Tales of the little-big boy

It has been quite sometime since I wrote about the little big boy in our house. He’s gonna be five this year… f-i-v-e! just imagine that! I think he’s growing up too fast for my liking! I miss his baby and toddler antics already 😦

Our sonny-boy just completed his lower kindergarten and is all set to enter the upper KG this summer! His two years at school have been good, but the reports quite contrasting. While he was the teachers’ darling in nursery with both his ma’am’s having a special soft corner for him, being one of the youngest in class; his LKG teachers have a different story to tell. Mid-way through the year we were told that he is quite naughty in class and is most often seen talking and dragging his neighbouring kids into discussions while the class is going on! My heart had sunk when I heard that and I had visions of him turning out into one of those naughty-always-talkative boys in class who’s name figures on the top of every list that the class leader makes! (this memory is from my school days, I’m not sure if they even do this now, for all I know today’s kids might laugh at the idea!!). One encouraging info the teacher had volunteered then was that he was always quick at the tasks assigned and would get around to talking only after finishing his work! A glimmer of hope, I thought!

Cut to the year-end meeting, this time the feedback was more positive with complaints being that he doesn’t seem interested or fascinated by any new concepts taught in class! Their guess was that it could be because he already knows them! Which I think translates into a pat-on-the-back for us parents! His naughtiness hasn’t diminished they said and what’s more he has learnt to tag kids names with titles that the teachers use! For e.g if the ma’am calls somebody talkative, he quickly nick-names them as talkative so-&-so!! But it all seemed to be in good humour and the teachers seemed happy with his academic progress, so that’s good news we heaved a sign of relief!

Also while we were waiting, I saw a beautifully coloured drawing pinned up on the class board. I asked S to know who had drawn and coloured the picture. First he said “I don’t know” and then said “me”. I dismissed him thinking he’s fooling around and telling stories. When we met his teacher she reconfirmed that it was indeed drawn by him and coloured with some help from them! I was incredulous! And what’s more she said that it was chosen to be used as the pic to be printed on the
back-page of all the notebooks! To say that we were thrilled is an understatement! She had a story to relate for that too – a child was chosen from each class to draw the picture and colour it and it was S chosen from his class. When he did it the first time, she saw that it wasn’t all that good. Knowing that he was good at drawing and capable of doing much better she asked him to draw again. But his royal highness was already bored! 😮 And he was more interested in doing what the other kids were doing in class. So then she took him aside and explained the significance behind it and that it would be printed on the books and coaxed him to try again. Then all the chosen kids were taken to the principal’s room to add more drama to the situation, that’s where they did the actual drawing! Phew! But with all the fee-paying and enquiries, we forgot to check the books, and later when we checked we found that the drawing wasn’t printed on the text books. On checking with the co-ordinator we were told that it would be printed on notebooks which will be given in class later. And amidst all that, we excited but stupid parents forgot to even click a pic of the drawing on our mobile phones! Well, in our defence we did ask the co-ordinator to keep aside a notebook sample for us 😦

As you’ve already gathered with all the rambling above, S is very interested in drawing and colouring activities. And he’s not satisfied just colouring ready-made printed pics in books. No sire, he needs to have the drawing replicated in his “diary-book” and then he has to colour it. On many occasions he tries to do that himself, but atleast once a day he gets into this sonorous whining mode that he can’t do it and so he wants me or his appa to do it for him! Oh the agony of replicating intricate drawings, you have to ask a harried parent like us! And that’s not it, the drawing reproduced should adhere to his strict guidelines in look and feel, shouldn’t be too small or too big, with constant drones of it has to be like-this-only and like-that-only! phew!

But when he chooses to draw of his own will, those are the best ones. I just love to see his imagination take flight and the fascinating thought behind his drawings 🙂 Here’s a sample of some he drew recently.

N_pics

The words are Net, Nest, Nut and Not. Not is depicted by a girl shaking her head to say No, and she’s wearing a butterfly clip! 😀

A_pics

A is for Alligator, Apple, Ant and (Hot)Air Balloon

M_pics

M is for Monkey, Mango, Melt and Mum 🙂

He just picked up the book on a whim and when I explained what he was supposed to draw he came up with the objects and drawings himself. The spellings are his own interpretation too! I was a besotted mother and wanted to preserve this moment forever, and hence didn’t bother to correct them! 😛 Any guesses on which is my favourite? the “mum” one of course! 😀 That one he didn’t tell me before he drew and I saw it only when I opened the page to click a pic. I was grinning from ear-to-ear and lost no time in sharing the masterpieces with friends and family on my whatsapp list! 😀

Another heartwarming milestone I wanted to capture here is his new-found love for words! yay! yay! yay! 😀 He’s totally into reading words and reciting spellings – off every source that he finds – be it books, newspapers, pamphlets, ads on TV, carton box labels etc. He is also making attempts at reading words and sentences in his story books which fills me with such joy! I just hope that his love for words continues and his excitement on having and reading new books grows multi fold in the coming years – then I’d feel that the efforts I’ve taken to make him acquainted with books from a young age (he was all of 3 months when I first read him his picture book!) would’ve borne fruit! 🙂

Aside from the above, he talks nineteen to the dozen as always and asks a gazillion questions all the time. He still plays a lot with his building blocks and puzzles and numerous cars and planes. He has become more demanding for TV time – though we have restricted it to only weekend-viewing of a few hours of cartoon, but he does watch unwanted ads and serials when we have our parents over or when we’re following cricket on TV. He has also been introduced now to the luring delights of an iPad thanks to his appa’s office people who’ve forced it into our lives 😡 But so far, it is being used only to show him bedtime stories and cartoon videos sometimes, and I am adamant to keep it that way. As we’ve observed and as also pointed out by his teachers, he is very sharp in picking up new stuff and has good grasping power. Sometimes this doesn’t work to our advantage – like his return van trip from school to his day-care takes all of 5-7 mins but within that short time he’s exposed to the evils of radio FM music and has picked up all the latest Kannada numbers – the tunes of which are catchy but the lyrics spouted are trash! He can recognize these from the back seat, on the car radio even if the volume is totally low; while his aghast mom can only splutter what? where? how? :-/

Well as my husband never fails to remind me, I guess I can’t keep him protected under my watchful eyes and wings always and he needs to be exposed to the ways and vagaries of the world too. According to the hubby, S not only needs to grow up to be “smart”, but also needs to be “street-smart”! Well, we can only wait and watch him grow, while we do our best to teach him the good always! And I am but an enchanted mother, who is still smitten by the antics of her thoughtful and kind little one, who never fails to declare in his sweetest kiddy voice everyday – ‘I love you, amma‘! I love you too kanda and will do so till eternity! :-*

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Dream come true!

There are few instances in life that one can actually call a ‘dream come true’ moment. The kind, may be when you land a job at your dream workplace? or get a seat at a top-notch university that you coveted and worked hard for? or hold a much loved and wished-for new-born baby girl/ boy in hand after 9 months of nourishment in the womb.

Home sweet home

Home sweet home

We had one such ‘dream-come-true moment’ last week when we stepped into our very own newly built home on the auspicious occasion of the gruhapravesha, in the valley alongside a small hillock in our beloved city of Bangalore! 🙂

I don’t clearly remember when exactly it was that this became our dream… may be after 2-3 years of being a happily married and carefree couple with no real responsibilities on our shoulders. That must’ve been around the time when we saw friends and family making investments and buying/ building their homes to settle down and a seed was sown in a corner of our minds that we’d like to have a nest of our own too.

We were on the look-out for houses/ plots/ flats from then-on but never really seriously got around to buying anything. Mainly because we were confused – we wanted an independent house but the ones we saw were way beyond budget and more so, needed repairs and renovation to suit our needs. Only a flat would fit into our budget, but we weren’t very keen and also couldn’t find good ones in the localities we were looking in. The plots in the city had sky-rocketing prices and the affordable ones were a good 10-15 kms in the outskirts…nothing seemed to fall in place.

It was around 5 years back that the hubby came across this layout while he was on one of his site-scouring trips on the bike. He mentioned it to me and it sounded promising. We went around soon enough and I was excited, this looked like the place for us! It was well within the city and what’s more, very near and well connected to all the localities that we’d normally traverse regularly; most importantly it would be close to his mom’s place for the hubby. It was just 10 mins ride away from our present much-loved locality of stay. One wouldn’t have to travel for hours daily along the A/ B/ C roads in Bangalore to reach the place. It was a locality inhabited and maintained by decent, well-cultured families. The layout was on a small hillock and just riding-up one could feel the dip in temperature with a cool breeze to caress, with a panoramic view of the entire city. And what’s more, the cost – although it would require us to stretch a bit, wouldn’t be beyond what we could afford!

The cons were – the approach roads weren’t all that wide as it was through a locality which was previously a village and had been converted into layouts without any planning. There was no Cauvery water supply piping yet, although it had reached the neighbouring locality down the hillock – we would have to depend on the layout’s water supply till that fell into place. The pros seemed to outweigh the cons and our minds were made-up and we initiated the discussions to buy a site in the layout. There were many months of tense waiting and the hubby did the rounds of several BBMP and government offices to make sure that the titles and papers were all in the clear. With the number of scams tumbling out of the govt. closets these days, we didn’t want our life savings to go down the drain!

After much running around, finally everything was sorted and we were ready to sign on the dotted line and after spending a tiring morning at the registrar’s office the house papers were in our hands. Or the bank’s hands rather, as we’d taken a combined plot+construction loan to be able to invest. Nevertheless we were thrilled with our very own piece of land, on which we dreamt looking fondly into the future, that our home would stand one fine day. For a couple of years after that we lay low, paying the EMIs and getting on with life… and soon we got busy with our bundle of joy who arrived to further add to our happiness. Soon enough as the months rolled by, we realized that we had to begin the construction – as the combined loan requires one to begin construction within a stipulated time period after the loan is taken.

Then began the exercise of trying to find the right contractor/ engineer/ architect who could translate our dreams into reality. We visited some architecture firms, spoke to many contractors, got the design done by some contractors, who’d also design homes, considered the option of going in for alternate construction methods, had various debates on what was good and what was not, visited several under-construction houses to check if we liked something… this went on for some months. One such day we walked into a house nearing completion of construction in one of the cross-roads of our locality and immediately fell in love with the way it was designed. It was spacious and well-thought-out with lot of importance given to good-lighting and ventilation. That was what we primarily wanted in our house – it had to be well-lit and well-ventilated giving us a sense of wide spaces throughout in all the rooms. We quickly got the contact details of the architect and got in touch – it was a lady, freelance architect who was just getting back into her working groove with a young daughter on hand.

We fixed up an appointment and went to speak to her; we told her our needs and looked at pictures of some of her previous assignments. She frankly told us that she took up few projects and only with people whom she felt comfortable with; one – because of her young daughter and secondly because she would be involved in every stage of the construction right till we moved into the house. Her job wouldn’t end with just handing over the design drawings and so her rates weren’t cheap either. We contemplated and said ok and she came up with the design of our home. It was exhilarating going through that design with her – seeing our needs being transformed into nooks and corners of the various rooms in the house. As with all her designs there was scope for ample light and air and the house would be crowned by a huge skylight! We loved the design and said yes; of course it had to go through many refinements with various sittings and rounds of discussions later.

Thereafter came the choice of the contractor – we spoke to one of our liking and another recommended by her, but the rates quoted were too high for our budget we thought – which in hindsight was probably a mistake, we feel at times, but nevertheless we decided not to choose either. Around the same time, my sister’s family were planning the construction of their home, for which they had approached my engineer uncle to handle everything – right from the design to the planning and construction. We decided to talk to him also to check if he could supervise the construction for the design we’d already gotten from the architect. Our uncle said yes, mainly because both the houses would be fairly close-by on the same side of town, only a few kms apart, but with the condition that he would hire a maestri to oversee the daily work and we would have to do all coordination for the materials purchases and payments etc. This way he wouldn’t be involved in the financial aspect of the construction and would only serve as the facilitator for getting the construction done. We agreed to it, knowing that it wouldn’t be easy for us – full-time working individuals with a small child to manage all this, but atleast this way we’d be able to significantly control the cost we reasoned.

And thus began the saga of the house construction which went on for a good year and a half. There were many highs and many lows… lets suffice to say that we were involved with every single aspect as the house came up through the various stages right from the foundation to getting the loads of sand and cement, from the laying of the bricks & concrete to the roofing and plastering as the structure came up in a matter of months. But then began the various travails – as more parties got involved and when we had to do the various selections, the co-ordination and the involvement and decisions increased multifold. The architect gave us good options, but since we were literally doing lot of research to get the best suited products at as less cost as possible, the decisions were very difficult. The flooring selection took ages after lot of dilly-dallying and we rushed to place the order for the sanitary-ware as there were rumours that the prices would shoot up post the festival season. We ran around for the tiles and when it came to choosing the carpenters we had more worries evaluating the options. Whatever we chose had to go through 2 level of approvals – one with the architect and then by the various working-teams for feasibility.

There were tons of arguments and heated discussions and we got to the point of going crazy with the confusion and issues we faced sometimes, the hubby having to deal with most of it. Taking the painting, carpentry and flooring work to a point of logical conclusion before the pooja can be a story by itself! The hubby was on-site getting last-minute stuff and cleaning done till 11 PM on the eve of the pooja. Well, at the end of it, we do have a beautiful home to go to, as every single person gushed on the d-day. But the stress and heart-burn we went through was something we could have done without. In hindsight sometimes we do feel that having a contractor would’ve probably saved us most of this trouble, but then we wouldn’t have been so much richer in experience! 😀

All said and done, we’re nearly at the end of this journey of building a home from scratch – there still are minor things to be fixed and completed and it will be sometime before we can actually move in.

The courtyard leading to our hearts!

The courtyard leading to our hearts!

And then it will be a whole new journey altogether, with the excitement of setting up everything afresh; but more importantly of filling our home and hearts with enough love and joy, to envelop us and all our loved ones in it’s folds of warmth 🙂 And that feeling is aptly described by the name we have chosen for our nest! Wish us luck, won’t you?! 🙂

The first movie experience

Last Friday was a landmark day – it marked one of the ‘firsts’ for our little one. It was his first time watching a movie in the theatre! 😀 Now, many people might argue that 4 years and 2.5 months is too early or too late, but lets just suffice to say that this is what I wanted for my son. My criteria was simple – he had to be at an age where he would understand what happens around him and on screen. Also importantly a child who would listen to when told to be quiet without causing a nuisance to the others around. And I wanted his first movie to be a kiddies movie – one he would be excited to watch on big screen and identify/ relate with a book or story reference. So till last year I wasn’t too keen on taking him to a theatre – if that meant total drought on the movie-watching front for me and the hubby, then so be it! Though there have been some good watchable kids movies this year, I’ve been at fault for not having planned this outing earlier. What caused this sudden plan was an episode from a couple of days earlier.

It was one of those extended holiday weeks and the hubby’s entire family had congregated at the in laws’ place. On that Saturday when it poured cats and dogs in Bangalore and put a damp blanket on all plans for the weekend, the hubby came home and declared that 8 tickets had been booked for the evening show of ‘Happy New Year’ at a nearby mall and the family was gonna watch it together. For all the afore-mentioned reasons, I was irritated and determined that I wouldn’t let somebody else take this simple decision out of my hands. I flatly said no. The hubby was right – the kiddo would definitely have loads of fun playing around with his boisterous cousins, but then this would be his first movie experience – which is not how I wanted it to be. And with due respect to Farah Khan, HNY was not the kind of movie I wanted him to be watching! This resulted in a row between us and I was all the more non-plussed that somebody else’s decision to book tickets in bulk was causing this argument amongst us! :-/ Poor hubby, I cannot blame him – it has been ages since he had a day out watching a movie and he was right in a way… I told him unconvincingly that he could go with his son, but I wouldn’t be coming. Of course, that didn’t happen and we didn’t watch the movie.

That very day I decided, the next decent kids movie that hits the theatres, 3D or not, we’d go to that. You see, another reason for not having taken the kid along earlier was because any kids’ movie that releases these days is in 3D. And my previous experience watching a 3D movie with those glasses hasn’t been great – I ended up with a terrible headache! But this time, thankfully all the ifs and buts were put to rest. I checked out the movies playing on Friday afternoon and saw that there was the Disney movie ‘Big Hero 6’ playing in many theatres. I didn’t have much background, I just read a few reviews and found that it wasn’t bad – it was about a genius kid dabbling in robotics and his escapades with a robot called Baymax. Since I was at work, I couldn’t watch any trailers. I called the hubby and told him about the plan – he checked the trailers online and said yes, it looks good, we can go. I was excited! 😀

That evening I reached home only to see the hubby going about the daily chores in his pajamas nonchalantly! I was like – aren’t we going?! He asks – where to?! *Face-palm moment*! I patiently explained to him that I had meant for us to go that evening, as pushing it to the weekend might result in cancellation as is wont to happen mostly often. We dilly-dallied with the decision a few times and when we had just enough time to rush to the theatre on a two-wheeler, we said – ok, lets go! The bewildered kid was grabbed and soon bundled into layers of jackets and warm clothes and was told to wait for a surprise. We rushed to the mall in time, to grab tickets and get into the movie-screening hall. The kiddo was suitably surprised and was asking questions nineteen to the dozen – where are we? theatre! why are we here? – to watch a movie! what is a movie? – explanation follows! why are there so many chairs? – for people to sit and watch on the big screen! what will come on screen? – it’s like the TV at home, only much much bigger. Is S-akka here? (his S-akka stays close by and is a regular visitor to the mall) No, not now, but this was the place she went to the other day when he was whisked away amidst wails… and so on

We soon settled down with a popcorn bag and 3D glasses – a smaller cute one for the kiddo. It was a blessing in disguise that I didn’t go in expecting more, I loved the movie! The robotics angle appealed to my geeky side and Baymax, the cuddly healthcare companion robot stole my heart! 😀 As for the kiddo – the first half was spent digging his fingers into the popcorn bag and only asking questions about why the characters weren’t coming close to him! (that was the reason given by his dad for having to wear the glasses and he took it literally so!) He did watch the second half more interestedly and enjoyed Hiro and Baymax’s adventures till the end. So all in all, it was one happy amma and kanda who came home on that cold Friday night, with jokes being cracked about appa being the Baymax in the house in his white-banian avatar, what with the pot-belly et al! 😀

Letting go of favourites…

The past Sunday, after a long long time, I walked the once much-trodden paths. The steps which were traced day after day many years ago – the ways which I knew like the back of my hand… the times and memories tucked into some obscure corner of my mind came gushing back and nostalgia took me on its wings for a ride. A smile played on my lips as I took the once all-too-familiar bus routes and stepped past the puddles on the rain-drenched footpath leading up to my parents’ house.

But the smile died when my mind jumped to the task that lay ahead and which caused me to be there early on a Sunday morning… The bright sunlit study room had to be cleaned and handed over to new occupants – the one in which I had spent many days huddling over my books – late into nights and the wee-hours of the morning, studying feverishly and preparing for the many exams that lay ahead. I was never the one to sit at a place and study quietly – I’d walk around the room a book in hand or sway back and forth while sitting and hugging the shawl or sweater covering my cold shoulders…somehow those gestures eased my nerves and helped me concentrate! Go figure that! 😀

And then I got married and moved away from my parents’ place, but when I had to go back there 4 years later for my maternity break, that was my room again. I threw a tantrum and insisted that my dad get the legs of the old double cot re-done. I didn’t want to take any chances as the legs were weakened after being hauled between many rooms over the years. After that was done, the room became all mine – where I worked from home at the laptop during the later pregnancy months, where I rocked on the easy chair and painstaking but happily knitted the stitches and rows of the many baby sweaters I made for my little one; where I devoured books like there was no tomorrow…

It was the room which welcomed me when I came back from the hospital, a tiny little bundle in tow, the many bright afternoons spent cooing and gurgling with my baby as he flayed and kicked his hands and legs in response, like he would get up and start talking any moment! The room which reverberated with the sounds of his rocking cradle as my granny rocked it tirelessly and alluring baby sounds when my dad invented new games and stories to keep his little grandson entertained…It was the room where I stole quiet moments to browse the net to hungrily cram in blogs-read-time and ravelry-time on the rare afternoons when the baby slept. It was the room where the hubby played with his son making him laugh with his funny faces and put him to sleep in the crook of his arm or on his swaying knees… It always has been the one room where I could trust to let my little tornado play without getting into trouble, pulling out the numerous items and things that we have accumulated over the last 30 years…

It is the room where me and the sis have had our many fights, giggled hysterically over inane jokes, cried buckets-ful, argued over which book belongs to whom and the list just goes on… And now we have to let go of that room, my favourite, the only bright and sunny one in the house… sigh! 😦 Change is inevitable they say, but it hurts… especially when one has to give up on something which has been witness to so many precious moments in life. But thankfully one has the memories to treasure – atleast that’s something nobody can take away from us! :-/

Fun-tastic four!

It was our little one’s 4th birthday last week! 😀 I wonder, for much longer can I call him a ‘little one’?

I’ve already spoken about my new-found-since-the-last-two-years fetish to make birthday celebrations special and personal previously. In tune with that, I set some aggressive targets for myself.
-Make the cake
-Make the frosting, which isn’t just simple butter-cream
-Make the sweet
-Invite his cousins, close family and neighbourly kids
-Cook for the aforementioned 25-30 people
-Have a celebration at home
And all the above in the middle of a busy week at work.
To be fair to myself, I had complete intentions of taking the day off so that I’d have enough time for the preparations. But unfortunately he was down with viral fever the previous week and I had to take two days off to take care of him. This left me with no option but to be at work on the day.

To add to the woes, his school had announced the fancy dress competition on the day following his birthday and they had a theme that we had to follow – birds! After much thinking and indecisiveness following his illness, during the preceding weekend we decided to send him dressed up as a crow. And so followed some hurried scourging around for ideas and procurement of paraphernalia to make the crow costume. With all of the above happening, it was a luxury to get 5 hours of decent sleep and it wasn’t surprising if I felt and looked like a zombie!

Though I did lose some sleep, the birthday celebration turned out to be quite a nice event – the sweet – almond burfi was made 2 days in advance; the cake with the whipped cream frosting was ready the day before and was assembled early morning before I went to work. I did manage to leave office a couple of hours early and rushed home to make some chocolate butter-cream for the piping. The 3-layered-cake, though lacking in finesse of a professional or store-bought one, looked quite nice with the cherries, whipped cream and chocolate butter-cream, I must say. The kiddo had a great time blowing candles, bursting balloons, cutting the cake, jumping around and generally having a good time with all his friends and cousins. Having just a couple of servings of the BBB (bisi bele bath) left at the end for myself, meant that the food was enjoyed too and there were no leftovers – so it was a win-win from all sides! 🙂

Post the celebration and cleaning up, a couple of hours till late night were spent adding the finishing touches to the crow costume. He did quite decently at the fancy dress event and there were no mishaps to the dress thankfully! We did wish that he’d been a tad more vocal with his lines on stage – I wonder why it is that all the shouting and screaming happens only at home and the vocal chords go into hiding when it is required to be of service?!

So that was one eventful week – but there was one cause for agony which ruined the good parts of it for us – on the day of the fancy dress, the m-i-l slipped a couple of steps at the kiddo’s school and now has a hairline fracture at her ankle. This means she is gonna be out of action for the next 2-3 weeks. With the Gowri-Ganesha festival coming up the next weekend, apart from her obvious discomfort and sadness at not being able to take part in the festivities; this means it is more work for the already sleep-deprived me! I’m hoping that I should be able to pull it off with support from my hubby, co-sister and sister-in-law! Wish me luck!

Birthday and surprises

April is a relatively busy month for me – we celebrate the hubby’s birthday and our anniversary, they being just a week apart. I am the sort of person who doesn’t believe in or get excited at the prospect of cooking traditional sweets or new dishes, but somehow when it comes to my loved ones I find this sudden rush of enthusiasm to make everything by hand. So normally around this time and also during my son’s birthday I try out recipes, excitedly and revel in the aftermath of glowing praise if they turn out to be a success. But you will never catch me doing so for my birthday – I believe birthdays need to be made special not by ourselves, but by the loved ones around us! 😀

The hubby’s birthday was no different and I did some elaborate planning well in advance. It helped that he was going to be out of town on work on the preceding two days. I had decided to make a cake (using the available mixes for cooker-made cakes; I don’t yet own a convection over that will help me bake cakes from scratch – it is something I hope to own sometime soon and I hope my enthusiasm to bake stays till such time that I own it!) and this time I decided to try and make the frosting for it too. That saw me hurriedly scouting the shops for essential ingredients on the previous day. As is my wont I decided to try out one of the many internet recipes for easy, quick to make sweets that I have collected over the years and chose the ‘Mango peda’ – all it needed was a can of condensed milk which I bought and pulpy ripe mangoes which we thankfully had a stock of at home. I made the sweet two days in advance and made the cake and frosting on the preceding evening – just in time before the hubby walked into the home. Having my mother come over to help manage the kiddo, I sought her assistance in making ‘Bisi bele bath’ – one of the hubby’s favourite dishes. This way the culinary aspects were made special enough, I thought.

On the gifting part I had pretty much made up my mind several weeks ago to get a collage made with all photos of the hubby and the little one, right from the time of his birth. I painstakingly scoured all the photo archives in the hard disks and chose the photos well in advance. I had inquired at various shops – physical and online, to check out the prices to have a collage framed/ canvas-mounted and had worked out the most reasonable option, as I was sure it wasn’t something worth splurging high amounts for. Having ordered the photo online and gotten it after some anxious moments of the courier guy coming over to the office and having had to go back it being a long weekend of holidays; I had given it for lamination/ framing and collected it too on the previous evening.

As if picking up and packing the gift on the previous evening after work, along with the already aforementioned task of frosting the cake was not enough for last minute action, I decided the sonny boy was old enough now to make a card for his dad. Imagine the joy of receiving the very first hand-made card from your little one – I wanted the hubby to have that too! 🙂 I also picked up craft paper on the way back home and spent a frenzied hair-pulling hour with my son, trying to get him to draw and colour and write ‘Happy Birthday‘ straight! 😀 After much fussing and some tears on choosing which Winnie – the Poo stickers to decorate with, the card was made and ready.

I think I had told the kiddo a dozen times already that it was to be a surprise and he shouldn’t be telling his appa anything, but the moment the hubby walked in, as if on cue, he blurted out saying ‘amma cake madiddale!‘ and when I admonished him in a whisper he defensively cried saying – ‘cake madiya anta ashte heliddu, surprise ide anta helalilla‘! :p Though during the later part of the evening he did give away the secret that there was to be a surprise, thankfully he didn’t spell out what it was to be! 🙂

The card and collage were handed over sometime before the midnight hour as it was the kiddo’s sleep time and I didn’t want him to miss out on the fun and the sweets and cake were sampled on the d-day. Though the reaction wasn’t as profusely expressed as was expected (we wives never do learn to keep our expectations low, do we?! 😉 ), there was a deep sense of accomplishment of having made the day special for my loved one. And the icing was the fact that the sweet and the effort was very well appreciated by other friends, colleagues and family members, with some of them going to the extent of saying that the sweet was too good to be called homemade and tasted just like store-bought ones! If nothing else, that compliment surely made my day! 😉

A month and more into 2014

In March last year, I wrote this post. Who would’ve thought so much would change in a year? But it did. June 22 2013 was when I saw my dad alive for the last time. The memories of the day are so painful that when I remember snatches of it I tend to push those thoughts to the back of my mind – is that wrong? It is not a deliberate action, but still… I sometimes fear that this will cause the painful thoughts to fester in the deep recesses of my mind – thoughts of fear, regret, pain, tears, the deep sense of loss, the knowledge that he won’t ever come back – I don’t know what else… I feel the urge to pour it all out, an overwhelming one at times. It’s not as if we haven’t spoken about dad, we do it most of the times when we meet – every action, event, festival, occurence, mundane everyday happenings – and some or the other memory ties it back with him. May be if I cry my heart out one day this oppressive feeling will go away – but then I have a feeling it never will 😦

I didn’t mean this to be a sombre post… moving on, this year has brought a lot of changes in it’s wake as well. The project at my new job (which is incidentally now a year old!) came to a close in December and I was asked to work on another for a different client. This assignment saw me to travel to Mumbai for a week – away from home and the kiddo left in the care of his appa and ajji. I must say that he coped rather well, apart from saying – ‘amma neenu ellidya? amma neenu eegale bandbidu!‘ everytime we spoke over the phone, which wrenched my gut.

The Mumbai trip was a good break, workwise and otherwise – me and my colleague ended up staying over on most nights at another friend’s place, though the company had booked accomodation.We had some good girly fun, not to forget her sporting mother who was almost part of the gang! Back home, a new client meant a new workplace and no more luxury of having company transport. Which meant it was back to the days of traveling by good ol’ BTS! It had been a loong time since I’d regularly traveled by the city buses – I guess the last time being even before I got married! Those were fun times! But a few years and the worsened traffic situation is all it takes to remind you that you aren’t getting any younger and the enthu levels are dipping even as the bones get creakier by the day. Well, hopefully it won’t be a long-term problem, otherwise I need to think of ways to tackle it!

But what the bus-travel brings with it is the smaller joys of life – going past some well-loved lanes, the satisfaction of finding the rare seat on a tiring day, snatches of a favourite song on the FM, catching the antics of a little kid on an adjoining seat with it’s mother, the strange whims and idiosyncrasies of co-passengers, opportunities for general people and behaviour observation and so on… one such instance was when the driver while surfing radio channels chose just the channel which was playing the well-known and much loved notes of a favourite song from yester-years – the ‘Ab mujhe raat din’ number from Sonu Nigam’s album Deewana! A thrill went up my spine and a smile lighted my lips . There again was a moment of sad nostalgia at the recollection that me and the sis had pestered our dad to buy us the audio cassette and he had obliged, like he mostly did… all those memories of spending hours listening to every song so many times came rushing back and the foot and fingers automatically were tapping and there I was humming the lines, like I’d heard it just yesterday, though it had been years since I’d heard it last! That little interlude with music was enough to brighten up what looked like an otherwise gloomy Saturday to be spent at work. The rest of the workday didn’t seem tedious at all – thanks to all the songs from Deewana that I heard online and re-lived the pure joy of listening to some good favourite music!

Well, I guess that’s it for now… I hope to post a little more that what I’ve been doing – because I’ve been feeling the urge to write – mainly to capture and chronicle the cute antics and the growing-up joys of the little kiddo. But I don’t want to make promises, not even to myself!