Monday, April 28, 2008

Why I do not go to work any longer.

I bet most of you have no idea whether, after having a baby, I still work or have opted to be a Stay At Home Mom (SAHM). In fact, a few of you who know me only through my blog, mailed me and talked as if you have assumed I still work. I don't know why that is, because never have I mentioned anywhere on my blog, whether I am a working mom or not.

Anyway, let me tell you. No, I don't work any longer. I have resigned from my job. I am a SAHM. (Isn't there a better term for this?)

Among all my friends, only a handful of us have decided to become SAHMs. Most of my friends have gone back to work months after having their babies. So I am aware I am in the minority.

Why did I choose this option? Before I start, I want to clarify that everything I say in this post is the way I look at things. I respect everybody's decision to do what they please. Parenting is all about making choices, and everybody makes choices that are best suited to them. There are different ways of parenting, and this is mine. There are no right things or wrong things, only perceptions.

Now that I have got that out of the way, let me go on to why I decided to be a SAHM.

*A baby has to be left with someone if I went to work, and that someone could be -

- My parents or In-laws - The baby's grandparents have already done their job of parenting. They have gone through all the difficulties and adjustments. They are now busy with their own activities. So why tie them down with this responsibility? They might consider it joyful, but a few hours, a few days are okay. But everyday? For years? It is not fair on them. Even if they were very willing, my conscience wouldn't have allowed it. If I had no other go, if I had to work to put bread on the table, that is another matter altogether. But that is hardly the case here! I heard about a child who stays with her grandparents while her parents go to work. Apparently the child is closer to her grandparents than to her parents. I would never have been able to take that. I would have died of jealousy! This option was so not for me.

- A maid - I am totally against the idea of leaving a child with a maid. It might be because of bad examples I have seen as a child, or it might be that I feel it is like passing on the responsibility to someone who is not quite equipped to do the job. Why, sometimes, I myself, in frustration, put on Discovery Channel and plonk Puttachi in front of the television to catch my breath. What is the guarantee that the maid won't sit in front of the television all day long? Puttachi already points out animals like giraffes and puffer fish in books. Can I expect the maid to teach her things like that? Besides, who will manage the maid? I have a friend who is a SAHM, has a full time maid and a cook who comes in twice a day, and yet she complains about lack of time. Why? Because managing those two maids is a huge headache in itself. Especially for people like me - I have absolutely no patience dealing with household helps and maids. So this option didn't even enter the picture.

- Grandparents - maid combination. The maid does all the child-related work, and the grandparents provide the atmosphere and correct upbringing. This is not my idea, this is something that has been continuously suggested to me by "helpful" people. I am sure it would be the ideal situation for many people. Yet, the grandparents are tied down. Feeding meals, putting the child to bed, constant entertainment and engagement for the child - these responsibilities remain.

- Daycare. I know friends in the US who send their daughters to daycare, and I know that it is quite evolved there. But here? I am not too sure, and frankly, I don't want to know either. Leaving my baby with strangers this early is quite frightening. This option didn't hold water in my book.

*Second, important point. I hardly was in love with my job. I was not too bad at it, and it had its advantages, but on many days, I would feel like the high point of the working day was the lunch break and the tea break. Add to that the strenuous commute in polluted and clogged Bangalore - I nearly resigned out of frustration a few times, even before Puttachi was nowhere in the horizon. So leaving my job wasn't a major decision. I did it quite willingly. How I would have handled it if my job was dear to me - of that I have no idea.

*Third - and this is the simplest, most basic reason of them all. I love to be with Puttachi. I love having her around. It is one of the greatest pleasures of life. Period.

One more thing. People ask me all the time why I chose to be with home with my baby after being so vociferous about women standing up for their rights. Please understand - working out of home does not imply empowerment. Empowerment comes when a woman has the freedom to do what she wants to do. Now, if I am forced to go back to work, and I do so when I don't really want to, then I am giving up my rights as a woman. But now I have chosen to be with my baby out of my own volition - and that makes all the difference.

But being a SAHM is not all hunky-dory. As much as I enjoy being with Puttachi, and caring for her needs, it is also true that sometimes I need to be away from her. I am sure she deserves a break from me too, once in a while. Besides, being at home all day means that I miss company. I want someone to talk about things that aren't connected to babies and parenting.(Which is why I don't read many mommy blogs). More than anything else, I crave intelligent conversation. Sometimes I get this urge to break open the walls and run outside into the sun. But this is a connected world. I make the most of the internet, and telephone. People ask me how I find the time to manage my blog. I find time for blogging like I find time to eat, and to sleep. My blog keeps me going. My connection with you - known and unknown people - acts like a spirit booster. Every comment makes me smile, makes me feel connected. So it is not really such a great achievement, maintaining this blog. :)

One more hazard of being a SAHM - since you are around to listen, you are given advice - unwanted and unasked for. You are also constantly told what a bad mom you are. I have a healthy belief in my abilities, but there are moments of self-doubts, and it is during such times that theese comments erode my fragile confidence, and it leaves me extremely frustrated. These moments can be very hazardous to mental health :D

Also, I must give credit where it is due. S~ has a major role in making my role as a SAHM smooth. He sees to it that he is with us as often as possible, and that is what keeps me sane. He takes over as soon as he gets home from work, giving me time and space for myself. He adjusts his time and works around things to ensure that I get to go where I want to, meet whom I want to, be with people I love, do the activities that are special to me. He bears it when I am being difficult. He tolerates my mood swings that arise out of frustration, and does his best to pull me out of the pits. It is because of him that I am staying happy as an SAHM, and that is the whole truth. Without his support and help, this option wouldn't have worked for me.

But it is also true that I don't want to continue this way for long. I'll rust and start creaking at the joints, and develop early Alzheimer's. No, thanks, I want to put that brain of mine to work in ways other than thinking up creative ways to make Puttachi enjoy her meals.

I will tell you about that when it happens. But now, I will enjoy the present moment.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Eleven Months

I call my eleven-month-old Puttachi a baby and something seems wrong. She is hardly a baby any longer. She is a walking, communicating, interactive little girl. Where is my baby, I wonder, until something upsets her and she comes crying and clings to me. Ah, here she is.

But, more than a baby, she is -

My Buddy - We sing together, we jig together. We walk hand in hand, tickle one another, even feed one another (When I am feeding her a meal, she feeds me the morsels that have falle on her bib). We play ring-a-ring o'roses. I tell her stories, and we read books and play together. She talks to me, and understands what I tell her. She is my buddy!

Communicator - Overnight, she has become extremely communicative. It was as if, all these days, she had been watching, observing, listening, and storing everything in her head. And then suddenly one day she wakes up and says, "Ok, lemme show 'em what I know", and turned into another involved member of the family. The change has been really overwhelming.

There are things I have taught her, and I know she knows that. But there are some things I have no idea she knows, and this is where she surprises me with her vocabulary and her knowledge of things. The other day I heard her say, 'Taats'. I turned round to see her holding her socks in her hand. She repeated, 'Taats." She then held it out to me and said, 'Ta-ta". She was showing me her socks and saying, come on, put it on me, let's go Ta-ta! (btw, anything worn on the feet is Taats.)

When we visited my parents, she went to my mom, pulled her to the kitchen, asked to be carried, and then she pointed towards the sugar box and demanded, "Ajji, Ta-kke!" (Sakkare for Sugar). We have no idea when she registered where the sugar box was. Then there was this other time when she suddenly stopped playing, came to me, asked to be carried, and then she yawned, rubbed her eyes, put her head on my shoulder, and said, 'Taachi', telling me that she was sleepy.

Her favourite book has a cheetah on the cover. When she wants it, she says "Ti-ta-te" (Chirate in Kannada for Cheetah) and looks around for it. When she has lost something, or when someone goes out of the room, she chants, "Elli? Elli?" (Where?) and goes loking for it/him/her. She brings her toys to me one by one, and says Ta-tu (thank you) herself, when I accept them.

And then there was this time when I was singing a song, and I paused, and she completed it in her baby language. Not in tune, no intelligible words, but enough for me to realize that she was completing the song. And this with a sway of her head and a sparkle of her delighted twinkling eyes.

I could go on and on, but I am sure you are already bored now. It is just that I cannot get over the fact that yesterday this kid stared at me, apparently blankly, while I talked to her, while all the while she had been storing things in her little head to surprise me with.

Observer - I had left my mobile within her reach. She picked it up, and I called from across the room, "No, Puttachi, put that down. You use it only to call somebody. Whom will you call? Papange phone madthiya? (Will you call PapA?) She smiled, and put the phone to her ear. And I fainted. She puts her teddy bear that is almost her size, down on her lap, pats it (rather beats the hell out of it), and says, "Te-tte Taachi" (Teddy Sleep) thinking she is putting it to bed. Then there was this time I was down with a cold, and she saw me sneezing into my handkerchief. When I was seated, she brought a random piece of cloth to me, held it to my face, and said, "Shi! Shi!"

Climber - Her mantra in life is "I must climb." Steps, objects, people - must be climbed. If there is something higher than the level on which she is standing, she has to climb it. She raises her leg almost higher than herself and keeps it first on that level, and then makes all efforts to climb, in the process losing her balance too. But climb she must. I hope even metaphorically, she is a climber in life! Realistically, this is one habit of hers that has me scared stiff.

Acrobat/Gymnast - Her body is always twisting itself in the weirdest positions, and her hands and legs are flying all across the rooms. During her bath, she raises her leg higher than herself to put into the bucket of water. When she is asleep at night, she suddenly turns over, or somersaults, sits up and cries. My guess is that she can sleep through the night, and let us sleep to, if not for this strange habit of hers. When we put her back on her back and pat her a couple of times, she falls asleep without any fuss. Any ideas why she might be doing this, and how it can be solved? (She sleeps in a crib, attached to our bed).

Violent person - Not only is she extremely restless, she is also a very violent person. Her limbs fly in all directions, often hurting herself. There is one thing I am worried about. What if, when she and I are alone, she lashes out and knocks me unconscious?

Protester - All these days, if she wanted a forbidden object and screamed for it, a minor distraction would be enough to draw her attention away from it. But now, she remembers. She enjoys the distraction, but then goes back to what she wanted in the first place, and looks for it. If she doesn't find it, we are done for. And previously, she just would scream in frustration when being changed, or fed medicine, etc. Now, she protests. Loudly and violently.

Imitator - When she sees anyone do something or say something, she imitates it immediately.

Strange kid - I read in books that babies this age point at objects when asked where a certain object is.. This kid points either with her foot, or with her head, or with her mouth (by licking the object in question). Only very recently has she started pointing with her finger.

She has been sick for a while, and she has become extremely clingy. She wants no one but me. When she is feeling particularly low, she screams until I carry her, buries her head in my shoulder and then calms down. I am writing this specially because when, a few years down the line, she will be ashamed to be seen with me in public, I can read this and comfort myself with the memory that there were such times too!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

You know summer is here......


- 6 am looks and feels like 7 am.
- You automatically wake up at 6 am and don't feel even the slightest urge to curl up under the covers and go back to sleep for "just five more minutes".
- You cringe to even touch blankets and sweaters, even if it is to pack them away.
- The hot water knob is turned way down during your bath, and the cold water knob is turned all the way through.
- You tilt the coconut oil container and the hitherto solid coconut oil flows down in rivulets and soils half the room.
- Even the mere mention of hot soup, or tea or coffee is enough to make you grimace
- The fan stops being just a ceiling adornment.
- You stop complaining about high a/c at office.
- Peaceful afternoons are now interrupted with screaming children enjoying their summer holidays.
- Summer afternoons make you drowsy and you fall asleep even if you don't want to, and then you wake up with a bad taste in the mouth, and you feel unimaginably grouchy.
- You automatically reach for thin, cotton, sleeveless clothes when you open the cupboard.
- You find that water disappears mysteriously from your waterbottles and jugs.
- .. and yet, you nearly forget what your toilet looks like.
- The slightest fragrance of jasmine transports you twenty years back in time to summer holidays in Mysore.
- Household chores involving the use of water don't really seem that bad any longer.
- Any time is ice cream time.
- You are always feeling irritated and tempers are running high everywhere.

I could write more but I am feeling too hot to type. Maybe you can help me. The comments section is waiting!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Parenting: Harder or easier now?

Let's face it. Parenting is hard. But what is hard? If sleepless nights are the worst thing that could happen to you, it could be a matter-of-fact thing for me. I could crib about loss of freedom while you might look at me as if I am nuts.

It is all how you look at it.

But I received this link in the Baby Center bulletin and it got me thinking. In the Indian context, what is it like?

The first person I asked was my mom. "It is easier now", she declared. "You have a million facilities to ease and aid you. Disposable diapers, for example, and washing machines, and bibs and strollers... lots of facilities.... but to think of it, the actual parenting is harder now. It is easier for a child to go the wrong path in these days...." As she thought, she brought up both pros and cons of parenting now and then, and then she concluded, "Physical work is easier now, and conveniences are more, but the actual parenting is harder."

I tend to agree with her.

I had made this list before I asked you for your opinions.

[By the way I am talking only about the class of society that I live in and am familiar with. ]

Things that are easier now -

- Modern conveniences, for e.g. Disposable diapers. My mom tells me she used to wake up 2-3 times at night to change us! Ugh! As for the times they went out? They had to carry change and the effort... phew! While now? Fit it, tape it down, forget it is our mantra!

- Electronic gadgets for ease of work - Washing machines to wash the piles of clothes, mixers to grind food, microwaves to heat food, refrigerators to store food... I could go on. I shudder to think how they managed then.

- Ease of travelling. Cars are very common. Air travel is affordable. Three days in a train with an infant is unthinkable, isn't it?

- As a woman, I can say this - more involvement of the father in the upbringing of the child. After S~ gets back home, I can hand over charge and put my feet up and relax for a while. It would have been unthinkable in the previous generations.

- Better medical facilities.

More difficult now -

- Too many choices. Starting from - this diaper or that? This baby cereal or that? ... right up to This school or that? Back then, life was so simple.

- Schooling. It was so easy - go to the nearest school, and get admitted. Nothing like pre-research, research, standing in lines overnight for application forms, donations.... and what have you... and then exam pressure.. never ending.

- Peer pressure. - Neighbour's son owns the latest electronic games. Should I buy or not? Friend eats out every night. Child wants to too. How do I explain?

- Too many distractions - easier to go wrong.

- Expenses are much higher. Luxuries of yesterday are necessities of today.

- Roles were clear back then - the man is the provider, the woman is the care-giver. Now, with women holding lucrative careers, the agony of giving up a job, the difficulty of handling both career and motherhood, the guilt, the confusion... not easy.

I received some very interesting inputs in the comments section in my question post, and I urge you to have a look at them.

I was sure my generation would agree with me and say that parenting is harder now, and so I was looking forward to inputs from my parents' generation - and I received quite a few - five or six. Barring my uncle, who says that the grass is always greener on the other side, and says that this is a question that has no answer, everybody else said that parenting is harder now. Interesting, huh?

Usha, who belongs to my mother's generation, sent me a mail which says about everything that I want to say, but she has put it so well that I have just reproduced it here with her permission.

Parenthood has always been an enormous task - earlier one had to be a parent , Guru, a role model - I mean until about 150 years ago. Children learnt almost everything about life, universe and everything from their parents. Except for the Brahmins who went out and had the benefit of Gurukula. A child's world view, values and concepts of right and wrong - all came from the family and ancestors.
But it was easier in one way because they used authority. One did not question the wisdom of ancestors. Rebellion was very rare as it meant being thrown out of the secure confines of family support. And one did not have many options outside of one's family and well knit community.
And there was enormous family support and a rich pool of experience available to bring up babies which young parents could draw upon.
So in a way parenthood was easier but was it the ideal way to bring up children is an entirely debatable point.

In more recent times, many young parents bring up their children entirely on their own without much family support. So every day is a new learning and the learning can be stressful when the child falls sick or hurts itself as it seems the worst calamity on earth. Blaming oneself for not preventing it, feeling inadequate to handle the crisis and the emotional stress of it all is more without someone more experienced telling them that it happens with every child and is no big deal.
And being available for the child all the time is becoming a problem with both parents working which is a norm now.
And in my time we did not have to worry about whether to use a disposable diaper or cloth, breastfeed or not, career or child - the decisions were known a priori. the priorities were clear. Choices were less.
Today every decision relating to the child is a national debate and with so much information available, there is always a doubt regarding the best thing to do by the child.

And adolescent years can be a lot more angst ridden in today's society. There are a lot more of distractions available to them - films, internet, drugs, alcohol, cigarettes. Authority no longer works with today's children who want a reasonable explanation for everything. "Do it because I am telling you to" wont cut it with them. They will only clam up.
You have got to be aware of what they are up to but without appearing to be too interfering or dominating, give them enough freedom while making sure that the communication channels are open and be available for them when they need your advice - a very tough job.
It certainly was much easier 30 years ago.
But then of course there have been rebels in all ages. Only their percentage was much less then and they seem to be the majority now.

happy parenting. :)
(I am pretty sure I'd have multiple break downs if I were to parent a child today. hehehehe)

The other mail I received was from Anitha, who has beautifully expressed her views about parenting through the ages. Her analysis and reasoning are excellent. Trying to add anything to that or after that, will be quite useless.

It's difficult to say really if parenthood has become more difficult. I guess it has become difficult because of the number of choices available now have multiplied. Otherwise, the core issues remain the same, no?

If you take from the grandparents' time, that was a time when India was fighting for her freedom. Times were hard, there wasn't enough to eat, families were large (which meant more dissensions to deal with), and the primary focus of life was just to get on with living. Parenting never had the focus it has today. Kids were not treated very specially, or singled out for attention. They were part of the gang of kids, and they learned to live as part of the community in order to survive. Parenting must have been a non-issue if you weren't bothered about your kids, but must have been a heck of an issue if you wanted your kid to be different or follow some other path. Of course social ostracism was always dangled in your face if your kid did something out of the ordinary.

If you take from the parents' time, that was a time of hope, when India was learning to stand up on her own feet. Bulk of the middle-class (here I'm making a sweeping generalization) benefited from the public sector and the lifestyle it promoted. Lives were more stable, economic conditions were better, and parenting was not entirely left to group dynamics. The environment was conducive to parenting intervention without pressure on kids or parents.So parenthood, though not exactly a breeze, because it was more involved than the previous generation, was still relatively easy because of the support structure that evolved. The colony was an extended family with more variety.

If you take our time, India is in a state of flux. Liberalization has affected us in several ways, most notably the rise of the nuclear family. With no firm anchor, parenting becomes very challenging because you have to start from scratch. All the rules you lived your life by are now thrown to the wind, and you have to make up new rules because the environment itself has changed so much. Independence is valued more than interdependence, individual is put higher than the community. When this balance is upset, you have more issues to tackle as a parent, because you are redefining what is more important. Parents themselves are under pressure, not just from all other things that the outside world brings, but under pressure to "perform" as a parent. And they compete against other parents in a bid to "out-perform" them, forgetting that there is no raise or promotion in all of this - the prize is the child itself growing up into a balanced individual. Parents apply corporate principles to their personal lives, forgetting that the basic principle that governs a corporate is to make profit, whereas in parenting, there is no profit, only self-satisfaction.

I've rambled enough, so I'll just stop here. Parenting was never easy, and will never be easy. The emphasis on parenting has increased tremendously now because of both necessity and increase in awareness, and that is why it has become even more difficult now.

Once again, what do you think?

Monday, April 14, 2008

An evening at the beach

The evening sea breeze caresses her hair as she sits next to him, playing with grains of sand. He cannot take his eyes off her, but he doesn't want to look too interested. He looks at the rough sea instead, but his eyes stray back to rest on her profile. She is at ease, concentrating on the sand.

He cannot guess what is on her mind. Nor does he know what to say or do now.

He looks at her hand fingering the grains of sand, and feels an irrepressible urge to take her hand in his. He hesitates for a while, and then, on an impulse, takes her hand. She looks at him in mild surprise, smiles, and then continues her sand game with her other hand.

He is stumped. He had expected her to pull her hand away. Now he has no idea what to do with it. He looks at it. It is covered with grains of sand. He laboriously dusts off each grain, one by one.

Soon, he is done, and still he has her hand in his. She is still nonchalantly playing with the sand. He is now getting restless. Her hand feels heavy in his. Putting her hand back on the sand does not seem like the right thing to do. Then what should he do?

Perhaps he should kiss it? That sounds right. Perhaps he should. He takes a look at her again, and then lifts her hand slowly to his face. She stops playing and turns to look at him. His lips brush across her hand.

She looks at him without any expression. Then she pulls her hand away. She reaches for her handbag, opens it and rummages in it for a while, till she finds what she is looking for. She smiles, and hands it to him.

"Lip balm", she says.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

A question about parenthood

Do you think parenthood is easier now than in our parents' time? Or do you think our parents had it easier? What about in our grandparents' time?

Do let me know what you think. I will put down my thoughts on the subject, along with your inputs, after I hear from you all.

Please note that I have said parenthood, and not motherhood. Dads are welcome to write in too. From a mom's perspective, or a dad's perspective, or in general, a parent's perspective.

Monday, April 07, 2008


I had my first haircut when I was fifteen days old. After that, my mom was my hairdresser until I was about ten years old. Man, did I need those cuts regularly! Thick, unruly hair needed maintenance - hair that had a penchant of getting food in them [And chewing gum once - a lot of hair had to be cut to get the gum out]. And Amma did the necessary work.

Somewhere down the line, my hair seemed to have become a toy. There is a popular family story of how two of my aunts started cutting my hair, one from each end. When their scissors met, they saw that the right side was longer. So they set out to make amends, and they found that now the left side was longer. It went on, and by the time they were finished with me, I had an army cut.

Then I reached the stage where I was no longer satisfied with just hair trimmings and I started demanding hairstyles. Amma had to give up - she sent me to a nearby beauty parlour. It wasn't really that clean, and Amma despaired - and as if in answer to her prayers, a new parlour opened closer home - and it was perfect. Clean, professional, friendly. There was no looking back. That friendly neighbourhood parlour (FNP) cut my hair for the next decade.

There was never any question of growing my hair. I tried once, and gave up, declaring that either I pass exams or I maintain long hair - I couldn't do both.

When I moved out of Bangalore for my post-grad, I came home often enough to get my haircut at the FNP. Even when we moved to a different area, FNP was close enough to visit whenever the need arose.

The problem started when I moved to Mumbai on work. Not that there was a dearth of parlours - they were a dime a dozen. I counted 15 of them within a 500 m radius of where I lived. All I had to do was find one to my liking.

That's when I would do my Reconnaisance. I would go to a parlour, and look around while I pretended to ask some questions. "What are your timings?" "Are you open on Sundays?" or just something like "How much do you charge for a pedicure?" While I asked questions, I would look around carefully - Are the hairdressers well-groomed? Do the brushes look clean? Are the mirrors scrubbed? Is the floor clean? Does the place smell fresh? Are the people friendly? How do the customers look?

And then I would make my decision - "I just stopped to enquire , I will come by this weekend" and escape, or stay on and get my haircut.

Of course, friendly hairdressers and a clean place do not ensure quality work. But it is just a start. I zeroed in upon a suitable parlour and one haircut went beautifully. For the second one, I told the hairdresser that I wanted it cut shorter than usual this time, because the summer was too hot. I don't know what she understood - she left me looking like Priyanka Gandhi. I like her hairstyle, but not on me! I didn't dare go back.

I started my Reconnaisance again and went to another parlour - further off, but very professional. The no-nonsense assistants were in uniforms, and were very good at their work. I liked the proprietress too, except that she asked me every time, "Are you a Catholic? No? I was quite certain you were." She also loved to thrust a colour catalog in my hand each time, and advise me, "You should really get your hair streaked, you know - it will suit you very well."

It was then time to come back to Bangalore, and then I got married and moved to S~'s home. It is in a locality with many good parlours, so I had no problem deciding on one. The problem arose again when Puttachi was born and I was in my mom's house. I couldn't leave home for too long, FNP was too far off, and there were no good parlours close by. I had a visiting beautician come home once, but she was horrendous at keeping time, and so I didn't call her again.

And then I saw a flyer in the postbox about a new "state-of-the-art" herbal parlour in the next road. I gave the parlour a month's time and then went for my Reconnaisance. A not-very-clean-looking girl was standing outside the not-very-clean garage-parlour. She saw me and said, "Please come in, I will call madam." "Not now", I said hurriedly, "I just came to ask you what time you are usually free, I have to leave my baby and come, you see..can't wait too long for my turn...."
"Oh come annnnytime madam, we are alwayyyys free!" she said chirpily. Poor, innocent, inexperienced girl. Wonder what her Madam would have had to say to that!

I convinced myself that a Mowgli look was cool, until Puttachi was slightly older and I could run to the comfort of FNP.

And now? Now I see Puttachi with the same kind of hair as I have, and I look at her and sigh - history is going to repeat itself...... but much sooner. I bet kids of these days are not the kind that will quietly accept an inexperienced mom's hair trimming for long. How long? That remains to be seen.

Happy Ugadi!

ಎಲ್ಲರಿಗೂ ಯುಗಾದಿಯ ಶುಭಾಶಯಗಳು!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

LOTR - The Book and The Movies

Lord of the Rings - I finished reading the book and watching the three movies. The book was very good, and I was sorry to finish it and say goodbye to all the characters I had come to love. The movies were very well made. It is very difficult to remain true to a book like this, but the movies did a splendid job nevertheless. Watching the movie brought even more life into the characters. I also like the way the second and the third parts start unapologetically without a recap or an explanation, and just go on, expecting you to have watched the previous part/s. What an effort it must have been to make those movies!

LOTR is hardly the best book I have read, but it has been one of the greatest entertainers. It is an epic by itself, in size, detail and characters. I was in a completely different world while I read it. Somebody who discovers the Mahabharatha anew would probably feel this way. And the analogy wouldn't be too far off - I have read and heard that JRR Tolkien based this story on many existing myths and legends. A very clever book indeed.

It is a book about the perennial favourite - victory of good over evil. It is a book about friendship, courage, valour. About faith, determination and grit. It tells you that anybody, however small, can make a difference. It also shows you that the most unlikely person can come out a hero. There are kings, there are brave warriors, there are beings who are forced to be brave by circumstance, but the real hero of the story, in my eyes, is a supposedly slow-witted gardener - because of his devotion and belief and pure determination.

Anyway, like I said, I have been living in a different world until now. Here are a few anecdotes which will tell you how immersed I was in LOTR.


Me: Puttachi has a runny nose.
Mom: Oh, what are you giving her?
Me: Fangorn, err.. Aragorn... errr I mean, Phenergan.

[Fangorn - name of a forest, Aragorn - a leading character]


We were driving on the road and I spotted a shop which had displayed car tyre frames.
Me, half asleep, wondered "Why have they displayed shields here? Where are the spears?"


Road rage is now fun - we call the erring motorists Gollum, Wormtongue and Orc names.


We were watching A History of Violence, starring Viggo Mortensen, who played Aragorn in LOTR the movies.

Me: S~, I missed that dialogue.. what did Aragorn Son of Arathorn say?
S~: (Rolls his eyes)


S~: So you have finished the book. Shall I return it (to colleague)?
Me: Not yet!
S~: Why?
Me: (Sheepishly) Revision.....

Yes, I am reluctant to say goodbye to my friends Frodo and Sam and Merry and Pippin and Aragorn and Gandalf and most of all, Gimli and Legolas!

But I must. There are far too many books to be read, and life is too short!
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