Friday, June 29, 2007

Black Magic

I thought babies were supposed to be attracted by bright colourful things. But the Little One is fascinated by.....Black.

The things that hold her attention - the cordless phone, a black hairband, black clothes, speakers of the music system, black bags, and hair.

When I talk to her, she doesn't look at my face, she looks at my hair, and those of you who know me in person can probably understand why (I have quite a mass of hair). If I want her to look at my face, I have to struggle to tie up my short hair so that it is not visible around my face. Even then, if a couple of wayward strands escape, she looks at those instead of my face.

After a few days, if you show her two photos, one of just my face, and one of just my hair, and ask her where her Amma is, she will point to the photo of my hair.


P.S. Am finally working on replying to the comments on all the previous posts. Apologies for the delay :)

Thursday, June 28, 2007


She is my best friend and my confidante.
She is my partner in crime.
She and I have shared everything.
She and I have burnt gallons of midnight oil - chatting into the night.
She and I have driven people crazy with our giggling.
She and I can carry out entire conversations without speaking a word.
She is bright, witty, cheerful, and very sweet.
She is the one I miss the most, during this time when the Little One has arrived... coz..
She is far far away doing her MS in Stanford University.
She is my little sis P.

And..... At Long Last...She has started a blog!

Go read, but puh-leezzz do come back!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The making of a foodie

I am a person who thinks that food is one of the best things in life. Of course, you already know that. But just this morning, I got wondering about what makes a foodie, well, a foodie.

In my case, it involved having a mother who is not only a great cook, but also the kind who is not afraid to experiment. While growing up, we were never bombarded with the same dishes time and again. She always thought of a way to make food different and interesting. She never stuck to the rules of "Ok, this vegetable can traditionally be made into two types of dishes, so I will make one of those". She is the kind who improvises, who mixes and matches, and out of experience and an innate instinct, is able to turn out a dish probably never made before, but delicious all the same. So naturally, I always had something exciting to look forward to at mealtimes.

It also involved having a father who is not fussy, doesn't demand that such and such an item just has to be present in each meal, and who is never averse to mom's experimenting. He in fact, made the right appreciative gestures during meals and my mom was accordingly encouraged. Besides, being brought up in the north, he was accustomed to North Indian dishes, and my mom learnt them all very quickly after marriage, and so North Indian cuisine was a regular part of our food, along with the usual South Indian. Also, my parents' short stint in Germany probably got them started on continental food too - and after that there was no stopping them.

But of course, in spite of two food-oriented parents (politely expressed?), it isn't necessary that the children turn out to be foodies. My little sis P, for example, though she enjoys her food, is not much of a foodie. Not like me, who dreams of food all the time, and wakes up in the middle of the night craving some obscure dish.

One more thing. My advice to all you single people out there. When choosing your partner, do go in for someone with similar food tastes (if you care enough about food, that is!) I have seen some ill-matched couples, one of them itching to try out exotic cuisine, the other sticking religiously to Anna-Saaru. It is quite a painful sight.

I am very fortunate in that S is as good a foodie as I am, perhaps a level or two higher. Now my aim is to make sure that the Little One is appropriately introduced to the joys of fine dining. I know, I know, long time to go, but what's wrong in planning?

So are you a foodie, and what do you think made you one?

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Fleeting moments

The Little One is a month old today. She has finally stopped looking like an alien, and only occasionally looks like a baby chimp.

Just a month and there has been so much change in her. She was such a non-responsive little being in the first week, who just lay in one place, stared off into space, and cried and slept. She has now become an active, alert child, who holds and follows your gaze, follows the movement of objects, responds with gurgles and smiles, and on the other hand, cries with a vengeance. Her strong little legs kick non-stop, and I have often bore the brunt of the fury of her tiny fists. She goes still when her name is called, and recognizes me when I hold her.

Even as I exult in her every milestone, I watch with awe, the passing of the innocence and helplessness that preceded it. I now know what people mean when they say, "Enjoy your baby, she will grow up very quickly". How true that is.

All I can do is try and capture little moments of her life now before she grows up. It is quite easy, actually. I can capture it all on camera - movement, voice, everything.

But there are some things that can never be captured. The warmth of her cheek as it rests on my arm. The feel of her little fist around my finger. The soft, yet firm push of her feet against my tummy. The nuzzle of her soft mop of hair against my neck.

And the smell. The fresh, adorable, baby smell. The smell that compels you to pick her up and cuddle her.

All there is to do is enjoy every moment with her and live it completely!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


.... from the last four weeks

* All those of you who had visions of my baby bawling while I sat blogging away, do not fret. Nothing comes between baby and me - blogging gets squeezed in anyhow. Time online is difficult - not impossible.

* 4 weeks ago, I desperately needed a copy of "Babies for Dummies". Now, it feels like I can write the book myself (At least the Chapter "The First Month"!) Phew! Gives "Learning on the Job" a whole new meaning. My fears that I wouldn't know what to do with the baby were totally unfounded.

* What I have learned in the last 4 weeks:

1) Sleeping anywhere and anytime. Haven't tried sleeping while standing - yet.

2) Ambidexterity.

3) Having a bath within 5 minutes

4) Timing toilet breaks not according to "nature's call", but according to the baby's call.

5) Meals are no longer eaten, just gobbled up.

6) Earlier, you would have needed an off key wedding music band next to my ear to wake me up. Now, a tiny whimper from the baby is enough to wake me up. Well, usually. Last night, the baby was bawling and my mom had to shake me awake. (I was tired, give me a break!)

7) After carrying her around, I have discovered muscles in my arms that I never knew existed. I have also realized that as she grows bigger, I will discover newer muscles.

* At all times, I hear sounds which I am sure is that of the baby crying. So I come running to the room from wherever I am - to see the baby sleeping peacefully. Hallucinations. That's what it is.

About baby -

* She has had three nail cutting sessions in 25 days.

* As for her hair, she had a huge unruly mop of hair when she was born - now, it has grown even longer, and some strands reach her shoulder. Some strands get into her eyes, and some get into her ear, and I suspect, tickle her. It runs in the family - my mom tells me I needed a haircut at three weeks. She really needs a haircut too. But I keep feeling that a haircut will take away her new-ness, if you know what I mean.

* The Electronic Tamboori still works. If I sing a soft lullaby in accompaniment with it, it works faster. But there are some times when nothing works. The little one just lies there and stares at me, while I doze off myself, the lullaby still on my lips. Then I awake with a start - to find her looking at me with those big black eyes, with a question mark on her face.

* Babies should be born with some inbuilt rules. If I spend half an hour trying to get her to sleep, she has to sleep at least for half an hour for my effort to be worth it. Sigh!

* What I did the other day - Ran to the crying baby, saying, "Oh-ho, the little one is wet, here comes Shruthi Akka to change her nappy!..... Err... Emm...... I mean, here comes Amma to change her nappy!" It will be my good fortune if she doesn't call me Shruthi Akka when she grows up. Very very difficult to digest the fact that I am some one's Amma.

* Hazards of Motherhood:
Listening to unwanted advice - Everyone on earth wants to advise you. Advice flows uninterrupted. It gets highly irritating at times. All I do is keep an open mind and take every bit of advice, inspect it, and then discard it, or keep it aside for further research. Meanwhile, how do I react to the advice-giver? Give a polite smile, and nod-nod. They are happy, I am happy.

Watching your baby get man-handled - I don't care if you have mothered ten children, I don't care if you have years of experience with children, and I don't care if "nothing will happen", but I cannot bear to sit and watch you handle my child roughly. I am thinking of sticking a "Fragile - Handle With Care" sticker on her tummy. Sometimes I almost think that the tradition of nearly quarantining mother and child for the first three months, does make some sense. At least the child will be away from prying hands.

I know what you are thinking - She has a lot to learn. I know too. :)

There, I hear her whimper. Her face will now pucker up and become red - and her face will start crying before a voice emanates to match the face. (She already knows the laws of physics - Light travels faster than sound).

Ta-da until next time!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

The Sound of Music

The little one is a darling. So far, she has been very cooperative - crying only when she is hungry, wet, uncomfortable, or when she is too sleepy and can't get herself to calm down enough to go to sleep.

Quietening her down is very simple in the first two cases. The third can be difficult, but once you nail what is bothering her, it is ok. The fourth case can be very tricky. Initially I tried singing lullabies to her. But singing a lullaby at a volume a couple of decibels higher than her crying volume is not very easy. I end up sounding like a hard rock lead singer. And it has no effect on her at all.

Now we have a solution. Discovered accidentally, as such brilliant solutions always are. Whenever she cries, and I ensure that she is not hungry or wet or uncomfortable, all we do is switch on the Electronic Tamboori (Tanpura).

The soothing drone of that blessed machine almost acts like a tranquilizer gun. The little one's cries stop as if a sound system has been abruptly turned off. Her big black eyes open wide and focus on some obscure point in space. Her flailing arms and legs stop in mid air. Slowly, very slowly, her arms and legs come down to ground level. Her tiny fingers unclench slowly, and she intertwines her fingers and places her hands elegantly on her chest. Her nostrils flare ever so slightly. Her eyebrows arch just that little bit. A miniscule frown appears on her forehead. Her mouth forms this cute little "O" and her upper lip juts out. She relaxes completely and just seems to listen indefinitely.

She just stays like that until a valid crying reason comes up, or until she falls asleep.

I just hope this fascination for that sound is not just a passing fad and I fervently hope that this solution does not stop working.

Besides, I like to think that this is an indication that she is a musical baby! Hurrah!

Yes, I know that in no way is an Electronic Tamboori comparable to the sound of a real well-tuned Tamboori. We have not one, but two "real" Tambooris too. But we don't have anybody who will drop everything and sit and play the Tamboori endlessly for the benefit of her little royal highness. So the Electronic Tamboori it is.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Do your bit, please!

June 5th is World Environment Day. Please wake up, look around you, see how friendly (or unfriendly) you are to the environment, and please do your bit to protect the environment. Every tiny effort counts.

This year's main topic of discussion is Global Warming - "Melting Ice, a Hot Topic?"

I wish I had more time to write in detail, but I don't, so I will leave you with a couple of interesting links. [Not connected to Global Warming]

An inspiring story -
A small town in Devon has become the first place in Europe to turn its back on plastic shopping bags. But how did it do it? Rebecca Hosking, the local activist who galvanised traders and shoppers, explains.

And the world asks this town, how can we do it too?

Find out your ecological footprint [Link courtesy Sangsta]
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