26 September, 2012

New Beginnings....

After three years of tending to home, hearth, hubby and child (darn! the alliteration ended with hubby) I've got back to work. YAY! Open champagne bottles, get drunk all around? Erm no. This place is quite sanitized from that standpoint.

I work for Gymboree. Red and I took MLM there 2.5 years ago after friends recommended the place. And over a point of time it became the de facto weekend destination for us. MLM learnt about clowns, lap rides, cleaning up his toys after play time and most importantly, about BUBBLES!! To this date it's tough to get him distracted from bubbles whether it's those hawkers at the traffic signals, the bubble bath that he insists upon or just any ol' foamy stuff. That boy's serious about his bubbles!!

But the going's not been easy so far. It hasn't been a Herculean effort either but I realized that for all my whining to Red about having cabin fever, it was very difficult for me to swallow the idea of leaving my child in a daycare at the mercy of perfect strangers! Sounds very melodramatic but there's no dearth of drama in a mother's head anyhow so...

We looked at daycare centers which would not only be at a doable distance but also the kinds where he would feel comfortable. Children are creatures of habits as Red never fails to remind me and once they get used to a particular kind of ambiance, any kind of change in it affects them quite a bit.
And it wasn't just about the hygiene. It was also about the dimensions of the place, how well ventilated it was, how well light and how spacious. I finally found one that satisfied me to some extent and that's saying a lot because somewhere in my head I was waiting for the place to miraculously look like my house and the caretaker to resemble me somewhat so MLM's transition would be smooth.

But it hasn't been smooth. It hasn't been too choppy either but it's been a bit painful on all sides. The first few days he howled. The next few days he simpered and then he clung to me like a limpet when I came to pick him up. There were some territory issues between him and a few other boys (testosterone city!!) who were there before him and had a few years and pounds on him. To add to it, the van driver from his school who drops him at the daycare after school gets over was also melancholic because 'babu roya'.

I was beginning to feel that between my son's somber face, my husband's gloomier than ever countenance and my parents' anxiety over MLM's adjustment, I had no business at all feeling even the slightest bit of satisfaction in getting up in the morning, contemplating on what I was going to wear that day (with ACCESSORIES!!) and heading off to work with the music blasting!

But my employers being pretty damn considerate all things considered, gave me the freedom to work fairly flexible timings and now I leave in the mornings before MLM heads off for school and pick him up from daycare and am back home by a little bit post 2 pm. That's a total of just over 2 hours in daycare on most days of the week. And I have to say at the arrangement is working great! Either because he's also getting acclimatized to the place, or because he's spending lesser time there, our man's been happier in the last few days. I've yet to see him sulk and he's actually taking time to say bye to the kids and the staff there, which in his world means some amount of connections are getting established.

Of course he would still has to be dragged away from his school whereas he's quite free about waving everyone off at daycare as soon as he sees either Red or I have come to pick him up. But today I saw him totally at ease there and it really soothed my anxiety imps. Of course it's a rare (read oddball) child who will leave crayons, papers to scribble upon and just up and leave because his mother's come to pick him up!

Once we're back home he has the added advantage of taking YET another bath (again with bubbles) and takes his time race-walking through the house, touching all his things to reaffirm that they are indeed all there. And by the time the evening dawns we're busy with the newly discovered game of Crennis or Croccer.
Let me explain-

Crennis was discovered in circa 2012 by a bored and yet imaginative child who found that if he used both a cricket bat and a tennis racquet to hit a ball, he'd be able to strike with more force, make more noise and possibly make the ball go further each time if not entirely beat the living daylights out of it!

The game is played with a parent on one side whose primary job is to NEVER get tired of pitching the ball to the offspring or hitting it when the offspring chucks it at them-even if it's actually going towards the fridge or the sofa or another object which is at a tangent from where the parent is actually positioned.

When the child is thrown the ball, the child always has an option of kicking it when they feel like it, bopping it with the tennis racquet or just sweeping it with the cricket bat a la broom-ishtyle.

The game is typically played till the child grows tired. Parents' fatigue is nonexistent anyhow and therefore not in the equation. The points are scored usually in favor of the child (which activity the child has taken up- batting/kicking or pitching) and occasionally parents score when child is feeling magnanimous.

The outcome of the game is to make the parents sweat and feel like they're finally losing weight doing something intensely physical( since the damn gym membership is languishing anyhow) and the child happy, tired and most importantly hungry enough to eat what and as much as the parents think they ought to snarf down at dinner.

Drawbacks to the game are simply this- it can seem to be unending. It's looped till the child says so and the child is the only referee. Bats, racquets are often flung when the parent inadvertently scores or wants to call time out and it has a habit of popping up whenever the parent is least inclined to run and sweat like they've been mining ore.

Speaking of which, it's Crennis time again. I'd better go and set up the equipment if I have any hope of it finishing before Masterchef comes on.

Ye Gods!

16 September, 2012

Moral Turpitude aka Boo Hoo! I'm Frail!

I've been noticing the scrolling message and  numbers from the Information and Broadcasting (IB) on the bottom of the TV screen whenever any programs are aired. The idea behind it is to understand what viewers find objectionable. Which is a good thought in itself because it acquaints one with the mindset of the viewers and also gives a clear indication into what kind of programs make the cut and which don't but at the end of the day, no matter how many watch dogs one sets up to monitor programs, the ultimate responsibility rests with the viewers themselves.

I was reading this in the TOI Hyderabad Times supplement and it made me think that it's just a futile exercise without any viable resolution in the offing.

The way I see it, people are roughly of two kinds when it comes to temptation:
a) the kinds who look at temptation as a challenge to beat and feel righteous, virtuous and maybe even downright evangelical when that happens.

b) the kind who wish there was no temptation to begin with because it tests them unnecessarily. They would prefer that they not be put to the test to begin with since that will ensure that they don't succumb. Ergo they are the loudest ones in protesting, in making noise about things which could be handled far more smoothly and basically without drawing attention to their own inability to withstand temptation.

Think about a dieter who wants to lose weight and rather than focusing more energies on eating well and abstaining from the stuff that piles on the pounds, they bemoan the existence of donuts and cupcakes to no end!

What I fail to understand is why people are unnecessarily coy about the kind of stuff they watch on TV and possibly get a kick out of? Sunny Leone became a bigger deal in India due to the objections people had against her rather than her actual presence and acting skills. If her being in Bigg Boss is such an eyesore then change the channel...why peek at the television and still raise a ruckus?

Programs which show marital discord, violence against women, violent crimes overall don't HAVE to be shown but they most certainly don't HAVE to be watched either. It's not like an all-day free hardcore porn channel being aired. These segments can always be moved to another time slot wherein the kids are usually safely out of range when they're aired but the responsibility for what a child watches is solely the parents' responsibility.

And given that by the time a child grows up a bit and learns to read the papers more than half the news items will be about violence against women, racism, casteism and basically negative tensions in the world; how will protesting against an enacted version on television help them?

If you can't say no to the donut (substitute "unsavory programs") then be prepared to live with those can either say no or eat it without guilt.

Deliver us from evil is a mantra and mantra alone. If it needs to be effective, we need to do the delivering ourselves rather than waiting for the IB messiahs to intervene.


10 September, 2012

Book Review completed

Yesterday I'd written this but I was able to finish it last night and wanted to write the rest of the review while it's still fresh in my mind and the offspring is otherwise engaged with Chhota Bheem and Krishna :-/

The book is captivating. I still stick by the lack of adakaari and many literary embellishments that many authors draw upon but there's a simplicity in the narrative that just flows right through and yet doesn't take anything away from the potential of the story line.

Of course there are aspects that made me smirk- the italicized thoughts of the characters which really don't sit well with their situation or their way of life but who am I to criticize? with this blog being the loftiest of my "literary achievements" so far. And since we'll never know for sure either ways, it's entirely possible that Shiva could've been the back-slapping guy who was maha into brodom and said "ditto" in response of sensitive sentiments expressed from his fellow man :o)

But am quite agog about the second book- The Secret of the Nagas
 and once I finished with the first installment I made Red place an order for the second one on flipkart asap!!

I hope Amish Tripathi's love with Indian mythology gives rise to more such books because he does have a gift of story telling and our lores are rich with characters waiting for a modern rendition to bring them out from obscurity.

09 September, 2012

Partial Book Review

I've been reading reviews of Amish Tripathi's 'The Immortals of Meluha' on FB and in the publications and felt a wee bit curious. But not curious enough to let go of my regular fodder of psychological-mystery-police procedural paperbacks.

While travelling back home recently in a train, I found the space constraints making me very fidgety mentally and the iPad being in near-permanent possession of MLM, I had simply nothing to do to pass my time. Along came my savior in the guise a railways book-magazine vendor carrying the knock-offs (or publication-rejects) of various best sellers. Lo and behold! The scarred back and trishul of Shiva caught my eye like never before.

The slightly rhombus-like book is actually very simply written and entirely non-pretentious. It possesses very little flair or pizzazz. But the nearly-bland style of writing is the main USP of this novel methinks. Well that and delving into the Shivpuran and Hindu religious mythology is something that most Indians would stop and look into for a more detailed viewing.

I mainly read British and American crime fiction and my fantasy quota has been nearly filled to the brim courtesy J.K Rowling. But of late the only other (fantasy) author (Indian or otherwise) whose works I really sunk my teeth into was Samit Basu. He has a very engaging, tongue-in-cheek, witty style of writing as well as a very fluid prose.

Amish Tripathi's prose is just that- it's a prose. It has very little 'adaakari' to it but at the same time it's engaging enough for my curiosity to pique and wonder what happens in the next page. And while I am hardly a very discerning reading, the sheer popularity of his trilogy bears testimony to his writing skills.

Except an addendum to this post via a new one once the book is finished.


08 September, 2012


I was tempted to make this an entirely pictorial post but I wanted to write about the things I couldn't capture while the train sped by.

We took a short trip to Bombay recently and were imminently fortunate to traverse the best part of the journey during the day. To say that it was scenic would be a gross over-simplification.

It WAS scenic. But it was scenic because it was verdant, it was fresh, it was sparkling and it was pristine as far as the eyes could see.

And the eyes saw this-

I was a happy shutterbug that day. Although Red told me to take more pictures with my mind rather than with the lens but it was inevitable. You see green below, blue-grey above and clotted cream-like poofy clouds in the sky and you must go into crazy paparazzi mode!

Here's to more train journeys across India in the months to come.