Not speaking complete or coherent sentences doesn't stop him much (read AT ALL!!).

And into this mix, add my extended family, my parents classmates of old and of course Red (whom he saw after 17 loooong days), his new red tricycle, the neverending bubbles, the mini cars and gasp gasp, pant-puff..and the offspring is truly in his element and blossoming more every day.

For the record, this child hasn't faced this kind of humidity before and neither is he being kept in an airconditioned bubble. But he's happy and his happiness cools him a lot more effectively than the ac can. Although he doesn't hesitate to drag me by my hand/clothes towards the bedroom and say imperatively, "Mamma AAYCHEE!!". Nor does he mind declaring happily, "THANNA (thanda)", when he enters an airconditioned room and is soothed :)

And where does the maternal uncle come in finally in the whole tale? Well, since the maternal uncle is symbolic of summer fun and bonding with far-off relatives I guess the symbolism has been understood good and proper!
I used to look forward to summers in Calcutta (yes I did, and no I wasn't suffering from humidity or sun-strokes) because people made a fuss over me. My grandmother (the galactic ameba bless her nearsighted, chubby soul) would be in a festive mood and literally scold me if I didn't eat everything that she'd made for me expressly; there would be the childrens' classic books awaiting me as gifts from my grandfather and the time would go by very well without a phone, a t.v. and definitely without AC.

As I got older, the kind of time I spent with them changed too. Although my grandfather's stories of what all my mom and her sibs did as kids didn't change at all. And he enjoyed telling them each time SO much, you couldn't sit with a passive face even though you could preempt him word for word, pause for pause. One had to smile and be pleased with the antics his kids were upto.

My grandmother didn't go out of the house much after her eyesight deteriorated but she was still very fond of everything new. But what she really liked was knowing I was in touch with my Bong roots. So after lunch, she, my mom and I would end up on her huge four-poster bed and sit with the Geetobitan (the complete one- songs, lyrics of Tagore) and yes, yours truly would sing. My grandmother would join in and after a while that would lull her to sleep. Yup, kind of like singing to a baby :)

Cut to circa 2011, my son sings his gymboree songs (his own rendition of course, the child is TOO talented by half!!), wants Chilaaa (Sheila ki Jawani) and does a tandav  when the mood takes him. And this fatigues my mother to no end. And yet, the very next moment when he's up, she encourages him again by reminding him of all the fun he had. And that, in essence is the 'mama'r baadir aabdaar'.

Am sure there'll be more aabdaar (indulgences) as the years go by. And Calcutta will get known to MLM as the land of the grandparents, the place of fun, glass figurines at every bend and most importantly- as the land where Mamma has no sway at all :)

That's all folks!

09 May, 2011

There's something about one's hometown...

am guessing that of course. I merely have a birth place but no properly defined hometown as such. My life was nomadic right from the start and Calcutta had remained a place where I visited my grandparents or went for the yearly family Durga Puja.

Now with the grandparents gone, the puja coming at a time when it's tough for Red to take leave, the only draw towards this city are my parents. But part of me still thinks of them back in Hyderabad :(

So I needed make a fresh connect with the city I was born in, visited practically every year that I've been alive but strangely (and sadly) know so little of. And what better way than take the summer vacation route? Of course that's stretching things quite a bit. With a kid not attending any school..it's vacation 365 days a year (for him..never for me alas) and whatnot!
But I digress.

MLM and I arrived in Calcutta on Saturday afternoon sans Red. After the usual kacharbachar on flight and while collecting the luggage, we made it to my parents' place. Let me add here that my turning up was a total and complete surprise to my mother who literally jumped for joy seeing us.

And we've been here since...with MLM feeding the birds each morning with my father, and getting acclimatized and introduced to his Bong roots via mishti doi in the khullad and fish curry as of this afternoon.

And he's been eating it all up. The food, the attention, the works!

Now it just remains to take him out and show him the city. And in the process get to know it myself.

These are my things to do-
  • take him to the zoo and the aquarium right opposite.
  • get him to taste a good singari aka samosa to the uninitiated.
  • a meal at Tangra.
  • pastries at Flurys
  • take him to meet with a few great-grandmommies viz my nani's sisters.
But am sure, since the best laid plans do often go awry, so might mine at some juncture...but I'll get a Calcutta darshan out of it for sure!

Bongily Yours....