Friday, March 26, 2010

Hello from the land of....

...Enid Blyton and Agatha Christie and Sherlock Holmes and Wodehouse and James Herriott and Shakespeare and Wordsworth and Wimbledon and Greenwich and Harry Potter and Jane Austen and Charles Dickens and...

Puttachi was relieved (disappointed?) to find that UK was on earth. She thought that it was in the sky, since we were going there in an aeroplane.

Updates from my vacation will follow, short ones, probably, when I have the time :)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The "Miracle"

I am not much of a festival celebrator, but I like to make sweets and eat them. And for festivals like Ugadi, I like to think that it is nice to do/start something important. (Though I believe that for a good job, any day is a great day!)

I've noticed that Puttachi is singing in tune these days, singing the notes in their right places, and felt it was probably time to initiate her into the basics of formal classical music. So this Ugadi, I was thinking vaguely that perhaps I should sit Puttachi down and make her sing Sa-re-ga-ma. To my surprise, Puttachi herself came to me in a while and said, "Amma, I want to listen to the Tamboori." (It is very rare that she asks to do that.)

I don't have a real Tamboori(Tanpura), and there was a power cut, so I couldn't switch on the Electronic Tamboori.

"Oh, no power, Puttachi, I'll switch it on later," I said.

Then Puttachi started this neverending chant "Tambooritambooritambooritambooritamboori.." and there was no space for any other thought in my head save for Tamboori. I started tearing my hair out, my explanations fell on deaf ears, and I finally thought, okay, let me show her.

I marched off to the room, took the Electronic Tamboori out and plugged it in.

"Look for yourself. Look, it cannot play without power," I said and switched it on, and at JUST that moment, the power came back, and the Tamboori started playing!

I'm sure the my face portrayed the greatest shock, but the look on Puttachi's face was that of pure delight.

We immediately sat down and sang a few notes, and the Tamboori was on for hours later, to Puttachi's immense satisfaction.

I could easily talk about destiny and claim that the whole world was conniving to satisfy Puttachi's urge. But it was just a happy coincidence!

This is how "legends" can be born, and this is how commonplace coincidences can get blown out of proportion. I think it is good for us to keep this in mind.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

English and Kannada Rhymes

Almost two years ago, a friend introduced me to a set of Kannada nursery rhymes from Buzzers. The music was excellent, the songs were mostly sung well and the animation was competent. I bought the other volume, and that didn't disappoint me either. I'd recommend it to everybody. It does have its faults, and some songs are downright unsuitable for young kids, but on the whole, both albums are very enjoyable, and well-made. The music - it's worth saying again - is very good. Puttachi enjoys them, and I can say that these songs have aided in her language development.

So when she grew a little older and started getting familiar with English, I decided to try out the English rhymes album from Buzzers. But what a shock! The animation was stilted and robot-like, the music was flat, and the accents were atrocious.

I was on the lookout for good English nursery rhymes. There were western albums available, but I thought that it would be silly to introduce Puttachi directly to American accents, when she doesn't even know the language yet!

Then unexpectedly, I found just what I was looking for. I was actually looking for the heritage collection of Karadi tales, as I thought it was the right time to introduce Puttachi to it, as she has just started showing an inclination to learn English. I then saw it - Karadi Rhymes, it said, Indian Rhymes for Indian Kids. I saw that they were sung by Usha Uthup, and that was enough for me. It was volume 2, though, and I looked for volume 1 (I am very systematic in such useless matters), but I didn't find it. So I bought Volume 2 - audio CD + 1 book.

Oh it is delightful. Very likeable songs, very Indian in both subject and music. The illustrations are particularly delightful. I don't even have to mention Usha Uthup's glorious, flawless, soaring voice bringing it all to life. I'm not sure who enjoys it more - Puttachi or me, but we have the loveliest times, sitting together with the book while the cd plays.

Of course, I had to go and buy Volume 1 too, after that. That is good too, but I prefer Volume 2. It could be because I discovered that first.

There are animated video CDs available too, of the same songs in Volume 1 and 2. I viewed a few samples on Youtube, and they look quite good, but I think the audio CD + book will be a better choice.

Hope you enjoy them! And please give me some suggestions too!

Monday, March 08, 2010

The Great Blog Silence

Why, do you ask? Blame it on my sis Peevee. She had come down to India on a vacation, and it hardly makes sense to spend what little time I had, at the laptop, blogging or emailing. (That explains my silence on email too, for those of you who are wondering.)

We had a great time. Ever since she's left for the US, she's come back only thrice. The first time, Puttachi was too young and demanded a lot of my attention, and so, I couldn't spend quality time with Peevee. The second time, not only was the vacation short, but she had come to get married! And you know how crazy that time can be. So this time, we made up for lost time.

For Puttachi, Peevee was perhaps like an apparition come out of an album, or from the phone. She declared to Peevee within hours of her arrival,"I like you." Her reaction to Peevee ranged from lukewarm to passionate through the duration of her stay. Was it wholly satisfactory? That is for Peevee to say.

Peevee lived her own childhood fantasy by bringing Puttachi a Gingerbread House. We had fun building and decorating it, and Puttachi grandly stuck the jaw-breakers and gum-drops and felt very proud of it. It wasn't too tasty, though!

We also visited Mysore during this time, and had, as usual, a marvellous time. The best part for me was that during the entire duration of Peevee's visit, Puttachi kind of fended for herself, playing with everybody, no fuss, no crying, just being a happy-chappie. Many times, someone else took on the responsibilities of feeding her and putting her to bed, so I had a much-needed break.

Even when, sometimes, mealtimes and bedtimes went awry due to other activities, Puttachi handled it so well, sometimes living on, apparently, just air, love and laughter.

This time, I could get to know Peevee's husband D better. Thank goodness for that. How terrible is it not to know your sister's husband? S~ and D seemed to be laughing up their sleeves at us sisters, and we were wondering how it is that these two very different men had some striking similarities - unique, unheard-of characteristics that both men seem to possess!

Here's more to good times!
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