Of moms and storytelling

One of the most fairytale like aspects of motherhood is storytelling. It conjures up images of you in bed next to your little one, telling them stories of lands far far away. Or telling them stories of brave and strong heroes who ate their vegetables every day when it comes time for food. When I was a little girl, I had some trouble getting food down my throat. Ofcourse, my mom told me stories – nay – a single story every day (because that was the only story I wanted) to help food ease down my screaming throat. And what was that magical story – you might ask. Well here it goes….

One day, when Amma was in the bank (thats where she still works), a really really huge cockroach came in (yeah  you heard it right – cockroach). The cockroach was so big that it was bigger than everyone. And it threatened to eat everyone in the bank. All bank people were very scared and did not know what to do. Just when the cockroach was about to eat someone, Clueless came into the bank with her gun (Yes, I had an air gun when I was 5 years old. You could put stones into it and it shot them out with a *plop* sound).  Then, Clueless took her gun and shot the cockroach and it died. Everyone clapped. The End.

I still can’t understand for the life of me why I was so interested in cockroaches. I guess my mom did not analyse too much either – if the story worked and I ate peacefully, she had no complaints with my cockroach obsession. Today, we have become a little too obsessed with doing the politically correct things I guess. No one will willingly tell their kid a story of how they killed a cockroach with a gun. What if they grow up to be serial killers or something?

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December 11, 2009 at 12:22 am 12 comments

The end of cool

Not so long ago, I remember how I bought my first car. I had seen the newly released model online and was really fascinated that the roof was completely transparent. And it was a sports car. And I could afford it. So the next day, I walked up to the dealer and bought my new two-door car. Just like that. I did not even have a drivers license. I don’t know how I convinced the insurance guy to even insure my car. When I sent pics of my car to my parents, my mother was worried that the car had only TWO doors. Her logic was simple – when I was paying “so much” for  a car, it should come properly equipped with four doors. And what was I to do when I had a “family”? I had cooly replied to my mom that my spouse would have the “family” car and she need not worry about it.

And then, I married K. Who had a Mustang. Not only was it a two door car, but it was almost impossible for anyone to sit in the backseat without cutting their legs off. Thankfully, when we got Rummy home, he managed not to sit like a human in the backseat and the arrangement worked beautifully for us. So far. Now I have a belly that looks like it is ready to pop any minute and there is no way on earth a baby car seat AND a dog are going to fit in the back of any two door car. Not to mention that Rummy does not wear a seat beat and goes sommersaulting everytime we hit the brakes hard – which was fine too until now because he had the whole back seat to roll in. So yeah, getting to the point, we are selling of one of our first loves to buy a sensible SUV that will house an entire family without any acrobatics involved. Too bad I cannot hail autos here and keep our car a little longer.

This time the process has been so different. First we came up with a budget. Four years ago I would not even know how much money I had in my account. Second, we checked out the safety ratings on all the models we were interested in. Roll over test, crash test, air bags – the whole nine yards. And then we test drove one model after another and further narrowed our search based on things like traction control, ABS (some advanced breaking mechanism – I think ) and other such weird features that I had never considered before. Engine power was considered only in terms of cargo capacity. And yes, we had one other criteria – the back  cargo space should be high enough for our dog to stand and put his head out of the window.

For the last criteria, K carried a measuring tape to measure the height of the cargo area in every model we tested. Some made the cut and some did not. And one Desi car salesman was frustrated enough to yell at us saying “Are you buying the car for the dog or for yourself?”  – which pissed us off a great deal. And yes, his models did not make the cut. No wonder. All diversion tactics.

So yes, we have finally zeroed in on a model that fits our wallet, our dog and our baby. K is now in the haggle-phase with all dealers in a 50 mile radius to see who has the best deal. We will be trading off the Mustang and a part of our carefree lives along with it. Every now and then I see K hugging the steering wheel a little tighter and even planting a kiss on it when he thinks no one is looking. I know how you feel babes, and I know my car’s turn will come too. Hopefully not too soon.

A pic of the cutest looking dog because of whom we let go of a few car models, got yelled at by a salesman and who always leaves a mark on my car’s upholstery with his never ending shedding..

 

December 1, 2009 at 12:47 am 8 comments

My dog is a drama queen

I decided to take a break from all my pregnancy related banter and talk to you today about Rummy. For the past 6 weeks that my FIL has been staying with us, Rummy has had a one way love affair with him. As in, Rummy tries to get every opportunity to lick my FIL’s hands and wags his tail at him in the most doggily seductive manner, but has been suitably ignored by FIL. All this rejection my poor dog has been taking pretty well, except for one fine day…..

Well, my SIL had come over to visit my FIL when me and K were away at work. Now, Rummy conducts a one way love affair with my SIL also. Except that she does not respond because she is still a little scared of Rummy (which I have tried to explain to her is like being scared of something as harmless as cookies…but still ). Anyways, SIL and FIL were both talking away, ignoring Rummy like they usually do. And my dog as usual was sleeping on his bed pretending not to care, when in reality he would have come running to them if they even looked in his direction. And then it happend. When sending my SIL away, apparently FIL and SIL had a small argument at the door. Now, Rummy thinks he is a peacekeeper from United Nations, only that he is of the canine variety. So he ran to the door and stood between both of them. And they both got a little scared. Soon, they got over it and my SIL tried to get into her van. Rummy decided to take the opportunity to get a ride for himself and hopped into SIL’s van and was uncermoniously kicked out.

This was the trigger for Rummy who loves car rides more than anything else on earth. And I guess his feelings were a little hurt too. So in true Gandhian fashion, he went and threw himself on the road in front of SIL’s van. And refused to get up. For two people who are a little scared of dogs, moving a 80 pounder off the road is no easy task. My FIL tried yelling at him, calling him softly. Nothing worked. He even got a nice banana from his personal statch and offered it to Rummy. But Rummy was ofcourse too hurt to even consider it even though normal circumstances would have him drooling at any food.

Finally after 15 minutes of dharna, I guess the road got a little too hot for Rummy’s comfort. So he got up and cooly walked back to the house to claim his spot under the fan.

When I came home and my FIL told me this, my first reaction was to let out a laugh. But it was quickly stifled by the look on my FIL’s face. But I am sure one day he will see the humor in this story, maybe even tell it to his grand kids. Why, he has already started feeding Rummy a small piece of his dosa every morning and I can almost see his face widen when he sees him every morning.

Here is an “innocent” pic of my drama queen…

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November 11, 2009 at 11:39 pm 6 comments

Sprinting to the finish line

I just stepped into the third and final trimester of my pregnancy sometime back. And I have 10 more weeks to go before I become a parent forever. As wonderful as pregnancy has been, with all the “glow” and shiny hair, the truth is that it does get uncomfortable at times. From back aches to heart burn to shortness of breath, and sometimes all of the above happening at the same time, it can get pretty overwhelming.

Once, during dinner, the soccer star currently residing in my uterus promptly gave me a kick in the ribs which made me whince in pain. And it started off a topic of discussion between me, K and my FIL. K asked his dad fondly if he too had been the source of such troubles to his mother – to which my FIL replied “I never heard her complain”. Not “she did not have pain”, but “I never heard her complain”. This really got me thinking that even a few decades ago, either women never really expressed what they were going through, or they simply thought that it was a part of the process and needed to be put up with. I mean, think about it – how many of us have no discomfort whatsoever during that time of the month? And yet, how many men of the older generation actually knew what their wives were going through? Even those darn old movies showed the pregnant lady throwing up – like – once, not for entire 4 months. Then after a quick bite of the raw mango, she was soon whisked off to her parents’ home and then the scene ended in the hospital where an anxious dad was waiting outside closed doors and then suddenly a baby was brough to him and declared his! Never once have they shown the pregnant lady not eating some kind of food because it now gives her terrible gas, or when she has heartburn and feels like a dragon breathing fire. Even in the so called pregnancy movies and sagas with women as the central character. No, pregnant women are always supposed to be happy and smiling and hormones messing with their body and mind is an urban legend that these doctors with fancy degrees just make up.

I think women in India have been raised with the super hero complex. That they can do everything – or that they must do everything. From going to work to cooking in the kitchen to raising kids, everything seems to be on their plate and everything must be taken into their stride. Motherhood is supposed to be always glorious with rainbows and unicorns and any downsides must be quietly swept under the carpet so that we can continue to pretend that it is always rainbows and unicorns. If there is one thing I know, it is that I am not a super hero. I am a person with no super powers other than to probably predict which exact bush Rummy is going to unleash his pee on – that too with only 70% accuracy. For me, it is not a matter of pride if I need to ask for help on days when I cannot do things on my own. I do not feel guilty being indulged. And I feel no shame or shortcomings in letting people know that soccer baby is at it again – and it hurts like crazy when the kicks lands in the right places.

Which brings me to one more thing I love about the country I am currently in. It gives ample opportunities for the dad-to-be to be involved in the entire baby making process. From visits to the OB to child birth classes to actually being in the same room your wife is laboring in and watching your kid being born – everything is encouraged. I am no longer just the woman-with-increasing-girth. I become the woman accomodating baby inside her – a baby that is alive and growing and kicking and burping. A woman who is going through things mentally and physically and needs some extra TLC. And because of this,  K does not suddenly become a father one fine day in January 2010, he is already one.

November 7, 2009 at 1:04 am 8 comments

And now the award goes to…..

Clueless!! Thanks so much to lovely Dee for giving me an award! Nothing removes writer’s blocks quicker than a tag and an award. And she has given me both!!!!

All the people I do want to pass on the awards to, Dee already has! But still mentioning them here because I really enjoy their blogs…

Dee : Like she said…we both are crazy, especially when it comes to our pets ! And mostly agree on everything!

AHK: My fellow MTB blogger! We both are barely a month apart in our pregnancies (I think) and I love to hear what she has to say because it resonates so much with me!

La Vida Loca: Please send me the invite to your very private blog!

And now for the tag….Since I am too lazy…please follow rules posted on Dee’s blog and anyone wanting to take this up is most welcome!

1.Where is your cell phone? Purse

2.Your hair? Black

3.Your mother? Excited

4.Your father? Exasperated

5.Your favorite food? Thai

6.Your dream last night? Garage!!

7.Your favorite drink? Bailey’s 😉

8.Your dream/goal? Environmentalist

9.What room are you in? Office

10.Your hobby? Reading

11.Your fear? Birds

12.Where do you want to be in 6 years? Home

13.Where were you last night? Home

14.Something that you aren’t? Traditional

15.Muffins? banana-nut

16.Wish list item? This

17.Where did you grow up? Bangalore

18.Last thing you did? Ate-apple

19.What are you wearing? Maternity-jeans

20.Your TV? Samsung

21.Your pets? Rummy

22.Friends? Always

23.Your life? Changing 🙂

24.Your mood? Hungry!!!!

25.Missing someone? Mommy 😦

26.Vehicle? Scion TC

27.Something you’re not wearing? Sexy tight top

28.Your favorite store? Papaya

29.When was the last time you laughed? Morning

30.Last time you cried? Yesterday

31.Your best friend? K

32.One place that you go to over and over? Hawaii

33.One person who emails me regularly? FIL

34.Favorite place to eat? Dish-Dash

November 4, 2009 at 7:01 pm 4 comments

Is it me or is it the hormones??

Of late, I am living out some of the scenarios I will be facing as a parent. Pretty normal you might say, except that these scenarios have nothing to do with baby sitting or poop or kindergarden like most parents would be worrying about. To give you an idea of what I am talking about

Scenario 1:
I just discovered that I no longer remember various method to solve integration problems. Yes, Integration as in differential calculus. I remember some basic stuff but nothing that we needed some special tricks to solve. I tried and tried but could not remember anything. I even asked K and he promptly told me I was having one of my “moments” and left it at that. Now, this is when it began to grow into a small panic. What if I am not able to teach calculus to my kids? I mean, how would they deal with a mother who would stare at a calculus problem and give a blank look? I did not want to google stuff and cheat, but this was worrying me a lot. I even resolved to borrow my nephew’s 12th grade advanced math text book and work out all the problems in them. Only the next day morning I realized I might come across as a tad bit silly and gave up on it. And every now and then, I keep worrying about different theorms I have forgotten and try and remember them. Oh, btw did I mention that I am a total nerd??

Scenario 2:
I have a dog, a big one. And now I am having a baby. Instead of worrying like a good Indian parent about how the dog will affect my baby, I worry about what my baby is going to do to my dog. Like this one time I had a dream that my kid was around 2 years old and Rummy and baby are playing together. I am puttering around the house and I come back to find that my lovely black and white dog is now multicolored – because my baby decided to use Rummy as a blank canvas. I keep worrying about how baby might pull Rummy’s ears or hurt him when in all probability the whacks that a 15 pound child metes out probably won’t even register in my 80 pound dog’s brain.

Somebody please tell me it is the hormones.

In other related news, Baby has decided to join United Manchester or some such fancy league, for which practise has begun right now in Mamma’s belly. Especially when she is in meetings where she cannot even make appropriate facial expressions. Everything needs to be answered with a kick – hungry?? Kick Mamma. Don’t like the position she is sleeping in? Kick Mamma. Getting bored? Kick Mamma. You get the drift.

Also, I am becoming obsessed about whether my face is swelling up. K is most uncooperative and gets away saying that he sees me daily, so he won’t be able to make out the changes. So anyone who has not seen me in a couple of weeks – I immediately get to asking them if my face is getting bigger. I guess secretly (or not so secretly) I want to be preggie like Heidi Klum. When she was pregnant, she was still stick thin with a soccer ball thing where her stomach was. And she wore those awesome dresses that made her look even better. Truth is much much further for us ordinary mortals. Sigh! And yes, the truth still does not stop me from polishing off plates of kesari bath or that nth cup of icecream – even when the doc keeps telling me that I need only 300 calories more than my regular intake when I am pregnant. I half believe the doctor is lying because I am hungry ALL THE TIME.

And last, but not the least – random strangers come up to me and touch my belly. I cannot tell you how much I HATE that one. I feel like one of those laughing Buddhas whose belly gets rubbed by all and sundry for good luck. I am sure people find my belly very fascinating, but think about this – I find lots of male and female body parts amusing / amazing all the time. You don’t see me running up to people and touching them do you??

October 8, 2009 at 7:17 pm 8 comments

Shining example of organization on K’s side of the family

Of late,  I have been craving for Aloo buns from the Iyengar bakeries of Bangalore. For the non-Bangaloreans, Aloo bun is a bun stuffed with potato curry inside and at the right temperate, it is just a handful of mouth melting goodness. Now, as it happens, my FIL is landing here this weekend, so I thought I will take the opportunity to smuggle some Aloo buns into this insipid country – and because I am preggie and all that, such ridiculous requests of mine are being entertained by everyone for a limited time.

So, I picked up the phone and called Amma and let her know that I wanted Aloo buns. She promptly called my FIL and told him she would be bringing some buns for drop off just before he leaves so that I would have the freshest buns. And that is kind of where her chain of thought ended. But for my FIL, the process had just begun. He called back Amma and told her it would be easier for him to buy the Aloo buns himself since it would have to be last minute and everything. Even then, there was some more room for improvement. So FIL decided that he would buy the Aloo bun on the day of travel and then FREEZE it so that he could carry frozen buns and by the time they crossed seven seas they would be perfect and ready for consumption. But such a process had not been tried before and FIL takes my food related requests to heart. So the sweet soul decided to buy an experimental Aloo bun, freeze it, let it thaw, heat it in the microwave and see if it would still remain fit for my consumption!

The Aloo bun experiment is currently under way and I am awaiting results. Sometimes, in momemts like this I KNOW why I married K and by extension his family. Because they go where no Clueless has gone before!

Edited to add: Method to get Aloo buns on transatlantic flight

1. Buy buns 24 hours before departure and freeze them

2. Just before heading out to the airport, taken the frozen aloo buns and stuff it into luggage

3. As soon as you reach destination, aloo buns are promptly rushed into the freezer again

4. As and when needed, pull out an aloo bun and pop it into the oven. Once sufficiently thawed and warm – gobble them up quickly 🙂

September 9, 2009 at 2:29 am 21 comments

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