Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Third Birthday

Rahul's third birthday fell on Saptami this year so we had an early birthday party on the 19th instead. Ma couldn't make it to Cal as planned (Baba fell ill) and the MIL decided she wasn't up to it, but Dada and M'pishi were both in town. Unlike last year, I didn't have a guest list and menu and return gifts all ready about six months in advance. Actually, I only got my act together when I realised I had six days left. Luckily, I'd mostly finished the shopping for the school gifts. I spent a happy night packing twenty-six little glittery sacks with

a mask
6 boiled sweets, orange ones
a pencil
a small eraser
a tub of Play Doh

for each classmate, handed out on the Thursday, their last day of school. At the party on Saturday each kid got (in a glittery paper sack)

6 boiled sweets, orange ones
a pencil
a mask for some, erasers for others (I was 2 masks short)
a Camel painting kit (12 colour tablets with a paintbrush)

The ages ranged from two 13 year-olds to a nine month-old so water colours seemed like a versatile and comparatively safe gift. Ratul (the 9 monther) got a wee bowl and sippy cup set.

We ordered the cake from Flurys (Giga's gift to her "Dadubhai"):


It was a fantastic chocolate sponge, not too sweet and a perfect foil for the sweet figures. As you can see, there's a sugar train running over hilly country with much greenery around, a tiger, a horse, a rabbit and a fox decorating the scenery, a "mountem" concealing four little chocolates and a jawan (soldier) and a girl doing a Marilyn Monroe in short skirts at the side. Most inappropropriate really, for a kiddy cake, but I loved eating all that sugar.

As MayG pointed out, this was the year that Rahul had been looking forward to his birthday party. He loved the cake and kept running up, asking to be shown the "twain". This is him trying to blow out the candle (a lavender-scented 3 balanced on the "mountem") while brandishing the cake knife. His Ennapishi and Rijudada look on while I balance Ratul on the other side.

I don't know if you've noticed, but my baby's grown up on me. He's a "bada Dada" (big elder brother) to Ratul and very proud of this status although he's quick to state that he's a "chhotto Baby" too in case anyone thought otherwise. He wore the red Superman tee gifted by his Th'amma (Vicky's mum) for the party.

I kept the food simple. Chicken and veg patties from Flurys, cake, juice and chips. And two of the birthday boy's favourites, chocolate wafer rolls and "mishtikola"* (narkel nadu/coconut and jaggery laddus) on the side. To be ended with yummy nolen gur ice cream. M4, we missed you. :) Dipali was there for a quick fifteen minutes at the start of things. Evie came just before the cake was cut and the nicest pics of the party (these) were taken by her.


Rahul got lots of fun gifts although his favourite was probably the bright green Ben10 double decker bus from Ennapishi (you can see it where he's blowing out the candle). He also got a lovely wooden shape sorter from Dr D (father of Ratul the Cute) amongst some cool clothes and chocolates. But the grandest gift came from Baba and Babu (who seriously need to grow up, yo). It was opened at Giga's the next evening amidst much excitement and cries of "Tomis" and "twain"!


The set has three engines, Thomas, James and Percy, a wee tunnel for them to pass through, Wellsworth station to stop at and lots of loops and track changes. The engines are pull-backs and roll their eyes as they go. As you can see, they made Bheblu babu a very happy little boy.


* This note is dedicated to Rimi, who I think will enjoy it the most. And for being the mashi who brought him an early birthday gift after taking the trouble to sift through the books to weed out the ones with American spellings!

Narkel nadu comes from the mishti wala, right? The sweetmeat vendor who walks through our neighbourhood with his dekchi of sweets on his head. Vicky and Rahul are regulars of his, so he comes by every few days to refill our narkel nadu box. This man is fond of the boy, and lets him dip his hand right into the dekchi and help himself. To my eternal indignation, he gave me a lecture on treating children right because they are little gods. As you have rightly guessed, he is a grandfather himself. So anyway, the man and his sweet became part of the whole to Rahul who couldn't pronounce mishti wala right and called him mishtikala instead. From there to calling the sweets mishtikala was a short step. It kept us guessing for a few weeks though, given that mishti kala in Bengali sounds like "sweet banana"!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I think Vicky’s having an affair

1. In the last two weeks he has paid me as many compliments. Major ones too.

2. He offered to go get me a shawarma after I whined for one for a day.

3. He apologised twice in two days for things that were his fault.

The signs are all there, aren’t they? He hasn’t brought me flowers or chocolates yet but as soon as he does I need to Google for a good divorce lawyer.

...

On a diff note, major parenting milestone for me this morning. I wrote my first letter as a guardian for absenteeism. Felt weird writing it, almost like I ought to ask Baba to write and email it to me or something, because obviously no teacher will accept a letter written by me!

Monday, September 14, 2009

CAIN!

A nice thing about lazy Mondays at work is that I get to re-cap my weekends. Last weekend started early, with me dashing out of office at lunchtime to meet Dipali and her older daughter for Southie thalis at Dosas’n’More. After getting more food inside me than I should have been able to, they dropped me home and I peeled my saree off me and slept it off. Rahul was rather ill with a nasty virus all week and we didn’t like to take him to any crowded public places so we vegged out at home until about 10 and then went for a drive.

We weren’t really going any place particular until we passed the Gariahat tram terminus and saw a tram leaving. We promptly overtook it and Rahul and I boarded it at Birla Mandir. The next twenty minutes were great fun. We sat in the front, on the single seats to the left, and kept an eye on Vicky as he drove alongside. The roads were relatively empty and we passed through Park Circus, Mullick Bazaar and Elliot Road on our way to Dharmatala so we saw lots of bright lights and iftar feasting. We got off somewhat reluctantly at Dharmatala, re-joined Vicky and dreamily drove back home. And yes, I skipped dinner!

Saturday morning I decided I needed to sort out wardrobes. The nesting instinct has been kicking in for a while now, only it hasn’t been accompanied by the requisite amount of energy! I did get a fair amount done and then M’pishi came by to pick Rahul up but he wasn’t in the mood to go anywhere. Since they were expected to lunch at Pishithamma’s, I coaxed him into going but he insisted on coming back home after lunch. I wonder if he knows that it’s a bit of a wrench for me to pack him off on Saturday mornings? I don’t see all that much of him all week, being either immersed in chores or too tired to play, so Saturday mornings tend to be the first time I have for him all week. Anyway, he came home and Vicky was out so I bathed him and cuddled him and gave him his medicine and packed him off to bed. He slept like an angel and woke up demanding to be taken to Giga (M’pishi). E called in the interim and I couldn’t tell you what we discussed but we laughed a lot. That never changes.

Vicky spent most of the evening at Garfa while I sorted clothes and caught up on some mending and oh, read Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. By the time he came home I was feeling pretty grumpy and by the time he coaxed me into changing and heading out for dinner, it was past 9.30. Eventually we had Chinese at Golden Dragon, Park Street (Taaja’s was closed, Mocambo was full, Flury’s too expensive). The food was great, as always, the Golden Fried Prawns and Chilli Roast Pork being better than great. My coffee plan with the girls fell through since Dana was ill and Vicky and I were too late to drop in on her that night, so we had ourselves another (comparatively) early night.

Sunday morning saw me up early (I wake up 6ish these days, no idea why) and I made sure I got rewarded for it. Then I scrubbed the floors, did the dishes and laundry and some dusting at lightning speed while Vicky took Ally to be serviced at the garage and then went over to Garfa once more with Rahul’s antibiotic. We both ran like mad and managed to catch the 10.45 show of 9 at Fame. The story was a bit weird but the animation was superb. Afterwards we went around the shops some and I bought soft cream cords for Rahul at the Benetton sale (50% off). We went crazy and spent three times what we’d budgeted for his birthday gifts but I’m consoling myself with the thought that Baba’s paying for some of it. We got some fantastic Thomas the Tank Engine sets. Those nice people at Little Johnnie gave us a wee discount too and also agreed to deliver all the stuff, while the folks at Starmark were uncharacteristically helpful and knowledgeable too.

We had a fantastic lunch at the Flury’s down in Spencer’s. Vicky had the all-day breakfast while I had the most delicious non-veg club sandwich (it had olives!) and the folks at Flury’s made my day by giving me a cup of coffee to make up for the coffee they hadn’t given me the last time I’d had the breakfast (I didn’t realise I’d paid for one). I know it’s good business but really, how many places do it? We met an interesting old gent there who reminded me of Baba, the way he talked. They’ve started an ice cream counter there and I loved the Indian flavours (nolen gur for my money although the rose sandesh was also very good). All in all, I think it’s a bigger bang for a smaller buck than the Food Court on the third floor.

Come to think of it, it was one of those days when I was making demands and getting what I asked for. Kind of like I'd had some Felix Felicis or something.

I went on to Garfa while Vicky went home. He reached Garfa an hour later and then we set out to visit Dr D at their new place. Ally was still at the garage so with a strong sense of déjà vu I ran down the driveway at Garfa yelling for the SD4 to wait. We got into a rickshaw at 8B after some trouble (we’d boarded a non-stand rick initially and were asked to change) and peacefully went to Golf Green. Dr D and his missus have done a lovely job with the flat and it’s peaceful and welcoming. We loafed around chatting while Vicky went to pick Ally up. It was a lovely evening. I’ve always thought Rahul would make a lovely older brother but this is the first time I’ve seen him play with an younger kid for a whole evening. I was so impressed by how quickly he accepted that the ‘bhai’ had to be treated gently and carefully. There was this point when he pushed the baby around in his little walker and, well, I think it’ll take me some more time to get used to the sight of our sons playing. Wasn’t that long ago that it was us playing (although I admit there were no walkers involved in our ‘games’.)

A lovely weekend and just right for the upcoming festivities. Life from now on is only going to get busier and more crowded. I can hardly wait!

Letting Sleeping Babas Lie

is a wise thing to do. Especially after you've done this:

And if there are any uncharitable types amongst you who think I'm framing the boy, here's a picture of him at the scene of the crime:


Anyway, so I didn't wake Vicky up either. Not until I'd taken enough photographs.

To Help You through the Week

So, why do the Emergency Service people come running when Dot's in a hurry?

Because she's all Dot Dot Dot dash dash dash Dot Dot Dot.

Hyuk hyuk hyuk

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

A Nicety of Taste

I stopped at Biba yesterday evening, seduced by the sale. They had some shalwars, churidars, tops and dupattas in bins priced at Rs. 99, Rs. 199 and so on. I’m looking to change the appearance of a kurta set I wear, and after much deliberation, I found a shalwar and a dupatta that seemed viable. I took them into the trial room to check the look and Rahul wriggled in.

He looked thoughtful when I wore the shalwar but as I held up the dupatta, he calmly said, “Tumi eta porte parbe na.” (You can’t wear this.)

Amused, I asked him, “Keno?” (Why?)

He thought for a moment – I could see him search for the word – and then said, with great satisfaction, “Karun eta nice na.” (Because it’s not nice.)

Vicky still doesn’t understand why I couldn’t possibly buy the stuff after that.

NB
This is how he speaks. On occasion he still speaks in Babble but this conversation has been written exactly as it took place, with the words clearly pronounced the way he does.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Oh, and I really need to wash my hair…

It was a pleasant weekend. I had been feeling rather flu-ey since Thursday morning, so I took the day off. Since Friday’s my flexi half day I forced myself to get out of bed and go to work. (I think I actually got out of bed because I was angry at something Vicky did, but I’ve forgiven him since. Besides, I can’t remember what he did.) A half day of nothing constructive, a lunch of ghugni-ruti and a lift home courtesy Smitadi made me feel a lot happier about life. I walked the ten minutes from Dakshinapan and enjoyed a very light rain (ilsheguNri brishti, isn’t that a lovely word) near my home.

We went out to dinner, all three of us. We went to KFC in the rain and while Park Street, sadly, is no longer at the top of my list of places to go for fun (it’s my workplace, innit) we did have a very pleasant time. The food was great. I had their boiled sweetcorn for the first time and that was also very nice. Rahul fell in love with his balloon. We went over to The Cafeteria afterwards. Someday I must write about the place but only if you promise not to visit it too much. Some lovely Viennese coffee and a brownie were enjoyed in absolute privacy and comfort while Rahul ‘fought’ with his balloon. It looked like balloon hockey to me. That kid’s crazy. Home and bed.

Saturday morning the boys slept a little late while I checked mail. Then we scurried out to visit Krishnamashi (Vicky’s aunt). She had surgery on Monday and is currently staying with one of her sisters in our neighbourhood. Rahul spent a happy half hour charming his didas and seeing pictures of a baby cousin. The rain continued. We eventually left for Garfa, picking up some puffs and pastries from Flury’s, South City for M’pishi. When we eventually reached Garfa Rahul announced that he didn’t want to stay back on his own. I felt rather bad about this, because he’d been saying he didn’t want to go since much earlier but I know he’s only messing with my head. As soon as I tell him he can’t stay he howls the place down until M’pishi pleads with us to let him stay the night. Weird kid. He’s reached the stage where he contradicts himself twice a minute. Makes for lots of tantrums but yes, it also makes for many interesting conversations.

Vicky brought some biriyani for lunch. The Singer teacher couldn’t come from Howrah because of the rain and I was grateful. It was a peaceful afternoon and I caught up on my ironing while watching Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone on DVD (I'd never seen it before). It rained harder in the evening but Vicky sweetly offered us a lift, so Shuki and I went to watch Shob Charitra Kalponik with Joy at Priya for the 9 o’ clock show. Kaku and Co were expected to visit us but Kaku found himself driving to Rahul at Garfa instead, LOL! Grandparents, I tell you. The first half of the movie was very good while the second half was rather disappointing but the whole gave me much food for thought. Vicky picked Shuktara and me up from the cinema hall and we chatted (rather indiscreetly) over coffee at the CCD near Shishu Mongol. I’d have preferred a Barista but at least they’d turned off the music and we didn’t have much company so in the end it was rather pleasant. Then we pretty much kidnapped Shuki and insisted she come home to chat some more. By the time Shuki finally went home around 3 am, Lake Gardens was quite flooded.

Sunday morning I spent partly on the phone with Ma, partly attending to the household. For lunch we drove down to Forum for shawarmas but they have cordoned off much of the seating area for renovations and it all felt rather claustrophic so we went and had momos at Tibetan Delight instead. My first visit but you bet I’ll be back. Such lovely, lovely food. I ate my first kotheys – steamed momos pan-fried on one side only. The best of both worlds, really. Thought of Cousin T. I don’t suppose I can ever go there without thinking of her. Then we wandered round to Crossword (last day of the Sale) but escaped unscathed. We didn’t buy a single book, really.

Finally made our way to Garfa to pick up the Hope of the Household (which household would be a very pertinent question, yes) and feasted on ghugni and lots of piping hot, sweet, milky tea. Then M’pishi decided to take us to try the New! Improved! prawn cutlets at Kwality but we were all so full, we didn’t leave home till nearly eight. And when we did reach Kwality, the cutlets disappointed. But the chicken club sandwich was pretty decent. The ice creams were tasty enough even if my cassata did have a layer of virulent pink.

As you may expect, Rahul cribbed all the way home and wanted to stay back with M’pishi for the night. Twice a minute, I tell you.

This one weekend was both pleasant and relaxing and we didn’t spend astronomical sums of money (although I guess M’pishi did, over our dinner.) Both Vicky and I were looking rather wistful this morning, I noticed.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

And this one's for Vicky

Because I love you to bits, baby. And also to show you how lucky you are that it was a boy.

Double Indemnity

Friday, September 04, 2009

Links!

So, I've been surfing around a bit lately (AB, go away!) and here are some posts I think you'd like to read, if you haven't read them already.

Evaluating your worth as a blogger by Mom 101. This one reminds me of Daniel taping over the Apple logo on his Mac. He's still as much of a fan as ever but like he said, they aren't paying him to advertise. Spot on. Which is why I don't walk around with flashy labels. In fact, if you can read the labels on my clothes/accessories, chances are that they were gifted. I don't like paying good money to work for people. This brings me to something that particularly pisses me off -- sportswear. Ever seen the number of logos and whathaveyous on them? Sportspeople are paid to wear those clothes. The fans pay to get the chance to wear them. Whatever. Now you can call me cheap or you can call me smart but I refuse to pay crazy amounts to carry free advertising. (If the clothes were cheap, we could talk.)

Bossy's take on the season's fashion trends. I've been known to do similar things, only I haven't ever taken photos to blog, silly Sue. I do love funny fashion posts. And thanks to a Mad Pal, now I'm hooked to www.highheel.confidential.com. *sigh*

Bloggess talking about a book she could write. Sounds a lot like conversations chez Sue except that, heck, except nothing much. Except that yes, Booberry has got to be a girl, dude. How would you like to be a dude walking through life being called Booberry? I admit it might help if you weren't walking, if you were, say, driving a Ferrari, but really, Booberry is just not a boys' name. Says the woman who called her son a Bhablet. Although, really, he ought to blame his Shejdadu for that one.

Dipali posts a timely quote. I am so very possessive over that son of mine and the only way I can deal with it is to cut him loose and obviously, that doesn't precisely fix the matter either. Since the day I decided I was probably pregnant -- keep in mind my teens were closer to this date than they were probably to yours, unless, of course, you're Boo or Mon the child brides -- so where was I? Oh yeah, since then I swore to myself to give my kids the freedom I fought my parents so hard for. And I thought I was doing a fine job until I figured I don't give my boy the right to choose his own clothes or where he wants to go play or what he gets to eat or when he gets to step out of the house or anything, really. On the other hand, he still ain't three. When he's about 15 I'll try to feel properly guilty. Till then, as Dipali said, the house rules apply. If they can apply to the nearly 33 year-old, they jolly well apply to the 3 year-old. The 27 year-old says so.

Speaking of which, Spud-boy turned three. I know this may not be a life-changing event for most of my readers, but you see, Charlie's birthday is an announcement of sorts to me each year that Bhabbles is most definitely turning yet another year older and there's nothing I can do about it. Of course, as Sparx points out, the kids are getting funnier by the year, but still. I try to be in denial.

Anyway, so that's my little list. Got any links you want me to check out?

Thursday, September 03, 2009

For Beq

With thanks for the Fleet Foxes.



Bits of this reminds me of you. Except that you're neither hollow nor of no use.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Dhan te nan!

Rahul has not been well. Over the weekend he developed high fevers but no other symptoms of illness apart from some crankiness but that may as easily have been his resentment at being made to sleep so much. Anyway, he seems OK now.

Last night he went on his first outing in four days (the horror!) to Giga’s. And then refused to come home with us. Now, I was all for bodily carrying him away but his forlorn face and Giga’s unashamed pleading got Vicky to agree to pick him up the next morning in time for school (you couldn’t pay me enough to do this). Since we were on our own, we caught the last show of Kaminey. I’m down with a cold thanks to the over-high AC and I did come home feeling absolutely punished because I had been tired enough to start with and a three hour movie isn’t the easiest thing at the end of a long day. BUT. The movie was such great fun.

Go on, say it, Dhan te nan dhana nana!

I am liking this Vishal Bharadwaj chap more and more. To my utter shock and horror, I am also liking this Shahid Kapoor chap more and more. This is my official relegation to Auntyhood. Vicky and Rahul slept most of Sunday so I watched Jab We Met on DVD. I still think Shahid out-acted Kareena although she was really good too. I admire understated performances, they are never easy.



I have been thinking of so many things of late. So many people saying so many things, sparking off such tidal reactions. My cousin recently tried to say that I ought not take offence if people are rude to my father – my father, folks – because I insult him myself over here at this blog.

First, I don’t remember insulting him. I know he reads my blog too and I value my hide. So, most likely she misread whatever it is that I wrote.

Second, he’s my father to insult, nobody else’s. Unlike most of my cousins, I am not afraid to criticise my parents to their faces, nor is criticism the only thing I give them. I give them fierce love and open loyalty and I think they are also proud of the fact that they have brought up kids whose loyalties are not blind.

Third, this is so cowardly. This is not the first and it won’t be the last, but if you have criticism, bring it on here. Here, at the blog. Bring it out in the open. Don’t hide behind other people and expect me to ‘respect’ your point of view if you don’t even have the courage of your convictions to stand by them to my face.



So, I’m done ranting. I don’t like backbiting. Especially among us cousins. Especially now.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Sven's BACK!

You can take a look at His Cuteness here.

I'm so shameless about this guy. :)