Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Bhablet's Second Winter

Ever since Pujo, I've been feeling so nostalgic. Pujo was early in 2006, and Rahul was born just before it. So, even though this year it fell in the middle of October, three weeks after his birthday, it only felt like a whole year had gone by when I heard the dhaakis start the beats. He was born to the sound of those beats, and as a friend of my mum's pointed out, that beloved music has become even more personal to me now.

I took him to see the goddess, pointed out her 'babies'. (And told him repeatedly how they all went to bed at 9 o' clock. Every night. And without any fuss.) It was such a special few days. He looked so lovely in his FabIndia kurtas, I felt so wifely/motherly in my sarees. And V's mum chose a particularly fantastic one for me this year. Also, my parents spoilt me silly on our trip down south.

And now it's winter. The days have shortened, nights are chilly. It's getting harder to bathe in the tapwater. The Bhablet lives in pajamas and socks. I think in terms of warm meals and fattening foods. And I can't help but think of how it was this time last year. We'd just been in Madras a fortnight. V had gone back to Cal. Rahul decided to have a growth spurt and wanted to be fed all day. I was learning to cope with it all, somehow.

Winter is a pretty nice time to be in Cal. Yeah, the smog is fairly nasty, but if your system can handle it, the mornings are wonderful, the winter sun is perfect for basking in and the vegetables are great! Ok, I know, what would I know of vegetables. And I love how the run-up to Christmas has begun. I love the morning cuddles and how Rahul finally took his first steps this evening.

He's always been a very fast and efficient creeper/crawler, so he's been slow to want to walk. He has been able to stand unsupported for over six weeks now, but he is still not aware of it, and sinks down gracefully as soon as he realises that he is on his own. Today, he stretched out his hand to V, but V just beckoned him over. And without realising it, Rahul took three firm, quick steps and walked over to his father. Of course, he hasn't done it since. But what I really enjoy seeing him do is sink down so gracefully. He rarely falls on his butt.

He's growing up so fast.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

My Wedding Invitation

Came across this old thing at Rimi's... it was the wedding invitation I sent out via email to all my friends.

Dear All,

I hear some people haven't received their invitations by post yet (sorry! Blame the service.) so I'm sending all the stuff you need to know in this mail.

Wedding's on the 22nd, at 7.30 p.m. The registration, if all goes on time or something not too far from it, is scheduled for 9 pm. Dinner will be served from 7.30 though, so decide when you want to come, if you don't feel up to staying the whole course. Don't forget the gift because I plan to print out dinner coupons and a list of invitees, and if your name doesn't have the 'gift received' tick next to it, you'll probably forfeit dinner. And dinner looks interesting, going by the menu. (Oh and "buk bhore bhalobasha"doesn't count as a gift by my rules, no matter what Vicky says.)

The bashor is open house, so do stay if you want to. Those who do will be rewarded a free lunch we are passing off as the bashi biye the next day. Those who don't may please stick to the jhol-bhaat in their own houses.

That's about all you need to know I believe. Oh, and even though nobody's asked, I'm fine. Those gifts better make up for the lack of concern for the bride-to-be, that's all I have to say.

Yours as charmingly and tactfully as ever,

Me

P.S.

I'd suggest you take the trouble and roll in early, if only to catch the sight of Vicky in a topor. I imagine it'll be screamingly funny.

Trying to fit into Technorati

These technical thingies are so totally beyond me... sigh.

Technorati Profile

There, I hope this works. It better. This blog is mine and I'm not allowing anybody else to claim it. The idea!

The Tag I Passed Around

Just to clarify, I did not pass on the What Men Want to Know tag. I think pretty much everybody has done it already. What with our recent obsessing with age/birthdays, I remembered this other tag I did last year. Went something like this:

10 Things I Will Have Done by Thirty (in order of absolutely sure to I hope they'll happen)

10. Had two kids (horrors!)
9. Grown my hair long (and probably chopped it darn short all over again)
8. Either got used to V or killed him in a fit of homicidal mania.
7. Attended my coz Tua's marriage with a bag full of diapers (her recurrent nightmare)
6. Become an awesome cook.
5. Learnt to drive. (Keep those fingers crossed.)
4. Sat for my French diplome.
3. Moved out of Cal.
2. Learnt to live with Ma-in-law (and her with me). Ditto Baba, my own I mean.
1. Changed my cellphone to a smaller model.


10 Things I Miss in My Life Right Now (in no particular order)

- B and E, my two sources of support
- Grass (the kid better be worth giving it up for good)
- The badam milk you get in glass bottles in Vizag
- Vizag. Its beaches, evenings and hills
- My waist
- My old kitchen. Been missing it for such a long time now. Could help myself to whatever grub without asking somebody for permission or needing to consider somebody else might wish to have some of it. Yes, I am just that selfish.
- Equilibrium. I seem to be a mass of rather emotional hormones.
- TLC
- My books. Nobody, but nobody and that includes my mum who usually gets what I need, understands how lost I feel without them or how upsetting it is for me to see them rotting away in a house far from me. In a fit of pettiness I threw some of V's down today, from the shelf. Why should I care for his when he couldn't care less for mine?
- My sense of humour. Once famous in my circle as my only redeeming feature... where does that leave me now? :-)

So Itchy, Dipali, MM, and Wishful -- this is what you've been tagged for. Actually, Wishful, you were tagged for this one the last time and didn't do it! Come on, be a sport. Been so long since you've posted. Everybody, make your own lists, and for the nearest decade to come.

It's an open tag otherwise, so if anybody else feels like making one, go ahead. Please come and tell me about it!

And I think I'll add Kiran to the list.

I Am Me (As You Are He etc.)

Just took this test on Facebook and this is what they tell me:

Temperament
Flexible
Nothing seems to bother you - you sail through life crisis free. It's not that your life doesn't have its ups and downs, it's just that you handle everything without unnecessary drama and antics. You approach each day fresh, not worrying about yesterday or tomorrow. You are confident that you can handle anything that comes your way and experience has shown that you are absolutely right about this.
Interests
Simple
You are continually pursuing a simpler and less complicated life - you don't allow yourself to fall victim to all of the "should do's" that society continually bombards you with. You are thoughtful about your life choices and think in terms of yourself, others and the world in which we live. You have a great sense that we are part of something much bigger and we must be good to others, if we want others and the world to be good to us.
Amusement
Thoughtful
You are easily stressed out and overwhelmed - you need to take care of yourself first and foremost. Because you tend to be self reflective, you know your limits quite well and must remember to not exceed those limits. When you overwhelm your life with obligations and responsibilities, you tend to shut down and go into yourself even further. Take some time to find your serenity and kick back your feet.
Passion
Physical
You are a cuddle bug - from a warm hug shared with your best friend to steamy sex with your partner, you enjoy every bit of human contact that you can get. You demonstrate your love for others most fluidly through physical one-on-one contact and you feel the most loved when you are being touched. You feel disconnected when you are physically isolated from others. You're a people person and a lover of all things human.


































Everybody thinks I bare myself on this blog. Heck, from what I can gather, almost all my social circle seems to have dropped by Sunny Days one time or another. So do you think it's accurate, any part of it?

I thought the first bit, the temperament, was funnily off, but V only nodded and said 'True' when I read it out to him. Me, I always thought I freak out too easy. Yeah, I handle everything but only after I'm done freaking out over it.

What do you think?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

I realise I'm posting too much too fast

... but my holiday from rehearsals ends this weekend, and I lose my cook at the same time, so I'm making the most of what I have.

I just read about this homecoming and had to say, not to you gentle reader, but as a record to me, that coming home this time was the bestest ever. It felt great to be welcomed back by the nicest smile in the world (topped by two sparkling spec lenses and bordered by two flapping ears) and I love the way he has been spoiling me. It has even made the housework he saved up for me less annoying.

Joe-mine, I love you, ok? And no, not just for the sex!

Photos from L's Wedding

From our trip to Hyderabad, in August 2007.

At our guest house. When we moved to Hyd in 1992 we stayed here for a few weeks. So it was a little bit like going back [to a] home.


Breakfast on the morning of the haldi ceremony:

The bride-to-be and the bride-that-was.


Me doing married women stuff for L. We spoke of these things often as kids. Now we are both married. Gosh!


He got this dhuti-kurta set for his annaprashan (rice ceremony) 3 months earlier. Seems to have outgrown them at last!


The Three Devils -- BD (Big Devil), MD (Middle Devil) and SD (Small Devil) in a row. We used to be the brats in our time. Now BD has one of her own. Hmmm...

Same shot, different light. Posting to show off my saree. Don't I look all Gult here?

Milestone

The last post was my 400th. In four years of blogging. Cool.

That makes this my 401st. That's sort of cool too.

Monday, November 26, 2007

22 Things They Insist I Reveal

Sujatha tagged me this one at least a fortnight ago and since then I've been tagged by Parul, Cee Kay and Itchy. So, here goes:

1.How do you feel after a one night stand?
I wrote about this before, and got mixed responses, but I'm still cool with the idea. When you play with a person who knows the rules, you can both end up having a lot of fun.

2. Do you ever get used to wearing a thong?
No. Hate 'em. Unfortunately, I hate panty-lines worse.

3. Does it hurt?
Annoys, more like.

4. Do you know when you are acting crazy?
We do not act crazy.

5. Does size really matter?
As I've said before elsewhere, I like my cars big and my phones small.

6. When the bill comes are you still a feminist?
Afraid so. But if it is that important to you, I'll let you pay.

7. Why do you take so long to get ready?
I can get ready for a wedding in ten minutes flat. From scratch. So I'm guessing the reason I've been running late since Jan 22, 2006 must have something to do with V.

8. Do you watch porn, too?
Not with a straight face and only if I can add my own subtitles.

9. Will something from Tiffany's solve everything?
Why don't you try it and we'll find out? V -- you listening?

10. Are guys as big of a mystery to you as you are to us?
Nope. :)

11. Why do you sometimes think you look fat?
Because the mean clothes I own tell me so. Don't you think we should throw them away and mak fransip with new ones? Vicky?

12. Why are you always late?
Because I live with a man who only dresses when it's past the time for us to have been at the place we were going, and we have a baby who decides to re-decorate our living-room with two days' worth of potty 5 min before we leave. 'Nuff said?

13. Does it bother you when we scratch?
Yes. Do it somewhere else!

14. Do you wish you could pee standing up?
But I can.

15. Why do so many women cut their hair short as soon as they get married?
Not me. I only started growing mine after I got married.

16. How often do you think about sex?
That's directly proportional to how good it was the last time.

17. What do you think of women who sleep with guys on the first date?
Desperate?

18. Would you?
Nope. I need to know how clean a guy is before I sleep with him. So I need to inspect his wardrobe, bedroom and bathroom.

19. Do you realize every guy wants a girl just like his mom?
I don't think so... Because if I turned into V's mother, I think it would spook him silly.

20. Why does every woman think she can change him?
She does?

21. Does it matter what car I drive?
Oh yes. And even more whether you'll let me drive it.

22. Do you ever fart?
Not fart exactly. Just gently release the, er, buildup. That's not a fart. No?

I think pretty much everybody has done this tag, so I will start off another one. Itchy, Dipali, Rohini, Wishful Thinker and Mad Momma, take a look at this list and make your own, if you like. Make it for the nearest decade to come.

It's an open tag otherwise, so if anybody else feels like making one, go ahead. Please come and tell me about it!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

We'll imagine the coffee, if you don't mind

I'd thought of a quiet hour blogging, since both V and R are napping this afternoon. Thought I'd tidy up the living-room (also our dining-room, V's office and our sitting-room, not to mention R's playground) and sit down with a huge mug of coffee. Made South Indian style. But my maid/cook opened the kitchen window and forgot to close the kitchen door so the house was flooded by mosquitoes. I just spent an exhausting hour killing about a thousand of them. Or at least 60. (I lost count after the 48th.)

Anyway. So here I am. Do you know, I've made a determined effort not to blog this week. I could have, from Madras, but I decided to spend the time cossetting R and chatting with my mum instead. Sometimes, I get so impatient to go online to check mail/work/blog/read, I tend to hurry R around, and not pay him attention when he calls. Ok, he calls all the time, but still. Anyway, my little trip(s) was great.

E, her friend and I spent some time one night chatting about relationships, what we have done right and wrong. E and I tend to make similar mistakes, and it always upsets me because I want her to learn from mine. Of course, I never learnt from anybody else's, but I'm very protective of her, and don't like to see her hurt. She hurt her ex, very badly, the same way I hurt S. By silence, by refusing to explain. So I told her how, before S got married, when I knew he was over me and looking forward to his new life, my one gift to him was an email telling him a little bit about why I broke things off. I knew the rejection had hit him where he was the most vulnerable, and I forced myself to tell him the truth now that he could handle it -- that I had loved him, then and later, as much as I always had, and that it was my courage that failed me. That it had never been him. Never a lack of love. And I told E to go and do the same. To go tell her ex just how incomplete she had been feeling without him, to do this without expecting anything in response, and to not put pressure on him to do anything about it.

Have you ever done that? It hurts like mad. It was very difficult for me to tell E -- a person as private as I -- to go ahead and speak her heart, because I knew from experience how it leads to months of agonising, of feeling stupid. But in the end I knew I had given back to S what I had taken from him, and that was my last gift of love to him. I hope things work out with E, but she is a very strong person within herself, and like me, she feels injustice strongly. So perhaps speaking her heart will also help her heal, herself, the relationship and her ex.

E, if you are reading this, I want you to know that I'm very proud of you, how far you have come, and the strength you have shown. Now go and get him!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Leaving on a Jet Plane

A dear friend is in India. I haven't met her since I got married, and so I'm off for a day to Hyd to meet her. She wants to meet The Bhablet, so he goes with me (and thus I tell myself I had a choice in the matter).

The plan was for a 24-hr trip. Now it has become a week-long affair because it's Ma's birthday tomorrow, as Baba kindly pointed out, when he reminded me that Hyderabad is not so far from Madras, as an aircraft flies.

I hate being emotionally blackmailed!

Now all my plans for the week are upset. And I'm getting knowing grins from the Calcutta folks. You can wipe your own knowin grins off, as well.

Here is a bit of interesting trivia:
Nov 2006 -- Cal to Madras 1
Dec 2006 -- Madras to Trivandrum (en route Kanyakumari) and back 2
Dec 2006 -- Madras to Cal 1
Feb 2007 -- Cal to Madras and back 2
March 2007 -- Cal to Delhi (en route Gurgaon) and back 2
May 2007 -- Cal to Madras 1
Aug 2007 -- Cal to Hyd and back 2
Oct 2007 --Cal to Madras and back 2
Nov 2007 -- Cal to Hyd, Hyd to Madras, Madras to Cal 3

16 flights in 14 months. And in May 2007 he came back from Madras in a train. AC 1, no less. He is also a regular on the Calcutta public transport these days. A familiar sight on buses, autos and taxis, is our Bhablet. Has been places on the Metro too. Hasn't boarded a tram so far because the tramlines are not close to our place. When we did the Blank Noise walk last Friday, he was there, walking with V (and attracting not a little attention).

Kids these days, I tell you. Flighty young things.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

This afternoon Rahul and I went for Nunu's shaad. That is the Bengali version of a baby shower.

Made me feel a little wistful, because that is pretty much the last time you are fussed over entirely for yourself, as a woman, as a girl. For everything else for the rest of your life you seem to be a mother/wife/sister/daughter as much as you may be you. It made me feel wistful because I didn't really have one. It's something your in-laws arrange for you, and afterwards, perhaps your own parents also have a smaller do. Ma wanted to give me one but didn't dare, since she didn't want V's parents to make an issue of it. So she settled for a small, special lunch for me.

I'm not saying I wanted her to throw a huge party, but a baby should be something to celebrate. I hate how V's mother and my gynaecologist made the whole anticipation one of depression and fear rather than happy expectation. I guess the hurts will stay on, until one day they just disappear. In the meantime I take courage from the fact that we are having dinner with V's parents tonight, and his mother is happily planning her precious grandson's meal.

Nunu seemed very happy, though. Was glowing, as she is supposed, and saying the same smart-alecky things I said last year. I smiled to myself and felt very experienced -- Rohini, did I make you feel like that last year? -- and let her rattle on. She has a strong maternal streak in her, for all her no-nonsense ways, and will make a very good mother soon. The Bhablet fed her the payesh, which was the reason behind his invitation to a ladies' only event. I did warn her that it's not a good omen, considering the child who sits with you is supposed to have an influence over the baby you're expecting, but she insisted.

Had a Cal Walks training session in Chowringhee. Once I get their blog sorted out I'll put a link here, and you guys can take a look at what we are doing. It's ever so fascinating, really. It's like walking back in time, in discovering the history in the now, in being awed by the implications in a simple reflection of the Raj Bhavan as seen against a car showroom window. (The Raj Bhavan looked cleaner, shinier, and the swanky sedan looked like it was parked arrogantly in front -- two hundred years of history, science, sociology and architecture collated on a sheet of glass.)

I'll end this post with something I just read on Hip Hop Grandma's latest gup shup:

I was upset at something that my husband said and was about to retaliate when [my mother-in-law] shut me up much to my irritation.

“Wait till you reach my age” she said. “You can get then away with saying anything you want and he won’t even bother to listen to what you say. The bonding will be such he will not mind it even if he heard you. But not now my child. You need to grow old together before the privilege is yours.”

It reminded me of a resolution I have been considering of late: that every time I really bitch about V here, not to tease him, but really say nasty things about him, I could also remind myself of something positive about him. It's a healing sort of thing to do when I'm feeling all raw after a fight and it's a fair sort of thing to do since he stopped blogging long ago and so does not defend himself against me. I'm not sure I'll actually do this, but I like the idea.

(What? You thought I had reformed?)

Saturday, November 17, 2007

If You Like Southi Movies

this video will crack you up.

Turn the sound off, let it load. Then turn the sound on full and watch it from the start. I'm louin' it!



Dhruva sent it to me. Now go over and thank him.

I am SO sleepy

that I'll only jot down quickies. And if I remember when I have the time, I'll try to write these things up in greater detail. Because they are all very interesting.

1. TS' first birthday party at KFC, Middleton Row yesterday. Kudos to his mother for her enthusiasm and planning. And I love the return gift The Bhablet received -- an inflatable PushMePullYou. You know, those blown-up toys with weighted bottoms. You punch them and they swing back at you. I love them. We're just saving this one until The Bhablet bites a little less. Found him trying to chew on the balloons at KFC last night. Loved TS' beautiful blue and gold Chinese outfit and how his mother remembered to not only bring toys but also a playmat for him and The Bhablet. I am also that organised when expecting young guests, and that is why I appreciate the planning that went behind it all.

She actually stayed up till past midnight hanging up streamer all around the room just so that he could pull them down later. I mean, wow!

2. The first Blank Noise Project Kolkata (BNPK) intervention finally happened today. After lots of delays because of bandhs, rallies, bad weather and bright ideas (we had to delay so as to work in the bright ideas), we finally got our act together and on the road this evening. You can check out some of the photos here. The walk photos are at the bottom but the folks on the top are all people who've been joining us, helping us brainstorm and cheering us on all this time, so they are all part of it too.

It was an incredible experience, but it deserves a post all to itself. And one of the highlights was seeing Dipali after ages, looking very pretty with her new (to me) haircut.

3. I'm not getting any of my visiting done and folks everywhere are complaining of how I keep promising to drop by and then don't.

4. Was maidless for seven days from last Saturday, and she finally turned up this morning. V and I managed, not too badly. That included sweeping and swabbing the floor, dishes, cooking, everything. I'm actually rather proud of us right now.

5. The cyclone Sidr missed us perhaps but the mercury has dipped sharply and we are already sleeping without fans and The Bhablet has been in socks and diapers all day since the last two days. It's only the middle of November, for crying out loud!

6. Goldy, a person whose name is taken at least thrice daily in our house, has had six puppies and two are golden like their mother and four are beautifully black, like their father, I presume. More about this later.

Why I Clean Only When Guests Are Expected

Or

'Yet another reason why I continue to follow Cathy'

You have to admit her logic makes sense. It does to me.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

And my head gets a little more swollen...

What? You thought that wasn't possible?

Indian Bloggers

Well, I just found out that I've been listed on India Blogs. So yeah, now we'll have to cut larger neck-holes in all my t-shirts.

I had some great photos

and I was all set to put them up but then I thought, my friends may not want photos of theirs and of their kids up on a public space like this. So here are the rest of my great photos:

The badge I was wearing all day yesterday. I marched in the non-political rally protesting against the state government's callousness and promotion of open warfare in Nandigram, and walked around wearing it afterwards as well. I'm proud I went.

These are Rahul's sandals which he just outgrew. At Rs. 500 a pair they were ridiculously expensive but he wore them from months 7 to 13, so I guess you could say they were worth it. Also, they look just as great now as when they were bought. Also, they went with all the clothes he had. Also, I fell completely in love with the crabs and the octopuses.

The Bhablet loves slides. Usually, for the small ones I hold him from the side and slide him down, but V took him up and down this full-length one in Golf Green and they both had a blast. Kids!

This is how Rahul looked two hours ago, during lunch. This is something he does at every meal now, sitting there with the food in his mouth. It drives me nuts, elongates every meal and has nothing to do with the cooking or his hunger. Crazy child.


And this is what the idiot did to himself last week. He slipped down the back of V's chair and got stuck. Yes, I did spend a long time laughing, jeering and taking photos before I rescued him. You'd have too.

P.S.
Got to settle him for his nap now so I'll turn the last pic later.

Monday, November 12, 2007

A Landmark of Sorts

I don't know if you've noticed but this blog has had over 20,000 visitors since May 22, 2007 -- that is to say Beq's birthday.

I'd like to know why almost everybody lurks... don't you dare say I leave you speechless, now!

The Kali Pujo Weekend -- II

In the earlier post I seem to have given the impression that my brother and I are still fighting. Well, we aren't and haven't for a while now. He lives in Cal now and I give him his space. I like having him over, now and then, and try to feed him when he comes, because I don't think I'll ever forget what it's like to live by yourself and cook rubbish and have to live on that. All our relatives feed him as well, so he's no object of pity, but I'm just saying we may be working out what I think of as a normal brother-sister relationship at last. (J Monster, you didn't hear me say that.)

That settled, now for a description of the rest of the weekend.

Sunday:

V has a large chunk of family from his dad's side based in a house in Bhawanipur. I don't know all of them so well, and it's a scattered joint family now but those members I have met have all been very nice to me. After all the trouble last year I have been defensive and insecure, and, I'll admit, quick to take insult. Now, two sisters from this family, V's cousin Tdidi and his cousin Edidi, arranged a bhai phonta dinner at Tdidi's place last night. I went, a little apprehensive of my reception. I mean, I always feel that the family heard V's mother ranting about me last year and so disapprove of me. Turned out guests were almost all from my our generation, a collection of dadas and their families. So R got to meet his cousins from that side. He took to two young boys, Edidi's son and Tdada's son, while his cousin Mimi made much fuss over him. Actually, everybody fussed over him. Almost all of them were meeting him for the first time, and he can be very taking when in the mood. The other star attraction was Tdidi's baby girl, born in May. A nice, peaceful baby with the most funnily styled hair. Very cuddly.

It was a biriyani dinner from Arsalan. Great food. I had carried The Bhablet's dinner, not expecting Tdidi to get that since she would be busy enough anyway. The Bhablet had some biriyani potatoes and part of a boiled egg. He didn't seem to care for the cucumber from the salad.

Edidi's husband and I discussed the current political situation in the state at some length. I was a bit worried about being so argumentative but I don't think he minded. Those of you who have no idea what is going in West Bengal and find our bandhs a joke, well, I agree with you about them being a joke but the reason behind them is no laughing matter. Some city artistes and intellectuals were staging a peaceful demonstration outside Nandan yesterday and they were arrested. I think what really got to me about this was Brat being arrested among them. He and I were batchmates in JU and neighbours; early in our Uni careers we spent some time together as members of the same brat pack. And I'm telling you, he may be hot-headed but he is neither violent himself nor prone to incite violence in others. I would like to question his arrest, for one thing. For another, since when was singing a non-bailable offense?

Don't get me started on this. I choose to stay off politics in Sunny Days and I will do so now, but I'm deeply disturbed by the farce of a government we have right now.

Anyway, so all in all it was a great evening. And I came home feeling, finally, a part of the larger Niyogy family. V's parents are now welcoming enough, but I did not feel sure of my welcome amongst the extended family after last year. Now I feel a little happier about things. The bhai phonta celebrations of this part of the family are a big thing, and The Bhablet got his second (and third) phontas from Tdidi's mother (the only one of her generation around) and his cousin Mimi. Also met V's cousin Tutul after a long time there, which was pleasant for she had seemed rather nice the few times we had met.

So yes, it was a momentous day, for these two major reasons:
Making my peace with Dada over the bhai phonta issue. Even if he never allows it again, I will no longer take it heart the way I have all these years.
And getting integrated, a little, into V's extended family. To my surprise I found that they not only did not eat Sues, but that they treated her with warmth and courtesy. Shame on Sue for being so suspicious, huh?

The Kali Pujo Weekend -- I

It's been such a mad couple of days. I think I'll take an hour and list it all out. I'm exhausted, but I don't want to forget any part of this. The long weekend went from Thursday to Sunday.

Thursday:

I started feeling under the weather around Tuesday. Nothing major, just dizzy and light-headeded and weakly. On Thursday we had an invitation to lunch with Rahul's nappy buddy and her parents. It was an afternoon I was looking forward to but I didn't enjoy it so much because as the hours wore on Rahul just became less co-operative, V didn't seem to understand how ill I was feeling and I burst into tears in front of everyone. Something which I guess V still hasn't forgiven me and I daresay never will. But it was great meeting Li'lpet. She's such a fun baby, babbling away and tottering around. There was an unfortunate incident with a rattle, when R was very sleepy and cranky, and I afraid it ended in a bit on Li'lpet's arm. Luckily, she was more shocked and indignant (bless her plump little arms) than hurt. Still, it'll be a long while before I get over this, if I ever do.

V was furious, I was overwrought, The Bhablet was half-asleep and so we left. Fight in the car and I got off with R and share-cabbed it home. On the way I bought fruits and stuff. Went home, fed R, took him out once more and bought diyas, fruits and met a flat-broker. We're getting pretty desperate now, but nothing suitable has been found. Home, Bhablet packed off to bed. Made and ate dinner, and finally, at 11 p.m, I set out my chhoti Diwali diyas. All 14 of them, as pictured in the last post.

Friday:

Diwali was a cold sort of day. Cold as in the atmosphere within the house. I was tired and frantic, wondering how to fit in all I wanted to do, and V was trying to be understanding (I think) but getting on my nerves by being underfoot. It culminated into me bursting into (more) tears when I ruined a plate by trying to steam an apple in the microwave (don't ask -- I've done it lots of times, first time this has happened.) V got angry because I was making a scene over a ruined plastic plate and I got angry enough to tell him how upsetting it is to see something get spoiled when you know you will not be able to replace it, because you can't afford to, and that nobody will get you another one to match the set and anyway, if he weren't such a total loser he would understand how awful it felt serving guests in mismatched crockery, and how awful it was that he never went shopping, and that our cupboards were bare, and stuff along those lines. All quite factual but perhaps not needing the articulation. (Ok, maybe the loser bit isn't even factual. Sorry, you.) Another humdinger of a row, a call to my favourite dida explaining why we wouldn't make it to the familyKali Pujo, setting out my diyas once more, finally going to the Pujo a good hour later than I'd hoped.

But things perked up once we reached, and the food was great, and I love being a part of an old tradition like theirs, and even V started cheering up. (And he can sulk for days on end, no kidding.) We dropped off (Ma's) Shejomama and (my) Dada afterwards and dropped in on J. His cousin iMad dropped in and The Bhablet seemed much taken by her. Laughed himself into splits at her antics and cold-shouldered his Uncle Tom. We agreed that in this if nothing else he has taken after his Uncle Tom -- he prefers the company of women. Came home late, packed off R, cleaned house, packed away food, went to bed.

Saturday:

Maid didn't turn up next morning. 'Nuff said.

Blank Noise meeting till lunch, BNPK(olkata) is starting to take some shape now, getting quite interesting, hurried home to shop for bhaiphonta (bhaiya duj). The Bhablet had gone visiting relatives with Giga. Incidentally, I wish you'd take notice of Giga. She used to be referred to as my mejopishi, or my father's second sister. Now she is The Bhablet's Giga. She will be featured now and then, since she and her daughter Cousin J play a fairly large role in his life. Anyway, so she and The Bhablet were out going from house to house. Since V came along with me, I did almost all the month's stocking up. Came home, began cooking. I needed more time than I would get the next morning, and anyway, one of the dishes I've only made once alone, and that was nearly three years ago, during Aunty Hy's cooking classes.

The Bhablet came home, I finished cooking, dressed. The Bhablet was fed and cleaned up. We all went to visit V's mother. Fed him his dinner there, and she spent a happy hour cooing over her grandson. Rushed to dinner at Dhaba, Ballygunge. Giga had invited us as part of her bhaiphonta treat for Kaku. Dinner was kebabs and parathas, which was great since I'd been craving them since the last party. Ate like a pig, but was only too happy to have Giga drop off some chocolate pastries from Cakes as a nearly-midnight dessert. (Now you know why she's my favourite aunt -- who else would do such a thing?)

Worked all night re-sorting my kitchen shelves. I started off filling my new rotating spice rack, but because I had to change spaces anyway, I ended up re-doing the kitchen. Which was good and necessary, because Bhablet-proofing the kitchen had only been halfway done till then. Swept the house and V swabbed the floors. He does ever such a good job and I almost wish he would do it front of our maid one day so that I could point out to her how it should be done.

Sunday:

Woke up at 8 a.m. Maid's day off for the festival so I knew I'd have to do the dishes. Attended to The Bhablet. V went for one lot of phonta and R and I dashed upstairs with some prasad for our landlady and her family. I've never mentioned it before, but they are really great people. Generous and helpful to a fault. I'll be sorry to leave them. Luckily V returned in time to put R to bed. I still had half the cooking to do, and the living-room was its usual mess.

I cooked, he cleaned and tidied outside. When Dada and my two other cousin brothers reached, I had just had my bath. Had cleaned the bathroom and washed my hair while I was at it, so I felt a little happier. Also, the chicken was happily marinating, so the cooking would be fast.

Set out silver plate with dhan, dubyo, chandan, water, paper napkins and those pastries from the night before. (Had remembered about sweets too late and thought they would prefer pastries anyway. Also couldn't be sure if we light a diya in our family... so I decided to skip.) Did the phonta for all three, then ran back to finish the cooking. Only rice and chicken left, so it didn't take too long. The brothers ate, the Bhablet awoke and was fed and played with. Then Giga arrived to give her grandson his phonta. Very cute moment, that. V, R and I dropped Giga home afterwards. Came home, cleaned up kitchen. Luckily, I clean as I cook, so there wasn't so much. Mostly washing and putting away the glassware and Corelle plates. Yes, I used those at last. And I totally love them! They are plain white and go with everything. And they are wonderfully thin and altogether beautiful.

The menu:
Mutton kofta curry
Methi chicken
Chhola'r dal (chana dal)
Basmati rice
Sweets (store-bought)

V was putting The Bhablet to bed when his friends Munna and family arrived. Barry and his family arrived soon after. The Bhablet decided that sleep was for babies and joined us. The afternoon was great fun. Munna and Barry's daughters decided to have a cat-fight -- they are around 3, both, and The Bhablet wisely left the scene and occupied himself with a ball and a box.

Around 5 p.m. my maid's sister rang the bell to say that S (my maid) is very ill and they are at their wits' end and could I please manage for a few more days by myself. Felt very guilty for thinking all those uncharitable thoughts about her for the previous two days. Her husband had told me she was ill, but I was suspicious since the illness came just before a day off. And after a night of festivities. Anyway, I can and have managed all alone before, so it was no big deal. And she has only been cooking for us for a week now, so I haven't lost my habit yet. So I promptly told her to tell S not to worry about it. To be frank, S is not usually very prompt about letting me know when she can't make it, so I was rather touched that she had sent both her husband and her sister to inform me, telling her sister she was worried I would not be able to cope.

Anyway, this broke up the adda and Munna and his family left. His wife, Mrs. Barry and I had spent a nice time making friends with each other and it is really nice to be with folks who are so cool about their kids fighting, being rude, tired and nasty. I am always apologetic when The Bhablet misbehaves but sometimes I wish people wouldn't notice it so much. He's a kid and all kids do this. Or should. Or they are just sissies. So there. Anyway, so we wives chatted about maternity wear (Mrs. Munna is expecting) and in-laws and kids and jobs and stuff while the kids fought it out amongst themselves. The men decided to go smoke outside. So typical.

Barry and family stayed on a little longer, then Mrs. Barry and I went out and had some phuchka. We'd promised to get V some churmur but we forgot and I guess I'm not going to be allowed to hear the last of it in all my married days. She and I had a lot of fun though. We are not remotely alike, but there is something inherently nice in her that appeals to me, and so I like her quite a lot.

Oh god, and I still haven't reached the evening's festivities yet. Ok, that'll be for the next post. For now, I want to note that Dada and I did bhai phonta after at least seven years, today. We had even been in the same city on the day, some of those years, but he had taken it into his head that he didn't want it from me and I refuse to do it for someone who doesn't want it. I still don't give him a rakhi and I don't think I ever shall again.

Anyway, it's nearly 2 now, so good night. Bandh tomorrow.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Diwali/Kali Pujo Greetings


Happy Diwali, all you readers of Sunny Days, lurkers and the non-lurkers! I hope your Diwali/Kali Pujo is marked by happiness, much light and the presence of your loved ones.

To all those who were sweet enough to drop in/email and wish us, thank you so much, we really appreciate your neighbourliness.

I Win!

V is working on a website right now as I type. He leaned over to my lowly Windows laptop and asked me to check out a page he is working on. Seemingly, some button refuses to stay put. He sounded rather frustrated.

I smiled pityingly at him and pointed out that it is pretty incompetent of him not to be able to fix a button on.

He glared at me, nicely blended with haughtiness, and told me to do it myself, if I thought I could do a better job.

I smiled sweetly at him and said that my button-fixing skills were far superior to his. As he should know, because do I not replace all the buttons that go missing in this house (if they are replaced at all, I admit)? And I think I shall go out on a limb and say I do a darn professional job at it.

His only response was a rather amateurish belch. So much for witty repartee.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Only Connect

V just got off the phone after a lengthy chat with A (who may just be his bestest friend except that I've been given to understand that guys don't do bestest friends) and I saw that he was back at the Mac, chatting. Moving closer I saw he was chatting with -- guess who -- yes, A.

I let off a sarcy comment and then remembered getting a massive ticking off from my mother one afternoon about a decade ago. L and I had been on the phone, gossiping away. We were also online, on Yahoo chat. And we were also at the window, waving at each other, because we lived across the road from each other...

If The Bhablet does that I will whack him. L and I were on the factory LAN (we lived in the factory colony) and I think some part of our internal phone calls were subsidised. So we were totally justified. Right? Right.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Pass It On, Pass It On

Two goldfish were in their tank.
One turns to the other and says,
"You man the guns, I'll drive."

So THAT'S What She Meant. Oh.

I don't know if you guys remember this song called Milkshake? From some time ago. Well, I was catching up on my QC reading, and this strip suddenly explained to me what the song was all about.

Um. I feel kinda stupid now.

Monday, November 05, 2007

The Party -- at Last

Last year, I was too pooped on V's birthday to organise a party. I had meant to throw him a nice one, what with it being his first birthday with the brat, and him also turning thirty, but The Bhablet was only a month old, and had been up all night (as always) so I was barely awake that day. I remember sneaking out to buy him our birthday cake* and I seem to remember three white crysanthemums that he stuck in a lovely wine bottle we use as a vase, but that was pretty much it.

*We have a tradition of splitting a Cakes/Kookie Jar 1lb truffle cake 50-50 between us on birthdays.

This year, we had just got back to Cal, and the flight had been late and V celebrated his birthday by sleeping all day and my present to him was that I let him. I had bought him (us?) an HP PSC earlier this year, and that was supposed to be his birthday gift this year, but you know, I don't feel a birthday gift is a birthday gift unless it's gifted on your birthday. Anyway.

I had planned a party this year, with all of his friends who were in town, but Proof rehearsals made me postpone it by a week. And last Saturday, we finally went ahead and had the darn thing. Whew! Since Jiyon had also had his birthday since then, we had a double birthday party. Money is currently a little less of an issue, so I ignored V's grumblings and spent to my heart's content.

We had Barry and family, here for the vacations, and Jiyon, and Dr. D and his wife. We also had Anindya and Arindam, old colleagues of his, and Shuktara and my brother. It was a bit crowded but all quite nice. Food was Chinese from Kim Li and J got the alcohol. We had prawn chowmein and chicken and duck and shredded lamb and crab claws, so altogether quite satisfying. Arindam brought the little bit of Absolut Vanilia he had left over and a bottle of wine, while V opened his bar from our own supplies while we waited for J to turn up with the Antiquity Blue and some Smirnoff. A far cry from our Uni parties, I'm thinking. There were soft drinks and juices as well.

Anupam (The Bhablet's godfather and a kung fu expert) got the cake, a 2-pound truffle cake from Cakes. I had been worried it might be too small but it sufficed, even providing enough for a late night snack for those who stayed the night.

Anindya and Arindam turned up next, and I borrowed Arindam's car-and-driver to fetch the food. The Bhablet had been cranky all day, so I picked him up in his party clothes and set off. It was only while I was waiting at the restaurant that I realised that I hadn't brought him any water and that his feet were bare. I guess I'll never be one of those spot-on mothers. Sometimes, I wonder that The Bhablet survives us. (And at other times I wonder that we survive him.) It was a good hour and a half later that we got home, even though Kim Li is only a ten minute drive from our place. Saturday night rush, I guess.

Barry, his wife and daughter had arrived. His wife was looking very pretty. Their kid gets cuter every year. V's smitten silly, but so what else is new? He was smitten the afternoon we went over to see her in the Army hospital nearly three years ago and I don't think has recovered since. He's such a sucker for little girls with attitude. Anyway, so The Bhablet and I reached home and the food was brought in behind us. Only one packet was dropped, so it wasn't too bad. I handed over Rahul to his fans and spent a hectic 15 min setting out all the grub.

I had spent the whole day cleaning the house from top to bottom. Because, you know, we have friends who would poke fingers into corners and never talk to us again if they found a speck of dust in there, right? Right. Why else would I suddenly decide to dust under the bed and behind the cot and rearrange the living room? It certainly couldn't be because I had nothing better to do, I know. I have a lovely all-white Corelle dinner set that my parents gifted us at our wedding. I did get out all the glasses we have, set them out for the maid to wash and wipe, cleaned out trays, hunted down tray-cloths and beautiful FabIndia dinner napkins and clean dusters and wanted to bring out my lovely FabIndia coasters, only V wouldn't let me. He wanted to use his tatty old CDs. By the time I reached the Corelle stuff though, I was bushed. So I didn't bring out and clean all that; I consoled myself by setting out all my pretty glass bowls and my cutlery and all the tumblers and whiskey glasses and wine glasses and shot glasses. And we ate out of paper plates. That's the thing about parties chez nous -- you never know what you'll end up with.

(Please note that all these things are my stuff. The tatty CDs we use as coasters are V's.)

Dinner was set out at 8.30 but eaten a good two hours later. I had foreseen that and that's why I went for Chinese. Easier to heat and serve than biriyani, thank you. In between The Bhablet had his dinner of egg-curry and rice. Drinks were flowing freely and J was stuck in traffic, so there was plenty to keep us occupied. (Such as thinking of imaginative ways to curse J for taking so long with the drinks.) Oh, and I drank. One drink, which lasted me the entire evening because I absolutely had no time to have it! Either I had a Bhablet grabbing at it or I was doing stuff.

V drove Shuki and Barry and Co. home at 11.30 p.m. Dr. D and wife, and Anindya and Arindam left around the same time. Dada and J stayed back to make a night of it, while I put Rahul to sleep. V came back and was delighted to find the drinks and adda still going strong. I came down and changed into my ancient yellow maternity nighty (it was only J and Dada, come on) and joined them. I finally went to bed a little before 3 a.m. but when The Bhablet woke me up around 4.30, I found those three men still at it. Some strong words from me sent folks scurrying. I don't know what they were thinking, because Dada was supposed to go pick M'pishi (our aunt) up at the airport early on Sunday morning. Which he did.

It was a great party and I want to remember all the details. How Chinky daintily ate her noodles, how cute Rahul looked in his yellow shirt-and-shorts, how Barry played with R, how Dr. D. kept a low profile but still managed to entertain, how Dada and Mrs. Dr. D ate up all the crab claws and looked guilty afterwards, how V railed at Arindam for getting only a little bit of the Absolut, how Anindya grinned and was his usual charming self. The last time we threw a party in this flat was our house-warming party last April. That was a year and a half ago. I'd nearly forgotten the excitement, the planning, the working out of what will go down well with everyone. Or as close as possible. And anyway, that party wasn't the best ever. We had invited all our friends and the two groups didn't quite gel.

But this party, it rocked. As you can see from the photo. And I was so wonderfully relaxed all through, even when I absent-mindedly poured two different dishes into the same bowl and had to fish out the Chilli Duck from the Lemon Fish (and nobody even noticed). I didn't mind R's crankiness or any of the hundreds of little annoyances that usually ruin my mood.

I'm already planning my next one. A kebabs and paratha affair. I just need an occasion, now!

The Modern Indian Parent

You asked me for a pic after reading this. So the next time I saw V and The Bhablet in the same pose, I quickly took a pic. As you can see, Barkis, er, I mean V, wasn't exactly "willing", but hey, all's fair in blogging. Especially when I'm the blogger and not the blogged.

So here is the modern Indian Father:


Ok, and right afterwards, to drive home my bharatiya nari image, allow me to present the Modern Indian Mother:


This was taken at the party last night. More of that anon.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

And I'm Still Online

So I thought I'd preen a bit on being tossed the Rockin' Blogger Girl badge a third time. Yep. Thanks, Kiran. So you see, Loony, you were spot on. (I forget which post got me your compliment so I'm not linking, but I remember the compliment -- way before there was the badge.)


I would like to dedicate this, ahem, award to my darling husband (well, he's asleep so obviously we are not fighting right now, so an endearment is safe) who has set up the wi fi thingies on our broadband router so that I can now take my laptop all over our flat. So now I don't have to surf the 'net all alone downstairs in the middle of the night, I can enjoy it in the comfort of our bed. What joy! Muah, darling man, muah, muah, muah.

BlogShock?

I say, I hope I never land up on a list like this. Then again, given the wholesome goodness of Sunny Days, I guess the chances are low going to nil. Whew!

(If you laughed at the wholesome goodness bit, go away. I am extremely good and wholesome, not to mention downright toothsome -- my new favourite word.)

On the Rampage

You know how some babies have a tough time teething? They upset their tummies chewing rubbish, have fevers, dribble all over the place... but you know the kind of thing I mean. If you're a parent, you know only too well. And The Bhablet? He goes suicidal.

For the last three days I've suspected teeth in the offing. He is rather fond of biting me but he has stepped it up once more. Nothing escapes those six little pearly whites. He won't bite his teethers (of course -- I imagine that they are manufactured only to prove to despairing parents that it's not true that babies will bite everything) but the rest of the world and its contents are fair game. Speaking of game, I understand I'm a toothsome morsel. At least The Bhablet thinks so. Because he bites me way more often than he does his father. (Yes, V, he does.) And he's taken to drooling all over the place once more, so I suppose this will go on for a while now.

I can only assume that this madness is what made him do it. See, I went to watch this play last night. And while I was away The Bhablet went and pulled our tv on himself. For the first time ever I was grateful we have a tiny thing, a 12" Phillips Powervision, a nice, lightweight affair. The idiot boy pulled it off the table, which, luckily, was low, and fell himself, sideways, so that the tv only bumped him on his right knee. Which is still somewhat swollen and has three little cuts on it.

All day he (Rahul, not V) has been in a mad sort of mood. Doing one silly thing after another. Doing all the things he knows is expressly forbidden. While he was having his bath this morning he pulled out the bathtub plug. Since I had pretty much trained him out of even attempting it -- or so I thought -- I was caught unawares. If only he were a little bit older, I would certainly make him clean up the messes he makes! And the child insists, absolutely insists on galloping all over the house, despite being unable to put weight on one knee. So he dashes from room to room on two hands and a knee.

Yes, imagine it and feel my pain. Obviously, his own pain doesn't seem to bother him much so I've decided to focus on how it hurts me to see my disgustingly active little quadruped reduced to only three limbs. Do my feelings count for nothing in this house? A year ago, when the stars in my eyes dimmed (greatly aided by the sleepless nights) I got the feeling that either R or I would survive his childhood, not both. And now the feeling is becoming a positive belief.

When I came home yesterday, after the cuddling and the careful examination, when I found out that he had got off far easier than he deserved, I was ready to murder him. How dare he? Did I put up with eight months of agony, depression and public humiliation only so that he could go and throw tvs on himself? Is that why I massage and moisturise and bathe and soap and clean that little body? How dare he, is what I want to know. If anything needs to be done to him, especially any kind of hurt inflicted, I'll see to it and with pleasure, thank you very much. But nobody else better even try and by that I mean you, Rahul.

But I suppose that is what you get when you bear the child of an idiot who tore open his arm, smashed open his forehead and did other such interesting things. And no, he didn't tell me all these stories before the marriage. I think I want my money back.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Looking for a Groom?

Here is one profile on Shaadi.com:

Cheerful, fun-loving, professionally driven and responsible.

At 29 he holds almost 12 years of work-ex with leading FMCG, Bankng and Telecom Majors.
Currently pursuing the Executive Programme in Business Management from IIM Calcutta.
Looking for someone who is not complicated, lives for the day... laughs a lot. We don't expect her to come and take charge of the kitchen... she will be considered an integral part of this family... as a daughter... her career and views will be of equivalent amount of importance as his... Marriage is just not two people... it's two families and extended families... this alliance should make two families one large family... without any bindings and barriers

Since I know him personally I can vouch for all that, especially the hardworking bit. And I can tell you that he is sexy, kind, loves children and likes pets. He has told me that it's my duty as his boudi (sis-in-law) to find him a nice girl, so this is my attempt. (Ei tui, I hope you are reading this!) He is fairly attractive too.

He doesn't have any specifications as to caste, religion etc. so long as they don't expect him to turn religious and so long as they are at least part Bengali.

If you know somebody who is looking for a Bengali match for a girl, please let me know and I'll put you in touch.

The Modern Indian Father

So I was in the kitchen the other day, doing what I usually do, when in came V with The Bhablet hanging onto him like a fungus precariously balanced. Go on, picture it.

*Waits for appreciative chortles to fade*

Thank you. Well, so there was I, cooking, and there was V, trying to fuss over the amount of food I thought he should have.

Me: (brandishing spoon) Look, you should be ashamed of yourself. Thanks to you I end up eating leftovers all the time.

V: What--?

Me: Yes! When you don't eat the amount that has been cooked for you it stays on as continuing fractions and keeps lingering in the 'fridge and I have to eat it long after it was cooked. And you eat all the freshly cooked stuff! The cheek!

V: I didn't ask you to eat the leftovers! You could always serve them to me.

(I take a moment to imagine my mother and aunts' combined horror should I ever do such a thing. Not sure I haven't, come to think of it.)

Me: (recovering) Certainly not. Then who would eat the fresh stuff? You should just appreciate the way I've turned myself into a typical bharatiya nari (Indian wife) for you.

V: Who's the bharatiya nari here, I'd like to know? Just look at me.

And I turned. And conceded the point. Standing there with his hip thrust out and a baby perched on that hip in the way of all rural babies and mothers, he looked the part like I never have.