Wednesday, December 30, 2009

woh shaam kuch ajeeb thee

Jammie had very sweetly sent this tag across the other day and as I have been going through a blog-block lately I got down to attempting it with great gusto. Good good, just what one needs to get the creative juices flowing. Until I started looking at my responses that is. Hmm Best Trip..oh that should be the first road trip with Arhaan, wasnt that fun. Best Restaurant Moment...oh wasnt it fun when the baby nahee cut that cut that. Blog Find of the Year: Oh thats easy Highheel Confidential (Gotcha!! you were expecting Babycentre type na). Best Challenge..Any Guesses?!! Major depression. It is a sad sad day when one realises that there will come a day when the only 'remarkable' personal memories would be that of the baby and you. I keep on asking myself if that is ALL that occupies me? Growing up we would read of the parrot that held the " life of the jinn" , get parrot annihilate jinn. Quite a clever way to teach us that the mightiest amongst us could be brought down by being attached to something quite puny (whether in size or matter of priorities)...not so nice for parrots though. Frankly if he is this happy having yum cha should you judge me if my BEST restaurant memories from the year are of meals with him?

Arhaan shouldnt become that parrot, there should be more to him than being the only reason for my happiness. Too big a load for too tiny a shoulder, no?

Confession time. There are days when you might resent your life with kid. Yes Im taking the R word. I have had such days. I have also been confronted with Emote Icon Envy. And that is saying a lot as Im from the School of ' Nazar Na Lagey'. People from my part of the world are just one step away from unhappiness, living a life of 'proximity politics' and what not. Life is Snake and Ladders. So you hold on to what you have, for fear of attracting the evil eye. You are grateful every living moment for small mercies and smaller misfortunes. But there was an afternoon in Brisbane not so long ago when I was hit with a double whammy of resentment and envy. For quite some time I have been the "golden girl with golden halo" and I was not one to share that platform. For the first time in my life the focus shifted from me. There was someone at the conference who was brighter than me. She was more articulate, more together and she was not worrying like me what the baba and bub would be up to. For a good part of the day I wish I had come to the conference on my own, that I could give undivided attention to what was happening around me and not be preoccupied with Gman and Arhaan. The other woman who was way way smarter than me had left her kid behind and well frankly she was more 'together' in other ways as well and she was a lawyer, something which I always thought I WOULD BE (this was right after I finished my Phd. Wasnt I was supposed to be studying husband thinks its a ruse to be a professional student). Anyways after the workshop was over Gman and me discovered that we had a whole day to kill before we took the flight to Singapore we decided to walk around the city and introduce Arhaan to the 'fake beach' at South Bank. arhaan had been too young to enjoy it when we had come down in July, and it had been too cold . Plus, I always thought it was kind of ridiculous to have a fake beach what with there being a fairly decent coast half an hour away. Bringing Arhaan to Brisbane this time. Best decision ever. And going to South Bank. It was a hoot to see Arhaan enjoy the water, and play in the sand. I know this reads like an episode of a sitcom. Conflict, envy, rhona dhona followed by Resoultion. But it was a bit like that. And I realised that I do like travelling with baby. And we have nice photographs as well. Which I will show him on a number of occasions in the future. And remind him how over and over again how cool a mom I was taking him every where as a kid.

But flash bulb moment aside, one still has evenings where you question the roads you took, the opportunities you decided to forgo. And then you turn towards your partner in crime and grill him. Sadly, Gman is pretty pragmatic and reminds me the reason Im so lonely is that " tumharey standards kafee high hain". Which I think sounds very mean when I write it but it was very funny when he said it. Something about having a merit list when it comes to befriending people. And re: my money woes that it is a bit unrealistic to have very expensive tastes and not liking the idea of going to work at the same time. I asked him where I went wrong, considering we both have similar educational backgrounds and well he has money and emmm I dont. He thinks I have always worked where the heart is (and ahem not where the green is). And well he said the money is in the private sector not the academia. And reminded me again that I didnt like corporate life did I? Sad sad situation. Which brings me to Private Fantasy Numero 1. Oh to be back in the times of the monarchy, rajas maharajas you know. When one was paid to think. I am pretty sure Akbar didnt tell Abul Fazal or Raja Toda Mal " Sorry because of the recession we cant fund your discipline any more" Or Vikramaditya ask of Kalidas " Hmm proposal looks great but ethics clearance seems iffy". Or was Raja Man Singh ever told " Sorry yeh tau is on our list of proscribed organizations". Sighhhhh. But then there were drawbacks to this as well I guess. Today they may just turn down your proposal, in times of yore if they didnt like what you suggested they might throw you in the dungeons, off with your head. " Na Maqool Galileo, the Earth DOES NOT move get it". So quite a fun fun evening it turned out yesterday, with all the home truths. Out of the mouth of the Baba (and the babe).

And it goes without saying that having Arhaan around has made 2009 bearable. I shudder to imagine how I would have gone through the year without him. Last year when I closed the door to 2008 it was with the hope that I will open it to only let in the good. Sadly like the flies your mother warns you about when you open that door its just not the good, but the bad and the ugly flying in as well. Otherwise Clint Eastwood film kaisey banata?

If it was not for Arhaan I would have ended this post by posting a link to:
Disclaimer: Thats not Junoon in the video.

And we would all remember the time we sat in front of the mirror and tried to think of something sad sa when we were 12 and crunch up our face and cry and comb our hair and think dukhi dukhi thoughts and find meanings in the lyrics. Today, we listen to Khwaab and think of times gone by, people not around. I was thinking about this song on December 27th. Damn Geo for playing videos of Benazir with Bilawal and playing the Maa song from Tare Zameen Par in the background. I surprised myself by crying for her as never before. Geo kindly cut to Zardari and his coterie at her death anniversary ceremony and the merry widower was grinning quite maniacally even for him. And it was a major Beygani Ki Shaadi Par Abdullah Deewana moment for me.

And I remembered that while we were crying listening to Khwaab, we were also grooving to this song at our first proper birthday parties. So Arhaan, please listen to it every time you think your mother is too serious for her own good.
Long live Mithunda.
Happy New Year all of you and please pray for me and mine when you raise that glass.

Monday, December 28, 2009

zindagee imtihan leytee hai

and if not life, then you start watching your baby like a hawk once you approach Month Eleven with Bub. Arhaan turns eleven months day after, and though we had decided we were parents who would not get into the Milestones Melee but there is something about him being nearly an year old that gets you in a frenzy.

***The other day we met this baby who is the same age as Arhaan and the grown ups did not fail from reminding us how he has started speaking. I asked Gman later what the mother does
" She is in the police".
We laughed till we literally cried. Sure their baby can talk, ve haff ways of making you talk. Im surprised the baby has not confessed to the Great Train Robbery by now.

***I am very confused regarding Arhaan and milestones. I wish Babycenter and all could make their markers-- well more contemporary, so we know if we are on the mark. Now if they were to write that by month eleven your baby will be able to unlock your mobile phone and take the battery out we will know we are getting somewhere. Or that babies are now able to distinguish the bum remote from the good one, and that they look at you with disdain when you fling a remote on the floor to distract them from the laptop. May aaj bhi phenka hua paisa aur remote nahee uthatha. They should also write something about babies being now able to have favourite jingles and abandoning important tasks such as flinging food across the room, chewing on their toes and pulling their parents' hair to watch the TV screen with avid attention.

Arhaan has learnt how to clap which makes us feel really good as now he has something for his resume. He can now be put to work as " appreciative audience", " enthu qawwal humnawa" and "mosquito killer".

He can also order in food.

***This year the Islamic New Year and 2010 overlap by a fortnight or so. Salam Ma'al Hijrah to you and yours. I shouldn't complain as the past year saw the Good Lord blessing me with gifts beyond my imagination, however it has not been the best of times for our part of the world. Anyways here is hoping that we get out of these "interesting times" as soon as possible.

I am not that big on grand resolutions...Waadey aksar toot jaate hain, Koshish kaamyaab ho jati hain' and all but I hope that I can write more in the coming year. I was complaining to Gman how Arhaan is a major chipkoo and how it is about time he becomes more "emotionally independent" and let me be. Well the other day, arhaan just started playing on his own and then napped till noon (I of course spent that time surfing the net and watching TV--it just wont do to spend it constructively will it?). I'm wondering whether Arhaan heard us ala Shakti? as long as it doesn't end on a runway one evening, a little bit of eavesdropping on the part of the child does wonders for child behaviour modification.
If nothing else, I hope I post my travel notes from last month, some enthu cutlet has hers up from just a fortnight ago and it JUST WONT DO to be caught napping.

***We also watched 24---yes we are a bunch of Late Latifs this way, somehow I was very anti the conspiracy theory type programs for a while, and finally succumbed. So we watched Season 7 over the long weekend, and were blown away. We have applied some of our new found knowledge to pamper duty. Agent R we have a situation developing. We were also really embarrassed by our cavalier attitude towards how time is speeding by. Yara, Jack Bauer does so much in his day---it is about time I get out of my rut. So what have you done today? Acha if nothing else can you guess which movie this (amended) dialogue is from

(Me sleep in the travel cot?) Good joke, second joke.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Wada Din Mubarak!!!

There is a camel not reindeer at my door

the marzipan tastes more sandesh, the baby would rather listen to Jingle Balley on a loop (damn you Nicklodeon).
But there is no denying it, it does seem like the festive season is upon us.

The bottom line is ...its a Merry Christmas indeed

The Love Jihad----bringing it to one Christmas Tree at a time.

P.S: a shout out to Masooma for the lovely Christmas outfit.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Dus Bahane Kar Ke

khair not actually ten months...ten and a half to be precise , however my repertoire of all things Bolly has failed to come up with anything that will mark the "half" milestone.

What will stay with me from the past six weeks?

Your gift of companionship as we explored cities.. some familiar, some new. And your sigh of relief as you finally had your beloved steamed apple after one breakfast too many of hash browns and beans.

You are finally moving..not exactly crawling in the classic sense, but swimming. It is quite funny to see you moving both arms in perfect synchronization and gliding your torso along. But whatever gets you moving baby. We discovered that we were doing it all wrong when we would ask you to move towards Baba or your mother sitting on either ends of the bed. Clearly what gets you moving is the TV remote. Michael Phelps meets Speedy Gonzales. We have something brand new to amuse us every evening, moving the remote and watching a flash of onesies making a bolt across the room. Our own "reality" TV show, literally making our own entertainment.

Your quizzical smile and the look in your eyes as you would tilt your head to a side, you sure about that, as I abandoned spoons to feed you with my hand at times, made you take your bath in a sink , stripping you down to your pampers when the mercury hit 42. Were we such creatures of habits, sweetheart? had your young life already become one of routine? I am making amends, precious.

You have gifted me new friends sweetheart. If it were possible to "genetically design" a good friend, and my meetings (and staying over ) with my blog friends are anything to go by, well the future of smart design and its likes looks good !! I have been shy in the past of discussing my "blog friends" meet ups, at the risk of it sounding like cyber world tourism meets tabloid voyeurism. But I think I am getting to a point when I can write about them in a manner that is not On the Fifth Day we Saw the Natives execute traditional Rain Making rituals. What will stay with me is how Parul, the Mad Momma, Kiran and their lovely families are a community of Do-ers. As in when they see something that irks them they actually roll up their sleeves and get into it. Whether its home renovation and Project Beautification, water conservation, energy saving, public service or Bringing Up the Well Behaved Child. I know that a lot goes on in the world and our lives that irks Gman and me, but to date we have believed thinking it aloud
Man, those glaciers are melting fast

or just telling each other
Do you think Arhaan's head is a tad flat

was enough. Biiiiingggg, Ghalat Jawab..we are the weakest link and we need to clean up our act.

And we meet friends old (Trishna) and new (Unmana). Lovely lovely people all. And proof that there is truth in advertising. As they write so they are.

Tony Bennett might have left his heart in San Francisco, but I dont know where I left my charger during my travels. So even though the Barjatyas have taught us dosti ka ek asool hai no sorry no thankyou (No minding of our Ps and Qs when it comes to friendship)I am sending out a biiigg soorry to all whom I didnt call back and a bigger thank you to Doha, Sydney, Brisbane, Delhi, Singapore, Bombay, Jaipur and its denizens for hospitality and love beyond the call of duty!!!

We are back in Dhaka now, the Baba is back to his I Cant Believe Its Not the Weekend, Mujhey Bilkul Saturday Lag Raha Hai routine. Between his Do I Have to Go to Work and my I Dont Want to Go Out, Im really wondering how we will ever get you to go to school. I have broached the idea of home schooling with many people wise and experienced but have not had any positive feed back. I did hear one of the Nobel Laureates (Physics) from this year speaking about being home schooled and there was some talk of lumber jacks as well, but for the moment we are enjoying you swim (literally) through the wading pool of life.

Yesterday was Victory Day in Bangladesh, and the Pakistani-Indians decided to do their bit by adding to the city's GNP and shopping for plants. We were accosted by a sea of green and red, as the whole city proudly wore their national colours. With the green and red of the holiday season it is a merry time of the year indeed. The Supreme Court of Pakistan has thrown out the NRO, Geo TV is playing Yeh Kiya Hua as Zardari and his stooges look pensively, the good Saiguni has fried some hot bhaji without even being told(I thank the Good Lord for Gman, you and her EVERY DAY!), and a Christmas tree you had been gifted during your travels is up and twinkling.

Happy Happy Ten and a Half Months Sweet Heart and thankyou for all the happiness you bring us.
Your loving Adey

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Kabhi Alvidaa Na Kehna

This is just a big shout out to all my fans from the last post and a particular nod to one of the comments (from somethingstrangeandrich)

My mom telling my dad "my heart is breaking i know its good for me but i cant go yet ok i have my phone and its on and I will call you when I get there do you think its a good idea for me to go when he is still so small i should wait till he is older how can i go my baby my baby i miss him already you keep calling me" all this while my father gently pushes her towards the door.

The next door maid at this point respectfully asks our maid in hushed tones

" Madam is leaving for Hajj the pilgrimage"

" No no the beauty parlour" says the maid equally reverentially.

My father thinks we should be extra careful around my mother nowadays as she is having a tough time what with this Love Jihaad business and Muslim academics as the new villains that allegedly stealth about in the dark.

We are in Sydney today. Its 42 degrees. Stick a fork in me baby for Im DONEEEE.

Love ya, arhaan

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Ek Sawal Main Karoo Ek Sawal Tum Karo

Kamon Accho? Ki Khobor?
You ask why Im blogging today instead of my mother? The mater is having one of her bad spells, and it is left to me to put fingers to keyboard. The amount of time Ive spent rolling over (yes yes a tumbling we go in recent days) and banging on the laptop, my mother said its about time I make myself useful. So what have I been up to? Well Im trying to pick up a fair bit of Bangla as you can see. I might not be saying much, my repertoire is restricted to Mumumum, Bubbaabaaa,ditditdit, Eeeeee, and uhhuhh (in three different pitches) and humming to every song but everyone feels Im THINKING in Bangla. Oh well.

OK next question. What keeps me occupied here? Well, I remain fond of blowing raspberries. I do also play with my toys. Though my mother thinks Ive got the operative principle wrong and use them more as a gada/ club to bludgeon everything in sight. The other day I was successful in dismantling something that involved stacking wooden rings. She was very upset, what with it being German and sturdy and meant to be used for a number of years.
How did you do this? she screamed.
Well she would have been very pleased with me if she could have made out what I said in apology (her being a Bollywood buff and all).
Khilona Toy (Gaadi) toh aapki videshi hain, sahab, lekin haath zara Hindustani pad gaya...
(Your foreign made toy just encountered a desi fist)

I hear you also want to know about my Katrina fascination. Well, I had just developed the fine art of distinguishing her songs and appearances from the plethora of new channels appearing on our TV, when my mother decided that she had had enough of Paisa Paisa, May Teree Dhadkan, Mann Ka Radio, Tum Mile played on a loop, and how many times could one snigger at the Nazar Surakhsha ads. Hmmmph. I was a sad baby when she pulled the plug literally on the TV. But not as sad when I woke up one night to see that the parents had put on their projector and were watching Gulaal. No more mindless drivel, my diaper clad ass. My mother was telling her friends how I timed my waking up to the strumming of Mahi Gill's ghungroo. I dont know who timed what, but after a diet of the vegetarian Katrina Kaif on the small screen it was a shock to see a non-veg Mahi prancing about on the wall. My mom said I looked quite the corrupt Sub Havaldar Gulsher in my vest as I leaned on my elbows and ogled at Ms Gill. She had to be replaced by Baby Van Gogh, yeahh to me.

OK coming to my mother's black mood. She says its a sorry day when mothers (especially her mother) dont have answers for their children. Yesterday she was screaming on the phone at her "What do you mean there is no solution to the current crisis? Yes, yes I know its our own Frankensteins, our zombie chickens come home to roost. But what should we be doing now?" My grandmother has no answers. And that scares my mother like anything.

My father, ever the " lets put out the fires that we can" kind of man has sprung some tickets for me and the mother to accompany him on a work thing to Doha. It aint Switzerland, but then it isn't South Waziristan either.
Now my question to you is
Tumi ki amake bhalobaso? Should I continue blogging off and on?

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Aya Mausam Dosti Ka

My husband has just fixed a play date for me...the other day we played pass-the-parcel of who is more unsocial amongst us. I cant remember what brought about the conversation but it ended with him accusing me of lacking a desire to step out of my comfort zone and befriend people. What rubbish, I declared, giving him a long list of people I keep in touch with. He thinks that many in the list are people I only exchange emails with and perhaps thats the way I want to lead my life. I like telling myself that Im socially awkward and it takes me time to open up but Im a very loyal friend once that process is over. And he is a fine one to talk with his "my only good friends were those I made in school" philosophy. Khair, to prove me wrong or him right (hahahahha) he has arranged for me to have tea with a colleague of his who is having some girlfriends over. I hate the idea already. As I was telling someone its quite possible that at a certain stage in your life you just dont want to get out of the house, you finally have a space that is organized to suit you and your needs..perhaps its not that bad to be a recluse.
Arhaan, I have realised has none of our disease to shy away from people, he has become quite the performing monkey and was in his element at a wedding the other day. I have become one of the moms who draws perverse pleasure in dressing up her kid in ridiculous outfits!!

Babu Moshai!!
Wish me luck as I hum Mujh Sey Dostee Karogey
P.S: Ooohhh maaa! I was watching Zoom as i typed..the promos of Radio are on..after giving me one heart attack with an " urban urbane" Himmesh (Yes, its REALLY complicated!) did my ears just hear him being someone's eff buddy?!!!! Mujhey utha do bhagwan.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Baar Baar Dekho Hazaar Baar Dekho

ke dekhne ki cheez hai hamari Katrina Kaif...taali ho.

As we draw closer to the day you turn nine months old, this could be the soundtrack to meal times. No TV watching for baby, huh who sedddatt? We have long got down off that high horse. Right around the time when we started petitioning Cerelac to put Katrina Kaif's picture on the cereal box. Katrina Kaif ka secretary might not have prayed that hard she stays in business and uskey gaaney chaley on every channel jitna Ive been praying to the media gods to play her songs in a loop come dinner time. The first time you laid eyes on the comely maiden you went

Duhh I Thought I Saw a Puddy Cat?
No Puddy Cat nahee beta, Kat...corrected your mom gently.

You stare at her mouth agape and it has been very easy to shovel the food in.

The kabhi khushi kabhi gham temperamental Chayya has been joined by the cheerful Shaguni. She has literally been the good news of my angsty month so far. She was hired to cook some but mostly help out with you. However she is doing everything but that as your mother is still struggling with The Rules of (Dis)engagement when it comes to you. I had told myself that I will feed and change you , the dad will continue with Giving Baby A Bath and general uff how much i miss baby at work routine and Madam Shaguni could amuse the baby while I am at my writing table. But it seems so tempting to join in in all the fun when you are playing with her. Im new at this. My mother was lucky as she belonged to the mother's club that came with family crone and waisey bhee they were sensible types who didnt stress that much about constructive play and led their lives while baby played in the corner. Im trying to get there but you make it so so hard. Your father could tell that we needed help, as you were just not the kind of baby who could " make his own entertainment", I was pretty vehement that I didnt need someone full time as I dont want my privacy compromised. Your dad parroted the privacy hypothesis when friends suggested getting help until I realised that people might think we have quite the swinging lifestyle that we want to keep private....we are very very boring I swear. So enter Shaguni the 8 to 4 types who could make life pretty easy for me if I let her. She has been quite the Kitchen Queen and has been whipping up one culinary feast after the other . Yes with her and Katrina in my corner we will fatten you up pretty soon. And Im hoping the universe (and all you who comment on this blog out there) could help me with my other questions. Will you ever become independent? Who is responsible for what when it comes to the help and me? Will I ever lose my weight---I must be the only mother who gained weight AFTER having the baby.

I hope you do realise that I have made no reference to the Annus Horribilis Pakistan has suffered so far...let some days be just about you and not my personal demons. And its a small concession after all that you have done to cheer me up in such gloomy times. I realise that the speed with which you pick up things to make me laugh might be an attempt on your part to compensate for all that makes me sad. Your recent trick has been to push your tongue against your lower lip and push out your mouth making the most grotesque monkey face ever. But oh so cute. You are a wise kid and want no documentary proof to be used against you in future switching to smiley faces when I whip out a camera.
I hope your mother and some 180,808,000 people who share your genetic pool get their act together and give you a safer and happier tomorrow.
All my prayers,

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

jab tak rahega samosey may aloo

Last night i had an argument with gman as he once again brought home this sorry potato-carrot-pea bhara samosa "acha so is this the potato samosa you are always hankering about"? and I had to repeat my chant of no no no , its boiled potato cut in cubes (NOT MASHED), zeera, chili flakes filling encased in a thick not flaky pastry. He shrugged his shoulders exasperated "I think tumharey imagination may hai, there is no such samosa". I fought back my tears. No its not a figment of my imagination. Just as
long summer evenings breathing in raat ki rani
motiya flowers at traffic signals and the fragrance filling up your car
twilight in summers marked by spraying water on the bricked courtyard, pulling out the GFC fan, dragging out the chairs turning the TV around so you watched it sitting outside, late night gup shup and listening to the BBC bulletin on the radio before turning in for the night.
winter evenings sprawled in front of the heater doing heater math. too close and my cheek burns move an inch and i feel cold. breathing in damp clothes set out to dry. Giggling at Razia Butt and A R Khatun novels....Rehaan Rehaan Rehaan. Somehow winters meant Ammi Jans and Bari Buas and Afshan, Farrukh and saunf supari. Summers were Queen's Library and the entire Louis L'Amour collection.
Childhood fears that the Russians will invade us. And it will not just be the cheap Russian air conditioners, sardine tins, chocolate raisins and notebooks flooding the market. Years afterwards someone asked me if I had ever thought all the cheap Russian food stuff was courtesy the toxic larders of Chernobyl. I am not glowing in the dark ..not yet, I think not.
our annual CMH pilgrimage for our shots and our glee when the orderly said some God forsaken childhood disease had been eradicated.
There is a couplet in Urdu:
Ab ke hum bichde to shaayad kabhi khwaabon mein mile
If we were to part today our only hope is to rendezvous in dreams (apologies for the translation. Never ask a Pashtun to translate Urdu)
Dear Alu Waley Samosey, I might dream the past which is another country but only when this current nightmare can end.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

nazar and all

This morning Arhaan laughed in his was not a giggle, not even the smiling in his sleep followed by a content sigh combo we have been observing for a while. It was a full-on Ha! Ha! Wasnt That So Hilarious chuckle. There have also been times in the past fortnight when he has babbled in his sleep, sleeping burh-burh as they called it in some movie (now if someone could tell me which movie its from..I think its Maine Piyar Kiya) . Which can only mean one thing...he is becoming a he will not be The Mouth at the other end of the spoon, or Someone who Has To Be Watched lest he rolls off the bed/couch/lap or That Wail From The Corner that has to be minded forever. Its interesting, I will be laughing at something I am reading and I look down at my lap and there are these two dancing eyes with a question So Tell Me Tell Me Whats So Funny. He is also now somewhere at the borderline of empathy, so if Im crying watching television (and frankly there is a lot of crying if you are watching the news lately) he will have a quizzical expression followed by a nervous laugh. Less TV for me Im afraid until I learn how to control my reactions. But Im nervous as soon he will be asking me questions about the world I have brought him into and I better have some good answers.
In other news I was nursing a sore throat for a while, which thanks to the fertile air around here has turned into a pretty interesting cough. Arhaan beychaara bhi kab tak bachta..he ran fever last Sunday which went away after a dose of paracetamol and this morning he has been coughing like a seal. Paediatricians visited and all. Of course if some people are to be believed its the evil nazar and at the doctor's this morning Arhaan seemed pretty conspicuous being the only kid with no big fat kala teeka on his forehead. He had been gifted the ubiquitous black gold bead nazar, and my sister asks me every other day if I am doing the red chilly ka nazar. Now Im pretty good with saying the necessary prayers now and then in the evening. But I have to admit Im pretty lax about putting on the bracelets and well the chillies that were bought are floating in my daal (lentil) curry . I have asked Gman whether we should be doing any of the warding off of the evil nazar, and he just shrugged his shoulders but I bet he was thinking Actually I would rather you were not giving the baby your germs honey. Khair, what to do. The baby would do Sooraj Barjatya proud with his Hum Saath Saath Hain mantra towards life. I tried sleeping in another room but he was visibly distressed and would keep on waking up. And the other night when I returned to bed after my nocturnal internet world darshan, he just looked at both his parents, took a big contented sigh and smiled and went back to sleep. So shweeet what to do?!!!

Monday, October 05, 2009

Month Eight And Counting

Kind of ironic that I have to get "blog writer block" at a time when sigh so much is happening. And even after drinking Bengal ka paani? I had been thinking all along that there was something in the water responsible for the Bengali mafia out there when it comes to men and women of literature but alas. Chalo Tagore ki Gitanjali na sahee but koee decent blog post tau likho.
So what did we do this month? The question is what did we NOT do? We travelled. After transiting through Bangkok where alas a rendezvous with Jammie was not to be, we landed in Dhaka. Toto, something tells me we are not in Kansas any more, we are not in Rawalpindi either. You do the math. Blurry eyed, hot and sticky, we do Sophie's Choice Part Deux between two apartments minutes upon arrival. Errr, hot pink chocolate kitchen or the one with suspicious smell? Pink kitchen apartment it is. Thus proving smell before sight (if ever there is a slug fest between the five senses). The apartment is where the owners of the place Parul recently bought might have felt very comfortable. Showcases where teeny toony lights never go off. Tartan print cushions. Smugglers wala bed, all it needs is Raj Kumar ka Jaani dressing gown. Bathroom may tabahee , uff what killer marble. And kitchen jalwa you already know about. Spent the first day floundering about and very Jealous of Pesho who we heard through a volley of SMSes was quite Queen of the Castle (where castle is not Technicolour like ours).
Escaped to India for work and some Rest and Recreation the next day. Guwahati was fun for you. I mostly slept and tut tutted how the city was changing. Gman held his tongue about what a little hypocrite I was turning into as I had bemoaned the lack of " something happening" in Dhaka only 48 hours ago. Phir it was Delhi's turn to be subject to Mom and Bub while Baba did what Babas do. Even that city has changed, so many changes to adjust to sweet heart. Kajol is peaches and cream courtesy Olay, Delhi has Select City, Emporio and a cool airport.
I met MM and Parul and was struck by how we could pick up from where we left off on a blog post. And how incredibly cute their kids are.
And then back to Dhaka it was this weekend. Baba had returned to Bangladesh two days ago, and though I left for the airport with great trepidation you were a little trooper and muItalicch better behaved than your mother who ranted and raved as Jet Air was delayed by two hours.
On return the apartment did not look that bad. My sister said it is because slowly my aesthetic sense is disappearing. Oh well at least my olfactory nerves are safe. I dont think they would have survived an year in the Apartment from Smell Hell.
We have a maid who cleans ( where we is the operative word, she works in all of the homes of the organization that is employing Gman, so we are either very fortunate to bag her or horribly unlucky as the days unfold) Chaaya Madam too is yet to make up her mind regarding what she thinks of us. There are days when she comes in cheerily and tries to make cooing sounds towards us, other days she comes nose in air and will not even make eye contact.
You have become chipkoo numero uno. We cant even break eye contact with you lest the famous lower lip starts trembling. I am waiting for a day in the future when you will be all gel in hair, dressed up tashan sey, friends waiting at the door and I swear I am going to cling to you crying Dont Goooo, Im going out with you too, You ALWAYS leave me , bawwwlllll.
Just You Wait,

Friday, September 18, 2009

south asia or bust

I was born with a mole under my foot. The baby was conceived the week we got the keys to our first house, by the time he was eight months in utero we had moved to another. So I was unfazed when we received news close to his Month Seven birthday that we might be moving to Bangladesh. Worry not, I told Gman and scuttled about getting travel doctors organized and Pesho's pet passport ready. A week into this we receive a phone call from Aus Quarantine that though for all purposes Pesho is a Rudd-loving, meat-eating, fair dinkum Aussie and can leave the country at her leisure but spending time in Bangladesh (an unrecognized country as far as quarantine laws are concerned) would make her unfit to enter Australia, What Why, I splutter. Like a generation of Brahmins who were at a danger of losing their faith once they crossed the kaala pani, Pesho too faced the risk of being excommunicated. The only hope to be allowed back into the fold was to be spend six month in a recognized country and then 180 days in quarantine. Gman who is a whizz with the calculator concluded that meant nine months, so the choice was ours does she spend an year with us in Dhaka (we will be there for an year come September 22nd) and nine months without us. Or does she stay with friends for the time we were away (with the hope of meeting her in between as I will be coming to Australia in between for a conference and Gman has work that brings him back). It was Sophie's Choice all over. And so I heard the words that I thought would never be uttered in our house (us being not the sort who went for the arranged alliance and all). Gman clearing his throat as he entered the house:
"There are a couple of people who are interested. Do we have some nice photographs of her". He was quick to add that they have been told we are the "broad minded" sort and would like both parties to meet. My mother who was around added her bit "Im so glad she is staying here, Pesho could never adjust to South Asia". Anyways, there were a couple of meetings and we have decided on someone who has loved Pesho from the beginning and it doesn't hurt that she is also a foster parent to children in crisis situations.
Khair, a fortnight ago Gman told me that the move was not a vague thing that would happen some time in the future but IN TWO WEEKS (damn, the visas came on time). And that we had to do plebeian things like pack the house, put it up on rent, and store our stuff in the garage. I did what any person would do in a situation like this. Get down to reading Stephen King's On Writing and borrow the first two seasons of Ugly Betty. I was still sore about the Pesho incident and I had just heard that we were on a budget where shipping our stuff was concerned (the office says that they are moving us to a furnished place so all non-essentials are frowned upon). In brief, playing Sophie's Choice Part Deux where my books and stuff around the house was concerned. So a mad game of I will trade you X if I can take Y started between Gman and me.
"Itna ziada kiyoo likhety hain?" said Gman as he 'weighed' Guha's India After Gandhi.

"Sure, he could have summed it up as bahut roye ji Bapu kay jaaney kay baad but then cricket season started...and the rest you can look up in wikipedia " I retorted.

Anyways I have concluded that I will not be very good as a refugee, so may Allah save me from a crisis. I will be the one slowing down the caravan as I JUST had to take that painting which reminded me of home.
Reading King's On writing was useful when it came to doing the packing, he suggests the second draft is First draft minus Ten Percent. I applied the same to packing, then repacking minus twenty. And I did a trade off that for every essential book I want to take I have to take an item of clothing or shoes out---sadly Im not taking any fiction just some stuff on seminaries that is important for a project. Since my big sacrifice, Gman has sprung tickets for Delhi where he says I can buy books to my heart's content.
However, it is going to be very very difficult. My library like my cat are a piece of my heart, they are me. I am going to feel very raw and vulnerable for the coming months. I know I should not be ungrateful as there are many who leave hearth and home with far less, and I will be back soon. An year is not that long a time not to look at my favourite wall prints, or pore through some well-thumbed favourites or not to fiddle with the carpets that have followed me everywhere. Particularly if I keep in mind the work that is taking us to Bangladesh (and that is all I can say about it as Gman's work place has a confidentiality thing about blogs and discussing the work that they do--all good I promise).
So this is what is happening. Still a lot of work to do. The next year is to finish my own project that I have been procrastinating about for a while. It is a year for Gman to shine and for me to adopt the role of the good Mrs jo thoda bahut interior decoration bhee kartee hain. Next week we will be in India hoping to catch up with family and friends---to put a face to many voices who have been friends "beyond the call of duty", you know who you are!!!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Pasha-kaal! Or Month Seven Begins

Dear Arhaan,
Your great-grandmother's generation had this beautiful term pashakaal as the seventh month of the calendar year set in-literally translated it means the year turned back. It had an hour-glass kind of quality to it, as she sighed the words when August set in. It was as if my grand mother could flip the year around by sighing the word pashakaal, with the sand grains of the coming months settling down to my feet.
My dear January-born, every month you remind me how time is flying by. I have dreams of you all grown up and when I wake up startled I reassure myself hugging you that you are still my little baby for a few days more. Even though the pashakaal to year one has now officially started. I guess the first six months were all about the effort to (forgive me if I use the term ) accommodate you in my life and to assure everyone (particularly myself) that Nothing Has Changed. I can still perform all the verbal gymnastics that I do at work and you will be a smart accessory (though a posseting one! ) as I get on with my day. You were your parents' plus-one (you have to watch SATC to understand this-but not for some years sorry!) when it came to social engagements. So to be fair to you the next half of the year will be about you now and some juggling on our behalf to shift the spotlight to you. You will not be a baby for long sigh!
And there are new reminders every day that you are a person in your own right. And a very different person than me. More recently when your Australian passport came in the post (this brings the Aussie population in our household to two-Pesho and the bub). The heart has its reasons and I did not want to avail of the dual nationality option , a decision I was very comfortable with .But when I saw the blue-black of yours lying next to the green of mine (as luck would have it a new booklet for me had come in the post as well) I burst into tears. I cried for the better part of the afternoon, for I knew it was just the first of the many changes and political differences to come, you are of me but not me. Phir socha itna iss baat par ro rahee ho, save some tears for the day he tells you he cannot stand Shahrukh Khan. The issues of nationalism and identity are very complicated and I know we all will have our own paths-- at times they will overlap and times diverge, but there are some decisions I should not begrudge you. Your great-uncle, my mamoo had long mentally prepared me
"See Aneela, you will always be tied to us, you will visit , you will wax nostalgic--your children will also have some idea, you will drag them on trips to South Asia, have some values drummed into them, but your grand-children they are George Bush's (where George Bush stands for the Great White Man) and the sooner you reconcile to it and not fight it the better for everyone involved."
And I thought I had achieved closure...oh well. Khair, it is a long journey ahead for all of us, and who knows how the goodie-bag of ethnicity, religion and community plays out for you. And as a sardar in Thailand guffawed about his NY cousins and their over-the-top Americanism in the post911 world to me " they try to dress and talk like them but shakal tau unkey nahee la saktey na you will never look like them eh" . So baby end of the day, even if the green of you might not out, I will continue to love you and be proud of all that you choose or not choose to be.
But please please for your mom's sake learn to love SRK.
All my love,

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Bringing Up Vasu-The Latest Review

I thought getting my hands on BUV was the difficult part. However, Monday evening, as I finally finally had The Book in my hands, I realised that a far more challenging task lay ahead. Borrowing from the Beatles,
What would I do if Parul sang out of tune?
Would I stand up and walk out on her book.
And BUV earnestly warbled back:
Lend me your ears and I'll sing you a song. I will try not to sing out of key, yeah.

The book is as they say in my part of the world a ‘corker’, a ‘beauty’ or as where Parul currently resides ‘kahani may dum hai boss, houseful business kareygee janab’.
Surely we were betting on the filly out of love for the rider, but how would both of them do at the dressage? Oh they bring in the ribbons and some. Riding off to an excellent start as the protagonist wastes no time in introducing The Characters That Matter (I see a touch of Daud here—remember the story just dealt with the mad capers of Urmila and Sanjay, no time wasted in narrating where they were coming from , justifications for their life of crime, mom dad rona dhona et al. So Sharma does a similar Varma here, husband steps in, mom flies to Dubai, no saga of Jab They Met to slow the story down). She canters off to tackle the Frenemy Rhea, nods off her hat to a Prissy (from Gone With The Wind “I dont know nothin’ bout birthin’babies) inspired maid, takes on the obstacle of the Neighbour From Hell who makes Lalita Pawar seem like a kindly ol’ biddy and draws up to an excellent dismount. The Twins and their blow hot blow cold relationship had me intrigued. Aakhir (An)Tenny Ko Ghussa Kyun Aata Hai? Living in the times of Section 377, I thought I there were some undercurrents, but well that was not to be.

Did I read the other reviews out there? Yes, I have to confess I did. Much before a Billy Crystal advocated the merits of reading the book’s ending lest you die before you know who dunnit, I have always skimmed through the final pages for I grew up with a younger sister (Hello Ayesha!) who knew the best resolution for a sibling spat was to just Hide Her Book Silly. Many an afternoon I have promised my kingdom for a horse sorry a book. So I definitely wanted to know what the book was about, what to look out for.

Did the reviews (complimentary and the not-so) spoil the book for me? Well no. We all know how the book will end (Vasu turns one, hee hee) but it is a page turner nonetheless, I sat up till early morn wanting to know how it all turns out for Mira. I will not tackle some of the issues the critics raise, but there is one that irked me no end. The one that gives the impression that the best of BUV is already in BUA. Yes, Dr Prakash is a nod to her pater, there is a reference (one line) to the TamBram in her life and aspirations for the bub to be a neurosurgeon in space might strike a familiar note. However, that is where the similarity ends. BUA has been an angst-free zone to date (by Sharma’s own admission) whereas the Mira of BUV is a pretty anxious person.

The negatives? But then it is only for ‘anal retentive’ readers like me. The ‘script’ is very detailed and reads more like a screenplay with all the information meticulously laid out. I like to imagine what the characters are doing, how they got from the front door to their room, what they might have done next. Sharma does not allow us the luxury of that indulgence, for she spells out each and every action like cues to the performers. However, it could be also be as Mira speaks in the first person and we are privy to everything that goes around.

Does Sharma have the Voice? Oh yes she does. And I am hoping that the First Year in Bringing Up Vasu That First Year is an indicator that it is the first of many more. And as ages ago one could clamor for a Dickens for Christmas (rather than a Disney/Pixar for the school holidays), we could look forward for a Sharma once the festive season is upon us. Amen.

Monday, August 24, 2009

This is the Box

that DHL delivered
that carried the book
that Parul wrote.

and this is the baby who is really happy for his mom as she had been waiting since Vasu was a twinkle in Westland's eye.

Monday, August 17, 2009

I blame Kiron Kher

and Nirupuma Roy...and to an extent Reema Lagoo. But mostly Kiron Kher, for the mother (interesting choice of words!)of all tantrums I threw Sunday night as my mother (and Ms Niece) bid us goodbye. Somehow Kiron Kher and her school of mothering has given us warped notions of what motherhood involves, , hovering over you dripping with gajar ka halwa, tight shight embraces, molly coddling you into a second childhood and happily installed in their maa ki laadli's living room. So when your own mother begs off claiming she cant take any more time off work and that she is missing her home, you feel cheated. Suffice to say I was not a pretty sight as I said my goodbyes and royally confused my guest coming at own leisure, leaving at host's pleasure sharp retort from my mother put an end to my poor me routine'haan tum ishq bhee karo, set up house, do the whole bacha kaam routine and have all your amazing life experiences, and we should just stay put and do nothing with our lives' . From the mouth of babes. Or moms.

In other news, I have decided to 'take a break' from my already 'reduced- working -hours- paid -work' life. I realised that before I write the script to the rest of my life, I need the words to it.
And finally, they were right when they wrote that children find pleasure in the simplest of things. Unloading the dishwasher and at a loss with what to with the Little Man, I propped him up between cushions and handed him a place mat and a tin mug. He latched on to it with a toothless grin and kind of sighed 'Finally someone figures out what I wanted'.

Less of Fischer Price and more of the Bombay Store please.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Azaad Mulk Ka Vaasi Hoon

(For the life of me I dont know why he poses as an eighty year old some days)

Golkamra key karamfarmao ko Independence Day kee khushyan mubarak.

I will tell him in later days that the "Govinda dressing" was in honour of the Janmashtami weekend!

Buree nazar waley ka moon kala!!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Meree Saath Wali Seat Ho

and Brosnan ji aa kay bhet jaye (oh to have PB share a seat on a flight with me)...frankly tell me how many of you have not had a similar fantasy..chalo it might not be Brosnan, but growing up all of us (and in my case even in my doddering old age) have had our share of daydreaming about Someone Special sharing that spare seat beside us, of being quickly charmed by our witty repartee, and sigh! walking off from the airport hand in hand stars in our eyes (airport pickup waiting for me in the arrival lounge be damned).

But for Real Life to be more beautiful than my fantasy. I never dreamed it could be possible. Well it has turned out so for me. Last weekend as we took a flight to Perth, I looked across the aisle and saw the two men of my life engrossed in an inflight magazine. Lump in my throat, tummy turning somersaults and all moment. May they always be as happy in each other's company as they were then!!

So it makes the pain of not having watched a movie in the theatre for six months go away a bit...this for a person who would not not even wait for Shahrukh Khan to wash off the greasepaint and run breathlessly to the cinema for advance booking. Last weekend found me sighing that I now knew the true meaning of Faiz's
Mujh Sey Pehlee See Muhabbat Merey Mehboob Na Mang
Ask Not (My Cine Love) for the way I Loved You Before

I am a teeny weeny bit glad that Im not missing much on the silver screen. Love Aaj Kal came (and went) with disappointing reviews ...another friend , perhaps not to upset me, said he was not THAT impressed with the new Harry Potter, my mother just went uff tauba when I asked her how her trip to the cinema had been. So I guess I can bide the cinema drought for a while .

Acha ab thoda middle class woes...please let me know if you think I am being unreasonable. I think I am. Readers of this blog know how I am pretty upfront about my middle class values (and mediocrity!). Middle class as in
Hai, what lovely soaps let me save them for the guests
Of course we can finish the leftovers tonight, tomorrow, over the weekend

and not middle class as in Gauri Khan IS SUCH A MIDDLE CLASS DELHI GIRL (thus spoke SRK and KJo)
oh ya sure bring on the Louis Vuitton, bling, and Jimmy Choos.

See, when I think back to my childhood I remember chocolates would translate as 'manna from Uncle Aunty from abraad visiting, Cadbury bar being rationed' or the 5 rupee Jubilee bar that one saved for. So when I see the bub's first exposure to chocs (actually solids) being something he stole off my plate in a Lindt Café , I feel pretty guilty. So I hurry home and stew the apples and enforce a sirf ghar ka khaana and kichdi regime. Shouldnt he earn his stripes like the rest of us?
At the same time I dont want to 'resent' him having a more comfortable childhood than mine and all the good food (!!) and trappings it might involve. I am a strict mother. I know that. I am criticized for making the baby wear hand-me-downs, and making everyone wait out a month before I give him a new toy (one item for his 'turning a month older' birthday) and something has to be given away before anything new enters his cupboard. However, there are also days when there is such a STRONG temptation to just go out and indulge (hence spending obscene amount of hours on the Posh Tot website, fingers inching towards the credit card). Oh the spirit is so willing some days even if the flesh is weak.
And that is tragedy of my life.

And On The Sixth Day He Said Let There Be Lindt Cake

What did you do when it came to indulging your kids..nephews...nieces?

Friday, July 31, 2009

Ché !!

My dear little revolutionary soul,

As I look back at the last six months I realize nothing that I had learnt (in what seems like another lifetime) in Revolutionary Warfare class prepared me for the urban guerilla tactics that involve Putting You to Bed, by bed I mean Your Bed... you will curl up and sleep bindaas if it involves sleeping with your parents but bring you ten inches close to your cot and you will subject us to a major tantrum. We dont know what it is. Parampara dictates that you sleep like your mother in her own room in her own cot (yup, I was such a model baby I slept on my own in the nursery from day one...should I put that on my resumé?!!), I have asked your father and he is still scratching his head trying to remember (Bilkul kuch yaad nahee araha) but his mom reminds me that he had an elder brother to give him company. I have tried to coax Pesho but she thinks uska bhee koi standard hai and balks at shrieking little bundles that throw up on her.

So your mother's number one nightmare at the moment is a scrawny little six year old with a cocky attitude, you know the Raju types, who will block your way during playtime and holler "Oye Chintu tu ab bhee Mummy Kay Saath Sota Hai Kiya" (Mom's Precious Still sleeps with His Mommy)..cue in a cacophony of "Mummy Ka Laadla, Mommy's Little Precious".. Naheeeeeeeee

However, it says something to your determination (and courage and fortitude) that you took on the Big Gun (that is my mom) and all her attempts to move you to the cot. And that is saying something! But I say in your defence:

1) You are an ideal baby as you are nazar na lagey such a good traveller. You happily curled up to me as the plane took off and just slept the duration of the flight, you 'latched on' as we started descending and when the plane taxied to the runway you stretched your arms over your head as you do when you wake up and looked up at me as if to say Chalo Brisbane Aagaya We Are There Right?. You happily bopped along as we drove some 2000 km. And you were no spoke in my wheel of spending the whole holiday scurrying from pool to steam room to jacuzzi to pool. As I keep on explaining to you Im only learning to swim properly so that you have a healthy relationship with water growing up..Uffff the things moms have to do.

2)You have been so accepting of new things. Sleeping in different hotel rooms, visiting new homes, temperature fluctuations, new people, introducing solids, you look up to us in a Aap Hai Na You there, Right? way and plunge into whatever life brings your way.

3)We feel that you are more communicative...some would say it could be your motor mouth mom's genes, but your grandmother doesnt fail to remind us how your mom didnt utter a peep until she was two (and it involved many a trip to the paediatrician and listening to mean babysitter suggestions that We Cut The Taar Nerve Under The Tongue, shudder) Of course your mom made up for all that in no time, but it counts for something when you entertain us with your repertoire of baby babble.

Six Months Old And Just Defeated The Big Guns

The thing is your parents are very happy with the way things are. And as your mother doesnt fail to remind her family "Baby is for Entertainment Purposes only", for she had made a No Expectations pact with you a long time ago. But there are days when she wakes up with the niggling question whether her plans actually involve you? It is all fine to 'uncomplicate' her life from all the pressures of Baby Milestones and deadlines, and to 'free' your life from being a performing monkey. It is addictive to curl up to you every night and your parents swear they have not slept better. We love it as you stretch out your arms and do a quick spot check over your shoulders for both of us (Ok A check, Baba check). But there are days when she does fear if she is stifling All Independent Thought in you. Is she Doing the Right Thing? Yara, yeh ishq nahee asaan...some difficult love this, all rivers of fire and all.

All I pray is that when that Playground Bully taunts you in public, you can be confident in your reply (considering your mom believes in non-violence so fisticuffs are not an option), and that you can impress upon your peers that you are secure in your self and are in a good place in life.

And well if that doesnt happen we will set Pesho on Raju.
Hugs, A

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

And We Have Touched Ground

What a fortnight it has been! Major planes, trains (albeit monorails) and automobiles part deux,miles of sun, sea and sand (thoda filmy hogaya).Throw in roof top Jacuzzis, a baby who would only boogie to Michael Jackson (AND HATES the Jodha Akbar soundtrack---AR Rahman if you are reading pliss to forgive) Kit the Cat being recited on a loop.Frankly the baby was the most well behaved amongst us...considering the posse included Gman, my mum, niece and the bub, you have some idea of what the road trip to end all road trips has been like. So What Did We Learn:

1) Every road trip needs a decent soundtrack...which should have been agreed upon before leaving home. Do inform your family that your musical interests veer more towards Emosional Atyachar in recent times. Will prevent major heartburn and angst when they refuse to play it. Frankly, it didnt matter as the bub thought now was the time to start his back seat riyaaz. Coming soon 'Baby does Saigol'.

2) All that drama of Aryans going forth and prospering is major bak bak...unless there is some Aryan kahani may gar bar regarding my family's DNA. Or if our ancestors took a lot of McDonald breaks. Brief Query: Why is it that you hunger for McD's when you are on a road trip but the moment you enter city limits the golden arches make you sick?
I repeat the baby was the only Well Behaved traveller (on ground or in the air).

3) Believe in yourself...this refers to an incident involving a lost mobile (mine) in Gold Coast. Said item had been placed in baby's pram (which has in the past couple of months reached the status of Safest Place to Deposit Valuables---hai dont I trust it to take care of my precious baby?) At the end of the excursion Gman could not find the mobile which had me in a fix as It Has Never Happened Before. Didnt hear the last of it from him, even though I repeated how I have kept house keys, mobile and wallet in the pram and they have never dropped out. Khair, towards the end of the trip as we are driving out of Sydney he turns to me in the backseat and says Aaj Ek Miracle Hogaya and how when he was putting in the pram the mobile dropped out. The pram had been folded up (and down) a couple of times since we left Gold Coast. He continued to wonder at the miracle that had visited our lives Really miracle hai miracle. I retorted that unless it involves the Virgin Mary there aint no miracles in my world. I also believe that every time a wife is vindicated an angel gets its wings.

4) I want a spa in my home....maybe it can be where the laundry is. I could visit that part of the house more often.

5) There is nothing more bitter sweet than to be seen off and greeted by a grumpy cat.

Trip pics to follow soon.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Im Leaving On a Jet Plane

Acha thoda exaggerate kiya...jet plane nahee but sada Virgin Blue ka plane and I do know when Im returning.. hopefully July 24th. We are all maha excited and apprehensive and excited some more. It is Baby's first plane journey and Im hoping all goes well and he doesn't become THAT baby in Seat J10 but hai is plane may chota bacha bhee tha as people walk by us at the end of the flight. Lets see. Crossing my fingers and toes. How baby behaves will go a long way in planning a conference trip later in the month.

This is a break I have been loooong looking forward to (Brisbane, Gold Coast and Sydney) now and even if I dont do anything more significant than flick TV channels in the hotel room I will be one happy fact I think that is all I am planning on doing....yup, the rest of the family is welcome to traipse the beaches and gawk at the architectural wonders of the Australian east coast, I will not budge from Couch In Front of TV, perhaps will dip bub's toes in the water one day but nothhhhiiiiingggg else. Oh the joy of being away from gloomy Melbourne.

Acha, so what else has been happening other than counting down the days to Operation Getaway? The bub had a couple of trips to the hospital but considering I want to Forget All about It so no more mentioning something which could have been avoided. Just wanted to document it as it has been very important in the exercise of Mistakes That Made Me a Better Mum. My mom is in town so filling up on ghar ka khana...which means major tummy is like coming back from hostel all over again...there was my mother even boiling the water for the kichdi and wondering what she was doing wrong when all the questionable content of the dhaba ka khana didnt even cause a dent in my constitution at uni. A friend very kindly told me that my stomach could not take hygienic food any more and was fighting it as something foreign, thoda sweat and ghar ki mitti dalo and all will be well. My mother being around means that we have to clean up on our toilet humour as she doesn't approve of our dire need to update each other on our Bowel Diaries (aaj Late Arrival tha...aaj Thai Air ki flight, smooth as silk. Oho aaj phir PIA -Perhaps It Arrives). So when Gman asked me what was plaguing me I had to be very ingenious and announced I cant Get Closure (well perhaps this joke is not meant for you if I have to explain it for you dear reader). My mom didn' you are actually in good company if it went over your head.

I had my birthday but it was so so as everyone was stressed or "flu-ed" out...Ms Niece did bake a cake and the baby really enjoyed looking at it. I will make up for the Disastrous Day once I hit the golden sands...

We are trying out the nick Khokon for the somehow Gulsher isn't cutting it.

Exchange of the Week: Gman promising the baby as the baby does his 'shake my booty' dance.."Teree shadi Beyoncé sey karvaoonga, baby I will get you married to Beyoncé OK"

Me: You do know she is married don't you

Gman continues unfazed: Dobara karvaoonga

**My sister continues to remind me What You Can Love You Can Also Kill...I was listening to her over the phone telling me how proud she is of my nephew, how mature he is now, how helpful, how intelligent, how smart, how....all good except she kept on breaking off the conversation to tell him how she was going to murder him if he
messed up her room one more time.

Chalo, bye bye..pray for me as I pray for you and yours!!

Friday, July 03, 2009

2013 door ast

2013 to find Vikram Seth's Suitable Girl? Hmmmphh he should have taken a page out of Rakhi S' book..a dozen episodes aur dholi tayyar

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Notes on RS Swayamvar

In the words of Rakhi S thankoo Geejush, Ganpati Bappa for youtube..I managed to catch the first episode ONLINE, kiya show hai..the Bachelor/ette cant even be a patch on it. OK what I remember of the guys and their chances no no no...the kind of voice which begs you to pour down some Harpic down his throat and achee tara brush marna so the blocked pipes open

Woh Canada Wala Gujju maybe...Kiyunki Dil Tau Hai NRI

The fitness trainer...maybe...for invoking the two gods, SRK and Ganpati

Manmohan Ganga Kinarey Waley...yes that is what the Hindi heartland needs, Rakhi Sawant to spice up the vegetarian thali

Athar...too weepy...but khair pashmina tau mil gaya.

Nix the jyotshi guy..and what a slutty portrait he came up with.

I think dost dost abhishek ka na raha athirak is pretty camp..queer eye for rakhi's guy. Ditto the Natraj

Manas, Ali and Luv...potential hai

The Jaipur wala...Taj Mahal? really? how original...NOT

Ashwin Chaudhry from Nagpur...I want this guy to be around till the end!! He is perfect for the Govinda withdrawal symptoms some of us have been experiencing

Aman from Haryana...yara it took so long for Rakhi to 'gentrify' her English...Saveet sa Present , Maansion Naat, it is back to Prof Higgins for her

Rishi...damn itni shudh Hindi na bolo

Aur woh "dressmaker"?

Nuggets: Shadi karney aaya hai ya waiter baney
Desh ki seva

Bacardi scene and Rakhi's power eyes....CLASSIC!!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Hum Paanch!!

As the mater is busy youtubing for Rakhi S Swayamvar ( agar aap mey hai woh baat tau le jaye mera haath) it comes upon me to give you some of the highlights of Month Four of my life...yup baby will soon be turning Five Months!!

1) This was the month I got my "four months shots"...not that pleasant, I dont know how my Ayesha mausi tattoos herself for pleasure every now and then, perhaps she takes something much potent than Baby Panadol to dull the pain eh?
2) My big cousin Sakeena has come down to visit is FUNNNNNN...she knows the lyrics to all of the songs, and doesnt hum two lines and then go scurrying to google the rest like the parents, she also has a IPod and has been very generous in allowing me to give inputs regarding the play list. I now know how to shake some baby booty (courtesy Cousin Sakeena again), I love to grab to anyone who volunteers their fingers and bring myself up. I also love the Fly Fly Aeroplane game (again courtesy the big sis)...cant tell you the freedom as my mother idea of fun was to plonk me on my back and put on the baby mobile or give me a bath.
3) My fav bed time story is Kit the Cat...I can listen to it any number of times and I love following the pictures of the naughty cat, the silly fish and the brave dog. I love it best when my mother reads it to me, she goes through the extended ten minutes version unlike the pater and cuz who skim through it. The pater actually was quite traumatised when the storyline sunk in for him, I could hear him asking my mum in dismay "Yeh Kit the Cat tau villain niklee"
4) I also got a chance to watch Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham on was kind of difficult to follow the story over my mother's tears and her hugging me tight every ten minutes...there was one bit when my dad announced that I would go to Oxford "parampara hai parampara " and my mom squeezed me and said "and his mom will stay with him". The two argued a bit. I think Im being home schooled now.
5) My mom says that her fav memory of the month is Cousin Sakeena singing "Summer of 69" to me and my head banging to the lines "Those Were the best days of my life".
Yup my life is good.

I will soon share some of my mom's fav pics of me from this month...she has been crying so much over the Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham episode, my learning to pull myself up (my baby! my baby is growing up) and some MJ guy (whom I could never go on a play date with actually) that I let her stick bows over me and grin and put up with the dresses.

Rapping with my Cuz

Cuz gave me a Lolly but My Mom was Quick to Take It Away DRATTT

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Way You (MJ) Made Me Feel

In death MJ (the King of pop) reminds me of BB (who aspired to be the Queen of Our Hearts)...well in what he meant for my generation ..their "reign" if you may call it overlapped with my generation getting into our tweens...not yet teenagers but on the threshold of what we hoped were Good Things Waiting to Happen To Us. MJ's music formed the soundtrack to our youthful enthusiasm. Both BB and MJ were the Great Black And White (and Red Black Green) Hope after a dour Zia era (and am I the only one to wonder if they used the same stylist...think the oversized shoulder pads, penchant for satin jackets, raccoon kohl eyes and red lipsticks and the days they gave us Anorexic Androgynous Attitude). Over the years there were high points and low in our love affair with them , all culminating with a What The?And as I wrote earlier, our disillusionment of them towards the end perhaps coincided with our generation reaching an age when the world asked of us to be more pragmatic and to forget the romanticism of our youth.

But this is a requiem for MJ and let me not take away the spotlight from the King. So here is listing how MJ influenced my world.

1) My first foray into the world of MJ..I forget whether it was a Times or a Newsweek profile on him...I was somewhere between the stage when you can read the words but not actually "do the math" when I read that he was a virgin and did not take alcohol and red meat, I thought that being vegetarian was part of being now everyone knows what kept me good (and green) and the cows safe in the Land Of The Pure!!
2) Of the hope he gave to all the "chichora tapori" types...finally someone out of the US of the A whom they could emulate...they had the hair, white socks and the Bata black shoes, Zainab Market in Karachi and Landa Markets elsewhere provided the shiny jackets aur Dangerous attitude tau tha hee. After years of blue eyed blonde haired hero types finally A Man Of Our Time (And Means!)
3) Moondancing...Breakdancing..That Step Where You Moved Against An Invisible Glass Wall...long after they were deemed fashionable PTV subjected us to it every time they wanted to show someone Maa-rden!!
4) The stand up routine around MJ taking out Brooke Shields (if there was any other black man dating the white virginal princess). We might have laughed then but it was a powerful statement on race and color in golden Hollywood.
5)The image of him dangling his baby off the balcony...during a week when I blamed myself for being a Bad Parent bless you MJ for making me feel that I was not That Bad!!

So farewell Sweet Prince...would I have let my son spend a day with my childhood hero, probably not...but I will share the music, the joy , the dreams and the Way He Made Me Feel every single day.

Sunday, June 21, 2009


Golkamra key karamfarmao ko T20 ki khushiyan mubarak

And I add to this my prayers of Thanksgiving...there is hope yet...perhaps the young are not jaded of the @### our generation made of see a determined 13 year old (Ms Niece is visiting) avidly watching the proceedings and giving updates to her dozing aunt and uncle (in my defence I thought the fact I was nodding off was GOOD for the team...refer to earlier posts of black tongues and cricket matches), to see her all perky and bright eyed post-the witching hour (bear in mind the match started at midnight for us), of a group hug and baby Arhaan getting squashed in the exuberance, of a little girl feeling so proud of the green and white after a fortnight of "comparisions" with the green and gold...thankyou thankyou thankyou.
And shayed picturo kee tarah The End tak hum sab ka bhee sab kuch theek hojayega, Ameen
p.s: Now the ex-jiyalee in me would have said something about it being a birthday gift to BB, the spirit of BB steering the ball and all...hee heee..

Thursday, June 04, 2009

It is Not Easy Being Green

It is not easy being brown either...particularly if you are brown, young, male and in Melbourne at the moment (or so we are told).

Over the past week I have had to field a fair number of queries (concerned or just curious) about the recent spate of attacks against young Indians in the standard answer has been "It is Complicated" is the same response I have for the Pakistani cousins when they ask me if they would face any prejudice studying in Australia. To tell you the truth, these cousins (or anyone young, Pashtun and male) would face some kind of pressure and prejudice even if they were in Pakistan Goldilocks they are either Taleban sympathizers/co-opted by the evil West/part of the pro-Punjabi establishment/hidden beards...NEVER Just Right! Ditto the young Indian student. And I have to admit that I have been kind of "sitting on the fence" on racism and prejudice in Australia because I live a very "insular" life...I came here as a post-grad student and have lived a life amongst academics since then...I am more worried having my work critiqued by some waspish critic and less about having my skin color or religious identity mocked....and well in recent times I have chosen the "cloister" of mommyhood so I have to admit I should not be volunteering to complete any survey on the life of an international student in Melbourne. It is also difficult for me to trash the Anglo Saxon Aussie when a Caucasian bus driver has jumped down every time from his seat on seeing me with Arhaan, he will get off the bus and carry the heavy pram and park it inside and will repeat the process when I have to get down, all this while inquiring about my day and wishing me well. However, I have to admit that if it has not happened to me I cannot shrug my shoulder and say that I dont see Australia becoming intolerant of certain communities in recent times.

See Australia has had a conflicted relationship with its multicultural aspirations...all of us are aware of its torrid history of White Australia and selective intake of immigrants till the 1970s, the problematic Howard years and hysteria about 'boat people' and 'queue jumping'. Like certain other nations while it is OK with the food and music that immigrants introduce to their world, it has not been that tolerant of some of those people and their lifestyles.

So henna tattoos, belly dancing, doner kebabs, Middle Eastern music? Yes
The Muslims...ehhhh

The IT revolution, Jai Ho*, curry, garam masala, Bolly-exercise, Bollywood dancing in the Park, Shahrukh Khan? Yes, Yes, Yes
Indian students down Flinders Street...nooooooo!!

Ok, I will be the first to admit that I had a major problem with the desi male student population in the days of Casa Flinders Street, and that was one plus point of moving to the suburbs...none of the Puppyjhuuppy Punjabi Perve encounters, not listening to one more Roadside Romeo thinking he was very original when he warbled Tere Mukhdey Pay Kaala Kaala Til Hai (or that inane humming from the back seat at a decibel frequented by mosquitoes ...that you are just dying to turn around and say Shut Up! or sing that song properly), the stale smell of parathas in the train and greasy smudges on the window and door of the train compartment, the scary scary discussions About Last Night that I just could not avoid overhearing(considering the guy in question is either screaming down the phone or pretty loud as he speaks to a friend next to him) should I take them seriously or just ignore it as major fantasizing on his part (About Last Night ALWAYS deals with a group of them having a sex worker over and well all of them having a session bordering on sexual violence)...a number of times these young men want to unnerve South Asian women travelling on their own (again its very complicated ...and so you have to tolerate their snide comments), attending the fireworks display last New Year's Eve which quickly became the New Year's Eve from hell as a group of obnoxious young desi men descended upon Federation Square....However would I advocate going " curry bashing" some night, no I dont think so.

The obnoxious behaviour of some of their compatriots might play a role in the animosity against young Indian men but there are other reasons too. There is a recession (whether one wants to admit it or not), jobs are moving overseas, anxiety as India starts flexing its economic muscles, Indian full fee paying students compared to limited student loans and scholarships for local students, the dog whistle politics of the Howard years, teenage angst (well, teenage angst compounded with other pressures), rise in urban crime, the dangers of working late shift jobs....but all this is very difficult to understand (and condone your attacker for) when there is a screw driver pressed against your chest.

The reaction of some of the South Asian population has been pretty problematic as well (OK, I have to confess that when one of my colleagues expressed her concern one morning I quipped "Im Pakistani, maaro @** ko" but seriously we are all brown for a certain population and I dont think we should rest easy plus I should be less blasé considering the bub and his genetic makeup)...a number of Indians have written emails, letters to the editor as how they dont see Australia as racist and how India and Indians at home and abroad are more problematic (I find this kind of justification very problematic)...I also witness a kind of "embarrassment" on our part, we are all comfortable with the Yash Raichands around and not the Ricky Thukrals amongst us ( a significant reason why the Manhattan Melodramas sell and films like Jhooom Barabar flop) I admit some of us have not been kind to the plight of the hapless Indian student as it ruins our perception of the Good Life.

Khair, this is just I mentioned earlier I am an Outsider looking in both to Australia and India..I think Silvara who has the privilege of growing up brown in Aussie land (and who frankly writes far better than me as a South Asian female) can tell you more on this issue. Please visit her at
for what she and her peers have to say.

One good thing coming out from last week is that even if the events were just Bad things Happening to Good People Being In the Wrong Place at the Wrong Time and not exactly Indian student-specific as such, it has started an earnest debate on the issue of class, race and prejudice in Australia. Good for the Indian government for taking up the issue and forcing Canberra and Melbourne to take the issue of international students and their plight seriously. It is all very well when their fee and daily expenses contribute to Australian economy, and turn away when it comes to their housing, well being, and security in Australia.

Until then Gman has been instructed by my family to stop going to work in his Formally Informal ensemble and koee suit shoot pehen ke jaaya karey so people take him seriously ...siggghhhhh!!

** Is it just me or does anyone else find the Pussy Cat Dolls' Jai Ho video SERIOUSLY disturbing? the combination of voyeurism in confined public spaces, a bobbing head A R Rahman, ..I am not Happy.