Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Lord of the Rings

It all began when a colleague of S~ left a book in S~'s car. I pounced on it - it was "The Hobbit" by JRR Tolkien. I turned a couple of pages idly, felt it was quite readable, and promptly read the whole book.

And then, I wanted what follows, which, obviously, is "The Lord of the Rings". The same colleague of S~ had the book, and S~ brought it home for me.

I looked at that big fat book with the tiny writing. I looked at Puttachi. I looked at the book again. I looked again at Puttachi. Then I looked at S~ and asked him to take it back and return the book.

But within half an hour, I was already fingering the book, and peeking in to see what is in it. And before I knew it, I started reading it, leaning against the chest of drawers, one eye on Puttachi playing nearby.

It was then that I knew that I couldn't stop. S~ said it's fine, take your time, there is no hurry to return it. Ok, I thought. It might take me a year, but I am at least going to give it a shot.

It's not even a month, and I am nearly half way through.

There is something about the book. The tiny, intricate details? The beautiful, yet simple language? The characters that immediately catch hold of you and don't let you go? The pure fantasy of it all? The non-stop adventures? The fact that the book nearly makes you believe that such a world with these characters existed?

I don't know what it is. But what I do know is that it has really gotten to me.

And now, I am itching to watch the movies too.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Nine Months

Nine months of Puttachi in my tummy - seemed like nine years.
Nine months of her out in the world - gone like nine seconds.

An (ahem) important side note: The kgs I gained in the nine months I was pregnant? I lost them all in these last nine months. Well, almost all of them. Just one more kg to go. No, I did nothing for this to happen, not even raise my little finger (Though I should have). It just happened.

What's new with Puttachi this month?

I'll start with saying that I had always wondered how parents can even think of sedating their kids for their own peace. I can now say that I understand why they do that. I am not saying I do it, nor am I advocating it - but I am just saying that now, I know why they do it.

Activities - Crawling all around the house. Pulling things, eating every little bit of rubbish in sight. Stands for 10-15 seconds on her own. A very wobbly 15 seconds, though, with the wobbliness diminishing with each day.

Bath time - Has finally discovered the delights of water. So bath time is now a breeze. Except if you dare to pour water over her head to shampoo her hair, which usually contains sticky remnants of her meals. She then squirms like a fish that has been taken out of water. You can't even sigh with relief after her hair is washed. Drying her hair is a nightmare.

Mamm-mamm - Ugi, or Agi? - "Mamm-mamm" is baby talk for food. And in Kannada, Ugi is Spit, and Agi is Chew. FOr a while, Puttachi did more of Ugi-ing than Agi-ing. She is in an on-off phase of rejecting solids. More here - Inputs welcome. The situation is slightly better now - touchwood.

The first morsel of every meal has to be spat out. Just has to be. No questions asked. It is only with the second morsel that her meal begins. And when she has had enough, she either turns on a sprinkler in her mouth, spray-painting our faces and clothes with food, or she spits the food out in such a projectile that she could be the President of the Paan Spitters' Association of India.

If we let her eat by herself, she dutifully picks up each bit of food with her fingers and feeds it to us.

Taachi - Baby talk for sleep. Her naps are very good now. But her night time sleep? A nightmare. Again, details here.

- When I am strapping/unstrapping her into her car seat/stroller/high chair, she looks at my fingers and the straps with such rapt concentration, that I am quite sure she is observing how it works. I am terrified she'll unstrap herself some day and hop out and hurt herself. I have now taken to hiding the strap mechanism behind my palm, and then working on it.

- She loves her Papa. She jumps up and down like a rubber ball the moment he gets back from work - and squeals and giggles with excitement. We go out for a lovely evening walk everyday after S~ gets back.

- She is a social animal. She talks to everybody on the road. She smiles, talks, offers her hand to strangers and bats her eyelashes at them. As long as they respond from afar, everything is fine. But the moment they try to carry her, or touch her, she screams like a banshee.

- How to recognize Puttachi when we are on our evening walk
- She is the kid with the big eyes and a mop of dark unruly hair, who is calling out to strangers, singing happily when she sees flowers, and laughing excitedly to herself at the sight of everything on the road.
- When in a stroller, she is the one sitting straight up, straining against the strap (the back rest in the stroller is absolutely of no use).
- When she is being carried in the sling, she is the one whose arms are waving like a windmill, and whose legs are pumping like the piston of a four stroke engine.
- With her are two adults. The female looks harassed, hair all awry. The male looks like he will burst with pride.

If you see such a group on your evening walk, please come by and say hello!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The best toys are free!

Have you noticed that many toys for children are mostly useless? They are great for eye candy, yes, but children get the best entertainment from simple, everyday things - like a piece of string, a spoon and a plate, a newspaper - or shadows!

Every morning, I put out Puttachi's toys and watch her play. Her blocks are great for teaching her colours and stacking them up for her to topple. They are even better for her to rub her teething gums against them. But they are soon cast aside.

Nothing lights up her eyes like her Kangaroo handpuppet or her stuffed lion cub. But they too get the sack within minutes.

What really holds her interest are things we wouldn't even have noticed. Like the slip of paper with a grocery list. The cap of a bottle that has rolled under the table. A towel. A stray piece of thread. An ant. A drop of water.

When my cousin V was a kid of about 3 years, he had got hold of a largish carton, the kind that televisions come packed in. This simple brown cardboard carton held his attention for days on end. He set it up on the floor, sat in it, and it became a boat, and he the boatman. After rowing to his heart's content, he upturned it, sat on it, and it became a bus, and he the conductor. In a while, he sat it with the opening to the side, width parallel to the ground, and the opening became a door, and the box his house. After several hours of playing house-house, he placed the box with the length of the opening parallel to the ground, and it became a den, and he, a lion. He roared and roared and ate all of us up.

More than ten days did this carton engage him. A car would have remained a car, and a doll a doll. But a carton? It could become anything!

A few days ago, Puttachi spotted a spot of sunlight on the wall, and she was fascinated. She forgot everything else and played with the spot for more than fifteen minutes, and that is a lot to say for some one as restless as this kid is.


She tries to touch it.....





She can't! So she observes it closely.....



She tries again...... hey it is on my hand now!


She cannot understand it.
So she tries to lick it instead!




It is true. The best toys on earth are free!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Mom in The Week supplement.

This week's The Week has a health supplement on "War against Cancer". No prizes for guessing what I'm going to say next. My mom has also been featured in it - with two very nice photographs too. Do read it if you can.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Comments

I have always had a rule for myself, that I should reply to the comments I get on each post. I have done that ever since this blog began, and no matter how many comments I got, I answered. Silly, rude, inconsequential - they all got a reply. For the simple reason that I feel that if I don't reply to a comment, it is like I am not answering someone who is speaking to me.

But this has changed in the last couple of months. The time I get online has become very less - partly by choice - and what precious little time I get online is spent in mailing and writing down the thoughts in my head. Which leaves next to no time for replying to comments.

I still feel uneasy when I see that I don't reply to comments. But I have to draw a line somewhere. Having said all this, I have no right to ask you to keep commenting. But I will do just that. Please keep commenting - I love your comments - each one makes my day! On my part, I will make a sincere attempt to start replying to comments again. Also, if you need any information about anything, or need to contact me for anything at all, please mail me at shruthi dot hallucinations at gmail dot com.

While we are at it, there is another little thing - a request, I should say. Though I blog with my own name, and nothing in my blog is so personal that I have to go into hiding if my personal details are made public, I have consciously kept certain things private. Like my surname, names of my family. I don't mention where I studied, where I worked, where I live, things like that.

So, if you know about me, and if you comment on my blog, please ensure that you keep those things private too.

Thank you.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Thyroid disorders

Check out my article on Thyroid disorders in the Health issue of JustFemme. For a long time, I have been thinking of writing about thyroid disorders here on my blog, but I have never got around to doing it.

It is one of the most common disorders around, but very rarely is it correctly diagnosed. But once diagnosed and treated, you are as healthy as anybody else.

I have been hypothyroid for the past 7 years, and am on thyroxine supplements. In the beginning, I was upset - What? Take tablets for the rest of my life? But now, it is second nature. Asking me, "Have you taken Eltroxin today?" is akin to asking me "Have you brushed your teeth today?"

As for my health, I couldn't be more normal (Physically at least!). Being hypothyroid hasn't affected my life in the slightest. Thyroxine levels change slightly during pregnancy, and all pregnant women are screened for it nowadays. Since I was already on thyroxine supplements, they just had to adjust my dosage slightly for a brief period. I had a healthy pregnancy, and have a normal and healthy daughter.

Thyroid disorders are more common than you think. Do read the article, and if you suspect that you or somebody you know might have a thyroid disorder, please get yourself checked at the earliest!

While you are there at JustFemme, do read my mom's story about surviving cancer. For all those who couldn't read the Kannada article, this one is for you!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Indulgence

It's been quite crazy here. Lots of things to do, and only 24 hours in a day. Blogging has therefore taken a backseat. Though there are a dozen posts swimming about in my head, I haven't been able to sit down and put them down in words.

In the midst of this madness, I had an unexpected oasis of quiet enjoyment yesterday. Puttachi hadn't napped well all day, and so she took an extra nap in the late afternoon. After I put her to bed, I found that I was hungry. I didn't want to eat any more "healthy" stuff... I was craving for instant noodles. I found a packet of Maggi, made it (in 2 minutes!), and then went back to my room. I sat next to the window, and curled up with a nice fat book (The Lord of the Rings) and I ate the Maggi. For a blissful half an hour, I was suspended in a world of my own. Work was undone, things around me were begging to be put back in their place, but I retreated into a cocoon and read the book and ate Maggi. It was absolutely lovely!

Such simple pleasures - and so few and far between. If there is anything I miss in my life now, it is this - these moments with myself. The freedom to shut out the world and retreat into my own world. The freedom to just get up and head out for a walk without a second thought. Things like that.

Yet, this has perhaps been the happiest period of my life too. You lose some, you gain some!

Update: Just after I put up this post, I read this one!

A to Z tag

Tagged by Wunderyearz - a new friend, but seems like I have known her for years!

A - Available? Ok wait. As in Single and Available? No. I am happily married. But as in Available to friends? Oh anytime!
B-Best friend: Myself ;)
C-Cake or Pie? That's very difficult. Cake, I think.
D-Drink of choice: Water. Any time.
E-Essential thing used everyday: Brains. (Heh)
F-Favorite color: Haven't reviewed this one for years. It was blue when I last thought about it.
G-Gummi bears or worms: Not worms, definitely.
H-Hometown: Bangalore
I-Indulgence: Cookies.
J-January or February: January, I guess.
K-Kids and names: One - Puttachi
L-Life is incomplete without: Love.
M-Marriage date: Sometime in the middle of the year.
N-Number of siblings: 1
O-Oranges or apples: Oranges. But when microwaved, Apples.
P-Phobias: Snakeophobia.
Q-Quote: "Life is beautiful".
R-Reason to smile: My loved ones.
S-Season: Winter.
T-Tag three people: You, you and you.
U-Unknown fact about me: Let it remain unknown!
V-Vegetable you do not like: None. I love veggies.
W-Worst habit: Disorganized :(
X-x-rays you have had: Ankle, jaw.
Y-Your favorite food: This is difficult. I pass.
Z-Zodiac: Shirt-makers!

Friday, February 01, 2008

Balding

A couple of days ago, we were driving down Sankey Road, and we reached one of my favourite stretches - the magnificent tree-lined curved stretch right next to the Golf Course.

And my heart stopped. And broke into a million pieces.

The trees - those glorious, majestic trees, with their green, leafy branches stretching out to the sky - those trees, whose cool shade gladdened the hearts of a million passers-by - those old, beautiful trees - they were gone. All gone. And what remained, were just stumps.

Victims of road-widening.

How many beautiful memories that road holds for me! That time when our car broke down in the middle of a major thunderstorm, and we had to stand in the foyer of Holiday Inn(Now Le Meridien) until a tow vehicle came to tow our car home - with us inside!

Or the relaxing, lazy evening drives with S~ - at the beginning of our relationship - when fresh May showers had cleansed the entire world..... and everything looked so beautiful. Where the swaying, freshly-washed green branches seemed to be waving to us and celebrating our new beginning.

I used to remember all those things every time I drove down this road. Will I ever remember them the same way again? I try - and all that comes to me in my mind's eye - are stumps.

I have seen way too many old friends die to make way for steel and concrete. The old trees on Race course road to make way for the flyover. The beautiful Gulmohars on the service road on Chord Road, to make way for the Navrang Underpass.

And now, the trees next to the Golf Course.

All in the name of development. I know, I know. I myself have experienced the ease of crossing that Navrang signal in ten seconds, where it would have taken ten minutes.

I am not against development per se. But really, at the cost of how many trees?

Abhipraya puts it aptly - "Bangalore, I am told needs more space to breathe. But what are we going to breathe?"

I still love Bangalore, I proclaim. But do I? Probably, what I love is the Bangalore of fifteen years ago. But what remains of the Bangalore of then is just the shell. Then what am I in love with? Just the name? Or just the memory?
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