Wednesday, July 23, 2008

[Yet Another] Bangalore Adventure

So we went to Bangalore, The Bhablet and I, to meet the bloggers there. Poppin's Mom arranged a biggie blog meet and convinced me that we shouldn't miss it. Well, it's not as if I need an excuse to visit B'lore really, so on the 12th, the Saturday, Rahul and I were up early to catch the Shatabdi. Which really is a very comfortable train. Since we travelled by the chair car I should have booked another seat for him, but it didn't strike me and so he spent the journey on me. Mind you, these railway coaches have way more legroom than the airlines. Anyway, so we arrived at Bangalore right on time, and Poppy's driver came by to pick us up. The royal treatment, you see.

That's us waiting. I'm the one behind the camera, in case you missed me. Just to get an idea of perspective, the thingie on which he is sitting is roughly 6" high.

So we rolled into Poppy's, bathed and freshened up. R lunched happily off some idlies seated in Poppin's highchair. Afterwards the kids went off to play. Meeting Poppin was probably as much of an experience as it was to meet her parents. Because her photos, lovely as they usually are, do not capture the mischief inherent in the sweet face. Also because she brought out a very rare side of The Bhablet -- his hidden gentleness. He was totally taken by this Didi and kept calling out to me to come admire her; she in turn was showing him her toys and playing him music and so on. In a few months she'll be a Big Sis in earnest and I think she'll do a fantastic job of it.

Oh and her mum was glowing -- I think it's a girl, darn -- and lots of fun and blah blah but she was just what I expected, so it feels slightly strange to write about meeting her. I mean, do I write about how I feel when I meet any other old friends of mine? I had to remind myself that this was the first time we'd met. Ever.

Post lunch some of the ladies started rolling in. D of the justly famed bum, Tara the trigger-happy, Aargee the candid camera stalker, Collection of Stars -- and of course, the kids! D and Tara brought the older ones, each, Aargee came without and CoD brought KT of the lovely hair.

No, that's not her. That's Cubby, the nearly one year old Mama Mia writes about. He was one dauntless laddie. While all the other, mainly older, kids were running around, he set his sights on one target or another and followed through with a determination that should have got him better rewards. Him I liked and his father reminded me of V: watching him play with Cubby and also the other kids made me miss V a little. Just a little.

Rahul, to my utter lack of suprise, made himself right at home. He was excited enough to find himself amongst so many other kids and only a little disappointed that they didn't seem to enjoy his ideas of play -- poking fingers into eyes, for instance. Or running around screaming just because. Poor Winkie suffered the most, right from Rahul insisting on hugging him and refusing to let go to Rahul being convinced that Winkie was walking off with his (Rahul's) toys to Rahul refusing to share one particlarly enticing aeroplane. For the first time in my young life, I began to see, albeit dimly, that being older is not all fun and games.

We eventually moved the party out of the rooftop community hall where Poppy had arranged it. By then we'd worked our way through some of the food and the kids were getting fairly boisterous, so the rooftop mini garden and play area with swings and slide was a perfect transition. Also, there was a great breeze. We played there for a nice long time. Rahul baptised himself with the gravel, started some scary-looking rash, threw some tantrums because he hadn't had his afternoon nap. He seemed to have a good time, all said.
Other mothers turned up -- aka Monica with the Youngest Member (of the party, at 9 m), Noodlehead and BonBon (dressed in perfectly coordinated pinks!), Swati with entire family in tow.
Us mothers hung out, chatted, tried to stop any potential felonies and took lots of photos. No, I'm not posting because of privacy issues. But here's a photo of us using child labour to help wind up at the end. And it's not even as if anybody asked him to clear up the balls either!

There are so many memories rushing back as I write this. The frog theme in Poppy's bathroom. The dress Poppins was wearing in the morning. D's laughter. Aargee grinning. The kids, the manic chillun. The three fathers chatting in their own group.

I'm writing in a hurry. You'll get diff prespectives here, here and here. It's the middle of the night and I got a date with the husband. G'night, all.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Kiss the Cook(s)!

That was the chilli chicken V made for himself the other day. Photo looks weird because of the light.

And that's the paper cup stir fry his son was making five minutes ago. I like the way this is going. V made a really good chilli chicken before I left, and I'm sure Rahul will eventually cook stuff that I eat as well.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Friday Fun

After much planning getting us nowhere, Itchy and I agreed upon visiting her place, so that I could finally meet the deadly duo. Who, by the way, turned out to be nowhere near as deadly as their mother makes them sound. And who, also, ran from The Bhablet. :D

I was not destined to be on time, what with Rahul deciding to take forever over his milk and then we met the absconding istiriwalla downstairs and waited for him to finally return the landry. And then there was a lunatic auto driver who decided to drive like a maniac. He actually managed to scare me so much that I never quite got around to yelling at him despite his crazy driving. He even bumped into a delivery bike and had a mini altercation on the road. Finally reached the Raj Bhavan at Guindy and Itchy was waiting right there.

We drove into the wilds of Thiruvanmiyur and ploughed on until we reached her place. OK, so you know I'm exaggerating, right? Anyway, she lives in a very nice flat, I loved the cross ventilation. And no sooner had we got ourselves sorted out and the kids settled down than IBH arrived. And next thing I know, Itchy's off to set out snacks, and IBH and I are chatting like we've known each other forever (when the truth is I've never even read her blog!) and we suddenly realise, the two of us are making such a ruckus that Tejas, Ojas and The Bhablet are standing silently, looking at us with round eyes.

That, not unnaturally, made us laugh louder than ever!

I don't remember what we chatted about, but two hours just flew. What with Rahul chasing Ojas around with a piece of cake and Itchy shrugging her shoulders and saying to leave them alone because if he (R) managed to get the cake into Ojas, it would be more than she (Itchy) ever did, and Ojas backing away on his little tricycle while Rahul bore down upon him with a determined look, I really didn't know what to do and settled down to have some more chips instead.

Come to think of it, I'm not quite sure what the kids did. I do know they divided the toys amongst them, nobody murdered anybody else and nobody cried or fell down. Hey, I should let Itchy babysit The Bhablet!

IBH gave me a lift home afterwards, and we spent the hour on the road chatting away some more. It's always nice to meet a friend you didn't know you had.

A Review and Some Rambling

There has got to be a peculiar piquancy about watching Jaane Tu... Ya Jaane Na with the ertswhile love of my life. If only because this relationship of ours turned out different from theirs in the movie.

No, but seriously. All the fighting, the screaming, the physical attacking, the cussing. That was me then. Brought up by a bunch of young boys, what else did you expect? He, one of the gang, tried his best to shield me from the worst effects of my demi-masculinity and even tried to make a girl of me. Dressed me in salwars and what have you. And he, with the shoulders and muscles of any old farmer's son, could take on anybody he wished to, but never did. Because he could and did always turn a potential fight into a joke. That was him and it exasperated me and I loved him to bits for it.

I realise we've both come a long way when we can both re-visit our youths like that and have so much fun. That I can tell him warningly that I was always a quiet body and he better not spread any rumours to the contrary and he can grin and say, sure, you only screamed out thrice during the movie. And threw one punch. And danced to the songs. And that he and his wife gang up on me and I'm still laughing.

I missed Vicky, but some days I'm not so sure he'd like it. This hooting, hollering kinda fun. I mean, I know he enjoys it in his home ground, but mine? But if he'd been there, it would have been a more cuddly movie.

Hey, how come nobody warned me Jayant Kriplani was in it? I admire the gent, would've gone to see just him.

It's a great movie all round. Good acting, great music (if you don't dance to 'Pappu Can't Dance' you're probably dead or as near as makes no difference) and just the right mix of fun. For instance, just when things get a little senti and you realise the laughter is waning, there is Naseeruddi Shah. Hell, this was one movie where even Paresh Rawal got sidelined, although he was pretty good too.

I came home on a real high. Ran down the driveway out of the sheer adrenalin rush of it. Danced in my room for a bit. Even woke up V just to chatter.

I'm so nostalgic right now and in need of some holding. I've been here in MDR for nearly a fortnight now, another fortnight to go, and I miss having a man around. To generally offload upon. To hold at nights. To smile at and be smiled at. I watched the ex and his wife and I felt sorry for them because she's to have a baby and is off to her parents and will be away for many months to come. And I wonder why V and I squandered the time we did have. I try to live my life without regrets, but it would've been nice to have been less scared, so scared all the time, of losing my baby, of having my husband taken away; it would have been nice to have felt secure in his love. I'm glad I have that now. I guess you could say I should be thankful for that.

Well, all I'm saying is that a fortnight feels like a long time tonight.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Older and Wiser

Well, older at any rate. I turned 26 on Tuesday i.e. the 8th. Celebrated with lunch at Oxford with Ravi. Ravi, bless him, did not remember, which was OK, and innocently asked me at some point in the conversation when my birthday was. Heh. Anyway, what with the resultant guilt and everything, he bought me lotsa books. Pamuk's Snow and The Black Book, Rimidi's City of Love, Susanne Clarke's The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories and Ishiguro's A Pale View of The Hills.

It was nice meeting him, but it brought home to me that time's not standing still. Life's moving on, for both of us, and we're both trying to make sense of it, true, but one tends to fall into the rut of thinking one's friends will be replaced in their wrappers and put back on the shelf, stopped at the point one met them last, until the next meeting. Which doesn't happen, does it?

We had an enormous lunch and then I persuaded him to drop in and meet The Bhablet. Rahul was most excited to see him and ran around, displaying his toys, throwing mini tantrums and chatting away in Babble while Ravi sat around with a bemused smile on his face.

In the evening we went out, first to the tailor at Fountain Plaza to pick up my saree blouses (which were OK, not brilliant but they'll do to cover my back) and then to dinner at Tangerine, Alwarpet. Mini lamb cutlets and steamed wantons for starters, some iced tea which was mostly slurped up by The Bhablet, a veggie salad with a yoghurt dressing for main course. Because I badly needed to offset the ham pate and cheese sandwiches I had for lunch. Besides, now that I'm all grown up, I need to eat more veggies. No?

If it makes you feel any better, I did pick out all the capsicum slices from my salad.

Went to French Loaf for dessert but by then The Bhablet was a tired, cranky mess, so I picked up my hot chocolate (this one's to die for, I promise you, although if heaven doesn't have this, I'm not going) and the free choc and bundled us into the car and just came home.

It was a very nice day despite the ending fiasco.

He tossed and turned all night so neither of us got much sleep and we slept most of yesterday. Went out for an hour in the rain -- the moonsoon's finally reached Madras -- and picked up some curtains from that export reject place on Cathedral Road. Got a pair of plain, door-length cream curtains for the workspace, hopefully they'll work with the other curtains we've got; and a cherry red door-lenth one for our bedroom door. Since the door doesn't lock properly, this will give us some privacy when the bell rings. Three for Rs. 750 so I suppose I shouldn't complain.

It's Thursday today and Anindyakaku (Giga's husband) is in town for the night, en route Madurai. Rahul's playing with him now as I type.

The last weekend was great fun too. Met Nunu and Co. once more on Sunday afternoon. We planned to catch a movie but Sathyam was all sold out, even the English movies, and so was Inox, so we wandered around Citi Centre instead. Picked up some t-shirts at Lifestyle for Dada, and some baby stuff because they reminded me of good ol' days.

It's nice being at the baperbari. Wish V could visit too.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Good Touch

Nunu (and Akhi, and Nunulet and Sasha and Simba Singhs) came over this evening. An unexpectedly beautiful thing happened. Avi Singh (aka Nunulet) was placed on some pillows on the floor while us grownups (Ma, me and the two Singhs) had dinner. He whined though, not happy at being thus dismissed. While this happened, for a full five minutes, The Bhablet gently patted him on the head. I'm not talking about him trying to distract the kiddy with his toys, or talking to him, trying to distract him (in Babble, if you please, no wonder Avi refused to respond!) -- I'm talking of my boisterous and careless little 21 month old gently patting a younger child on the head.

When he was born, and afterwards, I've always somewhat resented any likenesses anybody found in him to his paternal grandmother. Because I didn't like her and didn't want to think my son would be anything like her , in any way at all. I stopped thinking that way some time ago, but today I found a likeness myself and actually liked it. Way back last year when I had my wrist operated upon, I was lying in bed in the post-operative haze, wishing I could just die and end my misery, when V's parents came to visit. I vaguely remember they spoke a little and left. In between, his mother placed a hand on my forehead, soothing it, for a moment or two and told me that I would be well soon.

It was such a nice, cool, comforting touch. Add to the fact that this was probably the first time in a year that she voluntarily touched me. Anyway, it meant a lot and I hope I never forget how it felt, a soft, cool hand on my brow when I was feeling the worst.

And this evening, I saw her grandson trying out the same thing. We'll make a Niyogy of him yet.

Speaking of the Niyogys, V had a rough day. Went over for the cremation this morning. In the afternoon an aunt of his passed away. So he spent the evening in another crematorium. Times like these, I wish I were in Cal. The man comes home and eats bread. OK, it's quite likely I would've been exhausted with all the stuff all day and we might still have dined off bread, but hey, he wouldn't be doing it alone.

Oh well.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Vote. Quick.

Since I've not gone to bed yet, just a quick line to say I've been watching Dolores O Riordan and Darren Hayes (post 'Affirmation') and I want hair like them! While I still have cheekbones, I mean to say.

Gah, back to the debate. See, real short, sharp haircuts look awfully sexy on me. And I love long hair, and mine's looking rather nice these days, all choppy and layered and feminine.

So... do I cut or not? I just cannot work up the guts but the husband thinks I should. I'm just terrified I'll never have the courage to regrow all this. Plus, all those haircuts I'll need every month, they'll cost!

Leave a comment, cast your vote. Go on. Your country needs you. At least the Sue-shaped part of the population does.

For Vicky

Just the way he sings it. And don't you forget it.

Friday, July 04, 2008

So, still in Madras (and loving it)

Barapishi's mother-in-law passed away yesterday and Baba's gone to Cal for the cremation. The families go back a long way, considering my aunt and uncle dated since junior school.

Vicky shopped for Groceries at Spencers on his own. I think that deserves some serious appreciation. And compared diaper prices. I don't think he realises how strongly that floats my boat, but it does, so Joe, keep it up.

Um. Not the way that came out, but that also.

Dinner tonight was at Mainland China with Srinivas, Madhavi and her niece Rajni (who The Bhablet fell for, albeit in a quieter sort of way than usual.) Food was very good, service was pretty decent, not to mention child-friendly and The Bhablet was hyper. Oh well, three out of four ain't bad.

Potty training is going well-ish. I mean, it's easier to be a more dedicated trainer here than at Cal, and Rahul is being more coperative of late, although one must admit there was plenty of room for improvement, so really, am not sure the little bit of coperation is enough to call for a band-party.

I feel awfully cheated, while we're on the subject, that V and I were married off withOUT a band-party. I don't feel properly married.

Good night, folks.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Madras So Far

Hullo all.

So I'm at Madras at last. Been here since Sunday. Hit town, drove straight to the club where Rahul rolled, literally rolled in dirt. The Gymkhana club has a nice little play area with swings and teeter-totters his size, such a rarity. Luckily, we'd both snatched an hour's sleep in the aircraft.

Lazed around at home rest of day, guests popped in, Neri with parents and grandparents. She and Rahul squabbled fiercely, for all that she's two years older. Ah well.

Monday night we ate at Cream Central. Great food, really good food and value for money, but I didn't like the manager's behaviour. On the other hand, the servers were all very nice. I recommend their preset meal, the alu parathas and the pasta on pasta thing I had.

Last night we ate at home, after an hour or so at Fountain Plaza. I really have to get to know this area. Right now all I know is the Nungambakkam High Road bit, but I would like to know Egmore better, for one thing.

Today was the parents' anniversary, and I think they had a nice one. We had a fantastic dinner at Bella Ciao, opp Landmark on Nungambakkam High Road. The pasta was simply superb, esp the fettucine with brocolli and cheese. The sheer butteriness of the dish was awesome. The tuna thing was also good (but not as good) and the gnocci with tomato and basil very yummy. The profiteroles were a bit disappointing, but hey, they're the ones who set the standards. The place was empty, so The Bhablet had a grand old time running around and generally making a nuisance of himself.

Lost my temper with the brat this afternoon and got a quiet talking to from the mother. Well-deserved, I'll admit. She -- they -- insist that I make allowances for the adjustments the boy makes, in being away from his beloved father, in adjusting to routines in a new household. Maybe they are right. Maybe it's tough for a high maintenance woman to handle a higher maintenance child. Maybe, I don't know, maybe I need to smack myself instead of him. He does so much, I keep expecting more. And my mother keeps telling me to slow down.

Went swimming today, but it wasn't a success just Rahul and me. For the first time in a very long time, he decided he was scared of the water. I guess it's easier with lots of people, not to mention Dadda in the pool.

I've written before about Rahul's attachment to his grandfathers. It's so marked now. He likes his grandmothers, loves them even, but his relationship with his grandfathers (and theirs with him) are on a different plane altogether. It's like some crazy male bonding that they do, some weird unspoken understanding that they have, that allows my father and father in law to confidently say, "Oh he'd never do that." and to actually not have the brat do whatever it is that he'd have done if it had been me sounding so cocky.

There's such trust, such faith he shows in his grandfathers, it makes me miss Dadu. And then I know why I stay away from my own home and husband for four long weeks, why I couldn't carry the grudges against V's parents for ever -- you cannot deny your child the security, the love that you recognise only too well. You cannot deny him what you gloried in, in your own time. At least, I can't.