Friday, September 28, 2007

Loudspeakers and the police.

So it is that time of the year when Ganesha pandals are put up and a lot of ruckus is made in his name.

As usual, a function is going on about a kilometer from my parents' home, where I am staying now. The music was so loud that I could not hear myself speak.

As usual, calls were made to the police. Not one, not two, but a dozen. And not just by us, by many of our neighbours.

As usual, it was of no use. [Ok, this is slightly unfair of me. There have been times when the police have gone and switched off the music or lowered the volume].

Anyway, today, this is what happened:

7:30 pm - Call made to local police station, they say they would dispatch a Cheetah (police patrol mobike) immediately.

7:45 pm - No change in situation, another call made. Policeman says that the association has already taken permission and they cannot do anything. When asked whether the permission includes blaring loudspeakers at unspeakable decibels, there is no satisfactory answer. They say that the Cheetah has gone elsewhere, they would dispatch it as soon as it gets back.

8:00 pm - No change in situation. My dad personally goes to where the function is going on, and makes a request to the organizers to lower the volume. They say they will, and dad comes back.

8:05 pm - No change in situation. Just as I put my baby down on the crib, Himesh starts howling, and my baby wakes up bawling.

8:10 pm - My parents decide to call 1-0-0. It is busy. Yes. 100. Busy. This wasn't an emergency, so it is okay. What if there had been a burglar in the backyard? What would I do? "Please wait, Burglar Uncle, 1-0-0 is busy. Let me search the directory for other emergency numbers". How on earth can 100 be busy? Are they nuts? Shouldn't they have enough lines to cover any and all calls originating in this burgeoning city?

8:15 pm - My parents call the DG's office. Policeman answers politely, says he understands, and that permissions don't mean that they can play music so loudly, and says that he will dispatch a Hoysala (Police Patrol 4-wheeler) immediately.

8:45 pm - No change in situation.

9:00 pm - My baby still bawling, I call the local police station. As I start to complain, the policeman says, "Some people are having some entertainment, why should so many of you call and complain". My BP rises. "Can you hear a baby crying? She cannot fall asleep because of the noise. If some people want entertainment, why should others suffer? What are you police for? Please do something!" Policeman's tone changes. "Oh baby not sleeping? Tch Tch... will dispatch a Cheetah immediately". I recognize the tone. Indulgent. I hang up, without much hope.

9:15 pm - No change in situation. Call again to the local police station. Same reply. Wonder how many Cheetahs are bounding about this area, if they are to be believed.

9:45 pm - Put on loud, soothing music to cover the other noise. The baby falls asleep, more out of exhaustion than anything else.

10:00 pm - No change in situation. Another call to police station. Aren't loudspeakers banned after 10 pm? Ah yes, madam, we will dispatch a Cheetah right away.

10:30 pm - Volume slightly lessened.

11:00 pm - Function concluded, and then silence. Golden, golden silence.

Please draw your own conclusions. I'm off to bed.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Erlangen

When I was a toddler, I lived with my parents in Erlangen, Germany, for a year. I obviously don't remember much of my stay, but the snaps taken then show me as a little kid with a mop of thick black hair, and cheeks the size and colour of apples. The indoor snaps usually show me eating or drinking something, and the outdoor snaps show me covered from top to toe in warm clothes, with only my cheeks popping out.

Aside 1: The mop of hair remains, but where did those cheeks go, do you ask? I used to wonder too, but now I know. They were in hibernation, and now they have come back and attached themselves to my baby's face.

Aside 2: Georg Simon Ohm - he of the Resistance fame - was born in Erlangen, and that's why he came back twenty years later to haunt me when I studied Electrical Engineering.


Well, though I am technically not supposed to remember anything about my stay in Erlangen, being very little, the point is that I do. I remember:

  • Looking down from the window of our 19th storey apartment.
  • Feeding bread crumbs to swans in the lake near our home.
  • Playing with my Indo-German friend An in her water-filled inflatable tub, and crying when asked to get out because it was time to go home.
  • Wanting to eat the beads on An's rubber band, because they looked like peppermints (Greedy pig right from childhood, yes).
  • Feeling out of place at a children's gathering because all the kids spoke only German.
  • Sitting on my mom's lap and eating something while she showed me pictures in a book.

Most other memories have probably come from snaps, so I won't add them here. These are the memories I am sure I remember without external aid. I remember these perhaps because all of them must have induced extreme (at that time) emotions in me - happiness, greed, loss, loneliness...

Ok, so why on earth did I start talking about Erlangen out of the blue? Well, I was looking at the Sitemeter of my blog and clicked on "Who's on", and found a reader from Erlangen. And that, I can tell you, gave me quite a thrill. I later realized that it was a "siemens.de" domain, so it could well be possible that my reader wasn't really sitting in Erlangen, s/he could have been elsewhere reading my blog through a server situated in Erlangen. So, anyway, if that reader is you, put your hand up, please, delurk, and let me know. JFK, as we would say in college - Just For Kicks. Thank you.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Hair.

What do you get when you cross a

Guard(Courtesy)
with a
Cockatoo? (Courtesy)
Answer:


My baby's hair.


Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The sound of a baby's laughter.

As soft as velvet.
As bubbly as a brook.

Comforting.
Elevating.

Brings a smile on any face.
Induces hope in any heart.

The sweetest sound on Earth.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Champ Mom

Lindsay Davenport won the Bali Classic Tournament on Sunday.

What's so special about that, do you ask?

She won this just three months after she gave birth to a baby.

Let me face it. She had a baby after I did, and she went out there and won an international tournament yesterday.

I am ashamed. If Lindsay can win a tournament, I should at least be able to climb a flight of stairs without panting.

I need to start my fitness regimen. Now. On second thoughts, not now, considering that it is 11 o clock at night.

Tomorrow.

Do I see a smug look on S' face?

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Water, water, everywhere....

It has been pouring non-stop for the past couple of days. But even I was taken aback when this photo jumped out at me from the front page of the newspaper today. Hosur road flooded with water, and these people are moving about in coracles. Coracles! On the roads of the Software City's IT hub!!

Everything else apart, the first question that popped into my head was - Where did they get these coracles?

Bangalore does not have any rivers in its immediate vicinity, other than Vrishabhavati [1], (in which no one in their right mind would willingly go riding on coracles), and I don't think any coracles go about on Bangalore's lakes either. Then, where did these coracles come from?

Did some enterprising businessman start transporting coracles to these IT offices the moment it started raining? Or wonder of wonders, have companies started storing coracles?

Maybe companies have included this in their disaster management plans, something like - 20 coracles should be stored in the basement to ferry employees when the roads get flooded during the monsoons.

Who knows?

On another note, two nights ago, after attending to the Little One when she woke up for her night feed, I felt hungry and popped in at the kitchen for a drink of warm milk. As I sat sipping the comforting liquid, I watched the rain. I saw gallons and gallons of rain water flowing down the road. Some of it will seep underground and groundwater will be replenished. Yes. But how about the other water? So much water going down the drain - literally. How much opportunity there is for rainwater harvesting!

Fact: Bangalore receives about 970 mm of rainfall every year. The number of rainy days is close to 60 (over a period of eight months). 54 percent of the rainfall is due to the south-west monsoon. Rainfall in Bangalore can be expected to arrive on time, and without fail. Due to these extremely favourable conditions, rainwater harvesting is a viable solution to the city's rainwater harvesting problems. In fact, it has been estimated that over 40 percent of Bangalore's water requirements can be fulfilled by Rainwater Harvesting.


Fact: A 100 square meter rooftop can yield upto 90,000 liters of water annually.


Fact: Bangalore is the first city (in India) to include rainwater harvesting in its byelaws. The law says that “ every building with a plinth area of exceeding 100 sq mtrs and built on a site measuring not less than 200 sq mtrs shall have one or more Rain Water Harvesting structures having a minimum total capacity as detailed in Schedule”. This specification also means that adapting rainwater harvesting costs less than one percent of the total cost of the construction.


A lot of information can be got from the Rainwater Club.

[1] Vrishabhavati was a beautiful river, which is now the sewage and effluent canal for the city.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

More snippets

* The Little One rolled over on Sunday, at exactly 3.5 months. And now all she does is roll over. Any time is roll-over time, because of which -
- Diaper accidents have now turned into diaper disasters.
- Diaper-changing is next to impossible - I have to tie her down!
- No longer can I leave her lying on elevated surfaces - I have to be on my toes all the time!
- After she is on her tummy for a while, she tires of it and starts whimpering - when I put her back on her back, she promptly rolls over like a spring and whimpers again.
- When she wakes up for her night feed, she rolls over and waits for me to wake up. When I do hear her and wake up, I see a head struggling to keep itself upright, with a cute little sleepy face smiling delightedly at me from about half a foot away. Makes my night, each night!

* She loves her rattle - and when I say Love, I mean LOVE.
- She loves to hold it and rattle it, and keeps hitting her forehead head in the process.
- She protests when it is taken away from her.
- If it is rattled when she is playful, she stares at it and gurgles and smiles.
- If it is rattled when she is restless, she turns hyper-active.
- If it is rattled when she is crying uncontrollably, she stops crying.
- When she is calm and peaceful and sleepy, rattling the rattle makes her fall asleep. (Really!)

* She attended her first concert this weekend - by Smt. Aditi Upadhya, the wonderful lady who taught me music many years ago. We entered a little late, and The Little One sat quite attentively at first. I almost thought I could sit through till the end - but then she conducted some noisy diaper business, and grew restless - we had to leave before she screamed and disturbed the others. :(

* I take her out on walks regularly - she loves it.

* Ragi didn't agree with her - or maybe her system is not yet ready for it. Semi-solids have been put off for a while.

* Her sleep has improved a lot - thanks for asking. Your tips on my Help! post helped a lot, I really appreciate all your inputs. The crying-when-sleepy-syndrome has gone down considerably. But her naps are still very very short. I can hardly get any work done during the day.

* She seems to be a Shakespeare fan. She keeps saying "King Li-yah".

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Cerelac

I love Cerelac. I was fed Cerelac as a kid, and I am sure I dipped my spoon into my sis PeeVee's bowl when she was being fed Cerelac, but my happiest Cerelac days came much later.

Whem my cousin K1 reached the Cerelac-eating age, I would hang around during his feed-times, half for the joy of seeing the adorable fellow eat, and half in the expectation that he would leave some in the bowl, so that I could lay claim over that. And sure enough, he wouldn't eat all of it (thank you, K1), and I would lick the bowl clean.

When his brother K2 was born, I was a little older, and much cleverer. My aunt V and mom had roped me in to "help" feed K2, perhaps to keep me busy. I would receive instructions to prepare Cerelac for him. I would go to the kitchen, prepare Cerelac under somebody's guidance, and then take the bowl to my aunt for her to feed the little K2. Once they were sure I could do it on my own, they allowed me to do it without supervision a few times. Here's where I worked my plan. If they had asked me to prepare two spoons of Cerelac, I would prepare 3 spoons. The logic being, obviously, that K2 would waste more, and I would get more to eat.

I am not sure if my aunt V worried about why K2 had started eating less (she wouldn't, she is hardly the worrying kind), but if she did worry, and changed his feed in any way, I apologize for the lacuna, if any, in K2's nutritional input. But considering that he is now a strapping six-foot plus sportsman, I think it hardly mattered!

Anyway, after that, there was quite a gap before the next kid was born in the family, and I grew Cerelac-hungry. Once, when I was well into my teens, I poured out my tale of Cerelac craving to my sis P, and was quite surprised to see that she loved Cerelac too! We mentioned it to our parents, and they, sweet people that they are, gave us some money and asked us to go and buy Cerelac for ourselves. Ohmigosh! A full tin of Cerelac just for us! Both of us ran back home, mixed some Cerelac with milk, dug into it, found it bland, added sugar, and ah, bliss! That cured my Cerelac cravings - for the present. But a couple of years later, another cousin V was born, and sure enough, I ate his Cerelac too.

Now, just think, I have my own baby and I have full control over what I can do with her food - so I couldn't wait until I could start her on Cerelac. But the Doc advised me to start her on processed Ragi. I was shocked. What about Cerelac? Yeah, yeah, I know, Ragi is much more nutritious, and home-made stuff is always better, and the Little One is slurping up her Ragi, cooing and flailing her limbs in pleasure. But what about Cerelac?

Well, whatever it is, I am waiting for an opportunity to bring Cerelac home... errr.. for myself.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Monday, September 03, 2007

A baby is ....

.... An Alimentary Canal with a loud voice at one end and absolutely no responsibility at the other.

What a perfect definition! I found it in the Absolutely Useless Dictionary.

One more of my favourites, from the same place:

Sweater - Something you put on when your mother gets cold.

I am sure the Little One will agree to that wholeheartedly! I never know how to dress her, I just dress her like I would have dressed in that weather, just a little warmer. Sigh. I wish there was a babybodycomfortometer.

Visit the Absolutely Useless Dictionary at your own risk. You will have many many wonderful hours of laughter, but it is addictive, and then don't blame me!

Also read: The Devil's Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce
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