Friday, January 30, 2009

How Do You Unfriend a Person?

This is how it's done on Facebook, apparently. How do you do it? Just block? Stop taking calls? Stop answering emails? Do tell me. Mail me if you want to be discreet about it.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Bah!

What with Vicky being on his own trip (work, stress, a cold), this is how I feel.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Marital Counselling by the Stars

My horoscope for today:

When you can learn to be flexible with an obstinate person, you can learn to do just about anything! A touchy and stubborn person will cross your path today, and they will tell you that it's their way or the highway -- despite the fact that the ideas you have (that they don't want to hear) will make their life easier. Never mind -- laugh it off and do what they say. Go along to get along, and be amused by the fact that they are so short-sighted. Do not follow their example.

His horoscope for today:

Someone who you don't usually see eye to eye with has important things to teach you, whether you like it or not. Right now, you need to give them some time and try really hard to respect their right to speak -- even if you hate what they are saying! This will set the tone for an honest dialogue, and you'll be the one to get all the credit in the end when the two of you start improving your communication skills and relationship. Harmony is easy to achieve when you think the best of someone.

I know it's all about interpreting it right but to me this sounds strangely like the stars worriedly seeing a fight coming up this evening and trying their best to keep it from happening. ;)

Friday, January 23, 2009

A quick note

...to all of you who've sent me friend requests over these last few months on Orkut/FB. I've already denied some and will deny all the others from people I've never met because:

1. I barely spend any time on either apart from using the FB status update as a form of Twitter.
2. I stopped adding people I don't know off the 'net -- I stopped nearly a year ago because it just felt very pseudo from my side. I'm there to keep in touch with the people I know. Friends I make elsewhere.

So it really is nothing against you as such. But really, if all I know of you is a link in my stat counter, it's difficult for me to know if I can let you into more trusted circles. My concept of privacy is a little weird no doubt (given the quality of this blog) but I find it weird adding people when I don't even know who they are (say they blog anonymously or are lurkers).

You see, I'm getting old after all. I do hope you understand.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Happy Anniversary, Joe

And the same to me.

Three years, huh? You still smile the same. Only, now you got a wee version of the same smile down beside your knees somewhere and it keeps demanding our attention.

Here's to us, all three of us, and to you and to me for the love and the forgiveness we've shown each other.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Reader from Bangalore

... who's trying to learn how to wear your saree Bengali style right now as I type -- email me and I'll describe it better.

Applicable to all others too. Only if you're really interested. Otherwise be a sweetheart and don't waste my time.

Christmas 2008

So it's not yet the 25th of Jan therefore it's not yet a month from Christmas and therefore this post is still not too late. What, would you rather I didn't post it?

Anyway, we had a pleasant Christmas Eve. Not to be confused with the worried Christmas Day while Vicky's father had a cystoscopy done. Cousin J stayed the night over and we had wine and plum cake. We also brought out the Tiny Tree and watched The Sign of Four. I saw at least half before I fell asleep so I think that was a good night's work. Considering I'd been up all hours the night before, er, being Santa's little helper don't you know. In the morning, we pounced on the fruits of my labour.

This is what fell to Cousin J's lot, she being a lover of all things pen-related.



With little 'money'-wrapped chockies inside.

And this is what the boy got.


In this jar. Me likey! He's not really getting the full potential of the kitchen set but hey, there's time.


And these are what I got. For Rs. 345 from Next. No, I did not miss any zeroes. Just got lucky at a sale.


And here's what Vicky got. With assorted CookieMan cookies inside. We helped him finish the box. :)


And here, to distract you from the delay in posting, is a picture of another elf that haunts our house.
Although he didn't really the cap so much to start with!

Jiyon (and Antara)'s Wedding

Quick Notes:

It was a nice, mad evening. Got home, dressed in a hurry, didn't pin on saree securely -- first time I tried that style on a silk so heavy so I really didn't know what to expect -- found my knot coming undone just as we were about to leave -- just stuck some extra hairpins in and fretted all the way to Jiyon's. Reached and waited around until finally the borjatri (groom's party) left. The real fun started when we reached the wedding hall because Jiyon had arranged for a pretty decent brass band (Mehboob Band!) and we managed to dance for half an hour down a one minute's walk of a lane. Chandni staretd the show and DrD brought the money out. We danced like crazy although I danced a little less because of the knees, and we eventually went in to get the boy married yet again, all sweaty and crazy.

The fish fries were fab, the bride looked lovely and her sister turned out to be a batchmate of mine from JU! A girl from another dept and I completely failed to recognise her. I vaguely thought she looked familiar until Kingshuk landed up and identified her and then it all came rushing back to me. Must be getting older than I suspected.

I worked out the perfect pinning for the saree at the wedding hall so all was cool thereafter. Also, this was Vicky's first wedding where he wore his dhuti himself (and very nicely too) and he even tied it for Papaida (a friend). Not to boast but my husband looked rather dashing with his blue and gold buttons and salt and pepper hair. The boy looked a treat in a FabIndia kurta and a pair of psuedo silk pajamas from a street stall. Unfortunately, he wanted to wear a dhuti like his dad and didn't think too highly of his own dress.

Anyway, the wedding went off fine and the bride and the groom looked adorable. Dana called so we sneaked away from the biye for a wee coffee. Vicky, Rahul and the BIL included. It was nice. Came back, saw the most important part of the wedding out -- had a run in with a photographer -- and finally, exhausted, went home. The bashor (post-wedding all night 'ice-breaking' session) was cancelled since most ppl wanted to go home, the next day being a school/workday.

And no, I don't have pics. Didn't take any although I'm hoping to get some from friends. Don't scold me, I was out there to get Jiyon married, not to compose a blog post, you know!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

I've reached that age

...when I need to wear a little makeup to work. Maybe I should start carrying a stick of kajal in the handbag. Maybe I should even use it.

Added later:
But for Jiyon's wedding tonight I'll be seriously stunning. Oh yeah, baby. :)

Monday, January 19, 2009

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Work from Home Fathers

While Vicky's not the first nor even the best to be doing this, the fact remains he's still quite a rarity in our social circles. Actually, I cannot think of another father I know who works from home while managing a child on his own, while his wife works in an office all day.

He (and Rahul and I) have variously been pitied, stared and laughed at. I don't understand these reactions and I'm not amused. Should I be? It was just the other day that it struck me that we only know one other couple who are bringing up their child on their own i.e. they do everything for the child themselves and have always done so. Everybody else we know have ayahs. Now, I myself had an ayah as a kid, each of us Roy grandchildren did, and I assumed I would want one too, when I had children. Then I discovered that I was one of those jealous control freaks that mothers occasionally turn out to be and that no ayah had a hope of measuring up to my standards. So, OK, we manage without. It reassured me that Vicky didn't want an ayah either, although we got a good one last year, if only because we as a family like our privacy in our own home.

I wondered if the decision was still valid all of last month as we struggled to make sense of work timings, hospital visit hours and an increasingly insecure and clingy little boy. But you know, the basic sentiment remains the same -- if my son neeeds his parents, I don't want a maid soothing him, be she never so clean and pleasant and acceptable. If he can't have us, he'll have his grandparents. Or we will move heaven and earth to somehow work out a way to be with him. It's the least we could do, given the stress we put him under. It's also a personal sentiment, one that Vicky and I restrict to ourselves. Most of our friends use ayahs and it's not an issue with us.

Anyway, so I just finished reading the Burma Chronicles and I found myself really appreciating Delisle's annoyance at having his profession -- drawing comics -- seen merely as a diverting hobby. Now, Vicky as a graphic designer has comparitively a more conventional profession but as a work from home father he needs to structure his time very differently from the 'normal' workday his clients follow. He needs to take time out to feed, bathe and play with his son. He needs a little time off now and then to recover from a toddler in the house. Little bits of time, you understand, that I in an office give myself from time to time. When I wander off to read the newspapers and clear my head. My colleagues go for smoking breaks. People wander around chatting of random things. You know what I mean.

When I worked from home or even when I was a part-timer at Call Cutta all of last year, it was not uncommon for people trying to call me to hear me tell them that I'd call them back in a bit because I was busy with the household. My callers, people from both genders and all ages, accepted this in the spirit it was meant and usually chuckled at my son's misdeeds and asked after him when I returned the call at last. When Vicky makes the same request for time though, many people consider it unprofessional.

It's discrimination, whichever way you look at it. Men make more and pay more.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I don't know

... a single man who envies Vicky his wife.

I wish I did.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Respect

I was just watching this advertisement and I suddenly remembered how, in movie halls when the national anthem is played, the whole hall rises. First one person, then groups, some laughing, some taunting, but everybody rises. Some sing. Everybody stands as straight as they know how. And somehow, they stand till the end. It would be so easy to sit down or just keep lounging in the first place now that we no longer have our school teachers sneaking up behind us to check. Nobody sits, though.

It's a nice feeling.

For Vicky

Notwithstanding your lack of interest in Hindi songs, this one's for you.

love,
A

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Unwanted

It's a fact I don't hide, that The Wee Bhablet was the baby I hadn't wanted. It was an unplanned pregnancy and a difficult one and the timing was as bad as it could have been. The newly married blues combining with the restlessness of the bed-ridden topped with explosive family politics and a clueless husband created a terrible atmosphere around me and even though I had days when I wondered about this child I was bringing into the world, many more days were spent feeling resentful, lonely and depressed.

The first days of motherhood were just as confusing. There was this beautiful little mite -- and he was beautiful even if I say so myself, because really, how many attractive newborns have you seen anyway? -- hanging on to my finger and I felt this really primal understanding of his needs that I didn't even comprehend myself, and yet I resented his constant crying, his refusal to sleep or to stay still for one damn second. And then he showed a decided preference for his father and my mother and I let the PPD take me over.

I called him Rahul after toying with a couple of other names, simply because I had loved the sound of the name as a young girl and had planned to call my son that; and also because it was the name of Buddha's son -- along with Vicky's beautiful smile, Rahul had also inherited his father's absurdly long ears.

Do you know what the name means? It means "Obstacle". The Buddha gave his infant son this name in a moment of anger when his wife tried to keep him home by holding out his son as a lure. My own son couldn't have had a more apt name either. He has been an obstacle, utterly derailing all the plans I'd had. I've had to wait two years to return to a career, further studies are out of the question and even a simple night's partying requires much thinking over. I don't smoke any more and I hardly drink now, after the pregnancy hormones messed up my drinking habits. I'm scared of things I never noticed before, simply because they make up the world my son will grow up in. I'm far more particular about Vicky's failings because I'm scared that his son who hero-worships him will learn those bad habits as well. And I'm, well, I'm simply not the woman I had thought to be.

And in case from reading the last paragraph you get the feeling that I think any of this is bad, you're on the wrong track. The life I'm leading is hardly perfect but it makes all other lives seem so very sterile, so utterly lacking in some vital essence. This madcap juggling of household, work, marriage and parenting makes me feel so strongly alive in a way that nothing ever did before. In a cliched way, I really do see the world through new glasses since Rahul has been there to show things to me. I see the best of the man I married because he's a good husband but he's an even better father. And I see how much laughter and love this child of ours has brought into the world. Simply by being him, by some magic I've never really fathomed, he seems to make people want to smile, to play and pet and sing. Perhaps he'll lose it all as he grows older and perhaps that will only be right and natural. But I, I may never recover from the irony of having such a deeply resented gift turn out to be so right for me.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

To Give You Hope

If you are the book fanatic parent of an infant obsessing at the probable illiterate future of your child since the child is not particularly interested in all the baby books you've bought it, take heart. One day, this too shall pass.

I had this vision of myself -- right next to the softly toned image of myself as a gracious, eternally patient awesome cook of a mother -- sitting with my baby son on my lap, bringing his storybooks to life for him, telling him stories heartened by his soft chuckles and delighting in his picking out favourites. I certainly did not imagine a child who only picked up a book to bite it or tear it to bits. That however is what I got. (To be fair, I got a Bhablet. Perhaps you did not.)

So I sat and agonised over the future. It looked very bleak. I pictured an aged Sue, sitting in her room while her son told his friends things like, "Hey have you heard this really cool band, they're quite old and nobody appreciates them now but they're uncut diamonds I tell you, these Backstreet Boys!" And how all the shelves in his room would have crap Goth stuff and the only books in it would be stupid magazines that told him how to cure his zits.

And then one day, I got a life and stopped thinking these thoughts and basically, forgot all about it.

And then another day, many months later, my son came up to me and urgently pointed at the book cupboard and said, "Babu, peesh? Babu, boita, peesh?" When his delighted mother immediately offered him his choice of 'boita' ("the book") he brought down half a dozen and proceeded to read them the rest of the day.

To paraphrase my mother, good things happen to Sues who wait.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Your Campaign for the Day

If you are on Facebook, go to the Campaign for Kong.

And this is why you should. Also because Kong's the only boy I've met who made tarty fishnet stockings look fucking sexy on his man-legs. Also because he probably needs a few more people telling him what an eejit he's being.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

A whole lotta Beatles

... a fatty fry-up (sausages, cheese scrambled eggs, rolls and coffee) and a lazy Sunday morning. Just what I needed.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

My Resolution for 2009

To learn a new dish every month. That sounds not impossible, even for the likes of me. And I'm rather inspired by the success of the mutton stew and the bourbon cake, really.