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?