Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Special Moments!

*Gushing and mushy Mommy post alert!!*

Some moments can never be captured for eternity. The only place where it can exist is in the mind. But for such moments to exist undimmed in the mind, you need to recall it from time to time - and what is better than to write it down?

There have been many moments I have had with Puttachi, which I know will never come back again - and I wrote a few down, lest I forget. Then I read them and thought, well, let me share it with everybody!

* A baby's touch is so subtle. Really, what is in a baby's touch that is so special?



That tentative, exploring, delicate touch - the soft, tender hands - they touch you, but don't linger. Before you can savour it, the restless hands move elsewhere. But that momentary touch - it is so beautiful.




And when Puttachi grasps my finger, or explores my face, her touch is so trusting, curious, playful - it evokes in me a tenderness I never knew possible.



* When Puttachi falls asleep in my arms, I can sit like that for ages, just holding her and gazing at her. Her eyes are closed peacefully, with her thick, long, eyelashes sweeping her cheeks. The eyelashes are so long that they are sort of entangled with each other.. makes me want to take a tiny comb and comb them out - but then, they would lose their perfection! One cheek is pressed against my arm, and her perfect red lips are moved out of alignment just that bit, because of the squashed cheek. The other cheek is smooth, round, the skin flawless and almost transluscent. It has the quality of a porcelain vase - smooth and shiny, except that her cheek is soft and warm.





* After I give Puttachi her feed, I seat her upright on my lap, and pat her on her back to burp her. With each pat, her cheeks wiggle, and her cockatoo tuft of hair rises and falls comically. It is very funny and I always end up giggling. Puttachi realizes that there is something happening behind her, and tears her eyes away from the object that had in the meanwhile caught her fancy. Then she swivels her head around completely with a Dev Anand-like wobble, looks at me, sees me laughing, and breaks into a wide, toothless grin herself. And that makes me laugh all the more, and I end up squeezing her hard until she squeals!
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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Schmooze Award - And a Tag


Cantaloupe's Amma and Bellur have awarded me with the Schmooze Award!

At first sight, "Schmooze" sounded like Smooch - did they like my blog so much that they felt it deserved a smooch?
Then it looked like "Snooze". Was my blog so boring that they felt like taking a snooze when reading it?

I looked up the Dictionary, and it said -

Schmooze - To converse casually, especially in order to gain an advantage or make a social connection.

Award accepted graciously without any comments :)

And Award not awarded to anybody else. I know, spoilsport - but didn't you know that?

__________________________________________________________________

Bit Hawk and someone called "Life Rocks" (URL?) had tagged me long back for the middle name tag. I kept postponing it coz I don't have a middle name, and even if I did, I wouldn't know what to write. Anyway, here is an attempt - I choose "Shru" as my middle name, and I am supposed to write something relevant to my life with each letter of "Shru"

S - Sweets, or food, for that matter!
H - Hills, and mountains - love them.
R - Reading - a passion.
U - Understanding, up to a point.

Done! Any more tags pending?

Monday, October 29, 2007

Condensed Milk

Every Saturday, I read Vikram Doctor's excellent column in The Economic Times - "Garam Masala", and decide to blog about it that night. The muhurtha, as they say, had never arrived, until now.

Vikram Doctor, in my opinion, is a terrific food-writer. One, he loves his food. Two, he
knows his food. Three, he has the knack of writing about it in a wonderful way. You are left mentally licking your fingers at the end of it.

Each time I read the column, I decide to alert my foodie readers about it, but then, as I said, I forget.

But this time, it didn't slip my mind - because this time, he wrote about condensed milk. Yes, that luscious, sweet, rich, sinful, viscous liquid that sends you straight to heaven with each delicious spoonful.

Vikram Doctor says it best -
As thousands of children have discovered over the years, condensed milk straight from the can is one of the most blissfully yummy things you can eat.
and
Both Nestle and Amul sell their condensed milk as an ingredient for home-made desserts, with recipes often provided helpfully on the can wrapper. I have never really been able to bring myself to make most of these, since good as they sound, they never sound quite as good as the plain product itself.
Heh!

Needless to say, S~ went out immediately after reading the article, and bought both Nestle's Milkmaid and Amul's MithaiMate. It had been so long, and man, am I enjoying it!

Do read the article. And yes, if you like your food, don't miss Vikram Doctor's column each week. You will not be disappointed.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Little Snippets

I forgot these little things in the last update. Adding them before I forget.

* Puttachi loves to stand. She keeps pulling herself up to standing position on my lap, and she loves to look at the world from that position.

* She loves it if I make her dance or sway to music in that position. She laughs a lot.

* She can sit unsupported for about 2-3 secs after which she loses balance. She sometimes, supports herself with her arms and sits for quite a long time, nearly 10 secs, then she loses balance again.

* She is fascinated by our hands. She needs no other plaything. She observes hands for any amount of time. While playing peekaboo, if I use my hands to cover my face, she looks at my hands and forgets to play peekaboo. So I have to use a plain white cloth to cover my face for peekaboo :)

* Yesterday she crept forward, and covered a distance of about half a foot. Then she grew frustrated that she couldn't get at the toy in front of her, and bawled until I picked her up.

* I wrote this whole post with her on my lap. What is she doing? Observing my fingers fly across the keyboard.

* She is losing patience. Ta ta!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Some more snippets.

Puttachi completed five months today. Its been a while since I did an update on her, so here goes.

* Puttachi bites. And hard. She wants to chew on everything. Everything finds its way to her mouth. If she is lying on her tummy and doesn't have anything else in hand, she licks whatever she is lying on.
Her favourite object to gnaw on is the human hand. If she finds one within reach, she pounces on it just like - just like the predator pounces on the prey in those National Geographic shows. And she gnaws on it like the predator eating off the prey. With equal fervour.

* She dives. And how! Wherever she is, whatever she is doing, her roving eye finds an object, she sets her heart on getting it. In the movie "The Greatest Game ever played", when this champion golfer is taking a shot, everything else vanishes - the trees, the spectators, everything except he and the hole. This kid is like that. When she wants something, only that object seems to exist in the world. She doesn't care about space, distance, height, anything. She just dives. Or if she is on the floor, she pushes her head down, or her knees, or her toes and tries her hardest to move forward and get it. I don't think it will be long before she starts moving forward. And then, Heavens save me.
And oh, why did she want the object that she has set her heart on? For the sole purpose of putting it into her mouth.

* She had the second haircut of her life. We started cutting her hair when she was asleep, but she woke up before we could complete it. So I broke the "NO-TV-for-Puttachi" rule, and switched on the TV. She sat and stared at the screen transfixed, and we finished the job. Now I know why moms put their kids before the TV. For a moment's peace. I have started rethinking my "No-TV-for-Puttachi" rule.

* Shortly after my plea for help, asking you for advice on how to make Puttachi sleep, her sleep habits improved beautifully. "Putting her to sleep" became a non-necessity. If it was her naptime, she just drifted off to sleep while taking her feed. That's it. That simple. But now, suddenly, she is a tad older. And that makes her very distracted. She finishes her feed and cries. Now, its back to square one, trying to "put her to bed". But her night-time sleep habits continue to remain very good.

* She is mine and S~'s daughter all right. She loves her food. After Ragi didn't agree with her, I started her on Nestum - plain rice cereal. I then started adding little somethings to it - Mosambi juice, Dal water, mashed carrot - she loves it. She gobbles it up with pleasure, with the appropriate satisfied noises. It is beautiful and so satisfying to watch her. I can't wait until she is older so that I can give her regular food!

* I can see her personality actually developing. Very active and restless, very curious and enthusiastic, fun-loving, vociferous. with strong likes and dislikes. of course, I don't want to label her, but its fun attributing certain characteristics to her.

* Pictures in books excite her, and as I have already said, music does too. Hail Hariprasad Chourasia for having the ability to calm her at a moment's notice!

* She is such a delight. Just as I think she cannot get any prettier or any more delightful, she does. [Alert! Doting mom!]

* People are cruel. When Puttachi was a new-born and looked like an alien, everybody said that she looked just like me. Now that she has blossomed into a cutie, everybody gushes about how much she looks like S~. Hmph.

Monday, October 22, 2007

200

This is my 200th post. I didn't realize when 100 passed by, and so I thought I would make a big deal about 200.

200. Never thought I could write so much. When I first started this blog, I did so doubtfully, thinking - what will I write about? Apparently, I do have a lot to say.

Coincidentally, it has been nearly two years since I started blogging regularly.

It's been a ball - thanks, all of you - you kept me going. Your encouragement, your comments, and your friendship! So, thank you, to you and you and you.

It has been lovely knowing you all, meeting some of you in person, and getting to know some others better through email/phone. I have met many interesting and like-minded people through the blog, and that I count as one of the greatest advantages of blogging. I will not be exaggerating if I say that right now, I am more regularly in touch with my blog friends than I am with my "other" friends.

Blogging under my real name, and having all my friends and family and family's friends and friends' families read my blog, makes things difficult at times - I cannot spew out everything that's on my mind. But I wouldn't have it any other way. This suits me just fine.

Blogging has another major hazard. Many of my friends keep track of me through this blog, and when I write or call them and ask, "Hey, what's up, been a long time".. they say, "Oh yeah, sorry, I know what you have been up to, because of your blog, and I didn't realize that I haven't kept you updated."

So, you, and I mean YOU. Please close this page (after you have read till the end), open your inbox, and send me a mail. And yes, I mean you. Thank you.

Cheers!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Of Nobel laureates..

So, it turns out that Leonid Hurwicz, the Economics Nobel laureate is known to my Dad's maternal uncle, and he has even had dinner at my dad's cousin's place. That is probably the closest I have come to knowing a Nobel laureate.

Unless, of course, one of you in the future becomes a Nobel laureate. Then I can open my blog (if it still exists and if I remember the url), and show people your comments and say, "Oh, s/he was my blogger pal!" And if I win a Nobel, you can go ahead and flaunt my name, I will not mind.

Ok, back to Nobel laureates. Actually, coming to think of it, I kind of know another Nobel laureate. Or rather, a Nobel laureate's home. My school was adjacent to C.V.Raman's compound (now all you North-Bangaloreans know where I did my schooling!). My classmate in primary school, let's call her Sma, lived in the outhouse in that compound. C.V.Raman's large house, situated in the middle of that huge compound, was uninhabited,, and always locked.

Now this compound contained a variety of trees - jackfruit, mango, silk-cotton, tamarind, and many more - it was actually a mini forest. A beautiful green place in the midst of busy Malleshwaram - we all envied Sma.

I would go to Sma's home to play sometimes, after school or on the weekends. Sometimes our games took us to the main house. We would play in the wide, sweeping portico, with the thick columns and pillars. We would go round the house and try to peep in at the windows. Once, looking at my enthusiasm, Sma's father got the key, opened the doors and let me look inside. It was large, spacious, with a high roof - a typical old-style home. The furniture was heavy, luxurious. The sofas had long, curved handles and printed cushioned seats. CV Raman's armchair was very heavy, dusty, and broken. His writing table was large and foreboding. I sat on his chair, sat at his table, and felt very important indeed.

The memory of that house still gives me the creeps, for some strange reason. It was obviously once a very beautiful and elegant and house, but it seemed to be falling apart - dusty, musty, and echoing with our hushed voices.

So there ends my tryst with Nobel laureates.

My sis and I had once chalked up a plan on "How to win a Nobel". We listed the categories and contemplated upon which Nobel it would be easiest to win. We first struck out Physics, and then went Chemistry. Medicine fell next. Economics wasn't even in the reckoning, as we had no idea what it even meant. All that was left was Literature and Peace.

Literature shouldn't be so difficult - just write a few books and you are good to go. But Peace, we decided, was the easiest. All we had to do was preach peace with zest, and we would be awarded the Nobel. (We were just 11 and 7, please!)

I still have a fascination for the Nobel, and am in awe of Nobel laureates. I am sure some of you are out there rubbing shoulders with Nobel laureates. When my sis got an admit to Stanford, somebody told her that in that University, if she stood in the cafeteria line, the guy in front of her and the one behind her would be Nobel laureates. I don't think that has happened to her - yet.

So, do tell me - have you met/interacted with Nobel laureates? If yes, who, when, how, where?

Monday, October 15, 2007

WTH!

The maid's daughter is six months pregnant. And the foetus is male. And how did she find out? The doctor who conducted her scan told her. Yes.

And me? The ultrasound clinics I went to had large posters with foreboding red lettering which warned me that "Foetal sex determination is illegal and a punishable offence". I had to sign declarations that I wouldn't ask the doctor to reveal the sex of the foetus, and the doctor had to sign in the report that s/he hasn't disclosed the sex of the foetus to me. And this is when I was ready, to welcome with open arms, either sex, be it a boy or a girl.

And the doctor reveals the sex of the foetus to the maid's daughter, she from that class of society, who are more likely than us to treat girls as burdens, and would tend to abort female foetuses. And as I gather, the doctor offered the information just like that. No money seems to have exchanged hands.

Did he offer the information because the foetus is male? Would he have done the same if it was female? But if he had the reputation of revealing the sex of the foetus, wouldn't his silence indicate that it is a female foetus?

In fact, when I was expecting, the same maid asked me if the doctor did not tell me the sex of the foetus, and that in her village, they "take a photo" and tell them the sex of the foetus. But this scan was done right here, in Bangalore. Where is this clinic? "There", with a vague wave of the hand is all the information we get from the maid about the whereabouts of this place.

This tells me how widespread sex determination is. And we scream ourselves hoarse about female foeticide.

Update on Jan 8th: The girl delivered the baby yesterday... and it turned out to be a girl!

Arranged Marriages

Someone came to my blog looking for "How to check out a guy in arranged marriage". Poor girl, she probably found only this - A taxonomy of marriages.

She won't get further help from me, coz I didn't have to go through the motions of an arranged marriage. So let's help other Googlers - if you had an arranged marriage, do tell me how you "checked out" the boy or the girl. If you are single and looking at an arranged marriage, tell me how you intend to decide. If you don't fall into either category, but would still like to contribute your mite, you are very welcome. The comments section is open.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Attachment

I read this news about a dark-haired Czech couple who had DNA tests conducted to quell rumours about their blond-haired daughter. But as the tests revealed, the baby was not theirs. They went to the hospital to find that there had been a mix-up, and another couple had their daughter. So now, the parents have decided to SWAP their babies after TEN months of caring for the wrong baby.

How heart-wrenching it must be for them! As I always tend to do (bad habit), I tried putting myself in that situation. If it turned out that there had been a hospital mix-up and Puttachi was not my biological daughter, what would I do? Give her up? NO WAY! But then the girl out there was my biological daughter, the one I had carried in my tummy for 9 months! Would I not want her too? I would, I am sure. I would willingly look after both the babies. But of course, so would the other mom! What a horrible situation.

My heart goes out to those parents. By agreeing to swap daughters, they have perhaps done the logical and practical (in the long run) thing. But I cannot bear to imagine the heartache that they must be going through.

I just realized how unimportant a "blood" relation is, when it comes to children. Would I have loved Puttachi even an iota less than I do now, if she hadn't been my biological daughter? I don't think so. My love couldn't have been any less. Then, by inference, it hardly matters whether you have a biological child or whether you adopt a child! So why go through 9 months of pregnancy and increase the population of the world, when you can do everybody a world of good and adopt a child and give her a good home? Is it that "our flesh and blood" is so important?

I would love to hear what you have got to say.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Shoe Woes

The Mad Momma mentioned somewhere on her blog that she has over a 100 pairs of shoes. A 100 pairs of shoes! Now the first thing that came into my head was not where she keeps them or how she maintains them, but this: that she has actually liked a 100 pairs of shoes enough to buy them.

Why doesn't that happen to me? At last count, I own probably, 8 pairs of shoes, and that includes walking shoes and hawai chappals. Why is it that some shoes go looking for people, and nothing seems to be right for me even if I move heaven and earth to find them?

Not that I am asking for anything wonderful.

All I want in my shoes, in no particular order:
1) Sturdiness - obviously, if I pay good money for it, I want it to last.
2) Style - and why not?
3) Have a Soft and flexible sole - After my ligament tear, hard soles give me an ache in the leg.
4) Flat, no heels - same reason as number 4.
5) Back-strap - I am a vigorous walker, and slippers without a back-strap tend to fly off my feet. Go on, Laugh!
6) The Right size - you won't believe how many perfect shoes I haven't bought because they don't stock them in my size.

Am I asking for too much?

More often than not, I find myself compromising on one of the above aspects, just so that I can have something to walk in. For this very reason, I hate to go shoe-shopping, coz I tend to get depressed. Really.

S is wonderful at getting me shoes to wear. He accompanies me patiently to any number of shops, says "Come on, let's try just one more shop!" when I say that I have had enough, and doesn't rest until I've found shoes that I like. If you have seen me in nice shoes in the past three years, it is entirely due to him.

It was on one such shoe-searching expedition that I found the shoe of my dreams. It was a Woodlands shoe - perfect in all respects. Then, what happened, you ask? Well, shortly after that, because I was expecting Puttachi, my feet expanded, and later in the pregnancy, they swelled up a bit, and I couldn't wear the shoes any longer. If you are wondering why I can't wear them now, the answer is that when your feet expand during pregnancy, they don't really return to their original size. Really. Look it up if you want.

So now those shoes are a tight fit. I knew it was too good to last :(

Got a new pair last evening - again thanks to the persistence of S. I was going around in a temporary, ugly pair of soft slippers (compromised on backstrap and style) which I had bought before Puttachi was born, because those were the only ones that were comfortable. Before I could start cribbing again about the ugliness of those slippers, S dragged me off to a shoe shop and wonder of wonders, I found something that I liked, immediately. But even an optimist like me becomes pessimistic when it comes to shoes. I am already wondering when the strap will snap.

Sigh. Please tell me I am not alone!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Song Tag

I Love Lucy tagged me to disclose which "our song" is.

Do S and I have a song? Yes we do. And how well both of us remember the song! That night, dark, silent, warm...a sense of expectation and anticipation.... S was holding my hand....waiting... and waiting.... and suddenly, from out of the silence, burst forth the song - the sweetest we had heard.... the one we had waited for, for so long... so long.......

But the anticlimax was that the moment he heard that song, S let go of my hand and went off in the direction of the song. Can't blame him though, I would have done the same had I been mobile.

Ok, ok, I know you already guessed what I am talking about - I am talking about the day Puttachi was born - and the song? Her cry of course!

*Ducking to avoid rotten eggs and tomatoes* Please excuse me, and indulge me a bit! We are brand new parents!

Hmm... and to prove that we do have a life besides Puttachi, here it is - The songs that I consider "our songs" are Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd, and Wonderful Tonight by Eric Clapton.

Please note the use of the word "I" and not "we" in the previous sentence. I am sure S will read this and ask me, "Really? Are those "our songs"? Why?"

That brings us to the second part of the tag - Why these are our songs. I will leave that for tomorrow (Tomorrow never comes). I have already spoken too much, and speaking more can be hazardous to my health. That's what comes from blogging in your real name and having all your friends and family read your blog.

And now. the interesting part - I tag - Ano, Madhu, Poppin's Mom, Devaki, Abhipraya, Shyam, and Shark. Chitra(Same Old Anon) , C (stop gazing at Lake Burley Griffin and comment, lazy bum!) and R(you long-haired charmer, I know you are reading this!), please write yours in the comments section - Do you guys have "a song", which is it, and why? Go!

Cancer Survivors

If you can read Kannada, please check out the Oct 11th 2007 "Sudha" (in the stands today). The cover page article is "Cancer Geddavaru" (Those who won over Cancer) by my mom Brinda N.Rao. You can also read it online on http://sudhaezine.com (You will have to register, though).

My mom battled and survived cancer about six years ago. It was a very difficult phase for all of us - and I cannot believe how beautifully my mom has emerged from that crisis. More active than before, and full of life as usual, she has continued her radio programs, given music concerts, and continued with writing and taking translation assignments.

She attributes her optimism during the treatment, and her positive attitude now, to timely counselling by Dr.Brinda Sitaram, the leading psycho-oncologist in India. The article is about Dr.Brinda, her institute COPER(Center of Psycho-Oncology for Education and Research), other cancer survivors, and my mom's own story.

Feedback welcome.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Change of Name

The Little One will henceforth be known as Puttachi.

"Puttachi" in Kannada essentially means the same as "The Little One". "Putta" means "Little", and "Achi" is something that is added out of love. And since this is what I usually call her in real life, it makes a lot more sense to use it here too. Anyway, "The Little One" was getting cumbersome, and many of you were asking for a nickname too, so here it is.

Well, I had never intended to blog about my baby, so I hadn't bothered to think up a nice nickname for her... but as it turns out, I can't stop blogging about her (heh heh)... so I thought it was time for a new name. Better late than never, what say?
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