Monday, October 31, 2011

aao bachcho aaj tumhen ek kahaani sunaata hoon main sher ki kahaani sunoge ? hmm ?

Seriously if one has to make an entry into a city it has to be like this tan-tana..otherwise just have a skype conference .

Sadly it was a regular airplane for us.  Guten Tag Berlin! Khemcho?Majama? (See what I just did, eh eh. You should have seen some of the posters for the Berlin state elections and it would have all been very very clear)

Berlin was work for Baba Bear.
And Gartens, Tier and Zoologischer for the Mutter und Kinder.
Also friends from school and from my foray into the twitter world. You know the other day, Arhaan told me how he now has a friend in school , adding Emil Is Good Boy I Like Emil  I asked him how? Also why? (as in what is the good boy code of conduct for the 33 month old nowadays?) And he replied Emil Wear Arhaan Tshirt. Yes, its a simple life. You turn up wearing the same Tshirt and you end up Best Friends Forever. Do it now and the fashion police will brand you for life. Tar and feathers optional.

I must say even though I play the Blow Hot Blow Cold game with Social Media, the blog world and twitter have introduced me to Friends Who Are Just Right (as Goldilocks would put it, considering I am way past the age of You Like Amitabh? I Like Amitabh? We Are Now Baaast Friends...albeit it is a combined love hate relationship with Amitabh that is responsible for many a new friend  recently)

anyways this was Berlin and I met up with @wastrelette. Excellent upma maker, eclectic reading list, and ever so patient with tantrummy toddlers. Whats Not to Like, I say?
She trotted along for a long, long walk through the Tiergarten (where the Toddler dozed off and opened his eyes only to spot a children's playing area, silently registered it and pestered me for the coming week to take him there). She treated me to an excellent home made breakfast one rainy day and stood patiently in the pouring rain whilst the Toddler painted his face so

And clapped enthusiastically for him as he mewed for the 300th time

And bought him donuts

So yes, the brief Tiergarten stroll led to Toddler Tantrums each morning..followed by my tearing out my hair every afternoon. The park is 210 hectares. Cue in:

Jaane jaan dhoondti phir rahi
Hoon tumhe raat din main yahan se vahan
Mujhko aawaaz do, chup gaye ho sanam
Tum kahan 

The Berlin Wall was put up, fell down. Playing Area not to be found. We passed by Goethe who looked like a pompous principal whilst mums and assorted children waited for school admissions.

 Beethoven and other qawwal.

 Statues for the Prussian Queen Luise and Fredrick William III. They like Woody Allen and Mia Farrow preferred waving to each other from across the park.

And Fredrick DID look a lot like Nehru. *whistles casually. Will refrain on commenting on the  relationships of the Powerful*

And so we wandered some more. And when I thought I couldnt walk any more, the park appeared right around the bend.
I have to commend the Germans for some sturdy play structures for children rather than investing in only the plastic.
So we had this:

And this:

as options.

Yup endurance and skills training was all on offer for us.

We repeated Hunt Down the Playing Area game every day for the following week. Yes, you heard me right. every day. And in such cheerful surroundings I must add. The area has been hunting grounds, site of political murders, housed war memorials, people being shot down escaping East Berlin, murders. Mysterious old people walking into the distance.

Fishing this out of The Toddler's pockets every afternoon, as he foraged for them like a little squirrel.

I had to temporarily suspend hostilities with zoos , just so we could go to the Berlin Zoo. Where the sun was out (unlike last time) and the dad was Arhaan's enthusiastic co-conspirator hence a lot of giggling over hippos blowing bubbles out of their butt in the water.

 The Toddler complains about the subliminal imagery "Beta,  no more pampers OK"

There was a panda who mumbled This Must Be The First Time You Took So Much Interest in Something Made In China. Be less Kindness Impaired Towards that Electronic Product Too OK.

Such a Shaddup call to the poor animals I say! "Dont like your dinner tonight eh?  Well the LA Zoo is  Thataway. Wahi ja kar chicken tangri kha"

The Toddler assured each fish about his undying devotion. I Love You and You and You , mwwaaahhh. Fish Are Friends Not Food.
The Penguins Were Very Camera Friendly and Willingly Lined Up For  Group Shots
A Fish That Walks. Oh Yes!
A Shark That Reminded Me "Madam,! Haathi Ke Daanth, Dikhaney Ke Aur Khaaney Ke Aur but for us What You See Is What You Get in your thigh, chomp! chomp!"

In a parallel universe Garnier would have kept me as their spokesperson.  Maa kehti hain Oil Your Hair. But Time Kahan?
Aaj phir mooli gajar pakke hain, psst do you have a Big Mac on you?

The Paparazzi Are Out Again Honey, No More PDA

...however, thinking up of cute captions for the photographs aside, I am forced to suppress the depression that walking through the zoos and looking at the photographs brings up every time. Yes, it is educational for children and will make them think twice before ordering sharkfin soup and how asking for palm oil means Bye Bye to another orangutan. However, at this stage zoos classify as one more feature of the Gabbar-Basanti school of feeding the toddler. The moment you stop eating this paratha, that there otter stops popping his head out. So I dont know if my son is learning anything about the animal world, other than that it is around for the express purpose of helping him with his lunch.

Baji ji, our bus is here. Tell your munna to finish that paratha quick.
 I try to file my thoughts under the Aneela, you think too much subheading, and store them far far away in the recesses of my mind (we are so emotionally healthy you know). 

But I look at them and try not to think of that one year during my Phd years when I volunteered at the Villawood detention centre. And those eyes. Every weekend. Weary, Turning Away; many. Eager, running to me; some. The old and the resigned. The curious, and the young. And ever summoning up some dignity as they raised their head.

I started out quoting Mr Natwarlal, and Mr Bachchan humming that catchy ditty. So it is best that I end with him as well. 

So an eager young child asks the Angry Young Man.

phir kyaa huaa?

Khudaa ki qasam maza aa gaya
mujhe maar kar besaram kha gayaa
khaa gayaa ?
lekin aap to zindaa hain

arre ye jeenaa bhi koi jeena hai, Lalloo ?
haan ?

What Happened Next?

Oh I can swear 
By all things Holy 
It Had Been A Fun Fun Journey.
He Gobbled Me Up Though. 
That Shameless, Shameless Creature You Know

Gobbled You Up?
But You Are Alive?
How Ever Did You Get Up?

Im Alive You Say? 
Hmm OK
But A Life Worth Living

Arre ye jeenaa bhi koi jeena hai, Lalloo ?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Mera Piya Ghar Aaya

It is Diwali evening for Dhaka. The father too has returned from his travels. So we light up our house.

The Toddler has very specific instructions on how he wants  it to be done up

I am not very fond of this "office issue" table so have slipped his art work under the glass , making them appear as place mats. They brighten up the room and go pretty well with our mix of  Colombo and Jaipur pottery

The silver tray is a gift from a cousin with a heart of gold

And a terracotta menagerie looks out at the Dhaka traffic

Our band baja sideboard

Quite a interesting profile no?

All the "family silver" has been commissioned.

The Toddler has been wishing us Happy Chocolate Day all week. Thank you Cadbury! (He insists it was the school) ; but as I cursed imperialism of a new kind while I untangled the knots of  evenings long ago, I dwelt for a while on the new twists in our tale. And you think of history, yours and mine and our journey. And King George V murmurs from the bronze and nickel

Tum aao gulshan-e-Lahore se chaman bardosh, Hum aayen subh-e-Banaras ki roshnee le kar Aur iske baad yeh poochein ki kaun dushman hai?

Monday, October 24, 2011

NIGHT IN LONDON zulfo ki kahaani hai jannat ki nishaani hai naghmo ki javaani hai dilaqash hai suhaani hai NIGHT IN LONDON

And onwards ho! to London. A London of balmy evenings and crisp crisp mornings (yup, their national preoccupation regarding weather is tres infectious). It has taken me a while to get to this city, but as they say of all good things in life, they come to those who wait. In my case it meant being of an age when Madam Tussaud's does not appeal to me any more and The Toddler has no idea (thus saving serious money) and the museums are free to access courtesy the British Lotteries hand outs; of course there are some who will debate this decision for they believe this leaves museums cash strapped to buy new acquisitions , dependant on governments for hand outs; and cursing the Cabinet as Philistines when they dont comply. But I let those voices stay in my head, and put my best foot forward as I entered the galleries. The Toddler could pop in and out and in again at the Natural History Museum, and played to his heart content at the dinosaur exhibits.  Which also means that he dozes off as you roam around the National Gallery to your heart's content! 

So yes, our London Nights London Dreams concentrated on soaking in as much as we could of museums and the parks, considering the city was experiencing glorious more about the glorious glorious weather. I tick marked most of my "London Bucket List" and did catch up with the charming BroomBox who assures me that my "character is ek dum theek". The Toddler got an A grade Goody Bag, and since then seems to be encouraging his mum to blog more often if it means such nice perks for him.

We did pop in and out of one H (Harrods) gave the other H a miss (Hamleys) and paid our respects (and pounds) to the third (Hatchards). Now official choice of not only the HR and HMs but also The Toddler

I hope they got my  books right?

Sadly as a tourist, and one who has a Toddler as a plus one you experience Rahul Raichand Ka London and not Rikky Thukral's which might have been a much more fascinating insight.

So ready for a pictorial journey through the city?

The top deck of the regular red bus is full paisa vasool  to while away an hour

I love how the new melts into the old 

If you listen real carefully you can hear him say "Frankly Madam, I dont deal in laungs and I dont know where it went gawacha"
One morning we went walking into the Kensington Gardens and came across the  Diana Memorial Fountain, which for me is nothing more than water swirling around on chips ka floor. Despite all the the signs asking us to keep out of the water, little kids were splashing about in it. Cue in  little voices in my head about Behti Ganga and Haath Dhona that I had to suppress. But then again for Diana-worshipers like us; refined, restrained good taste just does not cut it, does it? Nothing short of commissioning a strapping Punjaban beating her chest "Maar Ditta Miri Diana Nu" indulging in a good old fashioned Veyn can work for us as a memorial (Mondays off)
Empire. Sun Setting. Britannia. Lion. Symbol. Geddit?

The Tate Modern has an excellent section for families, one caregiver can amuse kids there, the other can pop in and out  of exhibits, and in the end you can all do it together. The Toddler can now tell his Picasso from his Monets alhamdolillah. I asked So do you want to draw like Picasso, and he yawned No , Just Like Arhaan actually. Khudi Ko Kar Itna Buland and All That

We took him to the Natural History Museum and he learned a thing or two from the Wild Ones and improvised some more

Im Young And Wild. Hear Me Roaarrrr

Sir, I got that right? Right?

Once More With Feeling


Walking out of the Museum we crossed over to Kensington Gardens and saw the Albert Memorial , 

the statue of the consort is surrounded by sculptures celebrating Victorian arts and industry as as well as the continents that fell under their domain (refer back to sun never setting on British Empire); there is one each for Asia, Europe, Africa and The Americas. Asia is represented by the Mohe Panghat Pe Nandilal pose

The Queen was in residence the day we walked across The Green Park and looked across to Buckingham Palace, the Royal Standard was flying and all that; but with the Barbarian at the Gate, I dont think she was inclined to step out

I came to London to see the Queen. 
I understand that Nelson's navy was notorious for suffering from scurvy and syphilis, but to put  him on a column so high? The man promises to take his antibiotics

Harley Street. Me. Tribute to the Wonder Years. And I can count on my fingers the number of people who will get misty eyed at this.

Seriously. How many of you now REALLY want to get a lion as a pet and walk around the neighbourhood with it? Serious tashan

Toodle-Ooh then, until next time!