Thursday, June 26, 2008

Bits and Pieces

The mite has found a captive audience in Baba, he realised soon enough that Dadan cannot move about freely and occupies specific chairs and other seats at specific times. Baba embodies the discipline of the army. In the morning he is up by 6 and waits patiently on the bed till it is time for his eye drops at 7 when he wakes Ma up. Thereafter he can be found on our balcony reading the newspaper. Then after breakfast he is in the balcony and then he sits inside before lunch. That is when the mite tells him stories and sings songs for him and shows him his handiwork. Yesterday the mite came to me displeasure writ large on his face- " Dadan ta shuye gechhe." (Dadan is asleep, in our Hindi-bengali lingo, as it a direct translation of "Dadan sso gaye" in Bengali we would say 'ghumiye porechhe' for sleep and 'shuye aachhe' for lying down). Clearly he did not take it sportingly when Baba fell asleep in the middle of his narration of a story!The mite got over it as he found me and showed me how Dadan was sleeping with his head bent and then went on to feed me imaginary food which he has cooked.
Ma is helping my daughter with her homework, which is a relief for me and for her too because I have very little patience with her. She is very slow and not steady either. I have always had trouble getting her to do her studies. Even the slightest bit of effort from her gets good results as she is intelligent but even that is too much of an effort for her. She is a bit spoilt I guess, for she has been an only child for long always having four adults at her beck and call. However now I have put my foot down. Actually I had put my foot down long back but only now there are some positive results coming off it. Till last year I was packing her bag! She would find some excuse or other to dodge this chore (she is in class III now and we used to pack our bags from classI). She still does not wear her own uniform, she does not dry herself after her bath, she does not comb her hair, she never puts her play things away without a short skirmish and sometimes a shouting. In short she is quite impossible. But there is hope still, atleast I hope so, before she reaches her teens.
The mite is ready for school for he is not content hovering around the house anymore. He has become friendlier and more outgoing. I have visited a play school near our house and am thinking of putting him there. We are trying to get him mentally prepared for the change in his status, from a stay at home toddler to a school going boy.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Guluda Mall: The Place After Our Hearts

Although we live close to The Forum, we all like Garuda Mall better in some ways. Firstly Inox there has a 100Rs ticket on Sunday morning, the Fabindia store there is good, there is a fengshui knick knack shop which we like, the Mr likes a handmade soap shop, and the food court stuff is more reasonably priced than the Forum. The mite calls it Guluda Mall, and he loves the small doggie we bought from the Archie's Store.We spent two Sundays at Garuda with Ma and Baba. The first time we were spread out in three theatres Ma-baba watching Woodstock Villa, the kids and I went for Narnia, and the Mr catching up on some action in Indiana Jones. Thereafter we made a beeline for Beijing the Chinese and Thai outlet at the Food Court for a soul satisfying meal. Baba is very difficult to please but he liked this morning excersice so much that he expressed a desire to watch Sarkar Raj there. We warned him that the reviews were bad but to no avail. This time the Mr gave the film a miss because he did not get the tickets for the Night Shyamalan movie and the kids and I went for Mere Baap Pehle Aap! Having no expectation from the movie we quite enjoyed it, there was no sleazy humour like in some recent hits, Paresh Rawal was good and Om Puri as the desparate old man was not vulgar. Good for a few laughs and I just love to watch Shobhana even though she does not have much to do. The heroine was raw, but she can go on to be good with the proper polishing. Ma-Baba came out with hair standing on end, but their nerves were calmed after another delicious meal at Beijing.

On Saturday the Mr and I discovered a wonderful spot in Lal Bagh- the Lal Bagh Tank, a wonderful soothing lake where frayed nerves can be healed. If you enter by the East gate then all you have to do is walk straight down to the lake. It is a beautiful, serene water body with ducks floating around, some islands in the middle of the lake had some large water birds. You can take a walk along the bank of the lake or sit on the benches lining it. It is truely theraputic. We found out that entry is free at LalBagh till 5:30 am! I wish I were a dedicated morning walker!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Jaamai Shoshti: Celebrating the Son-in-law

For the first time after our marriage, My parents are present on Jamaai Shoshti. This is a celebration specially amongst Bengalis where women pray for their children and mother's in law treat their son's in law to a scrumptious meal and give him new chlothes. Hence the Mr went to office in his new shirt and Ma is getting ready to do a small puja with mangos and a special kind of grass (durba or dubba) which is used to bless the children. We collected the grass from the middle of the road where it was growing at the foot of a lamp post, needless to say, the passers by thought we were a pack of crazy people looking for our screws!
My father was a very difficult jamaai, avoiding his parents in law as much as he could, it was his loss because my maternal grandmother was a sensational cook. She was a pro in certain traditional Bengali (Rather East Bengali or Bangal) dishes like kochurloti, kochur shaag with ilish maachher matha, chital maachher muitha, and so on and forth. All the dishes are difficult to make and were the favourites of my father. Once he took his good friend to his in law's place saying that his MIL mis a very good cook. The friend came back singing my grandmom's praises.
My paternal grandmom was not a very good cook but her jamaai is a mom in law's dream come true. My aunt's husband, my dear pishemoshai enjoyed his food and is a loveable human being. His easy going charm and fun loving ways always thrilled us. If Pishemoshai was in town then everyday was jamaai shoshti! There was shopping (the children got coco cola, which was unthinkable if Baba took us out), there was lots of good food and we got to see the latest Amitabh Bachhan movie in town. I cannot remember one jamaai shoshti occassion separately but I do know one thing, pishemoshai was the only jamaai I encountered who is completely at home in his inlaw's place. I saw my father poke him in the ribs and say "ki moshai bar bar bhuri duliye shoshur bari te eshe jaan..." (well Sir how can you come all the time to your inlaw's place) The translation is not half as offensive as the original Bengali, if someone had said that to me I would immediately arrange for the offender to be murdered, but pishemoshai smiled non-chalantly and sipped his drink without turning a hair and without wasting any time in giving an answer to the joke. That was my father's sense of humour and pishemoshai understood it completely. My parents and pishemoshai share a strong relationship that has withstood many ups and downs. The death of my grandmother was a down and 9years later the death of pishi created a void which cannot be filled. My parents and pishemoshai support each other through all the crises in their lives. But I know one thing, those good old days will never come back and they won't make jamaai's like pishemoshai any more.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Tiffy Twosome

I: Hello?
The Mr: Hello?
I: Hello?
The Mr : Baby...?
I: (confusedly) ....yeah
Short cut and dried conversation follows on the phone. Later I think, the last I encountered the Mr we were engaged in a skirmish of words, so the tender "..Baby?.." cannot be intended for me. That realisation leads me two more realisations.. my daughter who picks my phone most of the time has grown old enough to start sounding like me and father and daughter share a very tender relationship something that I am not always a part of. One realisation makes me sad the other gives me relief. My baby is growing up fast, I take a long look at her pouring over her homework, scratching her nose from time to time, chewing her pencil now and then...only sometime back she was a chubby cheeked toddler wizzing about in her baby walker and doing her colouring fiercely. Now my mite is a toddler and miraculously my 'baby' has grown. The second realization makes me happy for I had thought that the Mr is unable to give quality time to the babies so his relationship with them is becoming cut and dried, "have you done homework", "did you go out with Ma", etc. The children are always all over him but I have mostly observed that he does not show his affection verbally- which to my mind is very important- specially to the elder one. Anyhow be that as it may, now I am relieved that he packs a lot of love even into the one word he says to her!
The Mr and I are still at loggerheads, though, and I am hoping for a weekend reconsiliation!