Friday, 30 December 2011

Does your four-year-old do THIS....!?

1) Unravel the toilet paper when 'on the job', to see how long it is??
2) Push your mobile-phone into an old wellington boot in the store room, leaving you frantically searching for it later as she looks on, amused??
3) Poke and prod the baby's face, when you're trying to get a capture-these-moments kind of video of her with your new(born) baby....?
4) Go limp and dare you to drag her around, screaming, because you won't buy her a chocolate bar from the till when you're low on spare cash?!
4) Eat her dinner quietly, sharing the table with her toddler sis in her high chair, UNTIL you:
a) attend to a phone call.
b) nip into the loo.
c) answer the doorbell. which point, as if taken over by 'dark forces' beyond her control, she:
a)swats her baby sister on the head,
b)snatches her sister's food, leaving her bawling loudly,
c) tries to rock her in the high chair,
while she laughs at your gesticulations from the phone/door/yells from the loo...??
....mine did,
and now that she's seven-and-a-bit-more,
I'm not quite sure,
if she's grown out if it,

Sometimes, on a trip into town, the only way to keep them from slapping each other's hand and feet, or snatching toys or a treat, having 'scream-fests' and generally being pests would be to hand them a biscuit each,
or promise a lovely time 'when we reach'...
Once, on a well-planned trip to the zoo many moons ago, we turned into the parking lot-my toddler crunching on a packet of 'wotsits', tyres crunching up the gravel underneath... At the time, one of them was two and the other was eight months old. As we unhooked the buggy and strapped our toddler in, I saw a tantrum coming, and her Daddy took over.... it turned out to be a memorable day for the simple reason that we video-taped the entire day, the younger one in a sling across my back and the older one walking around holding her Daddy's hand... She was mildly amused by the big tiger, and gazed up at the tall giraffes and seemed unable to look beyond the tall fences at the procession of elephants ambling around in their park-like enclosure.The majestic African lions were conspicuous by their absence, although the sign near the 'lookout point' said there were around nine of them in there, on the acres of land fenced-off for their exclusive abode. As we strained to listen to a tell-tale roar, we heard nothing at all.
The wallabies, hares and penguins made her eyes dance with excitement, and the Owl and the snakes fascinated her, especially the big, tawny Barn Owl that was the most impressive of the lot!

It was a long day, probably mentally tiring for the kids, if not physically; the buggy and the sling were a good idea, I guess! Even now, more than five years on, they both look at the video-recording of the day and exclaim excitedly and laugh infectiously!

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Random Shots....

...It was a cloudy but bright day yesterday, slightly colder than usual, yet definitely retaining the 'zing' of freshness I had felt that morning, cycling back from work....
 After a day spent shepherding the tots to school, reading with little Darren Riddle and getting back home to crash into bed, I had just woken up and taken a shower around afternoon.
Now here I was, walking around Lewsey on my way to pick up Shivangi and Rani from school, delightfully early, for a nice change!! While listening to my Phillips MP4 player, I was mesmerized by the beauty and freshness all around...Up Purcell Road I went and the rain-washed trees looked smartly dressed, despite the yellowing of their autumn leaves leaving most of their branches bare...
Then, on an impulse, I fished out my Nokia X6 phone and went shutter-happy, trying to find patterns, colours, sights and vistas...
Here are some of all of those!

This tree is something of an overgrown shrub, in a wilderness-style garden in our neighbourhood.. The soil is chalk and lime, but the sloping terrain ensures good drainage and hence its thriving beauty!

My brother and Dad can accurately tell me what kind of clouds these are... my guess is cirrus... what remains to be seen is if I'm right!



This tree is one of my winter favourites- leafless it may be, but its still beautiful!!... so quintessentially British!!

Reminds me of trees in old renderings in books at SID..
...and Kireet Sir telling our batch as we pored over Arcitectural Renderings   ..." PLEASE draw Indian Trees when you do your renderings, do not copy from the books featuring Maples, birches or Cherries!!" 

 Ivy on a fence!!

Feather-edged fencing; graffiti NOT included!!

now you see 'em... you don't!!

Being Food-wise and Fancy-free!

I made Prachi's shared recipe of Pasta Salad yesterday, and even my Raj, who is otherwise super calorie-conscious was tempted to try my fare which was quite healthy, given the low-fat mayo and smidgen of olive-oil I used...
Here's the picto -recipe, for foodies who like to go their own way, with less fuss and more 'Ooh La La!!'

Cut up your salad; you can have batons, buttons or dices!

Boil the Penne until cooked Al- Dente
Top with grated cheese whilst warm; it will make the cheese go nice 'n' gooey!

Ummm, don't forget the black olives, and Mediterranean herbs 

Dress with any/all of these- Mayo, lime juice, olive oil !! 

Finish with Sea-salt, pepper and more cheese.

Wash you hands and toss everything around in a bowl!!

Or better still, get your kids to do it for you as you lay the table!! Trust me, their hoots of joyous laughter will reverberate long after the meal is over!!

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Reminisces of a childhood past...

Since as far back as I can remember, I've always harbored a deep, insatiable love for freedom...As a child, my version of it was to hurtle down sloping streets on a bicycle with my brother- hair flying, cotton dress flapping in the breeze.... We'd invented a dangerous but exciting technique, quite akin to the circus-stunt, tree-climbing games we played; we'd go 'double-riding' on the bike, with the person seated on the saddle seat using their hands to steer, while the one in the back, seated atop the uncomfortable carrier pedaled furiously, unaware of where we were headed!!
I am not one to live in the past and forgo my present but I realize, as do millions of adults- irrespective of their profession, social standing, family dynamics or culture- with a pang, that my childhood days were the best days of my life...
As a mother, I feel the joy and the wonder of watching my babies grow in front of my very eyes and marvel at the fleetingness of time, the realization that this moment with them will never, whether we're reading, playing, walking to school or bathing, I try to live in THE MOMENT with them, and make sure they enjoy their precious days as children!
My first-born displays behaviour which, at times, is difficult to 'read' and has some co-ordination and behavioural difficulties. As a mother I can understand her well enough to know how to deal with her when she is unreasonable or stubborn, as against the times when she is genuinely unable to 'crack it'. So I've consciously adapted my life to suit hers- helping her enjoy and achieve, and I often indulge her 'competitive' streak vis-a-vis her little sister! I also try to find new games, tasks, places to visit etc to engage her and give her a enriching exposure to LIFE!! Often, she finds everything we do 'too much'' to take, so she both, loves me to bits and hates my guts, in turns... 
My husband, Raj, is much more placating and calm, often giving her his  undivided love and affection, letting her play with things as he watches her...I love this simplicity, this uncomplicated love- selfless and unconditional. She loves music and beads, cuddly toys and chocolates....she likes cuddles too, and will often greet her favourite people with a kiss on the cheek and a great big hug. Her smile is heartfelt and melts my insides, making me smile outwards and cry from happiness inside!
Our second child is growing up faster than her years, owing, perhaps, to her sister's perceived and actual difficulties. She is my little big girl, my friend, my angel...She seems to understand her sister better than most, and often acts like the big-sis herself. she draws beautifully vivid pictures, tries to write neatly, play responsibly, is often the ringleader in their games together and yet still sucks her thumb! She's got big, beautiful eyes and a terrific smile that's missing two front teeth!! She loves singing along, the great outdoors and bikes too!

My dream for them is to be free to choose the path their lives will take, letting them spend as much time as they need to making that decision. Its because we only live once, and this is the only shot they'll get... Besides, regret and hindsight have no place in life if we are be truly happy....and FREEDOM in essence, is the POWER TO CHOOSE...

Thursday, 15 September 2011


By Ruchita Sarvaiya · Wednesday, 14 September 2011

For the sweet, kind lady, on Wd 17:
 12/6/1956 -13/09/2011:
Through the travails of the past few months,
Through the darkest days, 
the most intense pain,
your bright blue-grey eyes never lost their sparkle,
you never stopped responding to a cheery voice, 
a gentle touch,
Your red-brown hair,
your faint yet beautiful smile,
is etched in my memory forever......

Friday, 15 July 2011

Chandigarh in the Summer Hols..

Those were the best days of our lives...

Here, I recollect and recount some lasting memories of my life, and in so doing, I've borrowed a line from my favourite, Bryan Adams!!
Dad's mail about the best decades in the last century triggered my memory, so here it is:
It was a good time! A time of discovery.. long summer afternoons spent exploring the Assam gullies, full of tea-coloured water that runs off from the rain-swollen terrain... building mud-dams, looking at water snakes and leeches, snails and earthworms!!
No hair dryers no straightening tongs for the teen years, just windblown hair and a red bar of  Shikakai soap and Dabur hair oil!!
 The days when stylish meant a home-cut fringe, or maybe long tresses untied!!
 When fun multiplied exponentially in the summer holidays cos all of our cousins came over, if we couldn't manage a trip to Ahmedabad! 
 When my lovely aunt and sweet, exuberant (not to mention incredibly stylish!) cousins gave me a makeover!! When we would all sleep on cool gaadla's on the living room floor in the hot summer nights, talking & giggling into the darkness!!
Having fun riding a bike, sharing toys n games- UNO n LUDO, playing THOOSO with Ba n sometimes faiba! Eagerly listening to Dad n Faiba all laugh together, as they recollected their childhood days!!
No mobile phones, no e-mail yet we still have those enduring friendships to this day... long talks in the park or when walking home from school... when friends were for life n you met them everyday...
When love meant gazing into the eyes of a special someone n feelin' those butterflies!!
 When love was innocent adoration and dreamy and sweet..Sighing over those teenage crushes and waiting for at least a fortnight to get a reply in the post!! Days of asking mum n dad, "may i go to so n so's??" No falling out, no stroppy outbursts, no T.V (atleast for us in our family of six!!!)...
A time when picnics meant cooking and packing all the food- theplas or puri-shak, pulao and alu-mattar, carrying a cool-keg of icy water with a little aluminium cup rattling inside because styrofoam and plastic cups were non-existent..,, there were no bottles of water on sale, and consequently, no plastic to recycle!! When games like frisbee n cricket were played on emrald green lawns, when mum and dad would hum softly to each other, which was far more beautiful than Lata Mangeshkar's crooning on a portable radio, which we never really needed! When mum's smile and Dad's twinkling eyes felt like a warm, loving blanket that kept us safe and happy! I've never seen them arguing with each other in my entire life, and that's one thing I've always aspired to having in my relationship too. Its a shame I still haven't quite got that, yet...maybe, if I were more like my Mum; calm, loving, understanding and not quite so ready to take offence at things my husband Raj says when I'm sure he means well...
 A time when a car was a cherished member of the family and like all our vehicles it was adorned with a garland...Taditionally, mummy would do the aarti for them all- from my bicycle to the car on dussehra...
Getting our first car was a memorable event, which began with Ranjit Kaka driving from Delhi to Bangalore!!!! We would fall asleep in didi's lap on long trips n it would just as easily ferry eleven people as it did six!!! All it asked was to check the distilled water n radiator water level, and the occassional push-to-start!!!! I remember a time, enroute from Puttaparthi, when its hose-pipe blew and we saw steam billowing from underthe hood...
No baby-sitters or creches- just Ba, our grandmother and us on our parents' IAF evening parties when we would be at home alone with Ba.
When Ba told us stories to cajole us to sleep, and occassionally gave us a thrill of excitement with LPs playing in the night and impromptu dancing on carpets!
 When ABBA and Ghulam Ali, Talat Mehmood and Umrao Jaan serenaded their loves from the 33.5 RPMs vinyls at home.
 When DIY meant Dad Involved, You may watch n learn!! He'd fix everything from a SONY player to the kitchen mixer.
When he took Ma shopping on the trusty BAJAJ, and they came home loaded with groceries n vegetables, fruits and sugarcane... no pre-packaged supermarket fare, or BOGOF offers.. cakes were baked, not bought and cards were made and painted by hand.
Above all, a time when our parents, silently and dedicatedly, put their one hundred percent into bringing us up right, and gave us values to last us a lifetime! Here's to them, the real HEROES of my life, my parents.