Sunday, October 30

Diwali,Bubba and colour stories..

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It’s been a while since I burst any crackers for Diwali .I would have probably lit the odd sparkler a few times in the last ten years . But still, I think I used to be excited about the Diwali ritual of getting up early at 4:30AM and bursting a cracker the first thing in the morning till about I was twenty years old. With every new generation, the age kids grow bored/ conscientious about pollution gets lower. My younger cousins don’t burst crackers any longer. I don’t know whether to feel sad or happy about it. Obviously, this is a good thing for the environment and our poor ozone layer, but I wonder if kids are missing out on some real simple forms of enjoyment these days. 

I still remember the days when appa used to bring home a huge bag of crackers and a bunch of us cousins used to waste no time in starting to burst all the “heavy duty” crackers. We had competitions in the neighborhood as to who would burst the noisiest cracker. We always lost , because our parents didn’t believe in getting us anything more than a thousand-wallah. Somehow Lakshmi patakas and atom bombs were enough to keep up deliriously happy. We looked down upon kids that burst “bhijilis” and lit sparklers. 

Anyway, this Diwali , as usual no cracker bursting happened and I got a belated Diwali gift of seeing the little Bubba  the very next day. The second trimester is a very strange thing- you suddenly stop throwing up and your appetite is suddenly so huge that you start wondering if you are pregnant any longer at all. Add to that the fact that I last saw the lil’ Bubba almost two months back during a scan , I was antsy and a tad worried. I have always been a chronic worrier and despite everybody telling me everything was going to be okay, I started imagining the worst possible things. Also , the fact that I wasn’t able to sense Bubba’s movements when I was well into my 21st week  was getting me a little jittery.

But then every pregnancy is different and each expectant mother experiences these things at a different time period. I can’t even imagine what it must have been like for my mother’s generation , where medical screening  before delivery was kept to the bare minimum. Amma tells me that she saw me just once before I was born. An aunt says that she didn’t even know that she was pregnant with twins until the nurse handed her two  bundles and told her that she was a momma of two lil’ boys. Technology just increases tension and nervousness associated with pregnancy, I think.

My date with Bubba was fun. He/she refused to co-operate when the technician wanted to take the spinal measurements. I had to walk for almost an hour in the hope that the Bubba would wake up. and turn .But the lil’ one was stubborn (like me) and refused to move an inch. After three unsuccessful attempts at getting Bubba to turn , the technician started spanking my stomach  in the hope that it would wake the lil’ one up. Still no luck. Finally, as the last resort , the technician asked me to slap my stomach. I hesitated a little , but decided to go ahead. Three brief taps later , Bubba  turned and showed the technician his/her spine. 

I was speechless. 

The tech told me that sometimes the lil’ ones get so used to their mommas that they listen only to them. All I can say is , life is such a miracle that one really can’t explain it. A baby whose brain is not yet developed and is currently the size of a banana can actually recognize it’s mother’s touch?  Wow! After the scan, I stopped referring to the baby as an “IT” and it has really sunk in that there really is a living thing inside me and not just a bunch of cells. 

Sex determination is a crime in India and has been banned for several decades now. We briefly toyed with the idea of going outside India to check Bubba's "goods" , but finally decided against it. On day of the scan , the lab-tech was discussing the weather with another colleague of hers  and she suddenly goes 

“The S-U-N is not shining today. I wish it would come out and give us some respite from the rains.”

It took me a few minutes to figure out the implication of that sentence. These lab-techs are so damn brilliant. If she had said “Sun” and had not spelled it out, it could have gotten her into trouble , as I could have assumed that the lady meant that the baby was a boy. She smartly spelled the words out , so that there was no confusion in anyone’s mind (nor would she get into trouble!). I am sure the techs are given a primer on the words to avoid during a scan, but still I was amused that the lady said “S-U-N” almost as naturally as someone would say “hi”.

While still on the subject of ultrasounds , the hubby has resorted to pulling my leg about how I teared at my first scan. Of course, I hadn’t shed any tears and no amount of arguing makes him drop the subject. He very embarrassingly tells everyone that I “cried” when I saw a bunch of cells (during the first scan only the embryo is seen;The baby shape is discernible much later ). I might have felt overwhelmed during the first scan , but  am sure that I am at least four months away from reducing into a ball of hormones, mush and tears.
Hopefully !

Well, the latest of Bubba-chronicles is that I started sensing the lil’ one’s movements a few days back and I have no qualms in saying that this is one of the most wonderful feelings I have ever experienced. Bubba is most active when I play him/her a song that I’ve been playing for the last five months. I like to believe that Bubba recognizes certain sounds, though there apparently is no scientific proof that says that babies recognize sounds that they heard in the womb.Yeah, I guess lil’ Bubba is already making a huge difference to my life. I can’t wait for my life to change completely and be taken over by a whirlwind of nappy-changings and sleepless vigils.

The last few days we have been finalizing wall colours and fittings for the house and I found myself perpetually confused and hare-brained. For someone who is slightly design-challenged (yours truly) , I find the choices available just mind boggling. We contemplated hiring a much-recommended interior designer, but it turned out to be a nightmare , because he just wouldn’t listen to what we wanted and just went on about how our house would edgy and sophisticated and contemporary and stream-lined and colour-coordinated. 

Well, I don’t want to live in a museum or an edgy-impractical home. I need lots of clutter and colours in my home. I am happy we didn’t hire the guy (so much easier on the pocket too! Some of these designer guys are frightfully expensive). Our home might end up looking like some Mondrian primary colour nightmare, but I guess it would be “home” and  not a prime subject of  an ad for a interior design company.

Have a super week,guys! 

Thursday, October 27

Pregnancy diaries - 1

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Some pearls of wisdom on the second trimester of pregnancy. A typical sleep cycle of someone who once used to be able to sleep at the drop of the hat..

 10:30PM Slightly sleepy, despite the Vishnu Sahasranamam that is blaring (recommended by mom, mom-in-law,neighbour, neighbours’ grandma etc. so that the baby is not half as dysfunctional as you are and learns all the good things before it comes out and gets corrupted, eventually). Personally, you would rather that it listen to Preeti Sagar nursery rhymes because you already have notions of baby being a genius and spouting “Baba black sheep” the day it is born. You shudder because realize that you are going to end up institutionalized, if you continue to be so competitive and thrust all your unfulfilled ambitions on the little thing that is  now merely the size of a banana .

You toss and turn trying to find a position that challenges the laws of gravity. You try different permutations and combinations for fifteen minutes, before hitting the jackpot. You doze off sometime around 11.

12:00AM You wake up feeling weird and woozy. REM cycle rudely interrupted courtesy Pee break: 1. You curse yourself for drinking so much water before going to bed. Aimless surfing - you google Aishwarya’s  pregnancy pics(GOSH!) ; log into FB twice, gmail thrice ,goodreads five times and blog-hop randomly and still feel bored ; make 4 aborted attempts at reading  the simplest book lying around (A few days earlier you had picked up a  Murakami and had stared blankly at the black and white  patterns on the pages for ten minutes, wondering what in the hell he was talking about. Having become wiser, you decide to pick up Nanny Diaries or similar alleged-fluff with pink covers.)

Sleep continues to elude you. You end up giving the neighborhood dogs company- yet again( by now you know more about these dogs than the owners themselves)  and wonder why Caesar is groaning piteously today. Maybe something he ate last night didn’t agree with him ? 

1:30AM Sleep trying to visit again. Plus, by now you are bored with the book and “really” want to make an honest effort to go back to sleep. Finally you manage to find a comfortable position after much tossing and turning. You have managed to reclaim your right on five pillows in the household, so that others don’t have any pillows for themselves. They surrender the pillows to you without a fight because a) they are sleeping and you aren’t  b) you are pregnant and  therefore your needs(read as baby’s needs) always come before theirs.

2:45AM Wake up in the middle of REM again feeling ravenously hungry.WTH? Several apples and slices of breads later, you feel less zombie-like, though you know that this binging is going to hurt you because you have been warned about assorted diabetic relatives in the family and you being a sitting duck for becoming a diabetic yourself. Also lately you have not been able to recognize yourself in the mirror , but are safe in the knowledge that a thinner version of yourself lurks below all those layers of fat.

More tossing and turning . Pee break : 2 and 3 ; Aimless surfing  – Google “How to sleep + pregnancy + pee breaks ”, rough calories of items ingested a few hours back. Groan- 400  ; two aborted attempts to read a book(Nanny diaries, again); one unsuccessful attempt at trying to do the Hindu crossword(you  feel sad that you have managed to crack only “three down” ); one attempt at the Times Sudoku (  you feel happy that here at least you’ve managed to fill a few “dabbas”).You briefly try to get some writing done,only to realize that  words have clotted in your brain .You give up because you don't want your novel to be  bought and read by only five people (three of whom will hate it, but won't say anything bad about it because they are family). You get bored. 

4:00AM Sleep again. Ah!..

5:00AM REM again. Pee break 4. “What the F*beep* am I drinking to pee so much?”you wonder. You apologize to the baby profusely that you “swore in your head”. Your mother,mother-in-law,relatives,neighbor, neighbour’s aunty, flower-seller etc have already warned you that the baby can sense all bad things going inside you .. You wonder if the baby knows how good it felt to swear (if only it was in your head).You sigh because you know that soon you can no longer utter such words, whereas everyone around you will be having a gala time saying the aforementioned *beep* word. You get bored.

This time nothing works anyway and you finally end up staring at the patterns on the ceiling. Suddenly it hits you that one patch looks like Australia and you feel this uncontrollable itch to wake someone up and share the news. You know you can’t , so you text  the hubby and hope and pray that the noise wakes him up. After all, you realize that this could be the single biggest discovery since electricity and  more importantly , nobody is entitled to more than three hours of sleep (especially if it is your husband). 

6:00 AM Some semblance of sleep. Scratch,whoosh,scratch,whoosh- Sounds of your mother washing the household entrance for drawing  the kolam. Groan. Sounds of newspaper-wala, milk-man and sundry all out on a secret mission to rouse you. Pee break 5. Ravenous again. You hang around the kitchen hoping the mother will feel pity (you put on your most miserable look, but you really don’t have to try too hard. Because by now you are a zombie and look like one too) .You already know she always does and will move the heaven and earth to make you (read baby ,again) something nutritious, healthy and low-fat. Translated as “Ughhh!”

Belly full again, you give up trying to fall asleep , because the  doc and five different pregnancy books that you peruse on a daily basis warns you not to lay down for at least two hours after a meal. Groan. You make a move (stealthily) on the day’s newspaper before the dad confiscates all printed matter that remotely  says “Hindu” and snap groggily when he asks you “Did you sleep well last night?” just like he asks you every morning.

7:00AM Snore finally for a few hours of shut-eye.

DISCLAIMER : Before any radical mahila-mukthi types spams me with comments of what a pig  I am for writing something bad about pregnancy, let me assert that everything has been written in jest and it does NOT mean that I don't realize how wonderful pregnancy really is :-)  Also , I am terribly sleep-deprived, so adjust please.

Tuesday, October 25

The story of the chap that loved "vegetarian " noodle..

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Edit : Yipeee!!...

First in the series of Hubby's travel tales .. 

The chap, being the quintessential Tam-Brahm boy, had a terrible time living for a month in a country where snakes and eels are considered a delicacy. Having been brought up on a staple diet of Thayir sadam and cut mangoes, the prospect of ingesting creatures that normally give people a fright scared the living daylights out of the poor fellow. He was promptly packed away on the "phoren" trip  with packets of savories , assorted powders and pickles ,so as to enable his survival in the land of exotic creatures  for at least a few days, till the Gods decided to stage a miracle and feed him the choicest of south-Indian delicacies .Or so he hoped.

Of course, language is a problem in this lovely country .Nobody understands English and his too-grammatically-correct questions were met with strange stares.Our chap is flummoxed. He doesn't know what to do. But he knows that he has to eat to survive.

Our chap , is resourceful if not anything. Using the aid of Google translator and assorted hopeless hand-gestures , he somehow manages to convince a waiter to bring him a "vegetarian" noodle.

 "No meat, no egg, no fish, no chicken,"  he tells the waiter.

The waiter nods his head vigorously,like he takes the same order every single day form gazillion guests and the chap feels like he is on cloud no9 , because he is sure that the waiter fellow has understood him. Half an hour later, the chap's stomach is rumbling and there is still no sign of the blessed "vegetarian" noodle.He is increasingly getting delirious and is hallucinating about thayir saadam.

A little later, he is jolted from his misery with a call from the waiter's cronies wanting to know..

"What what add in noodle?"

Now, the  chap is preplexed. The waiter had nodded his head , like he understood everything. He had even smiled sweetly like he was the chap's best buddy.

The chap patiently tries to explain everything again in Eng-nese.The lady on the other side of the tele-phoon enthusaistically tells him " Ok ,Ok. Noooooo Problemmmmm..No meeeet, no chickeeeeen, no fisssss..ok, ok." after fifteen minutes of verbal-boxing.

The chap sighs with relief. Finally ,the blasted noodle was going to come.This is when he fervently misses the Missus's cooking. He realizes how much he's taken her cooking for granted.

Some more time passes... The chap doesn't know how long, because by now his small intestines are being gobbled up by the big intestines. He starts seeing more thayir-saadam mirages.

Finally.... there is a knock at the door. The friendly waiter makes an appearance ,smilingly bearing a bowl.

"Noodle.. no meeeeet, no fissssss..," he says.

Chap is in throes of ecstacy. Finally FOODDD..

"Thank you," he mumbles and attacks the bowl feverishly even before the waiter has left.

A few bites into it, he loves the food.The veggies are wonderful , full of flavour. Better than what he gets back home.Maybe he shouldn't have thought about the missus's food so nostalgically, he wonders. The world had so many yummy things on offer , anyway.

He is also delighted at his google-translator skills and wonders why people say bad things about the people of this country not understanding any English.

Another knock on the door.. Chap's collegue.

"Arrey..What are you eating,man?" the colleague asks

"Veggie Noodles... Yum! Have a bite "

The collegue accepts the proffered spoon of  the vegetarian goodness.

"Yeah, it sure is yum. sure this is vegetarian? This bit here looks like pork," the colleague says.

The chap's face clouds.

Pork! .."Aiyoo...Ramaaa..Ramaaa..."he mutters to himself.

He looks back at the bowl that is now half-full and feels sick.

"But.. I said no meat, no egg, no chicken, no fish.Why did they add pork? "he asks wide-eyed, clutching his sacred thread to his chest in atonement .

 The colleague smiles enigmatically. 

"You missed out pork and beef , dude," the colleague says and guffaws.

The chap contemplates the contents of the  bowl.

He pushes the bowl away and decides to eat the murukkus and other savories  that he carried from home for dinner. He is suddenly reminded of his wife's  under-rated cooking. He also decides to find an Indian restaurant before he cracks up.

More adventures.. COMING SOON!

Tuesday, October 18

Peeping in to say Hi ..

Most of my posts have become such "peeping in for a hi" for a long time now, which  is such a shame .I Just haven't had the energy to blog /bloghop much .With a lot on  the cards, I really don't know if this blog (or my bookblog , for that matter) will see much action in sometime to come . Hubby and I are expecting our little bundle of joy sometime early next year , and though I have just reached the halfway milestone in my pregnancy, we can already see the difference in our priorities, not to mention the shift in my centre of gravity ;-) Suddenly ,  the incessant throwing up and nausea and all the zillion things that've been tormenting me for the last few months don't seem to matter. That might be partly because of the fact that I can safely look at  select foods and not feel revolted/ horrified at the thought of ingesting them.

Also, soon we will be shifting to our new home after spending more than three years in our current "house" and though I have cribbed non-stop (much to the irritation/ amusement of the better half) about the "house", I do feel slightly nostalgic about the good times we've had here. Some of my most frustrating years were  spent here and in a way  most of my lessons in patience were learnt in this house.Though I can't say that I've completely wizened up, I am so much more tolerant of the vagaries of life ; so much more at peace with the decisions I've taken,however faulty they might seem now. Now that we will be leaving ,  frankly the only images that are appearing in my mind are the happy ones. Everything else seems like a mere mirage of reality; some kind of a hazy dream. A few more developments have happened  on the work front , but it seems like its too soon to let all the cats out of the bag in one post .Will post about it when something more concrete comes up.

Anyway, like a really wise person said  once( Character from the sitcom Friends, maybe?) - "It   feels like the end of an era ".It really does and I am just thankful that this blog will remain the same (haunted as usual) no matter what changes in my life.What's brewing in your lives?