Sunday, October 16, 2011

Time to switch!

Moving from Blogger to Wordpress. I have been planning to take a backup of all my posts, so I created an account in Wordpress and I was really impressed with all the features it has on offer. As of now, I will continue to host my food blog  in Blogspot but have moved this space. Please update your readers to the new link...

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Why? When? What? Where? How?

“Millions saw apples fall, but Newton asked why.” - Bernard Baruch

I choose to be an optimist while I answer the incessant questions barraged on me by not-one-but-two 3 year olds. And my mind has to channelize its thinking in different directions as both the kids choose NOT to speak about a single subject at any point of time. Both demand attention at the same time and expect an answer from me on the spur of the moment. One of the virtues of being the mommy of twins, I guess!

They are generously spending the WH words as if they are serious about taking up quizzing as their career option. It’s fun most of the times, I swear. It gives us enormous pleasure when we see the rational skills developing in them. Citing examples - One day after braving a traffic jam, Abbas sped up on a vacant road and immediately Mannu asked “Why is Bulu* moving fast?” I answered her saying that there was not much traffic. When we got stuck in the next signal, she inquired again “Is there traffic jam now?” While Tammu pitched in “Where is Jam? Where is Jam?” She must have been hungry! One of them asked “Why is the police uncle wearing a mask?” I said “It’s because uncle has to stand there amidst dust and he will fall sick!” After a few days they spot a traffic police without a mask. “Mamma, this uncle will fall sick na? See he is not wearing mask”

Then there are constant questions about day to day activities. Why I keep veggies in the fridge? Why I do not keep potatoes and onions the fridge? Why they are not supposed to waste water? Why are they supposed to brush their teeth? Why they have to put toys back in place after playing with them? Why is Baba not coming home yet? The questions are endless. These days, I even get enquiries about how I made a particular dish that they liked. Whatever silly statement I utter, they have a cross question ready. For instance, I say “I am hungry” and I get a “Why are you hungry Mamma?” I say “OMG, it’s raining” and I get a “Why does it rain Mamma?” I try to explain in simple terms as in “One cloud was coming from left and other from right, they bumped into each other, that’s how it rained” “Why did they bump into each other?” I wanna tear my hair!!

Sometimes, my patience is consumed up to its brim when I ask them to do something and they utter the momentary dreaded word “WHY???”. Taking advantage of my authority being their mother I sternly say “Because ‘I’ told you so!” When I decide to revive terms with my patience yet again I do try to convince them why I behaved the way I did.

Hoping that their questions never cease to come my way and I will be capable enough to fairly answer their queries and not lose out on patience. Hence, ending with another quote by Frank A.Clark – “There's nothing that can help you understand your beliefs more than trying to explain them to an inquisitive child” How true!

*Bulu – is the name of our car.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Water Water Everywhere

Our washing machine is placed in the living cum dining room adjacent to kitchen. What kind of a nutcase family we are, you may think! Actually there was a water inlet arrangement already made with the basin when we moved into this apartment. And since we had plans to move from here, we didn’t bother much (Yeah, we are nomads). There was no outlet for water to go away so we bought a pipe and connected it to the kitchen sink. Now each time we switch on the washing machine, we have this added task of attaching the extension pipe. Fixing it has to be done very tactfully coz, a slight malfuntion would result to water flowing onto the kitchen floor. Generally the machine is set to run while I am fiddling around in the kitchen. However, one Friday night after dinner we were watching a movie and I had put the week’s clothes for wash. Coz I generally finish ironing the truckload of clothes on Saturday. While we dumped ourselves into the bean bag and got immersed in the movie, we felt our feet turning wet! WTH??? Looking around, we saw that a sea of water is fgushing its way from the kitchen into the living room. I screamed, “Pause the washing machine... Pause Pause Pause”. Abbas had hit the panic button and simply switched the machine off!

And guess what there is no outlet in this apartment through which we can drag the water using a mop and pass it out. We had to literally use clothes, absorb as much water as possible and throw away by squeezing the cloth. We first protected the floor deewan in the living room and the extension chord lying on the floor behind our desktop table by placing floor mats near these high risk areas. While I used a small cloth, Abbas said “Get an old saree. It will soak a lot of water at once.” There was no old saree, but I somehow conjured up his old pajama and my old dress and they helped to some extent! By the end of the whole pandemonium, we were dog-tired and collapsed into the bed.

Next day, each muscle in my body worth its salt was twinging with pain. I was telling my daughters how the living room was full of water the previous night and my body is aching due to all the clean up. Tammu said “Why Mamma? Baba ne idhar hi su-su kiya kya?” Duh!!!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Pizza Saga!

They spotted a “Pizza Boy” delivering Pizza to a nearby shop while I picked them up from day care. Tammu said “Mujhe bhi Pizza khana hai!” Although I am not the kind who entertains all their demands, I suddenly realized that the last time I had pizza (not made by me) was before they were born. I make Pizza at home mostly by buying store bought pizza bases and we all enjoy them. But because Abbas is not so fond of Pizza, we have never entered a Pizza joint together. I have always had my pizzas with ex-colleagues in Kolkata! So, I promised them that we’ll order Pizza home.

Last Friday evening, I told them with all dramatic affects (I love the excitement that glows up their faces and all our spirits)

Me - Mannu Tammu, I’m gonna make a call to the Pizza Shop. Tring Tring Tring Tring

Mannu - “Aaar??” (Meaning and)

Me - “Hello, Could you please bring a Pizza for Mannu Tammu, Mamma and Baba?”

Mannu - “Aar??”

Me - and after some time…

Mannu - “Aar??”

Me - the Pizza Uncle would carry the Bi...g square Box

Mannu - “Aar??”

Me - with round Pizza which is Ho...t

Mannu - “Aar??”

Me - A Pizza uncle would ride a Scooter (with fist action) Vroom Vroom Vrooooom

Mannu - “Aar??”

Me - And come very fast to our house

Mannu - “Aar??”

Me - and rings the door bell Ding Dong Ding Dong

Mannu - “Aar??”

Me - We three will open the door

Mannu - “Aar??”

Me - And Uncle will say Tantada Here is Pizza for Mannu Tammu!

*Mannu Tammu together jump and shout - “Yay”*

Mannu - “Aar??”

Me - We will eat the yummmmy taaaaasty delllllllllicious Pizza.

After all this I proceed to make a call. The guy asks me the location for delivery. When I tell them the name of our area, they say “Sorry Ma’am we don’t deliver in your area”. It was hard to decide who was more sad with this news among us three!

Called up Abbas who was heading back home. But he had driven way past the Pizza joints and asked me if he should drive back! I was confused? I finally said “No, you come home. We’ll see.” I called the other pizza joint which is near kids’ school and it is quite close to our home too. They denied delivery to our area again. Sigh. It was as though the whole universe was conspiring to deprive us from having Pizza. Consoling kids was a tad easier than consoling myself. They forgot about Pizza but I was strolling across the house restlessly and was at my wit’s end. (The thought of rustling up a dinner at that point of time was bugging me actually) Abbas came home and looking at three of our faces, he offered to take us out to eat Pizza. And then as usual, Abbas and I procrastinated our Pizza plans and ended up dinting at a Multi cuisine restaurant. (Dinner sans rice or Indian bread puts us both off!)

The next Friday I left an hour early from office, picked them up from the day care and went to the Pizza joint near their school. We were happy or what!! As we waited for our Pizza to arrive, Tammu pointed towards the TV and said “Mamma, ye dekho TV!!!”. Perhaps she thought TV was a luxury only our household owned… Lol. Then she said “Ismein Chota Bheem nahi aata hai?” I told her “It’s not our TV. So we can’t switch channels here”. She was constantly eyeing the nearby table. When they were served Chicken wings, she screeched “Ye dekho, uncle yellow chicken kha raha hai. Mujhe bhi chahiye” I said “Ok, I have already ordered for today. We’ll have it next time”. And thank god those uncles were foreigners and didn’t understand her speech.

And then like a typical Indian mom, I was planning to shove in those packets of herbs that we had not used any way sneakily when nobody was watching! What? I’m not cheap. It comes as complimentary with the Pizza I bought!!! When I finally managed to thrust it in my bag, Mannu said on top of her voice “Mamma, ye bag mein kyu ghusa rahi ho?” This girl has got a loud speaker in her throat and I whispered to her that I’ll make pizza for her at home using that. That was incentive enough to keep her mum.

Mannu Tammu finally waved at all the uncles and aunties there as though there were some celebrities. When we came out and were waiting for an auto, I saw that a mother-daughter duo was looking at Mannu and waving at her. She tells me “Mamma, ye aunty mujhe ‘Look at’ kiya”. And those 2 laughed hearing her words. So did I.

All in all, we had fun. Abbas was glad coz he was spared as he doesn’t like Pizzas and more so, coz his daughters finally got to eat Pizza!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Thumb-print and Palm-print Art

When I recently saw Shruti's blog and all the artworks done by her daughter, I was awestruck. I felt like a laid back mommy. I hardly did any crafts with my kids! I went through her archives and picked up this and this to be done during the weekend. We all enjoyed painting. My hubby also got inspired and pitched in, drew those small plants in both the paintings. (Yeah, he also took digs at me numerous times commenting on the octopus!) Ultimately, it turned out to be a family activity... I am really glad to be a part of blogopshere and know such wonderful mommies all around. Thanks Shruti and li'l P for all the inspiration.

Here are the pics:

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Mommy Guilt

RS tagged me to write about Mommy guilt:

1.Write about 2 instances where you have put yourself before your child/ children… been a wee bit selfish.

2.How did you feel? Did you feel a pang of guilt or were you comfortable?

3.Tag 2 more moms

Mmmm, well! I have had my share of outings by leaving kids with their nannies, grannies and at the day care as well. I did not feel guilty, at all. Period. Why would I feel guilty when all these getaways only let me enjoy some ‘me’ space and breathe free. Abbas is the one who feels guilty about leaving kids behind even when we go house hunting or any such place where taking them would end up all 4 of us being stresses out at the end of it. So, there are far and few instances when we actually went out to dine or watch a movie without them that I can count those using my fingers!

But yes, there was one such incident which made me feel guilty big time and it will be etched in my memory for ages to come. Here are the links to the long story in 3 parts: Part1, Part2 and Part3.

Other than this, like RS quoted, there are times when three of us come back home exhausted on weekdays. My patience gives away many a times and they easily become my stress balls to vent out my aggravation. There was a strenuous phase during my previous job which badly affected my personal life at home. I would get irritated with trifle things and shower my wrath on kids unnecessarily. But I’m glad that phase is over now. However these incidents are highly unavoidable with a full time job to handle, a household to manage and two kids to tackle. After such emotional outbursts from me, I feel guilty to no end. When those innocent souls rush to me with nobody else to go to for rescue and say with tears trickling down their eyes “Please don’t be angry, Mamma”, I join the crying club too. They delicately wipe my tears and make me wanna kick myself. Yeah, in my defense I complain about logging 9 hours a day at work but what I seem to overlook is that that they too have been out of the house for the same duration. All they need is some quality time with me! So most of the days now, I spend some rock ‘n roll time with them till they go to bed. Once they are asleep, my chores begin. Isn’t it taxing? You may ask. Ofcourse it is. But at the end of the day, their giggles and the spark in their eyes mean the world to me and they sure are my stress busters (and theirs too)!

RS, I am cheating but I can’t resist adding a few more to the list.

There are times when they are sick and you can’t afford to take the day off from work! In my previous company, day care was within the campus which was an advantage. But again, dragging them to office while they are sick is again painful. Mommy guilt is like that Vodafone dog – wherever you go, it follows!

I have this crazy weakness: I cannot start cooking till my kitchen is spic and span. There have been a couple of incidents when we would have gone out during the weekends, and came back only by late evenings. With my obsession to start the kitchen chores only after putting things in place, kids’ dinner would have got a bit delayed and Mannu would have dozed off by then. Aaargh! She would not wake up no matter what till dawn. That would make me guilty to see her asleep without a filled tummy.

Last one is this: Abbas and I will always be guilty of depriving Mantam from their maternal grandparents. We eloped and are still awaiting acceptance of our marriage from my parents. We are reaping the outcome of what we’ve sown. But my kids have missed out on everything that maternal grand parents’ house has to offer for no fault of their own.

Now I need to tag two more moms. I am very new to the Mommy blogosphere. And most I know have already done this tag. I’m gonna tag the first mommy cum food blogger I got to know – Rachu and the blog that I recently bumped into who is a mommy of twins - Momfrs

Monday, September 26, 2011

First few drawings

Dolphin and Fish
That's supposed to be Mamma's fridge!

Supposedly a ball!

The Ball then became sun!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Role Reversal

Jotting down scenarios where kids were playing ‘me’.

Kids and I come back home on a weekday. We remove our shoes, they place theirs on the shoe stand. But I forget to keep mine. Mannu says – “Mamma, joote stand pe rakha nahi kyu?” I apologize for failing to remember and put my shoes on the stand. And they applaud in chorus “That’s like a good girl”

Tammu spots a small wound on my foot. In a concerned tone she inquires “What happened to you Mamma?” I say “I got an Ooo” (Ooo meaning wound). She affectionately says “Don’t worry Mamma. I’ll rub some Borolin on your Oooo”.

I’m about to refill my oil can by pouring oil from a 1 ltr packet. Tammu comes into the kitchen and says “Careful Mamma!” I said “Yes darling. I’ll watch out and pour”. She warns yet again by moving her index finger - “Agar oil gir gaya, to main bolungi”. Curious me - “Kya bologi?” She said “Gir gaya! Bolungi”

Mannu demands to be given chocolates at dinner time. As the mommy law goes, a child always demands the wrong thing at a wrong time. Goes without saying that I denied. She puts her hands on her hips, bloats up her cheeks, blows up her nostrils, ties up her eyebrows and says “You are making me angry now!!!”

I’m getting their homework done. Tammu feels thirsty. (That’s one of the million things she gets the urge to do when we try to do something related to academics) I ask her to get the water bottle herself. She enters the kitchen to fetch the bottle and I hear her crying loudly after a couple of minutes. I call out to her to come to me. She comes running with her arms wide open shrieking “Mamma…. mamma…” and the next thing I know – She has thrown herself into Mannu’s lap and the mini psuedo mom is brushing her palms over Tammu’s head, consoling her and asking “What happened Taaa….?” Although I was astounded, I was so touched by witnessing the strong bond that they share. By the way, Mannu is Tammu’s back-up mom.

MIL recently left to stay with BIL and family. Abbas drops me to office and kids to school around 9 AM. I present him with a list of things to be bought while heading back and/or stuff to do before leaving home. He comes back home, eats his brunch and leaves for office. Evenings I pick kids up and return home with them at 6:30 PM. One morning I had asked him to get masoor dal as I had run out of it. In the evening, we came back home, I got busy with my chores. And suddenly found my drawing room floor sprinlled with masoor dal all over! I asked them where did they find the packet? They showed a chair. I blabbbered – “Tere baba ko common sense bhi nahi hai. Dal ka packet kitchen mein nahi rakh sakta tha!” while I cleared up the ocean of dal. Next evening, I came back and saw that milk was lying on the kitchen slab. I started murmuring – “Tere baba ka kaam dekho!” As usual Mannu (Daddy’s daughter) came in baffled – “Kya hua mamma? Baba ne kya kiya?” I told her about the milk vessel (RM – your doodh ka patram, lol) Guess what she said?? “Roz Roz kya baba ko scold karne ka?” Me astonished and nagging again “What?? Doodh kharab ho jaata na? Baba ne fridge mein kyu nahi ghusaya?” And she said “Ye mamma ko ghusana chahiye tha” – There, that role was certainly my MIL’s!!! Phew…

Monday, September 19, 2011

Most frequent 'P' words in the past 3 years

They are undoubtedly ‘Pee’ and ‘Potty’. Please hit the X right away coz this post is all about these 2 P words.


Still reading? Good luck then!

We refer these P words differently with words or rather sounds of disgust. We call Pee as ‘Sheee’ and Potty as ‘Aaaa’ (as in the way you practise phonetic sound of the Alphabet A by popping your tongue out)

When they were barely a quarter old, their nanny firmly announced “Didi, we shall begin potty training.” I had no clue how she was gonna train twin 3-month olds to pee as per her instructions. I was curious nevertheless. She would try holding them in a standing position on the floor and make this sound “Shhhhh Shhhhh Shhhhh”. And guess what, everytime she made that hissing sound, I would rush to the loo. Folks, I am not kidding here. Bet you, that sound had some effect on me, albeit on my kids!

She was a persistent and an enthusiastic soul. She kept trying inspite of the fact that her charm was working on me! When my kids learnt getting down the bed on their own, we saw that they stopped peeing on the bed. They would get down and piss. We were a happy bunch to see this development.

Peeing was conquered quite early. But potty training seemed impossible. They would sit anywhere under the sun but on the potty seat. I read all sorts of articles on potty training on the web. Nothing seemed to work for me, errr… them! It was when they were almost 18 months old when we visited our Bro-in-law and family. Their younger daughter is 2 years elder than my kids. They saw their cousin sitting in the potty seat often and perhaps they thought it was Cool. When we came back home, our very own long forsaken potty seat had hit a jackpot. Not one but two cute li’l butts were fighting for the coveted seat.

Mannu’s potty training was almost accomplished except for a few accidents now and then. Tammu would only pee in the Potty Seat. She actually had a constipation problem due to which passing stool was literally such a ‘Pain in the ass’ for her. We would keep our fingers crossed in anticipation to get the darshan of her potty which was erratic. Looking at her struggling during the potty sessions caused so much agony to all of us. Tears trickled down her cheeks which turned red and our blues would surface due to helplessness. She would stand erect clutching her fists hard, gritting her teeth and pressing hard for the ‘shit’ to pass. We would try to force-sit her in the potty seat which would ease the process but she always preferred to stand!

Gradually, the constipation problem subsided as we tried new ways to get rid of it. But her habit of standing while she attended nature’s calls decided to stay. She would not even make an attempt to get her pants removed and everyday we had many smelly pants to be cleaned! Now that is not the point here. I tried talking her into being a ‘BIG’ girl by using the potty seat or how I would allow her to flush (as though it was like winning Oscar) if she did not wet her pants or shat on floor. My final threat to her was that ‘You have to clean your own potty if you choose the floor over potty seat’ I unashamedly admit that I even made her do so precisely twice (When Abbas was not around or else he would have banished me out of the house) But this did not work either coz she is a very talented Drama queen and has the capability of melting me with her antics.
They began schooling and with time somehow she is now fully potty trained and proudly tells us ‘I’m a big girl now.!’

Lesson Learnt: Every baby is different and achieves each milestone at its own pace. No matter how much you try or worry (when you compare with other kids around)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Tit for Tat

/*This post was lying in my draft as I was unable to come up with an apt title. So kindly 'adjust maadi' */
Gone are the days when we could easily fool around with Mannu Tammu. They would blindly trust us and we could conveniently fake. But they are getting smarter and we have to rack our brains to trick them!!!

Here are a few instances and you will get the drift:

We had gone to a restaurant and while we waited for our bill to arrive Tammu pops her tongue out in a disgusting manner (That’s a code that MIL had taught them in the initial stages of potty training) I did not panic as she was wearing a diaper anyway. Abbas made the payment and by that time Tammy’s downloading act was accomplished. I did not have wipes in my bag that day, so we decided we would go home, dispose off the diaper and clean her up. The pint sized refused to move and kept on saying ‘Chuchu’ (That’s also a code word for bum cleaning after potty) I wickedly told her there is no bathroom here. So let’s go home and do ‘Chuchu’. She shows me the water bottle on table and says “Why don’t you use that?”

Our TV decided to commit suicide and fell off face down while Abbas was trying to slightly move the stand. After a sleepless night, we went out to an Electronics store to buy a new TV the next day. Mantam were super excited being in this store. I dunno what got into them and they started crawling on the floor. MIL told them “Don’t crawl. Your palms and knees are all getting dirty”. Mannu said “No Didi. Dirt is in Big Bazaar not here.” Huh??

Whenever we travel together I sit in the middle with one kid on each side. Now either of the kid will spot something silly on the street and shriek out of joy! Eg., “Maine India Flag dekha... Yayay” Now the other one will begin crying “Mujhe bhi India Flag dekhna hai.....” and shed litres of tears. It gets really difficult to handle and we have to beg God to somehow make an Indian Flag appear on our path to shut the weeping lad’s mouth. Since this has been happening consistently Abbas was telling me that we have talk to them about this and get rid of this silly competitive behaviour between them. So one evening Tammu said “Maine Cow Dekha... yayay”. As expected Mannu wants to see a cow then and there. I politely made her understand ki “Look, both of you are looking in different directions. You both might see different things. It is not necessary that you see what Tammu sees. Just let it be.” I assumed that she understood what I wanted to put forth. She said “Ok Mamma, I’ll see the cow tomorrow” and stopped nagging. I went on “Tammu ne cow dekha bolke tu bhi agar cow dekhne bolegi to main kaise cow leke aau?” And she answers “Pull karke lao, phir push kar dena!!!”

Remember I was talking about having taken them to a juice parlour? I ordered juice and made both of them sit on the counter so that I could easily hold the glass with two straws and they could sip. While we awaited the arrival of juice, Tammu removed her hair clip and started playing around with it. I told her “Tammu, don’t play with it. The clip will fall down at the other end and we will lose it.” She didn’t listen to me but continued to play with it and told me “Gir jayega to ye uncle ko bol denge na? Uncle uthake de denge!!!”

It was past their bed time and I was hurrying to put them to sleep. I saw some colouring books and crayons lying on the floor. I said in an irritated voice “Uthao uthao, ye sab jaldi upar uthao”. My words fell on their dumb ears. I have an irking habit of keep on repeating something that I want someone to listen till I get a response. And so I go on chanting “Upar utaho upar uthao”. Mannu (evidently annoyed) said pointing her finger towards the ceiling fan, “Mamma, kahaan upar? Fan ke upar uthao??” I too barked - “Haan fan ke upar utha sakti hai to uthake dikha”. She giggled and said “Arrre Mamma, main Big hoon kya? Main to small hoon na?”

Friday, September 9, 2011

First outing without Baba Mamma

Their school declared that they would be taken on a field trip to Bannerghatta Zoo. I was super excited as usual and signed the permission sheet which was sent to know parents’ approval and I had also informed Abbas about the trip. The next day when MIL asked me “Are you gonna actually send the kids?” I said “Yes ofcourse” Abbas said “Well, I still haven’t given my consent. I’m not prepared for it.” Oopsie Doopsie. I didn’t think till then that a kids’ school trip like that needed the DAD to prepare himself. I refrained myself from telling him that I had already given permission at the fear of being Dead Meat. I always want them to make use of all the good opportunities that come their way. My parents always were very strict in not letting us go out of the home. So much so that we could not go to our friends’ house. But we had the permission to call frenz over to our home. I don’t want my kids to cling to us and think that ‘only’ we are their world. I want them to have a separate social life. So that when they grow up, they will know that family is not the only priority in life. Having friends is equally important! (Abbas was finally ‘pataofied’ as expected)

Now both girls were excited about going to the zoo but they expected that Abbas and I would also accompany them. No matter how many different carrots I dangled in front of them about how much fun it will be to go out with frenz, they were determined to stick to their stand. I didn’t want to lie to them that we were going along and then escape after dropping them at school. So yesterday again I tried to convince them. And both girls started crying! I took a deep breath and tried to sort things out.

Me: Ok tell me. Why do you want us to come along? What are you scared of?
Mannu: I’m scared of animals.
Me: But animals will be in the cage. They will not be able to come close to you.
Mannu: No Mamma. They will come running near me.

I knew they will not trust me if I say animals will not do anything to them.

Me: Okay, let me keep a small Ganapathi Bappa in each of your bags. If any animal comes near you, Ganapathi Bappa will beat it up Dishoom Dishoom.
And both of them gave a wide grin. Yayay!
And then Mannu strikes yet again: “Animals aaye to Bag ka zip open karna padega na? Nahi to Ganapathi Bappa baahar kaise aayenge?”

Today morning when I packed their bags, Mannu promptly reminded me if I had kept Ganapathi Bappa in the bag or not! This girl’s memory, I tell you!!!

We were more worried about Tammu coz she has this habit of running away on her own will and wish. She doesn’t even look back to see if her people are around. (She has inherited this from MIL) I have been murmuring to her time and again since last week that she should be holding one of the aunties’ hands when they go to the Zoo. I prepared a Badge with their name and our phone numbers listed on it. I pinned it up on their shirts. Taught them to show that badge to any elderly in case they don’t see any of their frenz or teachers around and tell that it was their Dad’s number. I’m glad they understood. We even did a mock test after reaching school by asking them what they were supposed to do if they get lost.

I left office early and reached their school at 3 PM. A few other parents were waiting thee and I was told the bus would be coming in 10-15 mins. I was so eager to receive Mantam and know from them all about the trip. Mannu came first, caught a glimpse of me and rushed to give me a bear hug. And boy, she was ecstatic! She began naming all  the animals she had seen. II asked “Where is Tammu???” She said “Tammu is there and will be coming.” After a min or so, Tammu came and she could not see us. When she finally saw me, she came running and said “Mamma Ganapathi Bappa diya tha na? Isiliye koi animal hamaare paas nahi aaya.” Mannu said “Tiger vomit kiya Mamma!” I said “Whatt??? Tiger??” and their caretaker told me “Yes she is right. Actually a Cheetah puked and they saw it”

Finally both of them said “Khub masti ho gaya Mamma!!!” and Thank God for that...

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Context Mismatch

I was busy cooking in the kitchen and left kids in the drawing room with colouring book and crayons. When I came back to check on them, I noticed that Tammu had coloured Grapes with brown colour. I asked her “Tammu, what colour are grapes?” She said “Green Mamma” I asked “Then why did you use brown colour?” She diligently said “Because my stomach was aching Mamma!” Duh??

Recently Pizza fever has taken over my daughters. I have promised them that I will order Pizza very soon. I asked what Pizza would they like to have? (We have never ordered Pizza home so far or have visited Pizza joint ever with them but I have made at home a couple of times) They say “We would like to have Cheese Pizza” I explain to them that all Pizzas are made of Cheese, but Pizzas could be topped with Chicken or Paneer or Veggies or Mushroom and the sort. They picked Paneer. I said “But your Baba doesn’t like Paneer na?” And Mannu says “Yes Mamma. That’s because Baba is a boy” – And I always thought Paneer was gender neutral!

Tammy bumped her head into something and was in pain. Her genius Baba fumbling for medicines, caught a Volini Pain Relief and smeared on the affected area. This ointment is quite strong and will cause a burning sensation. Tammy says “Ye medicine Teekha hai” (Meaning this medicine is spicy) And Mannu in a similar situation some other day sais “Ismein onion hai kya?” (Is there onion in this?”) when something caused irriatation in her eyes. – Talk about limited vocabulary!

Abbas has entered into an ATM and three of us are perched in Bulu (our Car). I saw a cute baby and showed them “Look look, a small baby”. Pat comes Tammu’s analysis “Ye baby milk nahi peeta hai. Isiliye abhi tak big nahi hua hai!” – Proactive root cause analysis! (Well all those mantras that I chant while feeding them milk – Milk piyega to Mannu Tammu big, strong, intelligent, sharp, witty, smart, beautiful, pretty ho jayega came back to me.)

I had kept some hot food covered with a lid on the dining table. During the meal, when I removed the lid, its bottom was full of vapour droplets. Tammu says “Ye lid mein rain aa gaya kya?” – What a correlation!

One of my colleagues peeled a pomegrante and fed them in the office bus on the way back home. At home, MIL was grating coconut and they had a mouthful each. When I asked what they were eating, Mannu said “Cocogranate!” Fusion of words u c? (By the way I liked the way cocogranate sounds)

I decided to treat them and took them to a juice parlour on the way back home. On entering the shop, I tried to show off being a sweet mommy by asking them “Bachhon, what juice would you like to have?” Tammu said “Mamma, I want Rasagulla juice!” (Yeah I had made Rasagulla Payasam for a change on their birthday, that doesn’t mean they make everything out of Rasagullas)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Mother Tongue or Father Tongue???

My mother tongue is Konkani, Abbas’s is Bengali. What should our kids’ be??

When I first held my daughters in my arms in the nursing home, I saw other moms around communicating with ease with their just borns. I was a confused mom. I didn’t know what to speak to them. And most importantly which language to speak! I was surprised at myself having never thought about it before. I found myself in the dumbest situation ever. I just held them staring and stroking their head, cheeks, letting their small fingers clutch my index finger. And that was all! But fellow moms were conversing with their infants as though with any other human being around…

I seriously put myself to think, and think hard! What am I gonna do? It felt weird to talk to them in Konkani at the risk of my Bong family doubting my sanity. If I was not gonna speak in my mother tongue then I decided I will not speak Abbas’s mother tongue as well. Should I speak to them in English then??? No… Somehow it didn’t appeal to me. Let me choose my national language!!! Yes Hindi - it had to be.

Many of my relatives tell me “Charduvanka amchigele shikkovka go” (You must teach Konkani to your kids) and many of my Bong acquaintances insist on speaking to them in Bengali. I speak a very fluent Bengali, I can read the language as well. But Mantam have enough people around them who already converse with them in their father tongue. I can’t converse in Konkani coz it creates a lot of confusion when other people under the same roof don’t understand a single word in my mother tongue. They hear Bengali, Hindi and English at home. And ever since they started going to day care, they were exposed to Kannada, Tamil, Malayalam and Telugu as well. One day I asked them, “Ye chahiye?” (Do you want this?) and the response was “Venda Yenaka”! (I don’t want) I was stunned although I know Tamil as well. The funniest part is when they talk to each other they speak none of the 7 languages and it’s a delight to listen to their discussions.
Most often than not, I understand all that Mantam try to say. Other people around look at me helplessly to comprehend their complex speech. That’s because, any given sentence of theirs will have words from atleast 2 languages and sometimes even scale up to 5 languages. I call their mode of communication ‘Khichdi’.

Some sample sentences:

·         Mujhe sleeping paaya hai
·         Ei uncle motte hai (Ei = This, Motte = Bald)
·         Illi Vaa and sit down
·         Aaj school jabo na? Happy ho jabo
·         Main milk pilbo na (Now pilbo is not even a word in any language)
·         Mamma amake pakadbo, nahi to main fell down hobo.
·         Mere chul mein Juttu daalbo na? (Chul = Hair, Juttu = Pony)

Fun no? On a serious note, could someone please please tell me what should I mention their mother tongue to be in official records?

Monday, September 5, 2011

My Third Daughter

Everytime Mannu Tammu n I snack on something on the way back home, I always ask to them to keep aside a little for their Didi… They too have gotten habituated to reserving anything that they are munching on for Didi. Looking at our consistent behaviour one of the regular co-passengers inquired me one day “Do you have three children?” This lady knew that I was picking up my twins from the day care and was headed home. I profusely shake my head and ask her “Noooo… What makes you think so???” She says “Daily I see your kids reserving some food for their Didi. That’s why I asked” I laugh aloud and explain to her that Didi is actually their grandmother(my MIL).

That made me actually think, she is actually my third daughter. Okay… she is elder than me, she is my husband’s mother. So what? She acts kiddish most of the time at times. I admonish her when she keeps demanding deep fried goodies. I’m protective about her. I love to dress her up, get stuff for her and love to see the happiness in her eyes. I can’t see her in pain. It hurts me to see her agony just the way my daughters’ would. I take her for granted many times which is not right. But then, I reassure myself saying “That’s because I think she is my own!”.

A couple of days back when she was telling me something funny she did, it suddenly struck  to me that I should document some memories of hers just as I do about the twins… Hence was born this post!

  • I generally use only black coloured clutcher to tie my hair.  I recently bought a coloured one and had accidentally left it on the dining table. She mistook it for cloth liner clip and tried to hang some cloth using it. After trying hard for some time, she murmured a curse and then realized what it actually was.

  • When we were in Chennai she told me one day with so much fervor that there was a girl secretly living with the bachelors in our adjacent house. Resistant to believe the story I asked her if she had seen the girl? She said that Sudha (our domestic help) had told her. And she had began linking events like the guys having an argument the previous night and how it was due to that girl, so on and so forth. I asked Sudha the very next day “Is there a girl in the bachelors’ home?” She ignorantly said “A girl? No… Why?” I said Ma told me that you saw from the window and told her yesterday. She started chuckling and told me that when she had gone to wash clothes in the backyard, one of the bachelors was staring at her through the window. That was what she told Ma adding that he is womanizer. I breathed a long sigh!!! (The conversation was between Sudha who speaks only Tamil and Ma who speaks only Bengali)

  • Her memory is one of her strongest skills. She is a living mini Encyclopaedia – Dates, Names, Events, History, Geography, Politics, Literature, Sports, Current affairs – she knows it all. But recently she has begun forgetting simplest of things occassionally. It’s as though her thought is struck in her soundbox but is unable to reach her tongue! She asks “What did you do with that?” I ask “With what?” She goes “Arreee… That which you brought from there” And I ask “From where?” And we go on from for some more time and end up having a good laugh!

  • One day she was filling water into bottles from the filter and forgot that she was supposed to switch the tap off. She panicked thinking the water was not stopping and was about to call us when she realized her mistake. She narrated me the whole scenario and laughed at her own folly.

  • We buy 3 tetrapacks of Frooti when we go out. On Friday evenings, she demands to be taken out on weekends. She had recently got into the habit of eating Paan and Abbas would get her Paan almost everyday. I threw huge tantrums as she was on the verge of getting addicted. She stopped eating Paan coz she was scared of me! Yesterday when she left for Gurgaon she whispered to Abbas to buy her a Paan so that I wouldn’t know. I let it be coz sometimes it’s good to be ignorant! But the gist is that I love her for caring for my sentiments.

She was a working woman and hence she understands my woes very well. She had to give up her career for kids and other family responsibilities. She is one of the strongest reasons I could resume my career quickly after my delivery. She had to sacrifice her goals, desires and also let go of her hard earned money. She has undergone adversity, but has come out with flying colors. Today even though her sons are well off, she teaches us not to waste a single penny.

Although I have sung praises about her so far, I do admit that she has her own set of shortcomings. But then so do I. We do have disagreements. Abbas becomes the scapegoat and has to listen to outbursts from the two important women in his life. He makes both understand that “No two people are the same.” At the end of the day, I have no inhibitions to be declaring in public that I couldn’t have asked for a better mother in law than her. I love you Ma. Thanks for being all that you are to me! (“I will always be jealous of Abbas coz you love him more than me”)

Monday, August 29, 2011

Tammy Tales

Last post talked about Mannu all the while. I have gotten into a habit of striking a balance between my actions so that none of the kid feels I'm favouring the other. I have got to do a separate post on that.

Well so here I'm with a few events where Tammy came up with dialogues worth documenting!!

I had given Guava in their tiffin box to be had in the evening. On the way back home in the rick, the interrogation begins.
Me: Mannu Tammu, Did you eat Guava today?
Mannu: Tammu has caught cold na? So don't send Guava for her Mamma. Send only for me.
Tammu: Mamma, you heat the Guava and send for me. I will not catch cold then, hai na???

I go to pick them up from school and they see a Pizza delivery boy! Tammu says "Mamma, mujhe Pizza khana hai." Me astonished at her having identified the thing in the boy's hand as Pizza ask her again "What?" And she thinks I dunno what a Pizza is!!! To my further surpise, she says all this at a stretch - "Mamma! This is Pizza. Ye round hota hai. Isko kitchen mein fry karna padtha hai. Upar se cheese daalna padtha hai. Phir cook karna padtha hai. Uske baad cut karne se ye triangle ho jaata hai. Ok mamma?" I was staring at her with my jaws dropped.

Background: They had caught this habit of saying NO on my face to each and everything I would ask them to do. It would really piss me off. I mean, I wouldn't mind it if they don't do what I say. But I don't want to listen to a NO from 3 year olds after all! I had freaked out BIG TIME and warned them to think 100 times before uttering the N word. Yeah I can be a Rowdy at times to bully them.
One day, MIL asks me "Seemu, did you take bath?" And I say "No".
Bang comes Tammu's question "Why did you say no to Didi when you told us not to say No?"

Warning- Bit mushy ahead (Blush blush)
Background: Tammy is a replica of Abbas. She even smells like him. Whenever I kiss her, I sniff her sneakily and it does feel good. She caught me sniffing her smell once and she thought it was an act performed post kissing.
One fine morning: I wake up and I planted a routine small kiss on Abbas's cheek. Boy, I turn back and see both the kiddos awake. Maanu says "What did you do to Baba?" Me (all blushing) - "I gave your Baba a kiss". Tammu says "Did you smell him or not?" I feel like crawling under a rock all ashamed.

These are the recent few dialogues which I'm able to recall at this moment. To be contd...

Friday, August 26, 2011

Naariyal Paani - Bachhon ke Muh mein paani, mere maathe pe paani (Pasina)

Thursday morning - Abbas driving Bulu (our Blue car). Me and kids sitting in the rear seat. Me combing their hair and tying 2 ponies on each head. Mannu suddenly spots something on the street and goes 'Oita dao!' (meaning give THAT to me) I inquire what she wants. She repeats those two goddamn words for like 1024 times (yeah I'm into IT industry, u c?) and Abbas and I both start asking her cross questions to find out what this mystery thing was that the daughter was going bonkers over... We both are ready to tear each other's hair unable to treasure-hunt it. Abbas, regaining his cool (trying to concentrate on his driving skills) asked her politely "Mannu what do you want?" And she again says for the 1025th time - "Oita dao"!!! I go grrrr.... and then I remember this game called Hangman that we used to play as kids. 

So there I go - "Did you see OITA?" 
Mannu - Yes
Me - "Do you want to eat it?"
Mannu - Yes
Me - "What colour is it?"
Mannu - Mmmm (lost)... after 5 secs pause - Green
Me - (Unsure about what to ask next) Are you sure???
Mannu - Yes
Me - (I'm the lost one now, bring out my lifeline - asking the other kid) - "Tammu, what is she trying to say?"
Tammu - (Thinking, please don't involve me in this for God's sake) "I don't know mamma"

God came to rescue and she again spotted OITA somewhere on the street and she remembered it's name finally! Phew...

Let's go to flashback...

There is a Naariyal Paani wala cart exactly opposite Mannu Tammu's school. On Tuesday, when we crossed the road to catch a rick, Mannu spotted that stall and 'Mujhe wo chahiye'. The girl didn't even know its name but wanted it. Huh! Well, I assured her by sugar coating my words "Tender Coconut?? Tujhe chahiye? Main Friday ko khareedke dungi Okay?" She happily nodded, little did she know that Friday is yet another 3 days away. Now the reason why I said Friday is another story altogether. My domestic help comes at 6:30 PM in the evening. Although my MIL is here now, I ask her to come in the evening so that she can wash truckload of tiffin boxes of kids and me. She comes in the morning on Weekends so, she washes Friday's dabbas Saturday morning. So I couldnt afford to be a minute late or have to face Meena Aunty's wrath. Although I am not afraid of her as such, I would perhaps be better off without looking into her questioning eyes.

Back to the present...
We reached my office by then and I waved bye to them and like a wicked politician I gave my assurance yet again "I will buy you tender coconut tomorrow for sure, okay???" And both fairies now took their fav seat (front seat which is (il)legally my right when their Baba is driving) and waved back to me smiling!!!

I might be wicked but I don't make fake promises. If I promise I ensure I deliver it. I bought a Tender Coconut for them and the three of us also went into a Fancy shop to buy a clip for me and ended up buying rubber bands and clips, bangles for them!

I also picked up one tender coconut for MIL. And Mannu was thoughtful in asking how her Didi will drink it as there was no straw at home. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Coincidence or Causality???

As a kid I was timid and and lika a recluse, I secluded myself from the crowd or strangers. More often than not, I found it hard to mingle with people. I preferred to stay in my cocoon and hardly socialized. At school, I was good at academics but  a zero when it came to sports or dance or even elocution's for that matter. I would participate in offline activities like drawing, essay writing, rangoli competitions. You get the drift right?? But there were a few exceptions like singing and fancy dress competitions where although I had to face ogling eyes of audiences, I fared considerably well (nevertheless I shivered out of nervousness from within). Post marriage when I was posted to unknown city and I lived on my own, my personality took a 360°turn and I became an extrovert. It was a turning point in my life and realization set in of all the opportunities I let go out of my coyness. That’s when I decided I will push my daughters to grab opportunities that come their way and teach them that “Participation is more important than the outcome”

Last year their creche was planning to observe Children’s Day and conduct Fancy Dress competition for them and also a Dance programme. I jumped in joy full of enthusiasm.Pumped all my gusto into my daughters by means of narrating to them how much fun it will be, and how they will get to wear new dresses, and so many uncles and aunties will say they are ‘Good girls’, exclaim and cheer when they dance and the euphoria hit them too... I decided on dressing them up as Krishna and Radha. On November 13th they ran temperature and the zeal all three of us deflated just as a balloon that got pricked. That night once they went to sleep, I packed all the dresses and accessories hoping against hope that they would be fit to atleast go on stage with costume and come back. (Yes, I’m a crazy mom!!!) Next morning, the temperature was slightly above normal but weakness prevailed. They were dull yet asking me when was I going to dress them up? They went on stage as Krishna and Radha for the first time. Then came back, they changed into white party frocks and again went on stage with rest of their kins and shook a leg to ‘All is well’!!! All was well only till then coz fever increased by a few notches by   evening. We took them to their paediatrician and they underwent a three day course of medication and were back to normal.

In May this year, we had Family Day function at work. They were organizing competitions for kids in the age range 5-12 years. Hyper-excited me, sent a reply to that mail asking if we could get three year olds to participate too. The response elated me coz they said three year olds could participate with parental supervision. This time I was brainstorming for something new coz I learnt from my previous experience that dressing up as Krishna and Radha was very common. One of my colleagues suggested ‘Cheerleader’. I got pom poms, brought gift wrappng sheets, cut them into stripes, stapled them into a backless top that they already had. I cut a long stripe out of drawing sheet and dangled colourful stripes from that sheet all over and made it as a mini skirt, attached same stripes to the stockings and made matching wrist bands. For the other one, I planned to dress her as a tribal lady. I asked my domestic help to get some mango leaves, made crown, necklace, and skirt out of leaves the previous night. Packed paint bottles to paint  her body with colourful stripes, some flower rakhi to tie on arms, wooden bangles and a  wooden flute. The night before the event was a nightmare, Abbas and I slept quite late as we prepared the tribal costume and also were googling for some tribal song. By the time we called it a day, Mannu had begun showing signs of diarrhoea. Phew! We spent the whole night cleaning her bum and changing her diaper. She was quite alright by afternoon but weak, her excitement uncluttered. Both of them jumped and did their small bits on stage with audience going ‘Ooh’ and ‘Aah’. I loved every bit of it. Back home all 4 of us curled into our beds to get a good night’s sleep.

This time when their school had intimated about sending kids dressed as Krishna and Gopika on Srikrishna Janmashtami, I was a little apprehensive. I suppressed my enthusiasm down and only announced about this event to kids a couple of days back. All was well till the D-Day morning. Mannat woke up earlier than usual and first thing she asked was “Are you dressing us up as Radha Krishna today?” I exclaimed “Yesss!” We were all set to leave home with both of them well made up in their new avatars, when Tammu tripped and fell down. She began crying and showing her knee which was in pain. We smeared an ointment there and told her she will be alright. Memories of previous two instances had faded from my memory but they hastily came back to me when I went to pick them up from the day care in the evening. I saw Mannat quietly sitting in a chair with her left heel neatly dressed with a bandage. Before I could inquire what had happened to her… the caretaker told me that they had a Matka breaking ceremony and a teeny weeny piece of Matka must have bee lying in some corner. Mannu’s heel got pierced by it and she kept mum without informing anyone. They only came to know when they saw blood red footsteps all over the floor. Sigh! The wound was a minor one, thank god for that!

I always do the ‘Nazar utharna’ act when we take kids out among crowd and have people’s eyes fixated on them. I am not sure if it works at all, but it’s just for self-consolation. But ultimately all these incidents have thrown me in a fix. Are they mere coincidences? Being an optimist, what I want to deduce from all these happenings is  “ There are no mistakes, no coincidences, all events are blessings given to us to learn from.” ~ Elisabeth Kubler-Ross