Showing posts from 2009


I vanished from my blog as I had left too many things for the last moment before leaving for my vacation and it was a choice between writing goodbye and leaving in time to catch my flight.

I went home.

Crammed in as much of being at home, eating mom-cooked food, soaking in the sun, shopping and meeting old friends as possible…and well let me keep adding more details as I get time

For now I wish you all A Very Happy New Year and a wonderful time ahead.

To Another Year!

The HSBC Credit Card trauma continues

I thank my friends who egged my on to continue the fight against the bullying. And I apologize to all of you because I caved in, agreed to settle up by paying up for something some thief bought (proved by the charge-slips sent to me by HSBC, which obviously the retailer didn’t verify):

There is still a part of me which winces at the thought of paying up. Just encourages them to continue doing what they do (just try looking it up on the Internet you’ll find more cases than you’ll have time to read through), but I have my reasons:

I do not have the time, money or energy to fight through the courts.I do not want to start another year with a debt in my name (no matter who was responsible).I have had ENOUGH.
 I do not want to spend everyday of the rest of my life talking someone calling on behalf of HSBC. I have developed a high degree of HSBC phobia-I do not want to do anything with that name again.

So much that when a guy popped up from behind the grocery counter at a sup…

The Female child

After Swaram's post I just could not help sharing my experience.

We longed for a daughter. Yes I was ready to bring up a son with the same love and affection-but we still wished…

I went for the regular ultrasounds to a family friend who never confirmed if it was a girl and so I had doubts. And the last thing I remember whispering immediately after the baby, as everything passed into a blur was…Tell him it’s a girl!


The hospital staff was full of sympathy as they slinked away to other patients to collect Baksheesh: Oh, it’s ok. This is just your first child…

Uncle who did my ultrasounds: Beta, I don’t tell anyone if it’s a girl. Because if anything happens it’ll be on my conscience….(I knew what he was trying to say, but still could not believe “normal” people would do what he was implying)

People who did not matter: Chalo theek hai. Lakshmi aayee hai. Aglee baar........(err Congratulations, but better luck next time!)

My family was furious. How dare anyone imply that she was n…

A day in a life of Mom (with Computer savvy kids)

To anyone who finds the learning useful…

When the kids are not fighting over computer time and you know that something is very wrong, and you switch on the PC to find the screen looking like this…

One option is as Aurora suggested-just hang the monitor upside down and continue working.

For the ones who prefer more “in-the-box” solutions, just move the mouse left to right and top to bottom to figure out how exactly you need to move it to reach the right point when the screen is reversed (it’s quite easy one you get the hang of it).

Right click on the screen and scroll (with the mouse in reverse) till you get this menu.

And select the degree of rotation-depending on what your kid managed to do.

It’s simple isn’t it? Especially if you’ve had a couple of times to practice.

How on earth did they do it in the first place?

No point in asking unless you are prepared for an endless stream of:

But I did nothing…

She must have..

No I didn’t even go near it…

And I didn’t even look at it….

Oh! She is such a….


Lessons from 26/11: Who needs them?

After the horror of 26/11 faded away and lives limped back to normalcy, for us- the common citizens, it just meant a few more security checks everyday. Which I, as a “hypermom” did welcome even when the security men at a shopping mall created a jam by checking the boot of every car.

I had a big haversack containing the kids’ rackets-I got down ready to get that scanned.

No Ma’am, the bags will be checked when you walk in.

But I am not taking that bag-it’ll remain in the car. Who’s going to check that?

That’s Ok Ma’am. It is not our job.

The cars behind me were having a hooting competition.
I drove in and parked.

Another evening….
A few hundred (or was it thousand) people came through the narrow walkway and collected to see the “light and sound” show at Brindavan gardens, waiting for darkness to fall.

In the melee of grand-dads playing with toddlers, couples looking for corners, and hassled parents buying popcorn to placate howling kids…a man huddled with a larger than usual suitcase.

My imag…

Some other children

Amidst all the chaos of my Children’s day preparations, I clicked on the NDTV homepage featuring some other children-the ones losing their struggle for surviving beyond the day.

It took me back many years to a tiny, deserted railway station in Rajasthan.

We were returning from a college trip and the train slowed down at a signal. A woman walked close to the train, with a little baby in a basket. A couple of us were hanging at our usual spot near the compartment door and I leaned out and waved merrily at the baby.

The woman seemed to rush over, talking desperately and almost thrusting the basket at me. Unable to follow her words, I stepped back, was she begging?

My friend pulled me up a step  as the train picked up speed again. The woman ran the length of the platform holding out the basket as I fished out some money and started to throw it near her.

“She is not asking for money,” my friend insisted, “she wants you to take the baby.”

We had left the platform by then and I was still struggli…

Children's Day: After the storm

Yes the day went great.

We were only a little late for school, but since most kids were a little behind schedule, and the teachers had built in that buffer, both the girls enjoyed.

This is Aurora's class getting ready for a Cinderella at the Ball dance:

And this is Elena's class of Zebras and Lions;

And this is my troupe of dancers for the event at home:

Until next time!

Children's Day

As if we didn’t have enough festivals on the Indian calendar!

It was ok till it was a fancy dress party in play school. Yes the costumes and teaching them two lines took time, but they enjoyed so much that it was worth the time.

And now….

Same time last year, one day before the Children’s day celebrations in school, I am in office and get an urgent call from the day care:

Mamma, Ma’am has given us the dresses for tomorrow. We have to get ready, put on MAKEUP from home....

Wow. What fun! Ok so I get up 15 mins earlier fine..

And she said we have to shampoo and blow dry our hair…

Ok. 30 minutes*2

And we need to wear bangles

I hope that's all. …oops..I’ll have to arrange them before going to bed today


and what?

She said we can’t wear sandals or shoes because it is a Punjabi dance, so we have to wear jobhris

what on earth was that??

Ok, the teacher must have meant Mojris but how on earth was I going to manage buying them before tomorrow morning?

My husband was in a conference. He could not go…

Growing up, going online..

While I wait for the day when the kids will have grown up, there are these moments when I look  at them and wonder if it isn’t it happening too fast!


Me naming each object I took out while cleaning the fridge, and Elena repeating them with a baby lisp…Eggsh, Tomatoess, Butterl, Juice, Papa’s Juice… is called Beeeeeerl

When did she learn that?
I stand corrected.

Cut to present…

She is just feeling her way around a keyboard, playing games, and asks if I can create an email account for her…

Days later,
I see she is online and ping her with a cheery Hi!
My chat window blinks:
Elena: … the red circle with a bar means I am busy. I can’t chat with you now.
Loverna: Your Internet time is up, please log off
Elena: Ok.
Her status changes to offline.

And I am really not sure whether she’s offline or “ invisible”

Am I being “Hyper” in feeling scared and wondering what next and deciding to supervise her net activity more actively, to talk about the need to chat only with “approved” frien…

Do words work?

Most of my posts are frivolous and fun as I deliberately avoid writing about serious issues, about things which matter most, about things I cannot change…..

This is because even though I find writing cathartic, I am really not convinced about its power. When we try to create awareness through words, does it even reach the right people?

As I was going through some really thought-provoking posts on Domestic Violence Awareness month, this was what I thought-are the women who are victims, even reading these? Will they start believing they have the right not to put up with it? Why do they endure it in the first place?

And violence is not always physical.

Some firmly blanked out memories crept out…

Yep.  I am an Engineer and a M.B.A and I have put up with a whole load of stuff from my MIL which no woman should.

Why the hell did I do that?

Because I hate confrontations and nastiness and I was afraid it would inevitably lead to more nastiness, because it would upset the whole family, because I still…

This Mom has her day

I had to pick Aurora from a birthday party.

She took one look at me and forgot the excitement of showing me her return gift: Mamma you are wearing my earrings again! Last time you wore them to office and broke one..

Well, I didn't have much time to get ready and her stuff was scattered all over my dressing table-including earrings in the exact shade of pink as my top, so of course I borrowed it.

What’s a pair of earrings between a mother and her daughter?

Remember all the lipsticks you broke painting your face, including my favorite one which my best friend had given me, right upto the day we got a carpenter fit locks on my cosmetics shelf?

And all those “sticker bindis” collected from across cities which you stuck all over your forehead, all at the same time?

And the "heels" you broke while practicing to walk on them?

The “zari” dupatta you borrowed for dancing on the bed and returned with a big vertical slit?

The mascara you used to play “ghost”?

I may have to wait for some mor…

Another Diwali

I always loved everything about Diwali-the razzle and dazzle, the lights, the clothes, the puja and the noise.

I have always loved crackers too.

Yet when my kid came back from play-school all those years ago and said she doesn’t want to burst crackers because they are made by little children who are forced to work and not go to school, the perspective began to shift.

It was just one of the truths we brush aside because we’d rather not face it.

Over the years, as the skies grow darker with every festival of lights, the smoke has become even more difficult to ignore. We drastically cut down the amount of crackers and just burnt a few to keep the tradition alive.

This Diwali, I saw a Dad coaxing his “stubborn” fourteen-year-old to stop being a spoilsport while she refused to join in the Diwali tradition, and realized that our generation just does not get it.

It is time for us to move on, to learn a few lessons from our kids…They do know better. (Sometimes!)

Exercise in Education

The Theory:

I always look on our trips together as another opportunity in education
So I always try to draw them maps, provide a background of what makes each place special and tell them what I know about the society, language, food and culture of the place-and yes all the interesting bits about geography, history and mythology too.
The Reality:
They always managed to have questions for which I have no answers.
Like: Why couldn’t Lord Rama just fly his army over to Lanka-He was God wasn’t He?
Or for that matter: Why did He let his wife get kidnapped anyway?
And there are times they don’t even wonder “Why” and just find things to absurd to even ask about.
Like Aurora’s reaction to the world famous temple carvings:
They wear so much jewellery and they don’t wear clothes! How D……..
Hey I can see an Ice-cream shop! Anyone interested?
Education will have to wait till Mom does some more homework or till they are old enough to find their own answers (and probably educate me).

Back home

We are back-tanned, tired, and triumphant.

……..after spending the last eight days traipsing through the towering temples and bewitching beaches of southern-most India

The travel tales probably deserve another blog-but I am not sure whether I’ll be able to do justice to another one, still mulling it over…….

For now the highlights of the trip:

Spending eight complete days as a family without the distraction of school, office, grocery, laundry and the never-ending logistics of managing house Travelling by aircraft, train, taxi, and ferry all in one trip-a bus trip got missed out (Thank God-the kids say)
Viewing the Rama Sethu at Rameshwaram before it gets dredged out by the power of politics and commerce

Watching the sun go down at the southernmost tip of India, the confluence of the Bay of Bengal, Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean

Me and Elena having a full-scale Mom v/s Pre-teen kid raging row, with she calling me the most autocratic Mom…

Till we meet again

Depending on where we are, it is all so varied-Navratri, Dandia nights (or rather evenings now), Ramlila, Dushera and the Dolls and Ayudha Puja-----but it is also so similar too in the way we blend traditions with having fun and scripting memories. Maybe it’s just one more excuse to come together and celebrate and spread the wishes.

I have missed the drumbeats at Durga Puja this time but am celebrating by taking off for a week with my “Fairytopia”.

Will be back soon to share more moments as we journey to the southernmost shores of India.

Best wishes for the festival time!

Blog Friends!! Now what's that?

I met Swaram

Someone whom I have known only through her words and that too only for the last couple of months…

And it was the same as meeting an old friend from years ago.

It shouldn’t be like this.

After all what you put in your blog is just a tiny fraction of what your life is all about. And then how do you know even if that is for real?

I guess there is no algorithm to find that out.

But when you have been reading each others words for some time, sharing memories, exchanging smile (and apprehensions), chasing dreams and laughing at each others posts, you do begin to go beyond the blog-etiquette of reciprocating on comments and start connecting to the real person out there.

And when you meet, you really don’t need the introductions. It’s the person you’ve known for quite some time now.

Thanks a ton, Swaram for coming over. It was lovely meeting you; I just wish it could have been for longer and that I’d clicked some photos.

Looking forward to meeting you and all my other blog friends throug…

Durga Puja countdown begins

I don’t like it.

I am trying my best to be logical, clinical, rational….

I can’t help feeling terribly mushy.

And to make it sillier, it’s about Durga Puja, a festival that I’ve been attending for all five days, with clockwork regularity, for every year of my life.

Yet, I miss each one of those moments.

The exchanging of parcels of new clothes between Jaipur-Siliguri-Kolkata-and where ever Boro Pishi happened to be.

Being emotionally blackmailed into a thorough spring cleaning before Mahalaya by Mom (To ensure each inch of the house was washed, each bit of well everything was kept in the sun for hours and arranged back, she would start the whole process, and end up looking so tired and frails that………u guessed it!)

Rushing away right in the morning for “pushpanjali”, preening up in all finery just to go and watch the cultural functions, the puja, and……… well everyone else. Having friends stay over just so that we all could spend hours at the puja. The Arti, the competitions, the bhog, the eve…

In Sickness and in Health

What do I do to get them behave like normal, loving siblings?
Princess Aurora came home from school complaining of a sore throat. It soon turned into a horrible sniffy, sneezy, weepy affair and when she showed a slight increase in temperature you can guess what it did to my hardly there equanimity.
Even then the catfight was still on.  
Being Loverna, I switched to the selective hearing mode-they had to be in separate areas of the house till the worst was over.
As I convinced Aurora to sleep with me, Elena teased her endlessly about being a baby and missing her “day” to sleep on the top bunk..
Aurora got her back by grabbing the remote: Now you can’t watch TV because I have put my germs on this.
Elena cribbed that it was not fair this one was getting away with not finishing her dinner because she felt too sick.
Aurora kept insisting she was the one who was sick and needed to be near the toys, so her sister should be sent out of their room.
I continued not to hear.
The tone changed a little….

Durga Puja around the corner

I found a maid who said she doesn’t want any leave during the year. And then the catch:
She wanted annual leave to go to her parents’ home during Durga Puja.
Yes, even though I would do anything to get out of eating fish and roshogolla, there’s still a Bong in me, who went all mushy about going “home” during Pujo..
I was so glad about her still managing the annual trip that I said yes and turned away to stifle a poignant memories...
I forgot about it as the months went by, till “that time” of the year came around.
She had booked her tickets, and planned to reach her village two days before Shashti, confirm the dates for Kali Puja (Diwali), since it was the only time in a year that she could spend with her family, and then book her return ticket.
I did hit the panic button then, googled the dates for Kali Puja and offered to book her return ticket online…
OK, so if Kali Puja is on 17th, would you know when is Bhai Phota (Bhai Dooj)??? Ahemmmm (nostalgia definitely has it limits) it should be on…

Born Bookworms

One of my favorite dreams as a kid was one in which I get locked up in a book shop. On regular visits, I would specially get a thrill out of reading one at the shop, while selecting the ones to buy. So what if I don’t have the time these days?This is what a trip to a bookstore with my children looks like:

Gosh-I wonder what else gets stored and transferred through our DNA!


No. This isn’t how my forefathers lived.Even my grandma had electricity and a refrigerator.She didn’t believe in it much though- cooked food was always finished on the same day –even if the family had to take second and third helpings. And she preferred to keep eggs floating in a bowl of water to preserve them as if they would hatch if she didn’t keep an eye on them…I don’t have electricity in my house since yesterday. Absolutely no electricity because not being in Delhi-we don't even have a invertor for power backup.Yes, you read it right-it’s been more than 24 hours. We spent the night fighting off mosquitoes, everyone had quick baths in the morning with water heated in saucepans on the gas-stove, and we got ready to face the day ahead.Can we survive without electricity? Yes, this is how...Breakfast was heated without the microwave and as the kids and their Dad left for the day, I realized that the batteries of both my mobile and laptop were flattened- I’d have to work from offi…

Swine-flu and School-Part 2

Yes-I have written enough on the subject and hopefully this is my last post on the topic. Have to maintain the parity in writing about them too-so here is Elena’s story,The wise old lady-did not even argue about the mask.She, like her mom, always takes the path of least confrontation-and then goes ahead and does what she means to do anyway (not like her mom though).She was more concerned about the now essential accessory-the Sanitizer.The experience, far-sighted teachers, after explaining the need to keep hands clean, told the kids to carry their own sanitizers because they wouldn’t be allowed to rush out to wash their hands, every time.So Dad was contacted on email and phone and sent a reminder lest he forget, and pestered till he came with the new sanitizer school packs.Two days later........
a very contrite looking kid with her eyes on the ground comes to me with her coin box, Mamma you can keep this.
Where did that come from?I am sorry I lost the Sanitizer, I need another one…Actual…