Happy tenth!

A decade – ten years it has been – of togetherness. Should I be saying – ‘you complete me‘? Nah, I would rather say – ‘I am incomplete without you‘! 🙂

It has not been a easy ride (is anybody’s ever?) – there have been ups and downs, triumphs and trials, laughs and lows, tears and toasts… moments when one’s felt euphoric, that life can never be better and others when one has felt down in the dumps, like it was the worst!

Marriage, they say is a life-changing event. I would agree whole-heartedly, especially it still is, in our society and is an important milestone in each of our lives. It’s important that you have someone to share your thoughts with, to laugh-along or to find solace when you’re upset about something – a friend, a companion, a lover, a guide, a protector, a provider, someone who needs your care and attention like a child. I’d say, we experience a plethora of relationships through our spouse. The demands are different and the roles you need to essay keep changing, it’s a dynamic relationship – ever-changing and that’s what makes it interesting. And no matter how many years pass, each day is different.

The initial years are all about moments that set your heart a-flutter – when you’re discovering each other and what makes him/ her tick. You’re fine-tuning your frequencies, being in generous moods to adjust and accept, all in the name of love/ tenderness that you feel for the other person. Whoever said that one has to be in love to get married, was ill-informed. There can be love after marriage too – as has been proved by the several hundreds of arranged marriages over the generations of our parents and grand-parents. You might argue all you want – that these marriages were not on equal terms, that the women didn’t have much choice and the men had the final word always. But you can’t deny that there was love – that’s the beauty of it, isn’t it? that love can have so many manifestations!

Slowly as you settle into the humdrum of married life, a few years down the line, life starts losing it’s rosy sheen and you begin to see the flaws and the idiosyncrasies in the partner – what used to amuse you once, might just irritate you or worse still, might be disgusting in some extreme cases. You begin to make further adjustments and a slow sense of familiarity and sometimes resignation – looking at the bigger picture, sets in. Also around the beginning of these years, a child makes an appearance and priorities shift. The bundle of joy becomes the attention-seeker and all efforts go in trying to appease and take care of your child. The child is the apple of your eyes and every single routine begins to revolve around him/ her. The marriage and the sense of seeking comfort in each others’ arms takes a back-seat.

Further years cause more adipose tissues to be built around the relationship as each settles into their own comfort zones and the keen sense of sensitiveness (which is a given during the early years) starts disappearing and you begin to take your partner for granted. Another child or two doesn’t change the equation much and each gets busier with their own lives, there’s hardly any time or opportunity for heart-to-heart talks. And romance? Well, if you are a keen observer, you can surely see it fly out of the window! 😀

I guess, it’s the latter years which again gives opportunities for rekindling the romance?! After running non-stop being a part of the rat-race, when you finally retire and take a breather, that’s when you look at everything around you afresh, with new eyes. The small gestures and sacrifices which would’ve gone unseen and unappreciated over the years get a second look.Sometimes the enormity of the sacrifices which the partner has had to make – which inevitably in most cases in our society turns out to be the woman, begins to dawn upon you. Or maybe not. You just begin to appreciate your spouse a teeny bit more. It’s also the time when the birds have flew the nest, the children are all grown up and busy running the rat-races of their own lives and don’t have much time and don’t need you any longer (till they have kids of their own, that is! 😀 ). You find solace in each other’s company. Further additions to the family in the name of the grandchildren keep you busy and you rediscover the pure unadulterated joy that children can bring to one’s lives. And so it goes on… The lucky ones get to spend these golden times together, the unlucky ones not so.

I guess I’ve generalized a lot in visualising the life-scenes played out above, but most often this, with a few tweaks and side-plots here and there, is the story of our lives 😀

Parenthood and the companionship for the latter years of one’s life – these are reasons enough for marriage, according to me. Parenthood is an inexplicable joy – there are people who are single/ married-with-no-kids who are happy doing their own thing in life. Ha ha, we too were happy go-lucky, travelling around and enjoying the various perks of not having kids, for quite some time. But then, once you are a parent there’s no looking back. That one tiny bundle makes all the difference, you wouldn’t want to trade that feeling for anything in the world. It becomes the focus of all your thoughts and energies and deeds. All you want is the well-being and happiness of your child. Heck, we tried doing a couples-only trip for the tenth anniversary, but couldn’t get the little imp out of our thoughts! 😀 Sights and sounds and actions and happenings reminded us of him all the time and we missed him badly, while he was having a rocking, rollicking time with cousins at his grandma’s! 😛

Having a friend and partner for old age helps one lead a complete, fulfilling life, I believe. We see so many single elders sad and depressed due to lack of company when their world slows down. From the looks of it, the spouse in this case is irreplaceable. It also helps to keep each other busy, active, chirpy and occupied, without causing unnecessary interferences and upsets with the kids’ lives. After all, what can be more satisfying than having your life-long companion by your side as you watch the years pass by, your children grow up, your efforts bear fruit, and you walk together, hand-in-hand into the most gorgeous, brightest sunset of your life?! 🙂

And that, is what I wish for us, on this occasion! Happy tenth PK, and here’s looking forward to spending many many more, with you by my side! 🙂

 

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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?! 🙂

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! 😉

Simple aagondu anniversary and more…

It was our anniversary a couple of days ago and after a long time, we went to watch a movie together in the theatre. As my other counterparts would agree, watching a simple movie becomes quite a challenge after one has a baby! After nearly two years, we managed to convince ourselves that it’s ok to spend a day on our own while the kiddo was at school.

We watched the Kannada movie – ‘Simple aag ond love story’. Nothwithstanding the cheesy title, I can say that it was a movie we enjoyed watching – the cinematography and the scenic shots in Coorg are beautiful and some of the songs (especially the one sung by Sonu Nigam and another female solo by Sowmya Rao) are soulfully rendered. But the movie’s biggest strength are it’s dialogues – they’re crisp, sometimes in-your-face, funny, interesting, thought-provoking(?) and hold the story together. Both the lead actors are newcomers – Rakshit Shetty and Shwetha Shrivastav – though the latter is a familiar face on TV I guess. Both of them have acted well and carry the film through, but I thought that Rakshit was especially good – the way he rattled off those dialogues and carries off the different looks in the movie is commendable.
On the downside, though they called it a simple love story, I found that the story was a little too incredible and not very plausible. Also I felt that they could’ve used other people for the flashback scenes which form a major part of the movie – though I must say that Rakshit was equally brilliant in those scenes from the past too.That apart we enjoyed a quiet dinner out with the sonny boy and the day went by in a flash and the anniversary was done and dusted, even before we realized!

Among other stuff, life goes on as usual – amidst hours spent at work and at home with the little one. Now with his pigtails given to ‘maami’ at Nanjangud, he looks and behaves quite like a big boy; who still chatters non-stop though! He goes to a different day-care now which he likes much better and doesn’t mind going to. We’re a month away from sending him to big school and I can’t believe that my little baby is now so grown up that he will go to school on his own in the van with the other kids! He is never short of talk though and I love hearing him chatter, though it does get overwhelming at times! 😀
Some samplers:
Ellige hogtaiddiya? naanu barteeni – whenever he sees his appa or me opening the door!
Ivattu kaalu/palya/chapathi mam-mam madtidyaa? – whenever he sees me getting stuff ready for the next day’s meal
oota madona banni, chaape haakiddini – appa saaku TV nodiddu banni – kanda, ammane first, appa last (or vice versa depending on his mood)
These days all of us sit together on the kitchen floor and have dinner – we started doing this to get him to eat on his own. He has learnt to eat by himself – though he chatters non-stop and makes a mess sometimes, meal-times are a lot less stressful and get done quickly these days!
amma nange jeans pant haaku (anytime that we have to go out, sometimes there are tantrums and I am reminded of my friends telling me this about their sons and how I’d given gyan to them about handling such demanding kids – it all comes back to bite your butt, I tell ya!)
– when we’re watching IPL and shout SIX! or OUT! he repeats saying – six-ante! out-ante! 😀
– he loves listening and dancing to the beats of jhampak-jhapang! says jhampak-jhapang-giligiliye annu!
– he now knows his grandparents’ names and his chikki-chikappa’s names, his dodamma and atte’s names too…and several of his appa’s friends and their sons/daughters names 🙂
– he still loves listening to his amma sing at bedtimes and makes demands like – doni saagalu helu, mungaarina abhishekake helu or sakshatkaara helu… he clings to me like a little monkey and pulls across my hand saying – thatti maadu and falls asleep on many days.
I’m amazed at his grasping power especially with these songs – I’ve observed that I would’ve sung them just once or twice and he would’ve picked up parts of the lyrics even from the antaras and sings them when he is playing or is in a good mood!It has happened a couple of times and I’ve been pleasantly surprised every time.
– If he’s asking us a question and we’re hmm-ing and haw-ing through it, he says yaake, baayi bittu maatadu parvagilla! 😀

Well, that will give you an idea of the extent to which his thought processes and conversations around them have evolved 🙂
However big he talks and acts and says – naanu eega doddavanaagiddini; he still is my puttu-bangaari and even to this day, I am fascinated by his antics and expressions and the ease with which he talks. Sometimes I just look at him when he is fast asleep – that is the sight/ moment when my heart really feels full – with warmth, love and gratefulness for having this blessing in our lives 🙂

Cuteness overload!

It has been ages, I guess I should just shut this blog down, since I no longer have the interest to open it and pen down posts! Also, I guess nobody ever visits to read it these days … and what fun is it to write if you don’t have any readers? 😦

The reason I got back to this blog now is my son – he is at a stage where I want to record everything he utters! And I’ve been so lazy and careless about capturing these stages of his life. I had bought a baby book and stopped updating it after a few months and am guiltily reminded of it ever so often by the husbnad! His talks are so cute that I wish I could just get back to it and play it back whenever I want in the future, ‘coz I know he will grow up so fast and get past this stage before I can say – where did those days go?!

He just recently completed 27 months and speaks quite fluently and has been doing so for quite a few months now… here’s some stuff that he says which I looove listening to!

– He’s been going to the playschool for a few months now and I guess there they teach the kids to say – ‘this is ball’ and ‘this is so & so’ etc. He uses that a lot at home too and says – ‘this is aeroplane’ and ‘this is crocodile’ pointing at what catches his fancy and what he imagines it to be. In the middle of this he sometimes suddenly says – ‘Amma, this is enidu?’ – that’s his way of asking – ‘what is this?’ 😀

– We bought him a set of colourful building  blocks and he loves spending hours with them making all sorts of objects. It’s wonderful to see his imagination take flight. He sometimes even talks to them and has a conversation, like how we talk to him! But if he spies me or his appa looking at him play, he doesn’t let us be and insists saying – ‘appa aeroplane maadu‘ in his sweetest sing-song voice and no sooner is one object made, he says ‘eega helicopter madona‘ or ‘appa chukubuku train maadu‘ and so on…

– He is also very fond of asking us questions and answering them himself (again in his sing-song voice), as if to get a confirmation – sample: ‘amma enadu? cooker-aaaa?’ and ‘appa, en madtidya? tea kuditidy-aaaa?’

– As already mentioned he doesn’t like us sitting idle – he will be playing with his blocks or his latest muse are a set of simple jigsaw puzzles – of chota bheem characters and baby animals which he loves arranging. When he sees one of us sitting down, he immediately says – ‘amma neenu maadu chota bheem, kandange barolla‘ or ‘amma neenu maadu monkey‘! Talk about being a task-master, right from now!

– The best part about his talk these days which I find incredibly cute is when one of  us scolds or tells him anything sternly, he immediately repeats it to the other with a mock accompanying cry! Like if I say, ‘kanda! sumsumne kiruchta irbaardu‘, he’ll make a cry face and turn to his appa and say ‘sumsumne kiruchta irbaardu andlu amma‘! It gets hilarious when he does this for most of the things we say!

– Sometimes, there are sudden spurts of love flowing forth and he comes and gives a hug and says ‘nandu amma‘ – that’s my cue to say ‘nandu kanda‘. Instead if I also say ‘illa nandu amma‘ that gets him riled up! And I have no right at anytime to say ‘nandu appa‘ or vice versa for his appa. It is always ‘kandandu appa‘ and ‘kandandu amma‘! 😀

– My favourite game playing with him is to pretend that I am eating his cheeks and nose with the chomp-chomp action and noises, saying ‘kandandu kenne illa, moogu illa, amma tindbitlu!‘. I looove the way he reacts! 😀 He again pretends to cry and does an action like he’s taking away his cheeks and nose from my mouth and puts it back in it’s place! I’ts totally adorable!! Yesterday he turned the tables on me. He came rushing to me the moment I reached home and jumped into my arms. He pulled at my nose and said – ‘ammandu moogu elli?’ Stretching out his hand he said, ‘waaah, enadu kaiyalli? ammandu moog-aaa?’! 😀

Though there are so many such moments where  we’re surrounded by overwhelming cuteness, there are equal number of occasions when he is exasperation personified! He wants to have his way most times and it gets so tiring – the amount of stories you have to build-up to get him to do the simplest of things! You can be rest assured that he gets quite a few thwacks on his bum during the day!

But all said and done, when I look at him sleeping soundly at the end of the day – I can’t help but wonder at this amazing blessing and never cease to be wonderstruck by nature/ God’s miracle! I pretty much have to grit my teeth and stop myself from squashing him with all the love and warmth that engulfs my heart! 🙂

Turning two!

Our little has turned two… this time I won’t say ‘where have the days gone by?’ or ‘how time flies!’ I am not surprised that he has grown to be a toddler so soon…but I am amazed at how quickly he has changed so much. The changes are so many and so frequent that it’s almost impossible for us to remember and say – ‘oh! he started doing this at this time or in this month!’

Everyday there are new discoveries and sometimes I’m flabbergasted thinking – ‘now, where has he learnt this from?!’ His vocabulary has grown by leaps and bounds…he talks nineteen to the dozen and literally understands everything. Sometimes when I stop to think I wonder – since when did we start making these fully intelligent conversations with him? Albeit some words are in baby tongue, but it’s full-fledged conversation where he asks, tells, insists and even expresses his opinions. Sample some of his recent quips that quickly come to my mind:

– It was a day when I was working from home. Late evening I came in after washing my face; my hair having been washed in the morning was still not tied. He was playing with his toys on the mat, he looked up and said – ‘ammandu maama elli? ammandu maama illa’ (where is amma’s bindi? amma’s bindi is missing!) and then also said – ‘amma tale baachi madilla’(amma hasn’t combed her hair). This didn’t surprise me, because he almost always immediately notices if I haven’t worn a bindi. Then I went into the room, powdered up and put on the bindi and started brushing my hair. As I was tieing my hair with a clip, he walked in looking for something. He suddenly looked up and said – ‘Hmmm… good boy!’ I was stunned! Leaving aside the boy bit (he’s still to learn about gender and boy/ girl differentiation) I realized that he was voicing his appreciation that amma had put on the bindi and was combing her hair!

– One evening after coming back from work, we noticed that his finger-nails had grown too long and needed to be trimmed. We told him some stories and cajoled him that he needed to get his nails trimmed, else they would get all dirty and also hurt him. I carefully was trimming each finger nail and placing it on a sheet of paper to be thrown, when one of the nails happened to pop out of the cutter onto my lap. He gave a small giggle and said – ‘uguru jump madbidtu’! (the fingernail jumped). The hubby was surprised and said – ‘yo, yavaglo idella kalite? inneradu varsha, kaige sigolla neenu! hogappa homework madbeku anteeya’(hey, when did you learn all this? two more years and you’ll be saying “go appa, I have homework to do and can’t play with you”. I said don’t be too hopeful, it’s more likely that he’ll say – “go appa I won’t do homework and want to play!” 😀

– On one of the mornings as I was getting him ready, he was looking at his ‘Winnie the Pooh’ story book. The story itself is too detailed for him to understand, so he likes looking at the pictures. In one of the pages, there was an illustration of a rainy scene – he saw that and said – ‘male barta ide’ (it’s raining). I said – ‘hoon kanda, male barta ide, avarella odde aagtare’ (yes son, it’s raining and they will be wet). He then said – ‘amma, chatri illa, male barta ide’ (amma, they don’t have an umbrella and it’s raining).

– Every Saturday there is an old lady who comes to our neighbourhood, she beats her jaagate and asks for alms. One day we noticed that the neighbouring house kid was giving her alms and she was placing her jaagate plate on the kid’s head and doing some actions to seemingly ward off the evil eye. It seemed to interest our little fella a lot, so we also started taking him to her every week. He now knows as soon as he hears the sound of her jaagate that she’s coming, even if she is at the end of the road. He says with a wide grin – ‘dum dum ajji bandru!’. This past Saturday as she finished blessing him and was on her way, he said – ‘ajji kaalu mannu aagutte’. He had noticed that she wasn’t wearing slippers and said that her feet would get dirtied by all the soil on the road!

As I said, he never ceases to amaze us with his talk!

Another big thing for us and him is – he has started going to playschool. Yes, it’s been a little early than normal but we’ve had to take this decision owing to some circumstances at home. It’s been two weeks and slowly he’s taking that in his stride too. The first week was bad and I was overcome with guilt and remorse that we had to put him through this at such a young age. The first week we only sent him for half a day and one of us stayed with him in class. He stuck to us all the time and wouldn’t let go even for a moment. When we tried to stay away from him for sometime, he wailed and wailed non-stop which would wrench our guts out! But the past week was better. At the beginning of the week myself and the hubby were so worried about what would happen – we were out of options and had to leave him at the day care, as both of us couldn’t afford to work from home and needed to be in office. I guess somewhere the poor soul realized it. He was much better and started getting adapted to his teachers and classroom. The first day when his ma’am told me (we were bombarding them with phone calls every hour or so!) that he had eaten his lunch and was taking his afternoon nap, I could’ve cried with relief! He still gets upset and says – ‘school beda’ in the morning and cries when we leave him there, but soon forgets and gets involved in the going-ons. I hope it remains that way and he begins to enjoy and will look forward to going to school – considering how fond he is of reading and writing and books and games. *Touch wood*

He is very possessive of his stuff and says – ‘idu nandu, adu nandu’ for everything. We chide him and say that he needs to share, but I guess he still needs to learn that since he’s mostly been used to having everything to himself with not many playmates around. I’m hoping that the school will teach him the importance of sharing too. Speaking of the school, it is not one of these fancy popular ones, but is a normal playschool. I wasn’t particularly interested in sending him to a hi-fi school which charges exorbitant fees promising lot of facilities. Moreover we wanted some place which was on the ground floor and with lot of space for the kids to run around and play and some good toys and activities to keep them interested and invigorated. Moreover in this school they say that they follow the gurukulam culture and will teach the children about the richness of our culture through vachanas and kagga etc. Tall promises – how much of it will be implemented, we have to wait and watch, but otherwise we are convinced that it would be a good place for him to start.

My baby is already showing signs of growing up and I never fail to seize an opportunity to cuddle him and demand for kisses in return – which he sometime obliges but most times dismisses saying – ‘sumniru!’ 😦 He’s still very much appa’s boy and reserves his best for his appa. He sometimes even says – ‘amma beda’! 😦 which hurts like crazy, even though I know that he is only a child and doesn’t mean it! When I look at photos taken in the past year, I see with a twinge of dismay that his cheeks are not as chubby as they used to be! I want my chubby little fella back who will give toothy grins at the sound of my voice and grace me with sloppy kisses when I yearn for some! He already turns away if I say ‘ammange muddu maadu’ 😦 Kids! Why do they have to grow up! Well, other parents will know, that’s only an indulgent mother speaking 😀 On normal days when we’re running behind them to get things accomplished, we’ll only keep complaining – how much more should I run in pursuit?! As they say, with kids, every day and every stage is a challenge; but the accompanying joys are boundless!

So, my dear little muddu mari, here’s wishing you many many many more happy returns of the day! Looking forward to more naughty antics and happy surprises from your side in the coming years ahead!!

Namma Metro

I’m back after a short hiatus and this time, not with baby tales. I see that this space has becomes more or less a mommy-blog, which I suppose is normal; but I feel I have neglected the other aspects of my writing. Earlier I had a wide variety of subjects that I felt like writing about and sharing my thoughts on, but with the arrival of the baby, all that has taken a back-seat. There are events happening around me, and I have opinions/ thoughts on them as before, but those thoughts never find their way onto this blog-space. Today I decided to make an attempt to get back to my former writing style and substance.

And what best to start on than the ‘talk of the town’? Namma Metro! 🙂 Yes! It is finally here! Today at 4 PM the inaugural run of Reach 1, is scheduled to be flagged off between the MG Road and the Byappanahalli stretch. As this article will tell you, the trains will stop at Trinity, Halasuru, Indiranagar and Swami Vivekananda Road stations for 30 seconds each and the frequency of the trains will be 10 minutes. From tomorrow the regular services are slated to be started from 6 AM in each direction between Byappanahalli and MG Road.

Can you tell that I am super-excited! Gosh! We will finally have the metro zipping across our city! Though it is just a single line being started at the moment, it is a giant step taken, I feel. Better late than never! If there is one thing that was lacking in our city, according to me, it was the metro rail transport system. Having been in several cities abroad and in India and seeing how much difference having a metro makes to the time taken to commute within the city, I always felt that Bangalore sorely missed having one. I thought that it was one aspect of planning for the city which had been left undone too late, cities like London and Paris have an excellent inter-city and suburban rail transport system that was designed and built nearly 100 years ago. If they could do it then, why couldn’t we? Well, I suppose nobody anticipated the kind of bludgeoning growth that the city witnessed in the last few decades, but still, realizing that plan on paper was much delayed.

As the chairman of the commission’s working group and MD of Delhi Metro Railway Corporation (DMRC) E Sreedharan says: “Seven cities are already building the Metro. If the city’s population is 2 million, they must start planning for a Metro now. To me, the Metro rail should be a revolution in urban transport. How else are we going to handle this urbanization that’s going on at a frenetic pace? Buses can cope with just 8,000 passengers per hour.”

Rants aside, I am truly, really, amazingly and goose-bumped-ly happy that I am part of the generation that witnessed the metro services being launched in Bangalore. Did you know that our metro is really high on tech?

Check these out:

  •  Ballastless track system
  •  Electricity runs on third rail
  •  Wi-fi enabled coaches, internet access
  •  Emergency call button
  •  Voice communication/speaker system between passengers, driver and control centre
  •  CCTVs inside stations and trains
  •  Automatic train supervision, safety and protection that will sense another train on the same track and come to a halt
  •  Stainless steel coaches made by Hyundai Rotem and Mitsubishi
  •  Automatic ticketing
  •  Recharge of metro cards through mobiles and SMS, a first in the world

Wow! Isn’t that amazing?! In fact it is supposed to be so stable that you can drink your coffee without spilling a drop, as this article will tell you. The logo for the metro is the Rangoli. In the words of the designers Jayanth Jain and Mahendra Kumar: “Rangoli has been an intrinsic part of Bangalore’s culture. With the explosion in vehicle population, it faced the prospect of being lost forever. We wanted to revive this traditional art while depicting the seamless, continuous connectivity of the Metro covering all parts of the city, and it became the inspiration for the logo

The route map for Phase-1 according to their website is this:

But as many of us have seen and need to know, the journey hasn’t been easy. If there is one man who has taken all the brickbats till now and needs the bouquets, it is N Sivasailam. He has led from the front and has overcome a lot of adverse situations to bring the metro to us. You can read some instances and the team’s experiences here. It has left a lot of broken hearts especially with the demolitions – no compensation can replace their loss; but in retrospect, it was something that we as Bangalore citizens needed the most. So, it is hats off Mr.Sivasailam and his relentless team. We’re proud of you and thank you wholeheartedly.

On this eve, E Sreedharan , in his message to Bangalore says:

I want Bangalore Metro to be the best. Bangaloreans must take pride in their first mass rapid transit system. With this, we’ve proved to the world that we can construct world-class transport systems

We definitely are a proud and happy lot! Now, all that I need to do is go to MG Road and hop on to the metro and take a joy-ride! I am eagerly looking forward to doing that! 🙂